Abuse claims ‘ridiculous’, ex-Army chief told police

Lord Bramall

A former head of the Army thumped the desk as he told police questioning him that allegations he was part of a VIP paedophile ring were “ridiculous”.

Footage of Lord Bramall’s reaction during the 2015 interview was shown to the jury in the trial of Carl Beech, 51, who denies 12 counts of perverting the course of justice and one of fraud.

The peer, a D-Day veteran aged 95, was too ill to attend the trial in person.

His wife died in 2015 before detectives announced they were not charging him.

But Newcastle Crown Court was played the video of Lord Bramall’s police interview in April 2015, weeks after his home had been raided by the Metropolitan Police, as part of the case against Mr Beech.

Mr Beech, who was given the name “Nick” when his claims were first reported in the media, is accused of lying about rapes, kidnapping, false imprisonment and sexual abuse by prominent people the 1970s and 1980s.

As well as Lord Bramall, he named former Home Secretary Leon Brittan, the former heads of MI5 and MI6 and ex-Tory MP Harvey Proctor among his alleged abusers.

“I am absolutely astonished, amazed and bemused,” Lord Bramall said in the interview.

“I find it incredible that anybody should believe that someone of my career standing, integrity, should be capable of any of these things, including things like torture – unbelievable.”

‘Absolute rubbish’

Mr Beech, from Gloucester, told police his stepfather, Major Ray Beech, had sexually abused him before taking him to Lord Bramall’s offices in Wiltshire, where he was commander-in-chief of the UK land forces in about 1976.

He said the peer had undressed and sexually abused him, which Lord Bramall told detectives was “absolute rubbish” and “complete nonsense”.

Told that General Sir Roland Gibbs and General Sir Hugh Beach were also allegedly involved, he scoffed: “They have taken in the whole damned Army.”

Image copyright CPS/PA Wire
Image caption Lord Bramall was interviewed by police in April 2015 when he was 91

Lord Bramall, who went on to become chief of defence staff between 1982 and 1985, suggested police should have been more sceptical of Mr Beech’s claims, saying: “You are an experienced officer, you must have got a feel if someone is not telling the truth.”

Asked about Sir Jimmy Savile, said to be another member of the gang, the former Army chief said he only knew him from television and he was “one of the most odious people I have ever seen in my life”.

At one point, he said about his accuser: “People make allegations about others later in life to see what they can gain from it.”

Detectives asked Lord Bramall if he could swim, as some of the abuse had allegedly happened at pool parties. “I landed at Normandy and I jolly nearly had to swim,” he replied.

Reputation damaged

In another interview conducted in July 2015, the jury heard Lord Bramall tell police about the impact of the investigation and media coverage, having just lost his wife at the age of 91.

“Because it is really awful someone in my position has had the damage done – mainly by what has gone to press and on the webnet – I hope you can report to your superiors and say there’s clearly no case to answer and make it absolutely clear I am no longer a suspect and I have been taken out of the investigation,” he said.

“Otherwise my reputation is still being damaged on Google, and that’s not fair, after my record, at my time of life.”

The jury heard that Lord Bramall, who is “in very poor health”, was unwilling to give further evidence in court.

Defence barrister Collingwood Thompson told the court he would have asked the peer a series of specific questions on Mr Beech’s behalf, including suggesting to Lord Bramall he was a “leading member of a paedophile ring”.

The trial continues.



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