THEY FUELLED HIS FANTASIES; in a Devastating Account, the Expert Who Exposed Carl Beech's Lies in the Mail on Sunday Blames Psychotherapists for the Foul Abuse 'Memories' They Helped Create

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), July 28, 2019 | Go to article overview

THEY FUELLED HIS FANTASIES; in a Devastating Account, the Expert Who Exposed Carl Beech's Lies in the Mail on Sunday Blames Psychotherapists for the Foul Abuse 'Memories' They Helped Create


Byline: RICHARD HOSKINS AUTHOR AND CRIMINOLOGIST

DETECTIVE Chief Superintendent Andy Taylor's footsteps crunched across the gravel as he walked up my driveway. A short time later, I was staring at stacks of files on the living room floor. 'That's our evidence against Sir Edward Heath, right there,' he said.

Over the course of that morning, three years ago, Detective Taylor briefed me on what Wiltshire Police called Operation Conifer - an investigation into astonishing claims that former Prime Minis-ter Sir Edward Heath had been part of a paedo-phile ring.

Last week, the man behind many of those foul allegations, Carl Beech, was jailed for 18 years for perjury and fraud and described by the judge as a 'malicious fantasist' - fantasies I believe were fuelled by psychotherapy and the powerful tech-niques at its disposal.

The police had come knocking because they needed my help. A brothel keeper who had made accusations against Sir Edward had suddenly withdrawn them. A 'sighting' of boys on his yacht in Jersey had turned out to be unreliable. Other vague 'leads' had petered out.

Now they were relying on this heap of docu-ments in front of me, which included interviews with a man called Carl Beech. Under the pseudo-nym of 'Nick', he was making outlandish claims about a Westminster VIP paedophile ring involv-ing prominent figures such as Sir Edward. There was also a pile of witness statements made by four sisters alleging that Sir Edward had been involved in satanic rituals.

As a criminologist specialising in rituals, would I write an analysis of this material to support the police case? Two months later, my 44,000-word report landed on the desks of the most senior officers in Wilt-shire Police, the Commissioner of the Metropoli-tan Police and the Home Secretary.

I told them the claims were ludicrous. Allega-tions from Beech and the sisters about Sir Edward and other public figures were the ravings of fan-tasists and frauds.

My report did not please Wiltshire Police, who asked me to rewrite it. When I refused, they pointed out that I was calling into doubt the credi-bility of their witnesses. They were right.

The police made it clear that my report belonged to them and would now be filed deep in the basement of Swindon Police's headquar-ters. And that's why, on November 27, 2016, I told The Mail on Sunday that Operation Conifer and the claims against Heath were a giant hoax started by a single source who was clearly a liar and a fraud.

Last week, I was proved all too correct when Beech was jailed. He had also admitted possessing 300 pictures of underage boys on his computer, with 28 images in the worst, most violent category. But for eight years he had managed to con two police forces, MPs such as Labour deputy leader Tom Watson and journalists from the BBC and online news service Exaro into believing his tissue of lies.

Carl Beech is the principle reason we have the vast - and I suspect ill-fated - Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. He caused the waste of millions of pounds of tax-payers' money and ruined the lives and legacies of those he falsely accused, such as former Home Sec-retary Leon Brittan, ex-Tory MP Harvey Proctor and D-Day veteran Lord Bramall.

Yet Beech should have been stopped at the outset. It took me ten minutes of reading his 'evidence' to realise it was poppycock and many senior police officers have rightly been condemned for their astonish-ing gullibility.

But there is another group of pro-fessionals whose role in this fiasco should be examined, and that is the psychotherapists who gave legiti-macy to the whole farrago. Without them, none of this might have happened. Both Operation Conifer and Operation Midland, the Metropolitan Police's investigation into the supposed VIP abuse ring, were fuelled by hypnotic tech-niques to recover 'memories'. Memo-ries which in Beech's case were twisted and false.

He first approached therapist Vicki Paterson in 2012, eight months before he went to Wiltshire Police claiming he had been abused by his stepfather. …

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