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

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Police Searches - Praia da Luz - Days 6/7*

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Gonçalo Amaral: "Maddie abduction theory is nothing but a farce", 07 June 2014
Gonçalo Amaral: "Maddie abduction theory is nothing but a farce" CMTV

 

Full CMTV feature:

Transcript

With thanks to Astro for transcript/translation

Anchor: Concerning the outcome of searches to find traces of Madeleine McCann, the results are not very encouraging. Animal bones, one sock from a man, two cannabis plants were found and many soil samples were collected. In Praia da Luz, few believe in the success of this mega operation by the English police.

Voiceover: The mega search operation took a long time to be authorised, but when the English police received a green light from the Public Ministry of Portimão, it moved into Praia da Luz. The first location of the police action was an extensive terrain near the sea. Sniffer dogs went into action, as well as geo-radars, archaeologists and forensic geologists. Around 30 members of the English team, plus 15 from the Polícia Judiciária. Forest sappers, GNR military, 24 hours a day. The only thing missing was the backhoe. Excavations were made with pickaxes and shovels, at various locations of the terrain, but one week later, results were not as expected.

Rui Pando Gomes: This is one of the spots where the English police excavated, everyone had access to the spot and was able to watch the digging. The geo-radar detected a potential grave, but in the end, what was found was a stone.

Voiceover: In Praia da Luz, few believe in the success of this mega operation and even less in the thesis that is presented by the English police, that suspects that the child was taken from home by three burglars.

Bystander 1: It has no logic. What thief goes to burglarise a house, takes a child, kills her, carries her in his arms, in everyone's sight, walking down the street, and comes to bury her here, on a terrain that is made only of stones? That is crazy! That's all I have to say.

Voiceover: These searches are being seen by residents and tourists as one big police movie.

Bystander 2: A movie. A movie, maybe. I don’t know if this is, as we say, for the English to see. I am a bit suspicious that this is going to result in nothing.

Bystander 1: I think that they won't find anything here. Animal bones, maybe, but otherwise...

Voiceover: And in the middle of this movie, some risk a possible scenario with different actors.

Bystander 2: The Smith couple saw him on that street, he turned the corner and could have hidden the body in the garden of that abandoned house. Then, at 6 o'clock – may I say this? – the couple came, when everybody had gone, picked up the body and came to hide it here. It is possible.

Voiceover: Despite the Portuguese authorities assuring that all expenses are being borne by the British, some have doubts about who is actually paying the Portuguese forces that stopped doing their job to be in Praia da Luz.

Bystander 1: I would like to ask that from the big ones, to find out who is paying the gentlemen from the GNR that are doing services here every four hours.

Rui Pando Gomes: ... and the forest sappers ...

Bystander 1: Exactly. To all of them that are here, because they say it's the English that pay, but I don't see the English paying.

Voiceover: After a week of searches, the collected residues are kept in boxes. A man's sock, animal bones, two cannabis plants, soil samples and a lot of rocks. Indications that will be used to sustain the thesis of the investigators, that say that Maddie is dead and passed through this terrain. Or simply to widen the mystery of the disappearance of this English child.

Rui Pando Gomes: In this mega search operation, many means have been used. From the GNR, 40 officers were on location ensuring the safety of this operation, 40 members of the English police and of the Polícia Judiciária were involved in the searches, geo-radars were used, sniffer dogs, forest sappers were on location, and many people fought for this operation to be successful. Nevertheless, the evidence is scarce, the indicia found are very few, the final results are inconclusive.

Anchor: This is exactly why we speak with Gonçalo Amaral, former Polícia Judiciária inspector. He followed this investigation in the early days. Good evening, thank you for being here.

Gonçalo Amaral: Thank you.

Anchor: How do you see the movie of the searches this week?

Gonçalo Amaral: That is exactly it, it's a movie. There are British journalists who speak of a farce, something staged for the media, and maybe it's nothing more than that. What is dangerous and serious is this attempt to find a new thesis, a so-called new theory about someone who goes to commit a theft and is scared by a three-year-old child and kills her and takes her out of there, I think it's convoluted.

But it's nothing new. I remember that within the investigation, back then, and I recall that I spent six months in that investigation, not seven years, or three or four, like Scotland Yard – during that time, there was this thesis, too. And it happens that it was brought forward by a colleague who was a member of British Police, of Scotland Yard. He was the only member of Scotland Yard who was present in that work group of the Polícia Judiciária and the British police, he was Scotland Yard.

And when he advanced that hypothesis, it was discussed and completely set aside because it made no sense. Now they even added a bit more spice, to spice it up, that they are traffickers, that apart from trafficking, one day they thought of breaking into a house. Nobody proves that house was broken into, that there was a theft, there are no traces of a break-in.

Anchor: There are these traces, Gonçalo, of banking statements –

Gonçalo Amaral: What banking statements? Those found on the road, rubbish? We are speaking about rubbish that is being found, and nothing is being related with. The banking statements don't belong to the McCanns, they weren't taken from inside the house. Nothing was taken from that house. From that house, the only "thing" which is not a thing, it's a person, that is missing is Madeleine McCann. There is not a television, a photo camera missing, nothing, no money is missing, and there are no traces of a break-in. Therefore, there was no burglary there. There was no assault on that house.

So now this theory is another show, a farce like the papers and some British journalists say, and that is all that it is.

Anchor: And who is writing this farce's plot?

Gonçalo Amaral: It's Scotland Yard that is writing. They have a certain difficulty to end the investigations, they are getting to the point of saying that she is dead, they will reach the point of saying that the cadaver can't be found, and that the case can't be solved.

Anchor: They are being pressured by the government, by the McCann family, by whom?

