The Met should apologise to Bramall, but what will happen to his accuser?

Two questions:

  1. Should the Metropolitan Police now apologise to Lord Bramall?
  2. What will happen to the main witness, “Nick”, if the police come to regard his evidence as unbelievable?

(This post assumes that most readers will be broadly familiar with the story so far. Allegations have been made by a man known only as “Nick” that he was sexually abused by a “paedophile ring” made up of politicians and senior military men when he was a teenage boy. Nick also claims that he was a witness to two other boys being murdered by members of this ring. Most of these men are now dead. The only ones still living are Lord Bramall, a former Field Marshal and head of the British Army, and Harvey Proctor, a former Conservative MP. It was announced recently that Bramall (who is now in his 90s) would not be prosecuted. Proctor, who is in his 70s, remains under investigation.)

Should the Met apologise to Lord Bramall?

Lord Bramall in happier times
Lord Bramall in happier times

The leaders of organisations generally find it very easy to apologise for other people’s mistakes, and quite easy to apologise for their own organisation’s mistakes, as long as they were made by their predecessors many years earlier.

Thus in recent months the Metropolitan Police has apologised to the family of a man whose burned body was found under a bridge 5 ½ years ago and whose death was not properly investigated; to women who had relationships with undercover police officers more than seven years ago; and for not helping a Nigerian man held as a slave when he contacted the police twelve years ago.

In fairness, the Met has sometimes apologised quite quickly: it issued an immediate and fulsome apology to the Cuba Solidarity Campaign which had accused it of “perpetuating anti-Cuba smears” after an actor wearing a T-shirt bearing the Cuban flag played the part of a terrorist in a training exercise, and to his credit the Commissioner of the Met, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, personally apologised within weeks to the family of Ally Calvert, a teenager with a fatal heart condition whom the Commissioner had wrongly accused of contributing to his own death by inhaling laughing gas.

But despite the decision to announce that there is “insufficient evidence” even to justify referring Lord Bramall’s case to the Crown Prosecution Service, the Met have so far refused to offer him any apology.

Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan issued a statement explaining why they would not do so:

The Metropolitan Police accepts absolutely that we should apologise when we get things wrong, and we have not shrunk from doing so. However, if we were to apologise whenever we investigated allegations that did not lead to a charge, we believe this would have a harmful impact on the judgments made by officers and on the confidence of the public. Investigators may be less likely to pursue allegations they knew would be hard to prove, whereas they should be focused on establishing the existence, or otherwise, of relevant evidence.”

Asst Commissioner Patricia Gallan: refuses to apologise
Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan: refuses to apologise

With the greatest of respect to the Assistant Commissioner, she must have been having an off day when she wrote that statement. She cannot be so dense that she has not seen the point, and she certainly would not deliberately avoid it, yet her statement misses it entirely. Nobody sensibly suggests the police that should apologise merely for investigating Lord Bramall. The apology is being requested because of the manner of that investigation.

Why not apologise, for example, for the now notorious, carefully considered and repeated words of Supt Kenny McDonald that Nick’s allegations were “credible and true”? The Met has long since publicly acknowledged that he was “mistaken” to have used such language. On this the Met actually admits that it did “get it wrong,” the very circumstances in which, according to Patricia Gallan, an apology should have been issued; yet still it refuses.

Secondly, whether or not the Met directly authorised it, they should apologise for allowing details of co-ordinated raids on Bramall’s, (as well as Harvey Proctor’s and Leon Brittan’s homes) to leak to Exaro News in March of last year. Exaro boasting of breaking Bramall raidThe website also gleefully published pictures of the properties concerned, a particularly disgraceful thing to do as far as Lord Bramall was concerned given the very real possibility that he could become a target for terrorists. We do not know exactly how the leaks came about, but in the case of Proctor, Exaro was able to report them on March 4th, the actual day that they took place, and in the case of Bramall and Brittan 4 days later on March 8th. There are only three realistic possibilities:

(a) The Met deliberately leaked the information;

(b) The Met covertly leaked the information; or

(c) The Met carelessly allowed information to leak to Exaro.

