The outrageous Paedos In High Places panic has ruined the lives of many prominent men and their families.

Innocent individuals have been falsely accused of heinous crimes and left dangling in legal limbo for years.

We’re all familiar with the scandalous police inquiries into unfounded sex allegations against politicians such as former Tory Prime Minister Edward Heath, ex-Home Secretary Leon Brittan and war hero Lord Bramall, a distinguished past head of the Armed Forces.

But what I hadn’t realised until last weekend was that the fall-out from the insanely zealous investigation, heavily influenced by Labour’s Nonce Finder General Tom Watson, had extended far beyond its Establishment targets.

When he's not trying to shackle our free Press, or cosying up to the odious Max Mosley — from whom he has accepted £540,000 in donations — Tom Watson can be found pursuing a deranged vendetta against senior Tories he accuses of sex crimes. 

When he's not trying to shackle our free Press, or cosying up to the odious Max Mosley — from whom he has accepted £540,000 in donations — Tom Watson can be found pursuing a deranged vendetta against senior Tories he accuses of sex crimes. 

When he’s not trying to shackle our free Press, or cosying up to the odious Max Mosley — from whom he has accepted £540,000 in donations — Tom Watson can be found pursuing a deranged vendetta against senior Tories he accuses of sex crimes. 

In a harrowing interview in Saturday’s Mail, Sue Reid spoke to a young couple caught up in the madness who were threatened with the prospect of their baby daughter being taken away from them.

Their only ‘crime’ was to live in a two-bedroom flat in the same building as ex-Conservative MP Harvey Proctor, who was wrongly accused of three counts of murder, child sex abuse and male rape.

In February 2015, police and social services turned up at the property, on the Duke of Rutland’s estate in Leicestershire, and ordered Adam and Charlotte Coxon to move out immediately.

The couple were told that if they didn’t comply, three-month-old Francesca would be taken into care. To emphasise that this was no empty threat, a social worker had brought along a child’s car seat for that very purpose. Charlotte, 23, said: ‘The [police] officer made it clear we had no choice but to get out because Francesca was in danger from Harvey.

‘We said Harvey was our friend and we were happy living with him in the same building. We had separate flats under the same roof and only shared a kitchen.’

We’re all familiar with the scandalous police inquiries into unfounded sex allegations against politicians such as former Tory Prime Minister Edward Heath

We’re all familiar with the scandalous police inquiries into unfounded sex allegations against politicians such as former Tory Prime Minister Edward Heath

We’re all familiar with the scandalous police inquiries into unfounded sex allegations against politicians such as former Tory Prime Minister Edward Heath

Terrified, though, they did as they were told. Adam Coxon said: ‘I think the threat of losing our baby was made to frighten us so we would get out of Harvey’s house quickly.’

The couple were asked if they knew Proctor had been convicted in 1987 of gross indecency with two men under the age of 21. That was before the age of homosexual consent was lowered to 16. The Coxons replied that of course they knew, ‘everyone did’.

Their enforced eviction was the prelude to a full-scale raid, straight from the Jimmy Savile squad songbook, which lasted for 15 hours. It’s a wonder the police didn’t invite along a BBC helicopter camera crew. Adam and Charlotte’s ordeal is detailed in legal papers prepared for Proctor, who is suing Scotland Yard and his accuser for £1 million damages.

The allegations, like all those levelled against others snared by this ludicrous investigation, were made by a notorious fantasist — a middle-aged man we are still only allowed for legal reasons to refer to as ‘Nick’.

Credulous police swallowed wholesale Nick’s bogus claims of murder and rape by an alleged Establishment sex ring. A senior officer described them as ‘credible and true’, without a shred of evidence. They even appealed for more ‘victims’ to come forward.

The inquiry, called Operation Midland, eventually closed without a single arrest, but not before police mounted a series of typically heavy-handed raids, which dragged the reputations of innocent men through the mud and left their loved ones distraught.

