UK

'VIP paedophile ring' accuser to face trial in May

Carl Beech, pic from Facebook Image copyright Carl Beech/Facebook
Image caption Carl Beech's allegations sparked the Scotland Yard inquiry

A man who claimed he was the victim of an alleged establishment paedophile ring, sparking a £2.5m sex abuse investigation, has denied perverting the course of justice.

Carl Beech, 51, known as "Nick" during the Scotland Yard inquiry, appeared via video link at Newcastle Crown Court.

He pleaded not guilty to 12 counts of perverting the course of justice and one count of fraud.

Mr Beech was remanded in custody and will face a trial on May 7.

The charges relate to allegations he made against public figures including the former prime minister Sir Edward Heath, former Home Secretary Lord Brittan, the former chief of the defence staff Lord Bramall, and ex-MP Harvey Proctor.

Mr Beech also claimed he had witnessed the murders of three boys.

The Metropolitan Police launched a major investigation but no-one was arrested and the inquiry was closed in March 2016.

Mr Beech was charged after Northumbria Police passed a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service in September 2017.

The charges allege Mr Beech invented his account, provided fake information from an email address in a different name, and produced sketches of locations that he claimed to have been abused at while falsely claiming they were produced them from memory.

At a previous hearing in December, a judge lifted a reporting restriction which prevented the media from identifying the defendant.