The Metropolitan Police “aided and abetted” a fantasist who invented a Westminster VIP paedophile ring and “fanned the flames” of false allegations, a court heard as ‘Nick’ was sent to prison for 18 years.Officers were accused of encouraging Carl Beech, who at the time the allegations emerged was known by the alias ‘Nick’, to make up a web of lies about some of the country’s most high-profile figures. Sir Bernard Hogan Howe, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner who presided over the inquiry has been urged to return his peerage by Harvey Proctor, one of the victims of the “malicious” witch hunt.Families of those who have had their names dragged through the mud also called for a fresh inquiry into the actions of the senior police officers, who have been cleared of any wrong-doing by the police watchdog and allowed to retire with full pensions.It came as Beech, a former NHS manager, was handed what is believed to be the longest ever sentence for perverting the course of justice. “I have suffered both physically and emotionally as a result and did so without regret or complaint. I thought I could be hurt no more.”I can honestly say however I was never as badly wounded in all my time in the military as I have been by the allegations made by Nick that formed the basis of Operation Midland.“Of course it is a matter of public record that the Met apologised to me for their conduct towards me and then the Commissioner stated that I was innocent of the allegations against me. Despite this, mud sticks.”He said that as well as news coverage with the “advent of social media such speculation takes on a whole new dimension”.“I was content to live out my retirement in peace with what I believed was my reputation and secured. I now live in fear of the day when my descendants choose to search for me on Google or similar and instead of seeing that which I achieved find out about that which I was accused of,” Lord Bramall said.“For those of us that have climbed the highest, we face the greatest fall.”Sir Edward Heath“Disgusting allegations” made against former Prime Minister Edward Heath “casts a dreadful stain on the whole country”, his godson has said as the fantasist who accused him was jailed. But as they proceeded to search his home he had to move his wife Dorothy from room to room and he struggled to explain to her what he had done because of the “paucity of the information” he had been given. Sir Edward Heath was one of the politicians accused by Carl Beech Credit:Anthony Marshall Lord Bramall said that the impact of Beech’s lies were “compounded” by the actions of officers whilst Lady Brittan said that her late husband and her family had been “let down” by the system.Daniel Janner QC, son of Lord Janner, called for a fresh investigation into the actions of the officers involved, adding: “There are questions as to whether or not the police acted maliciously, amounting to the offence of misfeasance in public office.”Mr Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, was facing calls to resign for acting as a “cheerleader” for Beech.Lord Brittan The widow of Lord Brittan has told how she had to arrange security for her husband’s funeral after he was falsely accused of being part of a murderous Westminster VIP paedophile ring.Lady Brittan said that the impact of the allegations of fantasist Carl Beech have been “indescribable, incalculable and unending” and she has feared for the safety of her family in the wake of the lies.Lord Brittan of Spennithorne, the former home secretary, was suffering with cancer when he was questioned over the allegations and died aged 75 before his name was cleared, meaning he was “denied the dignified death he deserved”. Daniel Janner QC, son of Lord Janner, who was falsely accused of abusing children by Carl BeechCredit:Telegraph/Julian Simmonds Beech’s accusations become more lurid at the point the Met decided to “dance to his tune”, he said adding: “It is my belief that he was encouraged to elaborate on his allegations by the Met investigation…“Whilst Beech is the creator of this hell for me it is the pitiless and unfair approach of the Met which is the direct cause of my suffering”.Lord Hogan-Howe, who was the Met Commissioner throughout Operation Midland retired from the force in February 2017 and was elevated to the House of Lords as a cross-bencher.Mr Proctor said: “Wouldn’t it be nice if Hogan-Howe sacrificed himself in the light of this verdict and said: ‘I’m guilty to this, I hold my hands up, I was responsible for all of this. I was the commissioner for the metropolis and I failed and my police failed’. He should write to her Majesty the Queen and return his peerage.” Carl Beech appearing in court earlier this monthCredit:Elizabeth Cook/PA He said that the accusations had caused “enormous anguish and distress” to his family and those who knew Sir Edward. It was another six months before the police told him that no further action would be taken.