The police have denied (a) and, assuming they are not lying, we can discount (b), but to allow such sensitive information to leak out is something which at the very least demands an apology. None has been forthcoming.

Thirdly, the Met should have apologised for allowing the investigation to continue for well over a year. Even if Lord Bramall only learnt that he was a subject of the investigation when his house was raided, he was still kept in suspense for about 10 months. During this time his wife, who was already ill, died.

Why should Lord Bramall get special treatment?” sneer those who want to believe in Nick. Of course, nobody should be above the law, but anyone treated as the police have treated Lord Bramall would deserve an apology, and a nonagenarian war hero with a dying wife deserved to be treated with particular care and courtesy. How Patricia Gallan fails to understand that point defeats me.

Nick’s other claims

Nick’s sensational claims are not limited to those against Lord Bramall. He has also made accusations against the recently deceased Lord Brittan. the long dead Sir Edward Heath and the almost forgotten (or perhaps one should say never very well-known) ex-heads of MI5 and MI6. Few complaints of historic abuse these days are complete without at least a walk-on part for Jimmy Savile, and Nick has duly named him, both to the police, and (as a BBC Panorama investigation last year revealed), on an obscure satellite TV station.

So now that everyone else named by Nick is either dead or exonerated, Harvey Proctor provides Nick, the Metropolitan Police and Exaro News with their last chance of a criminal conviction. He remains accused of a double murder as well as numerous acts of sexual depravity including an attempt at Nick’s castration, thwarted only by the timely intervention of Sir Edward Heath.

We know about the near castration incident only because Mr Proctor, having been questioned twice by the police and no doubt exasperated by Exaro’s technique of ceaselessly dribbling out the comparatively plausible parts of Nick’s claims, decided to make the more absurd-sounding allegations public at a dramatic news conference last August.

Exaro’s editor in chief, Mark Watts, considered Mr Proctor’s public act of self-defence “over the top theatrics … a shameful performance.” With staggering hypocrisy, Mr Watts said that Nick had been “left distressed” by Mr Proctor’s denial “as was entirely foreseeable.” Within Mr Watts’s moral compass it is acceptable, indeed laudable, to run a campaign accusing someone of being a serial killer and child rapist on the flimsiest of evidence, yet “shameful” when the object of that campaign publicly denies his guilt.

Well, Nick’s distress may now have been increased even further by the news that Mr Proctor’s solicitors, the Leicester firm of Sakhis, have demanded that the police investigate Nick himself.

How should Nick be treated now?

Nick is no longer regarded as a “credible,” let alone a “truthful,” witness so far as Lord Bramall is concerned. Does that mean what he says about Mr Proctor should be treated in the same way?

It is of course still possible that the police accept that he was honestly mistaken about Lord Bramall – let’s say in his identification – but are treating the rest of his evidence as capable of belief. A witness does not need to be dishonest to be incredible.

But the time is fast approaching when the police will have either to charge Mr Proctor with serious offences, or to announce that against him, as against Bramall, there is “insufficient evidence.” If they take the latter course the police, and perhaps the CPS, will face a fresh dilemma: what should they do about Nick?

Proctor’s solicitors have asked that he be investigated for two possible offences: wasting police time, and perverting the course of justice.

Prosecuting him for either would pose formidable and perhaps insurmountable difficulties.

Wasting Police Time

How much police time has been spent on the investigations?

The investigation into offences by politicians and “VIPs” at Dolphin Square and other locations, has taken up a vast amount of police time. If it turns out to have been an investigation into a crime which never took place, it will have been the biggest waste of police time since Sunderland labourer Jack Humble deceived Yorkshire Ripper hunter George Oldfield with his fake “I’m Jack” tapes.

The inquiry has been going on since 2014, and it has taken up the time of senior officers trained in homicide and child abuse inquiries. Obviously while they were investigating Nick’s claims into offences which may be purely imaginary these officers were not available to investigate murders and offences against children which indisputably have taken place.

