WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO MADELEINE MCCANN?
60 reasons which suggest that she was not abducted
By Tony Bennett M.A.
At around 10.00pm on Thursday 3rd May 2007, in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz, Dr Kate McCann claimed that she had walked up to her apartment to do a ‘half-hourly check’ on her three children, found the Madeleine was not in her bed, and immediately reported that her daughter Madeleine had been abducted. There then began the most famously publicised effort in world history to find an allegedly missing child. Four months later, in September 2007, the Doctors McCann were made ‘arguidos’ by the Portuguese police in the disappearance of their daughter. The term ‘arguido’ does not have an exact English equivalent, but may be translated: ‘provisional suspect’.
But in July this year (2008), the Portuguese authorities announced that they had insufficient evidence to bring any charges against either Doctor concerning their daughter’s disappearance. Their status as suspects was therefore ended. The McCanns proclaimed themselves ‘cleared’ - though in fact the investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance has merely been ‘shelved’, not abandoned.
For most of the 18 months since Madeleine ‘went missing’, the British media - TV, radio and newspapers - have continued to portray Madeleine and the McCanns as ‘innocent’ victims of an evil abductor. In addition, they blame an incompetent, bungling, malicious Portuguese police force for even thinking of suspecting the parents of involvement in Madeleine going missing. This is despite the fact that police forces throughout the world who are called on to investigate alleged child abductions of young children from their own homes always fully investigate the parents - and those close to them - bearing in mind the strong probability that the parents’ abduction claim may be false.
Amongst all the media hype and debate on the likely fate of Madeleine, and the claims of those involved, we have lost sight of the fact that little Madeleine, even if she was abducted, is no longer with us because her parents deliberately chose to leave their three children, all aged under four, unsupervised, so they could enjoy another night out wining and dining with their friends, over 100 yards’ walk away, unable to see or hear their three young children.
Indeed, it is known that on one occasion, they were called back to their apartment by Mark Warner staff to attend to one of their children (probably Madeleine) who had been crying out in distress for at least an hour and a quarter, apparently pleading: ‘Daddy, Daddy’. Leaving their children unattended whilst out at the nearby Tapas restaurant with their friends is something they have publicly admitted to doing for either five or six nights in a row, for example in a long article in The Independent on Sunday on 5th August 2007.
The accounts given by the McCanns and their ‘Tapas 9’ friends of how often they checked their children, and about what really happened on 3rd May, contain numerous contradictions (see for example Reason 20 below) and have frequently changed over time. These varying accounts made things more difficult for the Portuguese police as they tried to investigate Madeleine’s ‘disappearance’. For example, they originally claimed that they were ‘checking their children every hour’, then we heard ‘every 15 minutes’, and finally they settled on ‘every half hour’. To put it mildly, there are many doubts as to whether the McCanns were checking their children regularly while they were dining out, if at all.
But the biggest question of all is this: was Madeleine really abducted, as the parents claim, and as the British media seem to believe? We don’t think so, and in this booklet we lay out 60 different reasons for doubting their claim. A key reason for writing our booklet is the fact that the British media have consistently failed to offer us either full information about the case or any serious analysis of what might really have happened. The Madeleine Foundation’s view on what really happened to Madeleine is precisely the same as the view held by the senior Portuguese detective who initially led the complex investigation, Mr Gonçalo Amaral. He was removed from the investigation on 3rd October 2007, due to intense British government pressure, a matter we deal with in Appendix 1.
Some will say: ‘The McCanns are innocent until proven guilty’. Others will say: ‘Leave this to the proper authorities, and let them do the investigating’ or: ‘The Portuguese police didn’t find enough evidence to charge then, leave them alone’.
We say simply that the British public is entitled to a fair presentation of the facts, and an analysis of them, which point not to Madeleine having been abducted, but in an entirely different direction.
In the Madeleine McCann case, we have a truly extraordinary example of a couple, suspected of a serious crime against their child, not only being protected by our government, but also being lauded in the British press at the same time - and even, in the case of Dr Gerry McCann, receiving a ‘bravery medal’ at a police ceremony. Those who seek out information about the case, have used their minds to try to understand what might really have happened to Madeleine, and who have reached the conclusion that the McCanns and their friends are clearly failing to tell the whole truth about Madeleine’s ‘disappearance’, have been dubbed ‘McCann-haters’ or worse. These facts alone suggest that there are major issues surrounding this case that every British citizen should be aware of.
We assert therefore that the British public is entitled to examine whether the McCanns’ claim of abduction stands up. You have been invited to give generously to find Madeleine. Many of you have done so, including some - like pensioners who donated their weekly pension - who could ill afford to do so. Many children gave up their pocket money for weeks to ‘help find Madeleine’. The British media have repeatedly promoted the claim that Madeleine really was abducted. Equally, and especially since the McCanns succeeded in winning over £½ million libel damages against several British newspapers, the British media have avoided printing stories that conflict with Madeleine having been abducted.
The key question, which we address in this booklet, is: was she really abducted? Or did she die as a result of an accident, perhaps from over-sedation, or from another crime? We are now in a much better position to examine the evidence in the case than three months ago, now that the Portuguese police have revealed many details about their investigation, placing literally thousands of documents and other evidence online. Much of what was previously merely press speculation and rumour - such as the breathtaking and sinister evidence provided by the British cadaver dog, Eddie, and blood-hound, Keela - has now been confirmed. These two highly-trained dogs, who have never been wrong in detecting the scent of death and blood, found both the smell of human cadaverine, the so-called ‘smell of death’, and of blood, in the McCanns’ apartment, and in the Renault Scenic car they hired in late May 2007. Eddie found the ‘smell of death’ on the clothes of Dr Kate McCann and Madeleine, and on the pink soft toy, Cuddle Cat (which was regularly carried by Dr Kate McCann when she did TV interviews) at the McCanns’ rented house in Praia da Luz, in July 2007.
Other forensic evidence has now been disclosed. Recent revelations of witness statements made to the police provide proof, for example, that the McCanns and their friends have given very conflicting and changing accounts of events in Praia da Luz in May 2007. What is most important in this case is the truth - the whole truth. Only if we all know the truth, or we can get as close to it as those involved in Madeleine’s ‘disappearance’ will allow, can we respond accordingly - and make the right decisions about this case, and learn the right lessons for the future.
We invite you to consider carefully the 30 main reasons set out here (and a further 30 subsidiary reasons we’ve added at the end) for doubting the claim that Madeleine was abducted. We hope they will help you to understand what may really have happened to Madeleine McCann in Praia da Luz on 3rd May 2007.
B. The 30 Key Reasons for doubting the Doctors McCanns’ abduction claim
1. ‘Stranger’ abductions of an infant from a family home almost never happen. In such cases of ‘missing’ young children, we always need to examine whether the family may be involved
Sadly, throughout the world, every year, many infants and young children die in their own homes, due to accident, neglect, negligence or a deliberate act. In some cases, especially where very young children are concerned, parents decide to hide the body, claiming their child has been abducted. Statistics have been kept in some countries about the proportion of alleged ‘stranger’ abductions of an infant from a family’s home (or from a temporary residence elsewhere, such as being on holiday). They show that in the vast majority of cases of so-called ‘stranger abductions’ of infants from a family home, it later turns out - when the full facts emerge - that a member of child’s family has been involved in the child’s death, having tried to cover it up by falsely claiming their child had been abducted. We give some suggestions for further reading on this subject in Appendix 2 (page 56).
Last year (2007), for example, there was the case of two-year-old ‘Baby Grace’, whose body was found battered and decomposing in a plastic box on sand dunes near Galveston, on the Gulf Coast of the U.S.A. Eventually, DNA tests linked the body to parents in the U.S. who, months earlier, had told police that their baby had been abducted, sparking a massive nationwide search. Then there was the case of the dead baby found by police hidden in the attic of a couple’s home. Once again, the guilty parents had falsely claimed their baby had been abducted.
More recently, in the U.S., the mother of two year-old Caylee Anthony reported her as missing - a month after she had ‘disappeared’. But forensic evidence now suggests that Caylee died at her mother’s home in suspicious circumstances. And as we were preparing the final draft of our booklet, six-year-old Antoine de B ‘went missing’ in mid-France, the mother and her new partner claiming he’d wandered off whilst they were dining at a nearby restaurant. But forensic evidence being yielded as we go to press suggests he was killed in his own home.
Now, the above statistics and case examples do not in any way prove that the McCanns were involved in Madeleine’s death, nor that they - like many other parents before them have done - have cunningly made up an abduction ‘cover story’. But what we do say, and what the statistics tell us, is that wherever a parent claims that a complete stranger has lifted their infant child from their home and taken the child away, we should immediately view their claim with grave suspicion. We need to examine their claim, test it, check it out. Which of course is what the Portuguese police have also tried to do in this case. We need to see what positive evidence, if any, there is that Madeleine was abducted. We also need to see if there is evidence that may point in another direction - for example, the possible involvement of the parents.
Since the reports of Madeleine going ‘missing’, the media have frequently highlighted how many children go missing every year. We concede that there are, certainly, occasional cases of ‘stranger abductions’. However, the vast majority of cases of missing or ‘abducted’ children usually fall into one of the following two categories:
A very small number of children are also:
Then, in addition, there are very occasional instances of babies snatched from hospital or other public places by mothers desperate to have a baby.
But we repeat - and this is most important: In cases where parents of infant children claim that their children have been abducted from their family homes (or from a temporary residence elsewhere such as a holiday hotel or caravan), in nearly every case, it turns out that the child has died in the family home, due to an accident, neglect, negligence or a deliberate act. In these circumstances, it is usually a member of the child’s own family, or extended family, or a friend known to the family, who is responsible for that death. Hundreds of examples of such cases have occurred in recent years alone.
In the U.S., following the abduction of a child called Megan by a known paedophile, ‘Megan’s Law’ was passed, which provides for parents to be informed if a known sex offender is living in their area. But in the U.K., the Children’s Commissioner said: “We are concerned that a version of Megan’s Law could detract from the fact that children are actually most at risk from people known to them”. Against this background, where we have seen that in the vast majority of cases of young children reported stolen from inside their family home, the child is dead and the family is responsible, we now turn to examine 29 other key specific lines of evidence which suggest that Madeleine McCann was not abducted.
2. The evidence from two highly trained cadaver dogs who found the ‘smell of death’ in several places in the holiday apartment where the McCanns were staying - and in a car they hired three weeks later
As suspicions grew in the minds of the Portuguese police that Doctors Kate and Gerry McCann might know what had happened to their daughter, and might even have been involved in some way in her disappearance, the police turned to the British police to help them determine whether Madeleine might have died in Apartment 5A in Praia da Luz, where her parents had been staying from 28th April to 3rd May, the day she was reported missing.
They turned for advice to experienced Leicestershire detective Mark Harrison, who, after a week’s visit to Praia da Luz in July 2007 - in which he analysed all the evidence - advised that the Portuguese police should proceed on the working assumption that Madeleine had died in the McCanns’ apartment, and her body hidden or otherwise disposed of. He then brought in a top police dog handler, Mr Martin Grime, who had two highly-trained springer spaniels under his command: ‘Eddie’, who could detect human cadaverine, the so-called smell of death, and ‘Keela’, in effect a ‘blood-hound’, who could detect the presence of blood.
Dogs, it should be noted, are known to have a sense of smell 10,000 times as strong as that of humans, which is almost beyond comprehension given that we ourselves have such a highly developed sense of smell. The two dogs, trained and used successfully by top police dog-handler Martin Grime over many years, had the ability to use their faculties in two highly specific areas.
Eddie, who has been called ‘the cadaver dog’, can detect the presence of human ‘cadaverine’, a special chemical released from a dead body, usually after the body has been dead for at least two hours (sometimes as short as an hour-and-a-half). It’s important to understand that Eddie is trained only to scent the presence of the special type of cadaverine released by a human corpse. The scent of death from animals is a different form of cadaverine. Keela is a dog trained specifically to detect the presence of blood. She is therefore what is popularly known as a ‘blood-hound’. She has been trained to ignore decomposing body materials other than human blood, freezing with her nose as near to the blood as possible without touching the item, to enable scientists to recover the sample quickly and efficiently. She can even pick out traces of blood after clothing or weapons have been washed many times; when Keela was working on the Abigail Witchalls case, she found eight pieces of blood-stained clothing in just one day.
Claims have been made by the McCanns and their team of legal and PR advisers about the alleged unreliability of cadaver dogs, including suggestions that they have on occasions mistaken pork for cadaver scent. But cadaver dogs have an excellent track record and have been used successfully in several murder trials. They are able to detect the smell of death up to dozens of feet below the surface and even after a body has lain there for years. Spectacular examples of their work can be viewed on many websites on the Internet. In addition, Mr Harrison and Mr Grime, who trained Eddie and Keela, patiently explained that the dogs had traced the ‘smell of death’ - human cadaverine - on around 200 previous occasions. They had never once been wrong.
An article in the Daily Telegraph gave us these details about the dogs:
“The spaniel can sniff out blood in clothes after they have been washed repeatedly in biological washing powder, and can detect microscopic amounts on weapons that have been scrubbed and washed. When faced with a ‘clean’ crime scene, Mr Ellis and PC Martin Grime, Keela’s other handler, will first send in Frankie, a border collie, and Eddie, another springer spaniel, to pick up any general scent. Then they wheel in the ‘big gun’. ‘We take Keela in and she will find the minutest traces of blood’, Mr Ellis said. ‘It’s not like looking for a needle in a haystack any more. The other two dogs will find the haystack and Keela will find the needle’.
“Keela, a 16-month-old springer spaniel, has become such an asset to South Yorkshire Police that she now earns more than the Chief Constable. Her sense of smell, so keen that she can sniff traces of blood on weapons that have been scrubbed after attacks, has her so much in demand by forces up and down the country that she is hired out at £530 a day, plus expenses. Thought to be the only one of her kind, the crime scenes dog earns nearly £200,000 a year. Her daily rate, ten times that of ordinary police dogs, puts her on more than the chief constable, Meredydd Hughes, who picks up £129,963.
“A South Yorkshire police spokesman said: ‘The dogs are the only two in Britain who are capable of finding human blood in small quantities. They are trained to seek buried remains and are put to search on areas which look disturbed, such as broken branches, rubble or turned over earth’. At the end of last year, the FBI sought the dogs' help in a ten-year-old murder investigation in the United States.
So what did Mr Martin Grime’s cadaver dog and blood-hound find?
According to the official police summary report released in July this year - and confirmed by video evidence of the dogs in action in Praia da Luz, widely available on the Internet - Eddie, the cadaver dog, found the ‘smell of death’ in the following places. We quote the exact words of the report:
a) in the McCanns’ apartment, Apartment 5A, Eddie the cadaver the dog detected the scent of a human corpse (human cadaverine):
Also, a ‘lighter’ scent of death was found in the flower beds in the back yard, near the foot of the steps leading down from the patio.
b) on family items of clothing, Eddie found the scent of a corpse as follows:
c) in addition, Eddie the cadaver dog was taken to the house that the McCanns rented, in a different part of Praia da Luz, after they left Apartment 5A. Eddie found cadaverine on what was said to be Madeleine’s favourite pink soft toy, ‘Cuddle Cat’, which Dr Kate McCann always had with her when being interviewed by the media - but which Eddie detected lying in an otherwise empty cupboard. Here it should be noted that, earlier, Eddie had found Cuddle Cat in the living room at the McCanns’ rented home, tossed it in the air, but not actually ‘marked’ it by barking. He later marked it when the police re-located it in the cupboard.
d) on top of all that, Eddie, sniffing the car from the outside only, detected cadaverine in the car the McCanns hired on 22nd May, less than three weeks after Madeleine ‘disappeared’ - a Renault Scenic:
These findings, supported by other forensic evidence, show that a dead body must have begun to emit cadaverine in Apartment 5A - the McCanns’ apartment. That body must have lain dead in that apartment for at least 90 minutes, probably two hours or more. Once that ‘smell of death’ - cadaverine - had begun to be produced, it could then be transferred to other locations such as the hire car, Madeleine’s clothes, Dr Kate McCann’s clothes and Cuddle Cat.
That means that a corpse - that must have been dead for approximately two hours (in order for cadaverine to have been produced) - must have been in direct contact with all of these locations - floor, wardrobe, car, clothes etc. If the body had subsequently been moved, it would still emit cadaverine as it was decomposing. Meanwhile, Keela, the blood-hound, found the smell of blood - note, blood, not just ‘body fluids’:
a) in the living room, behind the sofa, close to the external window of the apartment (exactly where Eddie had found the scent of human cadaverine), and
b) in the McCanns’ hired Renault Scenic:
We should note three very important things here. The dogs alerted to the smell of death/blood, separately, in exactly the same places in the apartment. Eddie the cadaver dog only alerted to the smell of death to the McCanns’ apartment, out of all the other ones he was taken to.
