Madeleine McCann Category
News digests and reviews of the missing child in the news. Madeleine McCann vanished on Thursday, 3 May 2007 from a rented holiday flat in Praia da Luz, Portugal. Madeleine, on holiday with her twin siblings and parents Kate and Gerry McCann,became the biggest news story of the past decade. We’ve followed it closely ever since the story broke.
Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child.
On November 7th, the Sun and Mirror had news.
Mirror: “Gerry and Kate McCann reveal the reasons why they miss Maddie”
Well, she’s their young daughter. Surely we can imagine the reasons, which could go on for pages and pages until exhausted the bereft surmise: everything.
The parents of Madeleine McCann have compiled a heart-rending list of all the things they miss about their long-lost daughter in the run-up to Christmas.
The list accompanies a picture of the couple standing at their front door in Rothley, Leics. The photo, taken for the charity Missing People’s Home for Christmas Exhibition, is among 12 pictures of families who have missing loved ones.
Do we see the other in the Mirror? No.
The exhibition – at The Crypt in London’s St-Martin-in-the-Fields – highlights the plight of thousands of people across Britain who are living in limbo after the disappearance of a family member.
It’s not news, then. It’s charity PR.
A charity spokesperson said: “These powerful images depict families standing by their front doors, symbolising the hopes and fears experienced by those desperately waiting for news.”
As ever, in place of any actual news on the missing child who became the media’s benchmark for all missing people, we get the same old:
The picture of heart doctor Gerry and former GP Kate , both 47, is on public view until November 22. The couple, parents to 10-year-old twins Sean and Amelie, refuse to give up hope of finding their eldest child, who would now be 12.
We don’t get to know the names, jobs, ages of the others looking and waiting for missing people to return.
Missing People’s Jo Youle said: “The exhibition will give the public the opportunity to stand with these families missing a loved one by sharing messages of support.”
Stand with them? But you can’t stand with them. there is no enemy to sand firm against, unless forgetting is the encroaching intruder?
The Sun also the Missing Maddie missing things list, here tastefully presented in the Buzzfeed style:
The 23 things we miss most about our Maddie, by Gerry and Kate McCann
In yer face, Closer:
This is the Sun’s list:
Her sense of humour
Her imitations of people and characters
Her voice, her ‘chat’
That knowing look
Styling her hair
Chasing her round the garden
Sharing her excitement in the run-up to Christmas
Spoiling her on her birthday
Shopping with her
Going to a cafe with her
Holding her, hugging her, kissing the top of her head
Lying next to her
Our complete family of five
We miss her
On Missing People, we see other names of people being sought by loved ones:
On November 11, the Liverpool Echo had more on the missing:
Christmas carol service to be held in Anfield to remember people missing from Merseyside
The story begins:
Madeleine McCann’s mum is encouraging people to support a carol service is to be held next month in memory of Merseyside’s missing people.
Madeleine McCann went missing in Portugal.
The special service is being organised by UK charity, Missing People, as part of their Home for Christmas campaign…
Liverpool born Kate McCann Kate McCann whose daughter Madeleine has been missing since she disappeared while the family were on holiday in Portugal in 2007, was previously a member of the All Saints congregation.
No name of any other missing person features in the story.
In the Express & Star, Kirsty Bosley wonder why public displays of grief are now commonplace:
I remember back when Madeleine McCann went missing. The people of the small town of Willenhall created a shrine in the marketplace, leaving flowers, teddies, cards and messages for the girl and her family. I couldn’t understand it. I didn’t know how cluttering up a massive space that needed to be used for the practical purpose of trading would make anything better. And I didn’t see how those letters, that would go unread by Madeleine’s parents, were possibly helping the situation. Fortunately, I have never had to go through the horror of what they’re experiencing, and I hope I never will. Unless that happens, I won’t know what difference it can make; that strangers in a place I’ve never heard of dedicate a big chunk of their marketplace to teddies and candles.
You might call it mourn porn.
The Willenhall shrine to Maddie was the scene of much uproar a little while after it’s creation, when a councillor put her foot down and made the decision to clean it up. I understood exactly why she’d make that call, even though it was an unpopular one. At what point do you have to stand back and say enough is enough? If we leave flowers, scarves, shirts and letter memorials everywhere for anyone lost, we’d be trudging the streets knee-deep in the stinking brown sludge normally reserved for the bottom of a grave-top flower holder.
