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
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BBC Inside out interview with Tony Bennett
discussing the Madeleine foundation
MARIE ASHBY - PRESENTER Hello - tonight Inside Out
is at Rothley in Leicestershire to ask who are the Madeleine Foundation?
The missing three year old's parents say they just add to their anguish.
KATE MCCANN There's a certain group out there who, this is their job
really, is to pick on a vulnerable family. And I am sure after us
they'll move onto another family.
MARIE ASHBY - PRESENTER And the villagers digging their own broadband
MALE VILLAGER This village will be transformed from a location that has
broadband that's not fit for purpose, in fact not available, to be
literally the fastest village for broadband in the country.
MARIE ASHBY - PRESENTER They've been described as the club for sickos
who distribute vile leaflets. Their members insist they're only trying
to discover out what happened to Madeleine McCann. But the parents of
the missing youngster say the so-called Madeleine Foundation is
hindering the search for their daughter and adding to their anguish.
Simon Hare has been investigating.
SIMON HARE Well its a Saturday afternoon and most people are busy
enjoying their weekend. But somewhere here in Nottingham a group of
people have got together to discuss the Madeleine McCann case. Hello,
Simon... Secrecy surrounds what's billed as the annual conference of the
self-appointed Madeleine Foundation. They've said I can attend but I
have to wait for news of the location. I'm told to make my way to a
hotel with conference facilities but this just proves to be a meeting
place. I'm then taken to the real venue, a room in this village hall at
Nuttall. A member takes some photos including one of me. Chairman,
Grenville Green, from Nottingham is also happy to be pictured and the
organisation's secretary and co-founder, Tony Bennett, is keen to
promote his new book made up of selected extracts from the case files.
There were nineteen people at the meeting and I was told that they'd
come from all over the country and one couple had even come from
northern France. They didn't want cameras to come in but they did allow
me to sit there and take notes. They discussed many aspects of the
McCann case and they also sold me a copy of their new book. But at the
moment I still don't feel that I'm any nearer to understanding exactly
what the Madeleine Foundation is about.
BBC PRESENTER Well among those reporters is Simon Hare from East
Midlands Today. He joins us now from Portugal.
SIMON HARE But I do know something about the Madeleine McCann case.
Good evening and yes...
I was part of the East Midlands Today team that covered the events in
Portugal. I interviewed the McCanns in Praia da Luz.
KATE MCCANN It really does give you great strength, really to see
everybody in the villages, you know, giving us all their support and
love and everything.
SIMON HARE And three months later I was in Portimao when they were made
SIMON HARE IN PORTIMAO The crowd of onlookers, hundreds of people have
turned out, many booed Kate McCann as she arrived here...
A development, largely thanks to this man. The Portuguese detective,
GONCALO AMARAL Portuguese comments
SIMON HARE But he was taken off the case and in 2008 the McCanns had
their suspect status removed.
KATE MCCANN We welcome the news today although it is no cause for
SIMON HARE And won libel damages for some of the lurid press coverage
they'd received. A year later, front page news of a different kind,
thanks to the Madeleine Foundation.
FEMALE TV PRESENTER People living in Madeleine McCann's home village say
that they are sickened that they're now being targeted by a campaign to
re-open the case against her parents.
MALE TV PRESENTER A group claiming to want 'Justice for Madeleine' says
it believes she wasn't abducted. Its been sending hundreds of leaflets
around the area calling for support.
SIMON HARE It delivered 150 leaflets to homes in the McCann's own
neighbourhood repeating the now discredited Amaral theory that Madeleine
had died in her parent's holiday apartment and they had covered it up.
FEMALE TV PRESENTER And the people in Rothley who spoke to us today say
LOCAL MALE Its absolutely repugnant, I think personally.
LOCAL FEMALE 1 I just think its sad and sick that people have got
nothing else better to do with their time.
SIMON HARE I would meet all of the four people who delivered the
leaflets that day, among them Debbie Butler, the Foundation's former
chairman and co-founder who appeared on the BBC to justify their
DEBBIE BUTLER Its a nationwide campaign. We need to put the leaflets
into as many doors as possible...
SIMON HARE She's since fallen out with Tony Bennett and is no longer a
member of the Foundation but she agreed to meet me near her home in
DEBBIE BUTLER Mr. Bennett decided that we would go into that area. I'd
never been there. He'd been there before. I found out he had been there
before. Erm, he knew where we were going. I drove. We had Grenville
Green with us and Helene Davies, his wife. We visited the farm that Kate
had taken the children to and had some lunch there. Mr. Bennett
leafleted there alone and instructed me to go and leaflet in the
immediate area where the McCanns live. Erm, which I did with Helene. And
then he told me that I must leaflet their road which I did. I was doing
it with Helene but Helene's legs just went to jelly and she wouldn't do
it so I did. I didn't leaflet their own home at all.