Similarly, the McCanns’ car was the only one in the car compound that Eddie alerted to. Let us be very clear about where the dogs’ evidence takes us. Records have been checked by the Portuguese police, going back years. No-one else has ever died in Apartment 5A. No-one else has ever died in the Renault Scenic. There was a dead body in Apartment 5A. There was a dead body in the Renault Scenic hired by the McCanns. That dead body could only be one individual - already dead - who could have been in both Apartment 5A and in the Renault Scenic. It must have been Madeleine McCann.
3. The extraordinary reactions of Doctors Kate and Gerry McCann when they were told that the cadaver dog and the blood-hound had detected the ‘smell of death’ and blood in Apartment 5A, in the Renault Scenic, and on the clothes of Dr Kate McCann and Madeleine
The evidence from the cadaver dog and the blood-hound were convincing enough on their own. But the McCanns then went on to strongly reinforce the evidence that Madeleine had died in Apartment 5A by their extraordinary reactions when that evidence was first reported.
To most people - if their child really had been abducted - the news that the ‘smell of death’ had been found in their holiday apartment, and in their car, would have prompted an outpouring of grief and concern for their child. It would have prompted reactions such as: Who hired the car before us?, or - Is anyone else known to have died in our apartment or in the hire car?
But this was not how the McCanns reacted. Instead, speaking through a variety of sources, including their £75,000-a-year spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, ‘friends of the family’ and ‘sources close to the McCanns’ legal team’, the McCanns came up with the following five explanations for why human cadaverine - the ‘smell of death’ - and blood, had been found in their apartment and in the car they hired:
(a) First, Dr Kate McCann claimed (at first indirectly via her mother, not directly) that the ‘smell of death’ may have been found on her clothes because she was said to have been in close proximity with no fewer than six corpses in her last two weeks at work. So far as this excuse for the presence of the ‘smell of death’ is concerned, there is doubt as to whether she did actually visit six corpses. That has never been verified by the McCanns. Further, those Doctors who have to certify the cause of death do not always handle the body nor handle it long enough or closely enough for the smell of death to be transferred to clothes. It also seems unlikely that a person who really had worked in such close proximity with corpses would take the same clothes on holiday with them that they used in working close to corpses.
(b) Second, Dr Kate McCann claimed that the ‘smell of death’ was found on the pink soft toy ‘Cuddle Cat’ because she ‘sometimes took Cuddle Cat to work’. The presence of the smell of death on Cuddle Cat was particularly difficult for the McCanns to explain. As a newspaper report based on police sources put it: “Kate didn’t contradict the fact that her two pieces of clothes and the stuffed animal [Cuddle Cat] had been signalled by the English dogs trained to find cadaver odour. She justified it by her profession. Kate McCann’s mother alleged that as a doctor at the Leicester health centre, she was directly present at six deaths before she came to Portugal on holiday, giving the same excuse for Madeleine’s stuffed animal, that was with her in the months after her daughter disappeared”.
Dr Kate McCann once again claimed that the ‘smell of death’ must have been transferred on to Cuddle Cat by her working on the corpses during the two weeks before going on holiday to work. Quite apart from it being unlikely that a mother would take a child’s favourite stuffed animal to work, never mind having it with her when she was close to corpses, it appears that experts say that it is not usually possible for the ‘smell of death’ to be transferred in this way. Even if the smell of death could be transferred in such a way - which the experts rule out - the McCanns would still have to account for the presence of the ‘smell of death’ in their apartment, and on the car they hired three weeks after Madeleine went missing.
(c) Third, the McCanns claimed that if DNA, thought to be Madeleine’s, was found in the boot of their car, then it could have come from the children’s dirty nappies, which they carried in the boot. First, it is unlikely, though certainly possible, that anyone would carry dirty nappies around in this way. Second, it must be remembered that the blood-hound, Keela, found the smell of blood in the hired car, not just ‘body fluids’. The ‘dirty nappy’ excuse therefore also doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.
(d) Fourth, the McCanns claimed that the ‘smell of death’ could have come from rotting meat that Dr Gerry McCann was taking to the local rubbish dump from time to time. This is also impossible, as the scent from dead animals does not produce the same ‘cadaverine’ as human cadaver scent. The cadaver dogs are trained to detect only human cadaverine. Probably Dr Gerry McCann didn’t realise this when he made his comment.
(e) Fifth, the McCanns said that any blood found in the flat (apparently found having oozed underneath the tiles in the living room behind the sofa and where the wall and the floor meet) might have come from Madeleine ‘grazing her leg when she boarded the plane’, or perhaps a nosebleed. These explanations seem highly unlikely, given the amount of blood that would be needed for a small amount to seep through the tiles. The ‘knee incident’ occurred elsewhere, the day their holiday began. Any light bleeding would surely have stopped well before they even got to Praia da Luz. In addition, it is hardly likely that blood from a graze on the knee would be located at the edge of a room where the wall joins the floor. Nosebleeds usually leave only a few spots of blood (if any) on flooring, being largely contained by clothing or a handkerchief or similar over the nose. It’s highly unlikely that Madeleine would have sat still while copious quantities of blood poured from her nose on to the tiled floor, right by the living room wall.
In addition to these excuses for the apparent presence of both the smell of death and Madeleine’s blood, the McCanns and their ever-growing team of PR advisers and lawyers immediately poured scorn on the evidence of the cadaver dog and the blood-hound. They quickly cited, for example, an Irish court case where the judge would not accept the cadaver dog evidence alone, because it was not corroborated. They claimed there were Irish and American lawyers who had been able to cast doubt on cadaver dog evidence, pointing to a U.S. study which allegedly showed that cadaver dogs could be fallible. Yet cadaver dog evidence has played a vital part in securing the conviction of murderers in a number of countries. And we know from Mark Grimes that Eddie and Keela had never once been wrong in over 200 cases where they detected the smell of death or blood.
Let us ask ourselves, also, whether pouring scorn on the evidence of a cadaver dog in another court case would be amongst the first reactions of genuinely loving, grieving parents, on being informed that the smell of death had been found in their apartment and car?
4. The forensic evidence of the DNA of blood found in the living room of the McCanns’ apartment, and in the Renault Scenic hired by the McCanns, analysed by the Forensic Science Service here in England
There have been claims and counter-claims about the significance of the forensic evidence obtained by the Forensic Science Service (FSS) in Birmingham on samples of blood or body fluids found in the McCanns’ apartment and in the boot of the car they hired. The McCanns and their spokesmen have claimed that the FSS results did not confirm that it was Madeleine’s dead body in the apartment and in the car. So let us look carefully at what the FSS found.
In Apartment 5A, the apartment the McCanns rented for the week, Eddie, the 'cadaver dog' and Keela, the 'blood-hound’, both clearly - and independently from each other - marked precisely the same location, behind the sofa in the living room (which had been moved by the McCanns from its original location). The tiles where Keela scented the blood were carefully removed, first analysed by a Portuguese laboratory, and then sent to FSS. The blood found by Keela was by then degraded, quite probably, it was said, due to cleaning agents having been used to clean the area where the dogs detected the corpse scent and the blood.
As a result, the FSS lab was able to check only 5 markers from that site. Each one of those 5 markers matched Madeleine's DNA. Or, to re-phrase this a different way, there were no markers that could not have come from Madeleine, so the idea that it was her blood could most certainly not be ruled out.
Far more conclusive evidence was found in the Renault Scenic, registration no. 59-DA-27 - the car hired by the McCanns. Eddie, the 'cadaver dog', and Keela, the 'blood-hound’, both clearly marked the same car and the same location within the car. The blood found there by Keela (beneath the carpeting in the well of the car) was also degraded. But the FSS lab was able this time, on its first analysis, to find 19 markers, of which 15 markers matched Madeleine's DNA - again, meaning that there were no markers within these 15 that could not have come from Madeleine. With 15 markers out of 19 all matching Madeleine’s DNA, that would give analysts 99.9% confidence that the blood samples were from Madeleine. The DNA of the degraded blood was found not to match with the DNA of the twins, Sean and Amelie, a further indication that the blood was Madeleine’s. These were the initial results that the FSS initially communicated to senior investigating officer Gonçalo Amaral and his team.
The law differs from country to country as to how many out of an individual’s 19 or 20 DNA ‘markers’ are needed by the courts to prove that any DNA sample comes from that individual. Many countries accept 15 markers out of 19 as sufficient proof. Under Portuguese law, however, the courts require all 19 markers to be confirmed. This was what is called ‘Low Copy Number’ DNA and so all 19 markers could not be obtained.
We might add here that when the British police cross-check the DNA of a suspect with its database (said to consist of 2.5 million people) of people who have been arrested on suspicion of a crime, they use only 10 markers out of 19 in order to establish a DNA ‘match’.
The scientist who invented DNA fingerprinting two decades ago, Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys, said however that using 10 markers to obtain a sufficiently reliable ‘match’ was insufficient proof. He went on to state that 15 markers would provide sufficient evidence to be conclusive. He said: “The current DNA database uses 10 distinct markers to obtain a match and this means there is still a residual risk of a false match. They should use about 15 markers; 15 markers would close the possibility that the match from a crime scene sample is genuine but a fluke”.
To find 15 out of Madeleine’s 19 markers present means that the chances that the traces of blood in the hired car came from anyone other than Madeleine were fewer than only 1 in 1,000.
The key point to be made is this. These initial FSS results, on their own, showed a better than 99.9% chance that the blood in the McCanns’ hired car was Madeleine’s. For some experts, and under Portuguese law, 15 markers out of 19 - bearing in mind the high level of proof required in a criminal trial - stops just short of providing absolute proof that the blood is that person’s. But we must take these strongly indicative results (with all 5 markers in one sample and 15 in another that could not have come from Madeleine) together with all the other evidence in this case. We can surely say with confidence that the chance of those 15 markers belonging to someone other than Madeleine is next-to-nothing, especially when we take into account other significant forensic and circumstantial evidence. These initial DNA results, then, amount to more evidence in the case pointing very strongly in the direction of Madeleine being dead in her holiday apartment on 3rd May 2007, the day she ‘disappeared’, and then her body being transported in the Renault Scenic at least three weeks later.
In a case reported in October this year, a killer was convicted thanks to relative's DNA. The Forensic Science Service and police used ‘familial searching’ to uncover a close relative of Craig Harman, from Surrey, who had a criminal conviction and was on the DNA database. The relative's profile matched the DNA on the brick by 16 out of 20 points. This led police to Harman, whose DNA gave a perfect match. He eventually confessed to the drunken act of violence.
It must be said, however, that this first analysis, given to the Portuguese and Leicestershire detectives in June, was overridden a month later when the FSS issued a more detailed report. By now, as the former senior investigating officer Gonçalo Amaral confirms in his book, political interference in the case had begun, with successful attempts being made to get the FSS to water down their initial conclusions. By July, the initial samples had been re-tested and were now found to contain 37 markers, or ‘alleles’, not just the original 19. The sample appeared to have been contaminated by staff of the FSS laboratory. Though there were now reported to be 37 ‘markers’, there were still, of course, 15 that were a match to Madeleine’s DNA. That fact that the FSS appear to have contaminated the sample does not negate the match. It simply makes it somewhat less certain that the blood was Madeleine’s.
By the time they issued their more detailed report, the FSS said that they were only able to confirm that the results of the analysis were ‘indicative’ that the blood found was Madeleine’s. They later added that the results were ‘too complex for meaningful analysis’. We need to bear in mind that whilst the Portuguese police have released some FSS analyses and statements, they have not yet released others to the public, including the reports of their first tests, which gave the strongest indications that the blood was Madeleine’s. The leading Portuguese detective on the case is clear that intense political pressure was successfully brought on the FSS to modify its earlier results, whilst the leading British detective on the case, Stuart Prior, was overheard to be ‘furious’ with the FSS when he learnt of their watered-down opinion. It seems he also believed that there had been political interference to secure a less conclusive result.
5. Dr Kate McCann’s refusal to answer any of the questions put to her by the Portuguese police - especially Question No. 41
It has now emerged that Dr Kate McCann refused to answer any one of 48 separate questions that the Portuguese police asked her after she was made an ‘arguida’. True, she had her lawyer with her, and it is said that in refusing to answer any questions, she was acting on legal advice. But what mother, truly distraught at the abduction of her daughter, would refuse to help the police with what they wanted to know? Parents who were innocent of any wrong-doing in relation to their daughter’s disappearance would surely do all that they possibly could to assist the police.
A list of the 48 questions asked by the Portuguese police - none of which were answered by Dr Kate McCann - has since been published and is widely available on the Internet. One of the questions (No. 41) asked was a surprise to many. The Portuguese police asked Dr Kate McCann if the McCanns had discussed or made plans for the legal care of Madeleine to be taken over by a relative. If this was indeed true, this would question the McCanns’ description of their relationship with Madeleine as wholly positive and loving.
Some light was thrown on this issue early on in the case when a relative of the McCanns declared that ‘there was always someone with Kate’ during Dr Gerry McCann’s frequent weekend absences at conference and other speaking engagements. It was never explained, however, why Dr Kate McCann needed someone with her to care for the children while her husband was away.
Following Dr Kate McCann’s refusal to answer questions, and after Dr Gerry McCann was also interviewed by the police, the British government flew the McCanns back to England on a special Easyjet flight. From then on, any questioning of the McCanns was almost entirely under their own control. The Portuguese police had to go through British government channels to get permission to interview the McCanns and their ‘Tapas 9’ friends. The police’s potential questions were vetted and approved by both the British government and the McCanns’ lawyers. The Portuguese police had to submit their questions in advance for Home Office approval, in what are called ‘rogatory letters’.
Whatever one’s personal view on the British government’s role in the investigation - i.e. whether it went well beyond the norm or not - the Portuguese police were heavily restricted in their investigation to a level which suggests wilful interference. In effect, the McCanns, though being suspects in Madeleine’s ‘disappearance’, were – throughout - able to evade effective questioning. ‘Innocent’ parents who ‘knew’ that their child had been abducted would surely co-operate fully and without reservation with the police and help them with all the information that they possibly could.
6. Publicly agreeing to take a lie detector test - and then refusing
When serious accusations against the McCanns first surfaced, they promised that they would take a lie detector test to clear their names. But when various lie detector experts offered to provide their services, the McCanns suddenly changed their minds and refused to co-operate. This was totally in keeping with their earlier behaviour on being questioned - when Dr Kate McCann, apparently on the advice of her lawyer, exercised her right to remain silent in her police interview by taking the status of an ‘arguido’ – i.e. suspect.
7. The sheer impossibility of the abduction happening as claimed
Here, it is important to examine closely what the McCanns, and the friends who were with them in Praia da Luz, have said about the possibility that Madeleine was abducted. We give a long answer because this issue is crucial in enabling us to assess whether the McCanns and their friends are telling the truth or not. We will come to their constantly changing stories about how the alleged abductor may have entered the apartment, and other major contradictions in their accounts of the events of 3rd May, later in this document (see Reasons 16 and 20).
The scenario that the McCanns and their friends have produced runs as follows. They say that:
Going by the above scenario, which the McCanns and their ‘Tapas 9’ friends have maintained, the abductor (if there was one) must have either entered the apartment before Dr Matthew Oldfield’s check at around 9.03pm and Dr Gerry McCann’s check at 9.05pm/9.07pm - the version the McCanns now want us to believe - or after Dr Gerry McCann left at 9.09pm/9.10pm and before he was (allegedly) seen by Jane Tanner at 9.15pm.
The problems with this abduction scenario
There are many problems associated with the specific abduction scenario above that the McCanns and their ‘Tapas 9’ friends have generated.
For a start, the Portuguese police did a forensic examination of the window-sill, through which it is claimed that the abductor must have climbed out, with Madeleine. The Portuguese police said that they found no trace of any other person having made any impression on the window-sill. Moreover, in addition, (a) the lichen on the outside window-sill appeared to be totally undisturbed and (b) the Portuguese police only found Dr Kate McCann’s fingerprints on the window, no-one else’s. All of this tells us that the abductor, if indeed there ever was one, did not escape with Madeleine through the window.
Further, the window is high enough in the children’s room to make it physically very difficult for an abductor to climb through it. It was reported to be 91cm. above the floor - exactly three feet. The abductor would therefore have had to climb some three feet, with Madeleine with him, in his arms or over his shoulder. In addition, he would have to have managed this feat without leaving any forensic traces on the window-sill.
Madeleine must have weighed at least two stone (12kg). A task such as this would have meant balancing against the window frame itself, in which case traces of clothing fibres would have been found. Even then, it would have been almost impossible to climb through this window even if Madeleine had been asleep. It is surely even more unlikely that the abductor could have laid Madeleine down on the floor or a bed in the children’s bedroom, then climbed out of the window, and then reached back inside the bedroom to pick Madeleine out of the room - all of this without Madeleine waking up.
This whole abduction operation would clearly have been still more difficult either if Madeleine had woken up whilst being abducted, or one or both twins had done so. To maintain the abduction scenario, therefore, it is necessary to believe that Madeleine slept through the entire abduction operation.
Moreover, to escape via the window, as the McCanns claim, the abductor would have had to open the shutters. Mark Warners, however, explained that it was only possible to open the shutters from the inside. They are operated by pulling a cord, or strap, on the inside. It is a highly relevant fact (again confirmed by Mark Warners) that when these heavy metal shutters were opened, the whole process is extremely noisy.
But no-one heard the shutters being opened. Moreover, the children’s room was directly overlooked by a tall block of apartments on the other side of the street. Had the abductor really climbed out of that window, he would have been in the view of dozens of windows overlooking Apartment 5A. We now know that the shutters to Apartment 5A were actually closed when the police and Mark Warners’ staff arrived to check them. The Mccanns’ initial explanation for this fact were that the shutters ‘must have been closed by the abductor as well as opened by him’. We have seen that the shutters could not be opened from the outside. This claim by the McCanns that the abductor ‘must have tried to close the shutters behind him’ prompts two related and very obvious questions:
1) having gained entry through an open patio door, what would possess an abductor to leave via a three-foot high closed window, with the shutters also closed? The McCanns’ convoluted abduction scenario would require him to have opened the windows and shutters, then tried to close the shutters behind him, when he could have simply walked through the already-open patio doors - and
2) why and how, having allegedly scooped up Madeleine in his arms and opened the window and the shutters, would he have had the time and the physical ability to then close the shutters, all without making any sound or leaving any trace, without being seen by anyone, and without waking either Madeleine or the twins?
Moreover, all this would have had to have been accomplished in the dark - unless the alleged abductor switched the lights on when he entered the apartment and then remembered to switch them off again as he was making his exit. No-one saw any lights on in the apartment. The McCanns have admitted that they left the children in the darkness when they went out for their evening’s entertainment. Therefore, to sum up - according to the McCanns’ scenario, the abductor would have to have:
* first - either picked an opportunity to enter the apartment after the McCanns had left for the Tapas bar at between 8.30pm and 9.00pm - or entered the apartment immediately after he had seen first Dr Matthew Oldfield and then Gerry McCann enter and leave the apartment at around 9.09pm/9.10pm;
[NOTE: if the former of these two alternatives, then the abductor must have been in the apartment with Dr Gerry McCann during the five minutes or so he was checking on the children - as Dr McCann indeed claimed last year]
* second - walked through the open patio door without being seen;
* third - found Madeleine in the dark;
* fourth - picked her up, without waking her or the twins;
* fifth - opened the window - without leaving any fingerprints;
* sixth - opened the shutters (with nobody hearing him doing so, and once again without leaving any finger-prints);
* seventh - climbed through the window, carrying Madeleine with him - again without being seen by anyone, and again without leaving any fingerprints; and
* eighth - he would then have had to close the very noisy shutters, using controls operated from the inside - while still having Madeleine in his arms, or having laid her down on the patio.
The operation of climbing through the window would have been physically very difficult, if not impossible, to do without (a) even brushing away even a tiny piece of the years-old lichen growing on the window-sill or (b) leaving any clothing fibres or other forensic evidence.
He must in addition have accomplished this whole operation in near total darkness and without being seen or heard by anyone - except for the highly suspect evidence of Jane Tanner, which we will deal with later. If he had Madeleine in his arms, and bearing in mind he was in near darkness, he would have been unable to see anything below her or much to either side as he fumbled through the window and shutters and tried to escape from the apartment precincts. Why he would do this when there was an open patio door to walk back through is utterly incomprehensible. The only reason the McCanns came up with this wholly improbable scenario is that they had to explain to the Portuguese police and to the outside world why the normally-closed window was open and the normally-closed shutters were partially open.
This whole incredible abduction scenario - unconfirmed by any forensics whatsoever, and indeed contradicted by Dr Kate McCann’s fingerprints on the window - is so impossible to believe that we can surely say: this did not happen.
Now let us look for a moment at the McCanns’ theory that the abductor had been ‘casing the joint’ for several days beforehand - and then pounced and abducted Madeleine when he had the chance. The McCanns claim that he would have been closely watching them, including observing what the McCanns claim as their routine of half-hourly checking (though, to be frank, the evidence suggests that neither they nor their ‘Tapas 9’ friends checked on their children half-hourly or even at all whilst they were out wining and dining).
The McCanns have gone further and have suggested - in a lengthy TV interview for the BBC’s Panorama programme - that the abductor must have been making notes on their movements, allegedly carefully observing the times of their departures from the apartment. But this does not seem plausible given that neither the McCanns, nor their ‘Tapas 9’ friends, have given any details of how often (if at all) they were checking on their children whilst out wining and dining.
Another problem about the McCanns’ abduction scenario is that there is nowhere that the abductor could have been observing the McCanns’ apartment without being seen - unless, that is, he was living or operating from one of the flats opposite the McCanns’ apartment, some of which overlooked it. It is understood that the occupants of these flats have all been investigated and their statements corroborated. None of them had anyone in their flat who was watching the McCanns’ apartment, nor was anyone seen acting suspiciously or hanging around in that area during the week the McCanns and their friends were there.
The other obvious problem about the claim of an abductor ‘casing the joint’ is this:- Suppose an abductor had been watching the McCanns’ apartment day in and day out. On the McCanns’ own timeline, he would have seen the McCanns leave for the Tapas bar at 8.30pm. If, therefore, as claimed, an abductor had been watching the premises, he would presumably have chosen this ‘moment’ to abduct Madeleine - i.e., immediately after Drs Gerry and Kate McCann had left for the Tapas bar (on their own account) at around 8.30pm.
Yet, if he had entered the flat just after the McCanns left at 8.30pm, how come he was not long gone 35-40 minutes later when Dr Gerry McCann did his check? After all, Dr Gerry McCann now believes that the abductor may have even been present for the entire five minutes or so that he was doing his 9.05pm to 9.10pm check.
Yet a further difficulty for this improbable scenario is that Dr Matthew Oldfield claims that he did two checks – one at around 8.55pm/9.00pm, (various times have been given for this alleged check) and the other around 9.30pm. Dr Oldfield claims that during his 9.00pm visit he ‘checked’ from the outside but saw and heard nothing. He also said that the shutters were ‘tight shut’. If indeed the abductor really had entered before both Dr Matthew Oldfield’s alleged check (around 9.00pm) and Dr McCann’s check (around 9.05pm), then he was exceptionally lucky, to put it mildly, not to have been detected by either man.
There are equal if not even greater problems with the suggestion that the abductor entered the apartment and removed Madeleine only after Drs Oldfield and McCann had done their checks. Would any abductor really have dashed into the apartment after first seeing Dr Oldfield checking the outside of the apartment at around 9.00pm - and then seen Gerry spending five minutes or so checking between 9.05pm and 9.10pm? It would surely have been far too risky.
And if he entered the apartment after Dr Gerry McCann left at 9.10pm, he would scarcely have had time to enter the flat, remove Madeleine, open the window and shutters, close them behind him etc. and then be seen by Jane Tanner at 9.15pm.
Sadly, no British newspaper or magazine has offered an analysis, like the one above, of the unlikelihood of the abduction having occurred in the way the McCanns and their ‘Tapas 9’ friends claim it ‘must have’ happened. British people interested in the true facts of the case have had to rely on websites, Internet forums and blogs for such analysis.
8. The McCanns’ immediate and insistent cry of ‘abduction’ - excluding all other possibilities
At around 10.00pm on Thursday 3rd May, the ‘abduction alert’ was triggered by Dr Kate McCann reportedly screaming and shouting: ‘She’s gone’ and ‘They’ve taken her’, and then running down to the ‘Tapas Bar’ to alert her friends who were, allegedly, all wining and dining there.
Dr Gerry McCann effectively conceded this when he told police in his statement that ‘Madeleine ran off ahead one night on our return to the apartment but ran out of the apartment hiding from us’.
Yet Dr Kate McCann was to say in a number of TV interviews later that: “I knew instantly that she had been abducted”. Questioned on TV about why she immediately thought that, she refused to elaborate. She hid behind the claim that she could say nothing further about her reasons because of the Portuguese judicial system’s ‘secrecy’ rules, apparently making it a crime to discuss any aspect of the investigation. Yet she was happy to discuss a number of other aspects of the investigation which she felt much more comfortable answering, even though these were also covered by the same secrecy rules. The couple then immediately proceeded to inform the British media - both directly and through friends - that Madeleine had been abducted. They informed their nearest relatives that Madeline had undoubtedly been abducted.
Dr Gerry McCann told her mother-in-law Susan Healy that night: “There’s been a disaster. Madeleine has been abducted”, while Dr Kate McCann later spoke to her mother and said: “She’s gone, Mum, she's gone”. Later the McCanns were to tell some of their relatives that the ‘abduction line’ must be maintained at all costs. They repeatedly told their relatives that there was no other possibility.
Very soon after Madeleine was reported missing, Dr Gerry McCann spoke to his wife Kate’s mother, Mrs Susan Healy. During that conversation, Mrs Healy, struggling to understand what might have happened to her granddaughter, began offering other possible explanations as to why she might have disappeared. But Gerry McCann was adamantly insistent that Kate’s mother must believe that Madeleine had been abducted. He stressed to her that it was vital that she - like he and his wife Kate – should believe what he was telling her.
Quite apart from all the above, and contrary to the McCanns’ insistence that Madeleine always slept like a log once she had fallen asleep, family members reported that Madeleine did in fact have a tendency to wake up and wander after being put to bed. This was confirmed in two important ways:
Clearly, also, whatever the true explanation for Madeleine running around in the bushes outside the McCanns’ apartment, she had a mind of her own. The immediate, flat denial by the McCanns that there was any other possible explanation for Madeleine being missing, other than having been abducted, was in itself suspicious.
9. The McCanns’ false claim that the abductor had forced entry by jemmying open the shutters
The McCanns were very clear, from the word ‘go’, that Madeleine had been snatched from Apartment 5A because, they said initially, the metal shutters to the property had been forced open from the outside.
How do we know they said this? We know it from the McCanns’ relatives, who all reported to newspapers and other media that this is what Kate and Gerry McCann had told them. Their story was that the abductor had jemmied open the shutters from the outside, and then climbed in through the window. The abductor had had to do this, the McCanns assured the police and the media, because the apartment was locked. The abductor would then have had to climb out of the window again and close the metal shutters by pulling them down, using a control strap from the inside.
But within hours, both the Portuguese police and staff from Mark Warners, the holiday company with whom the McCanns and their friends were staying, had thoroughly checked the shutters. Their unanimous view was: ‘The shutters have not been forced open. There were no signs of forced entry’.
Following that evidence, the McCanns rapidly changed their story. They now made up an elaborate new version of possible events, as we have discussed above.
They said that, on reflection, perhaps they had left the patio door unlocked, and that the abductor ‘must have’ walked through the open patio door, then climbed out of the window with Madeleine, opening the window, opening the shutters, then closing the shutters behind him.
Many people pointed out, however, how unlikely it was that a couple would knowingly leave a holiday apartment unlocked, with things like passports and valuables inside, never mind three defenceless, sleeping children, all under four years old.
The forensic evidence that the shutters had not been forced open then gave the McCanns a further problem, as the press asked: “If the patio door was left unlocked, then perhaps Madeleine opened it and wandered off?” The McCanns were so anxious to maintain the abduction theory that they then insisted: “Madeline was not strong enough to have opened the patio doors”.
That story in turn contradicted the earlier claim by Dr Kate McCann that the patio doors had been kept unlocked ‘so that the children could escape in case of a fire’. If Dr Kate McCann was now right in insisting that Madeleine was not strong enough to open the patio doors, it would of course have been utterly pointless to leave the patio doors unlocked ‘in case of fire’.
10. The shutters could only be opened from the inside - and only Kate McCann’s fingerprints were on the window
Dr Kate and Dr Gerry McCann claimed that at 10.00pm, they found the shutters, the windows and the curtain all open. At first, as we saw above, they claimed that the abductor forced entry that way. Later they changed their story to suggest that the abductor must have come in another way and climbed out of the window.
But the police only found the fingerprints of one person on the windows - Dr Kate McCann. The window was also found to have been very recently cleaned. That strongly suggests that it was her, not the abductor, who opened the window, no doubt during the evening of 3rd May, in order to create the abduction scenario.
11. Contradictions between the account of Jeremy Wilkins and the accounts of Dr Gerry McCann and Jane Tanner
When Jeremy (‘Jes’) Wilkins - a TV producer also on holiday at the Ocean Club complex during the same week - gave an initial statement to the police about bumping into Dr Gerry McCann at just after 9.00pm, prior to talking to him for three minutes, he told police that he met Dr McCann on the road beneath the McCann’s apartment. One unconfirmed report was that Wilkins had seen Dr McCann ‘checking the shutters from the outside’.
We may also mention here that there are a number of contradictions concerning this brief meeting between Jeremy Wilkins and Mr Gerry McCann, including:
(a) Wilkins says the meeting lasted just ‘3 minutes’; Dr Gerry McCann claimed it was ‘10 to 15 minutes’ - a big discrepancy
(b) Wilkins says he crossed the road to talk to him, whilst Dr Gerry McCann claims it was he who crossed the road to talk to Wilkins
(c) the two men disagreed about the subject matter of their conversation
(d) Ms Jane Tanner claimed she saw both men as she walked right past them; but neither man recalls seeing Ms Tanner.
12. The failure of both the Doctors McCann, and their friend Jane Tanner, to talk to each other for 24 hours about her claimed sighting of the alleged abductor
According to many reports, and confirmed in an article by David James Smith, in The Times, published in December 2007, the McCanns and their friend Jane Tanner did not talk to each other for at least 24 hours (some reports claimed it was two days) about what she claimed to have seen at 9.15pm that night - namely a person walking off with a child looking like Madeleine.
The McCanns maintained that they found Madeleine gone at 10.00pm on 3rd May. Jane Tanner has claimed throughout that she saw a man carrying a child ‘walking purposefully’ across the top of the road, as she was walking away from the Tapas Bar, at 9.15pm on 3rd May.
Dr Kate McCann cried out at 10.00pm on 3rd May that Madeleine had been ‘abducted’. Dr Gerry McCann followed suit and word soon spread that Madeleine was ‘missing’ after neighbours heard the commotion. Mark Warners, within 30 minutes, activated their ‘missing child’ procedures.
Soon, dozens - perhaps hundreds - of people were looking around Praia da Luz for Madeleine. The police had been informed and soon put out an alert wanting any information that could help to determine what happened to Madeleine.
Many sources confirm that the McCann absolutely insisted from the word ‘go’ that Madeleine had been abducted. During the first 48 hours after she was reported missing, there was a massive search for her by police and local people.
But according to an article by David James Smith in The Times, which included an exclusive and extended interview with the McCanns, Jane Tanner and the McCanns did not speak to each other ‘for 48 hours’ because each of them was ‘too busy’. Other reports said it was ‘24 hours’.
It must be clear to anyone who ponders this point that, if there really had been an abduction, and if Jane Tanner really had seen him as she claimed, then Tanner would have spoken to the McCanns and the police about what she saw without a moment’s delay. She has since claimed that she ‘did not realise the significance’ of what she had seen. Most people will accept that this is simply not a credible claim. We will deal with other reasons why we cannot rely on anything Jane Tanner has said later on in this booklet (see Reason 16 of our booklet below).
The failure of Jane Tanner and Gerry McCann to talk to each other about the abductor is all the more extraordinary when it became clear, in August 2008, that within two hours of the report that Madeleine had been abducted, Jane Tanner’s partner, Russell O’Brien, had prepared rough notes on the events of that evening which included the entry: “Jane saw stranger walking with child - 9.20pm”. It seems clear that it was part of the plan of the McCanns and their ‘Tapas 9’ friends to rely on Jane Tanner’s alleged sighting from the word ‘go’, in order to ‘prove’ that there really had been an abduction.
From the outset, Jane Tanner said she had little idea of what the man looked like, but was insistent in confirming that he could have been carrying Madeleine. If she had been so sure, why did she not tell somebody as soon as everyone ‘realised’ that Madeleine was ‘missing’?
Her delay in giving this information to police - despite its initial lack of clarity (see Reason 16 in our booklet) - would have greatly increased any abductor’s chance of escape. If there really had been a man in the vicinity, especially one who might have been carrying a child, it was clearly information the police would want to be able to follow up immediately.
If Jane Tanner’s sighting had been genuine, there is no possible rational explanation for her delaying reporting what she saw for 24 hours, or maybe even longer. Her delay, never mind all the inconsistencies in her story, suggests that her various accounts may have all been fabrications (see below, in Reason 16).
13. The insistence of Gerry McCann in releasing a description of the abductor based solely on the claims made by Jane Tanner - and with the reluctant consent of the Portuguese police
On Friday 25th May, the Portuguese police, under severe pressure from Gordon Brown (as was admitted publicly at the time - see Appendix 1 of our booklet), issued a vague description of a possible abductor. The description - as relayed on the BBC news bulletin that night - ran as follows:
White, aged 35-40, 5’ 10” in height, wearing ‘beige’ or ‘light’ trousers, and wearing a dark jacket and shoes.
As we now know, this description, issued over three weeks after Madeleine was reported ‘missing’, was based solely on Jane Tanner’s dubious sighting. The issuing of this description was against the advice of the Portuguese police - and only happened after future Prime Minister Gordon Brown had intervened by ’phoning the Portuguese police and insisting that the police issue a description.
In addition, Mr Brown asked that Gerry McCann be authorised to make a statement direct to the press accompanying the release of this description by the Portuguese police. We may note also that some time after this description was issued, Dr Gerry McCann became upset and criticised the Portuguese police, maintaining that the height of the man should have been stated as 5’ 7”. The police had recorded the height given by Jane Tanner as 170cm to 175cm. The metric 175cm converts to 5’ 9”, whereas 170cm converts to 5’ 7”. Quite why Dr Gerry McCann made such a fuss about this minor discrepancy is not clear.
In his statement, made with his wife in front of many of the world’s cameras and journalists, he gave a description of an abductor so vague as to be virtually useless. Here is his full statement, verbatim:
“We very much welcome the decision of the Portuguese authorities to release details of a man seen by a witness here in Praia da Luz on Thursday 3rd May, the night of Madeleine’s disappearance. The release of this important information follows an earlier meeting that we had with senior Portuguese police officers, a meeting that Kate and I both found to be amicable and very constructive.
“We feel sure that this sighting of a man, with what appeared to be a child in his arms, is both significant and relevant to Madeleine’s abduction, and we would appeal, once again, for anyone who may have seen him, or anything else suspicious, on or around the 3rd of May, to come forward and tell the police.
“For instance, was this man seen, anywhere else, in or near the town with a child, or what appeared to be a child. Which direction was he heading in; did he have a vehicle? Whether you are a local resident, or a holidaymaker who has since returned from Portugal, any information, no matter how unimportant you think it could be, may be vital to help the Portuguese and British police to find our daughter. As we said yesterday, we wish for nothing more than for Madeleine to be home with us safe and well. Kate and I would also like to make it clear that as this is very much an ongoing investigation, we will not be making any more public statements for the time being. Thank you”.
Months after this description was issued - based solely on Jane Tanner’s statement to the police - Ms Tanner came up with a quite different description, now claiming, for example, that the man looked ‘swarthy’ and ‘Mediterranean’. We deal with that in more detail below. The reason, of course, why the police were reluctant to issue this description at the time, was because by then they had good grounds for suspecting that Jane Tanner’s claimed ‘sighting’ was fabricated, plus many other indications that the McCanns’ abduction claim was false.
14. Ignoring advice not to highlight Madeleine’s ‘coloboma’ eye defect
The McCanns, in the early stages of the investigation, ignored the clearest possible advice from the Portuguese and British police not to highlight Madeleine’s eye defect, the coloboma (an iris defect where the black ‘pupil’ of the eye has partly ‘leaked’ into the rest of the iris). If Madeleine were still alive, said the police, giving out this information would have put Madeleine at much greater risk of death. In giving that advice, their experience was that if the abductor(s) were holding Madeleine and realised that she could be identified very easily by the public, they might then decide to kill her.
The McCanns went further and even trade-marked Madeleine’s coloboma. On top of that, Dr Gerry McCann cynically told one interviewer that the trade-marking of Madeleine’s eye defect had been ‘a valuable marketing ploy’.
The parents’ conduct suggests that they knew Madeleine was already dead. They deliberately ignored sound advice not to make Madeleine so recognisable that the abductors (if she had been abducted and was still alive) might have to kill her. All the McCanns’ publicity posters strongly emphasised the coloboma, placing Madeleine at even greater risk.
It is also worth noting that the decision of the McCanns and their advisers to announce all claimed ‘sightings’ of Madeleine in the press, giving details of possible locations, and claiming for example that their private detectives were ‘right on the trail of the kidnappers’, etc., were also all actions which would have put Madeleine at greater risk, if she really had been abducted. Any information about the possible location of an abducted or kidnapped child is usually withheld by the police in order, of course, to avoid endangering the child’s life.
15. Making long-term plans to mark Madeleine’s alleged abduction - whilst at the same time claiming she was alive and could still be found
On 3rd June 2007, just one month after Madeleine had ‘disappeared’, Dr Gerry McCann was already planning a ‘big event’ to mark Madeleine’s ‘abduction’. He told the press: “We want a big event to raise awareness that she is still missing…It wouldn’t be a one-year anniversary, it will be sooner than that.” He had talked specifically of approaching celebrities like Elton John to ‘front’ a major fund-raising concert. Many people pointed out that no parents, one month after their daughter had gone missing, and who were still frantically hoping their daughter would be found, would even be thinking of planning for fund-raising and publicity-generating events, several months ahead. Unless, that is, they had more than a shrewd idea that Madeleine would never be found.
Less than a month later, on 28th June 2007, Dr Gerry McCann said: “I have no doubt we will be able to sustain a high profile for Madeleine’s disappearance in the long-term”. How on earth, we might ask, could any father talk about organising concerts to generate publicity, and plan to sustain a ‘long-term high profile’ for Madeleine’s disappearance, months into the future, when there was still the possibility that the police might, any day, bring them news that Madeleine had been found - either alive, or dead? Furthermore, well in advance of 11th August - which would be ‘Day 100’ after Madeleine ‘disappeared’ - Dr Gerry McCann and his PR advisers were already planning how to mark the 100th day since her abduction.
Put simply, Dr Gerry McCann’s words are not those of someone who genuinely believes that his daughter has been abducted, and that there still remains a reasonable prospect of finding her. They are much more likely to be the words of someone who knows perfectly well that their daughter will not be found.
In October 2007, 'The Times' reported on the McCanns’ plans for a film or documentary about Madeleine, as follows: “Clarence Mitchell, the McCanns’ spokesman, would not speculate on whether Gerry and Kate would play themselves in any movie or whether their roles would be played by celebrity actors. He said: ‘While it may be hugely entertaining and a bit of fun to think of cast lists, we are a million miles away from that sort of thing’. The possibility of a film or television project is expected to be discussed further when directors of the Madeleine Fund meet later this week.
16. Jane Tanner’s ever-changing stories of what the alleged abductor looked like - and other problems with Jane Tanner’s accounts
The accounts of Jane Tanner as to what the abductor might have looked like have changed significantly over time, and there are a number of other reasons for casting severe doubt on her stories.
We might note, first, as we saw above, that within two hours or less of Madeleine’s ‘disappearance’ being reported, three of the ‘Tapas 9’ men - Dr Russell O’Brien, Dr David Payne and Dr Matthew Oldfield - were conferring about agreeing a ‘timeline’ about that evening’s events, and writing notes for the police. Most parents, unlike these three, would have made sure that their own children were safe, and then joined in the local hunt for Madeleine in the streets of Praia da Luz. Dr Russell O’Brien made the notes. He wrote: “21h10/21h15 - JT [i.e. Jane Tanner] sees alleged abductor carrying child”.
Not only did the McCanns at 10.00pm immediately claim that they ‘knew’ there had been an abduction, but also, it seems, the group already knew there had been an abductor. This makes Jane Tanner’s initial failure to talk to Dr Gerry McCann about what she was supposed to have seen, and the subsequent problems with Jane Tanner’s description of the abductor and her changes of story (which we will now examine), all the more strange and deeply suspect.
Ms Tanner’s first description of the abductor she claimed to have seen was that he was white, had short hair, was of average height and build, and ‘was carrying a bundle, maybe a blanket’. She also claimed that she had seen the abductor on her way back from visiting her apartment to check on her two children, and said that the abductor was walking in a northerly direction, i.e. away from the beach.
Then, when she gave a second statement days later - and of course after she had had time to confer with the McCanns - she changed her story and told the Portuguese police that she distinctly remembered seeing a blonde-haired girl wearing pyjamas ‘with a pinkish aspect’. Once again, there is no rational explanation as to why she did not ‘remember’ these details when first questioned.
By the time Ms Tanner gave her second statement, Dr Gerry McCann had already displayed on the world’s TVs the type of pink-and-white ‘Eeyore’ pyjamas that she had allegedly been wearing on that last night. He held up Amelie’s pyjamas, telling us that these were identical to Madeleine’s pyjamas, except a slightly smaller size.
In Ms Tanner’s second statement - in most people’s minds - there could be no doubt she was telling the world that she really had seen the person who had carried Madeleine away. Yet her description of the abductor was still vague. At the time that she says she saw the abductor - 9.15pm in early May - it was already nearly dark, twilight being about 8.30pm to 9.00pm. She could not have had a really clear sight of the abductor, as there was minimal street lighting. Besides that, she says she only saw him sideways on and, as he was said to have been ‘walking purposefully’, i.e. quickly, across the top of the road, she would have only noticed him for a maximum of 3-4 seconds.
By the time of her second statement, Ms Tanner changed two very important details from her initial account to the police. Now, she said the abductor was heading southwards, towards the beach. She also said that she saw him not coming back from her apartment but going towards it from the Tapas bar. It may fairly be asked how she could have got both these matters so wrong. It is another clear sign that she is fabricating her story, suggesting in fact that neither account is true.
A full six months after Madeleine ‘disappeared’, the McCanns and their PR advisers issued a new description - complete with artists’ impression - of the man they said had snatched Madeleine. Once again, this new artist’s impression of the abductor was based solely on Jane Tanner’s alleged recollections.
But this time we were told that, after several months, Ms Tanner’s recall of what she had seen had dramatically improved, contrary to the well-known fact that, over time, people’s recollections fade. How did this come about?
We were told, in all seriousness, that a ‘cognitive therapist’ had been working with Ms Tanner in several sessions and had enabled her to have a ‘clearer recollection’ of what she saw. The identity of this ‘cognitive therapist’ and his/her track record was not disclosed to us, except that s/he was said to be American. In addition, we were told that an ‘F.B.I.-trained forensic artist’ had helped her to draw her new, much improved, recollection of what the abductor looked like. These references to a ‘cognitive therapist’ and an ‘F.B.I.-trained’ artist were no doubt meant to convince an increasingly-sceptical British public that there was a real basis for Ms Tanner’s memory having been so miraculously revived after an interval of six months. We may ask, however, what purpose was served by releasing the highly-publicised artist’s impression a whole six months after Madeleine had ‘disappeared’? It is also of more than passing interest that this mysterious ‘F.B.I.-trained artist’ was found for the McCanns and for Jane Tanner by none other than the dubious private detective agency hired by the McCanns, Metodo 3. We say more about their activities in Reason 21 below.
Against that background, let us now examine in more detail Jane Tanner’s new, much more definite recollection, released in November 2007.
She now ‘remembered’ that the abductor had long hair - not hair ‘short on top’ as she had claimed before. She claimed on the Panorama programme of 19 November: “The one thing I remember is the hair…he seemed to have quite a lot of dark, reasonably-long-to-the-neck’ hair”. She now said that his hair was ‘sleek and black’ - details she had apparently been unable to recollect the day after she saw him. No longer was the man ‘white’; she now thought that the man ‘looked more local or Mediterranean-looking’ and had ‘swarthy skin’. His build now changed from ‘medium’ to ‘slim’. Virtually the only details that remained unchanged were that he was wearing a ‘dark’ jacket, ‘light-coloured’ or beige trousers and dark shoes. All of this was based, she claimed, on a sideways glimpse of him for what could have been no more than three to four seconds, in the dark, in faint sodium lighting.
But the new ‘artist’s impression’, based on Ms Tanner’s ‘recovered’ memory, revealed one very special new detail. It included a sketch of exactly the kind of white pyjamas Madeleine was supposed to have been wearing that last night, even down to the frills on the pyjama bottoms. Back in May 2007, when first questioned, all she could recall was seeing a ‘bundle’ or ‘blanket’, but now she boldly said: “I could tell it was a child, and I could see the feet…and the bottom of the pyjamas, and I just thought, ‘that child's not got any shoes on’, because you could see the feet”.
Moving away from the ever-changing descriptions of the abductor, there are other significant problems about Ms Tanner’s accounts. First, her account of how and when she saw the alleged abductor does not match the evidence of Dr Gerry McCann and another holidaymaker there at the time, Jeremy Wilkins. Shortly after Madeleine’s disappearance, Ms Tanner was asked by the Portuguese police to draw a sketch-map of where she was when she claimed she saw the abductor. After having initially said that she was on her way back to the ‘Tapas bar’ when she saw the abductor, Wilkins and Dr Gerry McCann, she now produced a sketch for the Portuguese police which showed her on her way to her apartment to check on her two children as she passed by, on the same side of the road, both Dr Gerry McCann and the person he was talking to, Jeremy Wilkins.
Yet the BBC Panorama programme on 19 November 2007, seen by millions and extensively researched by the BBC, showed a graphic with Dr Gerry McCann crossing the road to talk to Wilkins, with Tanner on the opposite side of the road. Moreover, neither of them recalls seeing Jane Tanner on the road at that time.
Dr Gerry McCann then had a problem in that during the Panorama programme, Jane Tanner had placed him on the opposite side of the road, while Wilkins had placed them on the same side as Jane Tanner. Dr Gerry McCann could hardly alter the testimony of Mr. Wilkins - and to argue publicly with him would only bring his motives into question. So he was forced to confirm in his own statement that he and Wilkins were indeed on the side of the road just by the patio steps to his apartment - contrary to the graphic used in the Panorama programme.
If Jane Tanner really had passed by them on the same side of the street, as she originally claimed in her sketch to the police, there is no way that they could not have seen her. Put simply, the accounts of Dr Gerry McCann, Wilkins and Ms Tanner contain significant contradictions. The only thing agreed is that Dr Gerry McCann and Wilkins were talking for at least three minutes. Dr Gerry McCann claims it was much longer. But neither Dr Gerry McCann nor Wilkins saw either the abductor or Jane Tanner when they were having their conversation.
Why did Ms Tanner get wrong all these details about Dr Gerry McCann talking to Jeremy Wilkins? No-one else was in the street at the time, and indeed all indications suggest that Praia da Luz was very quiet at the time of the year - early spring. The question arises therefore: did she really see Dr Gerry McCann and Jeremy Wilkins? Or, far more likely, did she perhaps hear of their meeting through other means? - and then had to think how she could explain having passed by them without being seen? All of the above points, when considered together, serve to suggest very strongly that her various and varying accounts of seeing Dr Gerry McCann, Jeremy Wilkins and the abductor, may have been complete fabrications.
17. Dr Gerry McCann’s absolute insistence that the abductor was the man allegedly seen by Jane Tanner
We have seen above that there are severe doubts, to put it mildly, about Jane Tanner’s account of having seen an abductor. An additional reason for doubting that there ever was an abductor is Dr Gerry McCann’s total reliance on her claimed ‘sightings’ as his basis for issuing descriptions of the abductor. If the abduction had really happened, how for example could Dr Gerry McCann have known that Ms Tanner herself wasn’t involved?
The Portuguese police, it is now clear, were doubtful from the outset about the validity of Jane Tanner’s ‘sighting’ - and for very good reasons. They refused to use it as the basis for issuing a formal description of the alleged abductor. Yet, just a few days after Jane Tanner had given her initial, vague description to the police, Dr Gerry McCann insisted on going ahead with a public description of a man who he thought had abducted Madeleine (see Reason 13 of our booklet, above). It was a vague description - and accompanied by a sketch so vague as to be useless. It merely showed an egg-shaped head with some straight hair on the top, and was immediately dubbed ‘egg-man’.
The description was issued against the advice of the Portuguese police - who only agreed to release it after a personal intervention from then Chancellor of the Exchequer, now the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. This has been confirmed on the record. It has also been confirmed that during the period leading up to Gerry’s description of the alleged abductor, he spoke on the telephone nine times to Gordon Brown.
Why would Dr Gerry McCann rely on such a patently fabricated description? A probable answer is because by then - three weeks after Madeleine had been reported missing - he was desperate to sustain the abduction story with what he represented to be a credible ‘sighting’ of the abductor. Fortunately for him and his wife, the media did not probe the credibilty of the description at the time.
Strangely, the McCanns have always avoided commenting on another claimed sighting of a man carrying a child that night, namely that by a Mr Martin Smith, an Irishman, from Drogheda, County Louth. Emerging from Murphy’s bar near the beach at around 9.50pm, he and his family had walked right past a man carrying a girl, said to be ‘about four years old’. The man was said by Mr Smith to have averted his gaze when he passed the Smiths. The Portuguese police report about Mr Smith’s evidence stated:
“On 26th May, Mr Smith…described by Leicestershire police as a ‘decent’ man who was not looking for fame, came to Portugal to give a statement to the Portuguese police, and told them that he saw in a street in Praia da Luz a man carrying a child in his arms, with the child's head resting on the man's left shoulder. The man was 5’ 9’’ to 5’ 11” tall, 34/35 years old, with short brown hair, carrying a blonde girl wearing pyjamas ‘roughly four years of age’.” Mr Smith then added these details: “The man was carrying the child with her head against his left shoulder and her arms hanging down alongside the body; she had bare feet, pale skin, blonde, shoulder-length hair, and was ‘wearing light coloured or pink pyjamas’.
The Portuguese police report continued: “On 20 September, Mr Smith once again contacted the authorities. He was ‘distressed’, explaining that when he saw the McCanns on the TV news on 9 September getting off the plane that had just landed in England, he said the way Gerry McCann was carrying his son Sean on his shoulder was ‘exactly’ the same way the unidentified man he had seen in Praia da Luz had been carrying the blonde girl he had seen. He said he was now ‘nearly certain’ that it was Dr Gerry McCann that he had seen walking towards the beach at 9.50pm on 3rd May”.
Two weeks later, however, the man leading the Portuguese investigation, Gonçalo Amaral, was sacked. In a further statement made on 23 January this year, Mr Smith said he could only be ‘60% to 80% sure’ that the man he had seen was Dr McCann. That - plus the fact that Dr Gerry McCann’s friends provided an alibi testifying that he could not have been where Mr Smith saw the man as he was with them in the Tapas bar at the time - persuaded the new investigating team to conclude that Mr Smith’s evidence was no longer of interest.
Two things are noteworthy about Mr Smith’s evidence. The initial description that Mr Smith gave of the unidentified man matched that of Dr Gerry McCann almost perfectly; second, the McCanns and their advisers would never comment on the ‘Smith sighting’ - though they repeatedly made use of Jane Tanner’s unreliable claims to back up their description of the alleged abductor.
18. The commitment of the McCanns and their ‘Tapas 9’ friends to a ‘Pact of Silence’ about what had happened to Madeleine
In June, Portuguese newspaper Sol contacted both Dr Gerry McCann and his close friend Dr David Payne to ask them some questions about the events leading up to Madeleine’s disappearance. Dr Payne was reported to have reacted angrily. He told the Sol journalist: “We have a pact. This is our matter. It is our business only”. This rapidly became known as the infamous ‘Pact of Silence’ of the McCanns and their friends, which is how Sol titled their article.
Since then, most of ‘Tapas 9’, apart from the McCanns, have indeed remained almost totally silent about the events which led to Madeleine’s ‘disappearance’. Among them, only Jane Tanner has spoken on the record at length, and that was merely to give a rambling and wholly unconvincing account of her seeing the alleged abductor to the Panorama programme on 19th November 2007.
Why, it must be asked, would the McCanns’ friends refer to a ‘Pact of Silence’ about what they know, when there is an international effort to ‘find Madeleine’? There can only be one rational explanation. Namely, that they all share a guilty secret which they wish to hide.
The McCanns’ urgent flight back to the relative safety of England after they were made official suspects, and their subsequent refusal to attend a second reconstruction of the events of 3rd May - in order that the discrepancies in the ‘Tapas 9’ friends’ statements could (if possible) be cleared up - are simply further evidences that their secret pact is intended to prevent anyone discovering what really took place that day. According to press reports, not one of the ‘Tapas 9’ group agreed to the Portuguese police’s request to take part in a second reconstruction. These facts undermine any little credibility that any of them have left that they are really interested in finding out what happened to Madeleine.
19. The failure of the McCanns’ friends to search for Madeleine the night she disappeared
According to a number of reports which have never been contradicted, while hundreds of people, including staff of Mark Warners and many local people, searched the area around the Ocean Club apartments for hours after Madeleine went missing, not one of the McCanns’ friends, known as the ‘Tapas 9’, bothered to do so. They all went to bed that night. Confirmation of that was provided in an article written by Bridget O’Donnell (Jeremy Wilkins’ partner) of The Guardian in December 2007. One of the three ‘Tapas 9’ men knocked on the door of Wilkins and O’Donnell at around 1.00am to say: ‘Madeleine has been abducted’. Jes Wilkins asked if they needed help searching. Wilkins was told by the unnamed ‘Tapas 9’ Doctor, reports O’Donnell: “There is nothing you can do”. Nor were there any reports of the friends searching in the days following. That is consistent with them knowing that Madeleine was already dead.
20. Frequent changes to their story and numerous contradictions
There is so much that could be written about how the McCanns and some of their ‘Tapas 9’ friends have changed their stories. In addition, there have been so many contradictions within and between their evidences, that it is only possible here to give the very briefest of summaries. The point is often made that if you ask a number of witnesses who have seen the same incident to give their accounts, their stories may well vary in certain details. There may be apparent inconsistencies between them. However, in such circumstances, you will seldom get so many outright contradictions, and certainly not multiple changes of story in order to try fit them to a story - so-called ‘backfitting’. Here is a very short list of some of these many significant contradictions:
1. Dr Kate McCann was said to have read bedtime stories to the children on the night Madeleine went missing. But in another version it is claimed that Dr Gerry McCann read the bedtime stories.
2. The McCanns initially claimed that they locked all their doors including the patio doors and that the abductor had forced or jemmied open the shutters. Then when the police and Mark Warners disproved their false claim, the McCanns changed their story and said that they ‘must have’ left the patio door open, and so the abductor must have left through the shutters and climbed out of the window.
3. Originally the McCanns said they left the door near the children's door unlocked. Then, when the police cast doubt on that story, the McCanns said it was a different door - the patio door - that they must have left unlocked.
4. Multiple changes of story by Dr Matthew Oldfield about when he is supposed to have carried out his ‘checks’ at Apartment 5A on the night Madeleine ‘disappeared’.
5. Multiple changes of story by the McCanns and some of their ‘Tapas 9’ friends about how often they were checking their children. First they said ‘hourly’, in another quote it was said to be ‘every 15 minutes’, and finally they all agreed to say ‘every half hour’.
6. One of the nannies, Charlotte Pennington, changed her story about when she last saw Madeleine on 3rd May.
7. Dr Gerry McCann was said to be have been ‘hanging around tennis courts at 5.30pm/6.00pm’ but other accounts say he was having high tea with all the family and Charlotte Pennington at the same time.
8. The times that Dr Gerry and Dr Kate McCann are claimed to have arrived at the Tapas bar on the evening of 3rd May vary from 8.30pm to 8.58pm.
9. Dr Matthew Oldfield says all of the 'Tapas 9' except Dr Kate McCann were at the Tapas bar when the alarm was raised; but Jane Tanner says she was absent at this time.
10. Jane Tanner says she saw the abductor - but Dr Gerry McCann and Jeremy Wilkins were in the same road at the same time but did not see him.
11. Jane Tanner said in her statement and in a drawing she did for the police that she walked up the left-hand-side of the street right past Dr Gerry McCann and Jeremy Wilkins - but on the Panorama programme she changes this to say they were on the opposite side of the road.
21. The hiring of very dubious firms of so-called ‘private investigators’
Much has been made of the McCanns’ decision to use costly private investigators to search for Madeleine, allegedly because the Portuguese police were negligent in not following up proper leads. Here we look at what action the McCanns and their helpers have taken with regard to private investigators, and examine the track record of these investigators. That may tell us something about whether the McCanns really think that Madeleine was abducted.
On 25th May 2007, just 22 days after Madeleine was reported missing, in a BBC interview with Jane Hill, the McCanns were asked if, now that they had already netted £300,000 in the ‘Helping to Find Madeleine Fund’, they would use any of that money for private investigators. Dr Gerry McCann responded: “The advice we have received is that private investigations will not help at the moment”.
Despite this clear claim, the Control Risks Group, whose activities include private investigation, announced in September that they had been helping the McCanns since May and ‘were in regular contact’ with them throughout. Although Control Risks Group say that their work includes carrying out various forms of private investigation, there was no evidence that they had ever had any experience or successes in the field of tracing missing persons, let alone missing children. It is a complete mystery what their role was and how much money the ‘Helping to Find Madeleine Trust Fund’ paid them.
The McCanns then went on to hire a very dubious Spanish ‘detective agency’ - Metodo 3 - at cost of several hundred thousand pounds, all for no obvious benefit or results. Once again, this firm of private investigators had no known track record in finding missing children. On the contrary, they were much better known for their expertise in the fields of money laundering and fraud. Also, we may note that this was a Spanish agency, and based in Barcelona, right on the very opposite side of the Iberian peninsula (which includes both Portugal and Spain). Their headquarters were therefore some 500 miles from Praia da Luz.
Many of those involved in running Metodo 3 had controversial histories. Its Director and ‘leading detective’, Mr. Francisco Marco, was described simply as a ‘crook’ by leading Portuguese criminologist, Mr Moita Flores. Well-known Portuguese writer Joana Morais volunteered the opinion that: “I trust in Mr. Moita Flores’ opinion about Francisco Marco”.
Many of the Metodo 3 detectives were once arrested in a phone-tapping scandal linked to leading politicians and businessmen. Five senior members of Metodo 3, including Francisco Marco, were held in 1995 amid claims of industrial and political espionage, with Marco’s mother, Martina Fernandez Lado, 57, who founded the agency in 1985, being led away in handcuffs. She was arrested as she handed a client a cassette containing an allegedly illegally phone-tapped conversation.
At the same, police raided Metodo 3's Barcelona offices, seizing handguns, ammunition, listening equipment, cassettes and transcripts of taped phone calls. Subsequently Mrs Lado was found to have made ’phone calls offering a telephone tapping servicce for a fee of around £20,000. Mrs Lado’s husband, Francisco Marco Poyuelo, and Mr Marco’s brother, Francisco Gabriel Fernandez Lado, were also arrested. It must be added for the record that none of them were subsequently convicted of any offence. Sergio Sancelestino, an employee of Spanish telephone company Telefonica, was suspected of illegal ’phone tapping and was proved to have close links with employees of Metodo 3.
One Spanish private investigator told the Daily Mail: “Metodo 3 have portrayed themselves as the best investigators in the world. The truth is they are nothing of the sort. Their murky background is riddled with controversy”. Marco claimed at one time that his agency had ‘40 people’ employed full-time or part-time in the search for Madeleine. It is far from clear what these claimed ‘40 people’ might have been doing.
The controversy over Metodo 3 was not helped by the McCanns and their supporters giving out totally contradictory information about who was funding them. On the one hand, it was claimed by the McCanns’ multi-millionaire-backer, Brian Kennedy, to Spanish TV channel Antena 3, that he was ‘wholly funding’ Metodo 3. Yet on 29 November 2007, Dr Gerry McCann, on his blog, wrote that the Helping to Find Madeleine Trust Fund was paying the £50,000 a month fees. Both could not be right.
During the autumn of 2007, Mr Marco claimed that: “We believe she is in an area not very far from the Iberian peninsula and North Africa”, adding: “We have proof of her movements after her kidnap and we know she was alive the day after her disappearance. We are not certain when she left Portugal. I talk of certainties because we know which group may have her or could have kidnapped her to then sell her on. I cannot say who she is with because we are putting together conclusive proof that we can present to the authorities”.
Mr Marco also made widely-publicised claims in the run-up to Christmas 2007 that Metodo 3 were ‘closing in’ on the abductors, that he ‘knew who snatched Madeleine’ and that Metodo 3 were ‘not maybe…but very close to finding him’. He bragged that he was ‘100% sure that Madeleine was still alive’ and would be ‘home by Christmas’. Many British tabloids covered this emotive story on their front pages, without questioning Marco’s clearly extravagant claims.
In February 2008, The Times published an article by reporter Christine Toomey about Metodo 3 titled: “Madeleine McCann and Metodo 3: Private eyes, public lies”. It is well worth looking at one or two extracts from her article. First, Toomey noted that on the day Mr Marco bragged about Madeleine McCann being ‘home by Christmas’, “Metodo 3 moved from cramped premises above a grocer’s shop specialising in sausages in Barcelona’s commercial district, to a multi-million-pound suite of offices in a grand villa on one of the city’s most prestigious boulevards”. At the time Metodo 3 were four months into a contract with the McCanns worth a reported £600,000 in total.
Second, on visiting these plush new offies, Toomey noted: “There is no discernible ringing of telephones; little sign of activity of any kind, other than a woman searching for a lead to take a pet poodle for a walk and the occasional to-ing and fro-ing of workmen putting finishing touches to the sleek remodelling of the office complex. Opposite the boardroom is an open-plan area of around half a dozen cubicles, equipped with banks of phones and computers. Most are empty when I arrive…” Before her interview with Mr Marco starts, his cousin Jose Luis warned Toomey ‘sternly: “We won’t answer any questions about Maddie. Maddie is off limits - is that understood?”.
She continued: “After talking to Marco for half-an-hour, I concluded that what motivates him - as much as, if not more than, his professed desire to present Madeleine with the doll he boasts he carries around in his briefcase to hand to her when he finds her - is a sense of self-regard, self-publicity and money”.
Toomey noted that, up to its involvement in the Madeleine McCann case, Metodo 3 “specialised in investigating financial swindles, industrial espionage and insurance fraud”. During her interview with Marco, he referred to his six-year-old son learning to read, claiming: “Because he can read [about the Madeleine McCann case], he knows I am the most famous detective in the world”. Asked about why the McCanns chose Metodo 3, he answered: “Because we were the only ones who proposed a coherent hypothesis about the disappearance of their daughter - our principal line of enquiry is paedophiles”.
Yet, by contrast, in an interview published just three weeks earlier in the newspaper La Vanguardia, Marco had claimed that Metodo 3 ‘had around 40 people, here and in Morocco’, working there on the basis that Madeleine was smuggled to Morocco ‘where a blonde girl like Madeleine would be sought by familiies as a status symbol’. Marco went on to claim that Metodo 3 was ‘receiving an average of 100 calls a day from the four quarters of the globe’ and to have ‘half a dozen translators answering them in different languages’.
Toomey describes how the interview with Marco ends: “When I ask him to elaborate on the 23 missing children he claims his agency has located in the past, Marco eases himself away from the table for the first time, tilting far back in his chair. He cannot talk about that on the grounds of confidentiality, he says. Shortly after this, his cousin Jose Luis, who has sat mostly silent until now, calls time on the interview with a chopping motion of his hand”.
In February 2008, another Metodo 3 private detective, known as Antonio Jimenez or ‘Antonio J.R.’ (aged 53), working for the McCanns as their ‘detective in charge of special operations’, was charged with stealing 400 kilograms of cocaine - nearly half a ton - from an illegal shipment of 1,500 kg., said to have been worth £25 million, on a ship coming from Venezuela. He had been Chief Inspector of the Drugs and Organised Crime Unit for the Barcelona police at the time those 400 kilos of cocaine went missing from the port of Barcelona. But he had left the police to work for Metodo 3 in August 2005, just when an internal investigation was looking into how those 400 kilos had disappeared. He was remanded in custody by a Barcelona court on on charges of breach of trust, corruption, corruption of public officials and illicit criminal association.
It had been Antonio Jimenez of Metodo 3 who had travelled to Morocco and, whilst he was there, was able - somehow - to find a number of witnesses who claimed to have seen Madeleine. It was around the time of Jimenez’s trip to Morocco that the Moroccan government took the unusual step of expelling a man who had been visiting hotels and garages in various parts of Morocco offering people money if they could claim to have seen a girl looking like Madeleine. A coincidence, perhaps.
Then it was revealed in summer this year that the McCanns and the ‘Helping to Find Madeleine Fund’ had spent some £1 million on a firm of private investigators called ‘Oakley International’, described by the McCanns’ PR spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, as ‘the big boys’, thus suggesting they were intenationally reputed and experienced private investigators. But enquiries revealed that the firm was only set up in 2007 and consisted of people nobody had ever heard of. Once again, Oakley International had absolutley no track record of successfully investigating the ‘disappearance’ of missing children.
To sum up. The McCanns have hired three so-called private detective agencies. After nearly a year-and-a-half, it is doubtful that they have obtained any useful information whatsoever about the whereabouts of Madeleine. On the other hand, they may secretly have been carrying out other missions for the McCanns. Not one of these three agencies has any proven track record of searching successfully for missing or abducted children. One of them - Metodo 3 - is tainted with much more than a whiff of criminality within its ranks. Another firm (Oakley International) has only just been set up and quite simply has no track record for anything. The McCanns, or, we should say, the ‘Helping to Find Madeleine Fund’, appears to have spent up to £2 million or more on these three companies so far, with no discernible result.
Putting two and two together, we suggest that the purpose of spending some £2 million on shady firms of private investigators, with no record whatsover of successfully tracing missing children, was not to find Madeleine. The McCanns and the Fund Trustees must have had other purposes in mind.
22. The McCanns’ rush, right from the outset, to hire a team of top lawyers, including the appointment of Britain’s top extradition lawyer
It has been widely reported - and not denied - that a ‘team of lawyers’ flew out from Leicestershire within 48 hours of Madeleine being reported missing, possibly the very next day. How several lawyers could help find an abducted child has never been explained. Nor has it been explained who asked these lawyers to fly out to Praia da Luz and who paid for them.
Shortly after that, the McCanns had got sufficient funds organised to afford top lawyers in both Britain and Portugal. Again, how lawyers could help to ‘find Madeleine’ is not clear. The likely purpose of all these lawyers was not to help find Madeleine but, rather, to defend the McCanns, and possibly some of their ‘Tapas 9’ friends as well, from serious criminal charges. It suggests that from the outset the McCanns and their ‘Tapas 9’ friends knew they would probably come under scrutiny and investigation.
When the McCanns were about to made suspects in the investigation of their daughter’s disappearance, they rushed to hire the U.K.’s top extradition lawyer, Michael Caplan Q.C., who successfully represented General Pinochet when the Spanish government tried to extradite him to Spain for crimes against humanity.
As many have pointed out, ‘innocent’ parents would not need a team of lawyers out with them within 48 hours, nor would they need Britain’s top extradition lawyers. If they had done nothing wrong, and Madeleine really had been snatched by an abductor, they would surely have been happy to co-operate in full with the Portuguese police and would not have needed any lawyers. It is of perhaps of more than passing interest that one of the McCanns’ Portuguese lawyers, Mr Pinto de Abreu, has been accused in the past of proposing that his clients engage in illegal activities.
23. Not staying protectively close to the twins after Madeleine’s disappearance
According to Dr Kate McCann’s account, on seeing Madeleine’s bed empty, and the twins fast asleep in their cot, she rushed down to the Tapas bar crying ‘Madeleine’s gone’ (or, according to other accounts, ‘They’ve taken her’). In doing so, she left behind her twins - as she admitted herself - in an unlocked room, allegedly believing ‘with absolute certainty’ that there was an abductor in the vicinity. She, her husband and her friends had mobile ’phones on them, so she could have easily summoned them to help her by mobile ’phone. She therefore exposed the twins to immediate potential risk of also being abducted, especially as she says was so utterly convinced that Madeleine had just been abducted.
Moreover, the McCanns continued to leave their twins at the Ocean Club crèche during the period immediately after Madeleine disappeared, preferring to spend time not with their two remaining children but, instead, visiting the Pope, the White House, and ‘campaigning’. Parents whose child had truly been ‘abducted by a stranger’ would be especially protective towards their other children and want to be close by their side as much as possible.
It is possible, for example, that if Madeleine had really been abducted, staff of the crèche, or those known to them, could have been responsible for - or implicated in - the abduction. As thousands of other parents have pointed out, any parent who was really distraught at the loss of a child after a genuine abduction would not have let their twins out of their sight; they would have clung to the precious two they had left in the world.
24. The McCanns’ apprehension about their ’phone calls and e-mails being monitored
The McCanns expressed anxiety when rumours surfaced about the possibility that the Portuguese police might be monitoring their telephone calls and that their e-mails might be intercepted. It must be asked: What innocent parent, genuinely concerned that their child had been abducted, and anxiously awaiting news of a possible sighting of her, would worry about that?
25. Kate McCann’s decision to wash ‘Cuddle Cat’ - the pink toy - despite the McCanns’ belief that it may have been handled by the abductor (and the two versions of where Cuddle Cat was left)
The McCanns gave the police and the media two quite different versions about where Madeleine’s favourite toy, ‘Cuddle Cat’, had been found when Dr Kate McCann entered her apartment at 10.00pm on May 3rd. One version was that Cuddle Cat had been left ‘on a high shelf or ledge’. The other version, eventually supported by a photo released by the Portuguese police showing Cuddle Cat lying on Madeleine’s bed, was that the abductor had left Cuddle Cat on her bed.
It would be clear from the above - and from the Doctors McCanns’ unshakeable conviction that Madeleine had been abducted - that there was a distinct possibility that the abductor might have left his DNA on Cuddle Cat. Yet Dr Kate McCann decided to wash Cuddle Cat, allegedly because Cuddle Cat was ‘dirty with suncream’. By doing so, however, she and her husband would both have known that they might thereby have washed out any possible DNA traces that the abductor (if there ever was one) would have left on the soft toy. In relation to ‘Cuddle Cat’, many mothers have also pointed out that the last thing they would do to a missing child’s favourite cuddly toy would be to thoroughly wash it. The smell of their child would still be on it.
Ironically, despite Dr Kate McCann’s washing of Cuddle Cat, the cadaver dog, Eddie, still managed to detect the ‘smell of death’, human cadaverine, on the toy animal. The chemical cadaverine is almost impossible to remove from an article, even by washing. Finding the smell of death on Madeleine’s favourite toy, even after Dr Kate McCann had cleaned it, was another clear pointer to Madeleine having died in Apartment 5A in Praia da Luz. The cadaver dog Eddie detected the scent of death on Cuddle Cat when he was sent to detect the presence of cadaverine (if any) at the house the McCanns were renting in Praia da Luz after they had had to leave their holiday apartment. He did so, finding Cuddle Cat hidden away in a cupboard, an odd place to find it given that Dr Kate McCann always made sure it was with her for the cameras.
Whilst mentioning ‘Cuddle Cat’, it seemed from early on that Cuddle Cat was being used essentially as a conscious prop for the cameras by Dr Kate McCann, rather than being an object of genuine sentimental value. Several times, Dr Kate McCann was seen to deliberately ensure that Cuddle Cat could be seen by the cameras - even specially removing it from her handbag so that the cameras could see it. As we have noted, Eddie the cadaver dog found the ‘smell of death’ on Cuddle Cat in a cupboard at the house hired by the McCanns in Praia da Luz.
26. Failing to co-operate fully with the Portuguese police, despite repeatedly promising to do so, and frustrating searches of their mobile ’phone records
The McCanns insisted from the beginning that they would fully co-operate with the Portuguese police. When the police began investigating the possibility that the McCanns themselves might be involved in Madeleine’s disappearance, they immediately claimed that they were being ‘framed’.
They were initially hesitant to supply their mobile ’phone records to the police, despite the fact that Dr Gerry McCann was known to have received many SMS text messages on the day Madeleine ‘disappeared’, and possibly have made or received other calls. Those details could have thrown light on the mystery of Madeleine’s ‘disappearance’. The Portuguese police asked the McCanns to supply their mobile ’phone account records, explaining that they might contain valuable information which would further help them to understand the events leading up to Madeleine disappearance. It is now known that Dr Gerry McCann wiped his SMS text message records before reluctantly consenting to the police examining his mobile ’phone.
The Portuguese police believed that they could gain further understanding of the events leading up to Madeleine’s ‘disappearance’ if they could examine the McCanns’ previous three months’ telephone records. The McCanns refused. The police applied to the courts to see the records; the McCanns’ lawyers opposed the application. Luckily perhaps for the McCanns, a Portuguese judge refused the police’s application, citing human rights laws on ‘the right to privacy’.
27. Having a ready supply of pre-printed photographs of Madeleine ready for the police as soon as they arrived on the night of 3rd May
Within just two hours of Madeleine’s ‘disappearance’, if not even earlier, the McCanns had a ready supply of posters featuring Madeleine’s face. The McCanns claimed that they had produced them on the spot, using their digital camera, and by getting access to a printing machine at the Ocean Club. But police enquiries at the club did not find any printer that could have produced those particular types of photo posters. This led to the Portuguese police to strongly suspect that they had been pre-prepared earlier in the day, somewhere away from the premises.
28. Not releasing the famous ‘last photo’ of Madeleine, taken at the poolside, for three weeks - and only after Dr Gerry McCann had returned to England
The famous ‘last photo’ of Madeleine was claimed by the McCanns to have been taken at 2.29pm, i.e. after lunch, on Thursday 3rd May, by the Ocean Club poolside. It was said to have been taken on Dr Kate McCann’s digital camera. It shows a serious-looking Dr Gerry McCann, Amelie to his left and, to Amelie’s left, a smiling Madeleine clearly enjoying something she is looking at off-camera. The McCanns said that they had taken ‘many’ photos on that digital camera during their holiday. There was therefore no apparent reason why the police could not have used this ‘last photo’ of Madeleine straightaway, to make known her face to the public. As it was the most recent of her, it would have been the most helpful to the police - and of course to the public who were being asked to look for her.
Those who are familiar with digital photography have analysed this crucial ‘last photograph’ and several claim that there is evidence that the photo could well have been ‘photo-shopped’, that is, deliberately manipulated to produce a false result. They say that the original photograph does seem to have been taken at 2.29pm on 3rd May, but that Madeleine may have been added in later, from another photograph. Even simpler, the date and timestamp in the digital photo could easily have been altered within minutes using free software downloaded from the Internet.
Whether these views are right or not, it is curious, to say the least, that this famous ‘last photo’ was produced to the police only after Dr Gerry McCann flew back on his own to England for a couple of days in late May. He took Kate’s digital camera with him and certainly had the opportunity to arrange the ‘photo-shopping’ of that ‘last photo’ - if that was his intention. In addition, it is strange that only one other holiday photo of Madeleine from that digital camera has ever been produced - the one of Madeleine in a white hat on the tennis court and holding three tennis balls.
A key figure in the early days after Madeleine’s ‘disappearance;’ was Mr Alex Woolfall, a public relations guru employed by major public relations and advertising firm Bell Pottinger, and seconded to Mark Warners. In an article in the summer of 2007, Woolfall claimed: “The McCanns had not slept. They were trying to work out what to do that might help generate images of her. They were desperately keen to publicise her face”. The article continued: “The McCanns had photographs of Madeleine on their digital camera, which Mr Woolfall began transferring to a laptop computer. Woolfall said to Kate McCann, ‘Let’s try to identify pictures where her face is visible’. Downloading the images was a very difficult process for them. It was upsetting”.
Woolfall talks of photographs in the plural. If there were so many, why was only that one photo ever released? - why did it take three weeks? - and why did it appear only after Dr Gerry McCann’s visit to England?
29. The body language of the Doctors McCann - signs that they were not telling the truth
To some observers, particularly women - who appear in general to read ‘body language’ better than men - the body language of the McCanns has, throughout, not been consistent with their believing that Madeleine had been abducted. The photo on our back cover, for example, shows the McCanns on Saturday 12th May, nine days after Madeleine went ‘missing’, and on what would have been her fourth birthday.
Few people can understand how they could look so cheerful so soon after the realization that they may have lost Madeleine for ever. It must of course be admitted that not all people react in the same way following a loss or disaster. Some express their emotions more openly than others. Others consciously try to hide their emotions or have developed a ‘stiff upper lip’ type of personality - said to be a trait of the English - where their emotions are suppressed and much more difficult, therefore, to ‘read’.
But even after making allowances for this, the body language of the McCanns has been extraordinary. To give just one example, around the time of the one-year anniversary of Madeleine’s ‘disappearance’, the McCanns agreed to do an interview with BBC TV East Midlands. The presenter described how the Doctors had had to ‘steel themselves’ to go through with this ‘agonising’ interview, in which they once again described how distraught they were at the loss of Madeleine. Yet, as viewers could see for themselves - because the BBC editor allowed the cameras to roll for a few seconds after their interview ended - they rose from their seats laughing and joking with each other, just after they had answered the last question with their usual solemnity and gravity.
On the Internet in general, and on YouTube in particular, many examples of strange, atypical body language and verbal responses by the Doctors McCann can be seen. Examples include:
It was therefore no surprise that, after the McCanns did a major interview with a Spanish TV company in October 2007, some 70% of viewers in a telepoll after the programme thought that the Doctors were not telling the truth. Similarly, in an opinion poll carried out in Britain the previous month, 80% of respondents also felt that ‘the McCanns were not telling the whole truth’.
30. Only carrying out a drugs test on the twins after five months
The McCanns initially refused to take their two-year-old twins to be tested for the presence of drugs or sedatives in their system, although they later admitted that they thought the children ‘could have been drugged by the abductor’. But they then waited nearly five months before engaging an agency to carry out ‘independent’ tests - by which time, of course, had any traces of sedatives been present in the twins’ bodies on 3rd May, they would by then have long since disappeared. The results of these tests have never been publicly disclosed and it is not known for the presence of which drugs the agency tested.
The McCanns publicly claimed that these tests ‘proved’ that the twins had never been sedated. But if they had really wanted to test for the presence of drugs or sedatives, the time to have done that would have been immediately after Madeleine ‘disappeared’. Why did the McCanns not carry out a test at that time? Perhaps, both being Doctors, because they knew that if they had been giving unauthorized sedatives to their children, the presence of those drugs would have been revealed by any tests.
We have highlighted above what we consider to be 30 very persuasive reasons for doubting that Madeleine McCann was abducted. But these are by no means the only reasons why Gonçalo Amaral, the detective who led the investigation into Madeleine’s ‘disappearance’, and so many other people around the world, do not believe that Madeleine was abducted, and why they believe that, instead, the parents - and perhaps some of their ‘Tapas 9’ friends - were involved in some way in Madeleine’s disappearance. They suspect that Madeleine died in Apartment 5A in Praia da Luz and that the McCanns, with help from some or all of their friends, have covered up Madeleine’s death and hidden or disposed of her body.
Here we summarise 30 more reasons for doubting the abduction claim - in no particular order. Some of these reasons may not convince you, and some may seem insensitive. Yet they are all genuine reasons which have persuaded members of the public, invited by the McCanns and the media to believe the abduction story, to doubt their abduction claims:
31. Putting their needs above the children’s needs
The McCanns were willing, in the first place, to put their needs above their children’s by leaving them alone, in a strange holiday apartment in a foreign country, in the darkness and without a light on, six nights in a row, whilst they were out eating and drinking with friends. Their claims of half-hour checking have been seriously undermined by the account of neighbour Mrs Pamela Fenn, who heard Madeleine crying ‘Daddy, Daddy’ for 75 minutes on the evening of May 1st, when the McCanns were out for food and drinks at the Tapas bar.
A good illustration of their general attitude towards their children can be gained from examining this extract from an article written by David James Smith in The Times in December 2007: “The McCanns spent some minutes talking to a couple from Hertfordshire - two more tennis players - at the next table, who were eating with their young children. As they chatted, Gerry thought how lucky he was, his children asleep nearby, that he and Kate were free to come and enjoy some adult time at the restaurant and not have to sit with their children, as this couple were”.
32. Focussing on the alleged ‘evil abductor’ instead of admitting responsibility for their neglect
The shame of having left three young children on their own, vulnerable to all manner of risks, including abduction, would have caused most parents to be acutely embarrassed. But the McCanns have continually minimised their responsibilty (whether Madeleine was abducted or died in Apartment 5A). Stranger abductions are truly rare events. Prevention is better than cure in many spheres of life, and most certainly where the protection of young children is concerned.
Yet not once have the McCanns warned the public about the dangers of leaving young children on their own. They have never campaigned alongside child protection agencies such as the N.S.P.C.C. to raise the profile of young children left ‘home alone’ by their parents - at a time when cases of young children being left on their own is increasing.
Instead, they embarked on campaigning for an ‘Amber Alert’ system to be operated if and when a child has been abducted. But this, surely, is a classic case of ‘shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted’. The way to stop horses bolting is to lock the stable door. Similarly, the way to prevent stranger abductions of young children is to look after them properly, not leave them on their own, vulnerable to all kinds of risks and distress.
The McCanns even claimed that a Social Services official had informed them that leaving children on their own in a dark apartment, whilst they were out drinking over 100 yards away, and checking on them every half-hour (if that indeed is what they are doing), was ‘well within the bounds of responsible parenting’. Not surprisingly, they did not name the official. By contrast, the stated official advice of the N.S.P.C.C. is very clear: ‘Never leave young children on their own, even for a few minutes’.
Of course, if there is a genuine abduction, there must be systems in place to raise the alarm swiftly and as far and wide as necessary. But to expend energy on better alert systems for abductions, rather than to prevent them happening in the first place, is to put the cart before the horse. Sadly, far too many journalists, celebrities and ordinary people were all-to-ready to say: ‘We’ve all done it’ (i.e. leave young children on their own), giving the world the false impression that most Britons would think nothing of leaving their children in their hotel room or apartment and spending the evening drinking.
The spokesman for the Doctors, Clarence Mitchell, even claimed (on an Irish TV show) that it was ‘part of British culture’ to go on holiday and leave one’s young children on their own in their bedrooms, once they had gone to sleep, and then go off wining and dining without them. The McCanns have constantly excused and justified what was their conscious decision to put their own fun before their childrens’ welfare.
33. Minimising the distance they were away from their apartment
The McCanns have on many occasions deliberately minimised how far away they were from their children whilst in the Tapas bar. They repeatedly said: “It was like dining in your back garden”. In the early days, Dr Kate McCann said they were ‘20 yards away’. Subsequently, both the McCanns repeatedly claimed they were ‘just 50 yards away’. The basic facts about the distance of their apartment from where they were wining and dining in the Tapas bar are as follows:
34. Allowing their friends to walk in to the apartment and contaminate the crime scene
Despite the McCanns’ professed belief that they knew ‘instantly’ that Madeleine had been abducted, and despite Dr Kate McCann stating that she had already searched the apartment three times before sounding the alarm, the McCanns have publicly admitted allowing their ‘Tapas 9’ friends to walk all round the apartment, even opening cupboard doors etc., thus contaminating any forensic evidence that the abductor (if there was one) may have left.
