Madeleine McCann: what Martin and Mary Smith saw and the cynical Sun brands Our Maddie
MADELEINE McCann: Last night BBC’s Crimewatch staged a reconstruction of the night the innocent child vanished. It was odd. The reconstruction was very thin. We saw a happy family. Happy friends. And then an empty bed.The media reacts:
Sky News: “Kate McCann may have been just moments away from catching Madeleine’s abductor, according to new details released by officers.”
Is a thing that “may” have happened worthy of being Sky’s lead news story? Yes. Because for six years Our Maddie has been entertaining the armchair detectives. Sky wants you to watch its show:
Sky News will show a special investigation tonight at 8.30pm on Sky Channel 501, Virgin Media 602 and Freeview 82
It needs a fact, a hook to seduce the viewers by:
Ian Woods writes:
A man thought to be a key suspect in the abduction of three-year-old Madeleine McCann has been identified – and ruled out of the inquiry. For six years, detectives believed that a sighting of a man carrying a child close to her apartment was one of their best leads. But a review of the evidence has concluded that it was an innocent British holidaymaker carrying his daughter home from a creche.
And it was was a good one. The man Jane Tanner saw was not an abductor.
Police said they were “very pleased” with a response that has seen nearly 500 people contacted them with fresh information since last night’s show. Madeleine’s parents Gerry and Kate McCann appeared live in the studio and said they were “feeling hopeful and optimistic”.
“These cases can get solved and that’s what the public need to think about tonight,” said Mr McCann. ”We don’t know what’s happened to Madeleine, we don’t know who’s taken her. The best chance of finding her is by identifying (the person who took her).”
But we don’t know she was taken. All this time and we still do not know what or if any crime befell her. It’s just probable or less probable.
Mrs McCann said: “It doesn’t matter how much heartache we put ourselves through as long as we get the result that we need.” She appealed to viewers to have “the courage and confidence to come forward”, adding they could hold the key to “unlock” the case.
And then this:
And police have refocused their attention on a second witness statement which had been considered of less importance. An Irish family on holiday in Praia da Luz had told investigators that they saw a man carrying a child at around 10pm.
But is it relevant?
DCI Redwood said:
“If this is you, and you are nothing to do with Madeleine’s disappearance, then we really need to speak to you. It’s so important for us to eliminate innocent sightings. But equally if anybody is looking at those e-fits and recognises the person, for whatever reason, then please have the courage to call in and tell us.”
But what about that headline that Kate McCann nearly caught the crook?
The Express also leads with this fact:
Moments has become minutes.
The potential prime suspect is described as white, in his 30s, of medium build and height, clean shaven with short brown hair. He was carrying a child aged three or four who had blonde hair and was wearing pyjamas similar to Madeleine’s.
Any more facts?
He was heading for the beach but detectives say suggestions that Madeleine may have been taken from Praia da Luz by boat are speculation.
Indeed. Get a load of that headline.
Can anyone get a new scoop? Over to the Sun, we go:L
Two name suspect - Dramatic twists in hunt for missing Maddie
TWO Crimewatch viewers last night sensationally named the SAME man from two police e-fits of the prime suspect in the hunt for Madeleine.
But what about the Irish Family who might have spotted something of interest?
The Irish Times: “Drogheda family’s evidence key to new Madeleine McCann appeal”
Drogheda couple Martin and Mary Smith were holidaying on the Algarve at the time of Madeleine’s disappearance with their daughter Aoife, son Peter and other family members. The man police now want to contact was spotted by the Smiths at about 10pm walking down the hill from the Ocean Club complex towards either the beach or the town centre, carrying a blond child aged about three or four, who was most probably wearing pyjamas.
The Smith family gave a statement to police soon after their holiday. The efits were compiled by private detectives in September 2008. However, Det Chief Insp Redwood said that for years the sighting was seen as “wrong place, wrong time” and thus unimportant.
Officers do not consider the McCanns as suspects.
Martin Smith and his family left Portugal the day after the disappearance and only later realised the significance of the man walking towards the ocean with the young girl wearing pyjamas in his arms.
In 2009, the Belfast Telegraph noted:
Mr Smith, from Drogheda , was also on holiday in Praia da Luz at the time.
At about 9.50pm on May 3 he and his family were walking up a road less than half a mile from the McCanns’ apartment when he saw a man carrying a blonde girl of about four.
Mr Smith said in his police statement: “I thought they were father and daughter so I wasn’t so suspicious… The man didn’t look like a tourist. I can’t explain why — it was probably from his clothes.”
Such are the facts…