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

Note: This site does not belong to the McCanns. It belongs to Pamalam. If you wish to contact the McCanns directly, please use the contact/email details campaign@findmadeleine.com    

Scotland Yard Investigation - May 2014*

MCCANN FILES HOME BACK TO GERRY MCCANNS BLOGS HOME PAGE PHOTOGRAPHS
NEWS REPORTS INDEX MCCANN PJ FILES NEWS MAY 2007
 

Daily Mirror, 05 May 2014
Daily Mirror, 05 May 2014

Maddie McCann clue: Police hunt British paedo who was nearby when Madeleine went missing, 03 May 2014
Maddie McCann clue: Police hunt British paedo who was nearby when Madeleine went missing Daily Mirror

May 03, 2014 23:52 By Russell Myers

Sicko Roderick William Robinson has been on the run for more than a decade and now sources say he could have vital evidence about a suspected paedophile ring

Dangerous: Robinson after his arrest in Thailand

Dangerous: Robinson after his arrest in Thailand

Police are hunting a British paedophile who was in Portugal at the time of child sex attacks linked to the Madeleine McCann case.

Roderick William Robinson, 77, was first arrested while lying low at a rundown campsite on the Algarve in 2010. He had been on the run for more than a decade.

Sources close to the latest Madeleine McCann investigation have indicated that British ­detectives believe he could have vital evidence about a suspected paedophile ring.

The ring operated across the Algarve at the time three-year-old Madeleine was snatched in Praia da Luz in 2007.

A source said: "Roderick Robinson is a ­notorious and dangerous sex offender. He has shown a pattern of disturbing behaviour ­wherever he has travelled.

"He may have vital information which could shed light on the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. He is wanted on an international arrest warrant after failing to notify British police of his whereabouts and it is vital he is found without delay."

After Robinson's arrest in 2010 he was ­extradited to Australia where he was wanted for raping an eight-year-old girl in 1998. After agreeing to a plea deal he was convicted of indecently assaulting the child and sentenced to six months in prison.

Within weeks of his release the former oil rig worker fled to Thailand but three months later he was deported back to Britain after Thai authorities found out about his past.

He moved to Brighton, east Sussex, and was made to sign the sex offenders register. But in June 2012 he went on to sexually assault two girls, aged five and seven, on a yacht. This led to another conviction but, despite his past, his 12-month sentence was suspended for two years. Within weeks he changed his name by deed poll and fled to the Far East.

Scotland Yard detectives are currently ­investigating 18 possible linked break-ins at Algarve villas by a lone intruder between 2004 and 2010. Six have come to light since an appeal by UK detectives last month, with five of those involving alleged sex attacks on British girls.

Overall, nine of the 18 break-ins involved assaults on British girls, aged six to 12. Three took place in Praia da Luz.

The attacks stopped at around the time Robinson was deported from Portugal.

He was first arrested by Portuguese police at a campsite in Olhao on the Algarve, 60 miles from Praia da Luz. He associated with other ­paedophiles in the area around the time Madeleine vanished.

A source said: "These are questions that could have particular significance in the ­disappearance of Madeleine McCann.”

When he was deported from Thailand, Robinson told a reporter: "I'm a marked man for the rest of my life which won’t be very long."

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "We do not comment on ongoing investigations."

British tourist's burglary clue that could help Madeleine McCann mystery, 04 May 2014
British tourist's burglary clue that could help Madeleine McCann mystery Sunday Express

A BRITISH woman who caught sight of a burglar in the Algarve town where Madeleine McCann vanished is offering to help Scotland Yard detectives.

By: James Murray
Published: Sun, May 4, 2014

A British woman saw burglars in Prala da Luz[PA]

Receptionist Dawn Turp was 17 when burglars struck at her family's holiday home in Praia da Luz twice in five months.

She saw one man from the back and got a good look at his getaway car, a silver Ford Ka.

In the first burglary in 2001 she saw a man leaving with stolen items in a towel.

Dawn, 29, said: "He was foreign looking, possibly Portuguese, with short dark hair.

"I didn't get a look at his face but I will never forget the Ford Ka bubble car he got into.

"As soon as he got in, it roared off, so I think there must have been a driver."

A Ford KA similar to the getaway car [NC]

Five months later Dawn and her friend awoke to find phones, cash and credit cards had been taken from their bedroom.

Dawn said: "It could well have been the same people who burgled us before, they seemed to know the layout."

Scotland Yard revealed recently that an intruder sexually assaulted a 10-year-old girl in Luz in 2005.

It believes that attack and a series of other sexual assaults on British children in Algarve resorts could be linked to Madeleine's abduction in 2007.

Yesterday the widow of potential suspect Euclides Monteiro, a worker at the Ocean Club from where Madeleine vanished, said he was questioned about Algarve sex attacks before his death in 2009.

Maddie probe anger, 04 May 2014
Maddie probe anger Daily Star Sunday (paper edition)

 
Daily Star Sunday, 04 May 2014

 

SEE PAGE 7

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

Maddie: Portuguese police blast Brit cops and DENY arrests will be made soon
Daily Star

PORTUGUESE police have blasted Brit detectives over their handling of the Madeleine McCann investigation.

By Neil Chandler & Tracey Kandohla / Published 4th May 2014

PRAYERS: Gerry and Kate McCann laying a floral tribute at a special prayer service yesterday [PH]

 

Yesterday marked exactly seven years since the little girl vanished from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz on the Algarve.

But at a special prayer service in the McCanns' home village of Rothley, Leics, dad Gerry, 45, said he and wife Kate had been buoyed by the Scotland Yard probe.

He said: "They are going back out to Portugal very soon. They are chipping away and there is new evidence.

"We are going to continue hoping we get a happy outcome – and one day we will know what's happening."

But the Portuguese have accused the Metropolitan Police of going on a "media offensive" over the case. They say leads recently publicised by the Met are "very flimsy".

And they say claims about imminent arrests are not true.

A well-placed source said: "They're pulling their hair out in relation to recent allegations by the Met.

"They're very angry the ­British police have gone on a media offensive.

"Furthermore, the information is not consistent with the information they have."

Last year, Portuguese authorities agreed to re-open the probe into Madeleine’s 2007 disappearance after a review by the Met.

In January, British police suggested three burglars were prime suspects.

The source said: "The Met have sent them three letters saying they want to interview the three burglars...they've had those letters quite a long time.

"The Portugese are ­saying 'We have got it but we won't be doing that tomorrow, not soon, not in the near future will we be acting on that. This is our investigation and we won't be acting on the Met police stuff (any time soon)'.

Relationships (with the Met) are so poor, they felt the Met would be better off building a relationship with them than going out doing press."

In March, the Met appealed for information about a sex attacker linked to 12 break-ins in the Algarve.

Five young girls were said to have been sexually assaulted during four of the raids.

In an update last month, the Met said the appeal had yielded information on six more incidents, including an attack on a girl in Praia da Luz two years before Madeleine vanished.

The suspect, they said, was "smelly" and "pot-bellied" and it was reported that arrests might be made soon.

STILL MISSING: Gerry and Kate pray for the save return of their daughter, pictured. [PA]

But our source said the Portuguese police believe the information publicised by the Met is "very flimsy" and claimed they had not shared the leads with them.

"The Portuguese are saying if your young girl has been assaulted while you are on holiday, why not report it then or at least as soon as you get home. If it's a serious allegation of sexual assault, why not report it at the time?

"They are not saying these things didn't happen but they are saying 'Why is it all coming out now?'

"They don't know even the nature of these indecent assaults and it is all very flimsy.

"The Portuguese are saying lines of inquiry they (the Met) have aren't ones brought to our intention and the relationship is very poor, this is a Portuguese investigation and the idea of imminent arrests isn't true."

Yesterday a tearful Kate, 46, told villagers at the low-key outdoor prayer service: "We are still battling, still hoping, still searching for Madeleine."

She added: "The past seven years have been so difficult and painful."

World Exclusive: Maddie cops to start digging up resort, 04/05 May 2014
World Exclusive: Maddie cops to start digging up resort Daily Mirror (paper edition)

 
Daily Mirror, 05 May 2014

 

Gerry and Kate braced for worst as new search planned

BY RUSSELL MYERS
in Praia da Luz
Monday, May 5, 2014


British police are to launch extensive digs at the Algarve resort where Madeleine McCann vanished seven years ago.

Parents Kate and Gerry re bracing themselves for their worst nightmare as the bid to find the youngster could become a hunt for her body.

A family source said: "It will be a heartbreaking time for them."

FULL STORY: PAGES 4&5

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

Madeleine McCann cops to start digging up resort where she vanished 7 years ago
Daily Mirror

May 04, 2014 22:49 By Tracey Kandohla, Russell Myers

While the search for missing Maddie continues the McCanns must also consider the possibility that her body will be found in police digs

Kate and Madeleine McCann

 

Kate and Gerry McCann have never given up hope their missing daughter Madeleine is alive – but they are now bracing themselves for the heartbreak of a police search for her body.

Scotland Yard detectives are preparing to go to Portugal to launch extensive digs in and around the holiday area where the youngster vanished seven years ago at the age of three. The tormented couple have been briefed by officers about their plans to search three sites near the Praia da Luz resort they were staying at.

It is understood a team of highly-skilled forensic officers will use radar equipment to look ­underground in the grim hunt for clues.

A source close to the McCann's said: "Kate and Gerry have been told police will be conducting the searches in and around Praia da Luz as soon as they get the green light from Portuguese authorities.

"There will be earth diggers everywhere and it will look very dramatic and it will be a heartbreaking and hugely emotional time for Madeleine's poor parents.

"They don't believe police are acting on any new tip off. They just need to carry out their own digs, looking for any possible clues that Portuguese authorities may have missed on their previous searches.

"It will not be a mere fingertip search of certain areas, it will be full ground searches, using radar and other equipment. It is such a sensitive part of their investigation but it has to be done.

"Police have assured Kate and Gerry that it does not mean they are specifically searching for her body. They are doing searches as much as to rule scenarios out as much as rule them in. They will be concentrating on several different places at different phases.

"Certain areas should have been searched properly way back by the Portuguese authorities but were not."

Kate and Gerry will not be going to Portugal but will be kept updated throughout.

The source revealed the dig will form a routine part of the Met's cold case review into Madeleine.

It comes after a ­Crimewatch TV appeal resulted in new information coming to light. The source added: "They have been tasked with the painstaking job of going through every single detail the Portuguese police have already done, plus following up any new leads that have come in. They are looking into it with fresh eyes. New ­information has come in following Crimewatch but it is not known if any of it is linked to these searches."

Police will dig two areas of land surrounding the Ocean Club's Apartment 5A, where Madeleine vanished on May 3 2007, and an area on the nearby beach.

Kate and Gerry McCann

Kate and Gerry McCann.

Saturday was the anniversary of the ­youngster's disappearance and prayers were said for her at her village church in Rothley, Leics. Heart doctor Gerry, 45, told wellwishers: "The Met are going back out to Portugal very soon. They are chipping away and there is new evidence. We are going to continue hoping we get a happy outcome and one day we will know what's happening." Kate has admitted the pair could not be blinkered to "a worst case scenario" but they are said to have been buoyed by the new development. They previously raised concerns about the pace of progress in the new ­investigation after tensions were revealed between British and Portuguese investigators.

The Met had said they were confident of being able to start "operational activity" in Portugal soon but their hopes have so far failed to materialise. The latest news is a sign Portuguese ­detectives could be willing to grant full access to files and evidence their British ­counterparts on Operation Grange have been requesting for months. Sources say a team could be in place even by the end of the week to fly to Portugal to try to find what happened to Madeleine, whose 11th birthday is next Monday.

Kate, 46, said recently: "The passing of further weeks and months as a result of ­unnecessary delays and barriers are not only frustrating, they are distressing.

"Each day without Madeline and each day of not knowing is another day too many. I just want to know if she's alive or dead." The former GP told last week how she secretly returns to the resort to feel close to her daughter and "to walk those streets" and "look for answers". But she has not been back since April last year.

Madeleine's great uncle, Brian Kennedy, 75, said: "We would just like to know something, whatever news that may because not having any idea where Madeleine is, is so difficult."

Praia da Luz

Praia da Luz

Police are trying to identify a serial sex beast who may have struck at least 18 times in Algarve resorts from 2004 to 2010, assaulting British girls as young as 10 as they slept in their beds. In some attacks he wearing a burgundy, long-sleeved top. It may have had a white circle on the back.

Around six weeks after Madeleine vanished, police unearthed a potential burial site in the village of village of Arao, nine miles from Praia da Luz following a tip-off from a Dutch newspaper. But the search found nothing and that part of the probe was dropped.

The McCann's official spokesperson Clarence Mitchell last night refused to comment on the latest planned digs. Scotland Yard said: "We do not provide a running ­commentary on ongoing investigations."

Madeleine McCann: UK police travel to Portugal resort to oversee excavations, 05 May 2014
Madeleine McCann: UK police travel to Portugal resort to oversee excavations The Guardian

Report says forensics team plan to use radar equipment to look underground for clues to child's disappearance seven years ago

Ben Quinn
Monday 5 May 2014 01.45 BST

Madeleine went missing from her family's rented holiday apartment in Praia da Luz on 3 May 2007. Photograph: PA

The search for missing child Madeleine McCann is set to enter a new phase as British police prepare to travel to Portugal to oversee excavations in the Portuguese resort where she went missing seven years ago, according to a report.

A team of forensic officers will use radar equipment to look underground for clues to her disappearance, according to a report in the Daily Mirror, which cited police sources.

The child's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, were said to have been told of the plans to search three sites near the Praia da Lux resort but are not expected to go to Portugal.

Madeleine went missing from her family's rented holiday apartment in Praia da Luz on 3 May 2007, as her parents dined with friends at a nearby tapas bar.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan police said that the force would neither confirm nor deny the report. "We are not going to give a running commentary," he said. "From the beginning of Operation Grange [the UK-led hunt for Madeleine], we have made it clear that speculation has been unhelpful to the investigation and that continues to be the case.

"As we have said from the beginning, we will not be commenting on any speculation surrounding this investigation."

Police said last month that they knew of nine sexual assaults and three "near misses" on British girls between the ages of six and 12 who were on holiday in the Algarve between 2004 and 2006.

Scotland Yard began a review of the case in May 2011 – codenamed Operation Grange – and opened a formal investigation last July.

Five new cases in which young girls were assaulted and one near miss came to light as a result of an appeal in March for information about a lone predator entering rooms of British families on holiday.

The Met said more than 500 people came forward and its officers were cautiously optimistic that they would be soon be working on the ground with Portuguese authorities, who will remain in charge of the investigation despite hopes of a joint operation. Portuguese police last year reopened their investigation after discovering new lines of inquiry.

There is a £20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of those responsible for Madeleine's disappearance. Anyone with information can call police on 0207 321 9251 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Maddie: Attorney General's Office approved searches and excavations, 05 May 2014
Maddie Case: Attorney General's Office approved searches and excavations tvi24

Request was in the latest letter rogatory sent by the British authorities

By: Editing team | PP | 2014-05-05 20:30
With thanks to
Joana Morais for video/transcript (and Ines for translation of article)

In the case of Madeleine Mmcann [sic] the Public Ministry has agreed to the request by the British police for searches and excavations to be carried out in Praia da Luz. The request is contained in the most recent letter of Request.

The British police want searches to be carried out, in Praia da Luz, where they suspect Madeleine's body could be buried. The searches would be made with a radar permitting analysis below soil level.

On the map of the indicated locations, zones are shown near to the apartment the girl disappeared from seven years ago as well as a road, which was undergoing road-works at the time.

They are locations that the detectives claim were not analysed exhaustively by the PJ.

The Letter of Request, as in the case of preceding LOR's, has already been analysed by the Public Ministry.

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

Transcript/translation of video

With thanks to Joana Morais

Marisa Rodrigues: [voice over] It's the most important of the steps that were requested in the third rogatory letter. The British police want the searches to be carried out on sites in Praia da Luz where they suspect Madeleine's body might be buried. Searches will be made with a radar that will allow the analysis below ground.

In the locations map there are areas signalled near the apartment where the child disappeared 7 years ago and a road, which at the time was undergoing repairs. This are the places that the English detectives argue the PJ did not explore thoroughly.

This letter rogatory, like the preceding ones, has been assessed by the Public Prosecutor of Portimão.

TVI knows that the searches, which already foresee the possibility of excavations, were already authorized by the prosecutor. What remains now is to set the dates and how they will be performed.

The British police also asked to be present at the time that those actions are carried out by the Portuguese inspectors, but that decision lies with the National Direction of the PJ and has not yet been taken.

Last March the Metropolitan Police announced they were looking for a sexual predator, connected to the abduction theory, which they have always advocated.

With this new path and although it is not officially confirmed, they are admitting, for the first time the possibility of Madeleine being dead.

Judge refuses 'a number' of formal requests by Scotland Yard in search for Madeleine, 05 May 2014
Judge refuses 'a number' of formal requests by Scotland Yard in search for Madeleine The Portugal News

BY BRENDAN DE BEER · 05-05-2014 21:55:00

A Portuguese police source has told The Portugal News that some requests by Scotland Yard detectives investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have been "rejected due to a total lack of foundation."

The McCanns

The ruling was made by a Portuguese criminal judge tasked with issuing search warrants applied for by the Metropolitan Police Service in the third and latest international letter of request sent to Lisbon earlier this year.

The police source stressed that contrary to latest newspaper reports both in Britain and Portugal, no digging has been scheduled with regards to the investigation.

A report in this Tuesday's Jornal de Notícias has however revealed that the Attorney-General's office has authorised digging in Praia da Luz, but said no date for these operations had been set.

But he reasoned that "if they are planning excavations, it means that they are looking for a body."

As for reports that the digging could also serve to rule out the possibility that Madeleine is not alive, he questioned: "How many holes do you have to dig to rule out the existence of a body?"

He continued: "Why does the Metropolitan Police Service want to dig up holes if they believe Madeleine is still alive? How do you prove that somebody is alive by digging up holes?"

The police source reaffirmed an earlier position that the case was re-opened by Portuguese authorities to investigate a series of sexual assaults on children in the Algarve between 2004 and 2010.

"This was not uniquely to investigate Euclides Monteiro", he explained, referring to the Cape Verdean national who died in a tractor accident on a golf course in Lagos, near Luz, back in 2009.

The source stressed: "All scenarios remain open."

As for the modus operandi used by British detectives since the multi-million pound investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, codenamed Operation Grange, was signed off by Prime Minister David Cameron, the police source admitted: "Sincerely, it is not easy to understand them. But I'm sure they know what they are doing."

He further questioned whether these latest revelations "which come after the anniversary of Madeleine McCann, have anything to do with the European elections and the need for the Metropolitan Police Service to prove to those who created this team that they have made some progress?"

Regarding the tactics employed by Portuguese police, he said: "We are completely committed to finding out what happened to Madeleine McCann. Our approach is humble and very honest. We have a complete notion of the difficulty and the importance this investigation has to all concerned and the need to obtain results. We are firmly committed to discover what happened. However, there are completely different ways of approaching the investigation. We prefer to talk less and do more."

Scotland Yard were not immediately for comment on the refusal of some their requests, which are believed to total no fewer than 278.

Dogs are going to search for Maddie's body, 06 May 2014
Dogs are going to search for Maddie's body Correio da Manhã

Algarve: British Police also want to carry out excavations

Attorney General's Office authorizes searches to find the body of English child in Praia da Luz

by Tânia Laranjo
06 May 2014, 07h50
With thanks to
Joana Morais for translation

English want to dig in vacant lots near the apartment from where the child disappeared

The Public Prosecution of Portimão authorized the British police to make searches in vacant lots next to the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz, Algarve, where investigators now argue that Madeleine's body may have been buried.

The [English] team that continues to investigate the disappearance of Madeleine McCann had already made other requests that were refused. They have requested now for searches to be carried out on vacant lots next to the apartment from where the girl disappeared on May 4, 2007 and for excavations to be authorized. For now only the searches are allowed. The English promised to use special equipment such as probes to help find cadavers and dogs that detect the trail of death.

"The question is whether the claims are made based on specific suspicions or just because. The English have not substantiated their requests, which means that the judge has already refused some of them", said a source close to the process to CM. Another problem that was raised was that the said site was extensively inspected after the child's disappearance. In the first hours after Kate raised the alarm to Madeleine's absence the authorities believed the child had gone out on her own and was lost and that area was thoroughly investigated.

If the Attorney General's Office gives permission for the excavation works to proceed, those will have to be performed by the Judiciary Police. In the meantime the investigation that was reopened [in Portugal] remains under the jurisdiction of that police force [PJ], since the English police has no authority to make investigations on Portuguese soil.

Correio da Manhã knows that other requests for searches were rejected by the Attorney General's Office. The prosecutor who oversees the investigation argued that there would have to be well-founded suspicions for the authorities to be sent on the field.

Madeleine McCann: Police To Dig For Evidence, 06 May 2014
Madeleine McCann: Police To Dig For Evidence Sky News (with video)

11:33am UK, Tuesday 06 May 2014

Video: Investigators To Dig For Madeleine Evidence

Portuguese authorities have approved Met Police plans to dig for evidence in the resort where Madeleine McCann vanished in 2007.

Forensics officers will use ground penetrating radar equipment to search at three sites in Praia da Luz.

Sky's Crime Correspondent Martin Brunt, speaking from the police investigators' base in Faro, described the move as a "breakthrough" in the investigation.

He said: "We don't know exactly where the digging will take place and it's not an operation that's being launched on new information.

"It appears that there is information that was given to the Portuguese over the past seven years that indicated that there might be evidence to be found at certain locations.

"We think one of them may be the beach area and another may be around the apartments where Madeleine was last seen.

"It is a breakthrough and it really will launch a new phase in the investigation because this will be the first time that we will see Scotland Yard officers on the ground, not just talking to Portuguese police but working with them in the search for perhaps more tangible evidence."

More follows...

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

Transcript of video

By Nigel Moore

Martin Brunt: [by telephone] This is something that, errr... Scotland Yard have been waiting on, errr... for several weeks. Errm... Over the last two years they've been asking all sorts of things of the Portuguese authorities because that's the way they have to go about it, errr... but the last, errr... letter of request included a number of, well, a couple of hundred, errm... specific requests but, errr... perhaps the most important is permission to launch a digging operation, errr... around the resort of Praia da Luz, where Madeleine vanished 7 years ago... just over 7 years ago.

Now, this is, errr... an operation that's now been approved; errm... we don't know exactly where, errr... the digging will take place and it's not an operation that's being launched on new information. Errr... errr... much of what Scotland Yard has been doing, errm... is to review, errm... information contained in the original Portuguese police files and it appears that there is information that was given to the Portuguese, over the past 7 years, that indicated there might be evidence to be found at, errr... certain locations.

We don't know where but we think one of them may be, errr... the beach area and another may be around the apartments where Madeleine, errr... was last seen, errm... and it's not Scotland Yard who are going to be doing the digging - again, this is the way things operate, errr... they'll rely on the Portuguese authorities to do it. Scotland Yard will be there to observe and may have their own forensic, errm... staff there as well and may supply some of this, errm... ground penetrating radar that they will have to use.

But it is a breakthrough and it really does, errm... I think, launch, or will launch, a new phase in the investigation because this will be the first time that we will see Scotland Yard officers on the ground actually not just talking to Portuguese police but working with them in a... in the search for perhaps more tangible evidence.

Now, I'm told the McCanns have been informed, errr... of this development, errm... but they're trying to put a positive spin on it. Errm... They have been told that it doesn't specifically mean that, errr... the explorer... exploration will be the search for a body, but it is difficult to draw any other conclusion.

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

Update:

Madeleine McCann: Police To Dig For Evidence Sky News

12:17pm UK, Tuesday 06 May 2014

Officers will use ground penetrating radar equipment to search three sites in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz.

Video: Investigators To Dig For Madeleine Evidence

Portuguese authorities have approved Met Police plans to dig for evidence in the resort where Madeleine McCann vanished in 2007.

Forensics officers will use ground penetrating radar equipment to search at three sites in Praia da Luz.

Sky's Crime Correspondent Martin Brunt, speaking from the police investigators' base in Faro, described the move as a "breakthrough" in the investigation.

One of the sites is thought to be the apartment where Madeleine disappeared

He said: "We don't know exactly where the digging will take place and it's not an operation that's being launched on new information.

"It appears that there is information that was given to the Portuguese over the past seven years that indicated that there might be evidence to be found at certain locations.

"We think one of them may be the beach area and another may be around the apartments where Madeleine was last seen.

"It is a breakthrough and it really will launch a new phase in the investigation because this will be the first time that we will see Scotland Yard officers on the ground, not just talking to Portuguese police but working with them in the search for perhaps more tangible evidence."

Madeleine was three when she went missing

Last week, Kate McCann told Sky News she needs to know what happened to her daughter even if it was the "worst case scenario".

She said: "Madeleine's either alive or she isn't and we can't change that.

"Obviously our hope is that she's alive and being well looked after but regardless of the outcome, we need to know. We all need to know."

Madeleine disappeared from the apartment she was staying in with her parents and two siblings on May 3, 2007. She was three years old at the time she vanished.

In April, police revealed they were investigating five new cases in which young British girls were sexually abused during holiday home break-ins in the Algarve.

Madeleine McCann investigators to begin excavating sites in Portugal, 06 May 2014
Madeleine McCann investigators to begin excavating sites in Portugal The Guardian

Portuguese authorities give permission for sites to be searched in Praia da Luz after request from British detectives

Press Association
Tuesday 6 May 2014 14.56 BST

Madeleine McCann vanished in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in 2007 aged three. Photograph: Real Madrid TV/EPA

Search teams are expected to start excavating sites in Portugal as part of the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

Portuguese authorities are understood to have given permission for the search of several sites in Praia da Luz, where Madeleine went missing aged three. The move comes just after the seventh anniversary of her disappearance on 3 May 2007 during a family holiday.

The request to search a number of sites is thought to be one of several made by British detectives.

The excavations, which are expected to be conducted by forensic experts, are not thought to necessarily be in connection with a search for Madeleine's body or remains.

Detectives from Scotland Yard are expected to be in Portugal for the searches, but it is not thought that Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry, will return to Praia da Luz. Scotland Yard has refused to comment on reports about the latest development in the investigation.

The McCanns' spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, said: "As always, we simply will not comment on operational details of Operation Grange. That is a matter for the Met police.

"Kate and Gerry are being kept fully informed throughout."

At the weekend the McCanns thanked the public for their unstinting support at a prayer service on the seventh anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance.

The couple were joined by around 100 wellwishers, friends and relatives for a low-key open-air service in the centre of Rothley, Leicestershire, which saw candles being lit for all children around the world who have been taken away from their parents against their will.

Gerry McCann expressed his family's gratitude that the Metropolitan police team investigating his daughter's disappearance was now moving on to a "very active" phase in their investigation, saying: "They are chipping away and obviously there is new evidence so we are going to continue to hope that we will get a happy outcome."

Earlier Kate McCann disclosed that she privately returns to the Portuguese resort where her daughter disappeared to "walk those streets" and "look for answers", as she backed a revamped alert system triggered when missing children are kidnapped or their lives are at risk – known as Child Rescue Alerts.

Madeleine McCann: British police and forensic experts to use radar in search, 06 May 2014
Madeleine McCann: British police and forensic experts to use radar in search The Guardian

Ground-penetrating radar will be used as investigation into her disappearance moves into increased activity on ground

Sandra Laville and Josh Halliday
Tuesday 6 May 2014 19.58 BST

The searches are part of a new phase of the investigation into Madeleine McCann's disappearance. Photograph: AP

British police and forensic experts are to use ground-penetrating radar in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz as the investigation into the disappearance seven years ago of Madeleine McCann moves into increased activity on the ground.

The team – the first from the UK to work alongside the Portuguese police – will examine areas in the resort where the three-year-old was abducted in May 2007. Excavation of sites could take place.

The searches are part of a new phase of the investigation into her disappearance.

A senior Metropolitan police officer made clear on Tuesday that some of the increased activity on the ground in the coming weeks would be taking place in public (a reference it is understood to the searches) and he appealed for restraint from the media.

The Met police team, of detectives and specialist officers and staff with forensic and search expertise, are being allowed on the ground in Portugal for the first time following a response to letters of request for assistance by the Met team.

It is also understood that individuals' names are included in the letters of request for help to the Portuguese, and that the activity in the next few weeks could include some or all of these people being questioned in connection with the disappearance of Madeleine.

Mark Rowley, assistant commissioner of the Met, on Tuesday, in an open letter to the media, called for restraint. "This case has for some time been moving towards increased action in Portugal … I now believe that that activity will occur in forthcoming weeks … I have been discussing with my opposite number in the policia judiciaria the high levels of interest that the action (especially when some of it will take place in public) will generate in the British media."

Rowley said the British police were operating under Portuguese law and his opposite number in Portugal did not intend – as had been the Met's practice – to brief the media on the search. He appealed for restraint and understanding from the media and said that the Portuguese police chief had been clear "that if we provide any briefings or information on the work they are undertaking on our behalf, or if reporters cause any disruption to their work in Portugal, activity will cease".

