A collection of interesting, and sometimes controversial, press articles and general comments about various
aspects of the case, covering 01 July 2008 to 31 August 2008.
it up to the McCanns, 05 July 2008
Make it up to the McCanns The Sun
(No online link, appears in paper version only)
By Lorraine Kelly
If the Portugese Police really have wound down their bumbling, inept investigation
into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann and have no clue what to do next, then they should make a statement apologising
to parents Kate and Gerry for making them scapegoats and suspects.
They should also hand over what little "evidence" they have gathered to Madeleine's Mum
and Dad and allow them to decide whether
or not to continue the search with the help of private investiagtors.
I desperately hope the Police have learned some lessons from their botched handling of
this tragic case. Because I have a sinking feeling there is a monster on the loose in the Algarve who will strike again.
Maddie factor that will haunt this year's family holidays, 06 July 2008
The Maddie factor that will haunt this year's family
The Observer, Sunday July 6, 2008
The plan was simple. We needed to book a holiday suitable for small children. Which
is how I came to be scrutinising an internet site for a family holiday company. And there, among the sparkling swimming pools,
bobbing lilos and 'boutique spas', promising to melt Mummy and Daddy's credit crunch stress away, even as the prices added
to it, was parent Mecca, a fully staffed, totally legit children's club.
My initial feeling was: 'No way.' Then I thought - maybe there will be some activity she'll want to do.
But I wouldn't want her to go on her own. Just to be on the safe side, I'd go with her. I could sit in the corner reading
a magazine, so long as the creche staff didn't mind. Failing that, I could sit by the entrance for the duration so I could
keep a beady eye on who goes in and out.
It was at this point, staring at the computer screen, my mind buzzing with maternal troubleshooting, that
it struck me - why am I thinking like this, why am I planning to sit in on a kids' club, an establishment specifically designed,
and officially endorsed, to look after your children? It's crazy - cancelling a dinner date to stay home with the babysitter
level crazy. But maybe it's also sadly indicative of what will be Britain's first official post-Maddie holiday season.
Does a Madeleine McCann-shaped cloud hang over British holidaymakers this year? Are parent-tourists doomed
to fly Air Paranoia like never before, maybe even more so than last year when the overriding feeling of shock made everything
feel slightly surreal?
Admittedly, I have never left my children in a kids' club. Not because I'm such a wonderful doting parent,
but because I'm such a bad, neurotic one. I don't care if my five-year-old has a lousy time, so long as she's right there
in front of me having it.
Moreover, while I have never eaten at a restaurant 100 yards from my child's room, I have spent many a
drunken holiday evening lolling about on villa balconies, drinking rough local wine and blasting loud music through my iPod,
to the point where an intruder could probably have got away with demolishing the entire building behind me, never mind taking
one sleeping child.
I tell you this to make it clear that I have no intention of joining the pious chorus that still delights
in tormenting the McCanns with what became the most overasked, unoriginal question of the past 12 months: 'Why did you leave
It's a bit rich, then, when, last week, the McCanns were relieved of their arguido (suspect) status and
the air rang with cries that 'Portugal owes them an apology!' (So that would just be Portugal, would it?) However, the issue
that concerns me here is a wider one, namely that with this latest ripple of the Maddie-effect, may we be seeing the dawning
of yet another dimension of parent-fear?
It seems to me that parent-fear, not finger-pointing or stranger-danger, was always the true heartbeat
of the Maddie case. It explained why everyone cared so much, how a small child became the world's favourite rescue fantasy.
When Madeleine first disappeared, I was staying in deep French countryside and I was still hoping, somewhat irrationally,
to be the one to spot her. What happened to Madeleine dominated the entire holiday. Judging by my recent experience with the
holiday site, maybe the next few too.
This is what one wonders - whether, in a sense, Maddie will be on all of our holidays with us this year,
at least those involving jumpy, paranoid parents like myself. That little figure tearing a giant, ragged hole in our sense
of security, inadvertently throwing a shadow over the sun.
One hopes not, nor does it make sense. Madeleine did not disappear from the children's club at Praia da
Luz. The vast majority of family holidays, some of which quite possibly fall far short of the parenting standards of the McCanns,
unfold without incident. Most important, beaches and pools are not your usual motifs of doom and nor should they ever be allowed
to become so.
After all, even Gerry and Kate announced recently that, for their twins' sake, they intend to attempt
another holiday. At the time, I thought, fair enough. Maddie, the vile situation, not the loved child, was an all-encompassing,
ever-swirling media storm. If anyone needed to escape it, if only for
Barbara Ellen, what on earth are you talking about? The McCanns have NOT been relieved
of their arguido status.
Also, for your information, the case files have NOT been 'closed' or 'dropped', they have been passed
to the prosecutor for a decision on whether to bring charges or not. This is the normal legal procedure in Portugal.
The Policia Judiciaria (PJ) have no control over whether to bring charges against the McCanns. All they
can do, as they have done diligently, is collect and present their evidence and await a decision. That decision rests solely
with the prosecutor.
It would appear unlikely that a charge of homicide will be brought, not because the PJ don't have evidence
that Madeleine is dead but because they are unable to provide evidence to support how, where and why she died. If a homicide
charge is not brought it will remain on file awaiting the possibility that further evidence will come to light.
A charge of abandonment, or neglect, is a very real possibility although it is harder to bring such a
charge in Portugal than the UK. In Portugal it must be proved that the parents 'intended' to leave their children, thus placing
them at risk.
The fact that the McCanns have already admitted that Madeleine cried on the previous evening, YET STILL
went out leaving the tots alone would appear to show wilful abandonment. But, of course, that will ultimately be for the Portuguese
judges to decide, should such a charge be brought.
I very much doubt 'The Maddie factor' will haunt many parents this year. Why should it? There is absolutely
no evidence that Madeleine was abducted other than the word of an unreliable witness whose description of the alleged 'abductor'
is so vague as to catch everyone and catch no-one. Indeed, Martin Brunt, Sky News crime correspondent, has stated that, in
her first police statement, Ms Tanner was not even sure the man she saw was carrying anything!
There are too many people in the media, with little or no understanding of this case, who have taken it
upon themselves to spout forth profoundly. They inevitable fall flat on their faces. I'm afraid, with all due respect, that
you fall into that category.
If you don't really know what you are talking about it is always best to maintain a dignified silence.
Or pick up a holiday book.
Subsequent amendement by Barbara Ellen to the article, 08 July 2008:
'It's a bit rich, then, when, last week, the McCanns were relieved of their arguido (suspect)
status and the air rang with cries that 'Portugal owes them an apology!''
was rewritten as:
It's a bit rich, then, when, last week, the McCanns learned Portuguese police were to close
their file, which should soon result in the relief of their arguido (suspect) status, that the air rang with cries that 'Portugal
owes them an apology!'
and the following footnote added:
· This article was amended on Tuesday July 8 2008. In the article above
we implied that Gerry and Kate McCann have been relieved of their arguido (suspect) status. While the Portuguese police have
announced that they are closing the case, the McCanns's status has not, as yet, changed. This has been corrected.
Malone - News of the World, 06 July 2008
Column News of the World (no online link, appears in paper version only)
By Carole Malone
06 July 2008
Do people seriously think that Portuguese and British cops have kept the file on
Maddie McCann open for more than a year in order to embarrass, humilliate and torture her perents Kate and Gerry?