Nick alone was interviewed over several days. Approximately 20 officers were involved in the raid on Mr Proctor’s home, a similar number into that of Lord Bramall. Presumably a huge effort has also gone into forensic investigations of mobile phones, computers, DNA and so on.

In December 2015 the Met disclosed that the staffing costs of Operation Midland alone had been approximately £1.8M, although this figure did not include

… overtime, travel or expenses incurred by the relevant teams as this information is not held in an easily retrievable format.”

£1,800,000 may not sound like a huge amount of money in the context of public expenditure generally. However, it relates only to the staffing costs of the investigation. Perhaps it is unduly cynical to assume that the “overtime, travel and expenses” held in the not-so-easily-retrievable-format (MS-DOS? Amstrad floppy discs?) very likely cost the same again, if not more.

But taking £1.8M as an approximate figure, we can work out, very roughly, the amount of police time – excluding overtime – that has been spent, and possibly wasted, on Operation Midland.

The average salary of a Detective Constable in the Metropolitan Police is £41,657.00. (Of course there will be some officers earning much more than the average and presumably lots of junior Police Constables earning considerably less). Assuming a DC works a basic 40 hour week and takes 4 weeks annual holiday he or she will work a basic 1,920 hours a year.

If my arithmetic is correct, the £1,800,000 staffing costs of Operation Midland would pay for 42 Detective Constables working full time for a year. Put another way: this represents 81,818 hours of police time. Plus overtime.

Operation Midland was wound up in October 2015, when Kenny McDonald was relieved of his command. Despite this, the investigation still continues under the umbrella of “Operation Hydrant,” so presumably hundreds, if not thousands more hours have been devoted to it since October.

If Nick’s complaint was indeed false, it has been responsible, on a pretty conservative estimate, for the wasting of a simply vast amount of police time. 82,000 hours of often highly trained investigators could, obviously, have been very useful to a Metropolitan Police facing unprecedented demands at a time of financial austerity.

So, if the time comes when Nick is no longer believed, could Wasting Police Time be the appropriate charge?

It is an offence under S.5 (2) of the Criminal Law Act 1967:

Where a person causes any wasteful employment of the police by knowingly making to any person a false report tending to show that an offence has been committed, or to give rise to apprehension for the safety of any persons or property, or tending to show that he has information material to any police inquiry, he shall be liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for not more than six months or to a fine of not more than two hundred pounds or to both.”

But there is a fundamental problem, which almost certainly means that Nick will not face this charge, and in fact makes it slightly odd that Mr Proctor’s solicitors have even suggested it.

Wasting Police Time is a “summary only” charge. This means it can only be heard in the Magistrates’ Court. Summary only charges must be laid within 6 months of the alleged crime – in this case the false complaint. After 6 months the courts have no jurisdiction to try it.

Since we know that Nick complained in 2014, it is almost certainly time-barred, although I suppose if Nick has made additional statements within the last 6 months it would, in theory, be possible to charge him on the basis of those.

Perverting the Course of Justice

This is a much more serious charge than wasting police time. It is triable in the Crown Court, the maximum sentence is an unlimited term of imprisonment, and there are no time limits on laying charges.

It is a common law offence: that is, it is not defined by statute, but its ingredients are well-established. The offence is committed when a person:

(a) acts or embarks upon a course of conduct,

(b) which has a tendency to, and

(c) is intended to pervert,

(d) the course of public justice:

Making a knowingly false allegation of rape, child abuse or murder to the police would certainly constitute the offence. In the 2007 case of Carrington-Jones [EWCA] Crim 2551 the Court of Appeal emphasised that perverting the course of justice should normally be charged where false allegations of rape can be proved:

Rape is a repulsive crime. It requires substantial punishment. No one doubts that the victims of rape should be treated with every possible consideration by the criminal justice system. On the other hand, just because rape is a repulsive crime, a false allegation can have dreadful consequences, obviously and immediately for an innocent man who has not perpetrated the crime. But also, and this is not to be overlooked, because every occasion of a proved false allegation has an insidious effect in public confidence in the truth of genuine complaints, sometimes allowing doubt to creep in where none should in truth exist. There cannot be very many cases … where the offence of attempting to pervert the course justice, on the basis of a false allegation of rape, certainly one which is set out in detailed formal form statement or pursued to the door of the court, should not be prosecuted for what it is.”