Gonçalo Amaral: By time. By time and by the money that they have spent already, which is a lot. I remind you that this is a special group that has been on this investigation for a long time and that this has already cost the British public coffers thousands of pounds. And now it also costs ours, we saw some people mentioning that, what is being spent in terms of the Portuguese police, which is surely not being paid by the British.

Anchor: I understand that in your opinion, this is a diversion manoeuvre, but what is the purpose?

Gonçalo Amaral: It's not a diversion manoeuvre, it's a way of making forget what exists. If you notice, while we are engrossed in the searches, that are even performed on the limit of the grounds for the press, for the television cameras to film, the grounds are huge but it's on the border, close by – nobody is discussing the case files, nobody is discussing the indicia.

And returning to the indicia, there is one that is proved and is included in the report that the Portuguese police wrote in September, after the disappearance, at that time, and which is the simulation of an abduction. So there is the simulation of an abduction, I ask: if these burglars are so intelligent, so intelligent that "let's take away the child that is dead, that died of fright or that we killed, and that cannot appear because a homicide is different from a theft, there is no trace of theft, and on top of that we simulate the abduction". Notice that is the story of the open window, everything is open as if the child had been taken through there.

And in fact these have to be very intelligent burglars. Then, they seem to lose their intelligence, because all of a sudden, they apparently went there on foot, it is said that they are three but only one was seen carrying the child in that area, into the direction of those grounds, leaves a body near the location of the disappearance – this not intelligence anymore. The intelligence seems to have stopped at that moment. But well, they say that there are phone calls that place them there... there is no substance, there is nothing there to give this thesis credibility.

Anchor: But how do these eight suspects appear, and with the intention of questioning three of them?

Gonçalo Amaral: They appear because all that it takes is to go to the list of phone calls made in that location, during one or two days, or on that night, and check who has a criminal record. And these are traffickers. And then there is a jump. Traffickers are also burglars, they also break into houses, so it goes. Anyone who says that doesn't know what drugs trafficking is, or at least drugs trafficking in the Algarve and the means that it implicates and the people that are behind it. Or we are talking about the trafficker that consumes, who is stealing to buy drugs and to sell some drugs.

Then they say "we found two cannabis plants in the middle of the field". This is where the drugs were kept. This is madness. These are completely mad people. If they moved further up, they would not find a few plants, there are hundreds of cannabis plants in that area, because some foreigners, people who live there, love the plant and they have huge plantations in that area.

But that does not represent the traffic, the trafficker in the Algarve. The trafficker in the Algarve, the one that dedicates himself to the traffic, in terms of a relation with Morocco, with other countries, the organized traffic, who has some power, and that was also discussed here at the beginning – he even had a motorboat standing by at the beach and took the child away and so on – those are not going to burglarize houses and even less are they scared by three-year-old children.

Anchor: Gonçalo Amaral, is there any cause-effect relation between the fact that these searches, these excavations started shortly after Madeleine McCann was officially declared dead by British authorities?

Gonçalo Amaral: That death declaration, a declaration in terms of, a civil death, which is a mechanism that we also have in Portugal, when someone disappears, I think in Portugal it's after five years –

Anchor: But these excavations come afterwards, not before…

Gonçalo Amaral: This had been discussed earlier on, it's just that now there was authorisation for this type of excavations. Searches and excavations in locations that had been subject to searches and excavations already, seven years ago. We were there. It's like raining on a wet spot. Well, it may be that they have another type of information, more credible, but let's see it. If they have something more concrete, then they should go there directly. They could have gone there on the first day. There is no need for this mise-en-scène to get to a certain point.

I think that they do not possess that information and I even have doubts, in case Madeleine McCann is dead, if the body exists.

Anchor: Gonçalo, I'm going to ask you to stay with us for a little longer. We're going to take a look at more developments of this story, as today the investigators dug again near a hiding place that had been searched before, and like earlier the CMTV reporter said, tomorrow the first phase of the work is closed and the searches will be resumed on Wednesday, at other locations in the surroundings of Praia da Luz.

Voiceover: The battalion of policemen and forensic experts had an early start on the sixth consecutive day of searches. The chief of operations, Andy Redwood, insisted on taking all of his notes and documents along to the terrain, at a time when the end of the first search phase comes near its end.

In a race against time, the English police used probes again to analyse the subsoil in an area very close to the Rua 25 de Abril, and a few metres away from several apartment blocks. The last areas that the investigators believe were moved and may contain some leads about Maddie are being analysed. On the sixth day of searches, some tiredness could be seen in the faces of some of the members of the English police, disguised with a few smiles.

The cameras were always very close, following the work in detail. The operations went on, and not even a collection of old bottles that was recovered near an improvised building escaped the investigators. A little vegetable garden was also checked and a lot of shrubbery was thoroughly searched. Then, they took their pickaxes again, and their shovels, and excavated. Plastics and other buried objects led the forensics experts back to the spot in the area where earlier a hiding place had been discovered.

Rui Pando Gomes: On the sixth day, the English investigators bet everything on an area where they had earlier found a hiding place that was covered with a zinc plate. In this area, this first phase of searches will end on Sunday. The next two grounds will be subject to excavations on Wednesday and Thursday.

Anchor: Our guest Gonçalo Amaral already had the opportunity to say that in his opinion, all of this is a farce, but Gonçalo, so much time later, they are looking for a body, and that had not happened before.

Gonçalo Amaral: Well, I heard an earlier version where they were digging but still maintained the hope that she is alive, so they are looking for a hole where the child is living, so there is some confusion here, also from the British police. But in fact the theory that the child is dead and that she died that night in that apartment exists since that time, since September of 2007, and it was a conviction both from the Portuguese police and the British police that worked on the case. So it's not something new.

