From Vikram Dodd at the Guardian:
Operation Midland detectives investigating claims of sexual abuse by prominent establishment figures believe their main witness is still credible, but have not uncovered evidence to support criminal charges against any suspects.
The Guardian understands that the Scotland Yard investigation has found evidence pointing to the credibility of aspects of the account given by “Nick”, who has been the subject of attacks on his reputation.
…In one instance Nick correctly described the interior of a military premises in southern England, where he claimed abuse had taken place. The details he provided were not publicly available, and the premises itself is not open to the public, making it likely he had been there at some stage, police concluded.
…Detectives have not been able to disprove Nick’s credibility, nor establish that his central claims could not have happened.
So, the police have supposedly been unable to establish that the head of the British Army did not spend Remembrance Day at a paedophile orgy, or that he might not have slipped back into the UK from a posting in Hong Kong to abuse and torture a child in Wiltshire. Similarly, we must remain agnostic as to whether former Prime Minister Ted Heath attended a similar event with a sworn political enemy, during which he intervened to prevent Nick’s castration. As Criswell says at the end of Plan 9 from Outer Space: “Can you prove that it didn’t happen?”
This is the first article on Operation Midland to appear in the Guardian that claims to have exclusive information. My first thought on reading it was that Dodd must have received a leak from the Metropolitan Police ahead of a formal police statement. But is that plausible? The force has come under heavy criticism for its handling of the investigation into Lord Bramall, and to wind things down now in a way that seems calculated to keep the very worst insinuations alive would be suicidally reckless.
Blogger Gojam suggests that it is more likely that the Guardian article is in fact pre-emptive spin put out by Exaro, the internet news agency that has promoted Nick’s claims and acts as his media handler. An exchange between Dodd and David Aaronovitch would tend to support this interpretation:
DA: What “indirect evidence” does the Met believe gives credibility to “Nick” as you claim today? Did they give you a clue?
VD: if I were to guess the military premises stuff
“If I were to guess”? Surely this is a central point that any journalist would have wanted to pin down with an interview subject… unless there wasn’t one, just a second-hand statement that was passed along.
However, whether Dodd’s information has come from the police or Exaro, the detail about the military premises is highly significant, but not for the reason Dodd thinks.
It is widely known that Nick used to post details about his alleged abuse and its effects on his later life on a blog, which he took down as his claims came under increasing media scrutiny. Gojam has maintained a private archive of these posts, and he now draws attention to one in which Nick describes visiting Imber Village in 2013.
Imber Village is used by the army for training purposes, and is indeed “not open to the public” – but there are visitor days from time to time, and Nick attended on one of these. Gojam has the “smoking gun” quote from Nick’s post:
I decided to go back to another location that is normally closed to the public… They left me to roam myself and I went into a few buildings that as a child had been the site of torture, terror and pain. In one building there were still the hooks on the wall where I had been tied and all I could do is stand and stare at them and let the tears flow.
That was published in July 2014, several months before Nick was first taken by Exaro to the police. Reading the above alongside Dodd’s extra information, it is very difficult to escape the conclusion that Nick impressed the police with a childhood memory of a non-public location that he had actually visited just a year or so before. The very reasonable suspicion that follows from this is that Nick is not just a fantasist, but an actual hoaxer.
UPDATE (15 Feb): Despite being active on Twitter in the hours that followed, Dodd has declined to clarify whether his information has come from a police source or from Exaro. However, on 11 February Dodd drew attention to an earlier article he had written on the subject, in December 2014, in particular highlighting the detail that “‘Nick’ had told police he feared reprisals from the VIP group who he said had abused him and killed other boys”. It is reasonable to surmise that these Tweets were published in anticipation of yesterday’s story.
Meanwhile, a follow-up article has appeared in the Daily Mail, which describes the Guardian article as having “revealed” the police decision:
Police investigating claims of a Westminster child sex ring continue to believe their main witness is ‘credible’ even though they have found no evidence to back up his claims of murder and abuse, it was revealed last night.
Detectives on Operation Midland are standing by the man, known only as Nick, despite failing to find evidence to support criminal charges against any suspects.
Harvey Proctor is unimpressed:
‘The best detectives the Met has available take over a year to discover there is no evidence and then… try to proclaim Nick’s credibility – not because he is credible but to protect the careers of those senior officers who initially believed he was and are now appalled at the consequences for them that he is not.’
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