The increased activity in Portugal and the involvement for the first time of a British police team in the inquiry comes after the Met revealed last month that a young British girl was sexually assaulted as she slept while on holiday in Praia da Luz in 2005, two years before Madeleine was taken from the resort.

Details of the attack were given to detectives after the Met revealed that they had pieced together a linked series of incidents, including serious assaults on young girls in holiday accommodation in the Algarve between 2004 and 2010.

One focus of the police inquiry is now on the incidents, known to police, which involved 18 break-ins or attempted break-ins to children's bedrooms in holiday apartments and villas across the western Algarve. These include 12 incidents from 2004 to 2010, which involved sexual or attempted sexual assaults on girls. It is known that there is DNA from the offender in one of the cases.

The detective chief inspector leading the Met team, Andy Redwood, said last month: "Sitting in police exhibits stores somewhere on the Algarve could be forensic material which we and our senior colleagues in the policia judiciaria are not aware of. We're keen to find out about that. We're not going to stop asking questions until we are satisfied we have everything that is available."

Kate McCann, in an interview with the BBC as the seventh anniversary of her daughter's disappearance approached last Saturday, revealed that she went to the resort every year to feel closer to her daughter.

She said that she keeps Madeleine's bedroom at the family home in Rothley, Leicestershire, exactly the same as it was when she went missing. "I'll still walk those streets and I guess try to look for answers. It helps me, most of the time," she said.

Location of Praia da Luz

A spokeswoman for the prosecutor general's office in Portugal said: "The content of the requests formulated by the British authorities is confidential, therefore the prosecution general's office has no comments to make on this matter."

Madeleine McCann: Police confirm Portugal 'activity', 06 May 2014
Madeleine McCann: Police confirm Portugal 'activity' BBC News

6 May 2014 Last updated at 20:02

Madeleine McCann

Police investigating Madeleine McCann's disappearance say "activity" is expected to begin in Portugal soon.

The disclosure comes amid reports Portuguese authorities have given permission for sites in Praia da Luz, where the toddler went missing, to be searched.

Met Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said he would be unable to provide details of the activity.

But he said he believed it would occur "in the coming weeks".

No media updates

A letter was sent to media editors amid speculation about excavation work. Mr Rowley asked them to "think carefully" about information they published.

Madeleine was three when she went missing from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Algarve, in May 2007.

A request to search a number of sites was among a series of requests made to police in Portugal by British detectives working on the case, according to reports.

Mr Rowley said he had discussed the case with his opposite number in Portugal and highlighted the "high levels of interest" the activity would generate in the British media.

He said Portuguese police did not provide the media with updates on ongoing investigations.

Activity would cease if police in Britain gave out information or news reporters caused any disruption to their work in Portugal, he added.

Mr Rowley said the Portuguese authorities had been "more bureaucratic and slower" at processing requests than his team had wished.

But he asked the media to respect their requests as they carried out the work.

"We do not want to undermine our prospects of providing Mr and Mrs McCann with answers in this tragic case," he said.

Seventh anniversary

It comes after the seventh anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance was marked on Saturday.

Gerry McCann, Madeleine's father, expressed his family's gratitude that the Metropolitan Police team was now moving on to a "very active" phase in its investigation.

Gerry and Kate McCann marked the seventh anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance on Saturday

Gerry and Kate McCann marked the seventh anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance on Saturday

He said at the weekend: "They are chipping away and obviously there is new evidence so we are going to continue to hope that we will get a happy outcome."

Kate McCann also disclosed last week that she returns to the Portuguese resort where her daughter disappeared to "walk those streets" and "look for answers" once or twice each year.

She also backed a revamped alert system triggered when missing children are kidnapped or their lives are at risk - known as Child Rescue Alerts.

Scotland Yard launched a fresh investigation - codenamed Operation Grange - into Madeleine's disappearance last July, two years into a review of the case, and made renewed appeals for information.

In March, British police said they were seeking an intruder who sexually abused five girls in Portugal between 2004 and 2006.

Detectives say the attacks happened in holiday villas occupied by UK families in the Algarve.

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

Analysis

Richard Bilton
BBC News


Seven years since Madeleine McCann disappeared, the spotlight once again falls on the little town Praia da Luz and the search for a lost girl. But the back story is the relationship between two countries, and two police forces.

On Tuesday, a Portuguese prosecutor confirmed that a series of requests from British police for investigative work in Portugal have been approved. And later - in an open letter - the Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said activity is to begin soon.

But there was more. Mr Rowley urged the media to avoid speculation; to think of the impact it might have on the investigation.

That is because the Portuguese police and not the British will carry out any work in Praia da Luz. British officers will simply be observers. Without the co-operation of the Portuguese Policia Judiciaria, the British efforts will not get far.

The relationship between the forces has been difficult at times. Officers in both countries have told me of their frustrations. Both have active and separate investigations. Leaks and speculation could fatally undermine their co-operation.

It seems an upsurge in police activity is about to start. If it is to be successful, this sometimes uneasy relationship will need to survive.

Madeleine McCann cops to dig just yards away from where youngster vanished, 06 May 2014
Madeleine McCann cops to dig just yards away from where youngster vanished Daily Mirror

May 06, 2014 20:16 | By Russell Myers

Maddie McCann case has new breakthrough as forensics officers get the green light to dig for clues that could solve the mystery of the child's disappearance

The search area in relation to the McCanns' apartment

British police are set to launch an extensive digging operation on an area of wasteland just yards from the apartment where Madeleine McCann vanished.

A team of detectives from the Metropolitan Police has been given the green light to search for evidence that could solve the mystery over the youngster's disappearance.

Forensic officers will use ground penetrating radar equipment and sniffer dogs to search for clues across three sites in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz.

On Monday the Mirror exclusively revealed how police were on the verge of starting digging in what has been described by sources as a "breakthrough" in the long-running investigation.

The initial stage of the operation will concentrate on an area of empty land about the size of three football pitches adjacent to the Ocean Club apartments.

No stone left unturned: Praia da Luz

No stone left unturned: Praia da Luz

It is thought they want to look at land next to the Ocean Club as well an area of the nearby beach and two pieces of land in the countryside by Praia da Luz.

Sources say the Met believe that there might be evidence to be found at certain locations although the digs are not thought to necessarily be in connection with a search for the youngster's body or remains.

British detectives will supervise the Portuguese led operation which is the result of information passed to Portuguese investigators over the last seven years.

Sources have revealed another area of huge interest which could be the subject of a dig is a cobbled road close outside the town's 16th Century church 100metres from where Madeleine went missing on May 3 2007.

Beach search: Praia da Luz

Beach search: Praia da Luz

The tiny Catholic church of Nossa Senhora da Luz or Our Lady of Light is where Madeleine's parents sought solace after her disappearance.

It includes an area where roadworks were in place at around the time Madeleine vanished.

At the time the three-year-old disappeared the road area was being excavated to lay the foundations for extensive improvement works around the church.

Most of the works were filled and repaved soon afterwards. Police are believed to be consider the possibility Madeleine's body could have been concealed in one of the trenches or ditches in place at the time.

The couple, from Rothley, Leics, who have never given up hope their daughter could still be alive, have already been briefed by Scotland Yard on the planned operation.

It is understood detectives working on Operation Grange, the Met's latest investigation into Madeleine's disappearance, requested the searches take place after examining information given to the Portuguese over the past seven years.

The search area in relation to the McCanns' apartment

The search area in relation to the McCanns' apartment

A source said: "The feeling is that these sites were not properly investigated at the time Madeleine went missing and there could be others that were not even considered that could be of interest."

Around six weeks after Madeleine vanished, police unearthed a potential burial site in the village of village of Arao, nine miles from Praia da Luz following a tip-off from a Dutch newspaper. But the search found nothing and that part of the probe was dropped.

Forensic officers will use ground penetrating radar to uncover sites where earth has been disturbed within the last decade.

They will then move in with mechanical diggers and other earth moving equipment, as well as conducting finger-tip searches.

Scotland Yard have refused to comment on reports about the latest development in the investigation.

The McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "As always, we simply will not comment on operational details of Operation Grange, that is a matter for the Met Police.

"Kate and Gerry are being kept fully informed throughout."

Hope: Kate and Gerry McCann

Hope: Kate and Gerry McCann

The tormented couple have previously raised concerns about the pace of progress in the new investigation after tensions were revealed between British and Portuguese investigators.

Kate has admitted the pair could not be blinkered to "a worst case scenario" but they are said to have been buoyed by the new development.

A source close to the McCann's said: "This is obviously a very emotional time for the family but they remain confident that everything is being done to establish the facts as to what happened to Madeleine."

Portuguese officials yesterday declined to comments on the reports.

However, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office in Portugal confirmed the Met Police have made five separate requests for help with their investigation in August 2012, July 2013, as well as January, February and March this year.

Search: Street in Praia da Luz

Search: Street in Praia da Luz

British detectives have been forced to write letters to the Portuguese judiciary every time they wish to examine evidence or act on pieces of information they believe should be investigated.

The spokesman said: "The content of the requests formulated by the British authorities is confidential."

Sources say the Met Police team could be in place even by the end of the week to fly to Portugal to try to find what happened to Madeleine, whose 11th birthday is next Monday.

At a church service last week heart doctor Gerry, 45, told wellwishers:

"The Met are going back out to Portugal very soon. They are chipping away and there is new evidence. We are going to continue hoping we get a happy outcome and one day we will know what’s happening."

Maddie cops to dig yards from apartment, 06/07 May 2014
Maddie cops to dig yards from apartment Daily Mirror (paper edition)

 
Daily Mirror, 07 May 2014

EXCLUSIVE: NEW LEAD IN HUNT

Brit police search for clues on resort wasteland

BY RUSSELL MYERS
In Praia da Luz, Portugal


BRITISH police have been given the green light to start digging at the resort where Madeleine McCann vanished.

They will search scrubland yards from the family's holiday flat in Praia da Luz, a nearby road and a beach.

A source close to the McCanns said: "This is an emotional time for them."

FULL STORY: PAGES 4&5

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

THE GRIM HUNT Daily Mirror (paper edition, pages 4&5)

MADDIE: BRITISH COPS READY TO DIG

Officers to excavate three sites close to McCann holiday home

EXCLUSIVE
BY RUSSELL MYERS in Praia da Luz
Wednesday 07.05.2014


AS the diggers prepare to enter Praia da Luz, police are hoping the move will finally solve the mystery of what happened to Madeleine McCann.

Scotland Yard detectives have identified three ­significant sites they want searched near the Algarve resort where the youngster vanished seven years ago.

They have been given the green light by Portuguese authorities to start digging – as tormented parents Kate and Gerry prepare to face their worst nightmare of the search for clues turning into a hunt for her body.

In what is considered as a major ­breakthrough, officers will excavate an area of ­wasteland about the size of three football pitches ­adjacent to the Ocean Club apartments where the three-year-old was staying with her family on the night she was snatched.

A man spotted carrying a child on the night she vanished is thought to have crossed the area, which was unfenced at the time. Portuguese police only searched the land with sniffer dogs.

Sources have revealed another area of interest is a cobbled road outside the town’s 16th century ­Catholic church, where Madeleine's parents sought solace after she ­disappeared.

At the time the road, which passes 100 yards from the family's holiday apartment, was being ­excavated to lay the ­foundations for renovation work on the building. Police are believed to be considering the possibility her body could have been dumped in one of the ditches, later filled in and paved over. Or she may have wandered off and fallen in. A third search area is believed to be the nearby beach.

A source said last night: "The feeling is that these sites were not properly investigated at the time Madeleine went missing and there could be others that were not even considered that could be of interest."

Former Met officer, Detective Chief Inspector Peter Kirkham, said police could be looking for either a body, clothing, a weapon or any other items that would give them clues as to what happened to Madeleine. She vanished on May 3, 2007 while her parents ate at a tapas bar on the holiday complex.

He added: "This dig will be happening either because some new information has been learned, or a piece of the jigsaw has slotted into place or even a piece has emerged that wasn't there before.

"You can't go digging places up randomly, that would be pointless.

"There has to be a reason for digging something up. The UK police do have expertise in these operations. I would expect the first thing would be some form of geophysical survey or radar scan before you put a spade in the ground." It is understood a small number of Met detectives are on the ground in Praia da Luz carrying out "discreet" surveys of the sites earmarked for ­investigation. Sources have said a full team is preparing to go to the Algarve "some days" after fine tuning details with Portuguese counterparts.

Officers will use ground-penetrating radar equipment and sniffer dogs to search for clues. They will then move in ­mechanical diggers and other earth moving ­equipment as well as conducting fingertip searches.

On Monday, the Mirror exclusively revealed how police were on the verge of digging in the resort. Although the searches may not be ­definitive hunt for Madeleine's body, former GP Kate and heart doctor Gerry, of Rothley, Leics, have admitted they could not be ­blinkered to "a worst case scenario".

The couple's spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "Kate and Gerry are being kept fully informed throughout."

A source close to the McCanns – who refuse to give up hoping their daughter is still alive – added: "This is obviously a very emotional time for the family but they remain confident that everything is being done to establish the facts as to what happened to Madeleine."

The couple have been briefed by ­Scotland Yard on the operation.

It is understood detectives working on Operation Grange, the cold case review in Madeleine's disappearance, requested the searches after examining ­information given to the Portuguese over the past seven years.

Their counterparts in the Algarve will lead the dig, supervised by the Scotland Yard experts. Portuguese officials are believed to be considering a request to search two pieces of land in the ­countryside around Praia da Luz but are yet to make a ­decision on whether to allow this.

Scotland Yard have refused to comment on these latest developments in the case. Portuguese officials also declined to speak.

However, the Attorney General's Office in Portugal confirmed the Met made five ­separate requests for help – in August 2012, July 2013 and January, February and March this year.

British detectives have had to write letters to the Portuguese judiciary every time they wish to examine evidence or act on pieces of information they believe should be investigated.

Kate and Gerry have previously raised concerns about the pace of progress in the new investigation.

The grim hunt, 07 May 2014
The grim hunt Daily Mirror (paper edition, pages 4&5)

'THE GRIM HUNT' - Daily Mirror (paper edition, pages 4&5)
Daily Mirror, 07 May 2014

Maddie: The 4 dig sites, 07 May 2014
Maddie: The 4 dig sites The Sun (paper edition)

 
The Sun, 07 May 2014

 

By ANTHONY FRANCE
Wednesday, May 7, 2014


BRITISH cops searching for Madeleine McCann are set to dig up four sites near the holiday apartments she vanished from.

They believe Portuguese cops missed or ignored them in their 2007 hunt around Praia da Luz.

Full Story - Page 7

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

Kate had dream of where to dig The Sun

Detectives target FOUR sites in Praia

Dig sites for Maddie's body

By ANTHONY FRANCE, Crime reporter, and ANTONELLA LAZZERI

'Kate had dream of where to dig', 07 May 2014
'Kate had dream of where to dig' The Sun (paper edition, page 7)

The Sun, 07 May 2014
The Sun, 07 May 2014

Judge refused searches to homes of former Ocean Club employees, 07 May 2014
Judge refused searches to homes of former Ocean Club employees Jornal de Notícias (paper edition, page 13)

Analysis of sites where Maddie might still be buried without a set date

Searches to the homes of former Ocean Club employees in Praia da Luz were some of the steps requested by British police and rejected by the Portuguese authorities as unfounded.

By MARISA RODRIGUES
07 May 2014
With thanks to Joana Morais for translation

The judge to whom the requests were sent, contained in the letters rogatory, did not consider valid the arguments used by Scotland Yard. The [English] detectives wanted the Judiciary Police (PJ) to do house searches to people [simply] because they worked at the resort at the time when Madeleine disappeared, which made them "persons of interest".

Another treatment was given to the requests for searches and excavations, using dogs and a georadar as resources, which were accepted, as JN disclosed yesterday. The Public Prosecutor from Portimão, which holds the responsibility of analysing the formal requests for judicial cooperation, gave the green light to these steps - a turning point in the British investigation, with Scotland Yard assuming for the first time the hypothesis that Madeleine is dead.

The sites were chosen for being prone to the disposal of a body. JN knows that this is the key argument used by Scotland Yard to substantiate the request for searches. The places are near to the apartment where the McCann family was staying during their holidays, in the beach and in a road which at the time was undergoing repairs. Another of the requests is for a georadar to be used in order to analyse and drill the soil and two dogs which alert to the presence of cadavers. Resources that Scotland Yard wants to bring from the UK. In case a deformation on the ground is detected there is a green light to proceed with the excavations. This is a process that could drag on for some time if the relevant places to be excavated belong to private owners or to State-owned road operators.

The next step is to define the operational strategy and set the date of the proceedings, tasks which are incumbent on the South Directorate of the PJ, responsible for carrying out the steps authorized by the prosecutor. The National Directorate of the PJ has to decide if the British detectives and experts can closely follow the actions that will always be performed by the Portuguese inspectors since Scotland Yard has no authority to act in Portugal. JN found that such a request was addressed to the Attorney General's Office and communicated informally to the Judiciary Police but for it to be appreciated, it must be formalized with the National Director of the PJ, which has not happened yet.

Sniffer Dogs

Scotland Yard regards the dogs that they want to use in the searches as "better" than Eddie and Keela, the sniffer dogs who alerted to blood and cadaver odour in the McCanns car and apartment at the Ocean Club resort.

Joint Investigation

Scotland Yard and Madeleine's parents argue that the constitution of a joint investigation team would accelerate the discovery of Madeleine and have criticized the "excessive bureaucracy" of the letters rogatory.

The logistics required to implement these new endeavours are costly. JN knows they will be supported by the UK, which has already spent around EUR 7 million with this investigation.

Madeleine McCann police 'refused permission to search resort workers' homes', 07 May 2014
Madeleine McCann police 'refused permission to search resort workers' homes' Evening Standard

Madeleine McCann

KIRAN RANDHAWA
07 May 2014


British police investigating Madeleine McCann’s disappearance have reportedly been refused permission to search the homes of former workers at the Algarve holiday resort where she went missing.

Portuguese authorities have ruled a Met Police request for warrants to examine their houses was “unfounded.”

According to local reports in Praia da Luz, where the toddler vanished on 3 May 2007, the Crown Prosecution Service had sent an International Letter of Request to Portuguese authorities on behalf of Scotland Yard wanting to interview the men and search their homes.

The workers were suspected of a string of break-ins at the Ocean Club before Madeleine went missing.

The Met are also thought to have requested access to their bank accounts.

It comes as the authorities gave the go-ahead for Met officers to dig for evidence at the holiday resort.

Forensic teams will use ground penetrating radar equipment to examine three sites in Praia da Luz, in an operation that comes just days after the seventh anniversary of her disappearance.

The cold case review into the three-year-old’s disappearance, known as Operation Grange, has seen a team of detectives painstakingly search through every document collected throughout the inquiry.

One of the search areas is thought to be a patch of wasteland across the road from Ocean Club where the McCanns were staying. The second search area is said to be the land surrounding the Church of Nossa Senhora da Luz (Our Lady of the Light) where the McCanns prayed for their daughter’s safe return in the weeks after her disappearance. At the time the roads surrounding the 16th century church were being renovated, with huge potholes sealed over just days after the three-year-old vanished.

Local media reports suggest officers will excavate a third location closer to the beach.

Met Police are expected to fly to Faro next week to discuss when and how the land searches can begin.

The force refused to comment on the potential developments in the inquiry.

Madeleine McCann: 'UK Police Searches Refused', 07 May 2014
Madeleine McCann: 'UK Police Searches Refused' Sky News (with video)

11:28am UK, Wednesday 07 May 2014

Scotland Yard officers will reportedly not be given access to the homes of three suspected burglars, amid a row over media leaks.

Video: Madeleine Police Row Over Searches

 

British police investigating Madeleine McCann's disappearance have reportedly been refused permission to search the homes of three burglary suspects.

According to local media in Praia da Luz, where the three-year-old went missing in 2007, Portuguese authorities declined requests from Metropolitan Police.

It comes after it was reported that they had approved plans for officers from Scotland Yard to dig for evidence at several locations in the resort.

Crime Correspondent Martin Brunt, in Praia da Luz, said: "One of the local newspapers, the News Journal, is reporting that one of the things that is being rejected by Portuguese authorities is a Scotland Yard plea to search the homes of three men who used to work here at the Ocean Complex at the time Madeleine vanished and are suspected of a number of break-ins in the days, weeks leading up to her disappearance.

Kate and Gerry McCann spoke on the anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance

 

"So that's a blow for Scotland Yard. They had identified three ex-workers who they wanted to talk to, potential suspects not necessarily around Madeleine's disappearance, but had been involved in break-ins, according to information Scotland Yard had."

He said disagreements over leaks to the media may delay British police in their efforts to scour areas they will be given access to.

"I'm not sure that those searches are going to begin quite so quickly," he said.

"Last night we saw what appears to be a developing row between the British authorities and the Portuguese authorities about essentially Scotland Yard giving out information to journalists about what is going to happen.

Police investigators are based in Faro, east of the resort

 

"The Portuguese are making it very clear that they were not happy with journalists being briefed. It's not something that happens in this country and in fact, the Portuguese authorities, according to the Scotland Yard message last night, had threatened to stop any of the work once it begins if they hear that Scotland Yard are talking to reporters, or indeed if reporters are in any way disrupting the work.

"I get a sense that because of this developing row, that may put off what is going to happen soon, but maybe not in the next couple of days as we anticipated."

Forensics officers are due to use ground penetrating radar equipment to aid the search at three sites in Praia da Luz.

Madeleine disappeared from the apartment she was staying in with her parents and two siblings on May 3, 2007. She was three years old at the time she vanished.

Kate McCann told Sky News last week, on the seventh anniversary of her daughter's disappearance, that she needed to know what happened - even if it was the "worst-case scenario".

"Madeleine's either alive or she isn't and we can't change that."

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

Transcript of video

By Nigel Moore

Martin Brunt: It's emerged today that as well as getting permission to do certain things, Scotland Yard has been refused permission to do other things and one of those was a request to search the homes of three former workers from the Ocean Club here. Three men who Scotland Yard suspect of carrying out a string of burglaries in the weeks or months before Madeleine's disappearance in 2007.

A judge has ruled that Scotland Yard will not be allowed to search those ex-workers homes. Officers also wanted to interview those three suspects. It's not clear whether permission to do that has been granted but nonetheless Scotland Yard is cheered by what has been agreed and this is the searching of three - at least three we think - potential sites where Scotland Yard believe there could still be clues to Madeleine's disappearance.

Wasteland beside the Ocean Club resort

One of them is here, just across the road from the Ocean Club complex. This is a bit of wasteland. It covers, what, perhaps as much as two or three football pitches. The relevance of this is that soon after Madeleine disappeared, witnesses came forward and said that they saw a man walking down this road, past this site, carrying a child. Could this bit of wasteland hold a clue to Madeleine's disappearance?

Scotland Yard have also, we understand, been given permission to search two other sites. One is a road, a bit further down here, where there were trenches dug around the time Madeleine vanished. Those trenches were filled in; we don't know whether they were ever excavated - we think they probably weren't. Scotland Yard still believe there could be clues there. And also, the beach; the man was carrying a child towards the beach - others have spoken of activity on the beach. Scotland Yard, we also believe, has been given permission to search the beach at some stage.

Letter from AC Mark Rowley re Op Grange, 07 May 2014
Letter from AC Mark Rowley re Op Grange Metropolitan Police

 
Letter from AC Mark Rowley re Op Grange, 07 May 2014

07 May 2014

Letter from Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley to news editors re Op Grange, the Madeleine McCann investigation.

As you are aware this case has for some time been moving towards increased action in Portugal on the basis of MPS 'International letters of request'. Whilst the process is more bureaucratic and slower than we would wish, you will recall at recent briefings that DAC Martin Hewitt has said that we were increasingly optimistic of that activity starting soon.

I am writing because I now believe that activity will occur in forthcoming weeks. You will understand that our requests for action in Portugal lead to investigative steps taking place under Portuguese law. In this context I have been discussing with my opposite number in the Policia Judiciara the high levels of interest that the action (especially when some of it will take place in public) will generate in the British media. I have discussed with him that it is our usual and preferred practice in this case to brief the media on an ongoing basis on such cases as that usually ensures that the activity of reporters and the coverage assists rather than damages the investigation.

These briefings, as you would appreciate, do not give complete detail on what the activity is, (as this could compromise what we are trying to achieve), but do provide context and as much information as possible whilst still protecting the investigation.

The advice I am receiving from Portugal is that their approach is very different and they do not brief the media on current investigations. He has been clear with me that if we provide any briefings or information on the work they are undertaking on our behalf, or if reporters cause any disruption to their work in Portugal, activity will cease until that problem dissipates.

It is important you understand this and appreciate the position in which I find myself. We will not be able to provide any information concerning the activity because ultimately it could mean the work stops. We respect the Portuguese position as we would expect them to respect our position if we were carrying out work on their behalf in the UK.

The most important task for me is to build momentum and protect our investigation given the many lines of enquiry that we see are necessary in order that we can do everything possible to solve the case. I ask that you support me and my team in those efforts. This includes respecting the requests of the Portuguese authorities during the work they will be carrying out on our behalf.

As well as being aware of the dangers of disrupting the work of the Portuguese, I would also ask you to think carefully about the information you decide to put into the public domain. Although we will continue not to comment on specific information, I would ask you to think twice about what impact that information or speculation might have on the investigation if it is published or broadcast.

We do not want to undermine our prospects of providing Mr and Mrs McCann with answers in this tragic case.

Collectively we all need to think carefully about our actions in this case.

Yours sincerely

Mark Rowley

Gerry and Kate McCann: Media interference, 07 May 2014
Media interference Official Find Madeleine Campaign - Facebook
Also posted as an update on findmadeleine.com

 
Media interference - Official Find Madeleine Campaign - Facebook

 
findmadeleine.com update, 07 May 2104

[Text version of above]

7th of May 2014 - Media Interference

Wednesday, 7 May 2014 at 21:58

We are dismayed with the way the media has behaved over the last couple of days in relation to our daughter's case. There is an on-going, already challenging, police investigation taking place and media interference in this way not only makes the work of the police more difficult, it can potentially damage and destroy the investigation altogether – and hence the chances of us finding Madeleine and discovering what has happened to her. As Madeleine's parents, this just compounds our distress. We urge the media to let the police get on with their work and please show some respect and consideration to Madeleine and all our family.

Thank you.

Gerry and Kate

British cops arrive for Madeleine McCann hunt but officials ban them from searching suspects' homes, 07 May 2014
British cops arrive for Madeleine McCann hunt but officials ban them from searching suspects' homes Daily Mirror

May 07, 2014 22:34 | By Russell Myers

Team of British detectives arrive in Portugal only to be told they are banned from scouring the homes of main suspects

Blow: British cops have been barred from investigating three Ocean Club workers

Blow: British cops have been barred from investigating three Ocean Club workers

A team of British police hunting for Madeleine McCann flew into Portugal yesterday – only to be told they are banned from raiding the homes of three suspects they want to quiz.

The team of seven detectives led by Det Chief Insp Andy Redwood, were pictured arriving at Faro Airport.

In a further blow the team have also had their hopes of probing the bank accounts of the trio, who worked at the resort where the child vanished, dashed by Portuguese officials.

Scotland Yard had wanted to see if there were any large payments to the suspects, suggesting they could have been paid to snatch Madeleine from the Praia da Luz resort. But a source close to the investigation said last night:  "The Portuguese judge who ­examines the requests sent by Scotland Yard's did not consider the arguments to be valid enough to warrant searching the workers' homes.

"The judge is satisfied correct ­procedures were followed at the time Madeleine ­disappeared and there is no need to revisit that area of investigation." Another source added: "The latest development is a blow to the Met Police.

"The relationship between the two ­international forces is on tenterhooks.

"Portuguese investigators have warned British detectives they will pull the plug on any joint operations if they do not toe their line.

"They will not be rushed into making decisions just because the Met want to be seen to make progress."

The Mirror revealed in January how Scotland Yard wanted to raid the homes of the suspects, believed to be behind a string of burglaries at the resort before Madeleine vanished in May 2007.

It is not yet known if the trio will be interviewed by the detectives from Operation Grange – the cold case review into the three-year-old's kidnap.

This week the Mirror exclusively told how the Met police have been given the green light to dig up land yards from the Ocean Club apartments where Madeleine stayed with her family.

They plan to search wasteland, a road by a church and a nearby beach. But in a further blow to relations the Portuguese ­authorities, have told the force it will be liable for any costs.

Maddie's parents Kate, 46, and Gerry, 45, have not flown to Portugal but they are being kept updated.

'Brit cops arrive for Maddie hunt', 08 May 2014
'Brit cops arrive for Maddie hunt' Daily Mirror (paper edition, page 11)

Daily Mirror, 08 May 2014
Daily Mirror, 08 May 2014

[Text of article above as per: 'British cops arrive for Madeleine McCann hunt but officials ban them from searching suspects' homes' published online by Daily Mirror, at 22:34, on 07 May 2014]

Maddie police told: Don't raid suspects, 08 May 2014
Maddie police told: Don't raid suspects The Sun (paper edition, page 17)

 
Maddie police told: Don't raid suspects - The Sun (paper edition, page 17)

From DANIEL SANDERSON in Praia da Luz
Thursday, May 8, 2014


BRITISH police hunting for Madeleine McCann have been banned from searching the homes of three burglary suspects.