SIMON HARE Tony Bennett denies he told Debbie Butler what to do that
day. BUt both were subsequently pursued by the McCann's lawyers and in
November last year, Mr. Bennett assured the High Court that he wouldn't
distribute any more of the leaflets or he could lose fifty thousand
pounds and even go to prison for contempt of court.
(Video of leaflet distribution.)
TONY BENNETT About the Madeleine McCann case.
SIMON HARE But by this summer, Tony Bennett was distributing a new
He's come to Bristol for what's billed as Goncalo Amaral Awareness Day.
He's accompanied by another Foundation member who's a little camera shy
(Camera follows the person around a lamp post unsuccessfully attempting
to get a picture.) Are you hiding? Right, I'm going round this side of
the pillar. I'm going round this side.
LEAFLET RECIPIENT 1 There's some evil people...
TONY BENNETT There are some evil people
LEAFLET RECIPIENT 1 ...thoroughly evil and I don't know what to say. I
think she's just been stolen.
LEAFLET RECIPIENT 2 There's a conspiracy theory about everything though
TONY BENNETT True, true, about many things, yeah yeah, yeah. Yeah there
People think that we are representing the McCanns in some way.
SIMON HARE Does that worry you?
TONY BENNETT Err, not really no. Because its the chance to explain to
people, erm, what we're about and that there is a big mystery at the
heart of this case.
WOMAN ON STREET I wouldn't dare say on record what I thought because I'd
TONY BENNETT The NSPCC say that, erm, you should never ever leave
children of that age on their own even for thirty seconds...
MALE ON STREET No matter where you are... The only place you're safe...
(difficult to understand this man - open to correction here)
WOMAN ON STREET I think nobody had the right to take her anyway.
TONY BENNETT Yeah, that's right.
People will no doubt have been reading the leaflets as they pass round
the town. Not one person has come back to complain at all and say this
SIMON HARE But in the afternoon, there are a number of hostile
FEMALE TEENAGER It just seems a bit hard to start a whole campaign
against it when
if she is abducted they're clearly struggling, dealing with the grief
TONY BENNETT The question is if. If she was abducted.
2ND FEMALE TEENAGER And you don't find what you're doing at all
TONY BENNETT Erm, you could call it disrespectful...
2ND FEMALE TEENAGER I'm not going to read it because I think its a
little bit sick and very disrespectful so...
TONY BENNETT That's OK. OK.
MALE TEENAGER I think its a bit distasteful.
FEMALE ON STREET I have a two year old daughter, so you know, if I had
lost my daughter like that woman has, I wouldn't want to think that
someone was out saying that in the street.
SIMON HARE A few days later after hundreds of
copies have been handed out he agrees to the McCannís lawyers demand not
to distribute this latest leaflet.
SIMON HARE They didnít want to talk to us about Tony Bennett's campaign
but on the third anniversary of Madeleineís disappearance Gerry and Kate
McCann seemed to allude to the Foundation.
LORRAINE KELLY You know even to this day there are people who are
convinced that you had something to do with it. How on earth do you deal
KATE MCCANN Well, I think, I mean I think its changed. Certainly we
donít get the same level of criticism that we did and even then to be
fair it was the minority really. I think most people even if, you know,
they donít agree with, you know, what we did, they wouldnít feel it
right or fair to add to our suffering. But having said that, I mean I
think there's just a small minority now and you know there's a certain
group out there who this is their job really, is to pick on a vulnerable
family, and I am sure after us they'll move on to another family.
SIMON HARE I think she meant you!
TONY BENNETT I didnít hear that. I donít know whether she meant us or
not, but, erm, we are focused on this particular case. Erm, I..., my
focus is on the truth. The focus of other members of the Madeleine
Foundation is exactly the same. I havenít got any history of pursuing
SIMON HARE Tony Bennett previously tried and failed to bring a private
prosecution against the McCanns for child neglect.
In 2006 he attempted to mount a private prosecution of Michael Barrymore
in relation to the night Stewart Lubbock died at the TV entertainer's
home. Another high profile case at the centre of a media frenzy.
Tony Bennett first came to prominence by taking direct action over the
metrification of signs.
TONY BENNETT The majority of people don't want to see kilometres and
metres on their road signs.
SIMON HARE A cause which won a lot of support.
VOICE ON VIDEO A little bit higher as if you're... There you go.
SIMON HARE He then began removing road signs to campaign for the
re-introduction of old county boundaries.
TONY BENNETT I think the majority of the public would like to see these
signs, "Welcome to Lancashire", on the correct county border.
