A few weeks ago, Field Marshal Lord Bramall, a man of impeccable character who served this country in war and peace with distinction, asked his son Nicolas: “I’m not a bad guy, am I?
Dad has a very brave face, but what he’s going through internally – I’m not sure,” says Nicolas. There was a lot of suffering and I don’t think that should be underestimated.
Look, I don’t want to realize that Dad is a shrinking violet. He doesn’t. He’s as tough as they come, but the longer this monstrous business lasts…. He shakes his head, partly in anger, partly in sadness.
I find it overwhelming that the police might have misunderstood it that way. They took the word of an absolute fantasism and threw Papa – a man who was a wonderful servant of this country – without a single piece of evidence to the wolves.
I think it affected him all the more the longer it took. The fact that you were so publicly accused of pedophilia, rape and torture when it’s absolute rubbish is enough to kill someone, isn’t it? The trial was especially hard for him.
Lord Bramall did not participate in the ten-week trial, at which Carl Beech continued to make outrageous slurs against the war hero, which ended yesterday when Beech was convicted of 12 cases of falsification of justice and another fraud.
Lord Bramall wasn’t good enough to endure being present at the trial.
When I met this lovely old soldier 18 months ago, he needed sticks to walk because of a degenerative neurological disorder. Now he is wheelchair bound.
Our concern was that this could not be resolved before his death. It has dragged on and on,” says Nicolas.
We hoped that Nick/Carl Beech, whatever his name was, would plead guilty. Instead, he had such a platform for his poison. It doesn’t help a 95-year-old man, does it? The last time we saw Dad, he was very emotional.
He started going over the story again: “The police came to the door. I greeted them. I thought it was a security problem, maybe a threat or something.
Lord Bramall had breakfast with his frail wife Avril, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, at his home in Hampshire when the police knocked on his door on 4 March 2015.
More than 20 officers in white overalls spent ten hours examining every inch of the house, leaving with an old guest book and copies of two speeches Lord Bramall had made, one for the Sandhurst cadets and one for another for another army commander.
They walked behind every picture in the house – every picture. They took the house apart,” says Nicolas. There was a busload of police in white suits. My parents live in the middle of the village. They weren’t subtle.
Most of the officers went to the pub for lunch, and it wasn’t long before the local newspaper came up to Dad.
Hogan-Howe [Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, who was then a commissioner] actually came down to see dad twice. He said from the start that he never really believed Dad was involved, but the police were under such pressure after the Jimmy Savile scandal to show that nobody was above the law.
That was the key: It doesn’t matter who they are or what they achieved, we will get them. They were absolutely seduced by the idea that they had a first-class paedophile ring.
Nicolas’ disgust is written in capital letters on his face. The suggestion that his father was involved in a VIP pedophile ring with, among others, former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath, former Tory MP Harvey Proctor, former MI5 boss Michael Hanley, former MI6 boss Maurice Oldfield and former Interior Minister Leon Brittan would be ridiculous if it wasn’t so devastating.
The problem with all the accusations, especially pedophilia, is that it’s stuck, isn’t it? It’s just such an overwhelmingly terrible thing.
Once it’s out there, you can’t bring it back and people think there can be no smoke without fire. I even had some letters – bad letters – from people who said he was as guilty as ….. The sentence ends in an angry silence.
The question I have always asked myself is this: Here’s this guy who accused a prime minister, an interior minister, the head of the British armed forces, the head of MI5 and the head of MI6.
Certainly by God, when this came up, the old Hogan-Howe, or someone would have said: “Wait a minute. Let’s look at this guy.
“If only you thought for self-preservation that they would think:” Before we start, this skin