More than 1,000 quizzed already in sex abuse allegations: Detectives raid homes of Leon Brittan and ex-head of the Army

More than 1,000 quizzed already in sex abuse allegations: Detectives raid homes of Leon Brittan and ex-head of the Army

Homes of Leon Brittan and Lord Bramall have been raided by the police
Raids conducted by officers from Scotland Yard’s Operation Midland
Operation was set up to investigate claims of a child sex abuse ring in 80s
Properties in London and Yorkshire belonging to Lord Brittan searched
Home owned by Lord Bramall in Surrey was also raided by officers
Lord Bramall is one of the country’s most decorated war veterans

PUBLISHED: 09:54, 8 March 2015 | UPDATED: 07:42, 9 March 2015

More than 1,000 people have been questioned by police investigating claims of historic sex abuse, it was revealed yesterday.

The huge number, including suspects, victims and witnesses, lays bare the scale of the task facing detectives.

Scotland Yard boss Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe admitted the wave of allegations is consuming a huge amount of resources.

But he pledged to get to the heart of the claims, no matter who was involved.

Homes belonging to Leon Brittan, left, and the former head of the armed forces Lord Bramall, right, have been searched by police investigating child sex allegations, it has emerged

His comments came after it was revealed Met officers raided the homes of Tory grandee Leon Brittan and a former head of the Armed Forces last week.

In a series of low-key searches, plain-clothes detectives examined Lord Brittan’s home in Pimlico, central London, and his North Yorkshire country retreat.

The rural property, near the picturesque town of Leyburn, is in the Richmond constituency which he once represented as an MP.

The searches came just six weeks after the former home secretary died aged 75, triggering claims he attended VIP sex ring parties.

Officers also attended the home of 91-year-old Lord Bramall, chief of defence staff until 1985. The Second World War hero won the Military Cross for bravery and rose to be Britain’s top-ranking Army officer.

The team of police, including at least one in body armour, were seen at his £750,000 stone detached property in Crondall, Hampshire, near the Army town of Aldershot.

One onlooker said: ‘They were here for most of the day. There were lots of cars in the driveway. I’ve no idea why they needed so many – he’s an elderly man.’

The searches took place on the same day as officers searched the Leicestershire home of ex-Tory MP Harvey Proctor, 68, prompting him to publicly deny any wrongdoing.

Proctor, whose Parliamentary career ended in a rent boy ‘spanking’ scandal, said he was trapped in a ‘Kafka-esque fantasy’.


Lord Bramall was head of the army from 1979-1982 before becoming Chief of the Defence staff – head of the whole armed forces – a position he held for three years.

He first joined the army in 1943 and took part in the D-Day landings the next year. The young soldier was given the Military Cross at the end of the Second World War.

Lord Bramall’s glittering military career saw him promoted to lieutenant and sent to Japan in 1946, before serving in the Middle East during the 1950s as he climbed the ranks.

He was given an OBE for his services to the Armed Forces in 1965, shortly before he was deployed to Borneo as commanding officer of the Royal Green Jackets regiment, where his actions were mentioned in despatches.

He would later serve in Hong Kong before returning to Britain.

In his role as Chief of the Defence Staff, Lord Bramall played an integral role in planning the Falklands invasion.

After retiring he was made a Knight of the Garter and, as a life peer, spoke out against invading Iraq in 2003.

Speaking on LBC Radio, Sir Bernard said his staff were ‘determinedly working their way through’ all the evidence, adding: ‘We’ve now interviewed at least 1,000 people.’

Asked whether the huge amount of resources required could be justified, he said victims deserve answers. ‘What we cannot do is ignore people who were ignored 30 years ago,’ he said. Sir Bernard added that police ‘have to prioritise’ but nevertheless have ‘put tens of officers into these inquiries’.

He said: ‘We have got both witnesses and suspects that are scattered to the four winds. They are not grouped geographically like they were 30 years ago.

‘But we will get to the bottom of it, I am sure we will, so far as it is possible.’ The overarching Met inquiry into claims of historic sex abuse was triggered in 2012 when MP Tom Watson called for police to look again at allegations of a ‘powerful paedophile network linked to Parliament and No 10’.

At least six spin-off inquiries have been launched, with the most high-profile one investigating claims a VIP sex ring operated out of the exclusive Dolphin Square apartment complex in Pimlico.

Lord Brittan had always denied any wrongdoing and after his death Tory colleagues lined up to defend his legacy.

Ex-minister John Gummer, now Lord Deben, branded the claims ‘wicked’.

Lord Bramall was unavailable for comment.

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