Hasn't it occurred to anyone (especially the McCanns)that this file has been left open and questions have
continued to be asked because coppers (as inept as some of them have been) really want to find Maddie - preferably alive?
Why should Kate and Gerry get an apology now the case files look like it's about to be closed? It has
always been in their best interests to have it kept open so maddie abductors (or killers) can be found. And by closing the
file the police aren't saying anyone is guilty or innocent. They are simply saying they can't find or prove who took her.
Yes the police have made stupid mistakes. But then so did Kate and Gerry by leaving their children alone
in an unlocked apartment for five nights in a row while they went out eating and drinking with friends. And if the McCanns,
as rumors suggest, are not going to be charged with neglect they ought to be grateful.
Because while those charges might not be brought very often in Britain they are routinely brought in other
european countries, where society and the legal system seem to value kid safety more than we do. (if you think britain cares
about its children ask yourselves why convicted paedophiles are freed by courts to wander among our kids,when even they tell
us thay can't be cured).
The tragedy here isn't Kate and Gerry's hurt feelings over the investigation, it's that Maddie's still
missing - and closing the file means her abductors have got away scot-free.
the police apology to the McCanns?, 06 July 2008
By Fiona McIntosh
06 July 2008
The serial cock-ups by Portuguese police (the Inspector No-Cluesos of Europe) are
only just beginning to come to light.
They have finally cleared the McCanns of any involvement in daughter Madeleine's disappearance (way overdue)
but have handed over shambolic files which show they have absolutely no idea what happened to her. As a source said: "It is
not conclusive nor does it point in any direction...kidnap, murder or the concealment of Madeleine's body."
Every scrap of twobit detective work and dead ends have been left in a box. The only thing missing is
an apology to Maddie's parents who, thanks to the total incompetence and spite of the Portuguese police, will spend the rest
of their lives under a vile cloud of suspicion.
scoundrel, 06 July 2008
06 July 2008
From the very first day Madeleine McCann disappeared the Portuguese police botched
So after failing to find Maddie, let alone her kidnappers, you would think the one thing they have learned
is to button their mouths.
Yet Goncalo Amaral, the Chief Inspector Clueless sacked for incompetence, is still hurling wild and unproven
And that can only be in an attempt to line his grubby pockets by promoting the book he plans to publish
about the case.
No matter how strong both Gerry and Kate McCann are, this tarnished copper's bid to cash in on the tragedy
must still hurt.
If we thought it would do any good, we would appeal to Amaral's better nature to leave them in peace.
But we very much doubt he has one.
Exclusive: Kidnap girl's message of hope to Kate and Gerry McCann, 06 July 2008
Exclusive: Kidnap girl's message of hope to Kate and
Gerry McCann Sunday Mirror
By Deborah Sherwood And Dennis Ellam
These are the words that will give fresh heart to Kate and Gerry McCann this week:
"Don't give up... because miracles DO happen."
It's a simple enough message, but what's important is that it comes from the one person who is living
proof that there will always be hope for missing Madeleine.
As the McCanns wait to hear if Portuguese police have abandoned the search for their daughter, a pretty
young woman called Elizabeth Smart has broken a long silence to talk about her own childhood ordeal.
Elizabeth, 20, reveals how she too was kidnapped in the night and was missing for months on end. She tells
how her parents came under suspicion, just as Gerry and Kate McCann have.
Her case bears striking similarities to the baffling disappearance of little Maddie... but with a final
It ended happily. Elizabeth came home.
"I feel so lucky to be here, to have come through this unscarred," she says. "While I was gone I didn't
know if I would ever be found, but I had hopes and dreams that I would.
They tell me I am an icon of hope. I just wish everyone could be as lucky as I was.
"Madeleine is a beautiful little girl and I can only imagine how her parents must feel, to see the case
closing on their daughter - I feel so heartbroken for them.
"But look at me... I'm proof that good things do happen in this world."
Six years ago when she was 14, Elizabeth went to sleep in the bedroom she shared with her 10-year-old
sister Mary Catherine - and the next morning she was gone. There was no evidence left behind and searches of the countryside
around the family's home in Salt Lake City, Utah, produced not a single clue.
For a while her own parents Ed and Lois were suspects, like Gerry and Kate. And just like the McCanns,
they carried on defiantly, campaigning to keep her face and name in the media.
Missing Elizabeth dominated the American TV networks as speculation raged - where had she been taken,
how had anyone managed to spirit her away, was she alive or dead?
Months later, the police declared they were winding down their investigation.
And then, after nine agonising months, as suddenly as she had vanished Elizabeth was found again.
She was spotted on the street with her kidnapper, 54-year-old Brian David Mitchell, a drifter and a religious
fanatic, who had done odd jobs at the Smarts' home.
The mystery that gripped the country was solved at last, and, little by little, details emerged of her
Mitchell - who called himself the Prophet Immanuel - and his wife Wanda Barzee, 53, had kept Elizabeth
chained to a tree in a camp in the woods, where they starved and abused her.
Amazingly she was held captive just three miles from home - but the massive search of the locality in
the first days of her abduction still failed to find her. Months later her captors took Elizabeth to spend the winter in California,
living in an abandoned trailer. They moved back to Utah in the spring.
"In those nine months they threatened to kill me, and my family too if I managed to escape," says Elizabeth.
"There were several times when I tried, but I couldn't cut through my chains.
"All I had to use was a vegetable knife. I was scared that I might stay a prisoner there for the rest
of my life. I went into survival mode and did whatever was needed to stay alive.
"I reminded myself that no matter what they did or how they tried to change me, I would always be Ed and
Lois Smart's daughter. My parents would always love me - I knew that, no matter what."
The night Elizabeth was kidnapped, Mitchell had crept into the house and seized her at knifepoint. He
must have partly disturbed her sister because months later Mary Catherine seeing flashbacks of him taking Elizabeth away.
Mitchell forced her to walk through the woods in her pyjamas to a makeshift campsite, where there was
no plumbing and little shelter.
When Elizabeth wasn't tethered to the tree, the couple hid her in a hole in the ground, covered with wooden
"I had no idea what was going to happen to me each day," she says. "It really depended on how Mitchell
was feeling, what thought or theme was in his head.
"He didn't strike me or hit me, but there was always the threat that I would be killed. Every time I did
something wrong, he would make my life that little bit harder.
"I was given mostly bread to eat, with the occasional piece of fruit. In all those nine months I wasn't
allowed to take a bath. They dressed me in a white robe and a white headscarf, with a cloth across my face. Often they wore
robes as well - that was all part of their so-called religion.
"Sometimes I heard police helicopters overhead, and people who were searching for me calling my name,
but I was too terrified to cry out."
As Ed and Lois, both devoted church goers, vowed they would never abandon the search for their daughter,
she was enduring a daily struggle to survive.
It was only when months later Mary Catherine started having vivid flashbacks of the kidnap that a new
wave of publicity was started. Pictures of the missing girl and photofits of "Immanuel" began appearing in the newspapers.
Within days, several reports came in that a couple with a girl had been seen on a street in Sandy, 18
miles from Salt Lake City. The girl was wearing a red wig over her tightlybraided blonde hair, and she said her name was Augustine.
When a police officer approached and asked her, "Are you Elizabeth Smart?", she denied it.
But he followed her and asked again, and she replied in the Biblical style of language that her captors
had been teaching her. "If thou sayeth," she nodded.
Elizabeth was safe, and soon in the arms of her overjoyed family.
Two weeks later she took them to see the remote place where she had been a prisoner.
"I felt triumphant - it wasn't a secret any more," she says. "When I was held against my will, nobody
in the world knew I was there. Now nobody could make me hide.
"I'm not sorry any more that this happened to me, because it was an experience that made me grow up."
Today, Elizabeth is at university studying music. When she's home on holiday, she still sleeps in the
same bed where her ordeal began.
She helps to counsel other families of missing children - the same work that her parents took on full-time
through a specialist centre in Washington. Her dad Ed, 53, met the McCanns when they visited the States last summer and they
regularly keep in touch.
Madeleine was abducted at the age of three from her bed in a holiday apartment in Portugal last May where
she was left sleeping with her younger brother and sister while Gerry, 39, and Kate, 40, went to a nearby restaurant.
A worldwide search has failed to find her, and Portuguese police are reported to be about to wind up the
Ed says he really sympathised with the McCanns when they too were suspected of their child's abduction.
At one stage in the search for Elizabeth, police insisted he take a liedetector test.
He says: "I was talking with Kate at dinner one night and she asked me how I kept up hope while Elizabeth
was away. I told her I always believed my child was out there. One day she would walk back into our lives. I never gave up
"Kate feels the same way about Madeleine, and I told her to hold on to that hope - it's the only way."
He has also been able to advise the couple about the strain put on their own relationship.
"The McCanns have become victims on their own," Ed says. "They are keeping strong, but when you are under
this kind of stress it certainly brings out your differences.
"But they are sticking together and keeping a routine for the sake of their other children, just as we
"I know they won't stop until they find their little girl."
After Elizabeth's return, Mitchell and Barzee were charged with kidnap and sexual assault. But they have
yet to stand trial as the legal arguments continue over whether or not they are mentally ill.
"I'd like a conclusion, but on the other hand if they stay in hospital for the rest of their lives then
they can't get to me or anyone else," Elizabeth says. "I do believe that if they were free they would come after me again.
"But I never dwell on the past. They have taken too much of my life already. From the day I came home,
I haven't wasted time looking back."
I thought I'd be a prisoner for ever.. they said I'd die if I escaped
I clung on to the fact that my parents loved me.. no matter what
A case of cruelty, 07 July 2008
It happens less and less these days, simply because
the story of Madeleine McCann is slipping from the news.
But every time that little girl's face appears on the TV screen, our five-year-old daughter looks up and
says exactly the same five words: "Did they find Madeleine yet?"
No, darling, they did not find Madeleine yet. They did not find her dead, and they did not find her alive.
They have looked every day since May 3, 2007, but now they have stopped looking.
The Portuguese police have closed the file and the news has been leaked that no action will be taken against
her parents. That's very big of them.
Some say that the incompetent Portuguese plods should apologise to the McCanns for wasting so much energy,
time and resources on hounding a missing child's parents.
I personally say - what's the point? It's a bit late now. The Portuguese cops were worse than useless
but an apology will not heal the wounds of Kate and Gerry McCann, and will not bring home Madeleine or throw some light on
But of course the case is not really closed. What happened to that little girl is an act of unspeakable
and unimaginable cruelty.
Somebody knows something. Almost certainly more than one person knows something. It's not enough to shrug
and walk away.
No, they did not find Madeleine yet. And until they do, this case will never be closed.
Street of Shame, 09 July 2008
Street of Shame Private Eye (this article appears in paper version only)
Issue No. 1214 11 July - 24 July 2008
Published: 09 July 2008
"If the Portuguese police had a
shred of decency they would now make a public apology to Kate and Gerry," Allison Pearson thundered in the Daily Mail last
week as she recalled the appalling smear campaign to which the McCanns had been subjected by Inspector Knackeros.
"Remember the fluid from a dead body, matching Maddy's DNA, that was supposedly found in the
boot of her parents' hire car? Remember the (false) rumour that Kate had previously suffered with depression? Remember
the well-thumbed page of the Bible, with a text about a dead child, which was taken as evidence that Kate had a guilty
Yup, Pearson's readers probably do remember headlines such as "DNA 'does prove Madeleine's body
was in hire car'" (3/11/07), and reports suggesting that Kate McCann had "sleeping pills or medication for depression" which
could have been accidentally taken by her daughter (14/9/07), and other stories wondering "Why did Kate McCann, who is Catholic,
mark a passage in the Bible which talks about the death of a child?" (25/10/07) - not least because they all appeared in the
Madeleine File Leaked On Web, 22
Martin Brunt, Sky News crime correspondent
July 22, 2008 10:50 AM
I think the McCanns are right not to rush over
to Portugal, given the hostility that still exits here.
A discussion on a Portuguese radio show was mostly critical of them, still unable to get past the
fact they left the children alone in an unlocked apartment.
Even one ex-pat I spoke to says they are surprised the couple are not being prosecuted for neglect.
But what would be the point?
It would smack of sour grapes from a police force who have effectively admitted they blew the investigation.
And it would look vindictive.
It's the start of the high season here and it's scorchio but the resort isn't busy and there's a real
sense of sadness around the Ocean Club complex.
As for apartment 5a, it's still locked up and likely difficult to rent out.
But why on earth hasn't anybody cut the overgrown hedge?
If Hollywood makes a movie, perhaps the producers will buy it. The apartment, that is, not just the hedge.
Oddly enough, I met a woman here who is a Hollywood production manager, the less-than-popular figure who
controls a film's budget.
She insisted she was working on a new Ridley Scott film called Nottingham... Gladiator with deer and arrows
instead of lions and swords... but maybe that was just a cover story.
I think Russell Crowe is more Gerry McCann than Robin Hood.
McCann's parents may never be able to move on, 23 July 2008
Madeleine McCann's parents may never be able to move
By Liz Hunt
Last Updated: 12:01am BST 23/07/2008
The advertisment stopped me short.
I was flicking through the pages of the European edition of a British newspaper last week when I saw it, and I realised that
I hadn’t thought about her for months.
The three-year-old girl with the distinctive gaze, who had so dominated our lives one year ago, had disappeared
from my consciousness just as surely as she’d disappeared from the bedroom of that apartment in Praia da Luz on the
night of May 3.
I was aware of the ongoing machinations of the Madeleine McCann story, of the reported leaks and counter
leaks from members of the Portuguese police as they sought to retrieve some credibility from the debacle of their investigation.
And I knew that Kate and Gerry McCann had taken Madeleine's sister and brother, twins Sean and Amelie,
on the first "incredibly difficult" family holiday since the abduction. But Madeleine had ceased to exist as a real child
She was consigned to the ranks of other tragic victims of unimaginable crimes: Holly Wells, Jessica Chapman,
Sarah Payne. I was genuinely surprised that the people behind the "Look" campaign were still urging the public to be vigilant.
What was the point?
It would serve no purpose other than to raise false hopes with sightings of pretty, blonde toddlers who
might be Madeleine, but who undoubtedly would prove not to be. She must be dead and her parents must surely know it.
Why, I wondered, weren't they using the money raised to help find other missing children as they'd promised
they would do? From the start, I was a fervent supporter of the McCanns; I hadn't been persuaded from that position, despite
the "bodily fluids" in the car boot and the "sniffer dogs of death" who put Kate in the frame.
I hadn't even blamed them for leaving their children alone in the apartment as they dined in the nearby
Tapas restaurant. I know too many parents who had done exactly the same on similar holidays.