And that’s exactly where I think these memorials should be left, in gardens of remembrance, on graves and at specially-created monuments. There are only so many lamp posts and telegraph poles to decorate.
But newspapers mastheads remain fertile ground for emotive reporting in place of news.
Madeleine McCann – a look at reporting on the missing child.
Daily Star (front page): “MADDIE HOPE – Missing boy found alive after 13 years”
Beneath the news of a boy having been found and a massive advert for a Aldi, we read:
Julian Hernandez was reported missing in 2002 by his mum. Police suspected he had been snatched by his dad, Bobby, from his home in Birmingham, Alabama, but all efforts to trace the pair failed.
Child went missing, presumably gone off with father…
Now an 18-year-old boy found living 700 miles away has been confirmed as missing Julian.
Who took the boy?
Dad Bobby Hernandez faces abduction charges and has been remanded in custody
One parent in a failed relationship taking the child and running is not that rare.
But to the Star this is about the tabloids’ ‘Our Maddie’:
The case is sure to give hope to Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry, both 47.
But the story of Julian Hernandez had one massive clue: the dad was also missing.
Last night, a source close to the inquiry into her disappearance said: “Whenever children who have been missing for so long are found safe and well it shows why it is so important to leave no stone unturned in the search for Madeleine.”
Fair enough. But “FBI special agent Vicki Anderson said Julian had been living in Cleveland, Ohio, with his father since he disappeared.”
The father is in police custody.
The Express tries to add a dash of intrigue:
Still hope for Maddie: Child found alive 13 years after mysterious disappearance
Mystery? Child and dad vanish from broken home. the BBC says: “Authorities suspected around the time of the boy’s disappearance that his father was possibly the culprit.”
Not that much of a mystery, then. More of a hunt.
The Sun and Mirror stick to the facts – neither newspaper mentioning Madeleine McCann in their stories:
The Sun says the “mystery” was solved when Julian applied for a university and his social security number kept coming back as incorrect.
Such are the facts.
Madeleine McCann: the missing child is in the news.
The Sun (Page 13):”Maddie quiz for double lad killer”
A child killer known as Silvio S has been arrested in connection with the disappearance of five-year-old Inga Gehricke.
The Sun says she is known as “The German Madeleine”. As we’ve noted, every country seem to have a version of the missing child.
We’re told that Scotland Yard wants to know if he was in Portugal when Madeleine McCann vanished.
There are no leads linking Silvio S with that vanishing. We don’t even know if he has ever been to Portugal, let alone was there when Madeleine McCann vanished. The story is thin.
The Berliner Kurier says sniffer dogs have not found the child.
News.de tells us:
Since early May, the police from Stendal have been looking for the five-year Inga Gehricke. The little girl from Schönebeck was with her family have been visiting Wilhelmshof. It is thought that Inga Gehricke went in the forest to find wood for a campfire. But she did not return. The biggest search operation in the country began:thousands of civil servants and workers scoured the area for days – without success. Still going police assume that Inga is still alive.
Missing Inga (5) in Stendal: Police believe that Inga is still alive
“We do not just hope, we also assume that Inga is still alive.” Said Andreas Schomaker, President of the Police Headquarters.
Such are the facts.
The Sun delivers a photo of Madeleine McCann dressed as pumpkin. Is this news? The headline tells us:
Missing Maddie’s pumpkin suit snap – Parents ask public not to give up hope
Antonella Lazzeri writes:
A POIGNANT picture of Madeleine McCann in a pumpkin suit has been posted on a campaign site as her parents vow to keep looking for her.
Indeed, it would take hard heart not to look at the innocent child playing and not fell a sadness.
The snap shows her as a three-year-old just months before she vanished in Portugal’s Praia da Luz in May 2007. Parents Kate and Gerry posted it on a Find Madeleine page to mark Halloween. A caption urged: “Please don’t give up on Madeleine. To continue looking for Maddie is to acknowledge that hope doesn’t die.”
The Liverpool Echo has the same story. But it say:
Kate and Gerry McCann posted the Halloween picture on the Official Find Madeleine Campaign Facebook page yesterday to remind the world that their daughter is still missing. The picture was posted alongside a short message that simply read “Happy Halloween”.