Now what is being done is to go to everything that is in the process, and try to do it again; they did a reconstruction with actors in order to say that the parents were not suspects, they have e-fits of the person that took the child that night, at 10 p.m. and walked toward this area where these searches are taking place, that happens to be recognised by the Smith family, witnesses, as being the child's father, Gerald McCann, so this is an attempt to question the conclusions of that report that is in the case files, forgetting about the indicia that exist there, and creating this ghost that there were some rogues, drug traffickers, big drug traffickers who one day decided to carry out a burglary, which even didn’t go very well, and who were scared of a three-year-old child, and even simulated an abduction, took the body away and buried it close to home.

Just let me say this: The question of missing children, and it would be good if the British police or the Portuguese police would say it, when these cases happen, when a three-year-old child, who is in someone's care, in this case in her parents' care, disappears from that location, the place where the body will be placed will depend on two important factors. One is the knowledge of the terrain, what do those people know. And the other one is the means, the ability to move, to have a means of transportation that can carry the body further away.

When a body is searched, just like the British police is doing, close to the apartment, then they have no doubts that the person that removed the body and placed it there did not know the terrain and had no means of transportation to take it out of there. Whom does this lead to? It doesn't lead to any burglars. It leads to those that were responsible to care for the child. This is in the books – books that everyone has read. And maybe because everyone read them, the body does not appear in that area.

Anchor: Then there is a declaration from Gerry and Kate, in the middle of this week, that thank the authorities for the support and for their ongoing efforts to bring Madeleine home. This is the expression.

Gonçalo Amaral: There are other expressions. Mr Gerald McCann said, a few years ago, two or three years ago, I can't remember, "if she is dead then show us the body". He will know why he says "show us the body". There are other elements that point towards the fact that no body exists. Those elements should be taken into account. Those that are in the investigation should think how a body could disappear, how it is possible for this body to disappear under those circumstances.

Anchor: Gonçalo Amaral, let me ask a final question for a quick reply. Will we ever find out what really happened that night?

Gonçalo Amaral: Yes, we will. When MI5 opens the case files, we will find out. Don't forget that the British secret services followed the case right from the beginning. On location.

Anchor: So only in ten, twenty years...?

Gonçalo Amaral: I don't know if that information will be made available, but if it's like in the United States, it takes years to have access to that kind of confidential information. I'll just tell you this. I recall that – this is not conspiracy theory. The searches that we made with Eddie, with Keela, with the British police, with the planning that is being carried out now, with the British forensics experts, and everything else, there was one person that was responsible for those searches, a British citizen.

And at the end of those searches, at the end of that result, he returns to England, and he's at the airport in Faro, waiting for the plane to return to England, and he receives a phone call. He is accompanied by one of our colleagues. And he then explains to our colleague that there was a member of the MI5 at the airport, waiting for him, to talk with him about the result of the investigation.

Therefore, we are not making anything up. Everything has been made up. And someone has the information, so make the information available. From satellites, from the secret services, from wherever.

Anchor: Gonçalo Amaral, good evening and thank you for being here tonight.

Madeleine McCann: suspects to be questioned 'in very near future', 07 June 2014
Madeleine McCann: suspects to be questioned 'in very near future' The Guardian

British detectives will not be able to intervene but will be allowed to sit in during questioning by Portuguese officers, source says

Brendan de Beer in Praia da Luz
Saturday 7 June 2014 14.52 BST

Police officers dig on scrubland in Praia da Luz. Photograph: Francisco Seco/AP

Detectives investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann are set to question a number of suspects "in the very near future", Portuguese police have told the Guardian.

Police confirmed that several people had been identified by Met police officers and that they are "mostly Portuguese". They did not say whether these suspects had criminal records.

While not setting a date for the questioning to take place, police said they would not take place during the current phase of the investigation, which would expand to new sites on Wednesday and finish "no later than next Friday".

Searches on the current site would end on Sunday, police said.

Police explained that no date had been set for questioning to take place. The venue would depend on Faro Polícia Judiciária (PJ) director, Mota Carmo, who could question the "suspects at one of the two PJ police stations in the Algarve" located at Portimão and Faro.

Police also confirmed that all the suspects are still resident in Portugal.

No approval is required from prosecutors to question the suspects and the decision rests solely on PJ police, the source said.

British detectives would not be able to intervene at any stage during questioning but they would be allowed to sit in during questioning, the police source added.

The people police want to talk to would be immediately constituted as "arguidos" – or formal suspects – and would not be questioned as mere witnesses, the police source told the Guardian/Observer.

Madeleine McCann suspects to be arrested soon, Portuguese police say, 07 June 2014
 
Madeleine McCann suspects to be arrested soon, Portuguese police say The Guardian

Three 'prime suspects' thought to be burglars who carried out raids in Praia da Luz when toddler disappeared

Tracy McVeigh and Brendan de Beer in Praia da Luz
Saturday 7 June 2014 17.28 BST

Detectives work with a sniffer dog at an area of scrubland in Praia da Luz. Photograph: Stringer/Reuters

Portuguese police sources have confirmed to the Observer that a number of suspects identified by Scotland Yard detectives will now be arrested "in the very near future" over the disappearance seven years ago of Madeleine McCann.

Police confirmed that "several people" had been identified by the Metropolitan police, who have had officers and two sniffer dogs in the Algarve all week searching a large area of scrubland close to the holiday apartment in Praia da Luz where the McCann family were staying when the three-year-old disappeared in May 2007. The search of that particular area, the Portuguese police source said, would end on Sunday and shift to another area.

It has been six months since the initial request by the Met for access to "three prime suspects" for questioning, although it is believed as many as eight could be on the interview list. It would be the first significant arrests in the case.

The three are thought to be burglars who may have carried out raids in the Portuguese holiday resort and live locally, although the Portuguese would not say whether the men had criminal records. The development comes after a cold-case review by British officers and involved the painstaking examination of hundreds of phone records from the area on the night when the toddler vanished from her bed as her parents ate supper with friends at a nearby restaurant.

