The purpose of this site is for information and a record of Gerry McCann's Blog Archives. As most people will appreciate GM deleted all past blogs from the official website. Hopefully this Archive will be helpful to anyone who is interested in Justice for Madeleine Beth McCann. Many Thanks, Pamalam

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Colin Sahlke and Stephen Taylor*

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Colin Sahlke (left) and Stephen Taylor search a drainage tunnel in Praia da Luz
Colin Sahlke (left) and Stephen Taylor search a drainage tunnel in Praia da Luz

Ex-soldiers Colin Sahlke and Stephen Taylor give up their jobs and fly out to Praia da Luz, on 20 May 2007, to search for clues to Madeleine's disappearance.

Whilst there they meet with Gerry McCann, but apparently find nothing of interest to the investigation.

Mr Sahlke is later found dead by his landlord on 19 April 2010.

Searchers head off in hunt for Maddie, 17 May 2007
Searchers head off in hunt for Maddie Pendle Today

Published on Thu May 17 16:15:55 BST 2007

A NELSON dad is hoping to form a search and rescue team to help find British child Madeleine McCann, who was abducted in Portugal.

Father-of-five Stephen Taylor (32) is looking for the help of any ex-armed forces members willing and able to help with the ground search across Portugal and into Spain.

People all over the world have been touched by the heartbreaking news that four year-old Madeleine, from Leicestershire, was taken from her bed in the Praia da Luz apartment while her parents ate in a nearby restaurant.

Ex-infantry soldier Mr Taylor, of Leeds Road, said: "I've got five children myself, including a little girl who is the same age as Madeleine with blonde hair and blue eyes. I look at her and think what would I do in that situation.

"Ideally, I would like to hear from ex-armed forces trained in search and rescue and people that have basic survival skills. People who come forward need to be serious about getting time off work and be prepared to self-fund themselves."

Mr Taylor, originally from Leeds, is joined by ex paratroop Colin Sahlke (46), also of Nelson, who will fly out to Portugal with him this weekend.

Mr Taylor said: "We've got flights to Portugal this Sunday so hopefully we can try and set up a base camp and get in touch with the police over there and the family to get more information.

"I've already been in touch with Leicestershire police and I'm hopeful we may get the offers of some spare kit from a local TA base for the people joining us, even if it's just sleeping bags and water bottles."

Anyone who is interested in joining the team should call Stacey at the Nelson Leader office on 612561.

Former paratrooper's search for Madeleine, 25 May 2007
Former paratrooper's search for Madeleine Telegraph & Argus

Stephen Taylor and Colin Sahlke
Stephen Taylor and Colin Sahlke

4:18pm Friday 25th May 2007

A former Keighley paratrooper and his pal have started their own personal search around the Portuguese village where Madeleine McCann was abducted.

Colin Sahlke, 46, and Steve Taylor, 32, are scouring rough ground and abandoned buildings around Praia Da Luz hoping for a breakthrough more than three weeks after the four-year-old went missing.

Mr Sahlke and Mr Taylor say they are not interested in rewards but just want to help find Madeleine.

The pair say their aim is to at least help restore the McCanns' "faith in humanity".

Mr Sahlke has given up his rented flat and has sold possessions to raise £5,000 to fund their endeavour.

Since Sunday, kitted out in full army surplus gear including desert camouflage, with compasses, maps and binoculars they have been searching areas close to Praia Da Luz fanning out from the coastline to waste ground inland.

Mr Sahlke, who has two children, lost his 18-year-old daughter Debbie six years ago in a car accident.

Mr Sahlke said: "A few years ago I lost my daughter and if I could give something back, if we even restore the McCanns' faith in humanity, it is a start.

"The pair have met the McCanns in Praia Da Luz and explained what they were doing.

Mr Taylor, who is a father of five, said: "I can't imagine even an inkling how they are feeling.

"We are here to help find or put pressure on the people who know where Madeleine is to either give her up or leave a clue."

The former infantryman met Mr Sahlke while the pair were working at a shower factory in Nelson and both have given up their jobs for the search.

The pair say they are trying to search in places where no one else has searched.