Nevertheless, that page in the newspaper gave me pause. Now, one week on, after watching Kate on Monday
evening, reading that short, halting statement at a press conference in their hometown of Rothley, Leicestershire, I better
understand something of the McCanns' persistence.
Despite the return to the work, the holidays and the semblance of normality, it is clear from their fragile
demeanour that they have not moved on at all.
The fact that the Portuguese police have shelved the investigation, and that they have been cleared of
any involvement in their daughter's disappearance, is irrelevant. The police were incompetent and the McCanns knew their own
The only significance of the announcement is that they now have access to the files that may, just possibly,
help them achieve their goal. Which is still to find Madeleine – or at least to find out what happened to her, who took
her and why.
Because, for the McCanns, until they learn otherwise, she's still their little girl, who gathered balls
for her father on the tennis court and who giggled as she dangled her feet in the pool in the hours before she was taken.
This time last year, certain people were possessed by a kind of madness that had them believing that the
McCanns had accidentally killed their daughter and then attempted to cover it up.
How ashamed we should be that we ever gave licence to such thoughts. But give it a day or two and I warrant
that the critics will be out again, calling on the couple to step back and move on, in their own interests, of course, and
those of Sean and Amelie.
As we learned this week, this is not an option for Kate and Gerry. Perhaps it never will be.
People: Is this the best way to help Maddie?, 25 July 2008
Platell's People: Is this the best way to help Maddie? Daily Mail
Last updated at 10:01 PM on 25th July 2008
Few who saw Kate and Gerry McCann's press conference
can fail to have been deeply moved as they responded to the news they had been cleared as suspects in their daughter Madeleine's
With a face like stone to hide a breaking heart, Gerry sat clutching his wife's hand under the table.
'It has been devastating to witness the detrimental effect being named as suspects has had on the search for Madeleine,' Kate
But there was more than sorrow behind those tear-filled eyes. For the first time since their daughter
went missing, there was bitterness, too.
'It is hard to describe how utterly despairing it was to be portrayed as suspects,' she said.
One can understand her anger at being falsely named as 'arguidos', but surely this should have been the
end of that part of their torment. Finally they have been exonerated, and at last they are free to pursue their search.
Instead, the McCanns seem set on revenge. Revenge against the Portuguese police who launched the biggest
missing child investigation in its history. Revenge against the former head of the investigation, Goncalo Amaral, over his
book about Madeleine, even though he has already been sacked, discredited and disgraced.
And revenge against the media - yes, the same media that with the help of hired PRs they used
ruthlessly, relentlessly and understandably to try to keep their daughter's face in the public eye. How sad. Their PR Clarence
Mitchell insists: 'The only thing they care about now is finding Madeleine.' So surely this is the time to go up a gear in
that quest and not allow themselves to become bogged down in lengthy compensation cases. How does that help to find Madeleine?
Little wonder so many ordinary people - the very ones they rely on in the search for their
daughter - are asking if this quest for retribution is in Madeleine's best interests.
It wasn't just their precious daughter that was missing at Monday's press conference, but also any reference
to their own behaviour on that dreadful night when they went out wining and dining and left their beloved children untended
in an unlocked holiday flat.
My own view has always been that the McCanns deserve the greatest sympathy for their loss, but the public
increasingly is not so understanding.
If the couple were now to spend as much time campaigning against the dangers of parents leaving children
alone as they are apparently spending trying to seek financial recompense, then the nightmare of Madeleine's disappearance
might have one positive legacy.
Madeleine McCann: Reversed Investigation, 26
Madeleine McCann: Reversed Investigation Jornal de Notícias (no online link, appears
in paper edition only)
Talking with Pinto da Costa - Forensic Medicine Expert
26 July 2008
Thanks to Joana Morais for translation
In the book 'The Truth of The Lie' Gonçalo Amaral, the PJ coordinator who was
removed from the 'Maddie Case' has no doubts about the death of the girl. Pinto da Costa follows his considerations.
Specialist in Forensic Medicine, Pinto da Costa supports the thesis followed by
Gonçalo Amaral, which points to the death of Madeleine McCann. The professor does not understand the reason why the analyses
done by the British laboratory are not conclusive and he manifests the conviction that, soon or later, the truth will be known.
The biggest problem, according to the President of the Portuguese Section of International Transparency [sic], resided in
the incorrect way the investigation was carried out. Pinto da Costa understands that the death hypothesis should have been
pursued since the beginning.
Do you believe in the thesis defended by Gonçalo Amaral, according
to which Madeleine McCann died accidentally in the night of her disappearance?
It does seem possible that
that has taken place based on the circumstances of the cadaver dogs who signalled [death triggers] the existence of a cadaver
and, also of blood with the genetic profile of the girl.
The English Laboratory said the analyses
are not conclusive...
What the Laboratory concluded was that, in a total of 19 alleles [genetic markers],
15 are present in the sample examined. In Portugal, in order to guarantee the authenticity of progeny [descendants, children],
that is, in the paternity tests we use 15 alleles. Therefore, the results obtained by the British Laboratory are extremely
significant. Thus, they seem, pertinent in the consideration that the child could have died in the apartment. Another hypothesis
is that she could have died outside and then the body was moved inside [the apartment].
there, in Portugal, technical capacity to do this kind of analyses?
Yes, they could have been done in Portugal.
I believe that either the Scientific Police Laboratory of the Judiciary Police or the various Forensic Medicine Institutes
have the conditions to perform them. That did not happen possibly for the reason that the persons at issue were of English
The explanation given by Gonçalo Amaral, that the corpse was frozen or preserved
in cold, for more than 20 days, also seems plausible?
What I believe is that the body was not totally decomposed.
There are situations when the cadaver is preserved more or less without adding any substance, like ice, for example. Besides,
we should not forget that this is the body of a child and not of an adult, who decays more rapidly.
you believe the Truth will be discovered?
Yes, when all entities involved are at a distance. When the midwives
fight, the truths are discovered. [Portuguese proverb: "Zangam-se as comadres, sabem-se
as verdades."]. The process has so many contradictions that, it is impossible to have one truth.
what exactly is at the origin of so many contradictions?
The fact that the investigation started incorrectly.
It should have started with the exaggeration of the positive and with the assumption that the child was killed. Even because
the existence of maltreatment is a reality and in these cases, the number one suspect is the father, not the stepfather, the
uncle or any other person. At another side, the scene should have been put immediately in custody to avoid its violation,
because the examination of the scene is fundamental. The parents presented the abduction hypothesis, but those who do a criminal
investigation have to have their 'heads cold' ['cuca fria'- meaning open and objective mind], as they say in Brazil, and cannot
deviate from the essential. The investigation was done in reverse.
Note: Professor Pinto da Costa was
the Director of the Portuguese Forensic Institute [INML] for several years.
Only McCanns know full pain of never-ending
story, 27 July 2008
If you find the ambiguity hard to live with, imagine the trauma the McCanns have
to endure, writes Eilis O'Hanlon
By EILIS O'HANLON
Sunday July 27 2008
THE tragedy of Madeleine McCann has been one of
milestones. The first 24 hours since her disappearance; the first week gone by; the naming of the first suspect, Robert Murat; the slow turning of the spotlight on to the little girl's parents; the passing in May of the first fruitless
year of searching; and now, the official lifting of the arguido status put on Kate and Gerry McCann,
and Murat himself for that matter, by the Portuguese Attorney-General.