We all want to see an end to this story. The newspapers, especially the tabloids, want the happy ending – any ending – and then an interview with the parents. But the only fact remains unchanged: child goes missing. In place of any advancement of that we are left with the familiar composite mix of no-news, PR, money and emotion. And, as ever, we are reminded of the parents’ jobs in the Sun:
It comes just days after Scotland Yard announced that they were scaling down the hunt from 29 cops to four. Former GP Kate and heart doctor Gerry, both 47, of Rothley, Leics, have set aside around £750,000 from the Find Maddie Fund. The money will pay for their own private investigators if needed.
Are readers looking?> Does the story of ‘Our Maddie’ still sell newspapers? Below the Sun’s story, are a few comments. These are they in full:
Hope does not die – and neither do accusations and a game of armchair detective.
And the Express has a clue:
Did this German serial killer snatch Madeleine McCann? Police probe new suspect?
No. The answer to any headline posed as question is always no.
James Murray writes:
A CHILD murderer who has confessed to killing two boys is expected to be investigated over the disappearence [sic] of Madeleine McCann.
Expected by whom?
German detectives believe they have a new suspect, known only as Silvio S, in the search for Maddy
Detectives in Germany also want to know if the 32-year-old double killer, known only as Silvio S, took five-year-old Inga Gehricke. Since she vanished on May 2 this year after walking into woods during a family barbecue in the Saxony-Anhalt state, some 50 miles from Berlin, Inga has been known as the German Madeleine.
Madeleine McCann has become the benchmark for all the world’s missing children. See:
Australia has an Our Maddie – Chloe Campbell Is Australia’s Madeleine McCann
Brazil has an Our Maddie – Madeleine McCann: Isabella Nadoni Is Brazil’s Our Maddie
Israel has an Our Maddie – Madeleine McCann: Israel’s Rose Is The International Our Maddie
France has an Our Maddie –Typhaine Taton Is France’s Madeleine McCann
America has an Our Maddie – America’s Madeleine McCann Turns Up Alive
Spain has an Our Maddie – Madeleine McCann: Mari Luz Cortes, Maddy 2 And Gerry McCann Writes
New Zealand has an Our Maddie – Madeleine McCann: Patronising Aisling Symes
South America has an Our Maddie A Madeleine McCann Found In Panama
Holland has an Our Maddie – Madeleine McCann: Milly Boele Is Holland’s Our Maddie
Australia has an Our Maddie – Kiesha Abrahams Is Australia’s Madeleine McCann
Says the Express:
Scotland Yard detectives seeking Madeleine, who disappeared in Portugal aged three on May 3, 2007, are following developments closely. It is expected they will ask their German counterparts to check the killer’s passport to see if he was ever in Portugal.
And that is the “exclusive”.
He would have been 24 at the time of Madeleine’s disappearance during a family holiday. Silvio was arrested on Thursday and has since admitted two child killings after his mother gave information to police.
Four-year-old Bosnian refugee Mohammed Januzi was snatched as his parents visited a government welfare office in Berlin on October 1. Last Tuesday police released CCTV footage of the child being led away from the building by a bearded man. Later Silvio’s mother called police because she was suspicious about the behaviour of her son.
And this has what to do with Madeleine McCann?
Madeleine McCann disappeared whilst the family holidayed in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz
Such are the facts.
The Sun (front page): “SUN EXCLUSIVE – MADDIE:McCann: We’ll never give up”
Is that news?
We learn via bullet points:
- £750,000 IN FUND
- EX-COPS TEAM
Page 13: “NEVER QUIT”
We’re told that the police operation is to be “shelved”. As ever, an unnamed “source close to the McCanns” says: “They are very much of the mind, ‘We will never give up’ and they won’t. They have spearheaded the hunt for Madeleine themselves before and will do so again if they have to.”
We also hear from the McCanns’ spokesman Clarence Mitchell: “Should the need arise for a private investigation to be resumed, they have made sure they have enough money left in Madeleine’s fund.”
Page 12-13: “HOW DID MADDIE HUNT GO WRONG?
Do we know that it has? The Met’s Operation Grange has been gathering evidence and reviewing all data. Four police officers will now work full-time on the case. The 25 who also worked on it have been put on other duties. Maybe one of them can look for Andrew Gosden or Steven Cook?
The Sun says the Met’s enquiry is “expected to be wound down completely in the New Year”.
The paper wonders “how could an inquiry that to date has cost more than £11million seemingly achieve so little?”
The British taskforce, which at its height was 37-strong, has yet to make a single arrest, despite 560 lines of inquiry and 60 suspects.