On Friday, officers in Met police uniform were seen studying a flat area of ground at the opposite end of the area. They had previously focused on a hole covered in undergrowth. Forensics officers sifted through soil in large sieves inside a white tent set up to cover the void but nothing of interest has been found.

Portugal's attorney general's office said in January it had received an International Letter of Request in regard to "prime suspects" sent by British police investigating the disappearance. On Saturday, the source said there was still no date set for questioning to take place but they definitely wouldn't take place during the current search phase of the investigation, which they said would expand to new sites on Wednesday, culminating by "no later than next Friday".

Police also confirmed that all the suspects are still resident in Portugal and that interviews would take place at either of the two Algarve police stations, at Faro and at Portimao, and would be conducted by Portuguese detectives with their British counterparts allowed to sit in but not able to intervene.

The people police want to talk to will be immediately constituted as "arguidos" - a Portuguese term for someone who is a suspect, a term which garnered infamy when Madeline's parents, along with a man called Robert Murat, were given the status by Portuguese authorities. All three were cleared of being arguidos by a prosecutor in 2008.

Earlier this week, the Praia de Luz mayor, Victor Mata, has said the timing of last week's search – which coincides with the resort's busiest holiday period and brought dozens of journalists back to the area – "couldn't be worse". He said the area's tourism industry was suffering and local people were being "punished". Mata warned that if there are more searches in future, he would seek court action to try and stop them happening during peak summer period.

"The people of Luz are not against the searches for Madeleine but seeing as it's been seven years, they would have appreciated it if they could have started in a few months' time."

Kate and Gerry McCann released a statement on their website saying they are "encouraged by the progress" being made by search teams in Portugal.

Writing on their Official Find Madeleine Campaign Facebook page, the couple said: "We are kept updated on the ongoing work in Portugal," and added: "Thank you for continuing to stand by us and supporting our efforts to get Madeleine home."

Madeleine McCann search digs up the haters and misguided conspiracy theorists, 07 June 2014
Madeleine McCann search digs up the haters and misguided conspiracy theorists Daily Mirror

Kay Burley

Sky News presenter Kay Burley says ignore the haters and think of two desperate parents hundreds of miles away hoping against hope that nothing is found this time

Struggle: Gerry and Kate McCann

Struggle: Gerry and Kate McCann

There can't be many parents around the world unaware of the plight of a beautiful little girl who was only three years old when she disappeared in 2007, writes Kay Burley in the Sunday People.

Immediately recognisable by her first name, Madeleine, the eldest of the McCann children disappeared one warm May evening in 2007 as her parents dined with friends in a restaurant at their resort in Praia da Luz, Portugal.

Despite an Interpol search and worldwide publicity nothing has been seen of the little one since.

This week, seven years on, police from the Met have begun searching an area of scrubland near the apartment including a deep, concealed shaft and sewers.

Could this prove to be the final resting place?

Her parents, Kate and Gerry, who suffer every single day with the consequences of their actions that night have decided not to travel to Praia da Luz for this latest hunt for Madeleine.

Who can blame them?

Well, it would appear quite a few. I am absolutely staggered by the number of people on social media who think they know exactly what happened to little Madeleine.

Conspiracy theorists believe that it's only a matter of time before the McCanns are held culpable for their daughter's disappearance.

They point out Kate refused to answer some questions put her by the Portuguese police. Kate was with her lawyer when interviewed by the police.

She would have been advised what to say.

The haters refer to cadaver dogs who showed 'beyond doubt' that a body must have been kept in the wardrobe of the apartment and then later driven in the McCann's hire car to be buried.

Under the noses of the Portuguese police and the world's press?

Easy to dismiss such claims as Looney Tunes, but even a national newspaper was guilty of claiming the McCanns know more than they have told the police.

As a mother I am offended and appalled by such unfounded allegations.

Every morning the McCann's must wake up only to be smothered by a blanket of guilt.

'If only we’d done this...'

They have always held on to the hope that Madeleine will be found alive.

So as the search continues, please ignore the haters and think instead of two desperate parents hundreds of miles away sitting by the phone and hoping against hope that nothing is found this time.

Madeleine McCann Police Extend Search Area, 07 June 2014
 
Madeleine McCann Police Extend Search Area Sky News (with video)

9:57pm UK, Saturday 07 June 2014

The police hunt for clues into the 2007 disappearance of the little girl in Portugal moves to a new area of the Algarve next week.

Video: Madeleine Search Enters Sixth Day

 

By Tom Parmenter, Sky News Correspondent, in Praia da Luz

Police searching for missing Madeleine McCann will extend their hunt to new areas outside Praia da Luz next week.


Portuguese police sources confirmed to Sky News that land just off a road on the way to the nearby town of Lagos will be searched from next Wednesday.

Digging continued for a sixth day on cordoned off scrubland

Digging continued for a sixth day on cordoned off scrubland

Digging continued for a sixth day on the cordoned off scrubland close to the centre of Praia da Luz, five minutes walk from where the McCanns were staying in May, 2007.

Police sniffer dogs were once again covering different sectors of the search zone, and officers continued filling in holes they had carefully dug out earlier in the week.

Ben Needham (left) and Madeleine McCann (right)

Ben Needham (left) and Madeleine McCann (right)

A few of the small yellow flags previously placed on areas of interest were removed by the specialist teams, who seem to have discounted the patches of land from their investigation.

Some of the searchers in Portugal also worked on the renewed investigation into the disappearance of British toddler Ben Needham on the island of Kos in Greece in 2012.

Ben vanished in 1991 when he was 21 months old, after his mother and grandparents moved there from Sheffield.

The resort of Praia da Luz in Portugal

The resort of Praia da Luz in Portugal

Speaking to Sky News the Needham family said: "Our thoughts are with the McCanns in this search for Madeleine.