Had they really believed that an abductor had been present in their apartment, they would surely have said: ‘Don’t touch anything’.
Incidentally, despite numerous reports to the contrary in the British press, the Portuguese police did seal off Apartment 5A as a crime scene as soon as practicable. The McCanns PR team, however, has repeatedly - and falsely - claimed that the Portuguese police ‘failed to seal the crime scene’.
35. The strange words and phrases the McCanns have used in referring to the alleged abduction
When Dr Gerry McCann initially reported Madeleine’s disappearance to his mother-in-law, Mrs Susan Healy, he said: “There’s been a disaster, it’s a disaster”, itself a very odd term to use if there had been an abduction, or kidnap - and especially as he said it only a short while after Madeleine had apparently gone missing. This led Mrs Healy to say in a TV interview: “I thought he was talking about a car accident. It took me a while to realise [what had happened]”. Mrs Healy later said that Dr Gerry McCann “was so hysterical on the phone that I was unsure what he was saying”. Later, Dr Kate McCann ’phoned her mother and said: “She’s gone, Mum, she’s gone”.
On another occasion, Dr Kate McCann said, describing the abduction, “I know the situation we were in that night. I know that what happened is not due to the fact of us leaving the children asleep. I know it happened under other circumstances”. What was the ‘it’? It sounds more like ‘it’ is referring some other event than the alleged abduction.
Another bizarre description of the alleged abduction occurred during the Panorama programme transmitted on 19 November 2007. Describing how the abduction must have happened, and pressed by her interviewer, Richard Bilton, that the abductor must have had only a small ‘window of opportunity’ during which to snatch Madeleine, she replied in a very causal, laid-back manner:
“They’d been watching us, over a matter of days, I’m sure, erm, you know. They know, erm, you know, they must have known, you know, that Gerry had just been into the apartment and then…[she makes a fast swish of her arms and a loud guttural click in the throat - described by many on the Internet as ‘whoosh, clunk’] erm, you’re right, there was only a small window of opportunity, but, you know…” The real effect of witnessing how she describes this apparently most tragic event in her life can only really be appreciated by watching the clip of it on YouTube (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=1rQazjM-bCo).
36. Dr Gerry McCann’s brother immediately giving up his full-time job to help with the fund-raising company
Dr Gerry McCann’s brother, John McCann, immediately gave up his full-time job with a pharmaceuticals company, despite having a house, wife and children to support. This might seem like a selfless, generous act. But we might ask: How did John McCann know in advance that Madeleine wouldn't be found within the next few days or weeks, leaving himself ‘high and dry’ with no job, if she was found? It strongly suggests that he, too, knew that Madeleine would not be found. It must be emphasised that he did not say that he had taken ‘temporary leave of absence’ from his job. He had chosen to resign.
37. The body language of Dr Gerry McCann when asked by a Spanish TV journalist whether he and his wife had ever sedated the children
When Dr Gerry McCann denied to a lady Spanish TV interviewer that he and his wife had ever sedated any of the children, his denial was accompanied by several tell-tale signs of lying, including more rapid speech, looking away from the interviewer, and nervously scratching his left ear.
38. Claiming that they refused a babysitter because they did not want to leave their children ‘with a stranger’
The McCanns initially gave as their reason for not paying the £10.00 fee for a babysitting service for the night of 3rd May (nor on any other night) that they ‘did not want to leave the kids with a stranger'. Yet this so-called ‘stranger’ would in fact have been one of the ‘nannies’ who had already been looking after Madeleine, the twins, and other children at the Kid’s Club and the crèche for the past six days. So any baby-sitter would have known Madeleine and the twins by having contact with them at the Kid’s Club and crèche. The McCanns’ excuse for not employing a baby-sitter that night was therefore patently untrue. In addition, the Technical Services Director of the Ocean Club resort, Silvia Batista, stated that earlier on 3rd May, the very night that Madeleine ‘disappeared’, she in person offered child-minding services “because the hotel is responsible for its clients' children. But [the McCanns] rejected that".
39. The happiness of the Doctors McCann soon after Madeleine ‘disappeared’, as revealed on many photographs of them
The McCanns emerged looking triumphant, happy and smiling, and waving at the congregation outside, as they came out of the Catholic church in Praia da Luz on 12th May 2008, which would have been Madeleine’s first birthday (see photo on back cover). Other pictures show Dr Gerry McCann smirking on this occasion, just before he came out of the church. Most parents, on such an emotive anniversary - and so soon after their daughter had gone missing - would not be able to cheerfully wave to crowds. Shortly after this, the McCanns co-operated with a ‘photo shoot’ for a Sunday newspaper, with the McCanns beaming contentedly with the twins.
That was followed soon afterwards by Dr Gerry and Dr Kate McCann smiling as they held up a banner announcing the formation of the ‘Helping to Find Madeleine Fund’ and released thousands of yellow balloons. These actions, say many, are not those of truly distraught parents in the immediate aftermath of having lost one of their precious children. Many other photos of them smiling contentedly or even laughing, in the weeks after Madeleine was reported ‘missing’, may be viewed on the Internet.
40. ’Phoning their relatives as soon as they thought that Madeleine was ‘missing’
A couple who had left their children on their own whilst out wining and dining, and who then discovered that one of their children had gone missing, would be likely to be far too embarrassed to ’phone their relatives immediately, out of deep shame. They would be far more likely to search frantically for their missing daughter, ask for police help, and only ’phone home to their relatives when it was becoming reasonably clear that she was not going to be found immediately. Yet the McCanns ’phoned round all their relatives almost immediately, announcing that Madeleine had ‘certainly’ been abducted, and that it was a ‘disaster’ - plus, of course, notifying innumerable media contacts, either themselves or via friends, within the first few hours, that Madeleine had definitely been abducted.
41. Dr Kate McCann referring in her diary to her husband ‘putting on another great performance’ for the TV cameras
Dr Kate McCann claimed that a relative had urged her to start keeping a diary, following Madeleine’s ‘disappearance’. This was said to be to show to Madeleine when she was found. There are many strange aspects about this diary which we do not have space to discuss here. In particular, Dr Kate McCann’s retrospective diary entry for 3rd May, the day Madeleine was reported ‘missing’, is very sketchy, omitting many significant details about that day’s events.
One point we wish to draw attention to here is Dr Kate McCann’s description of a TV interview carried out by her husband as ‘putting on another great performance’. We have already noted how Dr Kate McCann always produced the pink toy, ‘Cuddle Cat’, for the cameras.
She was also reported on the BBC’s Panorama programme to have deliberately walked at the back of their house in Praia da Luz, in front of the waiting cameramen, apparently crying and clutching Cuddle Cat. A cameraman testified on the programme that the consensus among the cameramen was that this was simply a performance for the cameras.
Interestingly, the McCanns’ close friend and Madeleine’s godfather, Mr Jon Corner, who produced a documentary film of the McCanns which the Panorama programme used, described his role as ‘backstage’. All of these matters reinforce the impression in many people’s minds that we are witnessing an acting performance by the McCanns.
42. The distressed reactions of Roman Catholic priest, Father Pacheco, after he talked to the Doctors McCann
Father Pacheco, the priest at the Roman Catholic church in Praia da Luz, was reported as suffering extreme distress when he confided - initially to his fellow church members, and later to the press and public - that the McCanns had told him things about Madeleine’s disappearance which, under strict Catholic rules, he was not allowed to disclose, even to the police. The strictly-enforced rules of the Catholic church confession booth mean a priest can be sacked (or ‘defrocked’, to put it technically) if he ever reveals to the outside world one word of what has taken place during a confession, even if that confession reveals that the confessor has committed a serious criminal offence. Even if the person concerned confesses to murder or child abuse, or other serious offences, priests are only allowed to disclose confession secrets within the Roman Catholic hierarchy.
43. ‘Sleeping normally’ after just 5 days
Dr Kate McCann publicly admitted that both she and her husband were ‘sleeping normally’ again just five days after Madeleine ‘disappeared’. The experience of other parents whose child has been abducted, or has gone missing, or has died, is always very different. They invariably report that they suffer enormous distress at their loss and are usually unable to sleep soundly until months after the event.
44. Doing normal, everyday things, immediately after Madeleine ‘disappeared’, but not searching for her
The McCanns went jogging every day after Madeleine’s disappearance, even making careful notes of their times, then displaying all this information on Dr Gerry McCann’s daily blog. He even arranged tennis matches and played tennis, while hundreds of others were physically searching the area around Praia da Luz in the days following Madeleine’s ‘disappearance’. The McCanns later admitted publicly that they spent no time at all physically searching for their lost daughter.
45. Comparing losing Madeleine to being told you’re overdrawn
On one occasion, a TV interviewer asked Dr Gerry McCann what he felt like on learning that Madeleine had ‘gone missing’. He answered: “It was like going to the bank and finding yourself over your student overdraft”.
46. The ‘Tapas 9’ friends of the McCanns failing to tell the police that they had all been leaving their children unattended whilst out wining and dining
None of the ‘Tapas 9’ friends admitted to the Portuguese police that for the previous five nights of the holiday, they had all been leaving the children alone in their apartments whilst they wined and dined together. This would have been highly relevant for the police to know, given that the McCanns and the ‘Tapas 9’ friends were trying to advance the scenario of an abductor who might have been watching their apartments over a number of days.
47. The various excuses offered by the Doctors McCanns as to why they didn’t take the children with them when they went out on 3rd May
The McCanns offered several excuses for why they did not take the children with them when they went out on 3rd May - the night after they publicly admitted that Madeleine, over breakfast that morning, had told them that she and Sean had been crying whilst they were out the night before. They claimed that they could not go together with the children to a venue about half-a-mile away because they didn’t have a suitable buggy with them. In fact, they did have a buggy with them.
The McCanns had earlier given as another excuse for not taking the children to the Tapas bar the claim that children were not allowed there, or alternatively were ‘not welcome’. Those excuses were later proved invalid by the McCanns themselves, when, on their own evidence, they said they had chatted in the Tapas bar with a couple with children, from Hertfordshire, at around 9.00pm on 3rd May - the day Madeleine disappeared.
In any case, the McCanns later admitted to Times journalist David Smith that they were glad to get away from the children in the evening and have some peace. Yet the McCanns were away from their children for most of the day, as they were in the Kid’s Club and crèche from 9.30am to 12.30pm and again from 2.30pm to 5.00pm - 5½ hours of the day.
48. The McCanns’ refusal to follow up apparently promising ‘sightings’
One week, there was a rash of ‘sightings’ in Malta. Yet the McCanns decided to stay on in Portugal, co-ordinating the mass release of hundreds of thousands of yellow balloons worldwide, rather than visit Malta. Most parents under similar circumstances would have hastened to Malta. The same happened when there was a promising sighting of Madeleine reported in a café in Holland.
49. Only answering press questions with at least two hours’ advance notice
The McCanns stipulated that for all media interviews, the press had to present all questions to them at least two hours in advance of the interview, adding that they would only answer those questions, and no others. ‘Innocent’ parents who have genuinely lost their child and have nothing to hide would not insist on such onerous conditions being imposed on TV interviewers.
50. Claiming that the abductor might have drugged the twins
The McCanns suggested that the ‘abductor’ might have drugged the twins. They did so to try to explain why neither twin woke up, either when the abductor is supposed to have taken Madeleine, nor amidst all the shouting when the alarm was raised. The McCanns came up with this theory while being filmed by family friend Jon Corner in August, after leaks from the Portuguese police suggested the children might have been sedated, so they would all sleep soundly while the Doctors and their partners were wining and dining.
We have already seen above how unlikely it would have been for any abductor to be able to remove Madeleine at the time and in the manner stated. The claim by Dr Gerry McCann that an abductor might also have had time to administer some kind of sedative to the twins simply adds another impossible layer to an already improbable abduction scenario.
51. No-one has come forward to claim the huge reward
Despite a huge total of £2.5 million reward money being offered for anyone who can give reliable information as to Madeleine’s whereabouts, no-one has come forward. A reward of that size will often produce at least one person who is prepared to reveal what they know about a serious incident.
52. The rapid setting up of the private company ‘trust fund’ - but the refusal to say how much has been received and what it’s been spent on
The McCanns set up the private company trust fund: ‘Helping to Find Madeleine Fund’ with amazing rapidity, determination and effort. There are many indications that they deliberately set up this lucrative fund knowing fine well that Madeleine would never be found. They, and their fellow Trustees, have been highly secretive about how much money the Fund has received and what they have spent it on, despite the enormous public support they have received and despite attempts by The Madeleine Foundation and journalists to discover how much has been donated and where the money has gone.
As we explained above in what we said about the bona fides of the three private investigation companies that the McCanns and their Fund have used to date, there are grave suspicions that the money has not been spent on a genuine search for Madeleine.
53. Dr Gerry McCann ‘Roaring like a bull’
Dr Gerry McCann was reported as going around Praia da Luz soon after Madeleine went missing ‘roaring like a bull’. This does not sound like a typical reaction of a male parent whose child has gone missing, more like a fake attempt to appear distressed. Usually one parent tries to comfort the other.
54. Dr Gerry McCann’s focus on ‘the best possible outcome for us’
In the first few days after Madeleine ‘went missing’, Dr Gerry McCann was asked how he was feeling and what he wanted people to do. He said: “Pray for us, pray for Madeleine, we are obviously hoping for the best possible outcome for us”. Then, after a significant pause, and only as an afterthought, did he add: “And Madeleine”. It is one of many indications that the McCanns have been the true focus in this story, not Madeleine.
55. The long delay in Dr Kate McCann answering the question on ‘Woman’s Hour’ about when she last saw Madeleine
When Dr Kate McCann was asked on ‘Woman’s Hour’ whether the last time she saw Madeleine was when she was quietly asleep in her bed, there was a very long pause - several seconds - before she quietly said: ‘Yeah, she was’. It was quite evident to listeners that she had had to think hard about that particular question, on the spur of the moment, as to what her answer should be.
56. Claiming they would never leave Portugal until Madeleine was found - then leaving as soon as they were made formal suspects
The McCanns made many pronouncements they would never leave Portugal until Madeleine was found. Yet as soon as they were made ‘arguidos’, or official suspects, they left Portugal in a great hurry, helped by the British government, consulting top extradition lawyers in Portugal and Britain as they did so.
57. Using out-of-date photos of Madeleine for their ‘LOOK for Madeleine’ campaign
Instead of using an up-to-date photo of Madeleine for the 'LOOK' for Madeleine campaign, the McCanns instead used older pictures, where Madeleine is clearly looking much younger-looking, thus making it more difficult for those looking for Madeleine to have an up-to-date idea of what she looked like.
58. The McCanns’ spokesman saying it would be ‘hugely entertaining’ to think of a cast list for a film about Madeleine
The McCanns’ spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, when discussing, last autumn, the possibility that a film might be made by film-makers IMG of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, said: “While it may be hugely entertaining and a bit of fun to think of cast lists, we are a million miles away from that sort of thing". The McCanns did not disassociate themselves from this flippant reference to it being ‘hugely entertaining’ to think of cast lists over the matter of a three-year-old girl who had been abducted and was still ‘missing’.
59. The McCanns’ inconsistency as to whether Madeleine was likely to wake up or not
In the early days, when asked why they were so certain that Madeleine had been abducted rather than ‘wandered off’, Dr Kate McCann said: “Madeleine and the twins never woke up, once asleep”. Yet days later, when confronted by a journalist about why they had not used a baby-sitter when one was available, Dr Kate McCann replied: “We didn’t want our children waking up and finding a stranger in the apartment”.
60. The Pope’s decision to withdraw all support for the Doctors McCann
Just over three weeks after Madeleine ‘disappeared’, the McCanns met with the Pope, Benedict XVI, who publicly blessed a photograph of Madeleine before the world’s media. The Vatican thereafter carried very prominent pages on their website featuring the McCanns and their emotional search for Madeleine. The McCanns had frequently made their ‘strong Catholic faith’ very much an issue, and were frequently described as ‘devout Catholics’.
Yet 48 hours before the McCanns were made formal suspects, the Pope withdrew all references to Madeleine. No further references to the McCanns’ campaign and their fund to ‘find Madeleine’ have been made on the Vatican website since then. It seemed to many seasoned observers of the Roman Catholic Church that the Pope had received strong indications that the McCanns’ abduction claim did not stand up.
Written by Tony Bennett for The Madeleine Foundation, October 2008
A summary of evidence of British government
involvement in the case of ‘missing’ Madeleine McCann
From almost the moment that the McCanns reported Madeleine ‘missing’, there was intense British government involvement in the case. This included frantic diplomatic and government assistance to the Doctors during the early weeks and months, and was followed by attempts, at the very highest level - that is, by no less than the current British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown - to remove the senior investigating officer in the case, the experienced and respected detective, Mr Gonçalo Amaral. The British government’s efforts were successful; Mr Amaral was removed from his post on 3rd October 2007, just five months after Madeleine ‘disappeared’. Here we give just the briefest outline of British government involvement in the case - an unprecedented level of support for a couple, who, after all, became suspects of involvement in their daughter’s disappearance, possibly extending to being responsible for their daughter’s death in Praia da Luz and the hiding or disposal of her body.