They want to raid addresses of three ex-workers at the Ocean Club holiday complex where her family stayed.

But a Portuguese judge has blocked the Scotland Yard move, fuelling concerns that officials there are hampering the probe.

The trio are believed to be behind several break-ins which took place shortly before Madeleine vanished aged three in May 2007 - and cops are working on the theory that she was snatched to order. The Met cops want to trawl bank accounts to see if big deposits were made at the time.

A UK team is in the Algarve to oversee digging at four sites near the Praia da Luz resort. But local authorities have made it clear that THEIR cops will be in charge.

A source said: "Police here will decide if British detectives and forensic experts can witness the work." The spat has raised fears that the dig may be delayed, with the Met having already been forced to agree that details of the work must remain secret.

In an extraordinary open letter to the media yesterday, Met Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said: "The Policia Judiciaria has been clear that if we provide any information on the work they are undertaking on our behalf, activity will cease."

Madeleine Police Arrive In Portugal For Digs, 08 May 2014
Madeleine Police Arrive In Portugal For Digs Sky News (with video)

12:49am UK, Thursday 08 May 2014

Forensics officers will use ground penetrating radar equipment to aid the search at three Praia da Luz sites.

Video: Madeleine Police In Portugal

 

Scotland Yard detectives have arrived in Portugal to oversee the excavation of a number of sites as part of the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

The digs for evidence are to take place at several locations in the resort where the youngster vanished in 2007.

Forensics officers are due to use ground penetrating radar equipment to aid the search at three sites in Praia da Luz.

Madeleine disappeared from the apartment she was staying in with her parents and two siblings on May 3, 2007. She was three years old at the time.

Officers from Scotland Yard arrive at Faro Airport. Pic: EXCLUSIVEPIX

 

Officers from the Metropolitan Police have also identified three potential suspects they want to talk to, not necessarily around Madeleine's disappearance, but who had been involved in break-ins in the area.

However, they have reportedly been refused permission by Portuguese authorities to search the homes of these burglary suspects, who used to work at the Ocean Complex at the time Madeleine vanished.

Sky's Crime Correspondent Martin Brunt, in Praia da Luz, said: "That's a blow for Scotland Yard."

He said disagreements over leaks to the media may delay British police in their efforts to scour areas they will be given access to.

"I'm not sure that those searches are going to begin quite so quickly," he said.

They will oversee excavations at three sites. Pic: EXCLUSIVEPIX

"The Portuguese are making it very clear that they were not happy with journalists being briefed. It's not something that happens in this country and in fact, the Portuguese authorities, according to the Scotland Yard message last night, had threatened to stop any of the work once it begins if they hear that Scotland Yard are talking to reporters, or indeed if reporters are in any way disrupting the work.

"I get a sense that because of this developing row, that may put off what is going to happen soon, but maybe not in the next couple of days as we anticipated."

Kate McCann told Sky News last week, on the seventh anniversary of her daughter's disappearance, that she needed to know what happened - even if it was the "worst-case scenario".

"Madeleine's either alive or she isn't and we can't change that."

Scotland Yard detectives arrive for meeting at PJ office in Faro, 08 May 2014
Scotland Yard detectives arrive for meeting at PJ office in Faro Martin Brunt - Twitter

 
Scotland Yard arrive at Faro offices of PJ, 08 May 2014

 
Scotland Yard arrive at Faro offices of PJ, 08 May 2014

10:18 AM - 8 May 2014

martinbrunt@skymartinbrunt
#madeleine Scot Yard cops arrive to meet their Portuguese colleagues and discuss imminent searches.

Madeleine McCann: 8 prime suspects British police want to investigate as they arrive in Portugal, 08 May 2014
Madeleine McCann: 8 prime suspects British police want to investigate as they arrive in Portugal Daily Mirror

May 08, 2014 10:39 | By Russell Myers

Of the eight suspects detectives have mind, three are thought to have been employees at the Ocean Club where the McCann family was staying

Blow: British cops have been barred from investigating three Ocean Club workers

British cops probing the disappearance of missing Madeleine McCann have identified eight key suspects they want to interview.

A team of detectives from the Met Police flew into Portugal on Wednesday for a series of top level meetings with Portuguese counterparts after being given the green light to launch a series of searches across at least three sites in Praia da Luz.

The Met team consists of six investigators of whom two are specialist forensic officers specialising in body searches.

The team will meet the head of the Portuguese police in the Algarve today at the central police station in Faro, 60 miles from the resort where Madeleine went missing in May 2007.

Local reports today claimed the series of meetings between Brit and Portuguese cops were to "define the operations to find Maddie's body".

However the Met has previously claimed the renewed searches are as a result of a review of evidence already gathered by the Portuguese over the last seven years and not necessarily connected to finding Madeleine's body.

Of the eight suspects identified by the Met Police team working on a review of the evidence, codenamed Operation Grange, three suspects are believed to be former employees of the Ocean Club apartments where the McCann's stayed.

The Met has already been refused permission to interview them or examine their bank accounts as part of a probe to see if they had accepted money that could be linked to a possible crime.

Another suspect is understood to be heroin addict Euclides Montero, another former Ocean Club worker.

He was killed in a tractor accident in 2008, the same year Portuguese cops linked him to a series of burglaries and sex attacks across the Algarve.

The Met detectives are understood to be "fine tuning" the details of a series of searches across an area of wasteland just yards from the Ocean Club, a cobbled road close to the town's 16th century church and a car park near the beach.

It is not known when exactly the searches will commence but sources claimed the presence of specialist forensic officers could be a sign that the digs are just days away.

Madeleine McCann Search: Three Main Dig Sites, 08 May 2014
Madeleine McCann Search: Three Main Dig Sites Sky News (with video)

10:42am UK, Thursday 08 May 2014

Forensics officers will use ground penetrating radar equipment to aid the search at three Praia da Luz sites.

Video: The beach area will be one of the dig sites

 

Scotland Yard detectives are in Portugal to oversee the excavation of a number of sites as part of the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

The digs for evidence are set to take place at three principle locations around the resort where the youngster vanished in 2007.

Scotland Yard detectives believe the sites were not properly explored at the time of her disappearance.

Three principle dig sites: road, waste ground and beach area

 

One is a road just below the apartment block where trenches were dug before Madeleine went missing, that were filled in the day after she vanished.

There is a waste ground to the side of the apartment block where a man was seen carrying a child, according to some witnesses, soon after Madeleine disappeared.

And there is the beach area where over the years there have been reports of activity, of people seen there acting suspiciously.

Officers from Scotland Yard arrive at Faro Airport. Pic: EXCLUSIVEPIX

 

Forensics officers are due to use ground-penetrating radar equipment to aid the search at the three sites in Praia da Luz.

It is not known exactly when the excavations will begin.

Madeleine disappeared from the apartment she was staying in with her parents and two siblings on May 3, 2007. She was three years old at the time.

They will oversee excavations at three sites. Pic: EXCLUSIVEPIX

Officers from the Metropolitan Police have also identified three potential suspects they want to talk to, not necessarily around Madeleine's disappearance, but who had been involved in break-ins in the area.

However, they have reportedly been refused permission by Portuguese authorities to search the homes of these burglary suspects, who used to work at the Ocean Complex at the time Madeleine vanished.

Sky's Crime Correspondent Martin Brunt, in Praia da Luz, said: "That's a blow for Scotland Yard."

Brunt said disagreements over leaks to the media may delay British police in their efforts to scour areas they will be given access to.

"I'm not sure that those searches are going to begin quite so quickly," he said.

The investigation is based from Faro

"The Portuguese are making it very clear that they were not happy with journalists being briefed. It's not something that happens in this country and in fact, the Portuguese authorities, according to the Scotland Yard message last night, had threatened to stop any of the work once it begins if they hear that Scotland Yard are talking to reporters, or indeed if reporters are in any way disrupting the work.

"I get a sense that because of this developing row, that may put off what is going to happen soon, but maybe not in the next couple of days as we anticipated."

Kate McCann told Sky News last week, on the seventh anniversary of her daughter's disappearance, that she needed to know what happened - even if it was the "worst-case scenario".

"Madeleine's either alive or she isn't and we can't change that," she said.

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

Transcript of video

By Nigel Moore

Martin Brunt: It's, errr.. become clear this week even though, errr... a judge here has given Scotland Yard permission to start searches and certain excavations around the site, errr... it's become clear that relations haven't really improved between the two sides. There's... there's a good deal of tension and it really springs from the publicity that, errr... has been generated. The Portuguese are used to doing their criminal investigations behind the scenes, there's this rule of judicial secrecy and the Portuguese have got very fed up with Scotland Yard, errr... occasionally briefing the media about what's happened and what is going to happen.

So, everything that is happening now is set against that rather uneasy backdrop but certainly last night, errr... a team of Scotland Yard detectives, led by Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, who's in charge of the Madeleine investigation for Scotland Yard, arrived here, errr... we're expecting them to meet their Portuguese colleagues here in Faro this morning at some stage.

In the last few minutes we saw the arrival of the, errr... Chief Detective on the Portuguese side. He went into the office, half an hour or so ago, so it may be that Scotland Yard detectives are on their way here. It's very difficult to get any idea of exactly what's going on but we do know that, errr... sometime soon there will be the start of a... a new phase in this investigation; this will principally be, errm... the exploration of a number of sites around Praia da Luz, around the apartment where Madeleine disappeared seven years ago, errm... sites that Scotland Yard feel weren't properly explored at the time.

And there are three principle sites: A road just below the apartment block, where trenches were... were dug, errr... before Madeleine disappeared, errr... that were filled in the day after she vanished, errm... possibility that, errr... there might be clues to her whereabouts there. There's a waste ground to the side of the apartment block, where a man was seen carrying a child, according to some witnesses, errr... soon after Madeleine disappeared. And also the beach area, where again, over the years, there have been reports of, errr... of activity there, of, errr... people seen there acting suspiciously.

Those are, we think, principally the sites that Scotland Yard want to survey, perhaps dig, excavate, errr... over the coming weeks. What we don't know is exactly when that's going to start but Scotland Yard detectives here this morning, errr... we think, will be talking with their colleagues, working out a plan of how, where and when that excavation will start.

Scotland Yard detectives leading hunt for Madeleine McCann arrive in Portugal ahead of excavations in town where she vanished, 08 May 2014
Scotland Yard detectives leading hunt for Madeleine McCann arrive in Portugal ahead of excavations in town where she vanished Daily Mail
  • Specialist officers expected to examine several sites in Praia da Luz
  • Team said to consist of six police officials and two forensics experts
  • Digging comes seven years after British girl went missing aged three
  • Scotland Yard wants to speak with eight witnesses 'relevant' to case
  • This has been requested in letter to the Portuguese attorney general
By MARK DUELL and PAUL BENTLEY and GERARD COUZENS
Published: 11:49, 8 May 2014 | Updated: 12:49, 8 May 2014

Detectives from Scotland Yard have arrived in Portugal to help with site excavations as part of the investigation into Madeleine McCann's disappearance.

Specialist officers are expected to examine several sites in Praia da Luz after permission to dig was granted by Portuguese authorities, seven years after Maddie went missing from the area aged three.

The excavations, which are expected to be conducted by forensic experts, are not thought to necessarily be in connection with a search for the youngster's body or remains.

Scroll down for video

 
Arrival: Local media said six Scotland Yard officials, including two forensics experts, had landed in Faro

 

Arrival: Local media said six Scotland Yard officials, including two forensics experts, had landed in Faro

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

 
Team of six: Detectives from Scotland Yard have arrived in Portugal to help with site excavations

 

Team of six: Detectives from Scotland Yard have arrived in Portugal to help with site excavations

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

Madeleine went missing as her parents dined at a nearby tapas restaurant.

Madeleine McCann was three when she vanished during a family holiday in Portugal

 

Madeleine went missing as her parents dined at a nearby tapas restaurant.

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

 
Aerial view: Specialist officers are expected to examine several sites in Praia da Luz after permission to dig was granted by Portuguese authorities, seven years after Maddie went missing from the area aged three

 

Aerial view: Specialist officers are expected to examine several sites in Praia da Luz after permission to dig was granted by Portuguese authorities, seven years after Maddie went missing from the area aged three

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

Portuguese newspaper Correio da Manhã claimed six Scotland Yard officials, including two forensics experts, had arrived at Faro Airport to meet Portuguese police.

It also reported that Scotland Yard has asked to speak with eight witnesses considered 'relevant' to the long-running case, in a letter sent to the Portuguese attorney general's office.

Janice Runacres, a former forensic manager with the Metropolitan Police, told Sky News yesterday: 'They will be looking at aerial photography, maybe taking aerial photography now.

'[They will also be] looking at historic aerial photography to see if there is any changes in the landscape, changes in perhaps more lush vegetation in certain areas, and this may indicate areas for further focus.'

The request to search a number of sites is thought to be among a series of requests made by British detectives in connection with the search for Maddie.

 
Investigation: Local media reported that Scotland Yard has asked to speak with eight witnesses considered 'relevant' to the long-running case, in a letter sent to the Portuguese attorney general's office

 

Investigation: Local media reported that Scotland Yard has asked to speak with eight witnesses considered 'relevant' to the long-running case, in a letter sent to the Portuguese attorney general's office

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

 
Discussions: After almost two years of delicate negotiations, Scotland Yard has been given permission to start digging at sites surrounding the holiday resort in Praia da Luz where the youngster disappeared

 

Discussions: After almost two years of delicate negotiations, Scotland Yard has been given permission to start digging at sites surrounding the holiday resort in Praia da Luz where the youngster disappeared

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

 
Difficulties: The arrival of the team from Britain comes as tensions with the Portuguese authorities escalated

 

Difficulties: The arrival of the team from Britain comes as tensions with the Portuguese authorities escalated

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

But the arrival of the team, led by Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, comes as tensions with the Portuguese authorities escalated, with fears the investigation could be derailed at any point.

After almost two years of delicate negotiations, Scotland Yard has been given permission to start digging at sites surrounding the holiday resort in Praia da Luz where the youngster disappeared.

A large wasteland yards from the Ocean Club complex will be dug up, plus an area beside the beach as well as roads by the church in Praia da Luz where Gerry and Kate McCann prayed for the safe return of their daughter.

But while Met detectives instigated the new searches and will cover the huge costs involved, the work is controlled by the Portuguese.

There are even concerns that the Met may be banned from 'witnessing' the digs. In a further setback, a request to search the homes of some of the prime suspects in the case has been rejected.

 
Search site: The waste ground in Praia da Luz, Portugal, where Scotland Yard officers will join local police officers in digging as part of the investigation

 

Search site: The waste ground in Praia da Luz, Portugal, where Scotland Yard officers will join local police officers in digging as part of the investigation

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

 
Abroad: Specialist search teams will start by scouring sites across Praia da Luz - including this waste ground near the Ocean Club apartment complex

 

Abroad: Specialist search teams will start by scouring sites across Praia da Luz - including this waste ground near the Ocean Club apartment complex

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

 
The digs are not thought to necessarily be in connection with a search for the youngster's body or remains

 

The digs are not thought to necessarily be in connection with a search for the youngster's body or remains

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

 
This land that was not fenced at the time of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann is contiguous to the path where witnesses saw a man passing with a child in pyjamas in her arms the night of the disappearance

 

This land that was not fenced at the time of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann is contiguous to the path where witnesses saw a man passing with a child in pyjamas in her arms the night of the disappearance

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

The three former staff members at the Ocean Club are considered 'people of interest' by the inquiry.

Analysis of mobile phone data suggests the men were close to the scene of her abduction and were in contact in the hours that followed.

One theory is that burglars raided the McCanns' flat and were panicked into snatching Maddie when she woke up.

Met detectives reportedly requested the men's bank details and asked local officers to quiz the trio and search their homes.

But the judge who dealt with the requests 'did not consider Scotland Yard's arguments valid', local sources said.

The Met team is part of Operation Grange, which was set up in 2011 to investigate the disappearance of Maddie, whose 11th birthday is on Monday.

 
Resort: British police will dig three sites near the Ocean Club holiday apartments in the resort of Praia da Luz in Portugal, from where Madeleine McCann, then three, went missing in May 2007

 

Resort: British police will dig three sites near the Ocean Club holiday apartments in the resort of Praia da Luz in Portugal, from where Madeleine McCann, then three, went missing in May 2007

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

 
Detectives are also said to be preparing to dig up a site on a beach near the Ocean Club apartments

 

Detectives are also said to be preparing to dig up a site on a beach near the Ocean Club apartments

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

Madeleine's parents Gerry, 45, and Kate McCann, 46, attended a prayer service for on Saturday

Mrs McCann spoke about her daughter during the open-air service in their village of Rothley

 

Madeleine's parents Gerry, 45, and Kate McCann, 46, attended a prayer service for on Saturday

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

 
Portuguese police initially searched the resort, but the Met will look for anything they might have missed

 

Portuguese police initially searched the resort, but the Met will look for anything they might have missed

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

 
Map: British police are expected to excavate two sites near the Ocean Club and one near Praia Da Luz beach

Map: British police are expected to excavate two sites near the Ocean Club and one near Praia Da Luz beach

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

British detectives have since expressed their growing frustration at the length of time the probe is taking.

At the weekend Mr and Mrs McCann thanked the public for their unstinting support at a prayer service on the seventh anniversary of her disappearance.

The couple were joined by about 100 well-wishers, friends and relatives for a low-key open-air service in the centre of Rothley, Leicestershire.

It saw candles being lit for all children around the world who have been taken away from their parents against their will.

They also spoke of the family's gratitude that the Metropolitan Police investigation was now moving on to a 'very active' phase. Maddie was snatched while on a family holiday on May 3, 2007.

McCanns slam media ahead of police summit in search for Madeleine, 08 May 2014
McCanns slam media ahead of police summit in search for Madeleine Irish Independent

Kate and Gerry McCann
Kate and Gerry McCann

Published 08 May 2014 01:10 PM [Press Association]

Madeleine McCann's parents have hit out at the coverage of the latest developments in the investigation into the disappearance of their missing daughter, as Scotland Yard detectives arrived in Portugal to meet with their counterparts.

Search teams are expected to start excavating a number of sites in Praia da Luz, where Madeleine - then aged three - went missing on May 3 2007, after they were given permission by Portuguese authorities.

But it is believed that a request to search the homes of three men suspected of a number of break-ins before the youngster's disappearance has been turned down.

It is also thought that friction has developed between police teams over the media coverage of the latest developments.

Scotland Yard commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe today told Sky News: "There are always going to be complications when you have got one police force in one country working with the police force of another.

"We have both got to be sensitive to these things.

"The critical thing is, as Madeleine's parents have said and we all support, is that they need to have some closure on this, they need to know what happened to their daughter."

In a statement on their Find Madeleine website, Kate and Gerry McCann criticised the media saying: "There is an on-going, already challenging, police investigation taking place and media interference in this way not only makes the work of the police more difficult, it can potentially damage and destroy the investigation altogether - and hence the chances of us finding Madeleine and discovering what has happened to her.

"As Madeleine's parents, this just compounds our distress."

The request to excavate several sites in the area is not thought to necessarily be in connection with a search for Madeleine's body or remains and is thought to be among a series of requests made by British detectives in connection with the investigation.

The McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell has previously said: "As always, we simply will not comment on operational details of Operation Grange, that is a matter for the Met Police.

"Kate and Gerry are being kept fully informed throughout."

As they marked the seventh anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance last weekend, Mr and Mrs McCann thanked the public for their unstinting support and Mr McCann expressed his family's gratitude that the police investigating Madeleine's disappearance were moving on to a "very active" phase in their investigation, saying: "They are chipping away and obviously there is new evidence so we are going to continue to hope that we will get a happy outcome."

Earlier, Mrs McCann disclosed that she privately returns to the Portuguese resort where her daughter disappeared to "walk those streets" and "look for answers", as she backed a revamped alert system triggered when missing children are kidnapped or their lives are at risk - known as Child Rescue Alerts.

Maddie: PJ warns Scotland Yard, 08 May 2014 
Maddie: PJ warns Scotland Yard tvi24 (with video)

The Judiciary Police ask the English police to stop disclosing information in order to avoid media attention and the hampering of the investigations

By Marisa Rodrigues | 2014-05-08 13:40
With thanks to Joana Morais for translation

The British police gather in Faro

The British and the Judiciary Police are gathered in Faro, this Thursday, to work on the details on how the searches and excavations will be performed in Praia da Luz.

Before the meeting, they were in a café in down-town Faro, where they were already awaited by British journalists, in a clearly staged scenario. Minutes later, the delegation, led by the Chief Inspector of Scotland Yard, went to the meeting with the Judiciary Police, scheduled for 10 am.

On the table, a recap of what has already been done and above all, to plan the details of what is still left to be done. The most important step: the searches and excavations on sites in Praia da Luz, proceedings already accepted by the Public Prosecutor from Portimão that the PJ will have to execute.

Scotland Yard detectives want to understand in what way these endeavours will be carried out ​​and if they are going to be able to use the sniffer dogs and the georadar to find the child's body. The date of these actions is not yet scheduled.

Also planned are the inquiries to eight witnesses considered of interest to the investigation.

Today's meeting comes at a time in which the discomfort between the two police forces is palpable. The Judiciary Police have asked Scotland Yard to stop disclosing information, to avoid media attention and the hampering of the investigations, otherwise they will not proceed with the investigation in Portugal.

Police clash over Madeleine, 08 May 2014
Police clash over Madeleine The Portugal News

BY BRENDAN DE BEER · 08-05-2014 14:22:00

Days after Kate and Gerry McCann publicly expressed their frustration at the slow pace of the investigation into the disappearance of their daughter here in Portugal, a high-ranking Scotland Yard detective has called on British journalists to exercise restraint in their reporting.

 
PJ Police Regional Director Mota Carmo

 

In a letter to news editors, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley explained that while British police "do things very differently", Portuguese police have threatened to suspend activity "if we provide any briefings or information on the work they are undertaking on our behalf".

This letter comes a day after Portuguese police questioned the manner in which Scotland Yard conduct their investigations.

Speaking to The Portugal News, a detective admitted: "To be sincere, it is not easy to understand them. But I'm sure they know what they are doing", when asked about the modus operandi used by British police since the multi-million pound investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, codenamed Operation Grange, was signed off by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Portuguese police further questioned whether the latest revelations to emerge in the British press "which come after the anniversaryof the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, have anything to do with the European elections and the need for the Metropolitan Police Service to prove to those who created this team that they have made some progress?"

Regarding question marks raised over the tactics employed by Portuguese police, the source said: "We are completely committed to finding out what happened to Madeleine McCann. Our approach is humble and very honest. We have a complete notion of the difficulty and the importance this investigation has to all concerned and the need to obtain results. We are firmly committed to discovering what happened. However, there are completely different ways of approaching the investigation. We prefer to talk less and do more."

In the only substantiated comment to come from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) this week, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley wrote: "We will not be able to provide any information concerning the activity because ultimately it could mean the work stops. We respect the Portuguese position as we would expect them to respect our position if we were carrying out work on their behalf in the UK."

He added that "whilst the process is more bureaucratic and slower than we would wish you will recall at recent briefings" that Scotland Yard was increasingly optimistic of that activity starting soon.

He further explained he believed that "activity will occur in forthcoming weeks."

Reports of excavations and digging in Praia da Luz have dominated the news this week, despite the fact that no official confirmation has come through.

Police stressed in comments to The Portugal News that contrary to these latest reports both in Britain and Portugal, no investigative work on he ground has been scheduled with regards to the investigation.

Reports this week revealed that the Attorney-General's office has authorised digging in Praia da Luz, but said no date for these operations had been set.

Portuguese police reasoned that "if they are planning excavations, it means that they are looking for a body."

As for reports that the digging could also serve to rule out the possibility that Madeleine is not alive, he questioned: "How many holes do you have to dig to rule out the existence of a body?"

He continued: "Why does the Metropolitan Police Service want to dig up holes if they believe Madeleine is still alive? How do you prove that somebody is alive by digging up holes?"

The police source reaffirmed an earlier position that the case was re-opened by Portuguese authorities to investigate a series of sexual assaults on children in the Algarve between 2004 and 2010.

"This was not uniquely to investigate Euclides Monteiro", he explained, referring to the Cape Verdean national who died in a tractor accident on a golf course in Lagos, near Luz, back in 2009.

He did however confirm that a Portimão judge had refused "a number" of formal requests by Scotland Yard in the search for Madeleine.

The source explained that some requests by Scotland Yard detectives investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have been "rejected due to a total lack of foundation."

The ruling was made by a Portuguese criminal judge tasked with approving or refusing investigatory acts applied for by the Metropolitan Police Service in the third and latest international letter of request sent to Lisbon earlier this year.

It is believed that a total of 278 separate elements were presented for judicial appreciation as a result of this third letter which was received by the Portuguese Attorney-General's Office in March.

These developments coincide with the arrival of a team of British detectives in Faro on Wednesday evening. Led by Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, he met with PJ Police Regional Director Mota Carmo on Thursday in the Algarve capital.

Police said the meeting was only "a scheduled routine meeting" in the line of several that have been held since late last year.

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

Paper edition:

The Portugal News, issue: 10 May 2014

The Portugal News, issue: 10 May 2014

British police ask for aerial photos of places where Maddie's body may be found, 08 May 2014 
British police ask for aerial photos of places where Maddie's body may be found Jornal de Notícias

MARISA RODRIGUES
Published 17:12, 08 May 2014
With thanks to
Joana Morais for translation
Air Force helicopter flies over Praia da Luz, Algarve. Photo: Algarvephotopress / Global Imagens
Air Force helicopter flies over Praia da Luz, Algarve. Photo: Algarvephotopress / Global Imagens

A Portuguese Air Force helicopter flew, this Thursday afternoon, over Praia da Luz, in the Algarve, to make an aerial photographic reconnaissance of the areas where Maddie's may be found.

This action was taken at the request of investigators from Scotland Yard, who were this morning in a meeting with the Judiciary Police in Faro, to plan the searches and excavations of the land areas, among other matters.

The British detectives suspect the child's body may have been buried in these sites, located in the vicinity of the Ocean Club, where the child was holidaying with her parents when she disappeared in May 2007.

This was the first visible step on the ground since the searches and excavations were authorized by the Attorney General's Office.

The cost of this flight, like with the other investigative steps [asked by the British], will be covered by the British authorities.

Madeleine: digging for the truth?, 08 May 2014
Madeleine: digging for the truth? Algarve Newswatch

Posted by Len Port at 6:46 PM
Thursday, May 8, 2014


The Portuguese Polícia Judiciária, often denigrated in the UK for their handling of the Madeleine McCann case, have made in clear they are in charge of the latest phase of the investigation and that the Metropolitan Police Service and the British media had better toe the line.

Mark Rowley, assistant commissioner of the Met, says he has discussed with his PJ counterpart the high level of interest in the forthcoming ground search activity, some of which is likely to take place in public.

In an open letter to the British media, Rowley warned that "if we provide any briefings or information on the work they are undertaking on our behalf, or if reporters cause any disruption to their work in Portugal, activity will cease."

The Met appealed for "media restraint" when it upped its two-year review to a fully-fledged investigation in July last year, but since then there has been an almost non-stop torrent of  media reports - mostly highly speculative and many plainly absurd - about 'new leads' and 'prime suspects.'

The Mirror broke the latest news about the ground searches by quoting - not the Met police - but a source close to Madeleine's parents.

"Kate and Gerry have been told police will be conducting the searches in and around Praia da Luz as soon as they get the green light from Portuguese authorities," said the source.

Scotland Yard refused to comment, but the Mirror felt able to inform its readers, "There will be earth diggers everywhere and it will look very dramatic and it will be a heartbreaking and hugely emotional time for Madeleine's poor parents."

The paper's unnamed source went on to make the assertion that "police have assured Kate and Gerry that it does not mean they are specifically searching for her body. They are doing searches as much as to rule scenarios out as much as rule them in."

If the intention is not to search specifically for a body, "how many holes do you have to dig to rule out the existence of a body?" wondered an unnamed Portuguese police source quoted by the Portugal News.

"Why does the Metropolitan Police Service want to dig up holes if they believe Madeleine is still alive? How do you prove that somebody is alive by digging up holes?" the Portuguese police source added.

In questioning the usefulness of serious excavations in the village, a Praia da Luz resident told the Algarve Resident newspaper: "We've had so many people suspected of abducting the child, but none of them were thought to have been in the possession of heavy-duty, earth-digging equipment when they did so."

The fact is, apart from the beach, the terrain in most of the neighbourhood consists of limestone bedrock. Even in the patches of shallow hard soil, how could an abductor have buried a body, or any other material evidence, unobserved and without tools?

In a wry observation, the Portugal News source said about the British detectives: "Sincerely, it is not easy to understand them. But I'm sure they know what they are doing."

