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Today I’m at Newcastle Crown Court for the opening of the trial of Carl Beech - who is accused of making false allegations of the “most serious kind” against senior public figures in Parliament, the military, the intelligence services and a showbiz personality, Jimmy Saville.
Opening the case, Tony Badenoch QC explains to the jury, the investigation that was sparked from Mr Beech’s allegations - Operation Midland - opened in Nov 2014 and ran to estimated costs of £2m
Adding: “These false allegations led to police enquiries being made of living men, amongst them Lord Brittan, Lord Bramall and Mr Harvey Proctor.”
Mr Badenoch adds that Mr Beech’s allegations had a broader impact, speaking of the family of Martin Allen, a 15 year old boy who went missing in 1979. Mr Allen’s brother was told Martin’s disappearance may have been linked to an alleged VIP paedophile ring.
It was in 2016, the same year that no further action was taken in respect of Operation Midland, that the Metropolitan Police asked another police force to investigate not the men who had been accused, but the accuser himself – ‘Nick’.
The allegations made by ‘Nick’ were looked at with the “fresh eyes” of a senior police team in Northumbria, over a hundred miles away from London, led by Detective Superintendent Steve Barron and Detective Chief Inspector Woods, and was to take a year.
It was on 2nd November 2016 that a specialist team attended the home address of Carl Beech in the early morning. The primary purpose of this police attendance was to carry out a forensic investigative strategy; this included the seizing and downloading of electronic devices.
Mr Badenoch QC adds: When Northumbria Police conducted their investigation and found many of the allegations to be “provably false”, Mr Beech made no response and ultimately fled the country and lived “as a fugitive” in Sweden
Until a specialist fugitive unit in Sweden worked closely with Northumbria Police and the National Crime Agency to secure his arrest on a European Arrest Warrant executed overseas. He was then extradited back to face these charges.
And so Mr Badenoch QC begins to set out the chronology of the allegations Carl Beech made
In 2012 Carl Beech made his first disclosure to a police force. He came forward and spoke in response to Operation Yewtree (Metropolitan Police investigation concerned with Jimmy Savile) and was referred to Wiltshire, for the purposes of gathering evidence
Mr Badenoch QC points out this was at the time when a number of people were coming forward and making allegations at around this time concerning Jimmy Savile
Wiltshire Police didn’t act upon the account. It was taken in a single afternoon, was largely non-specific and those that were named by him were deceased.
Two years later, on 9th October 2014, Carl Beech provided the Metropolitan Police with a list of names of men said to be his abusers
Carl Beech listed: Major Ray Beech (Step-father), Lt General Beach, General Gibbs, General Bramall (Lord Brammall), Jimmy Savile, Peter Hayman, Harvey Proctor, Leon Brittan, Greville Janner, Edward Heath, Michael Hanley and Maurice Oldfield.
Carl Beech named over twenty different venues for the abuse, ranging from Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, South West London, Central London and Surrey
Mr Badenoch QC is now detailing some of the allegations Mr Beech made about each of the named men, beginning with his step-father, Major Ray Beech, who he claims raped him and repeatedly punched him from the age of 8
Badenoch QC goes on to explain Mr Beech alleged two other abusers -later identified by him to be Michael Hanley, former Head of MI5 Maurice Oldfield, former Head MI6 - tortured him by tipping spiders over him, electric shocks, and having darts thrown at him.
Mr Beech also alleged Harvey Proctor had demanded oral sex and had inflicted pain on one occasion seeking to use a pen-knife
The jurors are told that Me Beech also alleged a boy had been murdered by Harvey in front of him
Mr Badenoch QC adds, the allegations Carl Beech made to the Met police concerned acts that happened to him between the ages of 7 - 16. He detailed this abuse when he was 46-47 years of age. Explaining the details have been summarised from recordings which last around twenty hours
What did Northumbria police uncover, asks Mr Badenoch QC? In summary, Northumbria Police followed a number of lines of enquiry and found that key elements of the story were “totally unfounded, hopelessly compromised, and irredeemably contradicted by other testimony”.
Carl Beech told police that he had been taken out of school regularly (at least once a week) for nine years, his schools were therefore the subject of enquiry, his attendance was found to be “very good” and that this absenteeism would have been noticed and investigated
After listing memories from Carl Beech’s school friends, Mr Badenoch QC adds, nobody noticed he [Carl Beech] was missing from school let alone the victim of electric shock treatment and other torture
The jury are now being instructed to look through Carl Beech’s schooling records. Mr Beech is “performing above average” and “good” in almost every subject in 1981, aged 13.
