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Madeleine McCann: Is Tony Bennett going to jail?

by | 30th, January 2012

MADELEINE McCann: Robert Mendick, Chief Reporter of the Daily Telegraph, has news on Kate McCann, Gerry McCann, Tony Bennett and the Madeleine Foundation:

For almost five years, Kate and Gerry McCann have suffered the anguish of not knowing what happened to their daughter Madeleine. Through it all, they have also had to contend with a sustained campaign of harassment conducted by a small band of fanatics convinced they had a hand in their daughter’s disappearance.

Now, one of their main tormentors is facing jail for refusing to leave the McCanns’ alone.

Tony Bennett has waged a campaign since 2007 against the couple – repeatedly accusing them of covering up the girl’s death in leaflets, books and on internet postings. On one occasion, the Madeleine Foundation, which he runs, handed out 1,500 pamphlets in Rothley, the couple’s home village in Leicestershire, entitled “10 key reasons which suggest she was not abducted.”

Adding:

Next month, a court will decide whether to jail Mr Bennett, 64, for contempt of court. The action is being brought by Mr and Mrs McCann who have grown increasingly disturbed by Mr Bennett’s attacks on them. Mr Bennett is accused of flouting an agreement in the High Court – made in November 2009 – that he would stop repeating allegations that the McCanns were in some way involved in their daughter’s abduction.

Since then, Mr Bennett, a grandfather-of-two from Harlow in Essex, who is obsessed with the case, has posted on the subject of Madeleine McCann’s disappearance an astonishing 3,800 times on one website alone.
Lawyers acting for the McCanns accuse him of breaching the undertaking on at least 149 occasions. The list of alleged breaches is not exhaustive.

Says the McCanns’ spokesman Clarence Mitchell:

“This has gone on for a long time and Kate and Gerry now feel enough is enough. It is obviously very distressing for them. The fact they are taking legal action speaks for itself. Tony Bennett is his own worst enemy by persistently doing what he does, he has brought this action on himself.”

And:

A draft order seen by The Sunday Telegraph, which a judge is expected to rule upon at a hearing in February, includes an option for Mr Bennett to be “committed to HM Prison for a period” to be determined. Mr Bennett could also be fined and ordered to pay costs that are likely to bankrupt him.

What of that reported agreement?

The agreement signed in court states:

“The defendant [Mr Bennett] undertakes not to repeat allegations that the claimants are guilty of, or are to be suspected of, causing the death of their daughter Madeleine McCann; and/ or of disposing of her body and/ or of lying about what happened and/ or of seeking to cover up what they had done.”

The undertaking also included the destruction of a book “What really happened to Madeleine McCann? 60 key reasons which suggest that she was not abducted” and a leaflet “What really happened to Madeleine McCann? 10 key reasons which suggest that she was not abducted.”

Says the Telegraph:

But since that November 2009 undertaking, Mr Bennett has continued many of his activities. The list of 149 alleged breaches, compiled by the McCanns’ lawyers Carter Ruck, includes a book: “The Madeleine McCann Case Files: Volume 1” and a series of postings on the social networking website Twitter.

Says Mr Bennett:

“I have done my best to comply with the undertaking but I would argue to the courts it was an unreasonably wide undertaking to sign. In the last two years I have not written specifically about the details of how she [Madeleine] might have died or how the body was hidden. It is my sincere conviction that one day I will be proved right. I truly believe that one day the truth will be told. And yes I am risking a breach of the order by saying that.”

Adding:

“The thing that came closest to harassment was when we distributed the ’10 reasons’ leaflet in Leicestershire in August 2009. Three of my colleagues in the Madeleine Foundation distributed a small quantity of leaflets in Rothley. I would honestly say that perhaps that was a leaflet distribution too far. If Madeleine was abducted I would accept what I have done is a wicked campaign of harassment. If I am wrong I am evil. But if I am right, I am a victim of simply having the desire to pursue the truth.”

Meanwhile, the Daily Star reports:

THE British police hunt for Madeleine McCann will cost more than £1.3million in its first year. Scotland Yard’s 37-strong team includes three detective inspectors and five detective sergeants. There are also 19 detective ­constables on the case under the lead of Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood. And three of the country’s top cold case officers have been brought in.

Spotters – Karen (thanks)



Posted: 30th, January 2012 | In: Madeleine McCann Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink