Saturday, October 03, 2015

UK: Former Army chief fighting 'entirely unfounded' child sex abuse claims should be 'exonerated at the earliest opportunity'

The former Army chief who is fighting ‘entirely unfounded’ allegations of child sex abuse should be ‘exonerated at the earliest opportunity’, a close friend said last night.

Field Marshall Lord Bramall, 91, has been under investigation since March following lurid claims by an alleged victim known only as ‘Nick’, who said he was abused by him more than 30 years ago.

Retired Major-General Michael Tillotson declared he was in no doubt that Lord Bramall will be cleared of any wrong-doing.

Police raided the home of D-Day veteran Lord Bramall and weeks later he was also interviewed under caution before being released without charge. He is accused of abusing Nick in his office at a military base in the West Country.

Dementia sufferer Lady Bramall was having breakfast with her husband and carer when police raided their home on the Surrey-Hampshire border at 7.30am in March.

Lord Bramall took her into his study where she stayed while police searched the property.

Several hours later, when they were ready to search the study – the frail woman was moved to the drawing room where she lay in a bed as detectives completed their inquiries.

Despite his advancing years – and the death of his wife of 66 years in July – Lord Bramall remains under investigation by Operation Midland, the increasingly controversial Scotland Yard inquiry into so-called VIP paedophiles.

On Tuesday, the BBC’s Panorama programme will question further the credibility of the inquiry and last night his close friend and former colleague General Tillotson called on police to be ‘humane’ and exonerate the former forces chief ‘at the earliest opportunity’.

He said: ‘I am as certain as I am that the sun will rise in the morning that Lord Bramall is innocent of all these allegations. That being the case it would be a humane act of the police and the prosecuting authorities to draw these investigations quickly to a close and clear Lord Bramall of all the allegations. That is what he wants more than anything now.

‘He has been through the wringer, but he is as tough as old boots. You don’t get to be a field marshall without knowing a thing or two and without being able to carry yourself in the face of adversity. Throughout these past months he has behaved with complete dignity and he has cooperated with the police in every possible way. He has, of course, nothing to hide.

‘Lord Bramall has told me he has no fundamental objection to the police doing their duty whatsoever. Complaints and allegations are made and they have to investigate them. That is the way society works.

‘The only caveat is that he believes they could have acted with a little more discretion at the outset. He didn’t see what was to be gained from coming to his home in numbers at 7.30 in the morning complete with men in white, crime-scene suits.

‘I think he also found some of their questions a little bemusing and he was a bit put out that it was a detective constable who interviewed him.’

Lord Bramall’s wife Avril, the mother of their two children, died in July at 93. General Tillotson, who has known him for more than 60 years, said: ‘Their marriage was one of absolute bliss. They were totally in love with each other.’

He added: ‘To lose his wife at this time, when he is fighting these allegations, has been particularly hard. Lord Bramall rang me on the day she died and said, “My lovely wife Avril died this morning.” He was next to her when she died.’

The general’s intervention will increase pressure on police to ‘put up or shut up’ following their 11-month inquiry into alleged abuse and murder by a ring of VIP paedophiles in the 1970s and 1980s. Senior Scotland Yard officers have distanced themselves from Nick, the key witness at the centre of the extraordinary claims.

Lord Bramall is a Second World War hero who won the Military Cross for bravery. He rose to be chief of the general staff – Britain’s top Army officer – and then chief of the defence staff, the officer commanding the forces.

He is alleged to have been one of a number of VIPs who abused Nick at the Dolphin Square apartment complex near Parliament and at military bases. Others accused include ex-Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath, ex-Tory Home Secretary Lord Brittan and former Tory MP Harvey Proctor.

Last month, former director of public prosecutions Ken Macdonald QC accused police of having a ‘medieval contempt for the accused’ by backing Nick’s uncorroborated claims so publicly. One officer had described the claims as ‘credible and true’.

Original report here

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