'LIE WITH ME MUMMY'
With you, for you, and about you petal.
Kate McCann's revelatory autobiography adds remarkably little to what
was already known about daughter Madeleine,
despite claims that it was written to help the search for
her (helping 'the search' and helping others
are not quite
the same thing). What it does do, categorically and, one might add,
rather usefully, is to confirm the falsehoods originally put in place
over four years ago. It is an artfully choreographed confection,
liberally sprinkled with lies, blatant and subtle, and topped of with a
dash of hypocrisy.
Within the first couple of pages Kate McCann identifies herself
logically with/as the 'abductor' of her daughter:
"I wanted to make sure that they (the children) would always have access
to a written chronicle of what really happened." (p.1)
"Others have seized the opportunity to profit from our agony by writing
books about our daughter, several of them claiming to reveal 'what
really happened.' Which is extraordinary, given that the only
person who knows this is the person who abducted her on May 3,
It is important to understand that since the author's arguida status was
lifted she has had the time and the money both to translate and to
scrutinise the Portuguese police files made publicly available in the
Autumn of 2008. Indeed she is careful to point out to her readers how
she has invested many months and close to ?100,000 in doing so, reading
them in 'microscopic detail.' It follows that, quite apart from being
the only person who knows what really happened, she has benefited from
exactly the same access to accumulated background data as anyone else
might. There are no excuses whatsoever for errors of fact appearing in
this collaborative 'account of the truth.' If any should appear then
they have been sanctioned so to do. That makes their inclusion
deliberate. And a knowingly incorrect statement is, by definition, a
Let the author lift the curtain on her own performance therefore:
"As a lawyer once said to me apropos another matter, 'One coincidence,
two coincidences - maybe they're still coincidences. Any more than that
and it stops being coincidence." (p.328).
Not unreasonably, we might apply this same 'three strikes and you're
out' rule ourselves, beginning with a small test of Kate McCann's
numeracy. After all, her entry in the Dundee University yearbook when
she graduated in 1992 concluded with the line: 'Prognosis: mathematician
and mother of six.' (p.10).
1. "In January 2004, when Madeleine was seven months old,
we rented out our house and moved for a year to Amsterdam..." (p.31).
2. "On the afternoon of 1 February 2005, Sean and Amelie made
their appearance in the world...A few hours later, Gerry brought
Madeleine in to meet her little brother and sister. Just twenty
months old herself at the time, in she came in her cute lilac
pyjamas and puppy-dog slippers." (p.37).
3. "On Madeleine's sixth birthday, 12 May 2009, I met Isabel Duarte for
the first time." (p.338).
Taking last things first, why should readers need confirmation of
Madeleine's date of birth so late on in the book? Could it be due to the
uncertainty engendered by the author's earlier calculations? Unless one
counts only to the last completed month, Madeleine would have been
nearer eight months
old in January. The same question arises in connection with statement
no. 2. Even as early as the first of the month, Madeleine could not have
been 'just twenty
months' on 1 February 2005, if she were born on 12 May, 2003. She would
have been well into her twenty-first.
May 12 is not the only date to give Kate McCann pause for thought. May 3
is another. And not only on account of its obvious associations with
Madeleine?s being 'taken.'
Here are three further statements with a suggestive connection:
1. "She had addressed me as Kate Healy, and although this was
the name by which I was always known before Madeleine's abduction,
since then I'd only ever been referred to as Mrs McCann." (p.189).
2. "On 4 May 2007, I became Kate McCann. According to my
passport, driving licence and bank account I was Kate Healy. I hadn't
kept my maiden name for any particular reason - it was just who I was
and who I'd always been. But when Madeleine was taken, the press
automatically referred to me as Kate McCann, and Kate McCann I have been
ever since." (p.349).
3. "One of the big changes in our life has been the loss of our
anonymity...As Kate Healy, I could do what I liked, when I liked,
talk to whoever I wanted to talk to, behave naturally without feeling I
was being judged by those around me." (p. 356).
With a bank account in her maiden name of Healy, it seems only fair to
suppose that Kate signed her cheques in that name also. She didn't
'become' Kate McCann until 4 May, after Madeleine went missing. And yet on several occasions,
May 3 2007,
she signed the Ocean Club creche registers as K. McCann.
When do such anomalies cease to be coincidental?
"We'd never lied about anything - not to the police, not to the media,
not to anyone else." Says Kate (p.205). Start as you mean to continue I
suppose. 'Jemmied shutters' anyone?
By way of introducing some variation into the process, instead of
telling three slightly different tales to encompass the same lie, you
can always repeat one lie three times:
"...since there is no law enforcement agency
actively inquiring into her (Madeleine's)
"...we have not been prepared to accept the platitude that work in
Portimao continues when we know this is not the case." (p.364).
