Interesting interpretations of some new information which has
come out of the McCann's libel action in Lisbon.
Apparently the Policia Judiciara did not follow up dozens of
sightings of Madeleine from around the world.
This is, according to some, further evidence of the PJ's
But is it ?
In any high profile missing persons inquiry publicity will
inevitably generate lots of red herrings (some of my colleagues have
spent days chasing them only to be left disappointed).
Police have limited resources - they can't simply despatch
detectives on the say so of an individual whose credibility they can't
In fact when one British police force did that it had disastrous
consequences for the investigation and may have allowed the
abductor/killer to go free.
Surrey police treated the disappearance of Milly Dowler in March
2002 as a missing persons inquiry and sent pairs of officers all over
the UK looking for her.
It was a massive mistake and hampered the inquiry's ability to
examine the evidence at hand in Walton on Thames - to "clear the ground
from under their feet".
As a result they did not discover that sex predator and violent
criminal Levi Bellfield - who went on to become a serial killer - had
been living 100 yards away from where Milly was last seen.
Madeleine disappeared in Praia da Luz and that is one of the few
absolute facts in this tragic story.
Perhaps some of the leads were worth following up, but until the
full facts of each one are known it is a bit premature to give them a
kicking over this.