Madeleine police: 'We have a suspect', 25 May 2007
- Extract -

'Confirmation that British investigators were on the ground coincided with the arrival of two men who say they are former British soldiers and have come as freelance volunteers to carry out searches of abandoned buildings and rough land. Yorkshiremen Colin Sahlke, 46, and Steve Taylor, 32, have met Madeleine's father, Gerry McCann, in Praia da Luz. They said they were funding themselves and were interested in the missing girl's welfare rather than the £2.6m of reward money currently on offer.

A spokesman for the McCanns said the ex-soldiers were not being paid by the Find Madeleine Fund, and had been advised to coordinate anything they were doing with the Portuguese police.'

-----------------

Madeleine police: 'We have a suspect' Guardian

Giles Tremlett in Praia da Luz
Friday 25 May 2007 19:33 BST


Portuguese police searching for Madeleine McCann today released a description of a man seen carrying a child or a large object on the night the four-year-old went missing.

The girl's parents, who welcomed the release of the description, spoke emotionally earlier of how the guilt they feel at leaving her alone "will never leave us".

At a press conference tonight, the detective leading the investigation, Chief Inspector Olegario Sousa, told journalists: "We have a suspect. He is a Caucasian man, 35 to 40 years old, medium build, 5ft 10in tall, hair mainly short, wearing a dark jacket, light or gold trousers and dark shoes.

"At around 21:30 he was walking in the area of Praia da Luz possibly carrying a child or an object that could have been taken as a child."

The inspector urged anyone with information on the man to call the police.

He refused to say whether police believed he had had any contact with Robert Murat, the Briton widely thought to have been interviewed earlier this month by detectives as an "arguido" - a formal suspect.

"This description was told to us by a witness in the case," Mr Sousa said.

"We are confident with the images we have of the child we will be able to find her. Sadly at this moment we haven't been able to reach her."

Asked why the description had not been released earlier, he replied: "If we didn't do it before it's because we didn't feel it necessary at the time."

Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, earlier gave their first formal interview in which Mr McCann said: "The guilt we feel having not been there at that moment will never leave us."

But Mr McCann said the chances of their daughter going missing from the safe Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz were "100 million to one".

His wife, Kate, said that at worst they were guilty of being "naive". The couple refused to criticise the police investigation, but Mr McCann did say they had expected a "British response" when they reported their daughter had vanished.

"But we're in a tiny resort. It's an on-going investigation working very closely with a lot of expert help," he said. "Many people say this is a parents' worst nightmare and it is. It's as bad as you can possibly imagine. But if all three children had been taken it will be worse than your worse nightmare," he said.

"Ultimately we need to be in control so we can help in any way possible." Mrs McCann told Sky News that they could not consider leaving the resort yet. After the first week Mr McCann said they were "devoid" of emotion but had been buoyed by support from friends, family and the wider public. "Out of an evil act has resulted so much," he said.

Earlier, it emerged British police have taken a more active role on the ground in the investigation into Madeleine's disappearance. Experts have begun working around the holiday apartment in southern Portugal where the she went missing three weeks ago. Police would not say which British force had sent the two specialists, who could be seen taking measurements and walking around with plans of the crime scene in Praia da Luz.

Eyewitnesses said they had been measuring the windows of the apartment where Madeleine and her two-year-old twin siblings, Amelie and Sean, had been left sleeping by her parents on the evening of May 3. They were also reportedly seen walking between the Ocean Club holiday complex, where the McCann family had been staying, and the nearby home of Robert Murat, the only formal suspect in the case. Mr Murat has strongly protested his innocence.

A spokeswoman for the Association of Chief Police Officers said the experts were helping on "technical matters and aspects of the investigation".

The British Child Exploitation Online Protection Centre is already using photo recognition software to analyse holiday snaps from people who were in Praia da Luz around the time Madeleine went missing. Leicester police are also running a parallel incident room that is feeding information gathered in Britain to the Portuguese police.

A spokesman for the McCanns said they would welcome extra help in the case. "The family has been saying throughout that everything that should have been done in the immediate area has been done. Part of that would be rechecking," he said. "Certainly the family will be very pleased to know that examination of the immediate area is ongoing."