"We ourselves know that this sort of investigation will be a very difficult time for the family.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with them."

Police are to extend the search to new areas outside Praia da Luz

Police are to extend the search to new areas outside Praia da Luz

On Friday, some British money and a cash machine receipt were found on the site but have been discounted from the investigation along with many other items.

The Metropolitan Police detectives working on the case have not revealed why they have chosen the plot or any of the intelligence behind the search operation.

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

Screenshots

 
Madeleine search enters sixth day

 
Madeleine search enters sixth day

 
Madeleine search enters sixth day

 
Madeleine search enters sixth day

 
Madeleine search enters sixth day

 
Madeleine search enters sixth day

 
Madeleine search enters sixth day

 
Madeleine search enters sixth day


-------------------
Transcript


By Nigel Moore

Tom Parmenter: In this far corner of Europe a British search, through the Portuguese scrub.

All week they've been scouring the surface and looking deep below ground. The results have been logged and then analysed.

It's all to try and solve the seven year disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

Much of it has happened right in front of the cameras.

Officers know they're being filmed, so keep their conversations private. Only they know why they've chosen this plot.

Keith Farquharson: [Former Met Police Search Advisor] The exercise would not be a PR exercise, errm... it... it would be very much intelligence led. The investigation so far would have indicated these sites, errm... they've obviously done their homework, the planning and the preparation, the logistical support, is every piece of equipment that the police service can, err... can put out for this, errr... is being deployed - to know that this is the real thing.

Tom Parmenter: Amongst the team are archaeologists, anthropologists and some of the top police officers in Britain.

Two years ago, some of them were on the Greek island of Kos renewing the search for another missing British child, Ben Needham. He vanished in 1991.

[to camera] Many of the techniques used in that search are again being deployed here.

Kate and Gerry McCann say they are pleased with the progress that's being made.

But the detectives leading this investigation will not yet reveal what that progress is.

[voice over] Some of the holes they've dug are already being filled back in.

Overlooking it all, the binoculars. The first kit they set up here on Monday.

Still, they are watching.

Still, it seems, they're waiting for a breakthrough.

Police in Maddie hunt at 2 new sites, 08 June 2014
 
Police in Maddie hunt at 2 new sites The Sun on Sunday (paper edition, page 8)

Police in Maddie hunt at 2 new sites - The Sun, 08 June 2014 (paper edition, page 8)

From GARY O'SHEA in Praia da Luz
Sunday, June 8, 2014


COPS searching for Madeleine McCann clues will move their hunt to two new sites within days.

Scotland Yard forensics have pinpointed patches of wild scrubland half a mile from the Ocean Club apartments the child vanished from in May, 2007.

The plots are just outside Praia da Luz. Police were today winding down their efforts at the first search area, 300 yards from the abduction scene.

Experts have scoured the terrain with sniffer dogs and radar equipment since arriving in the Algarve a week ago.

But it is thought all they have found is scraps of unidentified clothing and wild cannabis plants.

Officers will start afresh at the other two sites on Wednesday.

Maddie's parents, Kate, 46, and Gerry, 45, of Rothley, Leics, have remained in Britain but are being kept informed.

Maddie's search is 7 yrs late, 08 June 2014
 
Maddie's search is 7 yrs late The Sun on Sunday (paper edition, page 13)

Maddie's search is 7 yrs late - The Sun on Sunday, 08 Jjune 2014 (paper edition, page 13)

Tony Parsons
Sunday, June 8, 2014

ON Tuesday, sniffer dogs from Scotland Yard led detectives to a concealed pit just 300 yards from where Madeleine McCann disappeared in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in 2007.

Since then, forensic teams led by British cops have cleared the undergrowth around the pit and removed several bags of evidence.

They have also used fibre-optic cameras to search the surrounding network of pipes and sewers, installed for a hotel that was never built.

The search of the area was meant to be concluded this weekend but Scotland Yard has applied for an extension of one week. Full credit to Scotland Yard, then, for putting some urgency back into the search for Madeleine.

I can't begin to guess at the emotions that Kate and Gerry McCann must be going through today.

But isn't it appalling that this search wasn't done seven long years ago by the useless police of Portugal?

Sun sets on week-long search for Madeleine McCann by British police, 08 June 2014
 
Sun sets on week-long search for Madeleine McCann by British police The Guardian

Locals come to terms with invasion of journalists and further disruption as detectives' investigation moves to new area

Josh Halliday and Brendan de Beer in Praia da Luz
Sunday 8 June 2014 20.07 BST

British police working in the cordoned-off area in Praia da Luz. They uncovered a hidden shaft and what appeared to be a makeshift grave. Photo: Francisco Seco/AP

It began with British detectives on all fours scouring a hilly stretch of scrubland on the Algarve coast. But as the sun set on the first week of searches in Praia da Luz, the air of hopeful anticipation collapsed into acrimony as the parents of Madeleine McCann were forced yet again to plead for calm.

Police officers on Sunday night packed up and left a six-hectare (15-acre) site where they had focused their operations over the previous week. On Wednesday they will start again on two new areas near a campsite in the Portuguese village where Madeleine was last seen alive seven years ago.

For Kate and Gerry McCann, who were told by police not to visit Portugal while the searches were under way, the agony continues. As last week's searches drew to a close, they defied orders to keep a low profile and appealed to people to "refrain from spreading rumours and speculation based on inaccurate press reporting".

"We are kept updated on the ongoing work in Portugal and are encouraged by the progress," the couple said. "Thank you for continuing to stand by us and supporting our efforts to get Madeleine home."

The McCanns' rare public statement came after a tortuous week when the face of their missing daughter was again splashed across the front pages of newspapers at home in Britain and in Portugal, after a team of about 50 police officers cordoned off a dense stretch of wasteland a short walk from the holiday apartment where Madeleine disappeared on 3 May 2007, shortly before her fourth birthday.

