Head of Scotland Yard’s catastrophic VIP sex abuse inquiry faces gross misconduct proceedings over ‘misleading comments’ at end of £2.5m probe
- EXCLUSIVE: Met’s VIP abuse inquiry head faces gross misconduct proceedings
- Steve Rodhouse ‘made misleading public comments at end of probe’
- 16-month inquiry centred on rape and murder claims of liar Carl ‘Nick’ Beech
The head of Scotland Yard’s catastrophic VIP sex abuse inquiry could face gross misconduct proceedings .
Steve Rodhouse has been served with a formal notice alleging he used ‘inaccurate or dishonest’ words at the conclusion of £2.5million Operation Midland.
The accusations centre on a press statement in which the former deputy assistant commissioner said ‘officers have not found evidence to prove that they were knowingly misled by a complainant’.
He reiterated this at a press conference over the collapse of the 16-month inquiry that centred on the Establishment rape and murder claims of serial liar Carl ‘Nick’ Beech.
Addressing reporters after a high-level ‘diamond group’ meeting chaired by assistant commissioner Patricia Gallan, Mr Rodhouse said: ‘As part of this inquiry I haven’t seen any evidence to prove that anyone, Nick or otherwise, has knowingly provided false information to the investigation. Of course if that situation changes, then we will review the evidence.’
Former Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Rodhouse, who had overall control of Operation Midland, is now Director General (Operations) at the National Crime Agency
But a two-part Daily Mail investigation has revealed how two other serial liars who backed up Beech’s ludicrous claims escaped criminal charges despite clear evidence that they had made up stories about innocent VIPs.
In a confidential Metropolitan Police report written in the spring of 2016, and leaked to this newspaper, Mr Rodhouse – gold commander of Operation Midland – wrote in great detail about the appalling criminal records of the men, known as Witnesses A and B.
He also wrote extensively about their track record for being dishonest and the huge discrepancies and holes in their accounts of supposed VIP abuse.
Despite spelling out his strong suspicions that they had made up their stories, Mr Rodhouse concluded that no evidence had been uncovered which would prove their allegations had been ‘wilfully or maliciously made by people who knew it to be false’.
A two-part Daily Mail investigation revealed how two other serial liars who backed up Beech’s far-fetched claims escaped criminal charges despite clear evidence that they had made up stories about innocent VIPs
Yet months later in August 2016 he contradicted himself when he told ex-High Court Judge Sir Richard Henriques during his bombshell inquiry into Midland: ‘I am satisfied that both A and B have told deliberate lies.’
As a result of this, Sir Richard stated in a redacted part of his report published in November 2016 that, in addition to an independent criminal investigation into ‘Nick’, consideration should be given to the prosecution of A and B for perverting the course of justice and that another force should conduct the inquiry.
He fully expected Scotland Yard to follow his instructions. It is up the Crown Prosecution Service to decide on whether someone should be prosecuted after evidence is gathered by police – but nothing was done about A and B.
Beech, a paedophile, was later jailed for 18 years for perverting the course of justice and other offences.
The latest twist in the Operation Midland scandal is likely to be welcomed by those whose lives or reputations were hugely damaged Beech’s lies.
They include former Tory MP Harvey Proctor, the widow of falsely accused former Tory home secretary Leon Brittan and the family of the late head of the armed forces, D-Day hero Field Marshal Lord Bramall.
Supporters of ex-PM Sir Edward Heath, also accused by Beech, will be encouraged by developments.
Not one police officer has yet been held to account over Midland despite Sir Richard throwing the book at the Metropolitan Police over 43 major blunders in the inquiry.
He concluded in his damning report that police broke the law when they sought search warrants to raid the homes of Lord Bramall, Lady Brittan and Mr Proctor.
The 16-month inquiry centred on the Establishment rape and murder claims of serial liar Carl ‘Nick’ Beech (pictured)
The decision by the Independent Office for Police Conduct to serve a gross misconduct notice on Mr Rodhouse follows a further complaint by Mr Proctor and Daniel Janner KC, the son of Labour peer Greville Janner, who was falsely accused by Beech.
Mr Rodhouse has been a given a period of time before the watchdog decides next steps, it is understood.
The bungling police chief was cleared by the independent police watchdog – then known as the IPCC – in 2017 without even being interviewed. This came only three months after his actions during the Midland investigation were identified as potentially ‘gross misconduct’ by two senior officers of the Metropolitan Police’s internal department of professional standards.
Mr Rodhouse, now deputy head of the National Crime Agency (NCA), is facing an uncertain future having already been snubbed for promotion to run the organisation earlier this year.
He also led separate shambolic probes into a false rape allegation made by a mentally ill Labour activist against Lord Brittan and true claims of sexual abuse made against Jimmy Savile while still alive.
Yet despite running these three controversial investigations, Mr Rodhouse was promoted in 2018 to be director general (operations) of the NCA under Dame Lynne, his old boss from the Met and Surrey Police.
Retired detective chief superintendent Phil Flower, a former senior officer in the Met’s professional standards unit, said Mr Rodhouse must not be given preferential treatment because of his rank.
He said: ‘When investigating allegations against chief officers it is essential that they do not receive favourable treatment during the investigation else it may be alleged that the process followed was in breach of the rules of natural justice.
‘Such rules require that any the investigation must be fair, impartial, and conducted with due diligence. The pursuit of the truth requires that the investigator follows the evidence wherever that takes them.
‘The law must be applied impartially regardless of the office the individual holds. The system must not only be fair, it must be seen to be fair.’
In a statement, Scotland Yard said: ‘We are aware the IOPC has served a former senior Met officer with a gross misconduct notice as part of its ongoing investigation into this complaint.
‘The serving of a notice of investigation does not mean that disciplinary proceedings will necessarily follow.
‘We continue to fully co-operate with the IOPC investigation into our decision not to investigate two people, known as Witness A and Witness B, who made allegations during Operation Midland.’
The Metropolitan Police added that Deputy Commissioner Lynne Owens, Mr Rodhouse’s former boss at the NCA, had ‘no involvement in operational conversations and has recused herself from this matter’.
The IOPC confirmed a former senior Metropolitan Police officer was served with a gross misconduct notice earlier this month and will be ‘interviewed in due course’.
It added: ‘The notice relates to potential breaches of police professional standards relating to honesty and integrity regarding comments made to the media in March 2016 and comments subsequently made to Sir Richard Henriques in August 2016.
‘The serving of a notice of investigation does not mean that disciplinary proceedings will necessarily follow. Decisions will be made on conclusion of the investigation which we will announce at that stage.’
An NCA spokesman said: ‘The IOPC has served a senior NCA officer with a gross misconduct notice after receiving a complaint linked to the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Midland. A notice precedes an investigation to establish whether there has been misconduct. The officer remains on duty while cooperating fully with the IOPC.’
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