United Kingdom

D-Day hero Lord Bramall slammed 'uncorroborated, monstrous' sex abuse claims made by 'Nick'

Britain's most senior living army officer called the accusations of the VIP abuse ring 'fantasist' known as Nick 'preposterous' and 'monstrous' as he was subjected to a lengthy police interview.

Edwin Bramall, then aged 91 and now 95, identified himself as Field Marshal Lord Bramall when asked his name at the beginning of the 104 minute grilling by a Detective Constable from the Metropolitan Police.

The former Commander-in-Chief of the army later scolded officers for searching his house in the presence of himself and his wife of over 60 years following allegations from Carl Beech which were uncorroborated by anyone.

And he pleaded with officers to complete their enquiries as quickly as possible so that his reputation was not damaged any further than it already had been.

Dorothy Bramall, the wife he married in 1949, died before detectives from Operation Midland had declared that they were not proceeding with the case against Lord Bramall.

Field Marshal Lord Bramall, pictured with his wife of 64 years Dorothy, who died before his name was cleared

Carl Beech, 51, told detectives he had been passed around parties attended by powerful men, to be sexually abused. He accused Lord Brammall - who later told the  detective who interviewed him that he 'obviously believed' Beech

His interview at Aldershot police station with Detective Constable Gavin Sealey was played to the jury at Newcastle Crown Court, where Beech, 51, from Gloucester, denies 12 counts of perverting the course of justice and fraud.

At times in the interview Lord Bramall was barely able to contain his indignation, leaning forward and peering at the police officer over his glasses.

He gave an incredulous laugh as he was told that Beech alleged Jimmy Savile had been at the same abuse 'parties' he had attended and he described the disgraced TV star as 'the most odious man I have ever seen.'

In a second interview at his and Lady Bramall's Hampshire home, soon after her death, he was reduced to pleading with the police to clear his name swiftly.

He told them: 'It is really awful for someone in my position to have had this damage done by what has gone to press and the web net.

'Please report to your superiors and say there is no evidence, there is no case to answer. Make it clear I am no longer a suspect, no longer under investigation.

'Otherwise my reputation is still being damaged on Google and that is not fair after my record and at my time of life.

'I ask you to clear this matter up and take me out of this investigation as soon as you possibly can.

'It is a very painful experience to have to go through at my age of 91 and having now just lost my wife.'

Lord Bramall, as a lieutenant, receiving his Military Cross for gallantry in the field from Field Marshall Montgomery in 1945

Westminster abuse ring accuser complained about press harassment court hears

The jury has heard that Carl Beech complained to police about press harassment, insisting he had 'done nothing wrong'.

Beech, 51, apologised to his Metropolitan Police handler and said he wanted to pull out of the inquiry, explaining: 'I cannot do this any more.'

The jury at Newcastle Crown Court heard this happened in January 2016, weeks after a police interview in which he was asked to explain discrepancies in what he told detectives more than a year before, following extensive inquiries by up to 30 officers.

Beech, an ex-nurse and school governor, had ended the police interview, where a specialist homicide detective had asked him questions about his story, as he said he had a headache.

Later that month, the senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Diane Tudway, and Detective Sergeant Danny Chatfield, went to Beech's home, where the defendant was accompanied by his mother.

Tony Badenoch QC, prosecuting, asked Mr Chatfield: 'Was there a discussion on that day about press harassment? Was Carl Beech saying that they had reported lies? Was he saying that he had done nothing wrong and only told the truth?'

The detective agreed with all the questions, and that Beech was 'upset' at 'press intrusion'.

Mr Chatfield agreed Beech expressed 'disappointment' when he was told Lord Bramall, former head of the British Army, would face no further action in relation to allegations he had made against the elderly Second World War veteran. Beech denies 12 counts of perverting the course of justice and one of fraud.

In that same interview at his home he asked the police what corroboration there had been for Beech's claims before they searched the house in Fareham on March 4th 2015.

He complained that officers had 'thought it was sufficient to get a warrant with uncorroborated evidence.'

His interview with DC Sealey on April 30th 2015 saw him taken through Beech's evidence in detail.

At one stage it was put to him that he had raped the then eight-year-old Beech and forced the boy to eat his own vomit.

He raised a hand to his head and raised his eyebrows before replying: 'I have said very clearly don't be squeamish, spell it out in absolute detail and you have done that. So thank you.'

Of the allegations themselves the former Commander-in-Chief of Britain's land forces said: 'This thing is so preposterous, it is so very difficult to understand how it could possibly have been made up other then by someone who specialises in sci-fi fictions.'