"Since July 2008 there has been no police force anywhere actively
investigating what has happened to Madeleine." (p.364).
The Leicestershire Police position as at June 2011 is as follows:
"Anything in relation to the investigation into the disappearance of
Madeleine McCann will not be released whilst it remains ongoing.
"...it is also necessary to look at the impact on the ongoing
investigation of such disclosures. It is impossible to say until
the operation is concluded which information may or may not be
relevant to any future prosecutions."
"We are the only people looking for her." (p.364). That much remains
true. I wonder why?
"If a review is declined, or indeed if no decision is ever made, we will
be left with no alternative but to seek disclosure of all information
possessed by the authorities relating to Madeleine's disappearance."
They might as well save their energy, not to mention the legal fees,
since the response to their request for disclosure can only be as quoted
More of the same
Let's deal with a little more of the blatant before we turn to the
subtle, shall we?
Most informed readers are by now familiar with the 'Plea Bargain' myth;
the offer that Kate claims to have been made 'indirectly,' despite its
being a feature of U.S. legal proceedings not permissible under
Portuguese law, nor the 'life sentence' a penalty recognised by
Portuguese statute. Kate's indignation at such a tactic is amply covered
on p. 243. Are we seriously to believe that Kate McCann was such a V.I.P.
that time-served police, family men themselves, would collectively
sacrifice their careers and their pensions just to 'cut her a deal?'
She's clearly spent too much time in front of the television. And only a
grossly over-inflated ego could arrive at the conclusion that there
would be a riot in the streets of England owing to their being viewed as
suspects in relation to a crime abroad. The next thing you know the
British navy would be sending a gunboat to the Arade river!
An entire chapter (21, Closing The Case) is devoted to convincing
readers that the investigation is history, with repeated reference to
'closure' and 'conclusion' on p.317.
Eventually we read:
"On 24 July 2008, three days after the inquiry was closed..." (p.320).
Three years later and no one seems to have told Leicestershire
Constabulary. Strange that.
A number of Kate's little contradictions are rather less easy to spot,
as she cunningly exploits the transient nature of Short Term Memory,
separating details of relevance to each other by several paragraphs,
pages - chapters even. It's a device she employs repeatedly.
Nevertheless, despite the apparent success of her overall routine, not
all of her 'one-liners' are flawlessly delivered.
"Gerry left to do the first check just before 9.05 by his
watch...Madeleine was lying there, on her left-hand side, her legs
under the covers, in exactly the same position as we'd left her."
(GM statement to police 10 May, 2007: 'Concerning the bed where his
daughter was on the night she disappeared, he says that she slept
uncovered, as usual when it was hot, with the bedclothes folded
"The children were fast asleep and being checked every thirty minutes...We
were going into the apartments and looking as well as listening."
(GM: "Yeah, I mean, I was saying this earlier, that at no point,
other than that night, did I go stick my head in. That was the
only time..." [from the McCann inspired documentary, Madeleine Was
Here]. MO [rogatory interview]: "So I approached the room but I
didn't actually go in because you could see the twins in the cots..."
"As soon as it was light Gerry and I resumed our search." (p.83).
Resuming something you have yet to start is a bit of a
if you ask
me. How did the interview go again? Something about 'not physically
searching, but working really hard really?'
"Back in the apartment the cold black night enveloped us all for what
seemed like an eternity. Dianne and I sat there just staring at each
other, still as statues." (p.81).
That's hard work alright.
Passing the buck
Ambassador John Buck receives a mention in despatches (several mentions
actually), yet we're not concerned here with his passing through,
although there is something to be read into Kate's passing Goncalo
Amaral on the stairs of the Lisbon courthouse, which we'll come to
later. Here we feature examples of the more colloquial meaning of the
Kate has some advice for anyone in a similarly 'sticky situation' to her
"A word of advice in case you are ever unlucky enough to find yourself
involved in a criminal investigation in
any country: always make
sure that you read your statement, in your own language, after you've
provided it." (p.126).
This counsel clearly has its origins in an unfortunate experience the
author describes in some detail later. Her homily is also designed to
give the impression that she neglected to take, or was perhaps even
denied, the opportunity of verifying her own statement(s) at the time.