Why is the Sun no keen to present this as a failure by the Met police? Why is the Sun, the paper in the eye of the police’s phone hacking purge / witch hunt, keen to ask: ”
It also became mired in a spending controversy with some cops staying in the £200-a-night five-star Hotel Dona Filipa during visits to Portugal. Last year there were 67 flights to the country by cops costing £16,000, with overtime on top. So what were all these officers actually doing?
That hotel price is for peak season. The officers were then in the off-season. And:
By the latest count, the Met claims “7,154 actions had been raised” and 560 lines of inquiry identified. They had identified more than 60 persons of interest and 650 sex offenders were also investigated.
But the numbers mask the chaos going on behind the scenes.
Having found the police wanting, the Sun than adds a fact:
Madeleine’s case was always a special one. Never has a missing child received so much worldwide focus. Indeed, the average amount spent on investigating a missing child is around £2,400.
a) The media saw the missing blonde child and launched a voracious feeding frenzy.
b) Most children are found quickly
In other tabloids today: Daily Mail, Daily Express and Daily Mirror all nothing on Madeleine McCann.
Madeleine McCann: a look at the missing child in the media.
The Sun (front page): “Cops in hunt for Maddie slashed”
The “search” has been “drastically cut back”. Reducing the number of police officers on the case from a platoon-sized 29 to a small office-sized 4 is “a huge blow to parents Kate and Gerry”.
This news is shared with the other front-page police matters that “Britain’s tops cops” have warned that “huge spending cuts will spell the end for bobbies on the beat”. It’s cost The Met Police not much under £11m since 2011 to find out what happened to Madeleine McCann. The Sun’s juxtaposition of the two stories is not accidental.
Page 9: “FEAR OF LOST GIRLS PARENTS – IS THIS END OF COP HUNT FOR MADDIE?”
Answer: No. Four police remain on the case.
We hear from a “source close to Mum Kate and dad Gerry”. They say: “They know it can’t go on forever. They’re preparing for it to be shelved for good in coming months.”
We hear their official “statement”: “We remain hopeful she may still be found…”
Daily Mail (Page 25): “”Maddie probe team is slashed from 29 detectives to just 4.”
Just 4. Just?
We learn that the Government “initially set aside 5m for the Met probe”. We are reminded that the Portuguese investigation was “marred by blunders”.
It has also sold a lot of newspapers and garnered online clicks.
Daily Express (front page): “MADDY: POLICE RUN OUT OF CLUES”
Did they ever have any?
The Express agrees that there will “just” four offices working full-time on the case.
Page 9: “McCanns cling to hope as inquiry is cut back”
To illustrate how this story has gone nowhere, this is the Daily Express headline from 29 April 2009: “Madeleine’s parents still cling to hope.”
The paper notes:
Since the little girl, who would now be 11, vanished, every possible theory has been explored including that she was kidnapped by a peadophile [sic], killed during a botched burglary and her body dumped, snatched by traffickers and sold to a childless couple and she wandered out of the apartment and died in a tragic accident.
The Express, of course, indulged in another theory that cost it dear when it libelled the McCanns:
The question of what happened to the little girl has not only become a personal tragedy for the McCann family, but a national obsession in the UK and in Portugal. However, to date, not one shred of proof of what happened to Madeleine has been unearthed.
Not everyone has been as obsessed as the Express:
Daily Mirror (front page): “MADDIE – Police scaling down hunt”
Page 11: “Maddie Cops Cut From 29 To Four – But Met says investigation continues”
Not shelved, then. But there are – get this – “just four” detectives on the case.
Daily Star (front page): “Search for Maddie cut”
Page 6: “Family’s agony as cops slash Maddie squad”
Agony? Surely the agony was the child vanishing. The case remains open. The parents “remain hopeful”
Such are the facts.
Madeleine McCann: ‘just’ four police working full-time on case, 8,685 potential sightings, years of sensation
There were 29 police officers working full-time on the hunt for Madeleine McCann. Soon there will be four, the Metropolitan Police says.
Scotland Yard has cut the number of officers investigating Maddie’s disappearance from 29 to just four.
Just four. Just…
The Met said the “vast majority” of the work in its inquiry into Madeleine’s disappearance had been completed. It said no conclusion had been reached but it was now following a “small number of focused lines of inquiry” which was why the team had been cut.
Four full-time officers on one case still sounds a lot, no?