It's difficult to know where the story can go from here.
The police in Praia da Luz obviously have one
answer to that question: nowhere. They have officially wound up their investigation. Barring new evidence, they're giving
up on the search for the little girl. Wherever Madeleine is and whatever happened to her, they
have concluded they will never find out, unless a miracle, a confession or plain old-fashioned luck does the job for them.
The McCanns are threatening legal action to force the police to go on looking
for their daughter -- and who wouldn't? Whatever money has been raised by the Find Madeleine campaign and spent sending private
investigators after every lead, however slim, is no match for the resources and expertise of a proper police force, even one
which has mishandled the investigation as thoroughly as the Portuguese did this one.
But it still feels as if an ending of sorts has been reached. The disappearance
of Madeleine has become a part of history. That's probably a shocking indictment of the shortness of our collective memory
-- but, reprehensible or not, it's true. The internet obsessives will keep the flame burning a little longer, having determined
long ago not to let a little thing like the facts stop them witch-hunting Kate and Gerry; but even they will give up eventually.
We'll forget about Madeleine until the next sad milestone: the second anniversary,
say, or the third, fifth, 10th; her name will be one which passes fleetingly across our consciousness as the months and years
pass, an irregular reminder of a sorrowful few months in the summer of 2007 when it was impossible to open a newspaper or
turn on the television without seeing her smiling face gazing innocently back.
Kate and Gerry McCann are not celebrating the fact that they're no longer
official suspects. "Hugely relieved" was how the couple's spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, described
their mood, "but we will not be getting the balloons out".
Part of the reason for that is surely because they understand better than
anyone that a bridge has been crossed. This was always the risk they ran. In order to keep Madeleine's name and image in the
public imagination, they had to make themselves part of the story. For her, they turned into media commodities, but in so
doing increasingly found that they were becoming the story. Now that their part has come to a conclusion of sorts with the
lifting of the cloud of suspicion hanging over them, there is practically no story left, except the initial one about a missing
child, and that ran out of media steam a long time ago.
The one glint of hope for the McCanns is that they now have access to the
files gathered by the Portuguese police in the course of the investigation. Their best, if unlikely, hope is that there will
be something there which has hitherto been overlooked. More probably, there might be a few curious snippets of background
information which could be given to the media to keep the hunt for Madeleine in the headlines for a few more days at least.
But even if there was, a few more days might be an optimistic assessment.
Not so many months ago, the almost insultingly brief statement by Portuguese Attorney-General Fernando Pinto Monteiro, bringing the shutters down on the Madeleine investigation, and the subsequent reaction of her parents, would
have dominated the media for days on end, unceremoniously pushing all other stories out of the way.
Last week, it was Madeleine who was quickly shoved aside to make way for
former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic's arrest, or Obama Barack's
premature lap of honour around a besotted, fawning Europe.
It's even possible to detect a certain awkward air of embarrassment in the
latest coverage, akin to the shamefaced way in which some of the more fervent Diana worshippers look back on the hysteria
which followed the death of the so-called People's Princess. Perhaps in retrospect, the all-consuming power for a while of
the Madeleine McCann saga will come to seem as emblematic of its time as the mass outbreak of angry sentimentalism that erupted
With one crucial difference. The death of Diana and the subsequent mourning
had a beginning, a middle and an end. Madeleine McCann was all beginning and middle. The end never materialised.
I still think that's why people were so eager to believe the worst about
Gerry and especially Kate McCann -- because that would have brought the story to a close and allowed
the watching audience of millions to move onwards and upwards to the next big thing.
Having invested so much emotional energy into the story, they were cheated
of closure, so turned ruthlessly on the two people who potentially could have given it to them.
And that's why there's still such an unwillingness among many to accept that
the McCanns' names really have been conclusively cleared. Take the Portuguese statement at face value, rather than deciphering
it for clues that Madeleine's parents really were guilty of her murder and are only being exonerated because they have powerful
friends who put pressure on the authorities in Praia da Luz, and what it means is that there still isn't closure and there's
precious little prospect of there ever being so. It means living with ambiguity.
Well, if that's what it's like for casual observers whose only contact with
Madeleine came through Sky News and the Daily Express, it beggars belief how traumatic the not
knowing must be for her parents. For the sake of their daughter, they went along with the media desire to cast them as the
equivalent of housemates in a gruesome version of a reality TV show and, like all Big Brother wannabes who start out believing
they can control how they're portrayed, they found out that the format was bigger than them and that their parts had already
You could see it as a warning to other parents who find themselves in a similar
position not to repeat the same mistake -- except that the McCanns' is a fate you couldn't wish on anyone, however metaphorically.
Besides, any parent whose child went missing probably would blunder into the same errors, as well as adding a few of their
All Kate and Gerry did from the start, after all, was try to find their daughter.
That they became bigger hate figures in some people's eyes than the man who took Madeleine away and, in all probability, murdered
her, says more about our society's dysfunctional attitude to the celebrities it craves and simultaneously seeks to destroy
than it ever did about them.
Absent cops fail McCanns, 27
MAN OF THE PEOPLE
27 July 2008
Like Kate and Gerry McCann, I've had dealings with the Portuguese police.
Unlike Kate and Gerry, I was only trying to report a burglary - not the theft
of my child.
One of the things obvious to anyone dealing with the police on the Algarve
is the sorry fact that no matter what you have lost, there simply isn't enough of them to begin tracking it down.
That may be one of the worst twists of fate in what happened to Madeleine
- that tragically, she went missing in the wrong place.
Flores’ opinion article, 27 July 2008
27 July 2008
Thanks to 'astro' for translation
The truth of the
"Wasn't there an incapable director around, one of those who climb at the
cost of servilism?"
The book that had been promised by Gonçalo Amaral was sold out within hours. Those who have
read it, or who are going to read it, will understand that there were all sorts of reasons not to accept the information that
was circulated by the English televisions, that Maddie had been abducted, as the only one. If we go through the book in parallel
with the PJ's final report, we definitely realise that it was materially impossible for her to be abducted.
abductor had entered through the door and then became stupid and left with the child through a half opened window, which had
forced him to pass by the beds of the other sleeping children – that continued to sleep through the chaos of the search.
As a matter of fact, if he left onto the street at the time when the witnesses say it happened, and taking into account the
depositions that they gave concerning the checks on the children, he had to pass between the father, friends who chatted,
who came and went. The book confirms a lot of what we have written here, along so many pages. The technical procedures do
not differ from case to case.
They follow protocols that are informal, but so routinely that it is not necessary to
be there in order to understand what is happening. Gonçalo Amaral's team fulfilled them all, except one. He is generous when
he assumes that mistakes, which were not his. Or at least, it was not only his. Gonçalo admits that he erred when, during
a first phase, he handled the couple with extra caution. It is a mistake and a big one. But was it him who decided it to be
that way? Wasn't there an incapable director around, one of those who climb at the cost of servilism, giving that type of
order? The fearsome are afraid of power first, and only then of death.
A case that was communicated by the English
government, with the mediation of ambassadors, has forcefully to have a weak director in the middle, who mediated between
the servilism before those who give the orders, and the despotism towards those who obey him. I foresee that in defending
his honour, by exposing the truth that many wish was a lie, Gonçalo Amaral has not said everything. Even by assuming the mistake,
he gave his body to the bullets, in order to defend his institution. I may be wrong, but one that knows the routines of investigation
also presumes to know the mechanisms of subordination.