Confirmation that British investigators were on the ground coincided with the arrival of two men who say they are former British soldiers and have come as freelance volunteers to carry out searches of abandoned buildings and rough land. Yorkshiremen Colin Sahlke, 46, and Steve Taylor, 32, have met Madeleine's father, Gerry McCann, in Praia da Luz. They said they were funding themselves and were interested in the missing girl's welfare rather than the £2.6m of reward money currently on offer.

A spokesman for the McCanns said the ex-soldiers were not being paid by the Find Madeleine Fund, and had been advised to coordinate anything they were doing with the Portuguese police.

Madeleine, whose case is slowly fading from media coverage, became the most prominent face of International Missing Children's Day yesterday. Figures from the National Missing Person's Helpline show that between May 3 and May 15, 450 young people were reported missing in the UK. Home Office estimates show 210,000 people reported missing in Britain each year, with up to two-thirds of them under the age of 18. Initiatives across Europe under consideration include a plan by the European commission for a single telephone number - likely to be 116 - on which to report missing or sexually exploited children.

Ex-soldiers launch search for Maddy, 26 May 2007
Ex-soldiers launch search for Maddy Yorkshire Post

Published Date: 26 May 2007
Last Updated: 25 May 2007 11:13 PM


Two Yorkshire ex-soldiers have embarked on their own personal search mission around the village where Madeleine McCann was abducted.

Colin Sahlke, 46, from Keighley and Steve Taylor, 32, from Leeds are scouring rough ground and abandoned buildings around Praia Da Luz hoping for a breakthrough more than three weeks after the four-year-old went missing.

Mr Sahlke and Mr Taylor say they are not interested in rewards but just want to help find Madeleine.

The pair say their aim is to at least help restore the McCanns' "faith in humanity".

Mr Taylor, who is a father of five, said: "I can't imagine even an inkling how they are feeling." Describing the pair's mission he said: "We are here to help find or put pressure on the people who know where Madeleine is to either give her up or cock up and leave a clue." The former infantryman met Mr Sahlke while the pair were working at a shower factory in Nelson and have both given up their jobs for the search.

Mr Sahlke has also given up his rented flat and has sold possessions to raise £5,000 to fund their endeavour.

Since Sunday, kitted out in full army surplus gear including desert camouflage, with compasses, maps and binoculars they have been searching areas close to Praia Da Luz fanning out from the coastline to waste ground inland.

Mr Taylor said he was inspired by the sight of four-year-old Madeleine on television and contacted his friend, an ex-Paratrooper, to organise the mission.

He said: "I was just sitting in the living room seeing my youngest daughter Katie-Ann, who is two months younger than Madeleine, running around in a t-shirt and shorts and I was thinking what if that was one of my children?"

His friend, who has two children, lost his 18-year-old daughter Debbie six years ago in a car accident.

Mr Sahlke said: "A few years ago I lost my daughter and if I could give something back, if we even restore the McCanns' faith in humanity, it is a start."

The pair met the McCanns yesterday in Praia Da Luz and explained what they were doing.

The official search was called off around a week after Madeleine's disappearance on May 3.

The pair are financing the operation themselves with help from donations from friends and family and well-wishers.

Colin Sahlke and Stephen Taylor searching in Praia da Luz, May 2007

Colin Sahlke and Stephen Taylor search around Praia da Luz

Colin Sahlke and Stephen Taylor search around Praia da Luz

Colin Sahlke and Stephen Taylor search around Praia da Luz

Colin Sahlke and Stephen Taylor search around Praia da Luz

Colin Sahlke and Stephen Taylor search around Praia da Luz

Colin Sahlke and Stephen Taylor search around Praia da Luz

Colin Sahlke and Stephen Taylor search around Praia da Luz

Colin Sahlke : Obituary, 30 April 2010
Colin Sahlke : Obituary Pendle Today

Published in the PendleToday.co.uk on 30th April 2010
(Distributed in Nelson)

This notice has had 377 visitors and has 2 candles.

SAHLKE

Colin On Monday, April 19th, 2010, suddenly at his home, Colin, David, aged 48 years, of Nelson, formerly of Earby, dear son of Elisabeth and the late Helmut and brother of Yvonne, Rosita, Peter, Robin and Connie

Service and cremation took place on Thursday, April 29th at Skipton Crem- atorium. Donations may be made if desired to Pendleside Hospice, c/o Briggs and Duxbury's Funeral Directors, The Butts, Barnoldswick. Tel. 01282 812384.