He became frustrated that Beech had been unable to give specific times and places for when and where he claimed the abuse had happened.

DC Sealey said they had to 'make allowances' for that as Beech had been a young boy.

Lord Bramall slapped his hand on the table as he replied: 'I make no allowances, I will not make any allowance for it, I think it is absolutely monstrous.'

Beech had claimed that Lord Bramall and other heavily decorated general including Field Marshal Roland Gibbs and General Sir Hugh Beach had invited Jimmy Savile to abuse the boys as a 'special guest.'

When this was put to him Lord Bramall gave a bitter laugh and said: 'Jimmy Savile? JIMMY SAVILE? 

'I have seen him on the television and always thought he was a dreadful man but I have never met him.'

Lord Brammall told the detective interviewing him that his CV was available in Who's Who

He later described seeing Savile on TV and described him as 'the most odious man I have ever seen.'

He said to DC Sealey: 'My problem is obviously that on the surface of it you believe every word that he (Beech) says. 

'I am trying to do my best to see how I can get you to believe me.'

There were moments that Lord Bramall bridled at the line of questioning from the detective.

He was asked about pool parties at the exclusive Dolphin Square complex near the Palace of Westminster at which boys were raped, according to Beech. The officer asked whether he could swim.

He replied: 'Can I swim? Yes I can swim. I had to swim. I landed at Normandy and I jolly nearly had to swim.'

The officer said he would be asking for a CV of Lord Bramall's career. he replied: 'I'd have thought you'd have that already. It's in Who's Who and every sort of place you can imagine.'

Beech accused Lord Bramall of stripping and raping him in his office, at pool parties and at Remembrance Day parties where boys had poppies pinned to their bare chests.

He also claimed that boys were passed around like presents at Christmas parties where they were dressed only in party hats.

Lord Bramall said: 'I am absolutely astonished, amazed and aghast. Not only do I absolutely deny all of these things but I find it quite incredible that anyone would believe someone of my career, standing and integrity would be capable of these things, including torture of children. It is unbelievable.'

On more than one occasion he said he had never had any sexual inclination towards his own sex or children.

He had, he said had one sexual partner - his wife or more than 64 years.

Lord Bramall told DC Sealey: 'I have children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. I deal with them all in a perfectly pure, decent and loving way. These allegations are absolutely outrageous.'

The jury were shown pictures of Carl Beech aged around 10 in his final year of primary school when he claimed the abuse began

Field Marshal Edwin Noel Westby Bramall was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the King's Royal Rifle Corps on 22 May 1943 during the Second World War and took part in the Normandy landings in June 1944.

He went on to become Commander-in-Chief of British forces in Hong Kong, then Commander-in-Chief of UK Land Forces and retired as Chief of Defence Staff, a role he was appointed to in 1982.

The father-of-two married his wife Dorothy in 1949 and they lived at Bulford Manor in Wiltshire during his time as head of the army.

The trial has heard that Beech told both Wiltshire and the Metropolitan Police about the abuse he claimed to have suffered at Erskine barracks in Wiltshire, the HQ of UK land Forces in the mid 70s.

He said his step-father Major Ray Beech took him to General Bramall's office where he was abused by him.

A succession of retired senior military figures have given evidence at the trial to say they could never recall seeing a child being brought into the offices.

At the time it was the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland and the IRA had launched a bombing campaign on mainland Britain.

Cars were searched inside and out using mirrors on wheels to look underneath for car bombs.

Former Colonel Mark Norbury, who was at the base at the same time as Lord Bramall, described the question as to whether children were allowed onto the base as 'asinine.'

The Met Police spent 18 months and £2m on Beech's claims of a Westminster paedophile ring

When prosecutors laid out their claims against Beech at the opening of the trial opened, the court heard:

