Operation Midland: Some Notes on the Outcome and the Damage

Police admit “failures”

Harvey Proctor left “destitute” by false allegation

John Mann MP sees false accuser as part of a conspiracy

Police “relied on the advice of Nick’s counsellor” 

From the BBC:

Numerous errors were made in Scotland Yard’s investigation into paedophile allegations against VIPs, an independent review has found.

The decision to abandon Operation Midland should have been taken “much earlier”, Sir Richard Henriques said.

Five officers have been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) following the review.

The Met Police commissioner accepted “accountability for these failures” and apologised to those involved.

The report was published in redacted form on 8 November, leading to speculation that police had hoped that it would receive less media attention due to the US election. [1]

Much has been written about the report and its findings, as well as what this means for police competency in general – as Matthew Scott notes in his forensic analysis of the report:

If the Met’s finest detectives can conduct as disastrous an investigation as this in a multiple murder investigation involving prominent politicians, one shudders to think what ineptitudes are likely to exist in lower profile investigations of “ordinary” historic sex cases.

I have discussed Nick’s allegations on this blog a number times, one reason being that I could see parallels with the mishandling of false claims of “Satanic Ritual Abuse” in the 1980s. Nick’s most lurid allegation was that as a child he had witnessed the then-Conservative MP Harvey Proctor murder a boy at a paedophile orgy, and that he himself had only escaped being castrated by Proctor due to the intervention of a fellow orgiast, none other than former Prime Minister Ted Heath. Without going into these details, a senior officer told the media before the investigation had even got underway that Nick’s stories were “credible and true”.

Proctor, who had been living in contented obscurity for decades following a sex scandal in 1987, says that he is now destitute, and – having been forced to move abroad due to the destruction of his privacy and reputation – is now separated from his loved ones. Iain Dale has organised a whip-round, which to my mind is not so much an act of charity as a reasonable request that Proctor should be paid by public subscription for the service he has done by exposing the fiasco (and in this matter I ask those of progressive political inclination to put to one side the disagreeable right-wing politics with which he is identified).

The Henriques Report ought to be the stake through the heart of this particular conspiracy theory, although of course some will never be satisfied: the popular police Tweeter known as “Inspector Gadget” (whose professional status and anonymity together give him license to pronounce on subjects without having to be accountable) sneered that the report was merely a case of “Establishment decides police shouldn’t have investigated establishment”, while another police Tweeter known as @portlyplod declared that Nick’s claims have not yet been disproven, [2] and that Daily Telegraph reporters might be “Paedophilia supporters” for calling them false.

Meanwhile, the Labour MP John Mann, who crowed when the police raided Proctor’s home that he would be “the first of many to be investigated”, sees Nick himself as part of the conspiracy:

The names he gave for Dolphin Square were not the names I had heard from many different peop;le, including those living in Dolphin Square. They were well known but entirely different names.

My conclusion, as I told the Met and top journalists, was either that Nick was telling an incredible truth or he was being used to throw confusion and doubt into a vital enquiry. My view all along was that the latter was the case.

Not just should Nick be prosecuted, but we need to know where or who he got his information from, because some of it was too near to the knuckle to be fantasised, but critically inaccurate when it came to proof and names of living individuals.

Mann, it should be recalled, claims to have got his hands on a “Dickens dossier” from the 1980s, and thus to have privileged access to names of VIP paedophiles.

On Mann’s last point, it’s obvious where Nick got his information from: the name “Harvey Proctor” has seen synonymous with rent-boy vice since the the scandal of the 1980s (he paid two 19-year-olds, who specifically told him they were over 21), and claims about “Dolphin Square” and such were published in Scallywag in the 1990s and later disseminated via the internet. These stories have been part of a conspiracy milieu for a long time – and Nick may have either researched them himself or had the information given to him.

This in turn leads us to a particular point of interest in the Henriques Report, that police

relied on the advice of Nick’s counsellor without sufficiently evaluating her experience or qualifications.

We know from Nick’s writings (previously online but removed once journalists started showing some critical interest) that he has been under the care of a therapist, and this raises an issue that Matthew highlighted when he first wrote about Nick in 2014:

There is nothing new about allegations being made against Tory politicians of the period, and they are not necessarily truthful. A not dissimilar account of Conservative Party MPs being involved in sexual abuse was given in the 1990s by someone called Carol Felstead and it provides a cautionary tale for anyone who might wish to rush to judgement. According to Carol’s therapists, she was anally raped in Conservative Central Office by a Tory MP with a claw hammer, and raped by not one but two members of Mrs Thatcher’s cabinet.

Just like Nick, Carol supposedly said she was abused first by her parents…

Some of Carol’s story was told… to one of the country’s best known therapists and psychoanalysts, Dr Valerie Sinason, who incorporated some of it (changing Carol’s name to “Rita”) into the work that made her name: Treating Survivors of Satanist Abuse.

…Now, despite the detailed and distressing history supposedly given by Carol to her therapists, her accounts of abuse at the hands of her parents were demonstrable nonsense.

…The fantasy only emerged after she had begun her therapy.

Nick is currently being investigated for allegedly attempting to pervert the course of justice – if I were his defence counsel, I would be urging him to say as much about his therapists as possible.


[1] Mark Watts, who formerly championed and promoted Nick’s allegations at Exaro, has an alternative theory: that the date was chosen to coincide with the funeral of Martin Allen’s mother. Allen was a 15-year-old who went missing in central London in 1979 and has never been seen since. Nick’s supporters have suggested that he may have been the unidentified boy that Nick says he saw Proctor kill, and the police investigated this line of inquiry. No evidence was found, but for Martin Allen’s brother Kevin, who uses Twitter, venting against Proctor is now the way he expresses his ongoing grief and frustration (more background here).

Watts encourages him to imagine the worst, with Tweets such as this:

Martin Allen went missing 37 years ago today.

Met decides to publish summary of Henriques report on day of his mother’s funeral.

It knew.

According to the Metropolitan Police, as quoted on 5 November, it had received the report on 31 October and was currently working on what needed to be redacted for legal reasons. It said that “The earliest opportunity to publish is Tuesday, 8 November.”

[2] In fact, Nick’s claims are not just unsubstantiated and implausible – they also come with a number of difficulties.

Lord Bramall, the then-Head of the British Army, was abroad in Hong Kong at the time when Nick claims he was presiding over a sadistic Remembrance Day paedophile orgy; and a boy whom Nick claims was run over and killed in a Kingston street as a “warning” to him as been shown beyond reasonable doubt not to have existed. Further, Nick’s claims grew and changed over time, starting with allegations against his step-father and a shadowy paedophile ring, but later encompassing public figures.

Nick’s most impressive piece of testimony concerned an army base in the west of England, where he was supposedly taken as a child to be abused. Police confirmed that Nick’s description of the site was accurate, which would seem to support his account. However, Nick’s deleted online writings show that he visited the site with his therapist during a public open day in 2013. That he apparently misled the police on this point (or allowed them to draw a false inference about his childhood recall) does suggest bad faith rather than just delusion.

UPDATE 2019: “Nick” has now been revealed to be a man named Carl Beech. His allegations have been comprehensively exposed as lies, and he has been found guilty of perverting the course of justice and fraud. He was also found to be in possession of a collection of child-abuse images, and to have used a hidden camera to film the teenage friend of his son using a toilet. For more, see here.

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