Home secretary to order review into VIP abuse investigation

Carl BeechImage copyright Gloucestershire Police
Image caption Beech was jailed for 18 years in July after making false claims of abuse

Home Secretary Priti Patel is to order a third inquiry into the Met’s widely criticised investigation into allegations of a VIP paedophile ring.

Sparked by false claims made by Carl Beech against politicians and senior military officers, Operation Midland cost £2.5m but led to no arrests.

Beech was later jailed for 18 years for his “malicious” lies and other charges.

Now police watchdog Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary is to be told to review the force’s actions.

A report by the Independent Office of Police Conduct – expected to be published next week – previously examined the role of three detectives in applying for search warrants, but did not look into Operation Midland as a whole.

When – following Beech’s convictions in July – the IOPC announced it had cleared the officers, senior retired High Court judge Sir Richard Henriques criticised that outcome.

Writing about the IOPC findings in July, he said a criminal investigation should take place into what he described as the unlawful obtaining of search warrants.

Sir Richard – who conducted a separate review, commissioned by the Met itself – stated: “I remain unable to conclude that every officer acted with due diligence and in good faith.”

Harvey Proctor, who was falsely accused of murder by Beech, has also called on the home secretary to order a criminal inquiry by an independent police force.

Full findings from Sir Richard’s review on behalf of the Met are due to be made public on Friday.

However, a summary of his report published in 2016 said that 43 errors were made during Operation Midland.

These included believing the testimony of Beech – who was previously referred to as “Nick” in the media – for too long, as well as an officer referring to his claims as being “credible and true”.

Sir Richard’s summary added that a culture that alleged victims must be believed was a “major contributing factor” to the investigation’s failing.

Met Commissioner Cressida Dick, who oversaw the early stages of Operation Midland, has previously rejected demands for a new investigation into the officers involved.

‘Devious’

Beech accused former politicians and Army and security chiefs of sadistic sexual abuse up to four decades ago.

The 51-year-old, who was described by the sentencing judge as a “manipulative and devious person”, also claimed to have seen boys being murdered.

Those falsely accused by Beech, and relatives of some of those who have died since the investigation began, said the effect of his lies had been “incalculable” and they had been victims of “a totally unjustified witch hunt”.

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