She knows 'only too well,' from interviews with the PJ, how "words and
meanings could get lost in translation..." (p.333):
"At one point early on, something was read out from my initial
statement, given on 4 May. It wasn't quite accurate and I explained to
the officer that the original meaning seemed to have been lost slightly
"To my astonishment, the interpreter became quite angry and suddenly
interrupted. 'What are you saying? That we interpreters can't do our
job? The interpreter will only have translated what you told her!' I was
staggered. Quite apart from the fact that in this instance she was wrong
- this definitely wasn't what I said - surely an interpreter is there to
interpret, not to interfere in the process? My trust in her took a
Turning the page, however, we read of a certain procedural 'rigmarole'
with which Kate is also familiar:
"It was 12.40 a.m. by the time the interview - and the attendant
rigmarole of having it translated into Portuguese and then read back to
me in English by the interpreter - was over." (p.240).
Throughout the case files one encounters records of witness statements,
including those made by Kate and Gerry McCann, which conclude with the
observation: 'Reads, confirms, ratifies and signs.' Kate McCann does not
speak Portuguese. Obviously, therefore, she will have 'read her own
statement in her own language after she'd provided it,' giving her the
necessary insurance against any factual errors arising from mis-translation,
the likelihood of which was, in any case, remote in the extreme. Hence
the indignation of the interpreter on behalf of her maligned colleague.
A 'change of tune' neither implies nor derives from a mistaken
interpretation of the original melody necessarily. Kate is attempting
here to shoot the piano player when only the composer is to blame.
But Kate McCann, presumably on the advice of her editorial committee,
can let no opportunity for misinterpretation pass her by it seems.
Here's how she deals with the Smith sighting (p.98):
"Although, like Jane, this family (the Smiths) had taken this man and
child for father and daughter, they commented that the man didn't look
comfortable carrying the child, as if he wasn't used to it."
This is simply not true. The Smith
family as a whole made no
such comment, and the interpretation of it to imply that 'discomfort'
demonstrated the man was not accustomed to carrying children (as a
parent, say), is Kate's entirely.
In point of fact, Aoife Smith (the Smith's daughter),
states: 'The individual's gait was normal. He did not look tired and
walked normally while carrying the child.' What Kate has done here is to
deliberately over-interpret an observation made by Martin Smith, and
Martin Smith alone, as part of his witness statement to police, given on
26 May 2007:
"He adds that he did not hold the child in a comfortable position."
It is the child
was seen to be uncomfortable not
the carrier. No inference was or should be made concerning
the adult's experience of carrying children, although non-parental
status, were it to be established, would clearly rule out Gerry McCann
(father to three children) as a 'possible' for inclusion among candidate
I said she was subtle. She's also read the files 'in microscopic
Kate McCann would probably wish to argue that some of these instances
are really no more than teeny-weeny white lies, much as the McCanns'
recruitment of private investigators Metodo 3 to operate inside Portugal
was only 'technically illegal.' But such things are not to be considered
on a sliding scale from one to ten. Child abduction is a serious crime,
not a parlour game. In such a context there is no justification for
putatively innocent parties to lie - at all.
However, we have tasted enough lies for the time being. Let's now sample
some hypocrisy instead.
Do's and don'ts
"Dave asked if we should get the media involved to increase
awareness and recruit more help. The reply was swift and unambiguous.
"Dave, ... sent an e-mail to Sky News alerting them to the
abduction of our daughter. (p.79).
"...Rachael had contacted a friend of hers at the BBC
seeking help and advice..." (p.80).
"Jon Corner...was circulating photographs and video footage of
Madeleine to the police, Interpol and broadcasting and newspaper
news desks. This was in accordance with the standard advice of the
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in the US, which
advocates getting an image of a missing child into the public domain as
soon as possible." (p.86).
Of course by 4 May the troupe had all heard about NCMEC, an organisation
whose advice as to the desirability of circulating
would have been
immediately familiar and acceptable to the Portuguese, who had already
planned on doing so.
This degrading little episode of civil disobedience is supposed to
reflect an urgent concern for the missing child, but speaks more of the
arrogance of the participants, who seem to have been remarkably easily
persuaded that little Madeleine would not turn up locally and quickly.
And there's more:
"We flew out to Portugal on 10 December.
"Not sure how I feel about
seeing Mr Amaral - for the first time ever, I hasten to add!
I know I'm not scared but that man has caused us so much upset and anger
because of how he treated my Beautiful Madeleine and the search to find
her. He deserves to be miserable and feel fear."
"During a break in proceedings, I was going down the big stone staircase
to the ladies' as Goncalo Amaral was coming up. Thoughts of what I
ought to say or do to him flashed through my mind but I stayed
strong and passed him without comment, our shoulders briefly coming
within a foot of each other." (p.343/4).
Aggressive, vindictive thoughts on Kate's part when she and Goncalo
Amaral have yet to meet. However:
"It is extraordinary that he (GA) could have said and written so many
awful things about a person he had never met." (p.342).