SIMON HARE Unlike some of his Madeleine Foundation colleagues, he
appears to like the cameras and notoriety. Last year he could be clearly
seen, sat behind Gerry McCann as he gave evidence to a Parliamentary Sub
Committee on the Press and Privacy. Tony Bennett later posted on the
TONY BENNETT It was to send out a quiet message. We are looking over his
shoulder checking out what he and his team are saying, watching them.
GERRY MCCANN I think for me its about responsibility and reporting truth
and not making innuendo and speculation appear as fact.
FEMALE MP'S VOICE I wonder how some of them can live with themselves.
TONY BENNETT If it is certain that she was abducted then we are adding
to their anguish.
SIMON HARE Does that not bother you, I mean you are a father, you're a
TONY BENNETT Erm. I am persuaded that there are still questions to be
answered, and err, err, as I say, I have to be careful what I say, but I
do question their version of events and whether in fact Madeleine was
abducted, as do many other people.
SIMON HARE But you donít know what happened, I donít know.
TONY BENNETT No I donít.
SIMON HARE Only those responsible truly know what happened.
TONY BENNETT I agree, I agree.. so we donít know what happened, so why
canít we say, err, why canít we..? After all, if
I'm making bad points, if weíre making bad points on our website they
can be challenged, and refuted easily canít they?
SIMON HARE The internet is awash with forums and message boards about
Madeleine. Some of these sites have seen threats of violence made
towards the McCannís and their family home here at Rothley. Inside Out
understands that the police have become involved in the past. People who
post on these forums describe themselves as pro and anti McCann. Those
connected to the Madeleine Foundation have also been subjected to
DEBBIE BUTLER Half past twelve one night my phone rang and err, I was
told Iíd be stabbed in front of my son straight through my heart. I
phoned the police. Erm, Iíve had other threats.
SIMON HARE The Madeleine Foundation has come to London. They are
delivering more letters to both the Portuguese and British Governments.
TONY BENNETT (to police officer) So what happens? We knock on the door
and somebody comes and receives it? OK, yeah.
SIMON HARE The latest leaflet that they had agreed to stop distributing
has made a comeback.
TONY BENNETT Well we've had a rethink on that and we see no reason why
we shouldn't distribute it. We werenít threatened with any libel action
or anything like that. We took the decision three months ago not to
distribute it but we've reconsidered and see no reason why we shouldnít
distribute it, especially on Goncalo Amaralís birthday!
SIMON HARE But in July, the McCannís lawyers, Carter Ruck, had
threatened to take Tony Bennett back to the High Court. Their letter
felt that the former solicitor had failed to grasp how libel laws work.
And it said they would also pursue any other of the members of the
Foundation who delivered the leaflets. (???)... the two remaining
Rothely leafleters, didnít go to London. Grenville Green and his wife
Helene Davis-Green have stepped down from the Foundation committee after
she was described by the Sun as a sicko who distributes vile leaflets.
HELENE DAVIS-GREEN (talking of mushrooms) Most people will avoid these
because some of them are poisonous...
SIMON HARE She was back in the public eye as she stood as a UKIP
candidate in the General election.
HELENE DAVIS-GREEN Apparently throwing out the odd insult isnít breaking
their code of conduct.
SIMON HARE Itís an example of free speech that her husband doesnít like.
At the beginning of the year Grenville Green went to Portugal to attend
a Court hearing about Goncalo Amaralís controversial book.
GRENVILLE GREEN Why am I here? Itís freedom of speech isnít it? If
someone has a difference of opinion to someone else, you shouldnít have
lots of money to close you down, and shut you up and make you quiet, if
youíve got a difference of opinion. This is why Iím here. Its freedom of
speech, freedom of expression.
SIMON HARE (to Goncalo Amaral) Is your book hurting the McCanns, sir?
GONCALO AMARAL (disputed speech - possibly PT or ENG.)
GRENVILLE GREEN This man is a folk hero, a sort of a modern-day Robin
Hood, if you like. Itís like a David and Goliath fight. If something is
right you know itís right. If something is wrong, you know it is wrong.
TONY BENNETT There are always going to be those who entirely believe the
McCannís account and regard me as evil and perverted for what I am
doing. On the other hand there are those who have got legitimate
questions and fully support what we are doing.
SIMON HARE Earlier this month the McCanns launched an online petition
calling for the investigation into their daughterís disappearance to be
GERRY MCCANN There is absolutely no evidence that Madeleine has been
seriously harmed so without that, weíve got to believe that we can still
find her. Itís difficult we know that, and thatís why we are asking for
help and we need the assistance. And the authorities need to do more.
SIMON HARE Last week the McCanns revealed they are now writing their own
book. In a statement on their website, Kate McCann said, ďMy reason for
writing is simple, to give an account of the truthĒ. Just like that GMTV
interview I canít help but feel that that was partly aimed at the