Ex-MP Harvey Proctor has accepted £500,000 in compensation from the Met Police over its handling of false “VIP paedophile ring” claims made by jailed fantasist Carl Beech using the pseudonym “Nick”.
Proctor, along with a number of other high-profile British figures, was wrongly smeared by Beech’s lies, which the Met claimed were “credible and true” before abandoning its £2m Operation Midland investigation into the claims in 2016 after two years, having made no arrests.
Beech is currently serving an 18-year sentence for perverting the course of justice and fraud. His claims were first reported by now-defunct investigative news outfit Exaro News before police picked them up.
Proctor said in a statement, seen by Press Gazette: “I hope the size of this award will deter police from assuming the guilt of innocent suspects and from misleading judges in order to obtain search warrants.”
The former Conservative politician said the settlement, avoiding a court battle, covered the “mistakes made in Operation Midland” that he said had “damaged” his life. He was wrongly accused by Beech of having sexually abused children and of committing murder.
He has also accepted £400,000 towards his legal costs from the Met, the Daily Mail has reported.
Proctor 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.”
The former Conservative politician said his payout should “come out of the pension pots of the police who made these grievous mistakes” and that the officers involved in Operation Midland should be “called to account”.
He confirmed he has not signed a non-disclosure agreement, adding: “I remain entirely free to condemn them and I do. Cressida Dick failed abjectly in her duty and should resign.”
A Met spokesperson said: “As a result of a formal mediation process in November 2019, the parties were able to agree a mutually satisfactory settlement of the claims.”
Proctor has called for a full criminal investigation into potential wrongdoing by officers in Operation Midland and said he is awaiting a response from the Met on these matters.
Five police officers were cleared of any wrongdoing in a report by the Independent Office for Police Conduct, but faced criticism in an independent report by ex-High Court judge Sir Richard Henriques.
Proctor said he would also use his experience to help others with genuine complaints who are also the subject of false allegations.
He went on: “I am now the only surviving figure still alive wrongly accused of these heinous crimes.
“In a way I also speak for the those whose voices have been stilled. It is appropriate that Field Marshall Lord Bramall and Lord Brittan should be remembered today for their service to Queen and country. Both were outstanding achievers and men of the highest probity.
“It will take a very long time, if ever, for me to personally have confidence in the Metropolitan Police Service.”
He added: “I shall now seek to repair my damaged life in the years that are left to me. I know this will not be an easy task or one that is necessarily achievable or even attainable but not attempting to do so would run contrary to the human spirit of survival.
“I have sought to do what was right in all the circumstances”.