I'd call that hypocrisy, wouldn't you? Just as I would these next
"Other letter-writers took a warped pleasure, it seemed, in going into
lurid detail which I couldn't bring myself to repeat here (p.310) about
what might have happened to Madeleine 'because of you.'"
Lurid detail being reserved of course for page 129:
"Haltingly, I told him about the awful pictures that scrolled through my
head of her body, her perfect little genitals torn apart..."
Under a more family friendly certificate we have:
"...the press know what her name is and yet to this day they insist on
calling her Maddie or Maddy. I find it quite disrespectful." (p.349).
Perhaps then, Kate might at some time account for her own disrespect
toward Madeleine's younger brother:
"For the rest of that day I would hear Seany wandering around the
"Seany arrived in the early
hours of the morning and positioned himself towards the middle of our
bed, with me and Gerry then squeezed together on one side."
"Seany is a big soft
'Mummy?s boy' which is nice."
"'Hand him to me and walk away. He'll be fine,' she said confidently.
I'm sure she was right, though it wasn't much fun having to watch my
little Seany, all red faced, blotchy and sobbing." (p.359).
You couldn't make it up. But Kate McCann clearly has. From resisting the
urge to 'flee' on 7 September 2007 to deciding a day later to 'get out
as soon as possible,' leaving 'a day earlier than originally planned.'
"We would go the next day rather than leaving it until Monday. Then it
was all hands on deck to pack everything up and clear the villa. Michael
volunteered to stay on for a couple of days to organize the cleaning,
hand back the keys and arrange for our remaining belongings to be
shipped home by a removal company." (p.255).
So where does 'planning' feature in all this last minute activity?
For an accurate barometer of just how seriously Kate McCann has taken
the search for Madeleine, one need only explore the issue of 'help.'
"While the officers looked around, Gerry called his sister, Trisha. As
difficult as it was to tell our family, we knew we needed help from
home, and quickly." (p.77).
"Everyone had felt helpless at home and had rushed out to Portugal to
take care of us and to do what they could to find Madeleine. When they
arrived, to their dismay they felt just as helpless - perhaps more so,
having made the trip in the hope of achieving something only to discover
it was not within their power in Luz any more than it had been in the
So what form could 'help from home' have taken? What could be expected
of relatives abroad that the very parents of the missing child could not
themselves deliver in the immediate circumstances? And when this
charabanc party on a fool's errand discover they have embarked on
precisely that, who is implied as being responsible? Not those who
whipped up the frenzy, but the well-meaning pilgrims themselves.
Then we have the more individual cases:
"Emma Knights, Mark Warner customer-care manager... tried her best to
comfort me, but my grief was so agonizing and personal that I wasn't
sure whether I wanted her there or not. I didn't really want anyone
around me but people I knew well." (p.75).
"A lady called Silvia, who worked at the Ocean Club, arrived to help out
with translation... She was very kind and I was glad of her help and
"A middle-aged British lady ... announced that she was, or had been, a
social worker or child protection officer ... showing me her
professional papers, including, I think, her Criminal Records Bureau
Certificate. She ... wanted me to go through everything that had
happened the previous night. She was quite pushy and her manner, her
very presence, were making me feel uncomfortable and adding to my
"On the way I rang a colleague - another lady of strong faith. She
prayed over the phone for most of the trip, while I listened and wept at
the other end. I will forever be indebted to her for her help and
support at that agonizing time." (p.88).
The pattern is simple and easy to interpret. Those in a position of some
authority, with accreditation as regards their professional competence,
are given short shrift. Others with a well-meaning but largely amateur
slant on the affair are warmly embraced.
There is of course more that could be said - much more. But it wouldn't
do to serve it all up in an instant. Gerry's dismissal of the sniffer
dog video as 'the most subjective piece of intelligence gathering
imaginable' (p.253) is but one such subject - a topic for discussion in
its own right. One day soon perhaps we can do more objectivity, just for
Gerry. Until then, and paraphrasing that familiar remark by a judicious
teacher, while we may not have 'taught the McCanns all they know,' nor
have we taught them all we
Fundamentally, there are two elementary questions concerning the
disappearance of Madeleine McCann which remain unanswered; a basic
compound to which Kate McCann has blithely added further ingredients:
1. Why should a couple directly related to the victim of a serious
crime, and in no small measure victims themselves therefore, lie about
their own actions around the time the crime was supposedly committed?
2. Why should others, not related
to this victim of serious crime, lie about what they were
was apparently committed?
'Madeleine,' by Kate McCann, does nothing to dilute the toxicity of this