“Above all what really upset me is this: my record of public service speaks for itself. In service of my Queen and Country I have done all that has been required of me,” he said. Mr Justice James Goss jailed the 51-year-old for 15 years for “maliciously making lurid and the most serious false allegations against distinguished former public servants” including rape, torture and child murder. The convicted paedophile was jailed for a further 18 months for voyeurism and possessing indecent photographs and 18 months for fraud, all sentences to run consecutively.Mr Justice Goss said that Beech was “no doubt encouraged” by the “apparent willingness” of the police “to accept the truthfulness of your account”.The victims and their families expressed surprise that officers had been so willing to accept increasingly “ludicrous” lies including that been had been tortured with snakes and had his dog kidnapped by MI5.Former Tory minister David Mellor, who was Lord Brittan’s deputy at the Home Office, said the case was an “appalling indictment” of the Metropolitan Police who had been guilty of “idiocy on an epic scale” in believing Beech’s lies which “a child would have seen through”.”The Metropolitan Police should hang their heads in shame on this,” he said.Mr Proctor, the former Tory MP who lost his home and his job in the wake of the false claims, said that Beech’s lies were contradicted even by his own mother and would have been “torpedoed by an elementary police investigation”. Leon Brittan, pictured in 1994, died before he was exonerated of Beech’s claimsCredit:David Burges Baroness Julia Neuberger, Lord Brittan’s rabbi who spent a lot of his final weeks and months at his side, added that he was “hugely upset” by the allegations. “The effect was a cruel one – he felt desperately ill, cut off from much of his social and business circle, and traduced. It had a powerful effect on a brave man. He was denied the dignified death he deserved,” she said.Lord Bramall The former head of the British Army has described how the wounds inflicted by false accusations of child sex abuse are much worse than anything he experienced in the military. Instead officers’ spent two years and an estimated £4 million investigating the claims without a single arrest being made.Mr Proctor said that the “criminal damage” that Beech did to him “aided and abetted” by the Metropolitan Police and others including Tom Watson MP “was to wreck my life”. Newcastle Crown Court heard how Beech’s false accusations had ruined the lives and reputations of those he accused including former prime minister Sir Edward Heath, Lord Brittan, the former home secretary, the retired head of the Armed Forces Lord Bramall and former Labour MP Lord Janner. “My husband was alone in hospital terminally ill with cancer when the allegations were first made public and then, when the BBC interviewed ‘Nick’ and made the story headline news, it went global…“To lose someone that you love is bad enough in itself but in these circumstances, it was truly terrible.”She said that in the days that followed she had to deal with the coverage of the allegations, including a comment piece written by Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, in which Lord Brittan was described as “close to evil as a human being could get”. “I was so worried I even had to arrange security for his burial, something no widow should have to do,” Lady Brittan told the court.Six weeks after his death their homes in London and Yorkshire were raided, with the latter turned upside down as Metropolitan Police officers spent two days looking for evidence. Two days later the searches were made public.“During the following months and years, I had to call on my reserves of inner strength and courage to deal with a rollercoaster of emotions as the truth about Operation Midland slowly unravelled,” Lady Brittan wrote.“Good and bad developments in the case always had an impact, meaning I was never completely free of the story.” Living in a small village the police turning up twenty-handed was “bound” to attract attention, he added, especially when some of the officers went for lunch in the only village pub.But despite the spotlight being turned on him it was eight weeks before he was allowed to respond to the accusations.Officers then failed to interview him properly or give him sufficient details of the claims, meaning that he was questioned again three months later at his home and “thereby prolonging my ordeal and leaving these monstrous allegations hanging over me for longer,” he said.He had requested the second interview take place at his home as his wife’s health had deteriorated and he was “fearful of leaving her as I was aware our time together was limited”.Before the second interview took place in July 2015 Lady Bramall passed away.“My wife of 62 years died not knowing whether I had been cleared of the most horrific of crimes”, Lord Bramall wrote. Field Marshal Lord Bramall said that everything he has achieved in years of dedicated service to Queen and country will forever be overshadowed by false allegations that he was part of a VIP paedophile ring that had abused, tortured and even murdered boys in the 1970s and 1980s. Lord Bramall, who is now 95, made a victim statement in November last year fearing that he would not survive to see Carl Beech brought to justice for the lies he fabricated against him and other powerful men.In the statement, read to Newcastle Crown Court by his solicitor Drew Pettifer, Lord Bramall described how his ordeal started when the Met searched his home on March 4 2015, whilst he was at him with his wife who suffering with Alzheimer’s disease and bed-bound.