Story by story, how Mail's STEPHEN WRIGHT exposed Operation Midland

Story by story, how the Mail’s STEPHEN WRIGHT exposed Operation Midland – the scandalous Scotland Yard investigation into ‘VIP abuse’

The Mail’s Stephen Wright has spent eight years campaigning for accountability over the Met’s botched inquiry into wild claims of abuse – and even murder – by VIPs. Here, we look back at his battle for justice:

SEPT 5, 2015: Landmark front page reveals for first time that detectives have ‘grave doubts’ about the mysterious key witness known as Nick, whose allegations of VIP sex abuse and murder had been described by the Met as ‘credible and true’.

SEPT 19, 2015: Two-page investigation casts enormous doubts on Nick’s claims of rape, torture and murder by a VIP gang, revealing there is no evidence. We also reveal a provincial force had dismissed his claims of abuse.

OCT 1, 2015: Another bombshell Mail exclusive as we reveal that a woman known as Jane who accused former Tory home secretary Leon Brittan of raping her in 1967 is a mentally ill Labour activist with a history of making false abuse claims. It raises serious questions about the judgment of her chief supporter, campaigning Labour MP Tom Watson, who had close links to a rogue website peddling lies and conspiracy theories.

OCT 8, 2015: As pressure builds on the Met, a Yard chief apologises to Lord Brittan’s widow Diana for the delay in clearing her husband of false rape claims. The Brittan rape inquiry ran parallel to Operation Midland, both under the command of Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Rodhouse.

OCT 10, 2015: Mail investigation exposes Labour plot involving Tom Watson to smear Tories as child abusers. Amid claims of political interference in the Met, we reveal more questions about Nick’s allegations and ask whether there has been a wider conspiracy to smear innocent men.

OCT 17, 2015: Scotland Yard chiefs make a shocking admission that they refused to drop an inquiry into Jane’s rape claim against former home secretary Lord Brittan because they feared public and media criticism. The admission raises the stakes in the scandal, with politicians blasting the running of the rape inquiry, Operation Vincente, and its sister investigation, Operation Midland.

OCT 22, 2015: Amid a barrage of criticism for leading a baseless witch-hunt, Tom Watson says sorry to Lord Brittan’s widow for repeating a claim that her husband was as ‘close to evil as any human being could get’. His ‘wicked’ remarks came in a newspaper column days after the Tory grandee died. But some commentators claimed Watson did not go far enough in his apology.

JAN 18, 2016: In another explosive Mail front page, Yard boss Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe faces calls to make a personal apology to Lord Bramall after he was belatedly cleared of paedophile allegations. But he digs his heels in, refusing to say sorry – prompting widespread fury.

JAN 23, 2016: The Mail reveals that the Queen showed ‘extraordinary’ support for Lord Bramall during his abuse case hell when they attended an official function. Her public endorsement of the hugely respected war hero piles further pressure on the Met.

FEB 6, 2016: Three-page Mail investigation into Met chief Sir Bernard raises questions about his running of Britain’s biggest force and the bungled Operation Midland inquiry. Our probe also exposed his force’s pursuit of innocent journalists in the wake of the hacking scandal and dealt a major blow to his chances of staying in post long-term.

MAR 22, 2016: Six months after the Mail exposed Nick’s lies and the shambolic investigation into his claims, Operation Midland is finally closed – raising the prospect of compensation payouts to those falsely accused, such as former Tory MP Harvey Proctor.

SEP 30, 2016: Days before he is handed a final report by retired High Court judge Sir Richard Henriques into the disastrous VIP sex ring inquiry, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe unexpectedly quits as head of Scotland Yard. He insists his departure is unconnected to Operation Midland but sources later tell the Mail that it is inconceivable he could have survived it.

NOV 9, 2016: As an official report lambasts the Met over the bungled inquiry, it emerges that Nick is under investigation for perverting the course of justice. The probe – ordered by Sir Richard Henriques – is a huge embarrassment to the force.

MAR 18, 2017: After 18 months of campaigning journalism, the Mail exclusively reveals that the Met Police reached a secret out-of-court settlement to pay £100,000 compensation to Lord Bramall.

FEB 7, 2018: Following a legal challenge by the Mail, we reveal that Nick is a suspected paedophile who has been charged with child sex crimes – but still can’t be identified for legal reasons.

JULY 4, 2018: After considering a police file for nearly ten months, prosecutors charge Nick with 12 counts of perverting the course of justice and one count of fraud. The charge sheet spelt out in shocking detail how he had repeatedly lied to police.

DEC 4, 2018: More than four years after making his bogus allegations, ‘Nick’ is unmasked as former NHS manager Carl Beech, meaning the world can finally know the identity of the man at the centre of the scandalous Yard investigation.

MAY 15, 2019: At the opening of Beech’s trial, the jury is told he made the ‘most heinous’ false claims, including child murders, rapes and sexual abuse, against well-known public figures including ex-PM Sir Edward Heath and Lord Brittan. 

JULY 23, 2019: A jury takes just a few hours to convict Beech of perverting the course of justice and fraud, crimes for which he is later jailed for 18 years. Lord Bramall, 95, rails at Scotland Yard’s incompetence, saying it was ridiculous that officers escaped disciplinary action. Tom Watson is widely criticised for his role in the scandal.

JULY 30, 2019: Scotland Yard chiefs are stunned as former High Court judge Sir Richard Henriques, who delivered a damning report on Operation Midland, tells the Mail that police broke the law during the investigation. In a scathing article, he said officers used false evidence to obtain search warrants to raid the homes of Lord Bramall, Lord Brittan’s widow and Mr Proctor.

AUG 6, 2019: The Mail reveals a file showing that police should never have raided Lord Bramall’s home. An investigation by this newspaper showed that officers were aware of at least eight factors which cast serious doubt on Nick’s outlandish allegations.

AUG 10, 2019: A devastating Mail investigation exposes the scandal of how five Operation Midland officers, including Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Rodhouse, escaped disciplinary action following a bungled watchdog investigation led by a novice investigator just a few years out of university.

SEPT 14, 2019: After a tip-off, the Mail reveals new Met chief Cressida Dick played a crucial role in the setting up of Operation Midland in 2014 – including appointing Steve Rodhouse as ‘gold commander’ of the investigation.

SEPT 28, 2019: Following an investigation lasting months, the Mail reports on the last cancer-blighted days of Lord Brittan, whose good name was trashed by detectives and a mentally ill Labour supporter who told police she hated the former home secretatry.

Oct 5, 2019: Four years after the Mail launched its campaign to expose the truth about Operation Midland, the appalling failures of the investigation were revealed in full after the Met published an un-redacted version of Sir Richard Henriques’ damning report. In a hard-hitting commentary days later, Sir Richard blasted police watchdogs for a ‘whitewash’ inquiry.

NOV 13, 2019: Months after Beech was jailed, Lord Bramall – who yearned for police to be held to account for the fiasco – dies without one officer being held responsible. A powerful Mail front page laid bare the pain of the D-Day hero whose final years were ruined by incompetent detectives.

NOV 29, 2019: We reveal how in an astonishing climb-down, Scotland Yard had agreed to pay Mr Proctor £500,000 in compensation and nearly £400,000 towards his legal costs over its disastrous VIP abuse inquiry.

FEB 20, 2020: In a major victory for the Mail, we reveal that police who wanted to raid a suspect’s home must now clear significant hurdles to avoid a repeat of the Met’s VIP child sex abuse scandal. It emerged that rules would be tightened up to avoid a repeat of the search warrant system that led to Lord Bramall, Mr Proctor and Lady Brittan having their homes turned upside down.

FEB 10, 2021: Scotland Yard is rocked again as Leon Brittan’s widow spoke out in a bombshell Mail interview to attack a ‘culture of cover-up’ at Scotland Yard.

FEB 24, 2021: Another sensational Mail front page sees former senior district judge Howard Riddle demand a criminal inquiry into detectives who asked him to sign search warrants during Operation Midland.

FEB 27, 2021: A forensic Mail investigation asks how the officer who led Operation Midland, Steve Rodhouse, has kept his job after a string of scandals. These included the bungled Jimmy Savile probe, the Leon Brittan rape case and the ‘Nick’ VIP abuse case.

SEPT 9, 2021: Brought together by the Mail, a landmark panel of victims of police corruption, incompetence and malpractice call for the head of Met chief Cressida Dick, who set up Operation Midland.

JAN 22, 2022: Aided by a leaked confidential Yard document written by Steve Rodhouse at the conclusion of Operation Midland, the Mail exposes how former Tory Cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken was the subject of false abuse allegations.

JAN 27, 2022: In part two of our major investigation into Operation Midland, the Mail discloses how the Met scandalously failed to investigate Witness A and another liar known as Witness B, over wild allegations of abuse and murder. Both men had extensive criminal records, and a track record of telling lies.

NOV 19, 2022: In the wake of the Mail’s devastating two-part investigation, it emerges that Steve Rodhouse could face gross misconduct proceedings.

Source: Read Full Article