Ex-wife of abuse accuser Carl Beech 'first heard claims on TV'

Carl Beech, pictured in a 2014 police interviewImage source, CPS
Image caption,
Carl Beech, pictured in a 2014 police interview, denies fraud and perverting the course of justice

The ex-wife of an alleged VIP abuse fantasist first heard about his claims after seeing him being interviewed on television, a court has heard.

Dawn Beech said her ex-husband, Carl, never said anything during their marriage about witnessing murders or being abused by famous people.

Carl Beech, 51, from Gloucester, denies 12 counts of perverting the course of justice and one of fraud.

Ms Beech said he denied being on TV when she challenged him about it.

Known by the name "Nick" when his claims were first reported in the media, Mr Beech is on trial accused of lying about being sexually abused by a group of well-known figures from politics, the media and intelligence in the 1970s and 1980s.

He also told police he claimed to have witnessed three boys being murdered.

His claims led to the Metropolitan Police's Operation Midland, which cost £2m and ended without any charges.

Among the people he accused were former prime minister Sir Edward Heath and former home secretary Lord Brittan.

Giving evidence behind a screen at Newcastle Crown Court, Ms Beech recalled watching an episode of the BBC's Panorama programme in October 2015 about an alleged VIP paedophile ring.

She told the court she recognised a silhouetted figure who appeared on the programme making allegations of abuse by powerful people.

Asked in court who the person was, she said: "It was my ex-husband Carl Beech."

Ms Beech, who separated from her husband in 2009 and was divorced in 2012, said she later spoke to Mr Beech after the TV programme, asking him: "Were you on Panorama the other week?"

"Me on Panorama? Why would I be doing that?" was his response, she told jurors. She said he was smiling and laughing as he answered.

'Spoke of stepfather abuse'

Ms Beech, 49, told the court her ex-husband had never mentioned anything during their marriage about seeing children being killed, being taken away to be abused or about famous people abusing him.

He had never mentioned childhood abuse by anyone except his stepfather, she said.

Before they became a couple and in Relate counselling sessions during their marriage, he told her Major Ray Beech had sexually abused him, the court heard.

She said Mr Beech told her his stepfather would come up to his bedroom and abuse him as his mother watched television downstairs.

Image source, Carl Beech/Facebook
Image caption,
Mr Beech's allegations led to a police inquiry

The couple had married in 1992, after meeting four years earlier at nursing school, jurors heard.

Ms Beech said that her ex-husband's experience of abuse had created problems with intimacy in a relationship.

She also said he had personal hygiene issues, which had developed as a "defence mechanism" against abuse, to make himself "unattractive".

Ray Tully, Mr Beech's defence barrister, told the court that some time after the Panorama broadcast, his client had apologised to his ex-wife if she was being dragged into the press reporting of the case.

Mr Beech also apologised for issues in their marriage, including his struggles with intimacy, the barrister said.

The court also heard that Mr Beech had shown his wife a "good memory box" early in their marriage, which contained items including a penknife. Ms Beech said she thought her ex-husband had been given it by his grandmother.

Jurors heard earlier that Mr Beech handed the penknife to police, claiming it had been given to him by former Conservative MP Harvey Proctor during his alleged abuse.

The trial continues.