A final word for Mr Mitchell: the best that he found to say
was that the book is a pretext to make money at the little girl's expense. Coming from him of all people, his life has been
nothing else, recently. People who cannot distinguish between a pound and the right to defend one's honour. They sell themselves
for any price. In Mr Mitchell's case, for a good price, it is said.
Lawyer attacks tabloid 'pack-dog' mentality over stories, 28 July 2008
Lawyer attacks tabloid 'pack-dog' mentality over stories Press Gazette
By Patrick Smith
28 July 2008
Robert Murat's lawyer has invited the editors
of newspapers that libelled Robert Murat to experience first hand the effect on his family of their "pack-dog" style attacks.
Louis Charalambous, from Simons Muirhead and Burton, represented Murat in the action which was brought
over nearly 100 "seriously defamatory" stories.
Eleven tabloid newspapers settled with Murat last week, who won £600,000 over stories which wrongly suggested
he was linked to the abduction of missing child Madeleine McCann.
The newspapers, all tabloids, were: The Sun, News of the World, The Daily Mirror, The Sunday Mirror, Daily
Star, Daily Record, Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Mail, Evening Standard and Metro.
They agreed to pay damages, plus costs, and to print apologies. The Scotsman printed an apology earlier
this year and paid no damages.
Two other claimants in the same case, Sergey Malinka and Michaela Walczuch, were awarded apologies and
a "substantial six-figure settlement" thought to be at least £100,000 each, from the newspapers for other stories which wrongly
linked them to Madeleine's disappearance.
Charalambous told Press Gazette: "Having to capitulate, apologise and pay up is not the end of it. The
trust in those titles ebbs away among their combined readership of 15 million.
"In particular, readers of The Sun, Mirror, Express and Star were told lie after lie about my clients.
It brings into question how much more of their paper’s news coverage they can rely on."
Charalambous criticised the herd mentality of papers following each others' libellous stories. "There
was a pack-dog mentality here and my clients and their families were the prey. The children of Robert and Michaela, little
girls, one not much older than Madeleine, were hounded and had to go in and out of their homes with coats over their heads.
"I'd like to invite the editors of the worst of these titles to have tea and cake with them and explain
why they let their journalists and photographers harass them. They are now recovering but the effects are long-lasting."
The lawyer expressed regret that the four newspapers groups' behaviour may not change as a result of the
ruling and said scrapping the Press Complaints Commission could be an answer, to make way for a "an Ofcom-type body set up
to impose swingeing fines on papers which just don’t give a damn", he said.
Charalambous suspected that newspapers' in-house lawyers would have made their objections to the libellous
stories, "but their voices would have been drowned in the stampede to move the story forward".
"Journalistically this was a story without legs: child goes missing, no idea of her fate and foreign coppers
not leaking to their trusted hacks in the time-honoured way," he said.
"Reporters then developed lines of the story and 'creatively' adopted the rubbish coming out of the Portuguese
Charalambous said that some reporters covering the McCann story helped Murat and were rewarded with interviews.
He added: "Libel concerns fly out of the window when it's a big story - especially in a crime setting
– and anything and anyone is fair game.
"They damage journalism in the process, which is deeply depressing because we have some of the finest
journalists in the world here. Private Eye calls it the Street of Shame. Never has that been a more appropriate title than
Not enough money
Max Clifford, who for eight months represented Murat and his family for free, said the pay-out should
have been even bigger.
He said: "If you think that the McCanns got £500,000 from one newspaper group, he went after 11 newspapers
– and they were far more vicious to him than they were to the McCanns."
He said the Murat case received little publicity compared to the McCanns' suit against Express Newspapers
or Max Mosley's current battle with NoW because so many different publishers are involved.
"With the Express, they were one lot so everyone gave them a kicking but because all of them are guilty
with Robert Murat you hardly read a thing.
"If you want people to believe you are innocent you can forget about it. He and his family are going to
have to live with this for the rest of their lives."
The 'judicial secrecy' and the press' 'lies', 28 July 2008
The 'judicial secrecy' and the press' 'lies' Expresso
Henrique Monteiro, chief editor
28 July 2008
Thanks to 'astro' for translation
Who lied in the
Maddie case? The answer lies in what is told by former inspector Gonçalo Amaral. All the fantastic and never proved theories
that a certain press has spread are in his book. And they remain without any evidence to sustain them.
Amaral must be a man who is full of himself. He was responsible for a calamitous investigation in the 'Maddie case', but according
to the balance that he does, everyone is to blame except for him.
According to Gonçalo, the blame lies with the fact
that the McCanns' apartment was not preserved, with the British police that did not fully cooperate, with the journalists
that stood in the way, with Her Majesty's government that pressured, with the Portuguese government that let itself be pressured,
with the prosecutors, with the PJ's directors, with the conspiracy of the powerful and – if he is allowed to continue
unloading – it will hit the CIA, the Masonry, Opus Dei, the Trilateral, Bildberg and the Pope, the usual suspects of
the conspiracy theories that circulate on the internet.
The same inspector must not be inhibited (not to mention being
ashamed), because after the suspicions that befall him due to the conduction of the 'Joana case' (another missing girl, whose
mother, who was condemned over her death, accuses the PJ of torturing her) and the disaster of the 'Maddie case', he pretends
to be a national hero and the holder of the truth, against everything and against everyone, and he maintains an absurd theory
that does not resist a minimally structured analysis.
Amaral probably didn't think about the fact that it does not
become him to talk and to write in detail about a process which – despite having been widely abused – is still
under judicial secrecy, either. Or that it does not become him to be a judge in his own cause.
But the most interesting
about the former inspector's book is that we get to know where the famous 'lies' from the media that everyone talked about,
came from. Finally, we can verify that the most unbelievable theories came out of that illuminated brain. And that certain
newspapers, lacking a better option, published them without contradicting, without investigating, without logics and without
But Gonçalo continues to state his 'conviction' that Maddie died in the apartment. He must have inherited
from medieval justice, this notion of 'conviction' without evidence; or from Alice, by Carrol, the idea that first the criminal's
head is cut off and then the trial is done; or from 'The Foreigner', by Camus, the fixation in the importance of the criminal's
"facies" or the fact whether one does or does not cry in front of death.
The lawful state bases itself on evidence,
beyond doubt. The notion that innocence prevails over guilt – when there is no evidence to the contrary – is what
separates civilization from barbarism.
Unfortunately, there are remains of barbarism among us. Until very recently,
it headed the PJ in Portimão. I hope he was the last one.
Paradise lost for tourists, 02
security, bungling cops and paradise suddenly turning into hell - the horrific murder of the Antigua honeymoon bride has echoes
of the Madeleine McCann case.
The holiday brochures sell these sunshine
destinations as heaven on earth.
But everything that makes them attractive
- the laid-back attitude, the heat, a police force that enjoys an afternoon nap - make them bad places to be when the real
world kicks the door down.
And this is what the horror in Antigua
shares most with the case of missing Maddy - it is a crime so unspeakable that it changes the way we look at the world.
If a honeymoon couple can be shot in the
Caribbean, and if a child can be stolen from the Algarve, then where on earth is safe?
Catherine Mullany will never return from
her honeymoon. Her husband Ben is braindead. Maddy McCann is still missing. We would all love to believe that the wicked world
we know at home goes away for a week or two when we are on our holidays.