Despite this, prosecutions for perverting the course of justice on the basis of false allegations of rape or other serious crimes are not at all common.

The CPS undertook a 17 month review from January 2011. In that period there were 5,621 prosecutions for rape. Comparable statistics are difficult to find, but according to the CPS in 2012-13 approximately 37%, of defendants charged with rape were acquitted of rape or any other sexual offence. Assuming a similar “success rate” during the 17 month period, it would probably be safe to assume that there were around 2,000 defendants charged and acquitted of rape.

Of course, not all of those acquittals represented false allegations. Some – although I would fancy very few – will have been cases of possibly mistaken identity, where a genuine victim was simply not able to identify her attacker satisfactorily. Some will have been cases where the defendant was in fact guilty as charged but was acquitted because the jury were not sure of his guilt (by the same token there were inevitably cases where innocent defendants were wrongly convicted). Some cases (about 14% in 2012-13), were discontinued by the CPS, which could have been for any number of reasons: a change of heart by a prosecution witness, the death or serious ill-health of a defendant, or the discovery that a prosecution witness was unreliable or dishonest.

In the same 17 month period, just 121 potential defendants were referred to the CPS for charging decisions in cases involving allegedly false sexual allegations. Only 35 of those referred were actually prosecuted: 25 for perverting the course of justice and 10 for wasting police time.

In the absence of a clear confession by the complainant, it is extraordinarily difficult to prove a charge of perverting the course of justice based on a false complaint. Not only must the complaint be proven to be false to the criminal standard, but (and this is the most difficult part) it must be proved that the complaint was made with the intention of perverting the course of justice. If there is even the slightest doubt that the complainant genuinely believed his complaint to be true, he is not guilty of the offence. It is only the out and out liar who is guilty of the offence: a fantasist, or someone who has wrongly come to believe that they were abused, is not.

The CPS survey illustrates just how difficult these prosecutions can be. It includes a number of “case studies”: anonymised cases which were considered for prosecution. It is striking that in the 8 cases selected for inclusion in the report, every single one involved a complainant who had admitted making a false complaint, and even in many of those cases there were often good reasons why a prosecution was still considered inappropriate.

The difficulties were emphasised recently in the prosecution of Ben Fellows, a young actor who accused the former Chancellor of the Exchequer Ken Clarke of putting his hands down his trousers and groping him. It was a bizarre allegation, not least because on the occasion when it was meant to have happened David Hencke – a journalist who, somewhat ironically, now represents the more respectable face of Exaro – was present and was adamant under oath that the incident did not occur. Mr Fellows was nevertheless acquitted of perverting the course of justice, conceivably because the jury thought that Mr Hencke was wrong and Mr Clarke had assaulted him, but far more probably because they thought that it was at least possible that Mr Fellows actually believed that he was a victim of Mr Clarke, even though he was not.

The prosecution of Eleanor DeFreitas for falsely accusing her ex-boyfriend of rape was another rare example of such a prosecution, and another example of why they can be exceptionally difficult to bring to court. Miss DeFreitas had a history of mental health problems and the prosecution ended in the most tragic possible circumstances when she killed herself just days before her trial was due to start. The case rumbles on even after her death with her ex-boyfriend having now sued Miss DeFreitas’s father for libel.

So even if the investigation against Mr Proctor follows the same course as that against Lord Bramall, it is by no means certain that Nick will face any criminal charges at all, and if he did it is certainly not a foregone conclusion that he would be convicted.