A Portuguese judge apparently did not entirely agree and turned down as unwarranted a British police request to do house searches on 'people of interest' who worked at the complex where the McCanns were staying.

Meanwhile, the hope in the tranquil resort of Praia da Luz, and in the rest of Portugal, is that detectives from the PJ and the Met can work quietly and harmoniously as an efficient team and come up with some hard evidence that leads to justice for Madeleine.

 
Praia da Luz

Madeleine McCann Police Flown Over Search Sites, 08 May 2014
Madeleine McCann Police Flown Over Search Sites Sky News (with video)

7:39pm UK, Thursday 08 May 2014

Scotland Yard detectives meet their Portuguese counterparts as they prepare to dig for clues at three sites in Praia da Luz.

Video: Police Prepare For Madeleine Dig

 

By Martin Brunt, Crime Correspondent, in Praia da Luz

British detectives had a four-hour meeting with their Portuguese colleagues to set a timetable for ground searches in the renewed search for missing Madeleine McCann.

The Scotland Yard team later reportedly flew in a military chopper to photograph potential search sites in Praia da Luz, the Algarve resort where Madeleine vanished seven years ago.

The UK police were also said to be discussing their request to interview eight witness they believe could still have vital clues to the mystery.

Police photographing the sites from a helicopter. Pic: Exclusivepix

 

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood refused to answer questions as he and four colleagues went into the meeting in Faro.

Senior officers say they have been warned the Portuguese authorities will withdraw co-operation if they discuss any aspect of this new dynamic phase of the investigation.

Three principle dig sites: road, waste ground and beach area

 

Searches of several sites in Praia da Luz are expected to begin soon, with the Scotland Yard detectives present as advisers and observers.

The areas are thought to include a road with trenches that were later filled in by road workers, a patch of wasteland and a part of the beach.

The helicopter hovers over one of the sites. Pic: Exclusivepix

 

British police identified the sites after a review of evidence collected by Portuguese police in its original investigation, which was shelved 15 months after Madeleine disappeared from her bed in her family's holiday apartment.

Traders in the popular resort said they hoped the searches would help solve the mystery, but did not welcome renewed police and media attention.

Kate and Gerry McCann say they need to know what happened

Carlos Rodrigues, owner of the seafront Galley restaurant, said: "Of course we hope the searches bring news for Madeleine's family, and good news, but this should have been done properly seven years ago. It will damage business in what is already a bad year for tourism here."

Ana Faria, who runs a jewellery stall on the promenade, said: "If the searches reveal the truth that is good, that's all people want, but this could reopen fears of families that this is not a safe place, which is not true."

The beach area will be one of the dig sites

 

The Scotland Yard detectives are expected to fly home on Friday, while details of the searches are finalised.

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

Transcript of video

Scotland Yard team discuss their strategy over coffee

 

By Nigel Moore

Martin Brunt: [voice over] First, over coffee, the Scotland Yard team discuss their strategy before meeting their Portuguese colleagues. A habit established in more than twenty visits to the Algarve.

On their way towards police headquarters, they made it clear they would not reveal their plans.

DCI Andy Redwood: Sorry, I've no comment for you today.

 

DCI Andy Redwood: Sorry, I've no comment for you today. Thank you. Thank you, very much.

Martin Brunt: [voice over] The Portuguese authorities have threatened to hold up cooperation if British police talk about the new phase of the investigation. Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood wasn't about to scupper the already fragile relationship.

Martin Brunt: "What will you be doing today, Mr Redwood?"

 

[to DCI Andy Redwood] What will you be doing today, Mr Redwood? [no response]

[voice over] There's a lot to discuss inside police headquarters, not just the ground searches that are expected to start soon.

Martin Brunt

 

[to camera] British detectives also want to interview 8 witnesses they believe can provide new clues to Madeleine's disappearance.

[voice over] The British police arrival heralds a dynamic turn in the search for Madeleine McCann, who vanished without trace during a family holiday seven years ago.

The ground searches are likely to begin as the resort of Praia da Luz gets ready to welcome summer tourists.

Martin Brunt with Carlos Rodrigues

Traders here have mixed feelings about more police and media attention.

Carlos Rodrigues: Restaurant owner

 

Carlos Rodrigues: [Restaurant owner] I hope they found what they're looking for but I'm a businessman and, errr... business is bad and this is going to make it all over again.

Martin Brunt: Okay.

Carlos Rodrigues: It's, errr... I don't know. I wish all the best for what they're doing and they found something, errr... useful and put all our minds at rest but, errm... it's damage.

Ana Faria

Ana Faria: [Trader] I think everyone is a little bit upset about that but, at the same time, everyone wants to know the truth. That's it.

Martin Brunt: [voice over] The authorities will be keen to keep disruption to a minimum but there will be inevitably some intrusion in this popular holiday resort.

Martin Brunt, Sky News, Praia da Luz.

'Flying squad' join in hunt for Maddie, 09 May 2014
'Flying squad' join in hunt for Maddie Daily Mirror (paper edition, page 11)

[see below for image]

By RUSSELL MYERS in Faro, Portugal
Friday 09.05.2014


BRITISH detectives probing the case of missing Madeleine McCann took to the air yesterday as it emerged they have identified EIGHT suspects they wish to question.

Members of the UK delegation joined Portuguese colleagues on board a military helicopter and spent 30 minutes taking photographs of a number of areas around the town and beach of Praia da Luz.

Six Scotland Yard detectives, including two forensic officers specialising in searches for bodies, met with senior officers from the Portuguese Judicial Police.

Shortly before 9am detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood led his team into Faro police station, 60 miles from the resort where the three-year-old disappeared.

During a three-and-half-hour meeting, the officers discussed plans to begin a series of excavation works across at least three sites in and around the Algarve resort.

Local reports claimed the talks were to "define the operations to find Maddie's body". But the Met has previously said the renewed hunt is as a result of a review of evidence already gathered by the Portuguese and not necessarily connected to finding the little girl dead.

The eight suspects identified by the Met include four former employees of the Ocean Club holiday complex where the McCanns were staying when Madeleine vanished.

Portuguese detectives have refused pleas to raid the homes and examine bank accounts of three of the workers.

Another suspect is understood to be heroin addict Euclides Monteiro, who used to work at the Ocean Club.

The convicted burglar, who died in a tractor accident in 2008, is a suspect in a string of 18 burglaries and five sex assaults on young British girls on the Algarve.

These are being investigated by Operation Grange, the Met's cold case review into evidence gathered over the past seven years.

Monteiro's widow denies his involvement in the attacks, claiming Portuguese police even ruled him out as a suspect after taking DNA samples shortly before his death.

Details of the other four suspects, who sources say are "relevant people of interest", are not yet known.

Yesterday's meetings were seen as a huge boost for the Met, which has already spent around £6million on the case.

The force has criticised the Portuguese judicial process for being "bureaucratic and slower than we would wish".

British detectives have been forced to write asking for permission every time they wish to examine evidence or act on information. The Mirror exclusively revealed this week that British cops will be allowed to carry out digs in Praia da Luz.

The three main areas of interest include wasteland the size of three football pitches just yards from the Ocean Club, a cobbled road outside the town's 16th century church and a car park near the beach.

The road was filled in three days after Madeleine disappeared on May 3, 2007.

A fourth location, in hills close to the resort, has not yet been approved by Portuguese officers.

Skilled sniffer dogs and high-tech radar equipment capable of searching for bones underground will be used. Then mechanical diggers and other earth moving equipment will be brought in.

The Met must pay for the land searches and British officers will be allowed only to supervise Portuguese officials.

It is not known when work will begin but the presence of forensic officers could be a sign the digs are just days away.

Madeleine's parents - Kate, 46, and Gerry, 45, from Rothley, Leics - are being kept updated by Scotland Yard.

----------------------
Detail:

BRIT TEAM
Det Chief Insp Andy Redwood, right, of the Metropolitan Police has cold case experience. In 2010, he nailed Miguel da Silva, who went on the run for 15 years after strangling mum Susan Martin, 44, in 1994 in Notting Hill.

'Flying squad' join in hunt for Maddie, 09 May 2014
'Flying squad' join in hunt for Maddie Daily Mirror (paper edition, page 11)

Daily Mirror, 09 May 2014
Daily Mirror, 09 May 2014

The 8 suspects, 09 May 2014
The 8 suspects The Sun

-Maddie detectives arrive in Portugal
-Scotland Yard team's list of key names

British cops arrive in Portugal Photo: SIMON JONES

By DANIEL SANDERSON in Faro, Portugal Published: 09 May 2014

THE team of British detectives leading the hunt for Madeleine McCann flew in to Portugal with the names of eight suspects.

Join Sun+ to read the full story.

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

THE 8 SUSPECTS The Sun
(paper edition, page 17)

Maddie detectives arrive in Portugal
• Scotland Yard team's list of key names


From DANIEL SANDERSON in Faro, Portugal
Friday, May 9, 2014


THE team of British detectives leading the hunt for Madeleine McCann flew in to Portugal with the names of eight suspects.

Three are thought to be workers from the Ocean Club holiday complex where the three-year-old was snatched in 2007. A fourth suspect may be Euclides Monteiro, a local junkie who died in a 2008 tractor accident.

The convicted burglar was linked to a string of sex assaults across the Algarve and also worked at the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz.

The other four suspects' names have not been revealed.

The six Met officers - led by Det Chief Insp Andy Redwood - had long talks with Portuguese cops in Faro before starting the latest stage of their investigation.

A military helicopter was commissioned to fly above the Praia resort to take aerial photos of potential excavation sites.

One theory the team are working on is Madeleine was snatched to order. The Brit police have been banned from checking suspects' bank accounts to see if large deposits were made around the time of the kidnap. And a move to raid their homes has been blocked by a Portuguese judge.

The team - which includes two forensic experts - has identified four sites where they may excavate. One is a hillside where Madeleine's mother Kate, 46, of Rothley, Leics, dreamt she had been placed. The digs are not necessarily to find a body - but could unearth vital clues.

The 8 suspects, 09 May 2014
The 8 suspects The Sun (paper edition, page 17)

The Sun, 09 May 2014
The Sun, 09 May 2014

Brit CSI squad tracks Maddie, 09 May 2014
Brit CSI squad tracks Maddie Daily Star (paper edition)

 
Daily Star, 09 May 2014

FIRST PICS: PAGE 7

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

ELITE BRIT CSI COPS IN DIG FOR MADDIE Daily Star
(paper edition, page 7)

Experts pinpoint 3 suspect areas

by JERRY LAWTON
Chief Crime Correspondent
Friday, May 9, 2014


TWO British police officers trained in finding bodies have flown to Portugal, increasing fears Madeleine McCann is dead.

The pair are expert in the use of CSI-style techniques to unearth remains.

And they were among a Met team of six meeting Portuguese police to plan a search of three areas of Praia da Luz.

Madeleine, then three, vanished from the resort in 2007

According to Portuguese news reports, the Brits want to use dogs and radar to detect bodies on land next to the Ocean Club - where the McCanns were staying - and waste ground between the beach and the church where the couple prayed for Madeleine's safe return.

Doctor parents Kate, 46, and Gerry, 45, of Rothley, Leics, "believe fervently" she is still alive.

Brit police who have spent two years studying the files of the original shelved Portuguese inquiry had shared that belief until two months ago.

Then Det Chief Insp Andy Redwood, who is leading the UK probe, announced they also had to consider the possibility Madeleine "did not leave the apartment alive".

Det Chief Insp Redwood has had a three-hour morning meeting with Faro police chief Luis Mota.

Afterwards they left the town's police station by a back door without comment.

They want further inquiries to be made of eight witnesses they believe are "relevant" to the investigation.

Yesterday Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, 56, admitted there were "complications" in relations between the UK and Portuguese investigators.

He said: "There are always going to be complications when you have got one police force in one country working with the police force of another.

"We have both got to be sensitive to these things.

"The critical thing is, as Madeleine's parents have said and we all support, that they need to have some closure on this. They need to know what happened to their daughter."

A military helicopter yesterday took pictures of the resort ahead of ground searches. Two photographers were on the 15-minute fight in the Portuguese Air Force craft.

Last night the McCanns voiced fears "media interference" could hamper the "already challenging investigation".

Elite Brit CSI cops in dig for Maddie, 09 May 2014
Elite Brit CSI cops in dig for Maddie Daily Star (paper edition, page 7)

Daily Star, 09 May 2014
Daily Star, 09 May 2014

PJ about to discard English Police strongest lead, 09 May 2014
PJ about to discard English Police strongest lead Jornal de Notícias (paper edition, page 13)

PJ about to discard English Police strongest lead Jornal de Notícias (paper edition, page 13)

There is no evidence that a predator of English girls has abducted Madeleine. Scotland Yard has asked for aerial photos of places in Praia da Luz and wishes to question eight "persons of interest"

by Marisa Rodrigues
09 May 2014
With thanks to Joana Morais for translation

The Judiciary Police (PJ) is about to discard the lead that has resulted in the reopening of the process in Portugal and that is Scotland Yard's main line of investigation. So far, there isn't any evidence to support the hypothesis that Madeleine was abducted by a sexual predator who attacked English children in the Algarve.

This is the firmly held position of the team of inspectors from the North Directorate of the PJ who has reviewed the investigation process that was archived in 2008.

After naming as probable suspect the late Euclides Monteiro, a former Ocean Club employee, the Portuguese investigators now believe that the intruder - in the cases that were reported to the authorities - might be British and that he does not reside in Portugal, since there were no new reports and those that were disclosed only target children of that nationality. "A sex abuser is someone who acts compulsively. If he only acted in the summer and has never attacked again it's because he does not live here," explained a source close to the process.

Yesterday, the day was marked by an aerial photo-reconnaissance in Praia da Luz of the areas where searches and excavations are planned using a helicopter of the Portuguese Air Force paid by the British authorities, and by a meeting between the police forces of the two countries at the PJ headquarters in Faro.

One of the places where Scotland Yard wants to use the sniffer dogs and the georadar is on the 25 de Abril street, in the vicinity of the Ocean Club and by the church. The area, which the helicopter overflew three times, was undergoing construction works when Madeleine disappeared, seven years ago. If anything suspicious is detected, they will excavate.

Besides the searches, which were already allowed by the Public Prosecutor of Portimão, the letters rogatory also request for eight people to be questioned. Some used to work at the Ocean Club resort whilst are not linked in any way. With all these initiatives, it seems likely that Scotland Yard has more than one line of investigation, of which the latest and most visible action yet indicates the hypothesis that the child was murdered and buried in Praia da Luz. When questioned, in Faro, DCI Andy Redwood refused to speak with the journalists.

Tension between the PJ and the English

The relationship between the police forces of the two countries is rather tense. The Judiciary Police has requested to the English police to stop disclosing information about the ongoing work in Portugal, otherwise they will not proceed with the steps that were requested. Scotland Yard wrote to the newspapers in the United Kingdom asking for "understanding".

Aerial searches for Maddie, 09 May 2014
Aerial searches for Maddie Correio da Manhã (paper edition, page 14)

 
Correio da Manhã, 09 May 2014 (paper edition, page 14)

Diligence that was carried out with Air Force means will be paid for by British authorities

by Rui Pando Gomes/Tânia Laranjo/Pedro F. Guerreiro
09.05.2014
With thanks to
Astro for translation

After a meeting with the Polícia Judiciária, three Scotland Yard investigators carried out an aerial radiography of the locations where they want to perform searches for the body of Madeleine McCann, in Praia da Luz, in Lagos. During the air mission, which was accompanied by the PJ, a helicopter from the Air Force was used, a service that, as far as CM was able to establish, will be paid for by the British authorities, as well as the other diligences that will take place on Portuguese territory.

The air operation took place when the population of Praia da Luz expected land searches. The Air Force helicopter, an Alouette III that is normally used for instruction and for search and rescue, carried three Scotland Yard members and one PJ member. Two of them took several pictures of the locations of potential interest for future searches.

The goal was to understand if there are areas with soil depressions that are compatible with a location where a body may have been buried. This radiography is considered to be essential by the British for the advance of the searches on grounds near the Ocean Club, where they intend to use dogs and a georadar.

On the list of diligences requested by the English, CM knows, is also the questioning of eight persons, of various nationalities, residing in the Algarve, according to the investigation line that is based on a sexual predator that entered several houses.

Despite this sudden advance in the investigations, it is uncertain that new developments will take place over the coming days.

Paedophile is sought by English police


Scotland Yard wants to find Roderick Robinson, aged 77, a paedophile who was in Portugal when several children were abused in the Algarve, three of them in Praia da Luz – cases that stopped when the man was arrested in the Algarve and extradited in 2010. According to the British press, the men was connected to a paedophile ring that attacked in the Algarve when Maddie disappeared.

Briton was arrested in the Algarve

The British man was arrested at a camping site in Olhão. He had been on the run for ten years and he was arrested over pending international arrest warrants, one of them from Australia, where he was extradited to for raping a child. He declared himself guilty and was sentenced to six months. He returned to the United Kingdom and in 2012 he attacked two children. He got a suspended sentence. He changed his name and left the country.

DETAILS

Six investigators


The British team, composed of six members, arrived on Wednesday, in the late afternoon, at Faro airport. The group includes two cadaver search experts.

Breakfast

Before the meeting with the Portuguese authorities, the Scotland Yard members had breakfast in downtown Faro, for about half an hour. They drank Coca-Cola and Guaraná.

Meeting with the PJ

The meeting between Scotland Yard members and the PJ, yesterday, lasted for four hours and included the discussion of results from diligences that have already been carried out by the Portuguese police.

Helicopter

The Air Force's Alouette III that was used in the diligence belongs to Esquadra 552 and is stationed in Beja. It has room for 4 passengers and great aerial visibility.

Madeleine McCann: is it time for the press regulator to step in?, 09 May 2014
Madeleine McCann: is it time for the press regulator to step in? The Guardian

Greenslade blog

Posted by Roy Greenslade
Friday 9 May 2014 10.15 BST


Is the Press Complaints Commission going to find itself dealing with one last controversial complaint or will it become the first headache for the new Independent Press Standards Organisation?

I refer to the concerns aired about current media coverage of the renewed search for Madeleine McCann by both her parents and the police.

Madeleine's parents, Gerry and Kate McCann, have issued a statement, which is posted on Facebook, registering their disquiet at "interference" by journalists in the new investigation into their daughter's disappearance. It states:
"We are dismayed with the way the media has behaved over the last couple of days in relation to our daughter's case.

There is an on-going, already challenging, police investigation taking place and media interference in this way not only makes the work of the police more difficult, it can potentially damage and destroy the investigation altogether – and hence the chances of us finding Madeleine and discovering what has happened to her.

As Madeleine's parents, this just compounds our distress. We urge the media to let the police get on with their work and please show some respect and consideration to Madeleine and all our family."
This came the day after the Metropolitan police assistant commissioner, Mark Rowley, sent a letter to editors appealing for restraint because of the potential for the Portuguese to halt the investigation.

Rowley explained that the British police were operating under Portuguese law and his opposite number in Portugal, in the policia judiciaria, did not intend – as had been the Met's practice – to brief the media on the search.

He said that the Portuguese police chief had been clear "that if we provide any briefings or information on the work they are undertaking on our behalf, or if reporters cause any disruption to their work in Portugal, activity will cease".

It would mean that Scotland Yard detectives would be unable to excavate sites around the resort of Praia da Luz where the then three-year-old Madeleine went missing on 3 May 2007.

But where exactly should the press draw the line? What happens if reporters discover facts without having had police briefings? Is it wrong for British papers to reproduce every story appearing in the Portuguese press? Where does factual reporting stop and intrusion into grief begin?

With the questions in mind, let's look at how have the press has reacted to the call for restraint.

The Daily Mirror has been in the forefront, running a "world exclusive" splash on Monday, "Maddie cops to start digging up resort". The story appeared to be well sourced.

On Wednesday, the Mirror splashed on an "exclusive new lead" headlined "Maddie cops to dig yards from apartment". A similar story was the splash in the Daily Star, "Maddie: police dig up 3 sites" and in the Daily Express, "Police dig in new hunt for Maddy."

If factually accurate, as appears to be the case, the problem for the Met with these stories was that it was bound to raise suspicions by the Portuguese police about off-the-record briefings (even if that was not the case).

The Sun also ran a page lead that morning, "Kate had dream of where to dig", in which Mrs McCann was alleged to have told a family liaison officer about her dream of where officers should look.

By Wednesday evening, Sky News was reporting that "disagreements over leaks to the media may delay British police in their efforts to scour areas they will be given access to."

Its crime correspondent, Martin Brunt, reported from Praia da Luz, on "what appears to be a developing row between the British authorities and the Portuguese authorities about essentially Scotland Yard giving out information to journalists about what is going to happen.

"The Portuguese are making it very clear that they were not happy with journalists being briefed."

Brunt also spoke about another "blow for Scotland Yard" because - according to a report in a local Portuguese newspaper, the News Journal - the authorities had rejected a Scotland Yard plea to search the homes of three men accused of burglaries at the Praia da Luz complex at the time Madeleine vanished.

The Daily Mail also referred to "ongoing tensions between British and Portuguese authorities" It quoted Met commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe as saying: "There are always going to be complications when you have got one police force in one country working with the police force of another. We have both got to be sensitive to these things."

British newspaper editors cannot be other than aware of the sensitivity surrounding the Madeleine McCann story. Her parents spoke movingly at the Leveson inquiry of their unfortunate treatment by certain papers some seven years ago.

They remain acutely concerned about intrusions into their privacy despite acknowledging the need for continuing publicity about the case.

They and their friends, along with a local man wrongly identified as a suspect, were paid large sums in libel damages for inaccurate, defamatory reports in the aftermath of Madeleine's disappearance.

Although it is obvious that editors would not wish to repeat the sins of the past, they are fascinated by the story and remain wedded, as always, to the kind of scoop journalism that can lead them to overstep the mark.

I can accept that it is difficult to suppress information - and, of course, to accept the diktats of the Portuguese authority - but editors will surely wish to avoid scuppering the police operation.

One aspect of the reporting, however, does require more attention. The Mirror's article on Wednesday quoted "a source close to the McCanns" as saying: "This is an emotional time for them."

And the inside story, drawing again on the unnamed source, referred to the couple as "tormented parents" facing "their worst nightmare". Some people may not be regard it as intrusive. But it is surely bordering on poor taste to attribute feelings to this couple in such circumstances.

Will the current regulator, the PCC, step in before this gets out of hand again? Or will it leave it to the incoming Ipso?

Madeleine McCann: Search to begin on private land, 09 May 2014
Madeleine McCann: Search to begin on private land BBC News

9 May 2014 Last updated at 13:53

Madeleine McCann

Portuguese authorities have granted permission for one site in the town of Praia da Luz to be examined as part the investigation into Madeleine McCann's disappearance, the BBC understands.

Permission has been granted for a "field operation" to begin on a section of private land, sources have said.

The Met Police, which is leading the investigation, declined to comment.

Met detectives are understood to have left Portugal after spending two days with Portuguese police in the Algarve.

BBC reporter Richard Bilton, in Praia da Luz, said Portuguese authorities had so far granted permission to begin a search on the land, which could begin in "days" or "weeks".

Investigative work

He said he had been told him that British teams want to conduct more searches, but have yet to make an official request, which could take "weeks" to process.

Metropolitan Police detectives have discussed a timetable for investigative work that Portuguese police will carry out for the British team, he added.

The development comes after reports suggested search teams were expected to start excavating sites in the Praia da Luz resort where Madeleine - then aged three - went missing on 3 May 2007.

Met Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley this week said "activity" was expected to begin in Portugal "in the coming weeks".

It also comes after Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, posted a statement on the Find Madeleine website on Thursday criticising "media interference" over newspaper speculation in the case.

The McCann family was staying at the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz when Madeleine disappeared

The McCann family was staying at the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz when Madeleine disappeared

They warned they were "dismayed" at speculation which could "potentially damage and destroy the investigation altogether".

They added: "There is an on-going, already challenging, police investigation taking place and media interference in this way not only makes the work of the police more difficult."

"As Madeleine's parents, this just compounds our distress," they added.

The seventh anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance was marked on Saturday.

Scotland Yard launched a fresh investigation - codenamed Operation Grange - into Madeleine's disappearance last July.

In March, British police then said they were seeking an intruder who sexually abused five girls in Portugal between 2004 and 2006.

Detectives said the attacks happened in holiday villas occupied by UK families in the Algarve.

Met police investigating Madeleine McCann disappearance probe British paedophile link, 09 May 2014
Met police investigating Madeleine McCann disappearance probe British paedophile link Daily Mirror

May 09, 2014 17:28 | By Russell Myers

An Algarve judge has yet to decide whether they can question eight people of varying nationality, including an intruder linked to a spate of sex attacks there

Missing: Maddie's parents Gerry and Kate are continuing search

 

Missing: Maddie's parents Gerry and Kate are continuing search

Detectives investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann are probing a theory that her abductor was a British holidaymaker.

Eight suspects Metropolitan Police cops applied to investigate include a British paedophile that was living on the Algarve when Madeleine went missing seven years ago, it was claimed today.

An Algarve judge has yet to decide on the application by the Met who believe an intruder linked to a spate of sex attacks on the Algarve may have snatched Madeleine.

The same judge recently banned British detectives from searching the homes of three former Ocean Club workers - but has approved the land searches and digs they requested across three sites in the town.

A local source said: “The eight people are of different nationalities and live on the Algarve.

“The British police want to question them as part of their line of investigation based on a sexual predator breaking into various houses.”

This shift in the investigation could mean Briton Raymond Hewlett, a convicted child rapist who was living on the Algarve when Maddie went missing, could once again in the frame.

The monster went to his death refusing to speak to investigators hunting for Madeleine McCann after he was sensationally linked to her disappearance.

The evil sex beast had been staying in their converted truck at a camping site near Praia da Luz at the time three-year-old Madeleine disappeared as her parents Kate and Gerry dined out with friends at the Ocean Club holiday complex.

British cops are also hunting another convicted child sex attacker Roderick Robinson, 77.

Our sister paper the Sunday Mirror revealed this week how vile Robinson was extradited from Portugal in 2010 to Australia where he was sentenced for abusing an eight-year-old girl.

Sources say he could have vital information concerning a paedophile ring in the Algarve while he was living there which could in turn be linked to Madeleine’s disappearance.

Joint effort: Met cops in Portugal prepare to meet with Portuguese counterparts

 

Joint effort: Met cops in Portugal prepare to meet with Portuguese counterparts

Scotland Yard detectives have previously spoken of their belief that a serial sex attacker on the Algarve could be behind the case.

They are linking 18 incidents when a male intruder broke into British families' holiday villas between 2004 and 2010 and sexually assaulted nine girls with three near-misses.

One of the victims, a ten-year-old girl, was assaulted in Praia da Luz two years before Madeleine vanished from the resort.

Sources told local Portuguese media they thought the paedophile their Met colleagues are trying to identify may have been a British holidaymaker.

A source close to the investigation said: "A sex attacker is someone who acts compulsively.

"If he only struck in the summer and he hasn't struck again, it's probably because he doesn't live here."

But in a blow to the British police inquiry, it was also reported Portuguese police are now ready to discount any link between the sex attacks and Madeleine's disappearance.

Porto-based detectives who led a cold case review into the seven year old mystery which led them to dead former Ocean Club worker Euclides Monteiro, are said to have concluded there is no evidence the Algarve sex attacker snatched Maddie.

Euclides' widow Luisa Rodrigues has insisted her partner, a convicted burglar who died in a tractor accident in 2009, has nothing to do with Madeleine's disappearance and was cleared of any involvement in the sex attacks after police questioning the year before he died.

Madeleine McCann's parents hit out at media coverage

Scotland Yard detectives who arrived in the Algarve for a series of meetings with Portuguese investigators on Thursday returned to London today.

The team of six detectives, including two forensic officers who specialise in searching for bodies, boarded the 12.15pm British Airways flight from Faro airport to London Gatwick.

As part of their investigation they will study aerial photos of the Algarve resort taken on a helicopter ride with Portuguese detectives on Thursday.

Police photographers took the pictures from an air force helicopter on a flyover of Praia da Luz following a meeting about land searches and excavations.

Operation Grange officers leading the hunt for Madeleine commissioned the chopper to identify spots where earth may have been moved and where evidence like weapons - or a child's body - could be buried.

They will now study the images while they wait for Portuguese PJ police chiefs to tell them if they can take part in land searches of the areas of interest.

The PJ's top man - national director Almeida Rodrigues - will take the decision and rule on whether to use a Portuguese police ground-penetrating radar or a radar Met Police have offered along with sniffer dogs capable of detecting buried bodies.

He is expected to make up his mind over the weekend.

Scotland Yard hopes the initial land searches could begin by the middle of next week.

One of the areas Met Police have focused on is wasteland next to the Ocean Club holiday complex Madeleine vanished from.

Two others are understood to be a car park in front of an a cobbled road beside Our Lady of the Light Church in Praia da Luz where Madeleine's parents Kate, 46, and heart doctor Gerry, 45, from Rothley, Leics, prayed for Madeleine's safe return.