As the painstaking investigative work got under way, incremental developments came thick and fast. There was the chamber-like shaft beneath a scrap of corrugated iron where police found an item of clothing – but that later turned out to be a man's sock. Then there was a makeshift grave discovered by officers using ground-penetrating radar, a laptop-sized tool that detects any disturbance in the ground below. After that, the searches delved into the resort's underground sewerage network as detectives prised open at least three old manholes.

The police activity took place under the lenses of the world's media – and even when the work was concealed from the human eye, British and Portuguese media used a drone equipped with tiny cameras to ensure that nothing was left undocumented.

The insatiable appetite for details on the case has evidently not waned in the seven years since Madeleine went missing. But the tiny village of Praia da Luz is trying to move on. The little whitewashed church attended by the McCanns in 2007 has taken down its sun-bleached photograph of the then-three-year-old girl.

The mayor, Victor Mata, believes the locals here have come to terms with once again being the focus of the police investigation.

"What's been happening in the past week hasn't bothered anybody really. People can move freely, nobody's lives have been turned upside down because of this," he said. "The disruption is much less than we had foreseen.

"I don't think it has in any way changed the image of Luz. It's almost been uplifting in a sense, because all the press who have come from the UK have seen for themselves what a lovely place Luz is."

The villagers here may have acquiesced for now, but Carlos Marques, the landlord of an ersatz English pub opposite the church Our Lady of Light, said locals would "explode" in protest if the operation spread to two other parts of Praia da Luz as the resort approaches the peak holiday season.

"It's still nice and quiet here. What happened here once happened millions of times in other places like Britain," he said. What does he think of the current searches? "Pfft. Bullshit. People here complain that what they are doing is a load of crap. Nothing is going to happen there."

Marques is complimentary about the behaviour of the media this time around. "They don't complain about journalists anymore. What is more the problem is the big TV cars sometimes here in the square, but up the side street nobody cares. Lots of people don't get upset with people like you anymore."

Portuguese police warned before the searches began that the operation would be halted if it was obstructed by the media, but those concerns turned out to be unfounded.

The massed ranks of photographers and camera crews appeared to be on their best behaviour, although one harassed local called in police after his garden was overrun with journalists who scaled his tree and trampled his lawn in the pursuit of a shot of the excavation work.

One foreign TV correspondent was stopped by police for chasing after Scotland Yard's DCI Andy Redwood, but the vast majority of exchanges between journalists, police and locals were limited to a polite bom dia (good morning).

As the searches drew to a close for a seventh day, detectives appeared no closer to solving the mystery of what happened to Madeleine McCann.

The McCanns, meanwhile, are left once more to await news from the confines of their home in Rothley, Leicestershire, breaking their silence only to plead for calm in their very long and very public nightmare.

Maddie dig hope, 09 June 2014
 
Maddie dig hope The Sun (paper edition, page 26)

 
Maddie dig hope - The Sun, 09 June 2014 (paper edition, page 26)

Police unearth more clues as hunt widens

From GARY O'SHEA in Praia da Luz
Monday, June 9, 2014


COPS searching for Madeleine McCann may have dug up fresh clues yesterday.

Officers with sniffer dogs filled evidence bags at a tennis court-sized area of scrubland.

The Met's Det Chief Insp Andy Redwood - leading the probe - was joined at the scene by a Portuguese officer. They supervised teams who scoured undergrowth while police photographers took snaps.

Experts have been at the site - close to the Praia da Luz flats where three-year-old Madeleine, left, vanished in 2007 - for a week. They are set to move on to two new search areas this week.

Maddie: Hunt for tractor man evidence, 09 June 2014
 
Maddie: Hunt for tractor man evidence Daily Star (paper edition, page 17)

 
Daily Star, 09 June 2014

 

by JERRY LAWTON and MARC WALKER
Monday, June 9, 2014


BRIT detectives hunting for Madeleine McCann are expected to search scrubland around a water treatment plant where a prime suspect worked.

Officers are due to start scouring the area four miles from the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz on Wednesday.

They are to concentrate on a derelict farmhouse and an abandoned well at the site.

Drug addict Euclides Monteiro, who Portuguese detectives suspect of involvement in Madeleine's disappearance, was working at the plant.

Mobile phone data analysis showed that he was nearby the night she disappeared.

Monteiro, who had served a jail term for burglary, died in a tractor accident aged 40 in 2009. His widow insists he had nothing to do with Madeleine’s disappearance.

Despite that detectives in Portugal have made him their prime suspect in the mystery.

He used to work at the Ocean Club resort, where the McCanns were staying, until he was sacked for theft.

The Brit police team led by Det Chief Insp Andy Redwood is taking a two-day break to coincide with a Portuguese holiday tomorrow.

They have spent six days digging at a hilly site close to the centre of the Algarve resort.

Detectives are to quiz a number of suspects, including three burglars, in the "very near future".

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

Online:

Madeleine McCann: Police hunt for tractor man evidence Daily Star

BRIT detectives hunting for Madeleine McCann are expected to search scrubland around a water treatment plant where a prime suspect worked.

By Jerry Lawton and Marc Walker / Published 9th June 2014

SEARCH: Police continue to dig in Portugal [EPA]

Officers are due to start scouring the area four miles from the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz on Wednesday.

They are to concentrate on a derelict farmhouse and an abandoned well at the site.

Drug addict Euclides Monteiro, who Portuguese detectives suspect of involvement in Madeleine's disappearance, was working at the plant.

Mobile phone data analysis showed that he was nearby the night she disappeared.

Monteiro, who had served a jail term for burglary, died in a tractor accident aged 40 in 2009. His widow insists he had nothing to do with Madeleine’s disappearance.

Despite that detectives in Portugal have made him their prime suspect in the mystery.

He used to work at the Ocean Club resort, where the McCanns were staying, until he was sacked for theft.