One would hope that if, as seems ever more probable, no criminal charges are laid, this whole deeply unpleasant saga, including the conduct of the Metropolitan Police and Exaro News, will be thoroughly investigated by Justice Goddard’s inquiry. She may be the last remaining hope that anything approaching justice will come out of the mess of Operation Midland.

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Author: Matthew

I have been a barrister for over 25 years, specialising in crime. You may also have come across some of my articles I have written on legal issues for The Times, Standpoint, Daily Telegraph or Criminal Law & Justice Weekly

40 thoughts on “The Met should apologise to Bramall, but what will happen to his accuser?”

  1. I especially like the bit about “the information is not held in a readily retrievable format”, yet I was able to provide information to the DWP that was at least six years old.

    The normal run of the public is supposed to have records going back six years and in an obtainable format, which is not so hard in these modern days of scanning and key drives. Yet the MPS cannot manage it. This is truly a hysterical situation for the employees and officers of the Met who are met to be keeping records which endorse cases up to the criminal standard of proof.

    No wonder they cannot investigate a paper bag anymore. Hopeless fools.

    1. It’s just a lie to avoid disclosing it. The Police will not have used something that obscure. (Even if they did, there is an enormous subculture of people who collect and maintain every sort of computer ever made, not excluding 1960s mainframes and the like)

      The overtime etc. presumably is overtime racked up on this nonsense, so it’s in the last few years. Data storage has standardised almost completely in the last few years (unlike the 1970s and 1980s when every machine had its own different storage).

  2. I have doubts that the author of this blog is really a Barrister. What Barrister would write: “accusationsagasint” sic?
    I rest my case.

  3. I think it’s about time an MP named Nick in Parliament – address and all. Then the media can give him all the publicity he craves. It’s ridiculous that innocent men can have their reputations trashed by an anonymous accuser who can say anything he likes without any comeback.

    1. I have some sympathy for Nick.

      NO, wait.

      Whilst he is pretty obviously shall we say unreliable, it’s probably not deliberate as such in that he has some sort of financial agenda or similar (like the 831 people who claim to have the £33m lottery ticket !). If it was he would be far more subtle about it. He’s probably a severely psychologically damaged individual who is extremely suggestible, and just agrees and reflects everything said to him.

      Whilst this doesn’t excuse what he has done, one should point the figure more at Exaro News and the Police for abusing this. It is not possible, if you are even slightly intelligent, to read what Nick says and at least wonder about his credibility. They must have known he was damaged, vulnerable and unreliable, but chose not to care to boost their own careers.

  4. First of all, there is no such thing as ‘unbelievable evidence’, there is only ‘unprovable evidence’. Victims, ie ‘Nick’, or ‘relatives’ of ‘victims’, have to be told, (beforehand), when police make raids, or arrests.

    As for the manner of that investigation, your house is usually raided if you are suspected of burglary, fraud, and often shoplifting, etc these days, so it would most certainly happen for child abuse/murder?

    If we go down the road of prosecuting those who come forward with evidence, which is not provable, I suggest that no crimes will ever be solved again?

    As for Harvey Proctor, it was his lawyers who ‘insisted’ on both interviews, not the police. This is an ongoing murder investigation, and to start suggested now who is guilty, and who is not, or calling into question the witnesses’, (yes more than one), I would call, ‘perverting the course of justice’?

  5. I doubt there would be any accuser’s if these sometimes obviously deranged folk, were not encouraged in their delusions, not only by dodgy hacks but by the Police themselves. Thankfully, the ‘Nicks’ are few in number despite the best efforts of the cops, but the damage they do ? Prosecute him (assuming he’s not mentally ill) along with those who aided, abetted and enabled this fiasco. Assuming they’re not mentally ill that is !

  6. I do take your point. Though it is slightly ridiculous that any action against Nick is time limited to six months, even though his allegations are umpteen years old.

    I think it’s the wrong target though. Nick may be deluded, insane and so on, but the fault is with the Police and Exaro who unless they are terminally thick must have know this, but decided that makes him manipulable. There are people who can be ‘trained’ to say pretty much anything , and are.

