Madeleine McCann: Sergey Malinka And Robert Murat Relive The Horror
MADELEINE McCann: It’s the seventh summer of the missing child in the news media. This is today’s news:
Two newspapers leads with ‘Our Maddie’.
The Sun tslk of the “1st ARRESTS”.
MET detectives flew into Portugal last night as cops there are to make the first new arrests over Madeleine McCann’s abduction. They are expected to sit in on the interrogation of at least ‘three prime suspects’ in the next few days.
Officers are also planning to sit in on the quizzing of another five “people of interest” and what one source described as a “vital informant”.
No-one has been arrested. They are helping police with their enquiries.
Police investigating the mystery disappearance of Madeleine McCann have began questioning “formal suspects”. Scotland Yard detectives flew into the Algarve and were allowed to sit in on the interviews. Two “persons of interest” – or arguidos in Portuguese law – had been quizzed by local detectives.
The Metropolitan police officers were not allowed to ask questions, although sources close to the investigation say UK officers have over 250 questions for one of the men.
Two more people remained at Faro police station waiting to be interviewed by the Policia Judiciaria.
One of them is said to be suffering from severe schizophrenia and his interview may be postponed as he has not yet been assigned a lawyer.
It is not clear when the fourth individual will be interviewed.
All of those being questioned are Portuguese citizens, one is believed to be Russian computer expert Sergey Malinka whose home was searched by police shortly after Madeleine went missing.
It is him. More later.
“Formal suspects” have a special legal status in Portugal which is similar to being questioned under caution in England & Wales. Mr Malinka told a Portuguese paper which named him today as one of the four said: “I’m going to have to talk first with my lawyer.”
They were all invited in to be interviewed, though there have been no arrests.
We have read of Mr Malinka before.
Back in 2007, we noted:
Malinka knows Murat, having helped him to set up a website. Malinka has a computer shop in the area. Setting up websites is what he does for a living. The Mirror sees computer equipment being removed by police from the Malinka apartment. There is mention made of emails on his laptop from Murat, the “one-eyed Briton”.
Murat was libelled mosntrously. Malinka was smeared by association. He was the Mirror’s “RUSSIAN WEB GEEK”. Other things were whispered in the tabloid.
He said of the car and the ordeal:
“I went to bed and I switched my phone to silent. When I woke up I had 32 missed calls.. I’m not scared. It’s just a car. It was a nice car, but at least I wasn’t inside it. But I have no feelings about this. They ripped my heart out last summer when they involved me with all this.”
The Times showed us “Lawyer of the Week: Lucy Moorman”
Lucy Moorman, an in-house barrister at Simons Muirhead & Burton, represented Robert Murat, who sued 11 British newspapers for libel over allegations that he was involved in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Last week the papers apologised in court and announced a record damages payout of £600,000.
What were the main challenges and the possible implications?
We were presented with three clients with devastated reputations (Michaela Walczuch and Sergey Malinka also recovered six-figure sums), a torrid tabloid media campaign spanning nine months and more than 100 seriously defamatory articles. It required great focus and formidable teamwork to get into a position to present the claims at the High Court. To have achieved such resounding vindication for the clients within just three months is immense.
We had wrongly suggested in a number of articles that Mr Murat and Ms Walczuch were involved in the abduction of Madeleine McCann; that Mr Murat and Ms Walczuch had lied to the police and obstructed their investigation; that Mr Murat was a paedophile who used his computer to access depraved sexual material; that Mr Murat and Ms Walczuch might be part of a paedophile ring; and that Mr Malinka had convictions for sex offences and had lied about his acquaintance with Mr Murat.
Easy mistake to make when you’re part of a voracious media feeding frenzy.
Mr Murat’s solicitor, Louis Charalambous, added:
“In particular, the defendants accept that none of the claimants had any involvement whatever in the abduction of Madeleine McCann. They accept that none of the claimants has any paedophile tendencies or connection with paedophiles or paedophile websites and that none of them lied to the police or obstructed the investigations. They accept that Mr Murat’s actions after the abduction were entirely proper and were motivated by a desire to help find Madeleine McCann. He became a volunteer translator for the Portuguese police and did everything he could to assist the investigation. Ms Walczuch was never suspected or accused of any involvement in the abduction of Madeleine McCann. Mr Malinka was not guilty of any sexual misconduct and has no criminal convictions.”
So. All news organs should be at pains to point out Mr Malinka has not been arrested. And he has no criminal convictions.
Wrong. They have made a comment. Malinka does not have any criminal convictions.
Hear that dog whistle? The two computers. He was never charged.
Has the Mirror learned nothing? It appears not as it fails to mention that Mr Malinka sued the paper for libel and won.
The BBC adds:
Two suspects have been questioned in Portugal in the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. The BBC understands one of them is Sergey Malinka, who was questioned as a witness in 2007 after the three-year-old went missing.
Is he a suspect? He’s not been arrested.
Mr Malinka and the other suspect left the central police station in Faro after they were interviewed. The Russian-born computer expert, who has Portuguese nationality, is likely to face more questioning on Wednesday.
Robert Murat takes a view:
Mr Murat had worked with Mr Malinka in 2006 and 2007 setting up a property website. He told the BBC: “It’s absolutely ridiculous. It makes no sense. “They’ve talked to him before, in 2007, so why are they talking to him again? He’s a good professional and a hard worker. I don’t know Sergey that well, but he is a nice lad.”
Murat tells the Guardian:
“Back in 2007, police questioning of Sergey was very thorough and meticulous and I can’t see any reason why he has been brought in again”, Murat said. “My heart goes out to him and his family because I know exactly what they will be going through right now.”
And the child? Well, the Mail adds:
Scotland Yard are working on the theory burglars killed Madeleine during a bungled break-in while her parents ate tapas nearby with friends – and then buried her body on waste ground in the resort.
Such are the facts.