A FORMER Swindon hospital complaints manager who falsely claimed he had been abused by a VIP paedophile ring has been found guilty of perverting the course of justice and fraud.

Once manager of the patient advisory and liaison service at Swindon’s Great Western Hospital, Carl Beech sparked a £2m police probe into the entirely fictious Westminster-based group.

Beech's malicious, repeated and determined deceit ruined the reputations of those he accused and led the Metropolitan Police to raid the homes of 91-year-old Normandy veteran Field Marshall Lord Bramall, the late Lord Brittan and former Tory MP Harvey Proctor.

Mr Proctor blasted the force, calling the episode "a truly disgraceful chapter in the history of British policing". Operation Midland into the lurid allegations by the man they named only as "Nick" ended without making a single arrest.

Beech told detectives over hours of tearful interviews that his late stepfather, an Army major, raped him, then passed him on to generals to be tortured at military bases and sadistically sexually abused by other Establishment figures in the 1970s and 1980s.

He named former prime minister Sir Edward Heath, his sworn enemy Mr Proctor, disgraced TV star Jimmy Savile and security chiefs Sir Michael Hanley, the head of MI5, and MI6 boss Sir Maurice Oldfield among the gang after meeting a journalist from the defunct news agency Exaro.

He claimed a schoolboy named Scott was deliberately knocked down and killed, that another boy who might have been the missing teenager Martin Allen was raped and strangled in front of him, and said another youth was battered to death by the ring.

A senior detective wrongly called the allegations "credible and true" before the force had completed their inquiries.

A jury at Newcastle Crown Court rejected Beech's unfounded allegations and on Monday convicted him of 12 counts of perverting the course of justice and one of fraud, relating to a £22,000 criminal injuries payout he falsely claimed for being raped by Savile.

The jurors were unconvinced by his claims that Army generals, at the height of the IRA terror threat, could sneak off unguarded to join horrific child abuse sessions.

They saw a videoed police interview with Lord Bramall where the war hero, now too ill to give evidence, thumped the table in front of him and denied having any sexual interest in children.

Another falsely accused general, 96-year-old Sir Hugh Beach, told the jury via video-link that the allegations against him were "beyond grotesque".

Beech had also said the head of MI5 - presumably also busy dealing with terrorists - arrived at his school to tell him his dog had been kidnapped as a warning.

He claimed that he was there when the ring shot his horse Sam, although he had no idea what happened to the body, or what his mother thought, who was paying for its stabling.

With what Tony Badenoch QC, prosecuting, described as "breathtaking hypocrisy", Beech himself was a paedophile with an interest in pre-teen boys.

The school governor and NSPCC volunteer was due to be tried on indecent images and voyeurism charges last summer but went on the run to Sweden, where he bought two remote properties and tried to evade justice using false identities.

After the trial, Mr Proctor said he was still to settle a claim against the Metropolitan Police, saying their raid cost his home and the job he loved, working for the Duke and Duchess of Rutland.

Mr Justice Goss said he will sentence on these matters, as well as indecent images offences and breach of bail, at a later date.

The jury deliberated for around four-and-a-half hours.

Beech did not visibly react when the 13 guilty verdicts were returned.

This afternoon, Wiltshire Police defended its decision to investigate Beech's lurid claims against former prime minister Sir Edward Heath, who lived in Salisbury. 

Angus Macpherson, Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, said: “Wiltshire Police led a national investigation, on behalf of 14 forces, and had no alternative but to investigate the allegations of non-recent sexual abuse against Sir Edward Heath. 

“Operation Conifer was deemed by an independent review to have been reasonable and proportionate and I remain satisfied that is still the case. 

“The investigation’s concluding report revealed that officers had discounted allegations from 33 individuals, of which Carl Beech was one. To that end, the recent trial verdict of Carl Beech does not have any material effect on Conifer or the actions taken during the investigation.”