The horrifying aspect of the disturbed fantasist and unrepentant liar Carl Beech (who went by the anonymous name ‘Nick’) is not so much that he tried to destroy the reputations of good men such as the ex prime minister Edward Heath and Army head Lord Bramall.
It is that Beech, who was jailed yesterday, was believed for more than two seconds by anyone.
Yet not only was this wretched man believed, a policeman, Superintendent Kenny McDonald, described his claims “credible and true”.
The patent rubbish was indulged with the multi million pound Operation Midland inquiry into a Westminster VIP sex abuse ring. The claims were promoted by an “investigative website”.
A further investigation into the claims against Sir Edward, Operation Conifer, seemed to imply he was guilty. Disgracefully, the man behind that probe, the Wiltshire chief constable Mike Veale was promoted to chief constable of Cleveland (he later resigned).
The Labour MP Tom Watson and the Tory MP Zac Goldsmith gave credence to a claim that the former Conservative Cabinet minister Leon Brittan was a child abuser. Goldsmith never actually named Brittan, but was later urged to apologise for the implication. Watson did later apologise.
Lord Brittan’s widow says the last weeks of his life were ruined by the claims.
The Normandy hero Lord Bramall’s house was invaded when he was in his 90s, and when his wife who had Alzheimer’s was home.
Any perceptive police officer or journalist, let alone a senior one, should have spotted the claims as nonsense.
‘Nick’ told police he saw a boy being deliberately run down by a car, another boy being strangled by a Tory MP and a third boy killed by two men in front of another Conservative MP. A man called ‘Darren’ said he saw a boy tied to two cars and ripped apart.
We are all now aware of the grim toll of historic sex abuse but we can find solace in the fact that something as evil as the sexual murder of a child is freakishly rare.
Yet these fantasists claimed they routinely witnessed it, and were believed by influential people who had bad judgement, thus utterly ruining reputations of prominent public figures.
• Ben Lowry (@BenLowry2) is News Letter deputy editor