A. The rapid provision of consular assistance
Within just two hours of Madeleine ‘disappearing’, the following report appeared in the online edition of the Daily Telegraph, timed at 00.01 (one minute past midnight) on Friday 4th May 2007:
“A three-year-old British girl has gone missing while on a family holiday in Portugal, the Foreign Office said today. Portuguese police are investigating the disappearance from a holiday complex in Praia da Luz in the western Algarve. A Foreign Office spokesman said that he understood the girl's parents had gone to have dinner once their children were asleep last night, but returned to check on them only to find the girl had gone missing. ‘They reported it straight away’, he said, adding that consular assistance was being offered”.
Not only was the British Ambassador in Portugal already involved. Even before midnight on 3rd/4th May, the matter was already in the hands of the Foreign Office - and Foreign Office spokesmen were on hand to brief the Daily Telegraph. The British government therefore appeared committed to believing and supporting the McCanns’ abduction claim right from the outset, without having even had time to properly check the facts and the surrounding circumstances.
B. The statement by the British Ambassador to Portugal, Mr John Buck, on 8 May 2007, just five days after Madeleine 'disappeared'
A further clue to the top-level involvement of the British government in this case came just five days later in this statement to the media by Mr John Buck, British Ambassador to Portugal, in Praia da Luz, on Tuesday 8th May:
“Ladies and gentlemen, Good evening. As you know I spent quite a lot of time with the McCann family on Friday [NB 4th May, the day the McCanns were also being interviewed by the Portuguese police] and over the weekend, and also supporting our Consular staff here in the Algarve. I wanted to come down today to see Kate and Gerry again and to continue to support our Consular staff who've been dealing with this case continually now for a number of days. I also wanted to assure myself personally that the necessary links between British and Portuguese experts here on the ground are working well - and they are.
"As you know we have had three family liaison officers from the Leicestershire Police here with the family acting as a point of communication with the Portuguese Police. As I think you also know additional experts arrived today to work with their Portuguese colleagues on this investigation. I don't want to say anything in detail about the investigation but it might be helpful if I said a word or two about the background.
"This is and must remain a Portuguese Police investigation. As you know the Portuguese police operate under Portuguese law and Portuguese law puts constraints on what they can say publicly and the information they can release. Against that background I have been in touch closely over the last few days with Cabinet Ministers here in Portugal, with the Prime Minister's Office and with the Portuguese Police authorities. They all assure me that everything possible is being done to ensure the safe return of Madeleine.
"We continue to work closely with the Portuguese authorities. They are very pleased with the collaboration with the British authorities. They are in close touch with Interpol and Europol and I know that Kate and Gerry, with whom I've just been speaking for the past hour, are very grateful for their efforts. Thank you very much".
C. The despatch of a Cabinet-level official to oversee public relations in the case
One of the British government’s most highly-paid ‘spinners’ of information, Mr Clarence Mitchell, was despatched almost immediately to Portugal to conduct and oversee public relations for the McCanns. His job at the time was the high-level position of Head of the Media Monitoring Unit for the Central Office of Information - a post established primarily to ensure that the government’s line on any particular issue was promoted in the media. In May 2007, he was seconded to the Foreign Office for the special assignment of proactively handling press relations about the ‘disappearance’ of Madeleine McCann. He was later allowed to retire prematurely from the civil service - in September 2007 - in order to become employed exclusively by the McCanns to act as their PR spokesman, at a salary said to be £75,000 a year.
D. The despatch of another top government official, Sheree Dodd, to help with the McCanns’ PR
The former Daily Mirror journalist and long-serving senior government spokeswoman, Ms Sheree Dodd, was also deployed in the early days as an additional ‘media liaison officer’ for the McCann family in addition to Mr Mitchell (see also next point). This appointment added to the already truly exceptional level of help being given by the British government to the McCanns. Within days of Madeleine’s ‘disappearance’, a top-level team of up to a dozen, maybe more, lawyers, PR professionals, Foreign Office and Consular officials were working flat out to back up the McCanns’ abduction claim. This was a truly unprecedented amount of high-level support, especially given that the only ‘sighting’ of an abductor was the unreliable claims of Jane Tanner to have seen ‘a man with a bundle’.
E. British Embassy staff who were suspicious about the McCanns were transferred to other posts away from the Embassy
Staff at the British Embassy who were suspicious about the abduction claims of the McCanns were, according a number of sources, removed from their posts and transferred elsewhere. See for example this Spanish newspaper for German-speakers:
Two headings in that newspaper ran as follows: (1) “British diplomats who found Drs Kate & Gerry McCann suspicious were removed from Portugal”, and (2) “A government involved more than normal - The Maddie case gets a new political dimension”. It is known that Ms Sheree Dodd, mentioned above, was removed from her position of media liaison officer for the McCanns in Portugal after she voiced concerns with the British Embassy about the truthfulness of the McCanns’ abduction claim. There were several reports from reliable sources that she did not 'buy' the McCanns' account of events and had said so to her colleagues.
F. Dr Gerry McCann’s nine ’phone calls to the future Prime Minister of the U.K.
We know on the record that Dr Gerry McCann spoke to the current British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, nine times on the telephone in middle and late May. One of these calls was from Dr Gerry McCann’s mobile telephone number whilst he made a trip to the Fatima Shrine in Portugal. The contents of those conversations have not been publicly disclosed, but they seem to have centred on attempts to force the Portuguese police to release a description of an abductor which they did not think would take their investigation forward (see next point).
G. Gordon Brown’s pressure on the Portuguese police to publicly release a description of a non-existent abductor
We have the evidence on the record that the Portuguese police felt forced by overwhelming pressure from Gordon Brown himself - personally - to consent to releasing a statement about a possible abductor, despite the fact that at that time (and even today), they had no credible evidence of, nor description of, any abductor, except for the unreliable and constantly changing accounts of Jane Tanner. By that time, the Portuguese police, as has been well documented, had already begun to suspect the parents of some involvement in Madeleine's 'disappearance' - and did not believe their claims that Madeleine had been abducted.
H. The British government arranging for the McCann to see the Pope
On his own admission, in a video-recorded interview, Clarence Mitchell, who was then employed as the Head of the Media Monitoring Unit for the Central Office of Information, boasted of having ‘arranged’ for McCanns to visit the Pope. He did this using government connections and by speaking to the Roman Catholic Archbishop of England, Cormac Murphy O’Connor.
I. The British government arranging for Dr Gerry McCann to visit the White House and meet U.S. Attorney-General Alberto Gonzales
Dr Gerry McCann was able in July, while on a short visit to the United States, to visit the White House and meet personally with then Attorney-General of the United States, Alberto Gonzalez. Those visits could only have been arranged with British government help. Photos of Dr Gerry McCann visiting senior officials on Capitol Hill helped raise the profile of the McCanns and Madeleine still further.
J. Foreign Secretary David Miliband admits to having a number of telephone conversations with the McCanns - but won't say how many
During 2007, Clarence Mitchell, by then the full-time PR spokesman for the McCanns, claimed that after the McCanns were made 'arguidos' [provisional suspects], they had not received any help from, or even been in contact with, any senior Ministers of the British government.
However, an enterprising member of the public decided to ask a question about Mr Mitchell's claim under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Here are extracts from the reply he received from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office:
"I can confirm that the Foreign Secretary has communicated with the McCann family on a number of occasions. However any further details relating to this have been withheld under Section 36(2)(c) of the Freedom of Information Act which, if disclosed, would or would be likely to, prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs...We had to apply a 'public interest test' to determine whether or not the information should be released. We recognise that there is a public interest in transparent and open government...but we have to balance this with the need to reassure British nationals in need of Consular assistance that we will protect details relating to their situation. In this instance there is clearly an expectation that the details of all communications were confidential and would not be [made] public...”
“For this reason, we consider that the public interest in maintaining this exemption outweighs the public interest in release. The Foreign Secretary has not communicated with either Clarence Mitchell or the [private company] ‘Helping to Find Madeleine: Leaving No Stone Unturned Ltd’.”
It should be noted, however, that from May to September 2007, Mr Clarence Mitchell was seconded to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, of which Mr Miliband was the Secretary of State. Moreover, Dr Gerry McCann's brother Mr John McCann was reported to have claimed that he had also spoken to Mr Miliband. Mr John McCann was a founder Director of the private trust company 'Helping to Find Madeleine: Leaving No Stone Unturned Ltd’ - and continues to be a Director.
K. Tony Blair and his wife Cherie Blair talk to the McCanns
Days after Madeleine ‘disappeared’, Dr Kate McCann was persuaded by relatives to keep a diary (which, incidentally, she backdated to cover the events of Thursday 3rd May). Dr Gerry McCann was a Labour Party member, had good connections within the party, and aspired to be a Parliamentary candidate for them. In view of those connections, it was perhaps not surprising that Dr Kate McCann was able to write in her diary for Sunday 17th June: “Cherie Blair ’phoned to find out how we were…I also had the chance to speak to Tony who told me that we weren’t to hesitate to ask him if there was something he could do”. At the time, Tony Blair was the British Prime Minister. The entire Labour Party establishment seem to have assumed that the McCanns were telling the truth in claiming that Madeleine had been abducted - and wanted to actively help them..
L. Gordon Brown was told that Gonçalo Amaral would be removed from the Portuguese investigation before Amaral himself even knew
Gonçalo Amaral, the Portuguese senior investigating officer, revealed publicly that Prime Minister Gordon Brown had been told that he [Amaral] would be dismissed from the investigation into Madeleine's 'disappearance' two hours before he himself was informed that he was to be removed from his post. Two other staff were also taken off investigation. This appears to be very powerful evidence that the British government wanted him and his immediate colleagues dropped from the investigation. We should ask ourselves why. The only possible reason could be that Amaral and his team were getting ever closer to obtaining sufficient evidence to prove that the McCanns' claim of Madeleine being abducted was a lie. The impetus behind the investigation into Madeleine McCann’s ‘disappearance’ was not maintained after Amaral was removed from the enquiry.
We may note here that in 2005, Mr Amaral and his Portimão team of detectives successfully prosecuted the killers of 8-year-old Joana Cipriano – her own mother and uncle. They received lengthy jail terms. Both initially claimed that Joana had gone missing and might have been abducted. The investigation was fraught with difficulties, the mother maintaining for a long time that Joana was ‘missing’. However, due to Mr Amaral’s painstaking accumulation of forensic evidence, Joana’s uncle later admitted to the brutal killing of poor Joana - together with Joana's mother. He even described the despicable acts he committed in murdering Joana and then disposing of her body - by hiding it in a secondhand car and conveying the car to a Spanish vehicle crushing company.
M. The comments of Gonçalo Amaral and his removal from the investigation
We have the very powerful evidence of Gonçalo Amaral, the man in charge of the investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance for the first five months, who told us all that there was heavy British government interference with his investigation. He was then apparently removed from the investigation - in October 2008 -largely for spelling this out. His main public relations assistant said the same about British government pressure and was also removed from his association with the investigation. Mr Amaral said this in a TV interview on 31st July 2008:
“Those who knew me socially got an opinion based on my connection with the so-called ‘Maddie Case’. During the investigation, and after being removed from it, I was the target of the most terrible accusations from the British press, some local commentators and a man named Clarence Mitchell, whose role is not very well understood. On the eve of the publication of the book you already know about [NOTE: ‘The Truth about a Lie’] , this gentleman was sending me threats: ‘that I should take care’ - I was stunned! Let me make it clear that I consider this to be an unacceptable tone, coming from a citizen of the oldest democracy in the world. Take care, why? Because I might step on a banana skin while walking? Is Mr Mitchell concerned about my health? I do not think so. We all perceive his threatening tone.
“In Portugal, we are not used to people speaking that way. Nor is this the view we have of the British people, but there are always some people that fall short of their standards. A criminal investigation need not be politically correct, nor fear veiled threats”.
Shortly before he was dismissed, Amaral had given an interview to Portuguese newspaper Diario de Noticias, in which he was quoted as saying: “The British police have only been working on that which the McCann couple want them to. They have only investigated tips and information developed and worked on for the McCanns, forgetting that the couple are formal suspects in the death of their daughter”. When interest was shown by the British police in a clearly bogus e-mail sent to Prince Charles about the case, from a disgruntled former employee of the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz, in which she claimed that Madeleine had been abducted by a woman in some kind of act of revenge, Mr Amaral stated publicly: “This story about abduction for revenge is another lead being worked on for the McCanns. Everything said by employees of the Ocean Club, current or former, has already been investigated by the Portuguese police”. Mr Amaral clearly knew by that time that the British government was working to orchestrate and maintain the abduction ‘smokescreen’, whilst at the same time frustrating the attempts of Mr Amaral and his team to obtain sufficient evidence to bring charges against the McCanns.
N. The British government was directly involved in brokering an agreement for the McCanns to return to the United Kingdom
As the Daily Telegraph reported on 10th September 2007, as the McCanns were returning to England: "As those negotiations [with the Portuguese authorities about the McCanns returning to England] were going on, the Foreign Office was 'firing on all cylinders' in its efforts to help the McCanns. The agreement that allowed Gerry and Kate to go back to the U.K. was reached through direct contacts between the British Foreign Office, the Portuguese Justice and Foreign Office Ministers and Portuguese Judiciara, with the help of John Buck, the U.K. Ambassador in Portugal at the time. Justine McGuiness and David Hughes, members of the McCann team of advisers, played also an important role in those contacts".
O. The British government ensured that Madeleine McCann's medical records were not supplied to the Portuguese police
On page 81 of Gonçalo Amaral's recently-published book, 'A Verdade da Mentira', (The Truth about a Lie), Chapter 4, he claims that the Portuguese police officially requested from the British government that the medical records of Madeleine Beth McCann be supplied to them. Either the Department of Health, or the Regional Health Authority for Leicestershire, or both, frustrated the request. They delayed replying to the Portuguese police, and ultimately refused to co-operate. Given that that medical information about the family could have been helpful to the Portuguese investigation, we must ask why it was not produced.
P. The Madeleine McCann case was discussed by Gordon Brown with both the Portuguese Prime Minister and Portuguese President of the European Parliament at the E.U.’s ‘Lisbon Summit’ in October 2007
Again we have it on the written record that the case of Madeleine McCann was specially discussed between Jose Manuel de Barroso, the Portuguese President of the European Parliament, the Portuguese Prime Minister, Jose Socrates, and British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, at the European Union's Lisbon summit in October 2007, when the Lisbon Treaty was signed. Why would a criminal investigation into the disappearance and possible homicide of a three-year-old British girl be discussed at a summit conference which was primarily about concluding a European Treaty that had been the subject of fierce controversy and been planned for years? Why was the British government so concerned about the outcome of the Madeleine McCann investigation that it felt it had to discuss Madeleine alongside all the other burning European questions of the day?
It is therefore obvious that the British government was very actively involved in this investigation, from the start, and at the very highest levels of government. Other citizens of the U.K., or indeed of other countries, whose child goes missing in mysterious circumstances, have nothing like the same level of involvement from their government. In addition, the British government has been evasive about its role, which has surely been not about finding Madeleine but much more about protecting the McCanns and their ‘Tapas 9’ friends.
This is only a very short summary relating to British government involvement in this case. Much more could be written on the subject - and perhaps one day will be.
Sources of Information on the Madeleine McCann case
This booklet has been compiled from a variety of sources. These include: newspaper and magazine reports and articles, including Portuguese and Spanish sources, BBC news reports including the BBC website, and research compiled by users of Internet forums. It is impossible to list the hundreds of sources that have been used. Gonçalo Amaral’s book, ‘The Truth About a Lie’, is another prime source of reference (though not yet available in English), as are the DVD files and documents released by the Portuguese police since July. Other sources of good quality information about the Madeleine McCann case are these Internet sites:
There are many other websites, forums and blogs which cover the Madeleine McCann case, but not all, by any means, are of the same quality as the above sites. Most of the above sites carry links to other Madeleine forums and blogs.
Other useful references
Statistics about abducted children (Reason 1):
2. “The Greatest Threat to Children: Parents”:
3. In 99.9% of all abduction cases, the abductor turns out to be a family member: Florida study - http://findthekids.org/pdf/casemanag.pdf
Recent cases of children reported missing by their parents -
but who died, or seem to have died, at the hands of a family member. They can easily be researched on the Internet:
* Caylee Anthony (U.S. case) - mother charged with murder October 2008
* Antoine Brugerolle de Fraissinette (French case - 2008) - mother arrested
* Joana Cipriano (Portuguese case) - killed by her mother and uncle; trial in 2005
* Harmony Jude Creech - killed August 2007 (U.S. case)
* Hungarian toddler Dominik - found buried in nearby field after being reported missing by his parents (October 2007)
* Leonardo Giovanni Sendejas - killed 2007 (U.S. case)
* Riley Ann Sawyers a.k.a. ‘Baby Grace’ - killed 24 July 2007