    This in itself is abusive. Nick is not the first person to be used (and then dumped) for the benefit of the Police, Compensation Solicitors or other scumbags making money on the back of allegations, and if he were to kill himself subsequently ; something that is a distinct possibility, he wouldn’t be the first either.

    (And to David, yes, there is unbelievable evidence. It happens all the time in these things. People make allegations against people they never met, in places that don’t exist, witnessed by people they’ve never met. It’s because the claimants, solicitors and Police collude to fabricate allegations. Though the Police are better at it now, and they will take very lurid statements in regard to sexual matters, but not bother with anything that is actually testable – so did Hotel x actually exist at the time).

  7. The fact remains, that if it wasn’t for ‘nick’, we would not now have an ‘ongoing’ investigation into the murder of young boys. This investigation is very complexed, and as I have said before, would challenge even Sherlock Holmes.
    There may be a possibility of MI5, or even the French Secret Service being involved in cover-ups, for various reasons. And ‘nick’ is not the only witness. May I remind you that well over half of Operation Midland, is ‘not’ in the public domain.

    1. David,

      Firstly, ‘complexed’ is not a word. I think the word that you are looking for is ‘complex’.

      Secondly, while there may indeed be a “possibility of MI5, or even the French Secret Service being involved in cover-ups, for various reasons”, there may also be a possibility of Elvis still being alive and well.

      Thirdly, and finally, I think you’re a bullshit merchant. Call it intuition. If I’m proven wrong, I’ll happily come back and apologise. Deal?

      1. I have just seen your reply. You are correct on only one thing, the word complex, I apologise on behalf of my friend. However, all the other points he made are correct. It is looking increasingly that MI5, and the French Secret Service, may be involved in a cover up.
        However I have faith that Detective Hogan-Howe, who I believe, since he has taken a personal interest in this case, from May last year, is now on the right track.
        I was not happy with Detective superintendent Kenny McDonald, he did not understand how ‘complex’ this case is.

      2. The brother of a long missing-person, assumed by most to have been killed, accused David of just making stuff up about the case on Twitter. Perhaps for such reasons there is a regular purge of tweets on said account, which is a shame as there are some real corkers posted:

        – the wife of the president of the USA has a suspiciously penis-shaped bulge in ‘her’ outfit
        – endless crap about fictional detectives
        – an obsessive interest in the sex lives of Tory MPs
        – that he has been informed of President Putin’s liking for boys by a “very wealthy” acquaintance in Chelsea (information no doubt relayed immediately to the authorities!)
        – etc.

        I don’t think you’ll be having to apolgise!

        1. Your writings show the life of a coward.
          Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once.
          I say the things I know are true.
          The reason twitter is deleted many times is that the information can only go on-line, when the people involved in the are off-line.
          I am however flattered that you are following me.

          1. Fancy quoting a man who took child-brides, David! And one rumored to partake of a bit of ‘bum fun’, too, which of course is a major concern of yours. A proto-Tory no doubt!

            Don’t worry, I don’t ‘follow’ you. Occasionally I am driven by curiosity to have a quick peek, whenever I see you popping up all over the place to ask the unfortunately-rhetorical question: “May I remind you…?”
            If you’d only wait for the answer – “No! Because you already have. Over and over and over again…”

            When I DO take a gander you regularly come up trumps on the entertainment front, so thanks for that. But please, don’t waste your time here – get yourselves down to Interpol with the ‘truth’ that you ‘know’ about Putin… You wouldn’t want to be part of the ‘cover-up’ now, would you?

  8. Dame Janet Smith had something to say very recently about Exaro and their conduct vis-a-vis her inquiry into Savile / BBC.

    The Met. should apologise for the manner of their investigation into Lord Bramall but not for investigation per se. Not the first “dawn raid” with press in attendance is it? Others, as I recall (hopefully correctly), included Harry Redknapp and Cliff Richard. It is a disgraceful tactic giving a public impression of guilt.

