A man accused of falsely claiming a group of public figures murdered three boys had been shown images of potential victims by a BBC journalist, a court has heard.
Carl Beech, 51, told police one of the images was of a boy he had claimed was killed by the former MP Harvey Proctor.
In an interview read to jurors, he said the image made him feel like somebody had “pulled my heart out”.
Mr Beech denies 12 counts of perverting the course of justice and one of fraud.
Mr Beech, formerly from Gloucester and called “Nick” by the press when he first made the claims, is accused of lying about rapes, kidnapping, false imprisonment and sexual abuse by a group of public figures, including Mr Proctor, former Conservative prime minister Sir Edward Heath, and ex-spy chief Sir Michael Hanley.
His claims led to the Metropolitan Police’s £2m Operation Midland, which ended without any charges.
Jurors at Newcastle Crown Court heard Mr Beech met BBC reporters Tom Symonds and Tom Bateman, and a retired social worker, Peter McKelvie, on 21 November 2014 – weeks after he had told the Met about the three supposed murders.
In a police interview in January 2015 to discuss Mr Beech’s interactions with the reporters, Mr Beech said he had met them “to see what they could do”.
The court heard Mr Symonds had already interviewed the defendant at an earlier date.
In his interview, Mr Beech told Det Sgt James Townly that Mr Symonds asked if he could show Mr Beech two images on an iPad.
Mr Beech had said the first was of an Asian child who had been in the press, but “meant nothing to me”.
But he told Det Sgt Townly that he was caught “unawares” by the second image and “had to leave the room”.
He had said the boy “looked familiar” and seeing him was “like somebody had reached inside and pulled my heart out”.
Mr Beech said he did not discuss the image with the reporters and they did not say who the boy was.
He told police the image was of a boy he alleged was stabbed and strangled to death by Mr Proctor in about 1980.
The court heard Mr McKelvie subsequently sent Mr Beech an article from the Times about a child called Martin Allen, who went missing in 1979.
The article, dated 26 November 2014, discussed whether Martin Allen may have been one of the boys allegedly murdered by those under investigation by Operation Midland, jurors heard.
Mr Beech told police the first time he heard Martin Allen’s name was when Mr McKelvie sent him the Times article.
But the court heard it was accepted that two days before the BBC meeting, Mr Beech’s work computer had been used to search for and access a newspaper article that had discussed whether VIP abusers could be linked to Martin Allen and a murdered Asian child called Vishal Mehrotra.
When Mr Beech emailed Det Sgt Townly about the article sent to him by Peter McKelvie, the detective replied saying: “Until we are ready to show you pictures of missing children from that period we are not linking the two.”
He added: “Having said that, once we’ve seen Tom Symonds and seen the pictures he showed you that may well take us to this enquiry, if indeed it was a picture of Martin Allen he showed you… until we see that picture we won’t know who it is.”
Defendant ‘very nervous’
Jurors also heard from the Met Police’s only e-fit specialist, who told the trial he met the defendant on 3 November 2014 in order to produce likenesses of the second and third alleged murder victims.
Det Con Tony Barnes said that during a decade in the role, which involves creating more than 300 e-fits a year, it was the only time he created images of alleged victims of crime, as opposed to suspects.
He told the court Mr Beech “appeared very nervous” during their meeting.
Jurors were shown the e-fits produced by the officer of a brown-haired boy Mr Beech said was killed by Mr Proctor, and of a boy with a blond fringe who was said to have been beaten to death by three abusers.
Det Con Barnes told the court a colouring issue when the e-fits were printed meant one boy’s hair had a purple tint while the whites of both of the boys’ eyes appeared blue.
The trial continues.