Yesterday the vile paedophile fantasist Carl Beech was sentenced to eighteen years in prison. Mr Justice Goss whittered on about it being a serious sentence but was it really? Beech’s allegations ruined a number of lives, cost the taxpayer two and a half million pounds and seriously tarnished the reputation of the Metropolitan Police.
Beech will be eligible for parole in nine years while his innocent victims will spend the rest of their lives under a cloud despite being exonerated. As Lord Bramall, now in his nineties and one of those accused by Beech of heinous offences commented yesterday, ‘Mud sticks.’
And it certainly does. Take the case of Simon Warr who was a teacher at boarding schools in Suffolk for most of his career, taking language classes and rugby with older pupils. He was 59 and looking forward to retirement when his life changed, with a bang on the door one day at 07:15.
“Four police officers swept past me, pushing me on to the cabinets, and the fifth one read me my rights,” he told Victoria Derbyshire on the BBC.
A former pupil had alleged he had been touched inappropriately after a PE lesson 30 years earlier.
“I said to the police, ‘I don’t teach PE, I don’t teach 12-year-olds games’,” he said, “but they just wouldn’t listen.”
His arrest took place in 2012, just months after the Jimmy Savile scandal. Since then, 6,617 suspects have been identified by detectives investigating historical child abuse allegations. That is surely a horrifying statistic.
Operation Hydrant was set up in 2014 to oversee claims of “non-recent” abuse in institutions or by people of public prominence. Some 7,396 possible crimes on its database have now had a final outcome. Of those 2,043 – or 29% – ended in a conviction, but faced with a huge increase in allegations, critics say police and prosecutors are often too quick to believe victims’ accounts before they can be properly investigated.
In Mr Warr’s case, details of his arrest were broadcast on the BBC that evening. His diary, photos, computer and phone were confiscated and he says, used by officers to contact numerous former pupils.
“The police tried desperately to get others to come forward.” Mr Warr told the programme. “When they went to see former pupils… it was made quite clear I was going to be prosecuted and they were looking for people strong enough to say I’d done similar things to them. They had no intention of getting to the bottom of what happened. It certainly turns the whole edict of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ on its head. Police officers should have an open mind and execute the normal tests and investigations.”
Six months afte Warr was arrested, he was told a second former pupil had come forward alleging he was abused. Both complainants had been classmates and friends. Both had already been awarded compensation in a different abuse case at the same school. What a surprise! Warr began receiving threatening emails. A Facebook post said if he killed himself it would be the ‘best Christmas present ever.’
By that stage, Warr’s life was a misery: “I wasn’t eating, I wasn’t sleeping. I was a wreck.”
It took over two years for the case to come to trial and when it did, the jury took a mere forty minutes to find Warr not guilty on all seven counts. The poor bloke broke down with relief.
“I’ll never get those years back,” he says. “But it’s not just the fact that my life has been ruined. One of the biggest tragedies of cases like mine is that it makes it more difficult for people who have actually been abused to be believed.”
Needless to say, Simon Warr left teaching after his trial, saying the publicity made it difficult to get another job.
“The fact that I was accused of paedophilia will live with me for the rest of my life.”
Other, better-known figures have been put through the same sort of hell and to my mind, it is solely because we have a politically correct justice system and a fairly pathetic police force.
I understand that the new Home Secretary, Priti Patel is of the old-school, flog ’em and hang ’em brigade and I see nothing wrong with that. The public need to be protected from spurious accusations and they need to know that they are protected. The lure of easy compensation money and the knowledge that however feeble their story might be, they will be believed by the police, hauls the pathetic oxygen thieves out of the woodwork and ruins the lives of innocent people.
If Priti Patel can change the system, I am right behind her and if she can ensure that the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Tom Watson is prosecuted for his part in the Carl Beech debacle, I will recommend her for sainthood! Instead of which, if Corbyn is thrown out or falls on his sword as seems ever more likely, Watson will become the leader of Her Majesty’s loyal opposition.
Where is the justice in that?