Carl Beech, 51, is a former nurse, former NHS manager, former charity volunteer, and former school governor. The son of an Anglican priest and the stepson of a major in the British army, he grew up in Denbighshire, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, and the London suburb of Kingston-upon-Thames. In 2012, he began to tell police that as a child he had been sexually abused by a paedophile ring that included:
- Sir Edward Heath, prime minister
- Lord Brittan of Spennithorne, home secretary, European commissioner
- Harvey Proctor, Conservative MP
- Lord Janner of Braunstone, Labour MP and peer, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews
- Field Marshal Lord Bramall, chief of the defence staff
- Field Marshal Sir Roland Gibbs, chief of the general staff
- General Sir Hugh Beach, master-general of the ordnance
- An unnamed lieutenant colonel
- Major Raymond Beech
- Sir Maurice Oldfield, chief of MI6
- Sir Michael Hanley, director general of MI5
- John J. Louis, Jr., US ambassador to the UK
- Unnamed Saudi diplomats including members of the Saudi royal family
- Sir Jimmy Savile
He also claimed that members of this group had murdered three boys and killed a horse. He claimed that MI5 had kidnapped his dog. He has been convicted of 12 counts of perverting the course of justice and one count of fraud. He will be sentenced on Friday and could be imprisoned for life.
The most important points about this trial seem to be:
Failure by the police. Why did a Metropolitan Police Service detective superintendent describe Beech’s allegations as “credible and true”? While the police have an obligation to investigate all allegations as thoroughly as possible, surely it should have been obvious from the outset that these allegations were utterly incredible and very unlikely to be true.
Why did otherwise sensible people uncritically accept Beech’s allegations as anything other than almost certain falsehoods? I’m thinking, for example, of Labour Party deputy leader Tom Watson and the otherwise respected journalist James O’Brien.
What impact will this case have on our perceptions of other allegations of sexual abuse, especially where they concern people who are, or have been, prominent in public life, e.g. Sir Cyril Smith and Lord Janner (also the subject of other, more plausible, allegations)? Surely there is always a risk when false allegations like these are made that people will begin to suspect that false allegations are more widespread than they are.