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

Transcript of short news video

By Nigel Moore

Matthew King: Detectives from Scotland Yard have arrived in Portugal to further investigate the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

Portuguese authorities have given permission to start excavating a number of sites in Praia da Luz, where Madeleine went missing on May 3rd 2007.

But media coverage of the latest developments has led to friction with police teams on the investigation.

Kate and Gerry McCann highlighted this issue in a recent post on their website 'Find Madeleine' in which they say: "There is an on-going, already challenging, police investigation taking place and media interference in this way not only makes the work of the police more difficult, it can potentially damage and destroy the investigation altogether – and hence the chances of us finding Madeleine and discovering what has happened to her. As Madeleine's parents, this just compounds our distress."

It has been more than seven years since Madeleine's disappearance and Mr and Mrs McCann recently expressed their gratitude to the public for their constant support.

Police on Maddy case hunt for clues in aerial photos, 10 May 2014
Police on Maddy case hunt for clues in aerial photos Daily Express

DETECTIVES were last night studying aerial photographs of the resort where Madeleine McCann vanished for clues to ­features on the land which could hold the key to her disappearance.

By: Gerard Couzens
Published: Sat, May 10, 2014

Madeleine McCann went missing from the Ocean Club resort in Praia de Luz [EPA]

Police took pictures from an air force helicopter over Praia da Luz on Thursday.

Operation Grange officers leading the hunt hope the images will identify ­areas where earth may have been moved and evidence like weapons – or a body – could be buried.

Portuguese police chief Almeida Rodrigues has to give the go-ahead for a search which could employ ground-penetrating radar or sniffer dogs, offered by the Met Police, capable of detecting buried bodies.

The Met is concentrating on wasteland next to the Ocean Club complex from where Madeleine vanished and a patch of ground by Our Lady of the Light Church, where prayers were said for her return.

Eight "people of interest" the Met are said to want to talk to include an unnamed British paedophile living in the Algarve at the time.

British detectives are using aerial photos of Praia de Luz to sniff out new clues [PA]

A Portuguese judge has yet to decide on the Met team's application. The same judge recently banned them from searching homes of three former Ocean Club workers.

Detectives believe an intruder linked to a spate of sex attacks may have snatched Madeleine.

Leading Portuguese daily Correio da Manha reported: "The eight people are of ­different nationalities and live on the Algarve. The British police want to question them as part of their line of investigation based on a sexual predator breaking into various houses."

But in a blow to the Met inquiry, it was also reported Portuguese police are set to discount links between the sex attacks and Madeleine's disappearance.

Porto-based detectives who led a cold case review are said to think there is no evidence the Algarve sex attacker snatched Madeleine.

She went missing, aged three, on May 3, 2007.

Maddie's 'bad for tourism', 10 May 2014
Maddie's 'bad for tourism' The Sun

Resort dig bid fury

Madeleine McCann and Praia da Luz

 

By DANIEL SANDERSON in Faro, Portugal Published: 10 May 2014

PLANS by cops hunting for Madeleine McCann to excavate four sites in Praia da Luz at the height of tourist season have sparked anger.

Join Sun+ to read the full story.

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MADDIE'S 'BAD FOR TOURISM' The Sun (paper edition, page 17)

 
The Sun, 10 May 2014

Resort locals blast dig

From DANIEL SANDERSON in Faro, Portugal
Saturday, May 10, 2014


PLANS by cops hunting for Madeleine McCann to excavate four sites in Praia da Luz at the height of tourist season have sparked anger.

Local council leader Victor Mata said residents in the Portuguese resort are "fed up" with the seven-year-probe.

He said: "It's bad for tourism. It beggars belief, preparing to open up holes a month before summer."

Another local said he believed families with young children were staying away from the resort, adding: "The economic crisis affected tourism, but it's my view the Madeleine McCann case has as well."

It came as Met detectives last night studied aerial photos of the search sites as they wait for Portuguese police chiefs to tell them if they can be involved in the digs. The locations include wasteland next to the Ocean Club where Madeleine vanished aged three in 2007 and hillside land where mum Kate dreamt her daughter was.

Almeida Rodrigues, director of the Policia Judiciaria, will rule on whether the Met can be present and on whether to use Brit sniffer dogs and ground-penetrating radar.

He is expected to make up his mind over the weekend.

The following article highlights how 'hyperspectral imaging' can be very useful in locating remains that have laid buried for longer than 5 years, although there has been no suggestion, so far, that this has been, or will be, used in a search for Madeleine's body.
New Tech Sees Dead People, 17 April 2010 
New Tech Sees Dead People ABC News

By ERIC BLAND
April 17, 2010


A spooky sounding technology is finding old, unmarked graves. Using hyperspectral imaging, scientists from McGill University have found unmarked animal graves with special cameras that measure changes in the light coming from soil and plants.

Hyperspectral imaging collects and processes light from across the electromagnetic spectrum, including visible light as well as ultraviolet and infrared light. The research could help police solve missing persons cases or reveal new mass graves from hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago.

"As soon as there is some decay you can see a difference," said Andre Costopoulos, a professor at McGill University developing new techniques to find old graves.

"We suspect that some of these graves are over 40 years old, and are excited to try to find much older grave sites," some of which could be hundreds of years old, said Costopoulos.

The McGill project began in an unlikely place: an African animal safari park in Quebec called Parc Safari. Parc Safari officials wanted to exhume a buried elephant and reassemble the bones for an park exhibit. But the park official didn't know where the dead elephant was buried.

Hyperspectral Camera-Equipped Aircraft Detected Animal Graves

Costopoulos was enlisted to find the missing elephant. Over three seasons Costopoulos' team found seven animal graves at depths of two to three feet deep (including the elephant). They knew more animal graves existed at the site.

Meanwhile, Margaret Kalacska, another professor at McGill University, was studying the effects of soil on plant growth by measuring the amount of chlorophyll in plant leaves using hyperspectral imaging. Kalacska and Costopoulos decided to combine their expertise to find the remaining animals at the pet cemetery.

The McGill scientists borrowed a plane from the Canadian National Research Council and equipped it with two cameras. One camera recorded light in the visible spectrum and into the infrared range. The other camera recorded light in the infrared and longer light ranges.

When the hyperspectral camera-equipped aircraft flew over the animal graveyard, the scientists found all seven known graves, plus 25 new graves, some of which were buried up up to eight feet deep.

New Technology Saves Time

"One flyby of the aircraft gave us four to fives times more information than we gathered in three seasons of digging," said Costopoulos.

For the first five years or so a decaying body inhibits plant growth. "Initially it's a pretty toxic environment," for plants, said Kalacska, who, along with Pablo Arroyo and Tim Moore, manages the technological side of the research. Plants that grow over such recent graves don't reflect as much light in the visible and near infrared region, which scientists can detect using their cameras.

After five years, however, the plants growing over buried body suddenly reflect light instead of absorbing light. In fact, on-grave plants reflect more than twice the green light of off-grave plants. For a human eye detecting such tiny changes would be "very hard," said Kalacska, but the difference is obvious to the hyperspectral camera.

The increase in reflected light comes from an increase in chlorophyll, the pigment that plants use to convert light from the sun. After five years a decomposing body becomes fertilizer, supplying the growing plants with much needed nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus. Bigger plants with bigger, healthier leaves reflect more light.

Dead Bodies Release Chemicals That Stain Soil Above

A decomposing body can fertilize a plant for years. Some graves found by the hyperspectral camera at Parc Safari could be 50 years old. Larger mass graves could provide enough nutrients to encourage noticeable plant growth for hundreds of years, suspects Costopoulos.

The McGill University team is currently testing their plant-based hyperspectral images at sites in Canada and Costa Rica. The team also hopes to test their technique at a suspected mass grave site in the barren Canadian north.

Without extensive plant cover, the McGill University team will rely on longer wavelengths to find changes in soil chemistry. Besides fertilizing plants, a dead body releases chemicals that stain the soil above it, which the hyperspectral camera can detect.

The research could aid local police and international human rights investigators, say the McGill scientists and Ian Hanson, a scientist at the University of Bournemouth in Britain. Equipping planes with hyperspectal imaging equipment would allow local police to fly over huge areas searching for newly missing persons.

Researchers Hope to Use Technology to Find Mass Graves in Bosnia, Rwanda

The team also hopes to use hyperspectral imaging to find mass graves in places like Bosnia and Rwanda. Working with the McGill law department, Costopoulos and Kalacska are laying the legal groundwork to use hyperspectral imaging for convicting mass murderers of crimes against humanity.

Ian Hanson, a scientist at the University of Bournemouth in Britain, is "very impressed," with the McGill research. Hanson uses infrared cameras to help local police find missing persons and also investigates international human rights abuses and mass graves in Bosnia and elsewhere.

"This has a wide range of applications," for local police and international human rights investigators. "If the perpetrators know that what they do will leave long term traces that can be detected, that might have a deterrent effect on them," said Hanson.

English in hurry will have to make new search requests, 10 May 2014
English in hurry will have to make new search requests Jornal de Notícias (paper edition)

 
Jornal de Notícias, 10 May 2014

Scotland Yard investigation has lasted for three years and has already spent around seven million euro

by Marisa Rodrigues
10.05.2014
With thanks to
Astro for translation

Scotland Yard does not hide the hurry to move forward with the diligences in the Algarve and has already warned that it wants more searches in other locations in Praia da Luz that are not included in the latest letter rogatory. The request is expected to be formalized over the coming days.

The British detectives' intention is to finely comb other grounds where they believe that the child's body may have been buried. A method that is causing strangeness. "One is not able to understand why they want to carry out more diligences, when there is no date set yet for the ones that have just been authorized", a source that is connected to the process criticizes.

The English investigation has lasted for almost three years and approximately seven million euro have been spent already. "The idea that is left is that they have a calendar to comply with and that they are anxious and in a hurry", the same source adds.

As JN was able to find out, the flight in the Portuguese Air Force's helicopter that took place the day before yesterday, which lasted approximately ten minutes, mainly served the purpose of making a photographic reconnaissance of Rua 25 de Abril, near the church, that was under work at the time of the disappearance. For this location, there is authorization from the Public Ministry for the searches, which can only take place if a request is submitted to the Attorney General's Office through a letter rogatory. And, just like the previous ones, it depends on authorization.

Scotland Yard has already criticized Portuguese justice, blaming the delay in the presentation of results on the "excess of bureaucracy" in the fulfilment of the letters rogatory.

Suspicious locations had already been targeted by searches

The locations that were identified by Scotland Yard in the request for prospection had already been targeted by intense searches, using dogs and aerial means, right after the disappearance of the little English girl, in May of 2007. Madeleine was on a holiday with her parents (Kate and Gerry, pictured) and her siblings, in an Ocean Club apartment.

Judiciary on the lead of foreign abductor, 10 May 2014
Judiciary on the lead of foreign abductor Correio da Manhã (paper edition)

 
Correio da Manhã, 10 May 2014

Maddie Case • PJ changes investigation line

Investigators believe that the suspect took the English child and left the country

by Tânia Laranjo
10.05.2014
With thanks to
Astro for translation

The Judiciary Police (PJ) changes the investigation line in the Maddie case. After the process into the disappearance of the English girl was reopened based on the similarity with five cases of children that allegedly were victims of abuse – and in which Euclides Monteiro, now deceased, appeared as the main suspect – the authorities now believe that the disappearance of Maddie may have been a one-of-a-kind case. The thesis that connected several situations continues to be followed by the English, but the Judiciary defends that the indications that have been collected over the past six months weaken that theory.

They now believe that the abduction was an isolated situation and that the crime was committed by a foreigner. They also defend that the suspect left the country – given that no other similar situation took place – and that the body, in a case of homicide, is no longer in our country, either. Nevertheless, this PJ theory is far from being closed. Sources that were contacted by CM recall that the case, as long as it is not clarified, allows for all kinds of hypotheses and speculation.

Meanwhile, the diligences that were requested by the English authorities have no starting date. On Thursday, the PJ authorized aerial photos to be taken, in order to understand where the excavations may take place. It is not known whether those will be carried out with the use of dogs or the special sonars that the English say they possess. What is certain is that all the costs will be covered by the British police, which now seems to believe that the little girl died in May of 2007, when she disappeared in Praia da Luz, Lagos. The Scotland Yard members returned to England yesterday morning.

DETAILS

Grounds: One of the locations where the English police wants to carry out searches is a piece of ground near the Ocean Club.

Roadworks: Another location of interest is the streets that were under work in May of 2007.

New hunt for Maddie opens old wounds in Praia da Luz, 10 May 2014
New hunt for Maddie opens old wounds in Praia da Luz The Times (paper edition, page 10)

David Brown reports from the Algarve resort that is praying for the end of a nightmare that continues to haunt it

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Seven years after Madeleine McCann's disappearance, the quiet Algarve town where she vanished is preparing to become the centre of world attention all over again

The dark shadow cast over Praia da Luz has returned with the announcement that a new police search is to begin just as the town is preparing for the tourist season.

Madeleine, who would be 11 on Monday, is the subject of a £5 million Scotland Yard investigation involving up to 40 officers. It was ordered by David Cameron after Portuguese police closed the case. A judge has authorised a request from the British team for the Portuguese police to examine one privately-owned site using ground-penetrating radar. This has upset residents and business owners, who fear the search will put the town back in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

Television news crews have been scurrying through the narrow, cobbled, roads leading down to the beach trying to identify possible search sites.

Lina Verissimo was working as a waitress at the Paraiso restaurant on the beach the day the McCann family and their friends stopped by for drinks a few hours before Madeleine disappeared on May 3, 2007.

"Everyone would like to know what happened, but maybe we will never know," she said. "For the first year the tourists stopped coming, but not any more. It is a safe place to be. It is the first time and last time anything like this happened."

Elane Harvey arranged the inflatables, footballs and windbreaks outside the shop she has run since moving to Portugal from Scotland 35 years ago. Like many in the town she is dismayed at the renewed focus and has little sympathy for Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, who were dining at a nearby tapas restaurant when she disappeared.

"Everyone knows Praia da Luz because of Madeleine," she said. "Why are they doing this in May? It is so badly timed. The McCanns should be prosecuted for negligence."

Little has changed physically in the town during the past seven years, with the recession bringing all new developments to a halt.

A security grill now covers the window of the bedroom at the Ocean Club complex where Madeleine was sleeping with her sister and brother, twins who were aged 18 months when she disappeared. Brighter lights have been installed on the road leading from the apartment to the tapas bar.

Kate McCann has revealed that she still visits Praia da Luz, where she feels closest to her missing daughter.

Joyce Daffey, a warden at the town's Anglican church, said: "We pray at every service for Madeleine. She is not forgotten. Her mother visits the town but it is all done very quietly."

She acknowledges the challenges raised by the continued failure to solve the Madeleine mystery: "We are trying to move on and all of this happening now is so hard for the people who live here, particularly at the start of the summer."

Her husband, John, said: "This place relies on tourism and the first couple of years were very difficult. Last summer was very good - it got back to where it was before Madeleine disappeared and now it has started up again."

Victor Mata, president of the Parish of Luz council, said that the planned searches were "bad for tourism" and added that it was "inconceivable" that they could begin just a month before the start of the summer season without any warning.

"The population is fed up with the Maddie case," he said. "Seven years after the disappearance the police are coming here? Who knows what happened in that time?"

Ana Faria, who runs a jewellery stall overlooking the beach, said: "If the searches reveal the truth, that is good, but this could reopen fears for families that this is not a safe place, which is not true."

Six Scotland Yard officers returned to London yesterday following a meeting with Mota Carmo, regional director of the Policia Judiciaria in Faro to discuss the searches.

Locally, there is bemusement among the population at the proposed search areas, even though all work will be paid for by British taxpayers.

One area that will be explored is the road just below the Ocean Club, where construction trenches were filled in shortly after Madeleine disappeared. It is a main route out of the town.

Another is a fenced-off patch of waste ground to the east of the Ocean club, where some witnesses have claimed to have seen a man carrying a child, was searched by dozens of police officers in the weeks after the youngster's disappearance. A third search site is a rocky car park located between the 18th-centruy church and the beach that had been used for burials.

The McCanns said this week that they were concerned that some media reports could "destroy the investigation altogether".

There is clearly a clash of policing cultures. The Portuguese force, whose powers are strictly regulated as a result of the legacy of the overthrow of a fascist dictatorship just 40 years ago, struggle to understand Scotland Yard's pressure for wide-scale speculative investigations.

One Portuguese detective told the English language The Portugal News yesterday: "To be sincere, it is not easy to understand them. But I'm sure they know what they are doing. How many holes do you have to dig to rule out the existence of a body?"

New hunt for Maddie opens old wounds in Praia da Luz, 10 May 2014
New hunt for Maddie opens old wounds in Praia da Luz The Times (paper edition, page 10)

TheTimes, 10 May 2014
TheTimes, 10 May 2014

Maddie dig a waste of time say cops, 11 May 2014
Maddie dig a waste of time say cops Daily Star Sunday (paper edition)

 
Daily Star Sunday, 11 May 2014

 

Portuguese rubbish Yard theory

EXCLUSIVE

POLICE plans to dig to solve the disappearance of Madeleine McCann are USELESS, local cops say.

Portuguese officers believe Maddy, whose 11th birthday is tomorrow, fell victim to a foreigner who fled the country.

And they are baffled by the inquiry by Scotland Yard.

SEE PAGE 5

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'Digging is a waste of time': Portuguese police slam Madeleine McCann dig Daily Star Sunday

PORTUGUESE police think a British effort to solve the Madeleine McCann mystery is a waste of time.

By Gerard Couzens & Tracey Kandohla / Published 11th May 2014

SEARCH: Police want to dig up the resort where Maddie disappeared [EPA]

Detectives from Scotland Yard want to dig up land in the Algarve resort where Madeleine vanished seven years ago.

The Brits fear she was abducted by an Algarve sex fiend who had targeted foreign girls before.

But local detectives are now said to believe that her disappearance was "unique" and nothing to do with the pervert behind the assaults.

A Portuguese cold case review team persuaded bosses to reopen their archived Madeleine inquiry last year after discovering similarities between her case and five sex attacks by a mystery man.

They looked into the background of a now dead immigrant burglar, still thought to be among their suspects.

But Portuguese officers told a local paper yesterday that evidence gathered over the last six months had weakened the possibility of a connection.

FAMILY: Her parents are still hoping that she will be found [GETTY]

They suspect a foreigner who has now left the ­ country snatched Madeleine.

They fear she was killed and her body smuggled out of the country.

The theory signals Portuguese police think excavations near the Praia da Luz complex will be a waste of time.

Local residents also think the digs are futile. One elderly British expat believed the Met police were "trying to prove a point" and "keep their jobs".

She added: "I wonder what the British taxpayer thinks? After all, they are paying for it!"

The woman said locals were "mad" and "feel it (the digging)could ruin our tourism".

She said: "The resort was busy over Easter and although it's quietened down we're heading into the main holiday season.

"I can't imagine any family with young children would want to see officers digging up the ground."

Madeleine, who disappeared from Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007, would be due to celebrate her 11th birthday tomorrow.

ANNIVERSARY: It has been seven years since Maddie vanished [PA]

Her parents are clinging to the hope that the new probes lead to her being found alive.

Mum Kate has pledged: "We love you and we're waiting for you and we're never going to give up."

Tomorrow Kate and husband Gerry, along with their nine-year-old twins Sean and Amelie, will join family members and friends for a low-key party at their home in Rothley, Leics.

They will say prayers and light candles wishing for Madeleine's safe return.

Former GP Kate, 46, and heart doctor Gerry, 45, will also lay gifts in their daughter's bedroom which has remained unchanged since she disappeared.

Kate paid tribute to her ­daughter to mark last week's seventh anniversary, saying: "We miss you every day, as we did that very first day."

She added: "I can't believe it! It's a long time. You think – 11, she's due to start big school in September."

Last week a team of Met ­detectives, led by Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, inset, visited Praia da Luz and are now studying aerial photos taken from an air force helicopter ahead of any digging.

No date has been set for the digs, which are expected to be preceded by searches involving ground-penetrating radar and sniffer dogs.

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

Note: Headline to online version later amended to: 'Digging is a waste of time': Portuguese police slam Madeleine McCann search

'Portuguese police slam Maddie dig', 11 May 2014
'Portuguese police slam Maddie dig' Daily Star Sunday (paper edition, page 6)

Yard's sex monster theory attacked

Daily Star Sunday, 11 May 2014

[Text of article above as per: ''Digging is a waste of time': Portuguese police slam Madeleine McCann dig' published online by Daily Star Sunday on 11 May 2014]

Madeleine's birthday is so hard says mother Kate McCann, 11 May 2014
Madeleine's birthday is so hard says mother Kate McCann Sunday Express

KATE McCann has sent a heartfelt message to missing daughter Madeleine on the eve of her 11th birthday tomorrow, writes Tracey Kandohla.

Published: Sun, May 11, 2014

STILL LOOKING: Madeleine's parents are not giving up on finding their now 11-year-old daughter[GETTY]

It reads: "We love you and we're waiting for you and we're never going to give up."

Kate wants the world to know she still clings on to hope that Madeleine is found alive, despite British police being poised to dig up areas of the Portuguese resort where she vanished seven years ago.

A close friend of Kate and Gerry has revealed they have asked Scotland Yard to delay any ground searches in Praia da Luz until after they have "celebrated" the youngster's special day, with a cake and presents at home in Rothley, Leicestershire.

Madeleine's father Gerry said: "It is really hard. She won't be here. It's by far the toughest day of our year, every year. But we still have a birthday cake for her."

Former GP Kate, 46, and heart doctor Gerry, 45, and their nine-year-old twins Sean and Amelie will also lay presents in Madeleine's pretty pink bedroom which has become a shrine since she vanished nine days before her fourth birthday in May 2007.

Kate said: "The room's absolutely the same but she might want to change it a bit now she's a bit older!"

Kate's uncle Brian Kennedy, 75, a retired teacher, who also lives in Rothley, said: "None of us expected to be in the same position, not knowing, seven years later.

"But we are grateful for all the support we've had from the public and our village, who along with us, never gives up hope."

Maddie: Brit cops find new dig sites, 11 May 2014
Maddie: Brit cops find new dig sites The Sun on Sunday

Missing Madeleine McCann

 

By DANIEL SANDERSON Published: 11 May 2014

BRITISH cops have identified several fresh sites they want to dig up in the hunt for missing Madeleine McCann.

Join Sun+ to read the full story.

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Maddie: Brit cops find new dig sites The Sun on Sunday (paper edition, page 13)

Maddie: Brit cops find new dig sites The Sun on Sunday (paper edition, page 13)

By DANIEL SANDERSON
Sunday, May 11, 2014


BRITISH cops have identified several fresh sites they want to dig up in the hunt for missing Madeleine McCann.

Detectives have already been given the go-ahead to begin excavating the first of four locations at the resort where Maddie vanished in 2007.

The plot, a barren patch of wasteland which was intended for development as holiday flats, has been fenced off.

Detectives looking for leads into Maddie's disappearance under Operation Grange also want to search a cobbled road, the beach and a hillside in Praia da Luz.

And yesterday it emerged a number of new potential excavation sites have been pin-pointed after a helicopter took photos of the area.

Portuguese cops said the fact the Brits had so many sites in mind showed they did not expect to find anything.

Revelations in search for Maddie McCann, 11 May 2014
Revelations in search for Maddie McCann The Olive Press

PUBLISHED: May 11, 2014 at 8:30 am • LAST EDITED: May 10, 2014 at 11:35 am

Madeleine McCann

 

THE search for Madeleine McCann has gone all around the globe and is now returning to where to all began.

Scotland Yard have been granted permission by Portuguese authorities to begin excavating three key sites in the Algarve holiday resort where she vanished in 2007.

The searches will begin within weeks.

But a former senior detective, who doesn't want to be named, told the Olive Press that the operation has been planned for a very long time.

"Military helicopters are not just hired by the hour on the spur of the moment, like catamarans on the beach," he said.

"The whole thing has been approved at a very high level. But which I mean government.

"This isn't just any other search. Someone must have spelled out exactly what they want to look for, exactly where they want to look, and exactly why. And this must have been agreed as a viable and useful thing to do by the entire chain of command."

The operation comes just days after the seventh anniversary of Maddie's disappearance, on May 3.

Gerry and Kate McCann, both 45, are fully informed about the developments in the hunt for their daughter, but will not be travelling to the resort while the work is carried out.

One of the key areas to be searched is a patch of wasteland, about the size of three football pitches, across the road from where the McCanns were staying – at the Ocean Club.

Another area is the tapas bar where they were dining when three-year-old Maddie disappeared.

The overgrown area, beside a school, was an open expanse at the time but is now fenced off.

Aerial photographs are set to be taken of the area, to assess the land, while officers on the ground will look for disturbances of rocks, excess soil and moved vegetation.

The searches will be conducted by Portuguese police, with British detectives on site alongside them.

While there has long been speculation that Maddie could have been taken across the border into Spain, the case has now decisively returned to Portugal.

In an open letter to the media, Met Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said: "This case has for some time been moving towards increased action in Portugal.

"Whilst the process is more bureaucratic and slower than we would wish, I now believe that activity will occur in forthcoming weeks.

"The most important task for me is to build momentum and protect our investigation in order that we can do everything possible to solve the case."

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

Updated:

Operation in search for Maddie McCann 'planned for long time and at a high level' says detective The Olive Press

PUBLISHED: May 11, 2014 at 8:30 AM • LAST EDITED: May 11, 2014 at 12:25 PM

Madeleine McCann

THE search for Madeleine McCann has gone all around the globe and is now returning to where to all began.

Scotland Yard have been granted permission by Portuguese authorities to begin excavating three key sites in the Algarve holiday resort where she vanished in 2007.

The searches will begin within weeks.

But a former senior detective, who doesn't want to be named, told the Olive Press that the operation has been planned for a very long time.

"Military helicopters are not just hired by the hour on the spur of the moment, like catamarans on the beach," he said.

"The whole thing has been approved at a very high level. But which I mean government.

"This isn't just any other search. Someone must have spelled out exactly what they want to look for, exactly where they want to look, and exactly why. And this must have been agreed as a viable and useful thing to do by the entire chain of command."

The operation comes just days after the seventh anniversary of Maddie's disappearance, on May 3.

Gerry and Kate McCann, both 45, are fully informed about the developments in the hunt for their daughter, but will not be travelling to the resort while the work is carried out.

One of the key areas to be searched is a patch of wasteland, about the size of three football pitches, across the road from where the McCanns were staying – at the Ocean Club.

Another area is the tapas bar where they were dining when three-year-old Maddie disappeared.

The overgrown area, beside a school, was an open expanse at the time but is now fenced off.

Aerial photographs are set to be taken of the area, to assess the land, while officers on the ground will look for disturbances of rocks, excess soil and moved vegetation.

The searches will be conducted by Portuguese police, with British detectives on site alongside them.

While there has long been speculation that Maddie could have been taken across the border into Spain, the case has now decisively returned to Portugal.

The Olive Press was the first newspaper on the scene following her disappearance.

Editor Jon Clarke was asked to cover the story by The Daily Mail, Sun and Mirror, while they scrambled to send their own reporters out.

Some of the paper's key findings was the level of slackness surrounding the initial search.

Numerous people, including neighbour and former suspect Robert Murat, were able to traipse around the crime scene unimpeded, while sniffer dogs did not even arrive until around 4pm the following day.

Incredibly on the morning after her disappearance, workmen were even allowed to continue digging up a trench in the road right outside her rental home.

It soon emerged that none of the cameras on the motorway to Spain, where it was believed Maddie could have been taken, were working.

"The whole operation was a complete shambles from the beginning," explains Clarke. "To say the police were half asleep would be an under-statement."

In an open letter to the media, Met Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said: "This case has for some time been moving towards increased action in Portugal.

"Whilst the process is more bureaucratic and slower than we would wish, I now believe that activity will occur in forthcoming weeks.

"The most important task for me is to build momentum and protect our investigation in order that we can do everything possible to solve the case."

Madeleine McCann resort dig gets the go-ahead, 12 May 2014
Madeleine McCann resort dig gets the go-ahead Daily Star

THIS is the wasteland where police are expected to start a renewed search for clues about Madeleine McCann’s disappearance.

By Jerry Lawton / Published 12th May 2014

RADAR PROBE: The image shows wasteland where police are expected to search and the appartment where the McCanns stayed [JONATHAN BUCKMASTER]

A judge has given the go-ahead for officers to scour the area with high-tech radar equipment.

It is just 100 yards from the apartment from which the then three-year-old vanished in May 2007 while her doctor parents Kate, 46, and Gerry, 45, were dining nearby.

The couple are today expected to light candles and say prayers at a small party to mark Madeleine's 11th birthday.

Sources said the "field operation" will begin in the Portuguese holiday resort of Praia da Luz within days.

The first area to be examined is one the size of three football pitches across the road from the Ocean Club resort where the McCanns were staying when Madeleine disappeared.

Holiday flats funded by Irish investors were going to be built on the land until the economic crisis forced the project's cancellation.

Land near the resort's Our Lady of the Light Church – where the McCanns prayed for Madeleine's safe return – is also expected to be examined.

