A former NSPCC volunteer who lied about being abused by a murderous VIP Westminster paedophile ring has been sentenced to life in 18 years in jail.
Carl Beech, 51, was convicted of perverting the course of justice and fraud on Monday, over the lies which ruined the reputations of a number of political figures.
He repeatedly told officers he had been abused in the 1970s and 1980s by a string of high-profile figures from the worlds of politics, the military and security services.
His claims about being sexually abused as a boy and witnessing three child murders at the hands of the group, led the Metropolitan Police to raid the homes of 91-year-old Normandy veteran Field Marshall Lord Bramall, the late Lord Brittan and former Tory MP Harvey Proctor.
The force has come under widespread criticism for the investigation, which closed in 2016 without making a single arrest and was described by Proctor as a “truly disgraceful chapter in the history of British policing”.
Among Beech’s allegations were claims that his step-father, an Army major, raped him and passed him on to generals to be tortured and sadistically abused at military bases by other establishment figures.
Lord Bramall said the impact of Beech’s “monstrous allegations” were worse than any of the injuries he had received in the Army.
He said: “I thought I could be hurt no more. I was never as badly wounded in all my time in the military as I was by the allegations made by ‘Nick’.”
Lord Bramall described the horror of having his house searched by 20 police officers as his seriously-ill wife lay in bed, adding she died without seeing his name cleared.
Beech was also convicted of voyeurism and possession of indecent images of children.
During sentencing at Newcastle Crown Court, prosecutor Tony Badenoch QC said images of a pre-pubescent boy – referred to as Child E – were found on a secret app, disguised as a calculator, on Beech’s iPad.
He said these pictures and videos were shot by the defendant in his bathroom without the boy knowing.
The prosecutor told the judge: “Carl Beech, whilst he was committing these offences, was in almost daily contact with senior police officers investigating his invented claims of paedophile activity by others.”
Badenoch told the court Beech’s conduct involved “the cynical manipulation of the criminal justice system on an unprecedented scale”.
He added that this was “sophisticated and well-planned criminal behaviour”.
Badenoch said the allegations made by Beech “could scarcely have been more serious”.
He said: “The defendant was motivated by entirely selfish purposes.
“The defendant derived sexual pleasure from graphically describing the violent sexual abuse of young boys. He enjoyed the attention and celebrity.”
On Monday, the jury rejected Beech’s unfounded allegations and convicted him of 12 counts of perverting the course of justice.
He was also found guilty on one count of fraud, relating to a £22,000 criminal injuries payout he falsely claimed for being raped by Savile.
The jury were unconvinced by his claims that Army generals, at the height of the IRA terror threat, could sneak off unguarded to join horrific child abuse sessions.
In a victim impact statement read to the court, Diana Brittan, widow of Lord Brittan, described the trauma of having to deal with her husband’s terminal illness while facing “a series of false allegations and smears of the very worst kind”.
She said: “I feel he was caught up in a totally unjustified witchhunt which took its toll on both him and me.
“He was denied the dignified death that he deserved.”
She added: “His name has now been cleared but he will never know this. The system has let him and my family down.”
The Met Police’s £2m Operation Midland into the lurid allegations by the man they named only as “Nick” ended without making a single arrest.
Sir Edward Heath’s godson Lincoln Seligman said in a statement read to the court that the jury’s verdicts had confirmed that the late former prime minister “was always as he remains, wholly and categorically innocent of these depraved and wicked accusations”.
Seligman condemned the Metropolitan Police, Wiltshire Police and politicians “who should be ashamed of themselves” for giving credence to Beech’s accusations.
He said: “It is unlikely this damage will ever be undone.”
Collingwood Thompson, defending, said in mitigation that there was an “unfortunate combination” of his client making his allegations at a time that police started a policy that “complainants should be believed”.
Thompson said: “Although the flames were started by Beech, they were fanned by the policy that was adopted.”
He also told the judge that there was “no realistic prospect” that any of his client’s allegations would have resulted in prosecutions.
Over the course of the trial, which spanned more than two months, jurors heard how Beech spun officers lie after lie.
He claimed that the gang of men, who he referred to as “The Group”, had run over and killed a boy named Scott in front of him – but prosecutors said that the child described had in fact never existed.
The fraudster gave false hope to the family of Martin Allen, who went missing in 1979 at the age of 15, by saying that he had seen a youngster matching his description raped and strangled in front of him.
After Operation Midland was closed, Beech fled to Sweden at a time when the Crown Prosecution Service were considering whether to bring charges against him, buying two properties there and trying to evade justice by using false identities.
He was extradited back to the UK to face charges in October last year.
His lies were at one stage wrongly described as “credible and true” by a senior detective.
Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner Sir Stephen House said that officers in the case had worked in good faith, and that an “internal debrief” would take place following Beech’s conviction to identify whether lessons could be learned.
Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson has been criticised for meeting with Beech in 2014, but the politician said he had simply told him the allegations would be taken seriously, saying in a statement: “It was not my role to judge whether victims’ stories were true.”