The Brit police team led by Det Chief Insp Andy Redwood is taking a two-day break to coincide with a Portuguese holiday tomorrow.

They have spent six days digging at a hilly site close to the centre of the Algarve resort.

Detectives are to quiz a number of suspects, including three burglars, in the "very near future".

Madeleine McCann Police Shut Down Search Area, 09 June 2014
Madeleine McCann Police Shut Down Search Area Sky News (with video)

12:38am UK, Monday 09 June 2014

Detectives prepare to start work in new areas of Praia da Luz after their first search site reportedly turns up no new evidence.

Video: Madeleine Search Site Closed Down

By Tom Parmenter, Sky Correspondent, in Praia da Luz

Police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have closed down their first search area in Praia da Luz.


Detectives ordered cordons to be taken away from the scrubland site on Sunday evening.

The area is a five-minute walk from the holiday complex where the McCanns were staying in May 2007.

Specialist teams spent the past week conducting in-depth searches using victim recovery dogs and radar equipment, while archaeologists carefully dug out holes.

Officers cover a hole dug in the initial search site in Praia da Luz

Officers cover a hole dug in the initial search site in Praia da Luz

The holes have now been filled in, police have packed away their tents and equipment has been removed from the site.

Paul Luckman, publisher of the Portugal News, told Sky News: "Nothing has been found that the Portuguese police missed at the time.

"People really feel that enough is enough.

"(It's) not that they don't have sympathy for the parents or that they don't want the child found but (we have to) be realistic - we're seven years down the road."

Detectives dropped mini-cameras into drains during the search

 

Detectives dropped mini-cameras into drains during the search

Mr Luckman also questioned the expense of the investigation to the British taxpayer, adding: "£7m in, heading towards eight, and with all the resources the Met have got ... we're just in the same situation.

"People ask, 'When is this ever going to end?'"

Portuguese police sources told Sky News the investigation will resume on Wednesday with searches in new areas just outside Praia da Luz.

The Metropolitan Police has refused to give out any details about the searches or the intelligence behind them.

As they left the site on Sunday evening, one police officer told Sky News the next searches would be "more of the same".

--------------------------
Screenshots

 
Police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have closed down their first search area in Praia da Luz

 
Police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have closed down their first search area in Praia da Luz

 
Police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have closed down their first search area in Praia da Luz

 
Police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have closed down their first search area in Praia da Luz

 
Police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have closed down their first search area in Praia da Luz

 
Police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have closed down their first search area in Praia da Luz

 
Police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have closed down their first search area in Praia da Luz

 
Police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have closed down their first search area in Praia da Luz

--------------------
Transcript


By Nigel Moore

Tom Parmenter: [voice over] On the seventh night, the search area was wound down.

It seems the explanation to this 7-year mystery does not lie here.

The scrubland had been cordoned off since last Monday morning. Everything mapped out precisely, examined closely and scoured for clues.

It's a five minute walk from the apartment Madeleine McCann was last seen in, seven years ago.

But whatever led detectives to this scrubland, whatever prompted the digging, it hasn't led to a breakthrough.

[to camera] This phase of the investigation is now over.

They will take two days out and then resume their searches on new sites just outside Praia da Luz, on Wednesday.

[voice over] Until then, the search teams will rest but the goodwill of the people here is running thin.

Paul Luckman: [Publisher, The Portugal News] £7million in, heading towards eight, errm... you know, they've covered... with all the resources that the Met have got, every specialist that they've got - we're in the same situation. There's just nothing there to be found. When's it going to stop?

Tom Parmenter: [voice over] Throughout all this the McCanns wait for news.

They know that the search will go on. The men and women charged with solving this case are not yet ready to give up and head home.

Tom Parmenter, Sky News, Praia da Luz.

The McCann case: opposing opinions, 09 June 2014
The McCann case: opposing opinions Algarve Newswatch

Posted by Len Port at 2:31 PM
Monday, June 9, 2014

In the midst of the latest phase in the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, Sky News presenter Kay Burley entered the fray with an article in the Daily Mirror in which she castigated "conspiracy theorists" and "haters" of Madeleine's parents.

Burley, a reporter and newsreader of long standing, wrote: "I am absolutely staggered by the number of people on social media who think they know exactly what happened to little Madeleine. Conspiracy theorists believe that it's only a matter of time before the McCanns are held culpable for their daughter's disappearance."

Burley went on to dismiss criticisms of Kate McCann's refusal to answer questions put to her by Portuguese police, and to belittle what many have read into the findings of cadaver dogs in the McCanns holiday apartment and a hire car they used.

"Easy to dismiss such claims as Looney Tunes, but even a national newspaper was guilty of claiming the McCanns know more than they have told the police," wrote Burley.

"As a mother I am offended and appalled by such unfounded allegations.

"Every morning the McCann's must wake up only to be smothered by a blanket of guilt. 'If only we'd done this...'

"They have always held on to the hope that Madeleine will be found alive.

"So as the search continues, please ignore the haters and think instead of two desperate parents hundreds of miles away sitting by the phone and hoping against hope that nothing is found this time."

This heartfelt standpoint exemplifies one of the most contentious features of this extraordinary case. In the absence of indisputable evidence, two conflicting schools of thought have developed about what happened to Madeleine: one that she was abducted, the other that she died inadvertently in the apartment and her parents were somehow involved in a cover-up.

There was no proof either way in 2007 and there is none today, but it is human nature to adopt a preferred line of probability depending on one's logical and emotional approach.

It is true that many people hiding in the safety of anonymity or pseudonyms make abhorrent, highly abusive comments on internet sites. In the absence of legal options, indeed they should be ignored.

The trouble with Kay Burley's condemnation, however, is that in its broad sweep it fails to recognise that many of those who do not accept as a given fact that Madeleine was abducted are not "haters."