    Like you, I cannot see a prosecution of “Nick” for perverting the course of justice happening. There is nevertheless a serious question about what should be done about those who make false allegations. Perhaps some knowingly false allegation offence should be created?

  9. I had wondered if the Met’s refusal to apologize might not be down to legal-advice from their own lawyers; if they admitted they had erred any claim against them (by Bramall, Proctor, etc.) would be strengthened, I assume.

    Regarding ‘Nick’, unless he can be shown to be lucidly involved in a conspiracy I can’t feel anything but pity for him. His wild claims are not at all unique – a quick whizz around the web will show that there are an untold number of similarly far-fetched accusations from people adamant that what they say is true.

    (Researching some of the Savile-claims I came across a previously-unknown-to-me phenomenon whereby patients undergoing surgery regularly believe they have experienced extraordinary events as a result of the drugs they have been given; this seems to be a well-documented & undisputed effect which leads to the patient genuinely believing that they have been, for example, sexually assaulted or carried off in a spacecraft. Their ‘memories’ are, for them, true, and they could honestly state in a court of law that what they were relating was the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.)

    The difference in this case is that the claims were given credibility by a shameless news agency – Exaro – and that thanks to their meddling the police themselves were suckered into giving credence to ‘Nick’.

    I hope that the journalists behind this ARE brought to task. In much the same way that personal-injury lawyers once spotted an easy opportunity & came to infest modern-life with their sliminess, Exaro have happened upon a never-ending source of super soaraway bullshit stories & they and others are unlikely to stop unless ‘obliged’ to: any ambitious young journo could hang around the entrance to the nearest psychiatric drop-in centre (or make contact via those infernal internet-forums!) and persuade a deluded, confused, or just plain bad individual to take their mad complaint to the police. (They could even hold the complainant’s hand, as did Exaro.)

    Once done, the police are duty-bound to investigate, no matter how seemingly absurd the rubbish presented, and the journo can TRUTHFULLY report that a) an accusation has been made, and that b) the police are investigating.

    A sly use of some slithery social-media contacts to dribble out enough information so that everyone knows exactly who is now ‘under investigation by the police’ and – hey, presto! – another ‘scoop’. This can’t be allowed to continue.

    P.S. The description of Hencke as representing “the more respectable face of Exaro” made me groan, although judged alongside Herr Flick, maybe! But he is anything but respectable, and I have challenged him directly on his site – and accused him of knowingly propagating stories which he knew to be untrue – which he is unable to deny.

  10. “The fact remains, that if it wasn’t for ‘nick’, we would not now have an ‘ongoing’ investigation into the murder of young boys”.
    “Nick’s” allegations about the murder of three unknown boys are part of a plot to instigate police ‘fishing expeditions’ against certain persons. The plotters are all aware that Nick’s three victims never existed, and that police therefore would not find evidence that the alleged murderers had killed them or had even abused Nick. The plotters were betting that searches of the alleged perpetrators’ homes would turn up evidence that they were involved in a conspiracy to kidnap, abuse and murder another boy – as David is well aware – named Martin Allen. Several plotters have been dropping stupidly obvious ‘hints’ like this, online, for a long time.

    Many more persons, beyond just “Nick”, need to be investigated for attempting to pervert the course of justice.

  11. An interesting and controversial read, as ever, Matthew.

    However, this particular post is littered with uncharacteristic errors.

    There are some basic factual errors which relate to Operation Midland which cannot be explained in detail publicly for legal reasons. But to explain what I can, even your basic figures on alleged crimes and perpetrators are incorrect.

    Your reading of the CPS v Fellows case is also a little skewed, although you were not present during proceedings so that is understandable.

    It seems possible that jurors were swayed by the defence argument that Mr Fellows had not actively set out to pervert the course of justice.

    Part of the court assessment of this was to gauge whether, in repeatedly asking Mr Fellows to provide an official witness statement, and twice being told by the defendant that he would not, the police pressure on Fellows to make a statement (something he later agreed to) indicated that he was not actively setting out to pervert justice.