Spokesman for the McCann family Clarence Mitchell says the the case into her disappearance is not drawing to a close.
If only it were. We all want closure. The story foes on and on.
Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, from the Met, said: “The Met was asked to take on this exceptional case as one of national interest.”
Less time was spent looking for Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction.
“We were happy to bring our expertise to bear only on the basis that it would not detract from the policing of London; and the Home Office have additionally funded the investigation above normal grants to the Met. That will continue at the reduced level.”
As ever, we are left looking at the parents:
Madeleine’s parents Gerry and Kate McCann praised the “meticulous and painstaking work” done by police. They said: “We are reassured that the investigation to find Madeleine has been significantly progressed and the Met has a much clearer picture of the events in Praia da Luz leading up to Madeleine’s abduction in 2007. Given that the review phase of the investigation is essentially completed, we fully understand the reasons why the team is being reduced. We would also like to thank the Home Office for continuing to support the investigation. Whilst we do not know what happened to Madeleine, we remain hopeful that she may still be found given the ongoing lines of inquiry.”
The investigation has been huge:
Officers have investigated more than 60 persons of interest, the Met said, adding that a total of 650 sex offenders had also been considered as well as reports of 8,685 potential sightings of Madeleine around the world. Having reviewed all of the documents, “7,154 actions were raised and 560 lines of inquiry identified”, the Met said. It said more than 30 requests had been made to “countries across the world asking for work to be undertaken on behalf of the Met”.
No arrests have been made, despite officers investigating 60 people of interest, taking 1,338 statements, collecting 1,027 exhibits and investigating 560 lines of enquiry. The Met said it had investigated 650 known sex offenders in connection with the case, as well as reports of 8,685 potential sightings of Madeleine around the world, receiving 200 emails a week from members of the public.
And on it goes…
The Sun: “‘£100,000 fraud’ on Maddie fund – WHISTLEBLOWER EXCLUSIVE: Search money rip-off claim”
THE fund to find Madeleine McCann was ripped off by up to £100,000, whistleblowers claim.
Ripped off by whom?
Documents alleging the huge fraud have been handed to her parents Kate and Gerry.
How do we know this? Why is a claim news?
It is claimed a person connected to the hunt for the three-year-old used public donations to fund his own lifestyle. He is said to have duped the McCanns into thinking the cash was spent looking for their daughter.
How did he do that, then? Is he a private detective? Psychic? Copper?
Two whistleblowers named the man in sworn affidavits which The Sun passed to the couple.
Ok. The Sun has a scoop.
One said: “What made the fraud so disgusting was money came from people who shed tears over her disappearance and wanted to do their little bit.”
There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by Kate or Gerry who thanked The Sun for the evidence.
We hear from the couple’s spokesman:
“Madeleine’s Fund takes extremely seriously any suggestion monies intended for the search have been obtained fraudulently. Kate, Gerry and the other directors of Madeleine’s Fund will co-operate fully with authorities to ensure these claims are fully investigated.”
No news on the actual child. No news on the search for the innocent girl who went missing in 2007.
The Mirror: “Madeleine McCann detectives examine man’s pictures after Sunday People probe”
It can only be a good thing that the tabloids are investigating.
Wojciech Krokowski’s flat was searched after the three-year-old vanished but he was ruled out and has now given us snaps he took around the time she went missing. Officers are scouring dozens of images from the camera of businessman Wojciech Krokowski, from Poland.
Krokowski’s flat was searched after the three-year-old vanished. Portuguese cops later ruled him out.
They never ruled him in. He never was an aguido.
The images British detectives are looking at is in a batch of hundreds handed over to us by the Pole during an interview.
That’s two mentions of his being foreign in the first few lines of a story of an innocent man helping with enquiries.
It bears a resemblance to the image of a man walking with a sleeping child – an artist’s impression of the kidnap which was released in September 2007.
This one below? A family friend of the McCanns helped with the sketch of the figure on the left. Police have determined it was a father returning his child to an apartment from a late-night creche.
The picture was publicised widely in the hope it would jog memories about Madeleine. But British police agreed the picture was not Mr Krokowski.
Sure. And then this:
Mr Krokowski told our investigators he liked taking pictures of children while he was on trips abroad.
He said he was amazed he had not been contacted since police reopened the case in 2011. The Pole insisted: “ I am ready to speak to them any time they want.”
So says ‘the Pole’.