We are clearly kidding ourselves. The
Caribbean is a poor, hard place. As you sip your rum punch, or watch the polite school children in their smart uniforms, or
when you see how full the churches are on a Sunday morning, it's easy to tell yourself otherwise.
But beyond the decency of the local people,
and beyond the end of your sunbed, there is poverty, crime and - increasingly - resentment.
I think the incompetent cops of Portugal
are at least partly responsible for the fate of Madeleine McCann.
It is tempting to lash out at the laid-back
security at the Antiguan hotel where Ben and Catherine were staying. But surely that relaxed, mellow vibe is the point of
these sunny havens.
In Portugal, it cost Kate and Gerry McCann
their daughter. In Antigua, it cost Catherine and Ben their marriage, their future and their lives.
There is another crime that gets committed
on a daily basis in the Caribbean. A vast amount of money flows into the region from the tourist industry.
But I have never seen any evidence that
much of it reaches the locals. These holidays don't come cheap. So why are the locals living on peanuts?
Carole Malone opinion piece, 03 August 2008
Opinion piece News of the World (no online link, appears in paper edition only)
03 August 2008
GONCALO Amaral, the Portuguese detective whose bungling contributed much to messing up the hunt for Madeleine
McCann, has written a book about her disappearance.
Shouldn't he be doing a diet book instead?
Madeleine McCann, 28 August
My post yesterday "Looking for Israel's Madeleine:
Rose Ron disappears" had a misleading title. It could imply that I think Maddie's parents killer her. As Rose's grandfather
allegedly killed Rose. (Although no body has been found to confirm this.)
I never for a nanosecond thought this.
I used the blog headline because international newspapers used similar headlines. The only similarities between Rose and Maddie's
stories are: they were the same age when they disappeared and both stories are big.
I felt the tragedy of Maddie's disappearance.
I followed the story very closely - not only because I work on a newspaper, but because, as a mother, I felt the pain so intensely.
What a terrible thing to happen: come home and find your little girl's bed empty. No trace of her whereabouts. Your life would
My little girl was born on the same day
as Maddie. I still dream that she will one day return to her parents Gerry and Kate McCann - unharmed, just a year or so older.
Yesterday's blog to
which this relates:
The mysterious disappearance
of Maddie, 29 August 2008
The blog of Georges Moréas for the French newspaper, Le Monde
29 August 2008
Thanks to 'AnnaEsse' for translation
Madeleine McCann, called Maddie, was nearly four years old. On the evening of May 3rd 2007, she disappeared from
her bedroom in a luxury tourist complex, the Ocean Club, in the south of Portugal, where she was supposed to have been sleeping.
No one knows what has become of her
since. Recently, the press echoed a statement from the Portuguese prosecutor: case closed. This news is probably unfounded.
How can a magistrate, a police officer, allow the closing of a case without thinking of the victim, a child, almost a baby.
And if she were alive!...The confusion comes, no doubt, from the order that there were no grounds to prosecute the three suspects.
The Ocean Club tourist complex is a collection of buildings comprising a residential block, two restaurants, the Tapas and
the Millennium, tennis courts, beach, etc.
On this evening, the McCanns are dining with their friends at the Tapas restaurant. At around 10pm, Kate McCann gets
up from the table to go and see her children, as she usually does, to reassure herself that everything is fine. Her two little
ones, the twins, are sound asleep, in their cots, in the living room*. Her daughter's bedroom door is not closed, which surprises
her. She goes in: the window is open, the shutters are raised, Maddie has disappeared. (*It does say, "salon", and appears to be saying that Madeleine is in a different room from the twins. I have translated
as it stands.)
She rushes back to the restaurant to alert her husband. Together they go back to the apartment, accompanied by their
friends, and they only arrive at the obvious. So, they set out to explore the surrounding area.
This is the situation discovered by
the first police officers on the spot. Everything leads them to believe that the child has run off. She may not be far away.
Searches are organised.
Shortly afterwards, the PJ director
for Lisbon, receives a call on his mobile phone from the British ambassador. His caller asks him if he is aware that a British
child has disappeared.....He goes into action. You can imagine the torrent of phone calls that follows this intervention.
FINDINGS: There is no disorder in the bedroom where the child was sleeping. The bed is not disturbed. There
is no evidence of a break-in, neither on the window, nor on the shutters, nor on the door. A local enquiry turns up witnesses,
Irish holiday-makers, who say that shortly after 10 o'clock, they saw a man carrying a child, whose description corresponds
perfectly to Madeleine's: face, hair, clothes. Now there is hardly any doubt: this is an abduction. The alert is put out.
INVESTIGATION: The PJ officers collect witness statements from hundreds
of people, and as a priority, from the parents and their friends. Very quickly, they come across certain contradictions between
them. For example, a woman states that she went past the apartment earlier in the evening and noticed that the bedroom shutters
were closed. But, Kate McCann states the window was open and the shutters pushed
up. And the investigators find no evidence of tampering.
Furthermore, the shutters can only
be opened from the inside. Can you imagine an individual entering by the door, using a picklock, and going out through through
the window, with his victim, after having opened the shutters? And also, the child's bed is not disturbed, as though no one
has slept in it. Intrigued, the police officers examine the mobile phones of each of the McCanns: the call history has been
erased. Astonishing to think of emptying the memory of your mobile phone when your child has just been kidnapped! But the
PJ officers are struggling to do their job. The pressure quickly becomes unbearable.
Little Maddie disappeared on the Thursday
On the Friday, the British ambassador,
John Buck, is on the spot, accompanied by big-shot police officers and lawyers. And on the Saturday, three British police
officers arrive in their turn, in theory to assist their Portuguese colleagues. The contact is not good. The local police
officers feel belittled. However, having been involved with the training of Portuguese police officers, I can guarantee that
they have no reason to envy either the French or the British - except perhaps certain technical resources.
The working conditions are as follows:
150 Portuguese police officers, three British police officers, authorities, diplomats, and journalists...everywhere. Not the
ideal for an investigation. On the Saturday, the PJ director from Faro, tells the press: "It is an abduction." At the same
time the McCann couple launch their desperate appeal before the television cameras. It is even said that the police are holding
a sketch of the kidnapper, but it will not be published to avoid putting the child's life at risk. A little late, no, to think
of the young victim!
During this political, media-staged
bustling, the head of the investigation, Commissioner Gonçalo Amaral begins to entertain another possibility. He thinks the
McCanns' behaviour is not, "natural." Otherwise, why refuse to participate in a reconstruction of the evening? He finds that
certain witness statements do not correspond and that it is becoming impossible to determine where anyone was at any time.
Thus, an implausible detail emerges when the Irish witness indicates that after seeing Gerry McCann on television, he positively
identified him: this was the man he saw with Maddie in his arms, on the Thursday, at around 10pm. Yes, but at that time, the
child's father was in the restaurant with his friends...
Amaral is skeptical. He feels that
there is a certain degree of connivance amongst this group of friends. Would they be lying? He goes back to the initial findings
and he examines the places from a different angle - as he would do it for a crime scene. The little girl's death becomes the
working hypothesis for the investigators.
EVIDENCE OR PRESUMPTIONS: A suspect is arrested. He is a British national living a hundred metres
from the leisure centre. I will not give his name as he has taken action against newspapers which said, "certain things,"
about him, and the press barons backed down. It is said that he banked 750,000€.