Some of the McCann doubters and critics have probably studied this case in more depth and for longer than most mainstream media journalists in Britain.

They are aware, for example, that back in May 2007 no trace was found of a break-in or a burglary, let alone a kidnapping, at the apartment from which Madeleine went missing.

Well-informed sceptics want the truth to emerge so that justice can finally be done. Their reasoned arguments and conclusions are worthy of serious consideration.

Not everyone believes what they hear on television news channels or read in newspapers. 'Churnalistic' and seemingly servile coverage of this case gives rise to distrust.

While there is genuine compassion for Madeleine's devastated parents, a great many Portuguese mothers are offended and appalled by the repercussions in this country of leaving Madeleine and her siblings alone that fateful night.

The reputations of the Portuguese judicial police, the original lead detective and a range of innocent 'suspects' have been blackened in the British media over the years.

To cap it all, the Algarve has been cast recently as a hotbed of paedophilia and the ordinary folk dependent on tourism for their livelihood in Praia da Luz have been subjected to the crass timing of the current search operations.

Obviously this case has been a very public and impassioned one, but simplistic rants in the mainstream or social media are not helpful.

One indisputable fact is that no matter how much anyone sympathises with or is critical of Kate and Gerry McCann, it is still far from clear exactly what happened to their daughter.

Sadly, it is looking increasing unlikely we shall know any time soon.

At the end of a TV interview at the weekend, former Chief Inspector Gonçalo Amaral, who believes Madeleine died in the apartment, was asked: "Will we ever find out what really happened that night?"

He replied: "Yes, we will. When MI5 opens the case files we will find out. Don't forget that the British secret services followed the case right from the beginning. On location."

Amaral did not predict how long it might be before that information becomes available.

 
Praia da Luz

Praia da Luz, the unlikely scene of such an extraordinary mystery.

Maddie cops predict arrests in days, 10 June 2014
 
Maddie cops predict arrests in days Daily Star (paper edition, page 10)

 
Daily Star, 10 June 2014

 

by JERRY LAWTON
Tuesday, June 10, 2014


BRITISH detectives leading the hunt for Madeleine McCann will carry out arrests "within days".

The suspects are likely to be questioned in Portugal in the "very near future".

They include three burglars all with drug convictions.

Scotland Yard officers will sit in on the interviews, which will be carried out by local detectives.

Police digging for clues near Praia da Luz will start work on new sites near a water treatment plant tomorrow.

They are on the outskirts of the Algarve resort where Madeleine vanished in May 2007 aged three.

Officers took their first day off yesterday since arriving in Portugal more than a week ago.

They will also not be working today because it is a national holiday and the Scotland Yard team can only work while Portuguese police and prosecutors are over-seeing them.

Parents Kate, 46, and Gerry, 45, have not travelled to Portugal for the re-investigation but are being told of any developments.

Scotland Yard has refused to give any details of its work, saying it would not give a "running commentary" on the inquiry.

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

Online:

Madeleine McCann: Police are expecting arrests 'within days' Daily Star

BRITISH detectives leading the hunt for Madeleine McCann will carry out arrests "within days".

By Jerry Lawton / Published 10th June 2014

MISSING: The investigation into Madeleine McCann has gained major ground in the last month [PA]

The suspects are likely to be questioned in Portugal in the "very near future".

They include three burglars all with drug convictions.

Scotland Yard officers will sit in on the interviews, which will be carried out by local detectives.

Police digging for clues near Praia da Luz will start work on new sites near a water treatment plant tomorrow.

They are on the outskirts of the Algarve resort where Madeleine vanished in May 2007 aged three.

Officers took their first day off yesterday since arriving in Portugal more than a week ago.

They will also not be working today because it is a national holiday and the Scotland Yard team can only work while Portuguese police and prosecutors are over-seeing them.

Parents Kate, 46, and Gerry, 45, have not travelled to Portugal for the re-investigation but are being told of any developments.

Scotland Yard has refused to give any details of its work, saying it would not give a "running commentary" on the inquiry.

Madeleine McCann: New Search 'Will Be Useful', 10 June 2014
Madeleine McCann: New Search 'Will Be Useful' Sky News

3:24am UK, Tuesday 10 June 2014

Police are edging closer to understanding what happened to the youngster, a top Portuguese lawyer tells Sky News.

Searches will resume on a new site near Praia da Luz on Wednesday

By Tom Parmenter, Sky Correspondent, in Praia da Luz

The renewed searches in Praia Da Luz will be "useful" in understanding what happened to Madeleine McCann, a former Portuguese Attorney General has told Sky News.

Pinto Monteiro, who was in post when Madeleine disappeared in the resort of Praia Da Luz in May 2007, explained that he believed the Portuguese and British are working professionally together in the latest phase of the investigation.

"All investigations deemed to discover what happened to Madeleine will be useful - we need to establish some certainty as to what happened," he said.

The site of digs in Praia da Luz

The site of digs in Praia da Luz

He added that the case was a complex criminal investigation due to "hundreds of false directions, hundreds of false statements... some were well-intentioned and others just malicious".

Specialist teams have spent the past week on new searches.

Monday was a rest day for the detectives and search staff who will move their focus onto a new site on Wednesday. Today is a national holiday in Portugal.

The scrubland they cordoned off for the past week is once again open; most of the holes dug have now been filled back in.

A discarded police bag on scrubland where searches finished at the weekend

A discarded police bag on scrubland where searches finished at the weekend

A discarded Metropolitan Police evidence bag is one of the few items the teams have left behind.

The detectives have not revealed what intelligence led them to conduct the searches on the land which now seems to have been discounted from their investigation.

Portuguese police sources confirmed to Sky News that the next searches on Wednesday will take place on sites just outside Praia Da Luz.

 

With thanks to Nigel at McCann Files

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