Mr Krokowski said he wanted to remove a shadow that has been hanging over him since he became the subject of an international manhunt over Madeleine.
He will remove the stain on his name by talking to the Mirror, which will present him as a Pole who “liked taking pictures of children while he was on trips abroad”.
Mr Krokowski and his wife Anetta, 50, stayed in the Solimar apartments in Burgau just two miles from Praia da Luz between Saturday April 28 April and Saturday May 5 in 2007. We tracked Mr Krokowski to his office in the Polish capital.
Tracked. As in looked up his name on the web. We did it. It took four seconds to “track him down”.
He admitted he enjoys taking pictures of children on holiday but that it was for artistic purposes.
In his first-ever newspaper interview he said: “I take photos of old people, young people, landscapes and I have a lot of pictures from places like Thailand, Greece, Portugal, France, with kids on them. But I never thought about kids as a sexual object. Nothing like this, never, never never. I am a simple man with normal sexual orientations.”
He didn’t say he likes taking photos of kids. He said he likes taking photos of pretty much everything and anyone he encounters on his travels. He did not “admit it”, as one might admit to an addictions, perversion or crime. He merely said it.
Mr Krokowski revealed that although Polish police officers quizzed the couple and searched their apartment and the home of his father, they never confiscated his camera or inspected his pictures.
Goncalo Amaral, the controversial detective who led the original Portuguese investigation before he was replaced, has said he regretted that the Polish police probe into the couple was not taken further and that they did not seize Mr Krokowski’s camera and look at his holiday pics at that time.
But Mr Krokowski, who describes himself as an “obsessive photographer” told us he still had every single picture he took the day Madeleine vanished and handed them over so we could pass them to Operation Grange.
He tells the paper:
“We are not the type of people to lie on the beach so we travelled a lot in that area between Sagres and Burgau and I have plenty of photos from our time there but the police never asked for them. I thought once maybe I should show those photos. They are not just landscapes, there are lots of people. Maybe something in there could be helpful. I collect all my photographs, I still have them from that trip, of course you can have them if they could help in anyway.”
Such are the facts.
Trolls force McCanns to take down Madeleine search Twitter account
THE official Madeleine McCann search Twitter account is being shut down due to “continuous abuse and negativity”.
A twitter account has been shut down because – get this – people on twitter say nasty things.
Administrators of the page, designed to raise awareness of missing Madeleine and others, announced the decision last night.
Awareness raised. It’s all over the Press. did you know there was an ‘official’ account?
It came hours after they were involved in an online spat with the campaign to find missing British toddler Ben Needham. The @FindMadeleine account sparked outrage when it blocked the @FindBenNeedham account.
Charming. As Harry Hill would says, “FIGHT!’
A manager of the Madeleine campaign said: “We do not want to be associated with some of the types of people they follow.”
But surely that doesn’t matter. The purpose is to get the child found, or at least to discover what happened to her.
Some individuals followed by Ben’s Twitter account are known to take an anti-McCann stance.
One tweeted: “How the hell is Kate McCann an ambassador (of charity Missing People)? She left her three kids alone to go on the p***.”
Maybe it’s because she gets Missing People into the news (see above).
Ben’s mum Kerry said: “Ben’s campaign has never been anti McCann — we can’t help the fact that some members of the public give their opinion about the McCann case just the same as people give their opinion about Ben’s case. I have never once spoken badly about the family, I have only ever given my opinion about the way the two cases have been handled so differently by the authorities.”
Fair point. It has been. Ben Needham never did become ‘Our Ben’, in the same way Madeleine became ‘Our Maddie’.
The row was resolved on Sunday evening when the Madeleine account lifted its block – but the damage had already been done. At 11.30pm on Sunday, the person in charge of the account tweeted: “Due to the continuous abuse and negativity on Twitter, we will be removing our account within the next few days.”
So goes the announcement.
On Facebook, they added: “This is the last time I will address this issue. Gerry and Kate do not use social media and have asked me to manage the social media accounts for our campaign. In the past couple of weeks there has been a concerted effort to get people to stop looking for Madeleine. Some argue the search costs too much, others say it’s hopeless. We don’t believe the search for Madeleine is hopeless and putting up polls asking if the search should stop is not only crass, it’s cruel. How can one put a price on the life of a child?
Well, there was a £2.5m reward.
The Met will give a £20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of those responsible for Madeleine’s disappearance.
