Operation Midland: former Tory MP wins payout over false child abuse allegations
Harvey Proctor’s home was raided by Met Police during disastrous investigation
A former Tory MP has been awarded a £900,000 payout from the Metropolitan Police over the force’s handling of false child abuse allegations against him.
Harvey Proctor’s home was raided as part of Operation Midland, following false claims by fantasist Carl Beech.
What was Operation Midland?
The investigation was launched in 2014 after Beech, then known as “Nick”, came forward claiming that he and other boys had been raped, tortured and even murdered by members of a VIP paedophile ring in the 1970s and 1980s.
Beech named several prominent public figures, including Proctor, D-day veteran Lord Bramall and former home secretary Leon Brittan. As The Guardian notes, Brittan died before learning that he had been exonerated.
During the early stages of the 18-month investigation, senior detective Kenny McDonald made a public statement in which he said that Beech’s allegations were “credible and true”.
Beech is now serving an 18-year prison sentence for 12 counts of perverting the course of justice and one count of fraud after his allegations were proven to be false.
What has Proctor said?
In a High Court document, Proctor said that the accusations against him had resulted in the loss of both his job and home, and caused a “major depressive illness”.
The former MP said that media interest following the police raid also led him to leave the UK to live in Spain, amid fears for his safety.
But “elementary research” by police would have shown that Beech’s allegations of “multiple murder of children, their torture, grievous bodily harm, rape and sexual child abuse” were false, the court document said.
Proctor has previously claimed that the investigation was a “homosexual witch hunt”.
“I’m a homosexual. I’m not a murderer or a paedophile,” he told a news conference in 2015. “My situation has transformed from Kafkaesque bewilderment to black farce incredulity.”
Proctor is to receive £500,000 in compensation plus nearly £400,000 towards his legal costs.
An independent review of Operation Midland in 2016 by former high court judge Richard Henriques found that officers applied for search warrants with flawed information and failed to close the investigation in a timely fashion.
Henriques also reprimanded Det Supt McDonald for his public “credible and true” statement.
However, a subsequent investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct that was based on the judge’s report found no evidence of misconduct or criminality by officers during Operation Midland.
Earlier this month, Proctor announced that he had reported five former Met Police officers to Northumbria Police in an attempt to start a new inquiry into the operation.
The Northumbria force has referred the matter back to the Met. A spokesperson said Scotland Yard was “assessing the complaint”, reports Sky News.