    I say this and make no comment on, or reference to, the core allegation made by Mr Fellows. He was acquitted of the charge, but quite what that means in his case – as you rightly point out – is not fully understood. It was a slightly more complex case than had been expected.

  12. Everybody would do well to adhere to the following media advisory, published by the Solicitor General last year, for the time being…

    ‘The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is currently investigating allegations made by a complainant that he was sexually abused by a number of men including various high profile figures.

    The Solicitor General, Robert Buckland QC MP, would like to remind editors, publishers and social media users that where an allegation of a sexual offence has been made, no matter relating to the complainant shall be included in a publication if it is likely to lead to members of the public identifying him. Publishing such material is a criminal offence and could be subject to prosecution.

    In addition, while the Solicitor General recognises the legitimate public interest in the press commenting on cases of this nature, he wishes to draw attention to the risk of publishing material that gives the impression of pre-judging the outcome of the investigation and any criminal proceedings that may follow, or which might prejudice any such proceedings.

    The Attorney General’s Office will be monitoring the ongoing coverage of Operation Midland and editors and publishers should take legal advice to ensure they are in a position to comply with their legal obligations.’

  13. I see ‘David’ is posting comments under different names as usual, he does that on a number of blogs. If Matthew were to check the IP address of the commenters I believe I would be proven right.

    1. ‘Shambolic’ VIP child sex abuse, and murder inquiry, to close after The ‘Daily Mail’ concludes, ‘there is no substance to the claims’.

  14. Mail Online has an article about Marianne Faithfull, today, which recycles her accusation that the infamous 1967 Rolling Stones Redlands bust was intended to “put the focus on hippies” and “away from politicians abusing little boys” – the same accusation that appeared in The Telegraph way back on Dec. 2, 2014 – and claims that this is a new disclosure, allegedly made to Time Out Magazine. This article says that Faithfull claims the bust was intended to cover up abuse at Elm Guest House specifically – but there was no Elm Guest House in 1967. It did not exist until 1978.
    Tacked onto the end of this Mail Online article, is an unsubstantiated, unsourced assertion about Operation Midland. It asserts that Op Midland is “currently” investigating the disappearance of a teenager, from Kings Cross, in 1979. That may be true, but would also not be recent news. The Met’s “Operation Midland Update Briefing” dated December 19, 2014, wherein Detective Superintendent Kenny McDonald talks about “Nick” and his allegations and appeals for “other young boys, now men, who were also subject to abuse at the hands of these men” to come forward, also states: “Detectives have spoken to the family of Martin Allen, who disappeared in 1979. At this stage in the investigation, it is not possible to say if Martin’s disappearance is linked. However, officers will keep the family updated on the progress of their investigation” and mentions Vishal Mehrotra as well. So from the beginning of Op Midland, the Met has been investigating links between “Nick’s” allegations and the Allen & Mehrotra cases.
    If I were a paranoid conspiracy theorist I might suspect that Nick was a police operative, whose spurious allegations have been used as a pretext, under cover of which the Met has really been investigating Nick’s list of alleged perpetrators for possible involvement in the Allen & Mehrotra cases.

      1. Are you using “suggested” as a synonym for “made up”, David? We should have expected nothing less from Fielding…

        However, Faithfull HAD made the insane connection between her friends’ travails as “poor hippies” being used to cover up for “the Establishment” and does indeed mention Elm Guest House (as Justin mentions above)!

        Her public proclamations seem to follow her career – we may have to wait for the next concert / book / album to hear exactly HOW this conspiracy might have taken place.

        http://annaraccoon.com/2016/02/07/necro-nonce-policing-and-sir-bernard-hogan-howe/#comment-18205726434425925

  15. You are wrong. Well over half of Operation Midland is ‘not’ in the public domain. It remains a murder investigation, Nick is not a ‘police operative’, and, as most of the inquiry is not in the public domain, you are just being paranoid.

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