Coincidentally, after news of Proctor’s lawsuit became public last week, the head of that inquiry, Assistant Commissioner ‘Fat Pat’ Gallan, announced her retirement. There was no mention, curiously, of Operation Midland on the otherwise laudatory press release.

Nick himself is now awaiting trial for committing child sex offences while police were treating him as a victim. He may also be charged with perverting the course of justice and fraud.

But although he will have to answer for his actions in court, the real villain of the piece has got away scot-free and continues to enjoy a high-profile political career. Few people would ever have heard of Nick, had it not been for Watson, now Labour’s deputy leader.

When he’s not trying to shackle our free Press, or cosying up to the odious Max Mosley — from whom he has accepted £540,000 in donations — Watson can be found pursuing a deranged vendetta against senior Tories he accuses of sex crimes.

He has repeatedly smeared leading Conservatives, dead or alive, as serial murderers, rapists and child molesters. It’s why I dubbed him The Nonce Finder General, imagining Watson leading a torchlit procession down Whitehall, burning suspected Tory sex fiends at the stake.

ZOO CLOSURE

Twycross Zoo, near Leicester, was forced to close at the weekend after a gibbon escaped from its enclosure.

Visitors were corralled into a restaurant and the gates were locked while Darwin, a Siamang gibbon, was recaptured.

The Siamang is the largest of the gibbon family, with an arm-span of around five feet.

While gibbons have been known to lash out in captivity, there are no reports of human fatalities.

Puzzled visitors were initially told that the zoo had been closed because of a ‘health and safety’ emergency.

Elf’n’safety? At this rate, it won’t be long before all zoo animals, including gibbons, are forced to wear hi-viz jackets and hard hats at all times. In the event, Darwin got bored after ten minutes and turned himself in.

A couple of years ago, a gorilla who escaped from London Zoo drank five litres of undiluted blackcurrant squash while he was on the loose.

Given the heat, Darwin was probably only popping out to buy an ice cream. 

He worked in tandem with a thoroughly discredited, and now defunct, Left-wing ‘news’ agency run by a former Guardian journalist, which was pushing Nick’s claims. 

He was the prime mover behind the Paedos In High Places witch-hunt, claiming that there was a ‘powerful paedophile network linked to No 10’ during the Thatcher years.

He compared Leon Brittan to Jimmy Savile and said the former Home Secretary was being protected by a high-level cover-up. Brittan died before he could clear his name. At one stage it seemed as if Scotland Yard and the Crown Prosecution Service were taking their marching orders directly from Watson.

While encouraging Nick to press his lurid, utterly fictitious allegations, Watson has generally hidden behind parliamentary privilege to accuse Conservatives of serious crimes.

His mud-slinging is shamelessly politically motivated, designed to cause maximum damage and embarrassment to his hated Tory opponents.

But what about Adam and Charlotte Coxon and their daughter Francesca? Presumably Watson considers them collateral damage, fair game, casualties of war.

Serves them right for choosing to live in a flat above a disgusting ex-Tory MP on the estate of a thieving aristocrat, eh?

Watson could not have known that his crusade to discredit Conservatives would lead to a blameless young couple being threatened with having their baby taken into care.

But that’s not the point. The threat to the Coxons may have come from the police and social services, but it was incubated in the putrid climate Watson’s witch-hunt had created.

I’m no lawyer, so I don’t know whether Proctor could extend his £1 million lawsuit to include Watson. Or whether the Coxons can also sue for damages.

Nor do I know if Watson’s role in promoting Nick could warrant him, too, facing charges of conspiring to pervert the course of justice. What is certain is that he has abused parliamentary privilege and played a key role in destroying the lives of a considerable number of entirely innocent men and their families.

Perhaps someone could dust off that arcane charge of committing ‘misconduct in public office’ which the authorities have found so convenient in recent years.

If such a charge can be brought against civil servants who pass true information to journalists, then surely Watson — who has been spreading lies and smears while serving as an MP and Opposition deputy leader — must have a case to answer.

Watson’s day of reckoning is long overdue. It’s high time the Nonce Finder General was thrown on the bonfire he helped to stoke.

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