THE man known as “Nick” whose allegations sparked the Westminster sex abuse investigation has denied charges of perverting the course of justice, and of fraud.

Carl Beech, 51, faced a judge at Newcastle Crown Court by video link yesterday.

Appearing on screen, Beech pleaded not guilty to 12 charges of perverting the course of justice and one of fraud. The charges relate to claims he made that former prime minister Edward Heath, ex-home secretary Leon Brittan and others were part of a VIP child sex ring, and that three boys were murdered. Police launched an inquiry but no one was arrested.

Wearing a blue T-shirt and sporting a thick, greying beard, Beech, flanked by his solicitor, spoke only to confirm his identify and to enter his not guilty pleas before Judge Paul Sloan QC.

At a previous hearing in December, the judge lifted a reporting restriction which prevented the media from identifying the defendant. Beech was remanded in custody to face trial on May 7.