MISSING: It has been over seven years since Maddie went missing [PA]

Yesterday Brit Nancy Thompson, who runs The Bull pub in Praia da Luz, said she fears the town will become a "circus".

She said: "Why didn't they do this at the time?

"Why are they going to do it when tourists are here?

"It will be like a circus town.

"I just can't believe they are going to do that."

Mayor Victor Mata said if locals had spotted anything suspicious since Madeleine vanished they would have reported it.

"We're here every day," he said.

"If we had the slightest doubt we would have told police."

Some residents have complained at the effort being put into the search compared to that for local worker Ricardo Fernandes, who disappeared in April.

Madeleine's parents continue to believe she will be found alive.

In a BBC interview Kate sent a message, pledging: "We love you and we're waiting for you and we're never going to give up."

Madeleine McCann's parents face heartbreaking day as they mark her 11th birthday, 12 May 2014
Madeleine McCann's parents face heartbreaking day as they mark her 11th birthday Daily Mirror

May 12, 2014 00:17 | By Josh Layton

Kate, 46, and Gerry, 45, will remember their daughter with cake and presents at home in Rothley, Leicestershire

Missing: Madeleine disappeared on her family's holiday in Portugal

Missing: Madeleine disappeared on her family's holiday in Portugal

The parents of missing Madeleine McCann face the most heartbreaking day of the year today as they mark her 11th birthday.

Kate, 46, and Gerry, 45, will remember their daughter with cake and presents at home in Rothley, Leicestershire.

The couple and their nine-year-old twins Sean and Amelie will also lay gifts in Madeleine's pink bedroom, which has become a shrine since she vanished.

Gerry said:  "It is really hard. She won't be here. It's by far the toughest day of our year, every year. But we still have a birthday cake for her."

As they prepared to mark the day, it was revealed Met Police detectives have quizzed a British child rapist in his prison cell.

Anthony Woodhouse, 68, was visited by police trying to establish what happened to Maddie, aged three at the time of her disappearance in May 2007.

Woodhouse had been due to stand trial in 1999 charged with raping a 14-year-old who fell pregnant as a result but fled the country and set up a cleaning business in Portugal.

He was jailed for seventeen-and-a-half years in 2008 after giving himself up to the British Embassy in Lisbon claiming he felt guilty about his crime.

Judge Alistair McCreath told his trial at Worcester Crown Court: "This is as bad a case of rape that one can imagine and it is difficult to overstate how wicked it was. It is inevitable that the child was hugely damaged."

Thousands of calls have been made to Scotland Yard's Operation Grange team over the disappearance of three-year-old Maddie on a holiday in Praia da Luz, Portugal.

A spokesman said: "We will not be providing a running commentary."

Family gathers to celebrate Madeleine McCann's 11th birthday, 12 May 2014
Family gathers to celebrate Madeleine McCann's 11th birthday Daily Express

THE parents of Madeleine McCann will today mark her 11th birthday.

By: David Pilditch
Published: Mon, May 12, 2014

Maddie would be celebrating her 11th birthday today[PH]

Kate and Gerry will remember their missing daughter with gifts and a cake as ­British police press on with plans to dig around the holiday resort where she vanished seven years ago.

Kate, who has never given up hope of finding her alive, said: "Madeleine should be here and we should be ­celebrating with her."

Gerry said: "It is really hard. She won't be here. It's by far the toughest day of our year, every year. But we still have a birthday cake for her."

The ­couple and their nine-year-old twins Sean and Amelie will join other family members and friends at their home in Rothley, Leics.

They will say prayers and light ­candles wishing for Madeleine's safe return while Scotland Yard detectives wait to start radar searches in Praia da Luz in Portugal.

Kate, 46, and heart doctor Gerry, 45, will also lay presents in their daughter's bedroom, which has remained unchanged since she disappeared nine days before her fourth birthday in May 2007.

Her parents hope she will one day be back to open the gifts. Kate said: "We still celebrate her and her being part of our lives."

During a recent interview, marking the seventh anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance, the former GP sent a heartfelt message to her daughter, pledging: "We love you and we're waiting for you and we're never going to give up.

"We'll do whatever we can to find you. We miss you every day, as we did that very first day."

Talking about her daughter's pink bedroom, Kate added: "It's a long time. The room's absolutely the same but she might want to change it a bit now she's a bit older. You think, 11 – she's due to start big school in ­September."

A friend of the family said yesterday: "Madeleine's birthday is a particularly tough day for Kate and Gerry. The fact that police are now out in Portugal and ready to conduct ground searches makes it even worse."

Kate's uncle Brian Kennedy, 75, said: "We are still very hopeful we can find Madeleine." The retired headteacher, who also lives in Rothley, added: "We are grateful for all the support we've had from the public – and our village, along with us, never gives up hope."

Maddie: Rapist is quizzed, 12 May 2014
Maddie: Rapist is quizzed The Sun (paper edition)

 
The Sun, 12 May 2014

 

EXCLUSIVE by JACK LOSH
Monday, May 12, 2014


A BRITISH child rapist has been quizzed over missing Madeleine McCann.

Anthony Woodhouse, 66 was visited in jail by cops probing the three-year-old's disappearance.

Full story - Page 7

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

Maddie taunts at con in jail The Sun

Paedo's 2hr quiz

Missing girl Madeleine McCann

 

EXCLUSIVE
By JACK LOSH, TOM MORGAN and DAN SALES
Last Updated: 12 May 2014

A CONVICTED child rapist was taunted by fellow lags who chanted "Give her back" after he was quizzed over Madeleine McCann's disappearance.

Join Sun+ to read the full story.

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

EXCLUSIVE MADDIE TAUNTS AT CON The Sun (paper edition, page 7)

 
EXCLUSIVE: MADDIE TAUNTS AT CON The Sun (paper edition, page 7)

Paedo's 2hr jail quiz

By JACK LOSH, TOM MORGAN and DAN SALES
Monday, May 12, 2014


A CONVICTED child rapist was taunted by fellow lags who chanted "Give her back" after he was quizzed over Madeleine McCann's disappearance.

Scotland Yard cops questioned Anthony Woodhouse, 66, for two hours in jail.

He spent more than ten years hiding in Portugal having gone on the run after raping a girl aged 14 in Herefordshire in 1998.

Detectives spoke to Woodhouse in March at Channings Wood jail in Devon about a cleaning business he was running in the Algarve when Madeleine went missing in 2007.

Three plain-clothes officers quizzed him on his whereabouts before and after she was snatched.

An eyewitness said: "Officers took him into a private room for a good couple of hours.

"They were talking about how he was in 'close proximity' to where Madeleine disappeared. For days after he was quizzed, Woodhouse was abused by inmates. Whenever he walked down the corridor, they'd chant, 'Give her back, give her back'."

Woodhouse returned to the UK in 2008 to serve a 17-and-a-half year jail term after giving himself up - saying he was "preoccupied with guilt every day".

Madeleine, three, vanished from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz.

British cops are working their way through 38 possible abductors - 12 of them Brits.

Woodhouse was quizzed after we revealed cops wanted to trace six British cleaners working at the resort.

A Scotland Yard spokesman last night refused to comment.

Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry will mark her 11th birthday today at their home in Rothley, Leics.

Official Find Madeleine Campaign new cover photo, 12 May 2014
New cover photo Official Find Madeleine Campaign - Facebook

Official Find Madeleine Campaign new cover photo, 12 May 2014

Monday, 12 May 2014 at 02:14

Radar from the Ghob case in search for Madeleine, 12 May 2014
Radar from the Ghob case in search for Madeleine Correio da Manhã

Child would be 11-years-old today

McCanns have asked Scotland Yard to delay the searches.

By Rui Pando Gomes
12 May 2014, 09h21

Maddie has been missing since May 3, 2007

The Polícia Judiciária geo-radar used in the search for the bodies of the three victims of 'King Ghob', in 2010, could be used again in the searches requested by the English authorities, in order to try to locate the body of Madeleine McCann, who would be 11-years-old today.

The equipment is capable of capturing images from the subsoil and has already been used in various cases to find bodies or weapons used in crimes which have been subsequently buried.

The decision depends on the National Directorate of the PJ, which is assessing the means that could be used in the searches and also whether to allow Scotland Yard officers to assist in the inquiry.

According to the English press, Kate and Gerry are said to have asked Scotland Yard to delay the searches in Praia da Luz so they would take place only after Maddie's birthday, as it is a sad day for the family. The English girl disappeared a few days before her fourth birthday, on 3rd May 2007, from the bedroom where she was sleeping with her twin siblings.

Yard's jail quiz for rapist over vanished Madeleine McCann, 12 May 2014
Yard's jail quiz for rapist over vanished Madeleine McCann Evening Standard

Madeleine McCann

BENEDICT MOORE-BRIDGER
12 May 2014


The parents of missing Madeleine McCann were marking her birthday today as it was claimed detectives have quizzed a convicted child rapist over her disappearance.

Kate McCann, 46, and Gerry, 45, were remembering their daughter with cake and presents at their home in Leicestershire on what is her 11th birthday, and the eighth since she vanished from a family holiday in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz in 2007.

It comes as it emerged British criminal Anthony Woodhouse, 68, was quizzed for two hours by Scotland Yard detectives in his prison cell.

He spent more than 10 years hiding in Portugal after going on the run after raping a 14-year-old girl in Hertfordshire in 1998, and was jailed for 17 years in 2008 after giving himself up to the British embassy in Lisbon.

Detectives spoke to Woodhouse in March at Channings Wood jail in Devon about a cleaning business he ran in the Algarve, close to where Madeleine was snatched, prompting fellow inmates to chant at him: "Give her back".

A spokesman for the Met refused to comment.

Convicted child rapist quizzed over Madeleine McCann disappearance, 12 May 2014
Convicted child rapist quizzed over Madeleine McCann disappearance Daily Star

A LOCKED-UP child rapist was grilled over the disappearance of Madeleine McCann before being taunted by inmates who chanted "give her back".

By Lamiat Sabin / Published 12th May 2014

SEARCHING: Madeleine McCann went missing from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in 2007 [AP]

Convicted sex offender Anthony Woodhouse, 68, was questioned by Scotland Yard officers for two hours at Channings Wood prison, Devon.

He was on the run in Portugal at the time of Madeleine's disappearance for more than ten years after raping a 14-year-old girl in Hertfordshire in 1998.

An eyewitness said: "Officers took him into a private room for a good couple of hours.

"They were talking about how he was in 'close proximity' to where Madeleine disappeared.

"For days after he was quizzed, Woodhouse was abused by inmates.

"Whenever he walked down the corridor, they'd chant, 'Give her back, give her back'."

Plain-clothed detectives asked him about a cleaning business he was running in the Algarve.

He was operating the firm at the time three-year-old Madeleine went missing from her family's Praia da Luz holiday apartment in 2007.

They also asked him of his whereabouts before and after she was abducted.

Woodhouse returned to the UK in 2008 to serve a 17-and-a-half year prison sentence term for the rape of the teenager after giving himself in.

He said he was "preoccupied with guilt every day" after he admitted the crime to the British embassy in Lisbon.

British police detectives are working their way through 38 possible abductors in the Madeleine case — 12 of them Brits.

Woodhouse was questioned after it was revealed that police wanted to trace six British cleaners who were working at the resort.

A Scotland Yard spokesman last night refused to comment.

Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry will mark her 11th birthday today at their home in Rothley, Leicestershire.

Madeleine birthday brings more news, 12 May 2014
Madeleine birthday brings more news Portugal Resident

 
Praia da Luz

By NATASHA DONN
May 12, 2014


As Kate and Gerry McCann woke up to the 11th birthday of their missing daughter Madeleine, news reports brought new twists in the high-profile seven-year investigation.

The first is that Scotland Yard detectives have quizzed a 68-year-old convicted paedophile in his prison cell, reportedly about a cleaning business he ran in the Algarve at the time Madeleine went missing.

Anthony Woodhouse is reported to have spent more than 10 years on the run in Portugal after raping a 14-year-old who subsequently became pregnant.

After being grilled for over two hours by Met police, Woodhouse is understood to have been taunted by prison inmates chanting "Give her back".

As this latest twist in the long-running saga hit the British tabloids, Portugal's equivalent, the Correio da Manhã, revealed that the PJ police have sanctioned the Met's request for searches of various sites in Praia da Luz, but has not yet decided "whether the means to be used will be exclusively English".

Scotland Yard wants to use geo-radar and sniffer dogs, as well as British forensic teams, writes Sol website. But the decision is in the hands of the PJ, which also has radar, bought four years ago, able to capture images in the subsoil.

The radar has already been used in a number of cases, including during searches for the bodies of the victims of 'King Ghob', adds Sol (Francisco Leitão, a.k.a. Rei Ghob is currently serving 25 years for the murders of four young Portuguese).

"If the geo-radar detects something suspicious, digging will follow," Sol affirms. "The objective is to find Madeleine's body or other clues, like items of clothing or weapons."

Nonetheless, the news site contends that the PJ has already done a thorough search of all these sites and come up empty-handed.

Meanwhile, TV commentator and critic Eduardo Cintra Torres has criticised the Madeleine razzmatazz that seems to have been stirred up by Scotland Yard in the past week.

Talking on CMTV, Torres claims that Madeleine cop DCI Andy Redwood needs a psychological evaluation.

"I look at him, and I just think 'this man wants to appear on TV'," Torres told CMTV news anchor João Ferreira.

"With so many children disappearing in England, did he choose the Madeleine case because he would appear on television?

"Why are the Portuguese police being subservient to this mockery?" He added. "We need to ask, what exactly is going on? This is all just ridiculous. Just a way of showing off."

Torres' contentions have been echoed elsewhere with critics suggesting the British police are trying to justify the millions spent so far by Operation Grange in the search for Madeleine's alleged abductor. Others have suggested it is an election ploy of the British government in the run-up to the European elections.

Whatever the motivation, Torres claims it is "shameful for the Portuguese state to allow the mediatisation of an investigation that belongs to the Portuguese and not to the English.

"If we tried to do the same in England, would they allow it?" He asked. "Of course not!"

Excavations approved on Maddie's 11th birthday, 12 May 2014
Excavations approved on Maddie's 11th birthday CMTV (video)

Helicopter in Praia da Luz

12 May 2104 | 11:47
With thanks to
Astro for translation

The Public Ministry has given Scotland Yard permission to perform searches and excavations in Praia da Luz, with the purpose of finding Madeleine McCann's body.

Today is the 11th birthday of the little girl that disappeared seven years ago.

The British police already has permission from the Portuguese Public Ministry to carry out searches and excavations in the area that surrounds the Ocean Club, in Praia da Luz.

The Judiciary Police has yet to decide if the means that will be used will be exclusively English. Scotland Yard wants to use a geo-radar and sniffer dogs, as well as English forensic experts. The decision is up to the PJ, that already has a radar, too, with the ability to capture images from the subsoil.

If Madeleine McCann is alive, she is now eleven years old. She disappeared on the 3rd of May of 2007, in the Algarve.

In October of 2013, the case was reopened. Euclides Monteiro, who once worked at the Ocean Club, and has already died, was one of the investigation's targets.

But there is also a new line that relates the cases of five children, victims of sexual abuse in the Algarve, at the same time that Maddie disappeared.

Also in October last year, Scotland Yard revealed five e-fits. The images attribute faces to the men that the British police believed to be involved in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

Is the Madeleine case at a crossroad?, 13 May 2014
Is the Madeleine case at a crossroad? Portugal Newswatch

Posted by Len Port at 11:07 AM
Tuesday, May 13, 2014


The Madeleine McCann case seems to have reached a critical juncture: police are planning to start a new phase in the investigation, but there is a very real risk it may collapse in disarray.

The paradox is explained by a fundamental difference in the way the Portuguese and British police go about their business.

The forthcoming investigative activities will be conducted by the Polícia Judiciária working on behalf of the Metropolitan Police Service.

The normal and preferred practice of the Met is to brief the media on an ongoing basis. They do not necessarily reveal full details, but pass on as much information as possible while still safeguarding operations.

The Met says this usually ensures that media coverage assists rather than damages an investigation.

The policy of the PJ is very different. It does not brief the media on current investigations. The Portuguese penal code forbids this in order to avoid releasing anything that might prejudice a case.

The PJ has made its position very clear to the Met and the Met has alerted the British media: there will be no briefings on the joint operation from either side.

The PJ has warned that if the British police do pass on information, or if journalists cause any disruption, the new phase of the Madeleine investigation will be closed, at least until any infringement is sorted out.

After talks with his PJ counterpart, the Met's assistant commissioner, Mark Rowley, fully accepted this. "We respect the Portuguese position as we would expect them to respect our position if we were carrying out work on their behalf in the UK," he said in a letter to editors. "Collectively we all need to think carefully about our actions in this case."

In a statement on Facebook last week, Kate and Gerry McCann said that "interference" by journalists in the latest phase of the investigation "not only makes the work of the police more difficult, it can potentially damage and destroy the investigation altogether – and hence the chances of us finding Madeleine and discovering what has happened to her."

Just before the 7th anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance on May 3, the British media were full of stories about a lone sexual predator assaulting British girls on holiday in the Algarve.

Immediately after the anniversary, the spotlight switched to ground searches planned for specific sites.

The Mirror started the rash of stories on the searches with a "world exclusive" headlined "Maddie cops to start digging up resort." It reported a source close to the McCanns as saying that "Kate and Gerry have been told police will be conducting the searches in and around Praia da Luz as soon as they get the green light from Portuguese authorities."

The Mirror's unnamed source went on to say that Kate and Gerry "don't believe police are acting on any new tip off. They just need to carry out their own digs, looking for any possible clues that Portuguese authorities may have missed on their previous searches."

Reports followed in several papers about growing tensions between the Met and the PJ. The Met was frustrated by the slowness of the bureaucratic process needed to get the searches underway. The PJ was irritated not only by media briefings, but also by the nature of the new phase of the investigation.

The PJ is said to have dismissed the Met’s theory that Madeleine may have been abducted by a lone predator suspected of attacking British girls. Furthermore, the PJ is said to consider digging for evidence in Praia da Luz a waste of time.

A point the mainstream media almost never touch on is that a great many sceptical observers, privately or in online forums, seriously question why the Met and the British media do not budge from the abduction hypothesis. The sceptics also wonder if the investigation is going anywhere except into oblivion.

Newspapers

The JVS Show phone-in on the Madeleine McCann case, 15 May 2014
The JVS Show phone-in on the Madeleine McCann case BBC Three Counties Radio

Jonathan Vernon-Smith

 

First broadcast: Thursday 15 May 2014

Transcript

By Nigel Moore

News reader: [02:09] A woman from Hertfordshire who regularly visits the resort where Madeleine McCann went missing is criticising the police for carrying out new searches in Portugal. A series of digs are taking place at three sites in the resort of Praia da Luz, where the young girl disappeared seven years ago. But Sarah, who's been there on holiday three times a year, for thirty years, says it's a poor decision to carry out the search in the holiday season.

Sarah: The Algarve, and Portugal in general, need tourism at the moment. To go out, eight years afterwards, and start digging up sites in Luz? Absolutely mindboggling!

News reader: More on this in the phone in with Jonathan, which follows this bulletin.

[News bulletin]

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: [04:05] ...lots to discuss this morning but first, on this morning's Big Phone-in, Sarah, from Hertfordshire, has been going to Praia da Luz, in Portugal, three times a year, for thirty years, and she says it's time for Kate and Gerry McCann to stop ruining everyone else's lives by continuing to search for their missing daughter.

Sarah: They know they couldn't choose a worse time to go out than the beginning of May. The Algarve, and Portugal in general, need tourism at the moment. To go out, 8 years afterwards, and start digging up sites in Luz? Absolutely mindboggling!

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Madeleine McCann went missing seven years ago, when she was just 3-years-old, in a case that was front page news for years, and has rarely been out of the papers ever since.

Last week, the hunt for Maddie began again as the Portuguese police gave permission for British detectives to dig up sites around the town, including on the beach itself, looking for clues.

Sarah says the dig will make life harder for the businesses already suffering in the difficult Portuguese economic climate and it will have a negative effect on anyone like her planning to holiday in Luz this summer.

Well, I wonder what you make of what Sarah has to say? Perhaps a member of your family has gone missing and you know the pain that the McCanns continue to suffer.

I wonder if you think Sarah is desperately insensitive and you admire the McCanns for doing whatever it takes to find their daughter or I wonder if Sarah is saying exactly what you've felt for a long, long time. This investigation is using police time, a lot of money, and is disrupting the lives of everyone else who lives, works or enjoys the Portuguese resort throughout the year.

Many of you have already been on to the BBC Three Counties Facebook page to have your say this morning. Allie says: 'Would she think the same if it was her daughter that was missing? I think not!' Meanwhile, Michelle has posted: 'If she were a young girl off a council estate they wouldn't be able to look because she would have been locked up and the boys would have been taken into care. Funny how it works when you have friends in two governments.'

But I'll get the rest of your comments very shortly. I'll play you what Sarah has to say and I want to hear your views as always.

Do you think Sarah is being unfair to the McCanns?

You can get your call in to 08459 455555. You can text me 81333, start your text with 3CR, texts are charged at standard network rate. E-mail me here at the BBC jvsshow@bbc.co.uk. You can tweet me as well, twitter.com/jvsshow

Do you think Sarah is being unfair to the McCanns?

Promo voices: [female] Have your say on today's Big Phone-in. [male] Call 08459 455555. [female] That's 08459 455555. [male] The JVS Show. [female] BBC Three Counties Radio.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: So, on the Big Phone-in today, I want to play you an interview I conducted with a lady from Hertfordshire, that we're calling Sarah. She's been going to the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz three times a year, for thirty years, and she's angry that this year the resort will be overrun with police after the Portuguese police force gave permission to British detectives to come back and dig up areas of Luz they suspect may harbour evidence vital to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

Kate McCann has told the BBC she needs British police to go back to Luz, as she cannot rely on the Portuguese.

Kate McCann: I find the slowness of action in Portugal really hard to take. I find it quite distressing because even though we're seven years down the line, waiting weeks or months, particularly for letters of request to... to go th[rough]... be processed basically and to feed down the chain, and then to come back again, and maybe they have to go back again because it wasn't quite what, you know, was asked or whatever. It is frustrating and I... I suppose I do struggle with the fact that, you know... please work together.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Kate and Gerry argue that it's important for them to go back to the resort, even if it upsets some locals.

Kate McCann: I do go back. I mean, I haven't been since last April but I do go back for personal reasons. Once or twice a year.

Gerry McCann: There's a lot of the... the local community have been incredibly supportive; Portuguese and others, errm... and we made some good friends there.

Kate McCann: It's difficult because we don't want to go back and generate publicity because I know a lot of local people don't like that, or resent that, and whilst we have some really good friends in Praia da Luz, errr... I know some people would like it to go away. Errm... So, when I go to Praia da Luz, I go quietly.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith:
However, local business people have told the BBC that they are unhappy the McCann investigation is being relaunched this summer. Nancy Thompson runs The Bull hotel and bar in Luz.

Nancy Thompson: Why now? Why haven't they done it... why didn't they do it at the time? Why are they going to do it when tourists are... oh, it will be like a circus town. I just can't believe they're gonna do that.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: And other locals like this man say they're losing patience with the McCanns.

Portuguese man: [dubbed] We're here every day. If we had the slightest doubt, we would have done something. We would have told the police.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: So, it does seem that Sarah from Hertfordshire is not alone when she expresses her irritation at the decision, by Kate and Gerry McCann, to pursue further leads on the disappearance of their daughter seven years ago. But is she being unfair to the McCanns?

I want you to listen to what she has to say and pick up the phone, have your say, on 08459 455555.

Here's what happened when I sat down with Sarah, from Hertfordshire:

[interview segment]

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: So, here I am in the home of Sarah, from Hertfordshire. Sarah, how long have you been going to Portugal?

Sarah: About thirty years, three times a year.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: And what is it about Portugal that you love? Why is it a... a favourite holiday destination?

Sarah: The whole family have always taken the children out there; the children are welcome in all restaurants, errr... they love children out there. We've always felt totally safe. We had a home in the next bay down from Luz.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: So, this year, you're going there very shortly, and, of course, we know that work has started digging up parts of Praia da Luz. Errm... This has all been instigated by the McCanns, errm... in the search for their daughter Madeleine. How... how do you feel about that?

Sarah: The McCanns. Right, now. I feel a lot about this case. First of all... I mean, when they first went out to Luz, maybe seven years ago, they left Madeleine - I believe it was the second night that this happened - by themselves in the Luz apartment. They didn't know Luz. There were babysitters available, which they didn't take advantage of. They went to a restaurant, not on the premises, just off the premises.

I mean, if they had done this in England, and Madeleine had gone missing, they would have had the social services crawling all over them. Would they have done it in England as well? I don't know, but if they didn't do it in England, it... it beggar's belief. Why do you go abroad, to a place you don't know, and then leave them? And you don't do it in your own house? Your own home?

I'm not saying they deserve what they got but you think, at the moment, the money that was given them from people who felt sorry for them. They've gone all the way through that money, flown out to see the Pope, everything like that. Now, I presume, the latest thing with Luz is tax payers are paying for it. They know they couldn't choose a worse time to go out than the beginning of May. The Algarve, and Portugal in general, need tourism at the moment. To go out, eight years afterwards, and start digging up sites in Luz? Absolutely mindboggling!

The British police... I mean, if a couple had been from the continent, came over to one of our beauty spots, left their children, one child went missing and then eight years later turn round and say: 'We don't really like how your police coped with it, so we're bringing our own police over and we're going to dig up your beauty spot!' I mean, it would not be allowed.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: They're obviously distraught because their daughter is still missing and they don't know what's happened to her and they want... they want answers. You as a parent can presumably understand that and the need for them to have some kind of closure on this?

Sarah: Well, first of all, I'd be riddled with guilt over what I'd done, which is perhaps why they're doing this. Also, why is everything... everything they do, is a glare of publicity. We have to hear how she goes to Luz and walks around the streets, errm... 'just looking for clues', as she said. Can't they keep anything private? Nothing is private, everything is on the television. Programmes have been made about it. Didn't they have no discretion of all things? They seem to want to share the limelight with everybody, at all times. I, for one, am absolutely sick to death of it.

The Portuguese are - the experience I've had - are fabulous people. They welcome children into restaurants, they could have taken the children in there. They would have been welcomed. But they decided no to.

Apparently, one of the main roads in Luz is going to be dug up because eight years ago they were digging a pothole and they feel that Madeleine might have got out of bed and fallen into the pothole. So, the road now is being dug up - the main road in Luz. There is no logic whatsoever in what they're doing.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: If they, however, find Madeleine McCann as a result of this dig, then won't it have all been worth it? Won't all of the presumed upheaval for all of the people than run shops and bars, won't it have been worth it? Just to find her so that her family can say goodbye?

Sarah: I think the feeling in the Algarve will not be one of relief. There's a lot of anger; the reputation they brought to Portugal, quite undeservedly. Errm... I think the Portuguese have a very, very different attitude to them. They were amazed they left their children, errm... they have not liked or wanted all the publicity that has gone on. I mean, the Portuguese police are probably the same as the Spanish and the French. They were in Portugal, so therefore the Portuguese police dealt with the case. Yes, we probably are more sophisticated but they weren't in England - they were in Portugal.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: When you see Kate McCann on the television - there was an interview with... with her and Gerry recently.

Sarah: Yes.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: What is your reaction? What do you feel?

Sarah: Just give it a rest. Just stop, please. I mean, all the other cases that have gone on. I do think it's because of their position.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: You're obviously supposed to be... you're... you're going to... to the Algarve within the next couple of weeks. You have a... a newspaper cutting here with a... a... an aerial photo of Luz showing where they're planning to... to dig. How is this going to affect your holiday?

Sarah: Well, until we get out there I suppose we don't know but out hotel is next to the McCanns' apartment and Search Area 1 is a huge expanse, it's a real wasteland on the right hand side, errm... which apparently they are going to get diggers in. So, if they decide to dig up this wasteland, I suppose it's going to be very, very noisy out there.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: So, you're literally in this hotel here, next to where they're digging?

Sarah: Yeah. Yes, that's right and this is the main road, going down here; this is one of the most popular restaurants, which is just there; this is the church...

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Is this a restaurant you eat in?

Sarah: Always, yep.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: What's the name of it?

Sarah: The Fortaleza. And here we've got Search Area 3 and Search Area 2 - right by the church; right by the Fortaleza.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: So, this... this restaurant here, the Fortaleza, where... is a good restaurant. Are you likely to be eating there?

Sarah: Oh, absolutely. Yes, it's a fabulous restaurant but I mean apart from all this, I mean, is anybody going to bury Madeleine in Luz? Well, its a very popular resort - I don't think so! I might be wrong but I would say 99% she is not buried in Luz.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: If you're going to be eating in this restaurant which is literally over the road, it looks like, from Search Area 3, it's described here, how do you think that's likely to... to affect the restaurant and your enjoyment of it?

