So are you still quite hurt by some of the things you read?
Well a lot of the rubbish I don’t read, to be honest. Because, as Gerry
said, you have to question the motives of people like that. People who
want to insist on something without evidence. People who want to bring,
you know, more pain and suffering to a family who are already
vulnerable, who are already suffering. You really have to question those
people and I don’t value their opinion because, you know, I wouldn’t
behave like that so, you know, you can’t be, you know, detracted,
distracted from what is important which is Madeleine by people like
that. The majority of people are good people. They’re the quiet majority
and I strongly believe they are the ones who want to find Madeleine.
And you are appealing for more funds. What happened to the money that
you had previously? There’s around, I understand, £350,000 left. What
happened to the previous money that was donated?
OK. I think the first thing to say is that the priority today is very
much about asking the public to help us with the petition to get the
government to do more. We have been fortunate, although its not helped
us get where we want, by having a fund. And the fund was set up in
response to people offering money and it was set up properly and the
fund is very accountable and it has independent auditors and we have a
fund administrator who’s got lots of experience. The vast amount of. The
vast majority of the money in the fund has been spent directly on search
fees. Its obviously supported other things, awareness campaigns, we have
a part-time co-ordinator now. We have media liaison to deal with things
like this here and in Portugal in trying to get our messages across, but
the most of the money, the vast majority of it has been spent…
we’ve had to fund an investigation for two years now which as you can
imagine with several more than that personnel, it costs money…
Staff, expenses, interviewing. We run a 24hr help line which is
available. We run a web site. That costs money, updating it.
Communications. You know, all of these things do add up and without
having the fund there wouldn’t be a meaningful search today.
You’ve also spent money on your own investigators as you’ve said. There
have been reports that some of these detectives have taken money but
then not delivered. They are dodgy detectives if you like. How can you
reassure people that money won’t be spent on people like that in the
GM Well we’ve very much had for the last two and a bit years, we’ve had
Dave Edgar who is a very experienced detective who was near retirement.
He’s been working with us. He’s very much accountable for the spend. He
feels he can justify every penny. But at the same time I hope the public
realise as well as directors of the fund in particular when we were
arguido and there was no search going on that it was incumbent upon us
to continue a search in very, very difficult circumstances. So we have
made decisions along the way which have always, we felt, been in the
best interest of the search to find Madeleine and we are very
accountable. All the expenses are there err, receipts and we’ve got
quite a tight-knit team working on this but we need them. Without it
there would be no-one there to go and interview people and follow up
What about the, some people might say, the judgement of the trustees is
sometimes questionable because you have had people like Halligen who is
now facing extradition?
Well, you know, we are doing the best in very, very difficult
circumstances. I think that’s key. We always take advice, due diligence
is done, references are sought and, you know, the fund is accountable
and as directors we are responsible for making those decisions.
There are also reports that you have fallen out with some of the
trustees, with your brother and your boss who have resigned…
That’s nonsense. That’s absolute nonsense. Why do you say we have fallen
out? I mean the fund has changed over three years, three and a half
years. Its very different, ermm, initially we weren’t on the board
because we were based in Portugal…
Nobody thought, you know, three and a half years ago that we would be in
this situation today. Its a big commitment, you know, and things have
changed. We’ve got different phases in the last three and a half years
so inevitably there’s going to be changes.
So its not that you’ve had differences over the way the money was spent
No, not at all.
GM In fact any of the changes we have made recently are to make the
fund more efficient and more responsive. Kate and I always feel, you
know, there’s still an urgency. It doesn’t get easier and we don’t need
a large board as such. We are trying to run the fund like a small
business in many ways so that its focused and the directors by and large
are hands on and responsible for certain areas. Kate and I are integral
to all the parts of it. We’ve got legal advice. We’ve got specialist
media liaison etc. We’ve got a retired accountant, and, you know we’ve
got Kate’s uncle who is there and is a good governance sort of person.
So all of these are taken on board and we’ve got a very experienced fund
administrator as well.
Have you talked about the petition?
Yeah, I was just going to ask you about that. So, I mean, you have
mentioned the petition already. Just how many signatures are you hoping
to collect? What are you asking people to sign for? What is the point of
Well the whole point is to call on the governments, both the UK and the
Portuguese government to do more in the search for Madeleine and the
first thing we feel that’s fundamental is that they undertake a complete
review of the case preferably it should be independent and we want
transparency as well and we are asking the public to help us in that
In terms of, you only have £350,000 left now, how can you, how long do
you worry that you can keep going (if you dont get donations????)?
Well we are always as directors of the fund, we are always looking at
that because one of.., the remit is for us to fulfil the objectives of
the fund and the fund is to try and find Madeleine and bring those
responsible to justice so there’s always an agenda item about finances
and we need to look at that. We’ve done other fund raisers in the past
and we’ll keep looking at that. We’ve been very fortunate from the point
of view of having so many of the public make donations and a large part
of the money we’ve spent, as you know, has come from libel damages which
were paid into the fund. So we’ll continue to explore it. We certainly
need to be looking at income generation over the next months.
There must be huge pressure on you knowing you’ve always got to look
Well, I mean, we’d love nothing more to find Madeleine. And then we
wouldn’t have to worry about that. You’re absolutely right. Our focus is
on the search for Madeleine and without the authorities conducting that
then the onus is on us and we don’t think that’s right. The onus should
be on the governments to do more. We’d love to give that pressure away.
And you mention the money from the trials. How do you feel now that
Amaral’s book is going to be on the shelves here?
Yeah, so. Well, you know, we’ve already alluded to it. Anyone who wants
to convince people that Madeleine is dead without evidence to support it
then will just have to be questioned. But today the focus is on asking
the public to help us petition the governments to do more.
Do you feel that you should be chasing libel actions? Some people might
say why don’t you just leave libel stuff to one side? Why try and
silence your critics?
Well obviously we’ve talked about this in great detail previously. The
reason why we had to take actiion was because we strongly felt it was
damaging the search to find Madeleine and as Gerry has just said, that
is our ultimate goal, is to find Madeleine.
I just wonder, can you update people? Where are you now? I mean recently
you went over to Germany. You translated all your literature into
German. So can you update people? Where are you now? Have you got any
new leads? What’s happening (???????)?
I would like to say to you that we did have some hot leads but the very
fact that we are calling for a complete review to identify further areas
for investigation is telling you that, you know, more needs to be done.
All the information needs to be put onto one database because that may
be the way that we find the key bit of information, the missing piece of
So at the moment you are worried that there isn’t even a central
database so the information might not be getting cross referenced
Yes, I mean there’s information in lots of centres that hasn’t been
brought together and there could be two key bits of information that
individually don’t seem key but put together could give you some
valuable information that could take you one step closer to finding
Madeleine so it just seems an obvious and crucial thing to do. And this
is why reviews are done time and time again in this country on major
So you must be frustrated that the government has carried out a scoping
into whether there should be a review and no action has been taken?
Yeah, I mean that’s what we’re asking for. We want to see what action.
We want metrics. We want deliverables. And we want the government to do
more. Madeleine is a British subject and the government should be doing
more to look out for her interests.
And I was just wondering. How can people sign the petition?
Its on the ipetitions website. So its www.ipetitions.com then forward
slash petitions but its quite a complex link.
We’ll put it on our website.