Madeleine McCann: the ‘abductor’s secret confession’
Madeleine McCann: A look at reporting on the missing child. Today the Mirror leads with news that “Someone is protecting Maddie’s kidnapper”. They are? Maybe. Who? Dunno. It’s a ‘SEARCH COP’S CLAIM”. A “detective inspector” is “convinced” the “abductor has confessed to a friend”.
It soon turns out that the “COP”, the “detective inspector”, is a “former Detective Inspector” called Dave Edgar. Having established that the front-page headline is a little light on facts – the “cop” is no longer a serving police officer; the “detective inspector” isn’t a detective inspector – readers might wonder at the point of the story, let alone why it’s worthy of the Mirror’s front page.
Reading on we learn that retired Det Insp Dave Edgar, for it is he, “broke his silence for the first time to open his files. Revealing findings, that a child-sex gang most likely took the three-year-old.” He tells the paper: “Someone knows what happened and it’s time they came forward.”
What is “most likely” is not a fact. But if you thought that woolly, the next line tops it: “Mr Edgar believes an abductor has secretly confessed to the crime.”
A detective deals with gathering evidence and facts. But this story is one of belief and an imagined secret. The story continues:
Calling for an end to the agony of Maddie’s parents Kate and Gerry, he pleaded: “If anyone confided in you, now is the time to come forward.”
Now. Or, indeed, any time in the last ten years.
We then get what Edgar, “one of the top experts on the case”, “also believes”. There’s a list:
There is no evidence to suggest Kate and Gerry were involved.
It was a well planned abduction.
There was no evidence against two prime suspects of abducting her from Praia Da Luz in May.
The motive for taking three-year-old Madeleine was sexual.
There is still hope she is alive.
With no child to look at, the Mirror just looks at the parents, raking over old ground:
After Madeleine vanished from the McCanns’ Warner Ocean Club holiday flat, while her parents were dining with friends, Portuguese police named Kate and Gerry as “arguidos” or suspects.
Yes. They were.
But Mr Edgar dismisses that, flying in the face of last week’s Lisbon court decision to uphold the right of Portuguese detective Goncalo Amaral to publish his book alleging Madeleine had died and the McCanns covered it up.
“I was looking at everything and that would include them,” he said. “If I found any evidence against Kate and Gerry I would have given it to the police immediately. Kate and Gerry would expect no less. But I found no shred of evidence. We obviously look at all factors – motive, preparation, opportunity – and there was absolutely nothing.”
Fair enough. But why do other theories get aired? Is there evidence a sex gang stole Madeleine McCann? Is there evidence the child was abducted? Is there evidence she is alive? Isn’t broadcasting theories what caused the McCanns and Robert Murat to be libelled?
Mr Edgar was “paid for by the Find Madeleine Fund” to crack the case. That he didn’t is regrettable. But why are we now listening to what he believes? Surely it’s wise to stick to what he knows and has found?
He [Edgar] has heard dozens of theories about Madeleine – that she had wandered off, and been run over, become the victim of a random burglar or taken by someone wanting to raise a child for themselves.
So much for the theories. What of the facts?
He believes it was a planned operation by a lone kidnapper or a gang.
No facts. Well, only one: a child vanished.
Almost 10 years after the story began, a national tabloid is leading with speculation, just as many have done ever since May 2007. Says Egdar: “If the motive was gang-related child prostitution, there might have been more than one involved.”
Believes. If. Might. And on it goes, this guessing. However educated and based on well-trained hunches the theorising is, it remains guesswork. Get a load of this line:
Like millions of others, the retired detective clings to the hope that Madeleine is still alive, possibly being held prisoner and potentially still in Portugal.
Such are the facts.