“With that being said, I, and I alone, have made the decision to block ANYONE who thwarts the search for Madeleine via social media — whether that be with running commentary on the investigation, posting negative comments about the search/investigation/cost, or saying Madeleine is a lost cause.
“We believe Madeleine is alive and we have great faith in the Met. If you cannot be supportive of the search for Madeleine, please unlike/unfollow our social media pages. We want people who are hopeful and actually care about Madeleine being found supporting us.
“WE NEED YOUR HELP to find her and we don’t want negative comments filling our feeds.”
You’ve been told.
The Sun adds:
Ben Needham went missing on July 24, 1991, from the Greek island of Kos, There have been no sightings of the 21-month-old since. Madeleine McCann was three years old when she disappeared from her bed in a holiday apartment in Portugal in May 2007.
The Mirror quotes Kerry Needham – it’s a bit like the Sun’s quote by includes a line about alleged slander:
“It feels like a personal attack on me. It is deeply, deeply hurtful. I have myself had massive amounts of slanderous abuse from supporters of the McCann Campaign in the past but I have never taken that personally. It’s freedom of speech. But it is getting the names of two missing children out there which is really important. I have never criticised the McCann family. I have only every criticised the authorities for the way the two cases have been handled so differently.”
Such are the facts.
Madeleine McCann is back on the news. The Sun reports “£2m boost for cops in hunt for Maddie”.
Why not offer that money as a reward and wait? After all, in years of looking for clues, the police have come up with zilch. Of course the News of The World offered €2.5m as a reward years ago. That paper shut down. The Sun on Sunday, its replacement, has yet to issue the same offer.
The story continues:
BRITISH cops have been granted an extra £2million to go searching for missing Madeleine McCann for another six months.
And then what?
More than £10million has already been spent on the hunt for the toddler who disappeared from a holiday apartment in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz in 2007.
As ever all we get to do is look at the parents:
Her parents Kate and Gerry were last night said to be “extremely grateful” for the Home Office cash.
What else do we know:
But former GP Kate and heart doctor Gerry, both 47, have been preparing for the probe to be shelved.
Why are their jobs always mentioned?
They have put thousands of pounds into a fund for when it ends.
Sure. But if £2m lasts six months, mere thousands won’t go far. you need to spend the money wisely. Here’s the McCanns’ spokesman to explain:
“Kate and Gerry remain extremely grateful to the police. They are pleased that funding is in place. They know the investigation cannot go on for ever.”
It’s the story we want to end.
The BBC adds:
Home Office minister Lord Bates said the total cost to the end of June was £10.1 million, with another £2 million budgeted for the next year… Lord Bates disclosed the full cost of the investigation in an answer to a written parliamentary question from Lord Black of Brentwood.
“The total cost of the investigation in to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann (Operation Grange), up until end of June 2015, is £10.1m. The Home Office has budgeted £2m for the investigation in 2015/16. The Home Office funds this work from the special grant budget. The level of funding provided to the Metropolitan Police in relation to this investigation is reviewed regularly and will continue to be monitored.”
Such are the facts.
The Sun: “Maddie cops in 5-star hotelsEXCLUSIVE: £11m hunt waste”
Waste? How can the search for the child be wasteful?
Tom Wells continues:
COPS heading the hunt for Madeleine McCann stayed in five-star hotels with rooms costing up to £200 a night. They included five luxury resorts where cheaper hotels were available nearer investigation scenes.
Did they really spend £200 a night on rooms, or is that just the peak-season headline price?
The officers were with Operation Grange, which The Sun revealed yesterday has cost £11million, without any arrests.
And, boy, does the Sun wants arrests. Last year it announced:
First new arrests over Maddie abduction…
Maddie swoop Arrests ‘days away’ in huge cop search…
The Sun now thinks the money spent raking over every detail of the case and the land around Praia Da Luz not well spent.
Last year they took 67 flights to Portugal, costing £16,000.
That just over £238 each. It’s unlikely the cops travelled first class.
In July officers stayed at the £180 a night Ria Park as they quizzed suspects at Faro police station a 20-minute drive away. There are two cheaper four-star hotels five minutes away.
The Sun is clearly upset at what it says is a “waste” of money.
In a The Sun Says addendum it asks:
WHY are cops living in luxury as they hunt for Madeleine?
