Private Eye Looks at Clinical Psychologist Involved with Two “VIP Sex Abuse” Investigations

The latest issue of Private Eye magazine (1503) has a useful overview of clinical psychologist Dr Elly Hanson’s role during the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Midland, which was based on allegations made by the “VIP abuse” hoaxer Carl Beech, and Operation Conifer, Wiltshire Police’s probe into the deceased former prime minister Edward Heath. Hanson infamously declared in 2017 that Heath “would not meet the modern safeguarding threshold to protect [children] from risk” (although she didn’t go so far as to assert guilt), and it was recently reported that she had provided police with a positive assessment of Beech’s counsellor, Vicki Paterson (as discussed here).

Hanson was also asked to review Beech’s police interviews, and she provided an opinion to police on 25 May 2015. She wrote:

I have conducted a brief assessment of Nick’s credibility, exploring how he reports the abuse he alleges, the nature of this abuse, his process of disclosure and reporting, and its potential impact. The above results, taken together indicate that Nick’s account of the abuse he alleges is credible. I did not find anything that raise doubts about credibility. In my view it is right that such an account triggers a methodical and thorough investigation.

This was several months after the police’s notorious “credible and true” comment endorsing Beech’s claims, and it has apparently now been submitted by the Metropolitan Police as part of its defence against a civil case brought by Harvey Proctor. Of course, such an assessment says nothing about the plausibility of Beech’s specific claims, nor about how any such investigation ought to be conducted.

The Eye goes on to note that Hanson appeared at a “Wall of Silence” exhibition event alongside Beech in January 2016, although according to Wiltshire Police she had spoken to him “only briefly”. The article then discusses her role in providing external scrutiny of Operation Conifer, despite having previously provided paid advice to the investigation (as discussed here, where I noted her specialism in “Dissociative Identity Disorder”). Hanson denies any conflict of interest.

It should also be noted that Hanson acted as a “go-between” between police and a supposed corroborative witness for Beech who had made contact via email. This “witness” was of course Beech himself, using the assumed name “Fred”.

When I wrote about Hanson previously I noted that some of her early work, on subjects such as domestic abuse, had been published under her maiden name of Dr Elly Farmer. This is of some relevance as it shows her links with conservative strands: in 2012 she co-authored a report for the Centre for Social Justice, a Christian-influenced conservative think-tank created and currently headed by Iain Duncan-Smith, and she provided a follow-up piece for Conservative Home.

One strong supporter of CSJ is the Tory Christian donor Lord Farmer (aka Michael Farmer – previously discussed here); a bit of research shows that the shared surname is not a coincidence, and that this is her father. Of course, we cannot draw from this any conclusions about Hanson’s own religious or political views, although it does disconnect her from a “left-wing feminist” milieu that might otherwise be assumed.

Nor is she her younger brother’s keeper – but when Lord Farmer’s son George Farmer, formerly of the right-wing activist group Turning Point UK and a close associate of Nigel Farage, asserts on Twitter that the Clintons murdered Jeffrey Epstein, one cannot help wondering about a family willingness to jump to misjudged conclusions.

UPDATE (March 2021): In 2021 Hanson brought a libel action against the Mail on Sunday, which the paper chose to settle. Her legal representative is quoted in Press Gazette:

“Contrary to what the article alleged, Dr Hanson had not organised the [Wall of Silence] event, did not know Beech would be attending when she accepted an invitation to speak, and, Dr Hanson believes, learned that fact either shortly before or on the day…

“She met Beech at the event, speaking briefly with him in person for the first – and only – time that day for a couple of minutes…”


“Dr Hanson did not in fact express a prejudicial view about Sir Edward Heath prior to joining the Operation Conifer scrutiny panel, as the article also alleged…”

6 Responses

  1. Richard, whilst you are correct in saying that Hanson is not keeper to her brother George Farmer, if there were any doubts about his political persuasion:

    This would confirm the rather right wing views of at least one of the Farmer family.

    Go far enough to the right or left of politics and the viewpoints converge around the back. Think Stalin and Hitler’s common points for instance.

  2. I wonder if “Mr Copper” & his daughter agree with Boris Johnson’s “spaffing money up the wall” comment?


    Yes, spot on. The entire Wall of Silence concept was odd from the get-go if you want my view.

  4. Credible? The one glaring thing on even a cursory reading of Beech’s claims is that they were bonkers. Those who claimed “credible” obviously were waiting for a Beech to come along and should have used the word they really meant: desirable.

  5. […] into historic abuse allegations against the late British Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath. She said this of Beech (under one of his pseudonyms, […]

  6. Hi, What is your source for the opinion Hanson provided to police on 25 May 2015?

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