  • Beech is a convicted paedophile who pleaded guilty after police found indecent  images of young boys, including some recorded by Beech, on devices in his home
  • He fled to Sweden once police closed in and lived in a remote cabin in the woods, shown in police footage above, under a series of assumed identities and false names
  • He claimed to have sketched the locations at which abuse took place from memory - but his laptop showed he had googled them before speaking to police
  • He claimed not to have researched the men he accused - but had googled them
  • He claimed his abusers mowed down and killed a boy, 'Scott', whom he tried to befriend - but the boy did not exist. He was shown in police footage telling officers about this fictitious incident 
  • He claimed a fellow victim, 'Fred' could corroborate his story - but in fact he made up the friend and posed as 'Fred', fabricating emails to police
  • He claimed he had been regularly taken out of school to be abused by multiple men at 'parties' - but his attendance at his schools was exemplary
  • He claimed he had a lifelong fear of water, abused by the men, who dunked him and threw him off boats - but photos show him snorkelling on honeymoon
  • He produced an 'abuse map' of the places and ways his body was tortured - but his medical records show no evidence of abuse
  • He claimed he was abused on beds in cabins on Ted Heath's yacht - but the vessel was a racing yacht and only had hammocks
  • He claimed MP Harvey Proctor had threatened to cut his genitals off with a pen-knife Proctor later gifted to Beech. He gave the knife to police asking for forensic tests - but his estranged wife told police he'd kept it in a 'happy memories' box 
  • He had googled how victims of Jimmy Savile received compensation
  • He bought a £34,000 convertible Mustang with the compensation payout he received for the alleged abuse
  • He was in debt and living grossly beyond his means, intending to make money on the international speaking circuit, speaking about his 'abuse'

The charges relate to claims Beech made that former prime minister Edward Heath (left), ex-home secretary Leon Brittan (right) and others were part of a child abuse ring

Timeline of Beech's alleged falsehoods and the investigations they launched

2014/2015: Over more than 20 hours of recorded police interviews, Carl Beech makes lurid allegations of child rape and murder against senior Establishment figures including Ted Heath and Lord Brammall.

November 2014: The Met Police launch Operation Midland, which raids the homes of several elderly men looking for evidence to support Beech's claims. A detective calls the accusations 'credible and true'.

April 2015: D-Day veteran and former Army chief Lord Brammal interviewed.

June 2015: Former Tory MP Harvey Proctor, whom Beech accused of child murder, interviewed under caution.

March 2016:  Beech notified no further action was to be taken in respect of the allegations he had made.

2016: Northumbria Police conclude Beech's claims are 'totally unfounded, hopelessly compromised, and irredeemably contradicted by other testimony'.

November 2, 2016: Police arrive to raid Beech's home in Gloucester. 

January 23, 2018: Beech got £60,000 as an early pension from the NHS

February 6, 2018: He travels to Calais preparing to flee to Sweden, where he buys a cabin in the woods and lives under a series of assumed identities, travelling hundreds of miles from city to city to stay on the run

October 1, 2018: He was tracked down by Swedish and British police and arrested in advance of a 20-hour train journey to Gothenburg booked in the name of 'Samuel Karlsson'.

2018: A highly critical review of Operation Midland reports police 'acted like they were searching for bodies' during raids on homes. 

2018: Beech pleads guilty to possessing indecent images of children, in a separate trial.

December 2018: restriction on reporting of Carl Beech's real identity lifted.

May 2019: Beech goes on trial for perverting the course of justice.

Beech's claims led to raids on the homes of prominent and elderly people including Lord Brammall. 

Beech's extraordinary unfounded accusations were levelled against a list of prominent men including:

  • Former PM Sir Edward Heath: he said he was sexually abused at Heath's home in London and on his yacht
  • Former head of the army Lord Brammall: he said Brammall repeatedly raped him and was present at the first meeting of 'the group'
  • Former Tory MP Harvey Proctor: he said Proctor demanded oral sex, abused him with a pen knife, and murdered two children, one after tying him to a table, raping, and stabbing him
  • Former head of MI5 Michael Hanley, and former head of MI6 Maurice Oldfield: said to be responsible for abuse and torture including spiders being tipped over him, electric shocks, and having darts thrown at him, culminating in threats 'to make him disappear'
  • His step-father, Major Ray Beech: he said his step-father frequently and repeatedly abused, raped, and beat him, the first time in a public toilet at a wildlife park 
  • Former Home Secretary Leon Brittan: He said Brittan murdered a child, describing him as a 'mini-Harvey' who was sadistic and enjoyed putting his head under water

In all, Beech accused 12 men: Major Ray Beech, his step-father; Lt General Beach; General Gibbs; Lord Brammall; Jimmy Savile; Peter Hayman;  Harvey Proctor; Leon Brittan; Greville Janner; Edward Heath; Michael Hanley; Maurice Oldfield.

Prosecutor Tony Badenoch QC said the 12-week trial would show Beech's accusations against the men were 'demonstrably untrue.'

The Metropolitan Police's disastrous £2 million Operation Midland investigation into Beech's unsubstantiated and unsupported claims collapsed in 2016 with no arrests, despite a senior detective saying Nick's stories were 'credible and true'.

The Met has since paid six-figure sums in compensation to distinguished former Field Marshall Lord Brammall and to Lady Brittan whose late husband Leon was also accused by Beech

The trial continues. 

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