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

Note: This site does not belong to the McCanns. It belongs to Pamalam. If you wish to contact the McCanns directly, please use the contact/email details    

Madeleine McCann: police chief breaks silence

Original Source: TIMES: 23 SEPTEMBER 2007
Last Updated: 1:00am BST 23/09/2007
Page 1 of 3

It was a moment of quiet satisfaction for Chief Inspector Olegario Sousa.

Since making his sudden, dramatic announcement exactly one week ago, that he was no longer prepared to act as the official Portuguese police spokesman in the Madeleine McCann investigation, he had pretty much maintained his silence.

To a tight trio of trusted colleagues he had confided that he was ''unhappy" about the inquiry and ''exasperated" with the constant leaks from junior officers who, in exchange for extravagant meals, were willing to either reveal snippets of confidential information, or to embroider vague facts if they felt that was what their moles in the Portuguese media wanted.

In public he has said nothing.

But this weekend Mr Sousa, for four months the public face of the Portuguese inquiry into Madeleine's disappearance, has come clean.

He has made it clear to friends that he feels his resignation has been vindicated – and why.

He has acknowledged that the leaks were intended to push Kate and Gerry McCann into confessing they had killed their daughter.

More crucially, he believes that the concerted fightback by the McCanns will reveal that, for all the police posturing when they named the couple as suspects, their evidence was at best flimsy, at worst supposition. ''He has told me he always worried that the evidence against the McCanns was weak," says one former policeman. ''He was worried it would not bear scrutiny."

It has not been Mr Sousa's only concern over the investigation.

He also feels that he has been dragged into a war of words. "He told me he felt caught in the middle of a propaganda war between his police colleagues and the McCanns," another investigator who has spoken to Mr Sousa confirmed.

He has complained that while fellow officers were leaking information illegally — Portugal has strict secrecy laws — the same officers would instruct him to deny the stories when printed. The problem for Sousa was that the denials rarely got into the media.

The result has been endless column inches slandering the McCanns. ''Some Portuguese journalists were fairly convinced the so-called evidence passed on to them by police was nowhere near as concrete as their sources suggested," says Jose Lugios, a freelance reporter based in the Algarve.

"The way it works here is that we can't get official police comments so we have to rely on tip-offs from them. We know they use us at times?…?as they did when they drip-fed us snippets that might exert enough pressure on the McCanns to confess.

But that's the strange way it works. It's the only way we can get crime stories."

Such lax practice has shocked even the country's politicians. ''The leaks to the press of some details that are supposed to be classified have been used as an easy way to manipulate and shape public opinion," says Francisco Louça, leader of a Portuguese opposition party.

Madeleine McCann: police chief breaks silence
Page 2 of 3
''It is clear the leaks have been used in a battle to turn public opinion against the McCanns and convince people they are guilty when there is no concrete evidence to support this," said another politician, who asked to remain anonymous.

For months the McCanns have been angered by snide suggestions that their PR machine, dubbed Team McCann — a term they hate — is too slick.

The truth is that it has not been, until now. In Praia da Luz it was little more than a borrowed fax, two mobile telephones and Gerry McCann's Apple laptop. And while friends and family in the UK did what they could, in Portugal the McCanns had only one official spokesman, provided and paid for initially by the Foreign Office.

Last week that became a six-strong team, top-heavy on legal experts and media representatives.

That transformation was borne of necessity. Not least because Mr Sousa's observation is nearer to the truth than he may know. What began as a tale of heartbreaking loss has become a fierce propaganda battle, punctuated by smears and in-fighting. For an increasingly embittered Portuguese police force, to lose such a battle would mean world-wide ridicule, allegations that they have attempted to "fit up" an innocent mother and accusations from a £2.8 billion tourism industry that they were ruining the Algarve's reputation. Yesterday there was additional embarrassment when it emerged unofficially that Robert Murat, the only other suspect in the case, is unlikely to face charges.

But the greater tragedy is that Madeleine's fate – to her parents' anguish – appears to have been forgotten. Instead the propaganda war has led to lurid headlines such as "The DNA found in the McCanns' rented Renault Scenic, is 100 per cent positively that of Madeleine" and "McCanns killed Maddie with an accidental overdose of sedative".

Kate has been attacked as an unfit mother, who could not cope with her three toddlers and resented bearing the bulk of the child care; she had "lost control" in police interviews — proof, Portuguese officers concluded, that she was capable of having harmed her child; the sniffer dogs "reacted wildly to the scent of death" in the McCanns' car.

Then, on Friday, came the allegation that there were six hours of Madeleine's life unaccounted for on the afternoon of her disappearance. It was an accusation swiftly denied by Kate McCann's friends, who have consistently substantiated the family's version of events.

"The Portimao police were definitely furious that they were depicted as bumbling and ineffectual," confirms a Portuguese officer from another force. "They were especially furious about stories of their long, drunken lunches and their alleged willingness to force a confession to cover their ineffectual investigations.

The know they made mistakes – a whole catalogue – from failing to secure the crime scene, to leaving the border with Spain open for a further twelve hours after Madeleine vanished, to returning the hire car to the McCanns despite having allegedly found incriminating evidence inside.

But their own press would never write critically of them – they need to keep the relationship sweet. It was a slap in the face and a shock when the British press not only branded them inept but heaped ridicule upon them, too."

Chief Inspector Sousa could only look on in despair. He knew that these leaks were long on exaggeration.

Then came the McCann retaliation which, Mr Sousa must have known, would be brisk, logical and based on sound facts.

Possibly unnerved by a recent British newspaper poll which revealed that only 20 per cent of the public considered them utterly innocent, and that almost half thought they could have been involved in their daughter's death, the couple's response was swift.

Within hours of an announcement by the Portuguese attorney general that local police had not gathered enough evidence yet to press charges against them, the McCanns had re-hired Clarence Mitchell, a former BBC reporter who had originally been assigned to them by the Foreign Office.

Madeleine McCann: police chief breaks silence
Page 3 of 3

Mitchell, canny, erudite and well versed in media hardball — whose salary, it is believed, is being covered by Brian Kennedy, the millionaire owner of Sale Sharks rugby club — turned the couple from victims to combatants. He succinctly rebuffed the flimsy evidence against them, telling the Portuguese authorities to "put up or shut up".

Perhaps more significantly, the couple also swiftly assembled a world-class team of lawyers

Privately they admitted to relatives that they had been against seeking legal counsel: now they had no option. "Was it naivety or just total belief in their own innocence that they didn't think they needed a lawyer?" asks Gerry's brother John. "They were so convinced that because of their close collaboration with the police they didn't need one." Now, of course, they are all too aware that this "close collaboration" was a smokescreen: they did not realise was that the Portuguese police's efforts to find Madeleine had been lacklustre for some time.

Unbeknown to the McCanns, investigators had quickly decided Madeleine died the night she vanished.

All involved with the fightback are convinced of the McCanns' innocence.

But they acknowledge that the couple's public support has been battered by weeks of lurid allegations originating from the Portuguese police.

This weekend Kate and Gerry McCann are staying out of the media limelight. "Let's call it regrouping, re-energising," says a friend. "But make no mistake: while their primary, vital, aim is to keep the hunt for their daughter alive, they are aware that if they are not to risk ending up doing so from behind prison bars they must clear their names.

For they know, and we know, that the McCanns did not kill their daughter."


Site Policy Contact details Sitemap Website created by © Pamalam