Sarah: Well, it's going to affect the whole of Luz. This is one ... one of the most popular restaurants. It's obviously going to affect the church an awful lot, which is just here as well. Errm... As I've said before, it is not just because it's upsetting my holiday; it isn't. I have been incensed about this for a long, long time and when this came up I just thought: 'Right, I've really got to say something'.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: And if Kate and Gerry McCann were to go to... to Luz, when all of this digging work was taking place, what do you think would be the response from the locals there?

Sarah: Ahh, but they have said they are not going out there while this is taking place and I can quite understand why they're not going out there because they will be met... well, there's a lot of questions to be asked, the Portuguese will be furious.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: What, furious with them?

Sarah: Yes, absolutely. I mean, I mean, the logic, it doesn't make any sense. Why the 1st of May? Uhhh [exclamation of disgust].

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: When should they have dug up Luz?

Sarah: Well, out of season for a start, errm... anytime. The 1st of May everywhere in Europe is the start of the tourist... this is where they make their money. All the restaurants are open, and they're starting on the 1st of May, and as I say, Luz, from this picture, you can see it's virtually everywhere and apparently they're going to the beach as well. So, somebody might have dug the beach up.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: If you, on holiday, when you're there, if... if on the off chance you did bump into Kate McCann, walking through the streets, what would you say to her?

Sarah: I honestly wouldn't know but I would certainly say something. I don't know what I'd say... probably almost the likes that I've said on the radio.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: So, you'd be angry with her?

Sarah: Very. Both of them.

[end of interview segment]

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Well, that's Sarah, in Hertfordshire. You've heard what she had to say.

The question is: Do you agree with her or do you think she's being very unfair to the McCanns? Over to you. Your reaction: 08459 455555.

Promo voices: [female] Have your say on today's Big Phone-in. [male] The JVS Show. [female] BBC Three Counties Radio. Weekday mornings from 6.00. BBC Three Counties Radio.

[various clips of previous phone-ins unrelated to McCann case]

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Yes, and this morning, on the Big Phone-in, I'm asking for your response to an interview I... I carried out with a lady called Sarah, from Hertfordshire, who has been going to Praia da Luz, three times a year, for thirty years, and she says it's time for Kate and Gerry McCann to stop ruining everyone else's lives by continuing to search for their missing daughter.

Well, do you think, errr... she makes a lot of sense or do you think she's being very unfair to the McCanns?

Many of you have contacted the programme already suggesting that you are disgusted with what you have just heard. If you want to have your say: 08459 455555.

Jim Gamble is a former policeman and was head of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre. He was involved in the search for Madeleine from 2007 to 2011. Good morning to you, Jim.

Jim Gamble: Good morning.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Morning. So, listening to what Sarah says, she says that, you know, many years have now passed since this very unfortunate incident took place - it's time to move on. Can you understand her sense of frustration with this or do you think it's misplaced?

Jim Gamble: I think it's misplaced and she's given us a lot of her opinions, so let me just give you my opinion of her call.

I think it's spiteful, I think it's small-minded, I think she's a condescending individual that needs to reflect on the hurt that parents feel - not the issues in the margins, but the fact that a child was, you know, has... was... did go missing... is still missing, and that those parents are tortured. This is an unusual case - they're not, you know, twelve to the dozen. This is a case that has perhaps only one other child been missing in these circumstances, over this period of time, in a similar way, and that's Ben Needham.

So, I think she needs... she really needs to look in the mirror, and if I was her this morning, after listening to my interview be broadcast, I wouldn't want to look in the mirror, and, quite frankly, I wouldn't want to meet ordinary mums and dads in the street after what she just said, whether it's in Praia da Luz or where she lives.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: [interrupting] Well, you know Jim...

Jim Gamble: Her interview was disgusting.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: You know, Jim, she is getting some support as well. There are people contacting the programme already saying 'this... this woman from Hertfordshire has vocalised what I've been thinking all these years'.

Jim Gamble: Well, do you know what, and maybe there is a... a number of people out there that think that, but they're not the people that I've spoken to over many, many years in this investigation. There are a small group, for example, who go online on a 'hashtag' and they talk about the McCann case in the most vociferous and spiteful way. In fact, you know, if we were able to identify who those individuals were, their comments as such, that you'd prosecute them for harassment. These are the parents of a child who is suspected to have been abducted - we don't know what has happened to her - and to... to pour your bile out against them in the way that she has, in that condescending and aloof manner, with no real experience of... of investigations, or investigative strategies, or why the police do what they do, when they do. It's just despicable.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Well, let's just run through some of the points she makes and you can obviously respond to them.

So, first of all, she says that Kate and Gerry McCann, they lost their daughter because ultimately they went out for dinner and they left their daughter, and their other two children, in a hotel room, on their own. And they could have taken their children to the restaurant with them but they didn't - they left them in a room, on their own. They did something that they possibly wouldn't have even considered to doing back home in the UK and yet they went to a foreign country and they did just that. And yet, there is a sense that everybody should feel sorry for them. That was the first point that she made.

Jim Gamble: Well, if you want to concentrate on that error of judgement, at that time, and you think that is the key issue, well... well knock yourself out.

But here's the thing, how many genuine parents out there listened to that interview and thinking: 'There but for the grace of God go I'. I, you know... those parents that sat in the lobby of a hotel, with the baby-listening on - you don't know what's going on there. Those parents that sit at home at night, and have a few drinks while their children are in bed, and have maybe one drink too many.

Lots of parents lose their children momentarily, for lots of reasons. Some people make momentary errors of judgement, you know. Would the McCanns do that again? Of course, they wouldn't. But the bottom line is, if that's where you want to focus your concern [stressed in a mocking away], you know, all these years after this child's gone missing, then... then to be honest, that says more about you. This should be about finding out what happened to Madeleine and seeking an end to this.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: And actually that is very relevant to the latter point that Sarah made in her conversation with me. She makes the point that this investigation has now been going on for seven years, errm... and yet, seven years later, it has been decided at the beginning of the holiday season, in a holiday resort, in a country that is still suffering terribly from an economic recession, it has been decided to go and dig up some fairly major parts of that resort, which will have a... a very detrimental effect on the resort itself and on the businesses there. Do you understand that and she is woman who feels passionately about that particular holiday resort, having been going there for thirty years.

Jim Gamble: Well, I'm sure she doesn't feel as passionately about the resort as parents do for their children.

If you want to look at: 'Why now?' that's a question perhaps for the Portuguese police. These issues are being addressed because they weren't done at the time. The... the British authorities and the Metropolitan Police, who have brought a real professional focus to bare on this; that... that's not for them. They have... as soon as they've been able to aggregate all of the evidence, look at the issues and identify areas where there should have been perhaps a... a focus at the time. They can't now say: 'Well, we'll tell you what we'll do. We'll tie that in with people's travel arrangements; we'll tie that in with holidays'. I mean, this is about searching for a child who may well have been abducted and who may well have suffered, you know, harm including murder. And I really don't like to speculate about what may, or may not have happened, but had the investigation covered all these bases in the beginning we wouldn't be here now.

And the fact of the matter is, it is an unusual case because it crosses territorial boundaries and therefore there are tensions and sensitivities which means it takes quite a long time to negotiate and it's taken a long time to negotiate to get to the position where you have this positive relationship between the Metropolitan Police and the Portuguese police. Nothing would be happening there without the agreement of the Portuguese, so they obviously recognise the investigative value of this search. I believe it should have been done at the time - for whatever reason, it wasn't.

And if a child had gone missing, you know, in Bournemouth or Brighton, or a UK town in the same circumstances, and... and a case review had been carried out years later and areas had been identified that could have been more thoroughly explored, I have no doubt that in the UK we would be doing that and that...

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: [interrupting] So, we would allow...

Jim Gamble: ...not many people in Brighton and Bournemouth would be complaining.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: [interrupting] So, we would allow foreign police to... to come over from another country and to start, for example, digging up parts of Brighton, during the summer season?

Jim Gamble: We would partner with... if you're saying a Portuguese family had come over, their child had been, you know, abducted, or a suspected abduction of that child in that area; they'd gone missing. The initial inquiry had led, you know, to... to no... no one being arrested, no one being held to account for this. The fact is that there's still a suspect at large and... and the police from Portugal came and said: 'Look, we've looked at this, we have these clues'. Of course local police would partner with them. It's not about another police force going into someone else's territory. The Portuguese police are leading this, partnered by the Metropolitan Police. If it was in the UK, local UK police would lead, partnered by the Portuguese.

This... that interview was all about the pettiness involved in this. It was all about, you know... to be quite honest, nonsense. I... I am quite disturbed having listened to that, that anyone would go on the air and.. and say some of the things that lady said.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Okay.

Jim Gamble: Even more disturbed that you would broadcast it.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Okay, well Jim, thank you very much indeed for having your say. That's Jim Gamble who's a former policeman and was head of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre. He was involved in the search for Madeleine from 2007 to 2011.

Do you agree with what he has to say? Do you think Sarah is being most unfair to the McCanns? Are you appalled at some of the things she had to say? 08459 455555.

[Local travel news segment]

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Lots of response coming through on this.

I'm asking: 'Do you think Sarah is being unfair to the McCanns?'

Sarah, from Hertfordshire, she's been going to Praia da Luz three times a year, for thirty years. She says it's time for Kate and Gerry to stop ruining everyone else's lives by continuing to search for their missing daughter.

Madeleine McCann went missing seven years ago, when she was just 3-years-old, in a case that was front page news for years and has rarely been out of the papers ever since.

Well, last week the hunt for Maddie began again as the Portuguese police gave permission for British detectives to dig up sites around the town, including on the beach itself, looking for clues.

Well, as you may well have heard, if you'd listened to my interview with Sarah, she's furious.

But do you think she's... she's being reasonable? Or very unfair to the McCanns? Have your say on 08459 455555.

[News headlines, show teasers]

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: [34:20] ...but first, back to this morning's Big-Phone in.

Errm... We're discussing the fact that British detectives have returned to Portugal to continue the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Sarah, from Hertfordshire, has been going to Praia da Luz three times a year, for thirty years and she says it's time for Kate and Gerry to stop ruining everyone else's lives by continuing to search for their missing daughter.

Madeleine McCann went missing 7 years ago, when she was just 3-years-old, in a case that was front page news for years and has rarely been out of the papers ever since.

Last week the hunt for Maddie began again as the Portuguese police gave permission for British detectives to dig up sites around the town, including on the beach itself, looking for clues.

Sarah says the dig will make life harder for the businesses already suffering in the difficult Portuguese economic climate and it will have a negative effect on anyone planning, like her, to holiday in Luz this summer. Well, if you missed my interview with Sarah, at the start of today's show, here's just a little flavour of what she has to say:

Sarah: They know they couldn't choose a worse time to go out than the beginning of May. The Algarve, and Portugal in general, need tourism at the moment. To go out, eight years afterwards, and start digging up sites in Luz? Absolutely mindboggling!

The British police... I mean, if a couple had been from France, England, Spain, any, errm... not England, from the continent, came over to one of our beauty spots, left their children, one child went missing and then eight years later turn round and say: 'We don't really like how your police coped with it, so we're bringing our own police over and we're going to dig up your beauty spot!' I mean, it would not be allowed.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Well, do you think Sarah is being unfair to the McCanns?

Promo voices: [female] Call Jonathan Vernon-Smith now. [male] 08459 455555. [female] BBC Three Counties Radio.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Lots of your calls and your texts coming through and I will get to them very shortly but first let's hear from someone who lives and works in Praia da Luz. Nancy Thompson runs The Bull pub in Praia da Luz. Hello there, Nancy.

Nancy Thompson: Hello there.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Good morning. Thank you for coming on the programme.

Nancy Thompson: You're welcome.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: So how do you feel about the dig that I understand has now started in... in your home town, Praia da Luz?

Nancy Thompson: Yes, it's errr... mmm... it's very upsetting, you know. It upsets the village again, it upsets the people that live there and, of course, the holiday makers. Errr... It's just a bit of a circus when they all come to town. Very sad.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Do you understand why it's taking place though, Nancy? I mean, do you feel tremendous sympathy for Kate and Gerry McCann?

Nancy Thompson: Errr... Of course, you feel sympathy for them; it's their child. Look, in... in the end... but, errr... what I don't get here, is why it has taken them seven years. The hole was there seven years ago. What do they think? The Portuguese workmen have come along to fill the holes in, errr... it was in the main street, the main one, errm... and haven't looked in the hole and said: 'Oh, I think there's the body of a child in here'?

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Well, the McCanns feel the Portuguese authorities and the Portuguese police have let them down. They feel as if they haven't done what they needed to do at the time, in terms of gathering information, gathering evidence that may well have... have led them to what had happened to their daughter. Can... can you accept that?

Nancy Thompson: Errr... No, I think they did what they could at the time. They were all out, they were all searching. Errr... I remember the night, the actual night it happened. It was a very quiet night, errm... you know, and if someone had taken that girl away, I believe... Look, don't get me wrong, the Portuguese are fantastic people but they're well, well nosey [laughs].

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: So, can I... can I just ask, as someone who runs a business in Praia da Luz, do you feel that the disappearance of Madeleine McCann... has it had a very bad affect on... on tourism and business there?

Nancy Thompson: Well, who can say, you know. Look, this is a place... people come here year after year, after year. That's the kind of, errr.... place Praia da Luz is. I've known children born and, you know, 20-years-old now, and some with their own children, still coming here. Errr... But how do we know what effect it's had on new tourism, you know. People might look at it and say: 'Oh, I don't think we'll go there because it's full of, errr... paedophiles and... and... and abductors, and.. no, let's go to Greece or somewhere instead'. We don't know that.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: So, from what you heard of Sarah, and the comments that she made, as someone who has been, as you describe, she's a typical Praia da Luz holidaymaker - she comes there every single year, for thirty years, three times a year - and she really is... she's had enough of it. She says the time has come for Kate and Gerry McCann to accept what has happened and to move on and to stop affecting Praia da Luz in this way. Do you... do you agree with her?

Nancy Thompson: I do, I do agree with that, actually, you know. Errm... Every year we have this anniversary now. Errr... The McCanns don't come to the anniversary - we have to put up with it all. Errr... So, it is. It's disturbing.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: What do you say, 'have to'... why do you say you 'have to put up with it all'? What do you mean?

Nancy Thompson: Well, the press in the streets and photographing and walking round interviewing, errr... errr... and... and... lord knows what's going to happen when they start digging the place up. I hesitate to think.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Nancy, thank you so much. That's Nancy Thompson who runs The Bull pub in Praia da Luz.

Tony is in Stevenage. Good morning to you, Tony.

Tony: Good morning.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Morning. What do you think of Sarah's comments? Do you think she's being unfair to the McCanns or do you agree with her?

Tony: I agree with her. I've been round the world three times with my family and they never left my sight. We went out for a meal - we went out as a family. They [the McCanns] went out with a family meal but they left them in a room and walked off. Another couple in Stevenage who did that and they've had their children taken into care. Social Services took the children away from the, errr... the parents.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Isn't there though... aren't there... aren't there thousands of parents listening to this programme now, thousands of perhaps middle class parents, who have done exactly the same thing? You're on holiday, you're relaxed, you're lulled into a false sense of security. You think that, you know, it's okay that you're going back to check on the children on a regular basis. Isn't it a case of 'there but for the grace of God go I'?

Tony: Well, I wouldn't do it. Errm... In a foreign country you don't know what the rules and regulations are so if they all... if you go as a family, as a family holiday, you should go as a family - not go in the room, they go to sleep, and then you go to have fun or have a meal or whatever, then come back and find out one of them is missing.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: If ultimately though...

Tony: It's totally wrong.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: ...and I'm quite sure the McCanns, if they could... if they could wind back time, I'm sure they would never, ever have left their three children on their own in that room. I'm sure they would agree that, you know, in hindsight - and hindsight can be a wonderful thing - they wouldn't do it. However, does that mean that because they made a mistake, or may have made a mistake at the very beginning, does that mean that they shouldn't have the right to still keep trying to find answers, and keep trying to have those questions answered in Portugal?

Tony: Well, personally, I think they should have the rest of their children taken away and they are barred to go to that country now, because it's ruining the, errm...

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Well, that seems very strong. Many people would say that is a very cruel thing to say, Tony.

Tony: Well, that... that's my view. We went round the world three times and we never left our children, ever.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Okay. Thank you, very much indeed. 08459 4555555 if you want to respond to what Tony was saying.

Or do you also agree with what Sarah said today, that ultimately you think every time you now see the latest news on the McCanns you are getting to the point where you think: 'It is time to move on, it is having an effect on too many people'?

Alan is in Potter's Bar. Good morning to you, Alan.

Alan: Good morning, Jonathan.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Morning. What would you like to say, Alan?

Alan: I think she's totally insensitive, errm... errr... this is Sarah we're talking about now. Errm... I feel that if you look back at the... the history of this, I feel that the Portuguese police were rather inept in their initial process. We have got a good police force. I know they have problems, but the fact that we're... they're going to the trouble of continuing to search for this poor little girl - and any parent who's in this situation - loses a child - would want somebody and if the Portuguese police weren't going to do it, it needed our police to step up to the frame.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: But hang on a minute, because that's one of the main points that Sarah is making. This didn't happen in England...

Alan: No, no, no, no, but...

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: This happened in Portugal and therefore when something happens in Portugal you have to accept that the Portuguese have the police that they have. Now, they may not be as good as our police but they were in Portugal on holiday.

Alan: Jonathan, just to finish a minute. There's... we now have... unfortunately, we're part of Europe - which I don't want to be part of - but we now have agreements with the Portuguese, errr... or with the European, errr... police forces. So, there is a... a link between the different groups. Plus, the fact... let's go back to beyond this, this sort of case. How about the Yorkshire, errr... bodies on the Yorkshire Moors - the children that were killed there by, errr... Lynn, errr... Myra Linley and, errr...

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Myra Hindley, yeah.

Alan: Yeah. You know, that continues and, even now, if something found a body there the police would be... would be involved. They're still looking at times...

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: But... but that's not...

Alan: The fact it's on our land is immaterial

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: But it's not... it's not really comparing like-for-like. Wouldn't a better example be that a Portuguese child with her...

Alan: Yes... [makes noises to interrupt]

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: ...with her family, came on holiday to Torquay, and while she was on holiday in Torquay, the parents went out for dinner and left the child in a room on her own. The child was taken and then, seven years later, because they still haven't found any body and they still haven't found the child, the Portuguese police come over to Torquay - at the beginning of the summer season - and start digging up parts of Torquay. Do you not think that British people would also be rather annoyed.

Alan: No, I think the British... I think the British police and people would still be, errr... keen to find that child. Anybody would. Any child that goes missing, you know, you only have to look at different things going on around the world where these girls have been kidnapped. Anybody that's been taken, more importantly a child, you don't give up until you really know that something's either happened to that child; she's either died or has been kidnapped and you can find her. You don't give up, and it doesn't matter where the police are... where you are in the world, you hope that your police, or the country you've come from, would do a good job. But I think we're fairly fortunate to have a good police force.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: We are. Alan, thank you very much. 08459 455555 for you to have your say. Let me a do few of these texts before I get back to your calls. Oh, my word, there are so many here!

Errr... Carol in Bedford says: 'I kind of half agree with Sarah. This is all happening eight years too late and another six months wouldn't have made any difference. Yes, do the dig, but not in high season.'

Sharon says: 'Jonathan, I completely agree with Sarah.'

Tracey, however, says: 'They made a grave mistake that night and they've paid a very high price. A guilt-ridden price for what they have to live with. I feel very sorry for them and I would not give up ever.'

Mark says: 'Every parent makes mistakes bringing their children up. I personally wouldn't leave my kids as the McCanns did but plenty of other people have and do. The vast majority suffer no consequences but the McCanns suffered the worst possible outcome and I can only feel empathy towards them. What I am sure about is that if a similar tragedy happened to me, I would search to the end of the earth for my child and use every avenue available. I'm also sure opinions like Sarah's wouldn't, and don't, make a jot of difference.'

Anne says: 'Oh, for God's sake! I can't believe this woman. How senseless. Regardless of how it happened, Kate and Gerry McCann have lost their daughter. They've lost a piece of their lives. Does she have no sympathy at all? Does she not have a caring heart? Has she nothing better to moan about? If anything ever happened to my son, I would search and search until my last breath. I'm utterly disgusted with this woman, JVS, and you shouldn't even bother to give her airtime. A waste of time. She can go on holiday somewhere else if she doesn't like it, but someone has done something and I hope to God they are found. Wouldn't it be a miracle if little Madeleine was found safe and sound,' says Anne. Thank you.

Emma, good morning to you.

Emma: Good morning, Jonathan.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Morning. What would you like to say, Emma?

Emma: I'm absolutely, errm... so angry with Sarah. I mean, I haven't got children but if anything happened, or if I know somebody, I would make sure that that would be on my mind all the time and I would really wanted to search for my child.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Even eight years later? When for eight years there have been investigations that have all unfortunately not been fruitful?

Emma: Even though... even though it's still eight years, it's still their child. It doesn't matter of how the circumstances was where the children were left. At the end of the day, errm... they should have the right to be able to find their daughter.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: But why now? That was the other main point that Sarah was making. Why, at the beginning of the holiday season, in a country that is still terribly damaged by the economic recession, why go to a holiday resort and start digging up that holiday resort? Just when all the holidaymakers are starting to arrive.

Emma: If the Portugal police actually, errm... did their job properly because there were things that actually they missed out and that. And also like the potholes and that, that they're saying there was a pothole - why didn't they search for the pothole first?

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: But they were in Portugal; they weren't in England.

Emma: Yes, but the Portubal [sic] police should have done more to help Madeleine, to actually find her and I don't think they did. And that's why the British police have actually looked at these areas that prob... possibly the Portubal [sic] police haven't done.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Okay, Emma. Thank you, very much for making your point. 08459 455555 - your response please.

Do you think Sarah is being unfair to the McCanns? Or is there body... anybody else who thinks: 'Yes, absolutely. Sarah has simply said what I've been thinking all these years'. - 08459 455555.

Promo voices: [female] Have your say on today's Big Phone-in. [male] The JVS Show. [female] BBC Three Counties Radio.

[Promo for forthcoming 3CR show on European elections]

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Yes, and this morning, on the Big Phone-in, I'm asking: 'Do you think Sarah is being unfair to the McCanns?'

Sarah, from Hertfordshire, has been going to Praia da Luz in Portugal three times a year, for thirty years, and she says it's time for Kate and Gerry McCann to stop ruining everyone else's lives by continuing to search for their missing daughter.

Madeleine McCann went missing seven years ago. She was just 3-years-old, in a case that was, of course, front page news for years and has rarely been out of the papers ever since.

Last week the hunt for Maddie began again as the Portuguese police gave permission for British detectives to dig up sites around the town, including on the beach itself, looking for clues.

Well, Sarah says the dig will make life harder for the businesses who are already suffering in the difficult Portuguese economic climate and it will have a negative effect on anyone like her planning to holiday in Luz this summer.

Maureen is in Stevenage. Good morning to you, Maureen.

Maureen: Good morning, Jonathan.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Morning.

Maureen: I... I'm absolutely disgusted with Sarah. Errm... We are talking about a little girl and, alright, the McCanns made a mistake but to be a snobbish lady who goes on holiday there now - well, if it's annoying her so much...

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: [interrupting] But to be fair to her, she said this is not just about the fact that she's going on holiday there. She's... because she goes on holiday there, she knows the resort, she knows the people very well and it is for the people that... that live and work in Praia da Luz that she thinks this has gone on too long now.

Maureen: Well, no, I disagree with her. Why would she worry about them? We're talking about a little, little girl. I don't know if this Sarah, from Hertfordshire, wherever she is, has got children.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Yes, she is a mother.

Maureen: Yeah, but I would put my wellies on and I'd put my spade in my hand, and I would go over there and help because the McCanns need closure.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Why start digging up a holiday resort at the beginning of May?

Maureen: Well, I don't know. I couldn't tell you.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Why didn't they say: 'Well, we are going to dig up Praia da Luz but we recognise that this is a holiday resort, where obviously thousands of people live and work, and for whom their livelihood is dependant on the tourism industry. So, for those people, an extra six months will not make much difference in the grand scheme of things to the McCanns, but to those people who live there it will make a big difference. So, we will wait until the end of the holiday season before we start digging up'?

Maureen: Well, p'haps the reason for that is that if people that keep going back to that... that holiday place, and they're starting to dig up, it might jog a lot of people's memories. If it isn't the holiday season, it's not... I mean, our British police have found loads and loads of, errr... things that have happened. I mean, the Portuguese police actually accused the mother of Madeleine for errm... for her disappearance and I just... I'm just so disgusted with people, I... I really am. I wouldn't care if it is a, errr... the beginning of season or not.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: But isn't it easy for you to say that because you don't live there and you're not affected by... by the constant media glare.

Maureen: No, it wouldn't bother me if I lived there or not.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: How can you say that?

Maureen: If...

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: How can you... if you... if you were running a restaurant or a bar and you have waited for months now for the summer season to start - for you to start making money in order to pay your bills and to keep your business going, and suddenly, at the beginning of May, the diggers arrive and they're digging up massive sections of the resort where you are... are trying to run your business. How can you say, sitting in Stevenage, that it really wouldn't bother you.

Maureen: It wouldn't. It wouldn't, Jonathan. It wouldn't because I just feel that they've got this step further. The Portuguese police have given the British police permission to dig up - why didn't the Portuguese say: 'Oh, 'old on a minute. We'll leave it for six months until the tourism is, errm... coming'. It's a two-way thing. Why has the Portuguese police given permission?

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Maureen, thank you very much.

Margaret in Milton Keynes. Good morning, Margaret.

Margaret: Oh, hello. I do agree with a lot of Sarah, what she said, but I have a different view as well. I do feel that the McCanns... it's all been about their feelings - what they want to do - and their children come second to that. They have two other children. What effect is all this having on their two other children? They are doing this because they feel so guilty. They have always put theirselves first - what they want - from leaving the children in that apartment. What if there had been a fire? Honestly, I think they should start thinking about what effect this is all having on their other two children.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: But are you suggesting, in a round about way, that it's time for them to move on?

Margaret: I do. They're Catholics and Catholic people believe in life after death, Jesus and angels. They should hope that their little girl was killed quickly and she is now with the angels.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Well, I'm sure that they hope that she's still alive, Margaret.

Margaret: No, I would not. I would not because when you read in the paper what these paedophile rings are like, you're better...

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: [interrupting] But we have no idea what happened to her and that's the whole point. They want answers.

Margaret: It's so frightening and scary but I do think they should be paying more attention to the two children they have got. What effect is this having on them? Because all they're doing is massaging their own guilt feelings. That is just my view. I think they should be putting all their energy into their two children that they've got now.

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Margaret, thank you very much for your call. I'm sure that everyone hopes that Madeleine is still alive and that the police do eventually do find her safe and well. And it's interesting, so many people texting and contacting me on Facebook and on the programme. Sarah seems to have caused an awful lot of debate. Ahh, you can keep your calls coming through, and your texts, and your emails as always. I'll be very interested to hear your thoughts. jvsshow@bbc.co.uk

[Travel news]

Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Thanks, Justin. So, we may well come back to some of your calls, your texts, your emails on Sarah's opinions a little later on but we've got so much else to discuss.

Have you seen the video of the cat saving the toddler from a dog attack? Oh, my word... [continues into news bulletin]

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

A section of Sarah's interview Audioboo

Sarah from Hertfordshire goes to Praia da Luz every year and she thinks it's time for Kate and Gerry McCann to stop hunting for Madeleine to give the resort and it's people a break...

She's spoken to JVS.

Hear the full interview on The JVS Show on Thursday 15th May.

Have tweeting footie fans found Madeleine McCann?, 16 May 2014
Have tweeting footie fans found Madeleine McCann? Daily Star

FOOTBALL fans created a Twitter frenzy over claims a young girl at the Europa League final looked like missing Madeleine McCann.

By Jerry Lawton / Published 16th May 2014

HOPE: Football fans furiously tweeted the resemblance to Maddie - passing the image on to the Met Police [SCREENSHOT]

The youngster was filmed during ITV4's live coverage of Seville's 4-2 penalties defeat of Portuguese giants Benfica on Wednesday night.

Fans claimed the girl in a red top shown clapping looked just like age-adjusted images of Madeleine, who vanished from her parents' holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in May 2007.

A picture of the girl in the crowd in Turin, Italy, went viral as hundreds became convinced it was Madeleine, who would now be 11.

Some claimed she even shared the missing girl's distinctive flawed eye.

The photo was retweeted to the Met Police which is conducting a £6million hunt for Madeleine.

One football fan who posted the picture of the girl on Twitter wrote: "Looks like Madeleine at the Seville game." Another added: "Definitely does look like her! Unreal how much!"

One user said: "Please don't tell me this is Madeleine McCann, she has the same mark on her left eye."

A source close to the McCanns said while the girl in the photo bore some resemblance to images of how Madeleine may look now, the apparent flaw was in the wrong eye.

Madeleine's defect should be in her right eye while the girl in the crowd's appears to be in the left one.

"What is encouraging is that it shows everyone is still looking for Madeleine," said a friend of the family.

"That will give her family great strength."