Mr Badenoch QC introduces “Scott” the school friend Carl Beech told investigators had been killed by the ‘group’ and that he [Carl Beech] had witnessed it in 1979 at Coombe Hill
The jury are now being shown a Met police recording of Carl Beech explaining how his friend Scott had been killed by ‘the group’
The jury listen to a tape of Carl explaining how “Scott” was hit by a car: “he was hit up into the air and everything stopped. I tried to wake him... there was a lot of blood, there was blood on my hands... He died because I didn’t do as I was told. And I just wanted a friend”.
Court returns from lunch, prosecution continues their opening
Following the video in which Carl Beech explains what happened to Scott - after extensive enquiries, Northumbria Police reached the conclusion ‘There is no supporting evidence whatsoever to support ‘Nick’s’ account’. Badenoch QC adds - That renders his account “completely untrue”
Badenoch QC now turns the juror’s attention to the allegations Carl Beech made against senior figures in the military, including the head of the British Army.
“The rank of Army Major was very much lower than those Carl Beech accused and it wouldn’t have been possible for an Army Major to meet with the Generals unscheduled and unnoticed, let alone a small boy delivered weekly from school by a driver.”
Badenoch QC explains, someone of Bramall’s standing would have been a target (at the height of the Northern Ireland troubles) and so lived in barbed wire surroundings under armed guard. Suggesting the logistics of Carl Beech’s claim would not be feasible.
Badenoch QC explains Beech explains he kept journals detailing his abuse, little black books, but have failed to form part of the investigation, any investigation, as they cannot be found
Badenoch QC adds: The jury will, however, have sketches produced by Carl Beech who told investigators that he hadn’t researched images of the crime scenes prior to sketching from his memory and providing the product to the police (1/2)
This was entirely contrary to easily accessible internet imagery and photographs of locations recovered from his own computer (2/2)
Mr Badenoch QC turns the jury’s attention to sketches from Carl Beech’s journals from 2014 and 2016. Photocopied pages taken from the journals that have since disappeared.
The first sketch shows the shape of a person with their hands above their head, their hands in restraints and something tied around the body’s waist. Next to the body are scrawled notes “imber” - which is said to be one of the military locations where there was abuse
Sketch 2 - no handwriting be drawings of “what appear to be abuse on the left there is someone who would appear to be in the middle, one on the left with a large whip and two persons on the right with something that is not clear. On the right is imagery of a sexual act”.
Sketch 3 - an individual with restrained hands at the top, insertions of something into the body with red pouring from it. On the right an individual with an angry face, hands around the neck of an individual below them.
Sketch 4 - individuals shining what looks like a torch with an individual being shown in torch light (that individual does not look clothed). On the right, an individual shown as a creature forceably having sex with a “small or young” person
Sketch 5 - a small person in the corner of a room sitting in a red puddle. On the right of this page, there is “some kind of demon” with red eyes “holding a small person in the hands with much red all around again and obviously a drawing of an erect penis” Badenoch QC says
Sketch 6 - a line drawing of an individual on their own, a cloud of dark around them with a series of other faces around them. On the right there is a person restrained with ties around the body, around the hands and the feet with red marked across the body
Sketch 7 - image on the right with words written “please no more” at the top. Three demons are drawn around a “small person” sitting in a “pool of red”.
Sketch 8 - a line drawing of a building with some handwriting underneath. The building looks to be the front of a townhouse with an iron gate in front of a large window.
Sketch 8 - interpretation of handwriting - “early eve?? Light only just... waiting in back engine in. Boys come out with man. Upstairs? Window... move over. My age scared silent hold hands death (with an arrow to escape) serious, silence help me. Bled. London?? 17 16”
Sketch 9 - looks to be the interior of a room, tiled floor. Writing at the top says “Imber” one of the locations Mr Beech is said to be abused.
Sketch 10 - lots of hand writing with a sketch of a pool. Badenoch explains “pool party. It was just an ordinary pool. Don’t know where it was. Diving. Raised bench.” More handwriting “LB HP B” “lots of others. Each man would select one of us” (1/2)
You would stay with them unless they wanted to swap you with someone else. I would be undressed, naked. There would be a lot of touching and kissing. They would wrestle with me in the water... They weren’t allowed to penetrate us in the pool, they took you off to the side (2/2)
Sketches 11 and 12 are taken entirely from Beech’s memory, the first of Dolphin Square. The second is of a building and a stairway.
Sketch 13 - drawing of a house with handwriting “rocks lane EGH park”. All from memory.
Sketch 14 - another house with a flat roof, handwriting - “?? Army 32” and depicted on the left is a gun. This is again from memory.
Sketch 15 - looks to be another house with four windows, two chimneys and the hand writing “party”.
Apologies didn’t get to see sketch 16
Sketch 17 - looks to be a drawing of a church - the cross at the top f the building denotes this
Sketch 18 is said to be a drawing of a medal
Sketch 19 - more handwriting “town house, ground floor, lounge... light colours, sofa x 2, coffee table, glass... and goes on to list the number of bedrooms and windows”
Sketch 20 - the vehicles as Mr Beech remembered from his memory - “Rover, Land Rover Army, Princess, Range Roger, Jaguar, Rolls Royce” and the colours on the right.
