UK

Harvey Proctor: Former MP secures £900,000 Met payout over 'Nick' claims

Harvey Proctor Image copyright Danny Lawson/PA Wire

A former MP is to receive compensation and costs from the Metropolitan Police of nearly £900,000 over the force's disastrous investigation into false claims of a VIP paedophile ring.

Harvey Proctor, an ex-Tory politician, had his home raided following claims by fantasist Carl Beech.

Mr Proctor, 72, said he would now attempt to repair his "damaged life in the years that are left to me".

The Met confirmed a settlement was reached late on Thursday evening.

Mr Proctor will receive £500,000 in compensation and nearly £400,000 towards legal fees from Scotland Yard.

Operation Midland, which began in 2014, saw dawn raids on the homes of Mr Proctor, D-day veteran Lord Bramall - who died earlier this month, and the late Lord Brittan, following a series of allegations that turned out to be lies.

Beech - then known as "Nick" - falsely claimed that he and other boys were raped and tortured in the 1970s and 1980s by members of a VIP paedophile ring.

He is now serving an 18-year prison sentence for 12 counts of perverting the course of justice and one count of fraud.

During Beech's trial in June, Mr Proctor told of the impact the allegations had on his life. He said media interest following the police raid led to him losing his job and deciding to leave the UK to live in Spain for his own safety.

The payout is believed to be by far the biggest in relation to Operation Midland.

In 2017, the force was reported to have paid Lord Bramall and the family of Lord Brittan £100,000 each.

'Vindication'

A statement from Mr Proctor and his lawyers said the settlement was also believed to be the largest ever made by a British police force for negligent behaviour, other than in cases where the victim had been imprisoned.

Mr Proctor said he had been advised that he could receive more compensation by going to court.

However, he said: "I am heartily sick of these police and their mealy-mouthed apologies to me and I did not want to take a fortune from public funds.

"Just enough to put my innocence beyond doubt, and to warn police not to make this same mistake with other people."

Mark Stephens, one of Mr Proctor's lawyers, said the case was about a "vindication of Harvey Proctor" as well as repairing the "real losses" he experienced.

As the only surviving figure who was wrongly accused by Beech, Mr Proctor said he also spoke "for the those whose voices have been stilled".

"It will take a very long time, if ever, for me to personally have confidence in the Metropolitan Police Service," he added.

'Credible and true'

The Met was heavily criticised over Operation Midland in an independent review of the case by former High Court judge Sir Richard Henriques.

He reprimanded the force for believing Beech for too long, Detective Superintendent Kenny McDonald for announcing publicly that Beech's claims were "credible and true", and officers for applying for search warrants with flawed information and for failing to close the investigation sooner.

Confirmation of the settlement came after Mr Proctor announced he had reported five former Met officers to Northumbria Police in a bid to spark a fresh inquiry into the investigation.

Northumbria referred his complaint back to Scotland Yard, which said it was still assessing it.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct watchdog found no evidence of misconduct or criminality by the officers during Operation Midland.

In his statement, Mr Proctor called for a "full criminal investigation of potential wrong doing" by officers.

More on this story