Meanwhile, dogs trained to detect certain odours, notably those of blood or cadavers, are brought
in. They detect traces inside the apartment, in the couple's bedroom and in the dining room; as well as outside the building.
More disquieting, the dogs alert on the child's soft toy and on clothes belonging to her mother. The dogs are placed near
a car rented by the McCanns , and they sniff suspicious odours there too. But this vehicle was actually hired after the little
girl's disappearance! On the other hand, the dogs detect nothing, either in the car of the British man under investigation,
or at his home.
The vice tightens on the McCanns.
places marked by the dogs, minute organic fragments are gathered for DNA comparison with Madeleine's (from samples of saliva
on her bed covers). The analyses are done in Great Britain. When the results come out, there is no longer any doubt: There
are 15 identical markers in the two DNAs. It is the little girl.
At the beginning
of September, the McCann couple are placed under investigation, but left at liberty. The press reports that they are suspected
of having concealed their daughter's body after an accidental death - there is talk of the administration of a sedative that
was too powerful (the parents are both doctors) - and that they would have got rid of it (the body) afterwards by
transporting it in a vehicle rented for that purpose.
Meanwhile, this case has taken on an international dimension. The McCanns have called the English Prime Minister
Gordon Brown and the investigation is followed more closely by the governments of both countries. The press is unleashed.
The parents set themselves up as the victims of a bigoted, even backward, police force. The British newspapers really lay
into the investigators, who are looking at the parents instead of searching for the missing child. The English police officers,
who are involved with the investigation (and who, in theory, have no power to intervene) do nothing to put things right. The
public is gripped by this mysterious story - charged with emotion. A support fund is set up. Brian Kennedy, an American Millionaire
offers his services.
takes on the costs of the lawyers and the private investigators. It's even said that he goes to meet some of the witnesses.
Does that have anything to do with the fact that afterward most of them refused to go back and participate in a reconstruction?
The atypical Virgin boss also puts his hand in his pocket. It is interesting to note that all this energy, all this money,
is essentially used to defend the suspects.
New DNA research is carried out by the forensic laboratories in Birmingham, taking the opposite
view to the first evaluation. It is said that the samples harvested (by the Portuguese police) were allegedly mixed...
Commissioner Gonçalo Amaral requests another other evaluation. Impossible, the English tell him, the samples
have been destroyed, or lost, we don't exactly know, by the laboratory. Amaral can't take any more. All this hooha, this persistent
pressure from the bosses, political authorities, the media, is preventing him from working properly. He is taken to task,
criticised, watched closely... Even his British colleagues are causing trouble for him. Exasperated, he lets go in the press.
It is a mistake, because his bosses jump at the chance. He is transferred.
Amaral has written a book, "The Truth of the Lie," which is out now in Portugal. Bet there will be some interesting details
in it. At least if it is translated into French. Will the press, already scalded by this case, pick up on it? Not certain!
The McCanns have clearly implied that their lawyers were ready to take action.
To go back to the DNA, in France, unless I am mistaken, 13 identical markers between two DNA
profiles, is sufficient in law. So, if the events had taken place here, first of all the evaluation would not have been done
in Great Britain, but in a French laboratory, and then the McCanns would have been placed under investigation and most certainly
placed in preventive detention - and only the judge would have been able to decided on a second evaluation.
Which goes to show that scientific evidence, even the most
sophisticated, doesn't depend on a mathematical formula, but on human judgment.
THE BEHAVIOUR OF THE PARENTS:
I must say that the behaviour of the McCanns compared to that of other parents placed in such a painful situation is....different.
From the start, they looked down on the Portugiese police officers. They lied on certain points and right away, they looked
for support from their country's authorities. As if they felt threatened! Were they caught up in the media machine? The support
fund which they set up (and which can be found on Google's business pages) collected around 1.5 million euros. However, one
of the first expenses incurred by that fund was to make two monthly payments concerning the purchase of their house. It is
said that 600,000 euros was paid out to settle the fees of private detectives, who turned out to be crooks. One of them even
stated that he had infiltrated a Belgian paedophile network... In their defence, they have guaranteed that they have not used
that money to pay the fees of the lawyers who are covering their defence.
These folks have mobilised around themselves so many people, so many of the smart set we might
say, from politics and business... that we can only wonder. Are they part of a network? Of a lodge? Of a sect? Of a clan?...
THE STATE OF THE INVESTIGATION:
The McCann couple not having requested the continuation of the investigation, it is officially over. As things stand, there
is a 4 year-old kid, probably dead; and three suspects who have been let off. One, the neighbour, suspected because of his
past, but against whom there seems to be no evidence; and the parents...
There is evidence that they lied in their first statements to the police, notably about how they
spent their time, apparently in connivance with their friends. They couldn't explain the presence of traces of blood or cadaver
odour, particularly in the vehicle they had hired, three weeks after the events. Even if in law the second DNA evaluation
negates the first, it is not entirely convincing. The experts are happy to conclude that they cannot use the gathered samples
they were sent, because they were contaminated. And even if we consider that the two evaluations were contradictory, which
one should we believe? The destruction of the samples makes any confirmation impossible.
after this hullabaloo, Maddie joins the long list of missing children.
Everyone can think what they like, but Portuguese law considers that there is no charge against anyone, not any proof, not
any evidence. They have, "archived," the case, as they say there.
is astonishing. But I believe it's a good way to start over in a more calm way. In fact, nothing is stopping the investigators
from, "discreetly," continuing their investigations. Portuguese procedure allows the reopening of the case at any moment,
if someone brings a new element to it.
is striking in this case, is that there is a lot of talk about money and very little about the young victim. Finally, one
of the suspects pocketed 750,000 € handed over by certain newspapers to avoid action for defamation, and the other two,
the parents, have collected 1.5 million euros in a support fund. Not to mention the money spent by wealthy patrons. As for
the Portuguese police officers, they were ridiculed.
must stick in their throats... I'll bet they are not ready to forget it.
Maddie: Secrets of the Dossier, 30
By John Boland
Saturday August 30 2008
Extract from TV review column:
(...) Then I switched channels.
I should have done the same with Maddie:
Secrets of the Dossier (TV3), though I stayed with it because: a) a home-made documentary from TV3 is a rare sighting and
b) it was so boring and meaningless that I was too numbed to reach for the remote.
At the outset, writer-producer Jerome
Hughes promised revelations about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, who, according to the solemn-toned narrator, was
"the most recognised missing person in the world". Well, least recognised, I'd say, given that nobody has yet found her. But
let that pass because apparently TV3 was about to give us the lowdown on the "secret files" compiled by the Portuguese police.
These files, in fact, are now in the public
domain, but let that pass, too, because TV3 assured us that it was about to reveal sensational new information. Except, of
course, that there was nothing of the remotest interest to reveal, and so the filmmakers resorted instead to trawling through
footage we'd all seen and heard a zillion times before during the relentless media coverage of this case.
To pad matters out even further, the makers
enlisted a couple of Irish experts, including retired garda Michael Kirwan, whose specialist subject, in the words of Basil
Fawlty, was the bleeding obvious. "Every sighting has to be checked," Michael informed us. "There's a possibility," he later
told us, "that the kidnappers panicked and killed the wee child." Gosh, I hadn't thought of that one. At the end the narrator
conceded that "we still do not know what happened to Madeleine McCann, why she disappeared or where she is now". But he didn't
tell us why TV3 thought this worthy of an hour-long programme.
to Nigel at