Colin Sahlke : Obituary

Death mystery of Nelson man after Maddie hunt, 07 October 2010
Death mystery of Nelson man after Maddie hunt This Is Lancashire

RIDDLE: Colin Sahlke sold up in 2007 to help in the search for missing toddler Madeleine McCann.

By Jon Livesey
11:07am Thursday 7th October 2010

A FORMER soldier who left Pendle to search for missing toddler Madeleine McCann died in mysterious circumstances after returning home to Nelson, an inquest heard.

Ex-paratrooper Colin Sahlke sold all his possessions around May 2007 to raise £5,000 to fund a trip to Praia de Luz with pal Steve Taylor, so they could join the hunt for the missing youngster.

The pair, who united while working at a shower factory in Nelson, met Madeleine's father Gerry before they searched the coast and waste ground around the resort for clues.

But Burnley Coroner's Court was told that by the time Mr Sahlke returned to East Lancashire, he was drinking heavily and lived latterly in a flat in Carr Road.

His body was found by his landlord on April 19 after he got no response at his front door, the inquest heard.

Dr Zuhir Twage, a consultant pathologist, conducted post-mortem tests on the 48-year-old, which showed he had a blood alcohol level equivalent to having drunk 12 cans of beer.

But Dr Twage also found a significant amount of morphine in his system and said that this, combined with the effects of the alcohol, had caused the death.

Former partner Christina Ellis, who had ended their relationship shortly before Mr Sahlke's death, said that while the deceased had a recognised drink problem, he never smoked or took illegal drugs.

The inquest heard that Mr Sahlke was on a number of prescription medications, including the painkiller Tramadol, but nothing which contained morphine.

Recording an open verdict, East Lancashire coroner Richard Taylor said there was no evidence as to how Mr Sahlke had come to take morphine, but he could not ignore the medical finding.

"We will never have that explanation that we would want," added Mr Taylor.

Before he set out for Praia de Luz, Mr Sahlke told how he still felt the loss of his 18-year-old daughter Debbie, who had died in a car crash six years earlier.

He had two other daughters.

Tragic death of ex-para who joined in hunt for Madeleine McCann, 11 October 2010
Tragic death of ex-para who joined in hunt for Madeleine McCann Pendle Today

Published on Mon Oct 11 16:29:52 BST 2010

FRIENDS and relatives of a Nelson man who died from a combination of morphine and alcohol poisoning said they were mystified how the drug got into his system.

Mr Colin Sahlke (48), of Carr Road, was found dead in his flat by his landlord on April 19th.

Ex-paratrooper Mr Sahlke and another ex-soldier, Stephen Taylor, flew out to Portugal three years ago to help in the search for missing British four-year-old Madeleine McCann.

An inquest at the Coroner's Court in Burnley heard from his partner of three years, Christina Ellis, who said it was clear Mr Sahlke had been drinking too much.

She said: "He tried to keep it hidden but it put a huge strain on our relationship. He'd spent time in hospital and found life very difficult.

"I ended the relationship three weeks before he died. The last time I saw him was the day before, when he was drinking in the Station Hotel. He would drink all day but only took prescribed drugs."

A post-mortem examination carried out by pathologist Dr Zuhair Twaij found a very high level of alcohol in Mr Sahlke's system plus morphine in his blood. He gave the cause of death as morphine toxicity exacerbated by alcohol consumption.

Miss Ellis added: "Colin never took heroin or morphine so I don't know how that got into his system. He'd made threats to harm himself in the past and once threatened to throw himself off the multi-storey car park in Nelson."

Recording an open verdict, East Lancashire Coroner Mr Richard Taylor said: "Somehow this drug got into his system. The normal way would be by injection but there was no evidence of a needle site.

"However, we can't avoid the fact it was in his system. I have no evidence, though, that his death was related to an intention to take his own life.

"I've no doubt he had a huge tolerance to alcohol and his drinking was not accidental. The presence of morphine is unexplained and we will probably never have an explanation. When people are depressed they do things they don't normally do."

With thanks to Nigel at McCann Files

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