“When the Met first arrived I genuinely had no idea why they were there and welcomed them with the words: ‘How very nice to see you’. During my years of service I had enjoyed a good relationship with the police and had no idea of the ordeal that was to befall me,” he said. In a victim impact statement read to Beech’s sentencing hearing by prosecutor Tony Badenoch QC, Lord Brittan’s wife of 34 years said: “My husband always believed in, and upheld, the rule of law and was passionate about fairness in the criminal justice system. He respected the role of the police in our society. Lincoln Seligman said that Sir Edward Heath “was the wholly innocent victim of a wicked tissue lies” which meant that his friends and relatives had to “witness the slow and sickening destruction of the name of a good man who was not alive to defend himself”.In a victim impact statement read at the sentencing hearing of ‘Nick’, who said Sir Edward sexually abused him, Mr Seligman said: “The accusations of Carl Beech – which gave rise to Operation Midland and Operation Conifer – have been allowed to fester publicly for more than five years.“For some reason some police officers appeared to believe Beech when there was absolutely no corroborative evidence for his increasingly ludicrous and incredible allegations. He was recklessly encouraged protected in his lies by them and by some opportunist politicians, who should be ashamed of themselves. Lord Bramall was one of the powerful men falsely accused by Carl Beech of abusing boysCredit:Telegraph/Geoff Pugh “The presumption of innocence went by the board and Beech’s fantasies were declared by a senior Metropolitan Office to be credible and true.“The Chief Constable of Wiltshire even arranged the notorious and disgraceful television broadcast in front of Sir Edward’s home to invite ‘victims of Edward Heath’ to come forward.“He was quoted frequently in the press as saying he was 120 per cent certain that Heath was guilty. This was a terrible and false attack on a wholly innocent man.” “And yet, in the last year of his life – and particularly in his last few months – he had to face, while desperately ill, a series of entirely false allegations and smears of the very worst kind.“Before he became the subject of heinous claims of child rape and murder by the man then known as ‘Nick’, he dealt courageously with various other entirely untrue claims of a sexual nature.“I felt he was caught up in a totally unjustified witch hunt which took its toll on both him and me. The impact of these dreadful allegations on the entire global network of anyone caught up in such matters is indescribable, incalculable and unending.“It was against this background that we had to deal with the emerging story of Operation Midland, where a very senior Metropolitan officer described the allegations of the defendant in this case, on more than one occasion, as ‘credible and true’. Tom Watson has faced calls to resign for his support of Carl Beech’s claims in 2014Credit:Luke Dray/Getty Images Europe Despite being “plainly ridiculous” the lies have been “peddled around the world” and done “untold damage” to the reputation of the former Prime Minister which with the “power and longevity” of the Internet and Twitter it is likely will ever be undone, he said.Mr Seligman added: “To wrongly brand any man a paedophile is an appalling injustice, whoever he may be. To brand a former Prime Minister in this hateful way casts a dreadful stain on the whole country which can only be washed away by reclaiming the good name of a man who served that country with honour and total commitment. This verdict does just that.”Lord Janner Tom Watson should resign in shame for “whipping up moral panic” about a VIP child abuse ring, the son of Lord Janner has said.Daniel Janner QC, appeared in the witness stand during the sentencing of Carl Beech to described how it is “impossible to get over the hurt” that the lies have had on his family.His father, a former Labour MP, died in December 2015 after a period of suffering from dementia with the allegations hanging over him. She said after the “dark days of those first few months” she found it “immensely heartening” that the media including the Daily Telegraph began questioning the claims and the premise on which the police were basing their investigation. “My husband’s name has now been cleared, but he will never know this,” she said. “As a lawyer, he always believed in the judicial system – as do I, as a former magistrate. But the system has let him and my family down.“We hope that lessons have been learned and that no one else will have to go through what our family and friends did.” Lord and Lady Brittan pictured in 2013 before the allegations emerged Mr Janner told the judge: “Beech maintained in this trial that my late father raped him in the Carlton Club. The jury would have nothing of it.”It is impossible to get over the hurt which such ghastly alleged acts of violence have on a law-abiding family like mine.”They are corrosive. They lie on the internet with ignorant people saying that there is no smoke without fire.”We loved our late father. He died an innocent man. He was a force for good and justice.”He said on the steps of the court that Mr Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, was “primarily responsible for whipping up a moral panic.” “So he should hang his head in shame, and he should resign,” he said. “For him to take the moral high ground in the Labour Party against anti-Semitism is completely hypocritical.”Lord Janner’s family has always maintained his innocence, with Mr Janner saying: “We were looking after a man who had dementia and was weeks from death when these allegations came out.”It was an extremely hurtful and very sad period in our lives, but we’re moving on.”He also criticised the Metropolitan Police, who investigated Beech’s claims, after a senior detective at one stage described them as “credible and true”. “Highly damaging, highly hurtful, but Tom Watson should go,” Mr Janner said. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.