Sketch 20 also mentions lynx and gazelle helicopters and 747/707. “These were the aircraft he was remembering” says Badenoch CQ
All these sketches are said to be from Carl Beech’s memory. He was given the opportunity, asked if he had done any research before he handed over the sketches. Carl Beech confirmed that he had not done so.
Jury being directed back to a sketch, as an example, of a location where he had been abused. He created the drawing from memory in order to assist with the police’s enquiries. The sketch is a depiction of the Carlton Club in London (1/2)
It features the exact number of window to the ground and the first floor as the building itself. Window surrounds are also a fair portrayal as if the front door and the steps. These are all accurate to readily available materials (2/2)
Badenoch QC “He was saying this was from his memory. He had said he had been abused in the premises by, among others, Harvey Proctor. This is a false allegation and is flawed by evidence to the contrary... he wasn’t a member of the Carlton Club, never with Ted Heath as alleged”.
Badenoch QC pauses here to make the point that Carl Beech has accused the head of the army, MI5 and MI6 and now the head of the country of abuse.
Carl Beech also gave the Metropolitan Police a description of the inside of Ted Heath’s yacht. This was again said to be a location for serious sexual abuse.
The jury are now going to compare the sketches Carl Beech submitted to the Metropolitan police to those he submitted to Wiltshire Police
The jury are being shown a sketch plan of a military office and a sketch plan of a military house. “There are three outline drawings of buildings. These were completed by Mr Beech when he was speaking to Wiltshire police in 2012. Any self respecting toddler could manage” (1/2)
They provide no resemblance to those that were provided two years later in 2014 (2/2)
Badenoch QC: “Either his drawing skills have improved immeasurably as had his memory, or he copied off pictures of the internet” - trying to explain the difference in both detail and skill in sketches provided in 2012 compared to 2014, the latter being more detailed.
The sketches portray “sadistic abuse” Badenoch QC adds “it’s perfectly obvious had this abuse happened, it would have been seen by somebody else” - and so the jury are turned towards the medical records of Carl Beech
There is nothing in his records to substantiate his claims of the most horrific sexual and physical abuse including electric shock treatment. His explanation, ‘the group’ had a dedicated doctor that would “patch up” the boys.
At 16 we’re told ‘the group’ disappeared. Five years later he met a woman called Dawn Beech, they married when he was 22, she didn’t notice any marks on his body, and he didn’t complain of pain to his feet. There wasn’t anything physical that she saw that supported his claims.
We’re told his medical records show he had contact with medics in childhood and yet nothing was noted and referrals were made. “The reason? He hadn’t been sadistically tortured and abused in the manner in which he described to Metropolitan Police Officers.”
Carl Beech said one of the aspects of the torture he alleged was that the ‘group’ would hold his head under the water simulating drowning, leading to a life long fear of the water and yet “there are photographs and videos of him doing precisely that all over the world”.
The jury are now being shown images of Carl Beech as a child and then a pair of images from 1974, aged 6, in his trunks, with his ball at the poolside.
Jury are briefly shown a picture of Carl Beech on his wedding day with his best man, and now a picture of him in the sea in 1992. And now another of him wearing flippers and a snorkel at the side of a swimming pool in 1992.
Finally the jury are shown a picture from 1992 showing Carl Beech in a swimming pool.
The judge adds “it is an adult lifetime of swimming memories. He isn’t just satisfied with the ability to swim and enjoy water, he also enjoys diving, with an oxygen tank.”
Correction*** Badenoch QC NOT the judge.
Mr Badenoch QC now turns his attention to Mr Beech’s use of the internet - “The device examinations revealed that Carl Beech had been extensively researching. The conclusion is that he had associated himself with the accounts of others and embellished them for his own purposes.”
Badenoch QC adds: “All of the names of the men given by Carl Beech to the police as child abusers and murderers had been searched, and images of them sought, together with the addresses at which these horrendous events were said to have occurred”.
In 2014 Carl Beech presented the Met Police with a pen knife that he alleges Harvey Proctor gave to him after threatening to “cut his genitals” during a “course of serious and sadistic sexual abuse” with the words “you won’t be so lucky next time”.
The jury are now being shown pictures of said pen-knife. The knife which was presented as coming from Harvey Proctor.
The jury have now been handed the pen knife to examine.
Investigators spoke to his wife Dawn Beech and she told them that Carl Beech had not only shown it to her, but kept it in his ‘happy memory box’. There was no mention or upset at what he told investigators was the real story.
And so concludes day 1 of the Carl Beech trial. Prosecution is set to finish their opening tomorrow. Back tomorrow from 1030.
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