I don’t get everything right (far from it) but I knew as soon as I read that Harvey Proctor was accused of co-abusing a child with Edward Heath that there would be no prosecution. So it has proved. The reason I knew that there would be no prosecution was because the charge was preposterous: Heath and Proctor hated each other, as the latter pointed out. As he also said, he is a gay man, not a paedophile – let alone a would-be murderer, as the source for the claim falsely alleged.
That source, “Nick”, was also the source of the false claim that Lord Bramall committed child sex abuse. As a result of “Nick’s” falsehoods, Proctor has lost his home and his job. And since some people will only have seen the original claim – or always believe the worst of the innocent – both men must live with for the rest of their lives with the most damaging stigma possible in today’s Britain.
Some of the contradictions and confusions in “Nick’s” account were detailed in yesterday’s Sunday Times (£), and today Lord Parmoor is asking how the police obtained a search warrant for Lord Bramall’s house on such flimsy evidence. Proctor said rightly that “Nick” should be charged with wasting police time, and reports suggest that he now may be.
So how is it that Kerry McDonald, a Detective Superintendent, said that “Nick has been spoken to by experienced officers from child abuse teams and experienced officers from murder investigations. They and I believe what Nick is saying is credible and true”. Not just “credible”, please note, but “true” – a statement that McDonald should not have made even were “Nick” the most reliable eye-witness since Herb Morrison. Detective inspectors should not pronounce on the veracity of witnesses.
Michael Fallon was right to say yesterday that the police investigation into the Bramall allegations appeared to have been handled “very clumsily to cause maximum pain”. Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Met Commissioner, has questions to answer.