New ground searches near the apartment the McCanns were staying in when their daughter disappeared are expected to start within days.

Madeleine's doctor parents Kate, 46, and Gerry, 45, continue to believe their eldest daughter is still alive.

'Footie fans spot 'Maddie' at match', 16 May 2014
'Footie fans spot 'Maddie' at match' Daily Star (paper edition, page 16)

Girl sparks internet uproar

'Footie fans spot 'Maddie' at match' Daily Star (paper edition, page 16)
Daily Star, 16 May 2014

Madeleine McCann cops 'allowed paedophile Brit to flee to Far East', 17 May 2014
Madeleine McCann cops 'allowed paedophile Brit to flee to Far East' Daily Mirror

May 17, 2014 18:48 By Justin Penrose

Roderick Robinson, 77, was in the Algarve when she vanished - and has since been handed a suspended sentence for abusing five- and seven-year-old girls

Hunted: Robinson, of Aldershot

 

Hunted: Robinson, of Aldershot

A paedophile hunted in the Madeleine McCann case has "slipped through the fingers" of British police, the mum of two of his victims claimed tonight.

Roderick Robinson, 77, was in the Algarve when the three-year-old vanished in 2007.

He was given a suspended prison sentence in 2012 for abusing five- and seven-year-old girls in Brighton who bore a resemblance to Madeleine.

Detectives vowed to monitor his movements and knew he had a history of sex offences. But the cunning pervert was able to flee the UK by changing his name and is now believed to be hiding out in the Far East.

A Brighton victim's mother said it was "unbelievable" police missed the chance to quiz him about Madeleine's disappearance.

She said: "The police knew he was in Portugal around the time she vanished, but they let him slip through their fingers.

"They told me they would monitor him. When he fled they didn't even bother telling me. I am so angry he has been allowed to go on the run."

Scotland Yard detectives chasing new leads in Praia da Luz where Madeleine went missing now want to quiz Robinson about paedophile rings in the area in 2007. There is an international arrest warrant out for him.

Police are ­investigating 18 possible linked break-ins at Algarve villas by a lone intruder from 2004 to 2010.

Six have come to light since an appeal last month, with five involving alleged sex assaults on British girls. The attacks stopped in 2010, at around the time Robinson was deported from Portugal to Australia for raping an eight-year-old girl there.

Robinson agreed to a plea deal for that assault and was sentenced to six months in prison.

Within weeks of his release the former oil rig worker fled to Thailand but three months later he was deported back to Britain after Thai authorities found out about his past.

Deported: Robinson after Thai authorities caught him

Deported: Robinson after Thai authorities caught him

He moved to south coast resort Brighton where he was made to sign the sex offenders register – but then he preyed on the mum's young girls.

They had been visiting their father on his yacht at a boat yard where Robinson also owned a vessel. He called himself "Captain Rod" and became friendly with the girl's father.

The mum added: "He abused my children when their dad was in the other room making a cup of tea. I am just lucky they got off relatively lightly in comparison to poor Madeleine.

"He could have grabbed them and taken them on his boat. What's to say he wasn't involved in Madeleine's disappearance? He could have taken her on a boat out in Portugal.

"For us and for Madeleine's family I want this guy caught. He thinks he's untouchable and will continue to offend against children."

Sussex Police said they had been unable to tell the victim Robinson had fled because of legal reasons.

Police sex abuse units tied up with old cases, 19 May 2014
Police sex abuse units tied up with old cases The Times

Sir Hugh Orde

Sir Hugh Orde said an historical inquiry squad should be set up to ease the pressure on other units Dave Thompson/PA

Sean O'Neill
Crime Editor
Published at 12:01AM, May 19 2014


The growing number of historical cases that the police are investigating is taking hundreds of officers away from present-day threats, one of the country's top police officers has said.

Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said that an historical inquiry squad should be set up to ease the pressure.

The unit would deal with exceptional cases in a consistent way, instead of the ad-hoc responses to major inquiries such as the Hillsborough disaster, abuse at north Wales care homes and the activities of undercover police in the Stephen Lawrence investigation.

Sir Hugh said that the police faced "increasing pressure" to conduct historical inquiries that could not be ignored. "To police the future you have to police the present and the past — it's all about public confidence," he said.

However, the nature of those inquiries was that they demanded significant commitment of officers, time and money. Some cases were "drawing, without question, specialist officers from current inquiries to do historical inquiries".

Police numbers in England and Wales have fallen by 16,000 since 2009, while there has been a growth in calls for inquiries, especially in the specialist area of child sex abuse cases.

Sir Hugh said: "The question here is do we have to set up an independent historical inquiry team to deal with the emerging issues, which I don't think will slow down. It would have to be of sufficient size to be competent, but it would take the pressure off everyone who is suddenly having to find loads more experts from current, reducing forces who are fully employed dealing with current issues."

He added: "The issue really is how does one protect the decreasing front line from being dragged away from its primary function of keeping people alive."

Sir Hugh said that historical cases demanded high levels of resources to find papers, locate witnesses and decide how to handle victims, who might not always want to be reminded of the past.

Police chiefs are also looking with concern at Northern Ireland, where half the major crime team resources are devoted to inquiries into past events during the Troubles. Sir Hugh, a former chief constable in the province, said there was much to be learnt from the historical inquiries team there, despite criticism of it by inspectors.

He added that criticism of the team was "ill informed and ill judged", because it failed to recognise that it was an independent unit set up with the priority of giving victims and families "maximum disclosure" and a form of resolution without guaranteeing trials and prosecutions.

Cost of investigating the past

North Wales care homes
The investigation into alleged child abuse between 1953 and 1995 has 26 officers and staff and cost £1.3 million in its first year

Madeleine McCann
The Met has 37 officers and staff investigating her murder in Portugal in 2007. The Home Office has met costs to date of £5.35 million

Yewtree
The investigation into past sex crimes, which developed from the Jimmy Savile scandal, has 30 officers and cost £2.7 million to date

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

Screenshot

 
The Times, 19 May 2014

With thanks to Jill Havern forum for screenshot

Jim Gamble: 'I was under threat but was more fearful for my family', 19 May 2014
Jim Gamble: 'I was under threat but was more fearful for my family' Belfast Telegraph

Chris Kilpatrick talks to the former head of Special Branch in Belfast who applied to be PSNI chief constable and was chief executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.

Jim Gamble

Taking a stand: Jim Gamble has devoted much of his life to protecting children

19 May 2014

Q. You spent three decades in policing, what attracted you to it?

A. My father was in the RAF so I grew up with a service background. The natural progression was into the Army for me, I joined the military police. Ironically it provided me with an insight into divided communities that was very symbolic and visible. I was stationed in west Berlin so you had a physical structure which divided communities and actually two communities who desperately wanted to be together.

Q. You join the RUC, moved on to Special Branch, and then to England.

A. When I came back to Northern Ireland it was initially with the bomb squad in a military police role and then I came out and joined the RUC. I went through the ranks to be head of Special Branch in Belfast. As peace was breaking out I passed the strategic command course and ended up as the assistant chief constable in the National Crime Squad.

I then became deputy director general of the National Crime Squad. I was asked to build a new organisation called the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP). I resisted it at the beginning, I didn't think it was exactly what I wanted to do, and in the end it was one of the highlights of my career.

Q. Heading up Special Branch in Belfast brings with it all sorts of huge challenges and pressures, what was that time like?

A. I look back on my time with Special Branch as having been a privilege. I know some people will read this and not like that. First of all I understand it depends on the geography of where you were born in Northern Ireland, what your view of a particular issue or particular group of individuals will be. What I will say on my own part is I have been proud of many of the things I have done in my career and that pride is as strong as anywhere as regard that work we did in RUC Special Branch. I worked with people who made extraordinary sacrifices, exposed themselves to horrific levels of danger to keep people safe. You hear all sorts. Every organisation will have bad apples, people who are motivated to do the wrong thing.

But in my experience the vast majority of people I worked with were good, decent people who got up in the morning to go and do a job that was about keeping people safe. It was a different time and a different place. There's no doubt the lessons learned and skill sets developed in that arena helped me in the latter part of my career.

Q. That pressure and the concern for your safety and that of your family, how did you live with that? Were you subjected to death threats?

A. At that time the key was you retained a low profile. You went about your job and did your job in an environment in which police were under constant threat and not by accident but by design as people set out to murder and maim police officers. So that was always in the back of your mind.

Q. How do you deal with that?

A. I think anybody who has worked in a job which is inherently dangerous tends to survive on the basis of 'it won't be me'. It will happen to someone else. There were times you would have a close shave and pause and think of the risks. But the camaraderie and spirit in work kept you going. You were much more fearful for your family. What you said, where you lived. On occasions when you had to move, rapidly– overnight on one occasion – from somewhere your children grew up to a completely different area.

Q. Can you tell me more about those close shaves? How close was it?

A. No. But I recognise when saying that other people from other areas with different backgrounds and views would have experienced their own trauma. I don't see myself as a victim of the Troubles. I don't see myself as a victim, I don't see combatants as victims.

I do see those who were going about their business and were gunned down or blown up, I see them as innocent victims. If I carry a bomb into a building and I kill innocent people, those innocent people are victims. If I carried the bomb I am not innocent. Likewise, if I stood on the periphery of a riot and shot an unarmed rioter, who represented no threat to me, I am not a victim either.

Q. You would have lost colleagues, close friends – how did you feel when some of the perpetrators were being set free from prison?

A. It's never easy to see someone on the street who has inflicted the most horrific injuries, who has brutalised and murdered other human beings, whether they are Catholic or Protestant. It's never easy to see them enjoy liberty those no longer with us cannot.

I couldn't have been the person to enthusiastically agree that. What I do see now are the benefits we did accrue from it to allow the peace process to be delivered at the particular time. My children grew up in a period that was really dominated by hope, the fact we were moving in a new direction. I began not having to worry so much about them being in Belfast shopping but worry about the normal things parents do when they have sons or daughters. It's about how we respect the sacrifice of others in the past by collaborating and building a more positive future together.

Q. You served with the police for around 30 years, you were a highly-commended officer and you applied for the job of Chief Constable. Why did you not get it? Were you perceived as being outspoken or perhaps because of your security and intelligence background?

A. I think I was a round peg in a round hole at CEOP. The only job that could have attracted me away from that was Chief Constable of the PSNI. At the time I could not resist applying for it. Many of my friends said I was wasting my time because of my background with Special Branch, that would perhaps would be an impediment. Being shortlisted was an honour. Why didn't I get it? Maybe I wasn't good enough on the day. What I do believe with the gift of hindsight was that I wasn't the right person for the job given where we are now. Had I been chief constable people would have been more concerned during these fragile moments because of the political issues, the specific issues we see at the minute. My background as a Special Branch officer would have been unhelpful and perhaps unhealthy for the service. I've no complaints about that.

Q. Who would your money be on this time round?

A. Leadership in the country is critically important and one of the key leadership roles in Northern Ireland is that of a chief constable. Communities and the context of their role, aspirations and engagement with one another, with the police service – it's really important this time round we have the opportunity to select someone who understands that. There are some real good applicants in for it.

Q. Who stands out among the candidates?

A. Cressida Dick from the Met comes with a lot of experience in the Met but Northern Ireland is very, very different from that Metropolitan Police environment which is layer upon layer of management regime.

I think it's time for a local person and my own view is they have a candidate who fits that criteria. It's about having that leadership that knows who we are, warts and all. The sensitivities and when to be sensitive, but also the time to be right down the line.

If you're not right down the line with everybody then you have people saying why did you not do with them what you did with us. It's no surprise that out of the candidates, the best I believe is George Hamilton.

Q. What does he bring to the job?

A. I would hope the board recognise that in him they have an individual with all the right skills, who will make the right decisions and be scrupulously fair. I think George is someone who recognises the need to respect diversity beyond the rhetoric of saying the right thing. Real leadership is about being seen and being seen to do the right thing.

Q. Matt Baggott came here as a champion of neighbourhood policing. Was it too soon for that approach or style of policing here?

A. I think everybody wanted to be heading in a direction that was going to be about even greater integration with the community through the police service that we delivered. Matt came with the perfect CV for that.

I think maybe had we a better barometer at the time, had we known there were going to be the problems that there ultimately would be, you could argue that maybe one of the other candidates – certainly not me – would have brought some other skills. But at the end of the day it's about a blend. Matt has come in, he's faced a difficult task.

Hugh Orde was an excellent chief constable. Real strength of leadership and, agree or disagree with him, he knew what he wanted to do and he was prepared to stand up and be counted and do that. Matt came in at a time when everybody thought things were now fine and suddenly there were bumps in the road, there were real issues and they weren't going to be resolved in the short term without default to some of the older skill-sets around public order, community unrest.

Everybody thought we had already arrived at peace when Matt took over. To be fair, the last couple of years have shown we're quite far from it.

Q. Have the politicians failed him?

A. It's easy to blame politicians and I do that myself, quite frequently. I blame politicians for things at Westminster and sometimes I look at politicians here and shake my head. I think they can make the chief constable's life more difficult but they should hold the chief constable to account. The appropriate place to do that of course is through the Policing Board which I think has done a remarkable job and put politics in the right place.

Politicians outside of that governance structure can sometimes create real difficulties by simply saying things that are hugely provocative or that are unnecessary or unhelpful. Policing is so difficult and in Northern Ireland you are policing within that political context where it is not about getting it right for the powers that be, it's about being seen to get it right.

Q. Has he been too appeasing at times? During the disorder round flags and parades say?

A. It's unfair of me to cast judgment on Matt because he's been in the hotseat, he's had to make the difficult decisions. He's had to make those decisions about flags and when to intercede. All I can say is that had I been in that seat the flags protest would have been dealt with much more robustly and at an earlier stage.

Q. How would you have done that?

A. That could have been the wrong way to go because that may have inflamed the situation. I think when you have a protest, whether it's green or orange or somewhere in the middle, you have to take firm and decisive action at the earliest possible opportunity to prevent it escalating. Then again Matt in his role – and I've a lot of respect for him – would have access to all of the intelligence. He will know things you and I can't possibly know. We'll second guess those decisions. He might know the consequences of doing one thing a day early could have led to a massive escalation. It's easy to be the chief constable from an armchair. He's had that job and during what has been a difficult time.

Q. As well as the disorder of the past couple of years, we saw an increase in so-called dissident republican activity. What's your assessment of the threat they pose?

A. I've no insight but I don't feel we are on the brink of going back to where we were or anywhere near that. It's always worrying. It's worrying from a personal security point of view, for retired colleagues and for those colleagues today living in areas I wouldn't possibly have done in the past. That puts them and the community in a difficult position and that's where you look to your political leaders.

Q. What did you make of the comments of Martin McGuinness recently when he referred to dark forces and a cabal within police?

A. The Deputy First Minister is entitled to his view. Ironically he's somebody I've watched over the past number of years with interest because I think he is someone who has developed as a political leader. I've seen him at times when others have said things I wish they wouldn't, he has been considered about his language.

I was therefore really disappointed when things escalated in the way they did when the police were simply doing the job they are employed to do.

Q. You now specialise in child safety. How did you go from Special Branch to heading up CEOP?

A. By accident as opposed to design. The move from Northern Ireland with the experience at Special Branch to National Crime Squad was a simple one which made sense.

As assistant chief constable for intelligence and operational support I worked in the fight against organised crime, from drug-dealing to human trafficking and financial crimes.

Almost by a quirk of fate one day I was asked to carry out a review of an operation called Operation Ore. Once I completed that review I recommended that because of the complexity of the technology involved, the weight of data coming in, that there needed to be an approach that was child-centred.

Within a few days I was appointed as the lead for co-ordination of Operation Ore which for some was seen as contentious. I saw it as a huge success in that identified and located over 100 children and over the years it unfolded held more than 2,500 people to account. Having done that I was offered to take on the role setting up what was to become CEOP.

Q. Have you had any doubts about doing this job?

A. I was on a trip to Cambodia and while I was there I saw square mile after square mile of rubbish, steaming rubbish. Dump trucks would come in and drop off more rubbish and children of three, four and five years of age would rummage through it. If they could fill a sack the same height if not higher than themselves they would get 25 cents.

You realise then the environment, that vulnerability. Then when you see Western men were visiting there and were buying those children for between seven and 12 dollars, taking them to their hotel and abusing them, you recognise suffering in a different way.

For me it was almost a road to Damascus-type of conversion. What an honour to have an opportunity to build something where you are part of a team of very special people. To build something which has actually made a difference in a young person's life.

Q. You invested a lot in CEOP, you built it up but then you walk away in 2010. Do you regret it?

A. I came to the point it was a matter of principle. For me it was the right thing. My fear was that it would be subsumed into a larger organisation. The Home Secretary said it would retain its identity, its profile and they would build on the success it had. Well, arrests have dropped in the last three years, the sign outside CEOP no longer says CEOP. It says National Crime Agency. Its profile has dropped. In NCA the C stands for crime. In CEOP the C always stood for children.

Q. One of the cases you have been involved in was the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Do you think her parents Kate and Gerry will ever get the answers they crave?

A. I think Gerry and Kate McCann will get closure in my lifetime. My heart goes out to them. I never cease to be appalled by some of the things people say.

A woman on the radio earlier was more fixated that Kate and Gerry left the kids and went for a meal.

You know what? Lots of people make mistakes. Few people pay this price. Sometimes people should just think before they speak.

'Operation Grange is investigating' the 'Maddie' football photo, 19 May 2014
'Operation Grange is investigating' the 'Maddie' football photo Official Find Madeleine Campaign - Facebook

 
'Operation Grange is investigating' the 'Maddie' football photo, 19 May 2014

[Text version of above]

Edit history

Monday, 19 May 2014 at 21:56

Thank you to all who have contacted us regarding the picture from the football game. Operation Grange is investigating.

It's comforting to know so many people care about Madeleine and are continuing to look for her. Thank YOU!

~FM Webmaster

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

Monday, 19 May 2014 at 23:09

Thank you to all who have contacted us regarding the picture from the football game. The picture has been viewed by Gerry and Kate and it is not Madeleine.

It's comforting to know so many people care about Madeleine and are continuing to look for her. Thank YOU!

Please do not post the picture. We need to protect the privacy of the child in the picture.

~FM Webmaster

Scotland Yard announcement, 22 May 2014

Scotland Yard says the work will be led by the Portuguese police, as June Kelly reports

 

Police investigating Madeleine McCann's disappearance say "a substantial phase of operational activity" will begin within weeks.

See: Police Searches Announced - Praia da Luz

FOI Act request about meetings between staff of Operation Grange and BBC Crimewatch, 30 May 2014
FOI Act request about meetings between staff of Operation Grange and BBC Crimewatch CMOMM

Posted by Tony Bennett
Friday 30 May 2014 at 6:37 am


Dear Mr Bennett

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2014010000368

I respond in connection with your request for information which was received by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 03/01/2014. I note you seek access to the following information:

These questions relate to the contacts between staff of Operation Grange and the makers of the BBC Crimewatch Special on Madeleine McCann on 14 October 2013.

1. Please state

(a) the date and

(b) the circumstances under which the Metropolitan Police Operation Grange Team and the BBC Crimewatch team first discussed the making of the programme about Madeleine McCann transmitted on 14 October 2013

2. Please list all occasions since then, giving the dates, on which any member of Operation Grange met any member of the BBC Crimewatch Team (or anyone else from the BBC), either physically, or by video conference - and for each occasion, list the numbers of Operation Grange members who attended each meeting.

NOTE: This information will be very easy to find from DCI Andy Redwood's Policy Folder on Grange's relations with BBC Crimewatch.

DECISION

Section 14 (1) - Vexatious or repeated requests

Pursuant to the provisions of Section 14(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) I have decided to refuse your request as it has been deemed as a vexatious request.

Under Section 14(1) of the Act, a public authority does not have to comply with vexatious requests. There is no requirement for a public interest test.

You have made multiple requests for information relating to the Operation Grange investigation. You have also engaged in voluminous correspondence with the Operation Grange team all regarding this single investigation.

You have been warned previously about the vexatious nature of these requests.

The Act was designed to give individuals a greater right of access to official information with the intention of making public bodies more transparent and accountable.

Whilst most people exercise this right responsibly, a few may misuse or abuse the Act by submitting requests which are intended to be annoying or disruptive or which have a disproportionate impact on a public authority.

The Information Commissioner recognises that dealing with unreasonable requests can place a strain on resources and get in the way of delivering mainstream services or answering legitimate requests. Furthermore, these requests can also damage the reputation of the legislation itself.

"I killed Maddie and I am going to kill you", 31 May 2014
"I killed Maddie and I am going to kill you" Correio da Manhã

Albufeira: Tourist stabbed by a young Englishman

The offender, 22, was present in court yesterday. The English victim, 40, told CM what happened and showed the 14 stab wounds she suffered.

By Ana Palma
31 May 2014, 13h54

The victim (large photo) was stabbed in the back. The attacker (pictured right) is in custody

"I woke up with him on top of me, suffocating me. Then he shouted 'I killed Maddie McCann and I am going to kill you' and started stabbing me." That was what Clara Corrigan told CM yesterday about the attack she suffered which took place on Thursday at 5:30 a.m., by a young Englishman, aged 22, in the house where he lives with his grandparents in Albufeira.

The British tourist, 40, who is a resident of Liverpool, showed CM the 14 blows she suffered in the lumbar region, buttocks and thighs. She was discharged from Faro hospital yesterday afternoon after being stitched. Yesterday, in the Court of Albufeira, where the offender appeared before the judge, Clara - who was heard in the process - revealed to CM that she met the young man, Shane, hours before the crime, in Oura: "I was in a bar with a friend when I met him. We had some drinks and he must have put something in my drink because I don't recall anything more." Waking up in the house of the offender.

The victim, who has three children and is on holiday with her parents at the campsite of Albufeira, was struck by Shane with a kitchen knife. She managed to escape into the street, bleeding, and sought help. She was aided by a local resident, who raised the alert. The young man, who still chased her down the street but eventually fled, was arrested shortly after by the Albufeira GNR, to whom he offered no resistance. He was barefoot, shirtless and appeared to be drunk or under the influence of a toxic substance. He said he did not remember anything.

Yesterday, the judge remanded him in custody.

Update: Albufeira stabbing takes bizarre new twist, 31 May 2014
Update: Albufeira stabbing takes bizarre new twist Portugal Resident

Posted by jomad on May 31, 2014

Released from hospital with her lower back and buttocks swathed in bandages, Albufeira stabbing victim Clara Corrigan has talked to journalists about the frenzied attack suffered last Thursday and revealed that her British assailant shouted "I killed Maddie McCann and I am going to kill you" as he stabbed her repeatedly.

Released from hospital with her lower back and buttocks swathed in bandages, Albufeira stabbing victim Clara Corrigan has talked to journalists about the frenzied attack suffered last Thursday and revealed that her British assailant shouted "I killed Maddie McCann and I am going to kill you" as he stabbed her repeatedly.

It is unclear whether this potential new suspect in the seven-year mystery of Madeleine's disappearance will be followed up by detectives, but as Met officers are due back in Praia da Luz next week to dig for clues, they will at least know where to find him. The 22-year-old attacker, named only as Shane, was remanded in custody by Albufeira's court on Friday.

Meantime, his victim is recovering from her injuries and has even allowed newspapers to take graphic pictures of her multiple stab-wounds.

The 40-year-old from Liverpool told Correio da Manhã newspaper that she met Shane hours before in the Oura district - notorious for drunken night time incidents, particularly involving foreigner holidaymakers.

"He was in a bar with friends", Corrigan told CM. "We had some drinks and he must have put something in my drink because I don't remember anything more.

"I woke up with him on top of me, suffocating me. Then he shouted "I killed Maddie McCann and I am going to kill you".

It was at this point, said the woman, that Shane began stabbing her.

The full horror of the attack hit the headlines late last week, with locals telling how they heard Corrigan's screams "all over the neighbourhood".

The terrified holidaymaker managed to break free however, and was taken in by a nearby resident who called police and rescue services.

It was at this point that Corrigan's attacker was found, barefoot, barechested and covered in blood at a bus stop in the area.

Police who arrested him told CM that the man offered no resistance and appeared not to have remembered a thing.

"I killed Maddie McCann and I am going to kill you", 01 June 2014
"I killed Maddie McCann and I am going to kill you" Algarve Daily News

Created: 01 June 2014

Albufeira

The British woman, stabbed multiple times in the early hours of last Thursday morning at an address in Albufeira, has been released from hospital as further details are revealed as to her attacker and the events leading up to her being knifed in a frenzied assault.

The man arrested on suspicion of the attack on Clara Corrigan, is 22-year old Briton 'Shane' who worked in a restaurant in Oura.

The victim was on holiday with her parents and became friendly with her assailant, returned to his house after a night out and was attacked in the back and buttocks with repeated blows from a kitchen knife.

The woman's screams already had woken up the neighbourhood and when she staggered to a nearby house she quickly was let in, the alarm was raised and emergency services were called.

Now released from hospital Corrigan claimed in an interview with Correio da Manha that her attacker shouted "I killed Maddie McCann and I am going to kill you," as he launched his attack.

Clara Corrigan, from Liverpool met Shane in the Oura area in a bar, "We had some drinks and he must have put something in my drink because I don't recall anything more."

When Corrigan regained her faculties in the house Shane live in, she claims he shouted about his responsibility for Madeleine McCann's death as he attacked her. She broke free and fled to seek help.

Shane was found covered in blood wandering the area. He offered no resistance to police and claimed that he remembered being in the bar in Oura but did not remember anything from that point on. He now has quite a few questions to answer.

Meanwhile police from Britain and Portugal have cordoned off an area of scrubland in Praia da Luz as they prepare to search the area with ground-penetrating radar.

Police searches commence in Praia da Luz, 02 June 2014

Portuguese police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have cordoned off the Praia da Luz scrubland. Photograph: Luis Forra/EPA

 

British detectives arrive in Praia da Luz to begin searching an area of scrubland known locally as 'The Mound'.

See: Police Searches - Praia da Luz - Day One

I killed Maddie, you're next, 15 June 2014
I killed Maddie, you're next Sunday Express (paper edition)

 
Sunday Express, 15 June 2014

 

EXCLUSIVE
From James Murray in Portugal
Sunday, June 15, 2014

A BRITISH woman stabbed repeatedly by a man in Portugal claims that he screamed: "I killed Madeleine McCann and I'm going to kill you."

Clara Corrigan is recovering from 17 wounds inflicted in the attack, which took place about 30 miles from Praia da Luz, where Madeleine

TURN TO PAGE 5

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EXCLUSIVE: I killed Madeleine McCann and I'm going to kill you Sunday Express

A British woman stabbed repeatedly by a man in Portugal claims that he screamed: "I killed Madeleine McCann and I'm going to kill you."

By: James Murray
Published: Sun, June 15, 2014

Madeleine McCann vanished in 2007[PA]

Clara Corrigan is recovering from 17 wounds inflicted in the attack, which took place about 30 miles from Praia da Luz, where Madeleine disappeared. Clara told her family from hospital: "When he made that threat I was absolutely terrified. I knew my life was in danger."

Now Clara, 39, from Liverpool, has said she would be willing to talk to Scotland Yard detectives who have just overseen a huge search operation on wasteland in Praia da Luz which failed to find any trace of Madeleine.

The little girl disappeared from her family's holiday apartment on May 3, 2007, days before her fourth birthday.

Clara told her father John: "I'm surprised the detectives have not come to see me because I could have important information." John said: "She was in a shocking state, terrible.

She said she got really terrified when he said he had killed Madeleine McCann. She told the Portuguese police that and she was expecting to hear from Scotland Yard but so far no one has contacted her."

Scotland Yard would not say if they were aware of her claims. The man Clara says stabbed her is Briton Shane Leighton, who is being held in a prison on the Algarve. She was attacked in Albufeira on May 28 after she met trainee chef Leighton who was celebrating his 22nd birthday.

Clara, a single mother of three, told Portuguese police that he invited her to his family home in the resort town where he was throwing a late-night birthday party. However, when she got to the terraced villa there was no party. Clara, who fell asleep, said: "I woke up with him on top of me, suffocating me.

Then he shouted 'I killed Madeleine McCann and I am going to kill you'." She was stabbed up to 17 times on her buttocks and lower back.

As dawn broke Shane's grandmother Sylvia Leighton, 76, who owns the house with her husband Barry, found Clara lying in a pool of blood. Clara fled and police found her in the street. Shane was held at a nearby bus stop with no shirt on and bloodstains on his body.

Clara was taken to hospital for emergency treatment for loss of blood and to have her wounds stitched. She has since returned to Liverpool. Shane was brought up from the age of two by his grandparents and they took him with them when they retired to Portugal in 2003.

Sylvia told the Sunday Express that she thought that when Madeleine vanished Shane was staying in Worthing with his father. "He would have been 15 at that time and there is no way he was involved in anything to do with Madeleine McCann," she said.

"He was just a schoolboy." Kate and Gerry McCann, of Rothley, Leicestershire, fly to Lisbon tomorrow to speak at a civil court in their long libel battle against former Portuguese detective Goncalo Amaral.

See also: Latest News

 

With thanks to Nigel at McCann Files

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