Ted Heath Police Probe: A Note on “Lucy X” and Operation Midland’s “Nick”

From the Daily Telegraph:

The long running police inquiry into claims that Sir Edward Heath was a paedophile has been dealt a severe blow, after it emerged that several of the key complainants are connected, raising concerns that they could have colluded before making allegations.

The Telegraph can reveal that key testimonies on which the investigation is based, are potentially tainted because the alleged victims have a close family connection.

Heath was the subject of a number of posthumous allegations that were reported in the media in 2015 – I summarised these here, and highlighted various difficulties in each instance. One of the most remarkable claims was that of Operation Midland’s “Nick”, who said that Ted Heath had been present at VIP paedophile orgies in the 1970s or 1980s and had intervened to stop Harvey Proctor from castrating him.

What we didn’t know at the time was that Nick’s extravagance had been matched by “a group of women” – now described as “three sisters” – who said that Heath had been part of a Satanic coven that murdered babies in churches in the west of England. The sisters reported this to police in 2015, although it only became public knowledge in late 2016 when an expert consulted by Wiltshire Police, Richard/Rachel Hoskins, went public with concerns. Astonishingly, it seems that the “Satanist” claim is Wiltshire Police’s central strand.

Hoskins, referring to one of the sisters as “Lucy X”, made a passing reference to a possible connection with “Nick”:

Lucy X’s father is said to have worked alongside Nick’s dad in the same community, although it is not known if Nick and Lucy X have ever met.

I discussed that here, and followed up with a discussion of Lucy X’s therapist and recovered memory here. Further details of the investigation were revealed in February, at which time it was suggested that the police would have completed a report by June.

The Telegraph now adds:

Three of those who claim to have been abused by Sir Edward are sisters whose father was a soldier based at Wilton Barracks in Wiltshire for almost 20-years.

The other key complainant in the case, is a discredited fantasist, known as Nick, whose step-father – an Army officer – was also based at Wilton Barracks at the same time.

It has now emerged that both men, who who have since died, worked alongside one another for eight years in the stores, and their families are likely to have known one another and may have even socialised together.

The Telegraph claims that similarities between Nick’s account and that of the sisters greatly impressed Wiltshire Police – this was before Nick’s various allegations had crumbled under scrutiny and the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Midland had collapsed in ignominy:

In the summer of 2015 Wiltshire Police launched its own historic sex abuse investigation, and reinterviewed Nick and the sisters – who at that point also accused Sir Edward as being one of their abusers.

Convinced that apparent similarities between the accounts proved the allegations must be true, Superintendent Sean Memory broadcast a televised appeal outside Sir Edward’s former home in Salisbury asking for other “victims” to come forward.

Independent corroboration of details not the public domain can of course be strong evidence that someone is telling the truth – which also means that when apparently independent witnesses turn out to have a connection that they have failed to declare, it is reasonable to conclude not just that their testimony is less impressive, but that it may be tainted by dishonest presentation.

However, there is not enough in the article to conclude that Nick and Lucy X (and/or her sisters) have indeed been in private contact. It is more likely that the sisters simply added Heath to their old account of SRA (first reported in 1989) in 2015 because Heath’s name was current in the media. The sisters may also have recognised other names brought into the public domain by Harvey Proctor in August 2015; however, Proctor’s press conference was on 25 August, which was a few weeks after the “televised appeal”. It is also possible that Wiltshire Police simply jumped to conclusions when they found two accounts that both happened to refer to Wilton Barracks (or, more properly, Erskine Barracks in Wilton, until recently the army’s Land Command HQ).

In fact, there is not a great deal of similarity between Nick’s allegations and those of Lucy X – Nick refers to ritualistic forms of torture that recall SRA in their grotesque inversions (in particular, having Remembrance Day poppies pinned to his skin), but he appears to have avoided references to Satanism. Lucy X, meanwhile, refers to Heath, but not the roll-call of Westminster VIPs whom Nick claims to have encountered.

Either way, though, the fact that Wiltshire Police invested so much in Nick must be damaging: Nick’s claims have fallen apart under scrutiny, and Operation Midland was the subject of a withering review by Sir Richard Henriques. The Telegraph has also reported that Henriques has now been asked to review the Wiltshire Police Heath investigation.

Nick is currently being investigated for attempting to pervert the course of justice by presenting false testimony to the police; it was recently further reported that he is being investigated for fraud, over £50,000 in compensation that he received. According to the journalist David Hencke (speaking recently at a public event), this money was a payout for alleged abuse by Jimmy Savile.

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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