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Anorak | Madeleine McCann: Casandra Jardine, Chris Freind And Spinning In Circles

Madeleine McCann: Casandra Jardine, Chris Freind And Spinning In Circles

by | 10th, May 2011

MADELEINE McCann: Cassandra Jardine and Chris Freind (whose article has now been removed) debate the rights and wrongs of Kate McCann’s book. Odd that a single thread story – the vanishing of an innocent child – should be debated. But such is the way of a story that has been spun:

First up Jadirne, who asks Telegraph readers:

Kate McCann: why didn’t they believe her?

Who are they?

So far there has been only one public recantation. A tabloid journalist wrote yesterday that he “rues the day” he rubbished the McCanns’ version of the disappearance of their daughter, Madeleine, four years ago.

That was David Jones in the Mail, a man who, apparently, regrets being a journalist and showing not telling; presenting the facts in a clear narrative and not making judgements based on a hunch.

After a brief retelling of the extracts of the Madeleine book, Jardine notes:

Four years ago, we gorged on every detail of the Tapas Seven, the man seen carrying a child in a blanket, and the DNA testing of the car that the McCanns hired for their Algarve holiday. It was a latter-day Grimms’ fairy story, one that stirred up every parent’s fears because we have all taken tiny risks, whether it be leaving children in the car while dashing to the cashpoint or nipping to the loo when they are playing in water.

We are back to the assumption that what happened to Madeleine McCann – and what did happen to her? – could have happened to any child. And it’s not a fairy story – a real child really went missing. Come on, Cassandra, that is the sole fact.

Accidents are always foreseeable, but only with hindsight, and most don’t happen.

Accidents? What accident?

As I wrote then, having visited the crime scene in Praia de Luz, I too would have left my children asleep in the McCanns’ apartment, which was visible (though not entirely) from the resort restaurant.

Only, you didn’t, Cassandra. Maybe next time you visit the resort, you can take your kids with and test your own theory?

I might not even have checked them as often as the diligent tapas diners, who returned to the rooms every 15 minutes.

Maybe. Yep, definitely maybe. But why speculate when you can test the theory, Cassandra. Gonzo journalism needs you.

Others disagreed vociferously. Men and women have accused Kate, a part-time GP, of being a bad mother and worse, while Gerry, her cardiologist husband, has had a relatively easy ride.

Cardiologist. Fact!

Her critics may chiefly wish to reassure themselves that such bad luck could never befall them, but their venom suggests a lingering prejudice against working mothers, especially those who dress neatly, express themselves crisply, go to church and jog in order to keep up some semblance of normality amid emotional chaos.

Eh? People formed an opinion on Kate McCann because she spoke “crisply”? Having established that leaving young children alone on holiday is what a journalist would do (and, no, I would not – so a consensus among journalists might be hard to achieve), Jardine says that some people don’t like Kate McCann because she goes to church and has clean clothes? Well, yes, maybe. But why not find one venom-filled hater who espouses that view. Why speculate?

Had Kate not been pretty, middle-class and educated, she might have received more sympathy…

Perhaps, had she been black, working class and uneducated, she’d have been visited by social services, unable to afford expensive lawyers and ignored by the media?

…That angel face encouraged the fanciful to think that she must be a devil in disguise, guilty if not of murder then of negligence, just like Lindy Chamberlain, whose child disappeared in the Australian outback 27 years previously.

Angel face? Kate McCann? Not too long ago, Jardine had her as a simple working mum. Now she is resembles an angel.

Chamberlain served four years in prison before the child’s clothes were found in a dingo’s lair.

Whereas Kate McCann has never been charged with any crime, let alone convicted and sent to prison. And fours year on, there is still no sign of her daughter. Apart from that the comparison is valid, right?

Jardine moves onto the book and new clues:

One that made me shudder was that the nine adults in the McCanns’ party block-booked the restaurant near their apartments because it was so close to their sleeping children. Very sensible. But anyone looking for an unattended child could have known this, because a thoughtless member of staff wrote down both the booking, and the reason for it, on a desk at the pool reception, where it could have been easily observed by a paedophile on the lookout for unattended children.

Could have. Maybe. Good that Jardine is sticking to the facts.

Another possible suspect is Martin Ney, 40, who last month was arrested for the murder of Dennis Klein, a nine-year-old who vanished on a school trip in Germany in 2001. Ney resembles the photofit of the man seen carrying a child by one of the Tapas Seven, shortly before Madeleine’s bed was found empty.

But there is no proof (yet?) of his having been in Portugal at the time of the child’s vanishing. This is more speculation.

One day, perhaps, the McCanns will have their answer.

The truth outs. It always does.

With Jardine’s piece filed, we now look to Chris Freind, who tells his readers of the PhillyMag:

MADELEINE MCCANN’S PARENTS: THE REAL ROYAL COUPLE? Four years after a British girl disappeared, there are more questions than answers

April was a busy time for the Royal Couple.

Preparations had been underway for months to deal with all the publicity that was sure to come. Facebook pages were established, marketing pieces created, a book written and carefully scripted interviews arranged, as publicists and advisors worked round-the-clock for the famous British duo. No detail was too small when planning such a momentous event, as the global media once again turned its focus on two of Great Britain’s most…interesting people.

Most amazing, all of this was accomplished despite the distractions caused by the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Boom! Boom!

He then considers the restaurant reservations book?

So we’re supposed to believe that a child kidnapper just happened to be dining at the resort’s restaurant that night, on the off-chance some British couple’s child-care arrangements (or lack thereof) would be recorded in the restaurant’s reservation book? Which, by the way, is usually kept behind a desk, not in public view.

Either that, or someone on the kitchen staff, waiting in the wings…

Incredibly, journalists cannot stick to the facts. They invite us to believe and then to disbelieve. If the driver of covering this story is to find the girl and discover what occurred, the facts are vital. We are going over old ground. And that achieved nothing but libel cases, damaged lives, speculation and sensation. There are no official suspects. There is no proof of a crime. There is just one fact: Madeleine McCann is missing…



Posted: 10th, May 2011 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann Comments (5) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink