UK

Lord Bramall 'receives Met Police apology' over abuse claims

Lord Bramall Image copyright PA

Lord Bramall, the former chief of the defence staff, has said he has received an apology from the Metropolitan Police over its investigation of historical child abuse allegations against him.

The 92-year-old told the BBC the apology had come from Met commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe.

He said Sir Bernard had told him the force had been wrong to delay informing him no further action would be taken.

Lord Bramall was never arrested and had always denied the allegations.

Scotland Yard would not confirm an apology had been made.

Inquiry report

Lord Bramall, a Normandy veteran who retired from the House of Lords in 2013, was accused in 2014 of child sexual abuse by a man known by the pseudonym Nick.

Within weeks, the Metropolitan Police launched a major investigation and the following year the home of the retired field marshal was raided by more than 20 officers. He was finally cleared in January this year, 10 months after the raid.

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Media captionLord Bramall: "It caused me a very great deal of distress over a very long period"

Lord Bramall told the BBC Sir Bernard had apologised in person for the time it took to give him the news of no action being taken, and for the raid. Sir Bernard had previously said he had no reason to make an apology.

Aspects of the Operation Midland investigation are expected to be strongly criticised in the next few weeks in an independent report commissioned by Sir Bernard from former High Court judge Sir Richard Henriques.

Operation Midland was a Met Police inquiry into claims a Westminster VIP paedophile ring abused children in the 1970s and 1980s. It closed in March without any charges being brought.

Lord Bramall said he was very pleased to have received the apology.

'Witch hunt'

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, he said: "Although police knew from very early on they had no case to answer they couldn't stop investigating because they didn't want to be accused of not investigating it properly.

"Sir Bernard told me, 'We couldn't take you out of it earlier,' because it would look like I had preferential treatment."

He also said he was unhappy that his wife, who was terminally ill at the time police raided their home, had died before he was told he would not face any charges.

"My wife died without me being cleared. It didn't come into their consideration that my wife was dying."

Lord Bramall did say he did "not want to be too hard on the police", and gave credit to Sir Bernard for setting up Sir Richard's inquiry "when he must have known that his officers were getting it all wrong".

"The trouble was after the apparent mistakes back in 2012 relating to revelations of very serious and serial child abuse, a mixture of public outrage and propaganda... put immense pressure through the home secretary, on the police."

This situation, Lord Bramall said, had produced a "witch-hunt culture in which child abuse, particularly historic child abuse, came to be dealt with entirely differently to other criminal offences".

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