Because she went missing in a resort town, where people go to get a little spot of glamour? Or is it because the police are feckless pigs who squander tax payer’s money on looking for Our Maddie on the 19th hole of a sun-dappled golf hotel, just as they spent millions hounding Sun journalists over the hacking scandal and subsequent tabloid journalist witch-hunt?
The Sun concludes:
It is no wonder the bill has soared beyond £11million when they are blowing £200 a night on hotels. The Government injected those millions to give police the best chance of finding out what happened to the girl. Not to pay their bills at fancy golf resorts.
What should it cost to solve the mystery?
Madeleine McCann is back. The Sun highlights the £11 millions and rising spent looking for the missing child.
In “We can’t keep on chasing shadows”, the paper hears from a former Flying Squad chief. He urges Scotland Yard to “consider winding down its hunt for Madeleine McCann — adding: ‘You can’t keep chasing shadows.’
The voice of reason is John O’Connor, who pops on the media treadmill and opines:
“If there are no firm leads, and by that I mean no substantial operational things like active surveillance on suspects, then I’d have thought they should be considering winding it down now.”
There never have been any firm leads.
At the current rate it will top £12million by April — more than double the £5million promised by David Cameron when Operation Grange was launched in May 2011.
Does Dave dare to shut the investigation? We’d say ‘yes’. Once upon a time, Madeleine McCann was the mawkish ‘Our Maddie’, but time hardens opinions. Reality bites.
The task force, which at its height was 37 strong, has yet to make a single arrest.
“You can’t keep chasing shadows. Chasing sightings all over the world. It depends on whether the detectives are making any real progress. For me it needs to be reviewed by a senior officer. The Met’s rank and file would be thinking, ‘Are there more recent cases that could be progressed with the right resources?’ It’s about priorities.”
What the Met’s rank and file think about the case is not something we know. It’s not worth the effort to wonder at. The Met are there to find facts. And, as yet, we have but one: child vanishes.
O’Connor had much to say on the case in 2013:
The Sun, however, wants to apportion blame.
The initial Portuguese investigation into three-year-old Madeleine’s abduction was marred by blunders. Officers made the catastrophic mistake of deciding parents Kate and Gerry were the key suspects — and so failed to take elementary steps to secure evidence that might have caught the real abductors.
We have made not a jot of progress. The only angle is to bash the foreigners. Those blunders could include large chunks of the British media which libelled the McCanns and Robert Murat, the poor sod who went to help and was ‘grassed up’ to police and public by the Daily Mirror’s gossipy reporting.
They failed to seal off the family’s apartment, allowing the crime scene to become hopelessly contaminated. They also failed to put out a global missing persons report for five days and did not bother to set up checkpoints in and around the Algarve. In July 2008 the Portuguese authorities admitted there was no evidence against Kate and Gerry and said the unsolved case was to be closed.
There is no evidence against anyone.
Then in May 2011, following a campaign by Kate and Gerry that was backed by The Sun, the PM told Scotland Yard to launch its own investigation, called Operation Grange.
The PM was playing to the crowd. Politicians can only ever play politics. Would Dave dare say no to the Sun? But the Met are the best we have. And they’re very good. If they cannot find anything, we should suppose they have to yet to look beneath the right stone.
As ever we get a word form the child’s parents. We hear from a “source close to the McCanns”, who told us yesterday:
“Kate and Gerry are eternally grateful to the Metropolitan Police for making Operation Grange possible. They are pleased so many officers are still looking for Madeleine.”
The Sun then turns to the crowd and offers an aside:
There are currently 155 children on the Missing Kids UK website, including Madeleine. Research shows an average of £2,415 is spent investigating a missing child.
That’s because many are quickly found. The story of Madeleine McCann is so rare. It’s not often a child vanishes on holiday. What we are told and told is “every parent’s worst nightmate” – a syrupy tagline of a phrase that seeks to evoke empathy and sympathy and fear in equal parts – is not an every day event.
The child went missing. And that is all we know.
Madeleine McCann: Pittsburgh terrorists, the blonde theory and Frankie Boyle’s fun with child murder
Madeleine McCann: it’s the summer and, naturally, the missing child is back in the news.
Daily Mail: “Eye-scanners used to track terrorists adapted to help search for missing children like Madeleine McCann”
Why missing children like Our Maddie? Why not anyone whose missing?
Eye-scanners used to track terrorists are being adapted to help search for missing children. Researchers at a Pittsburgh university have developed high-resolution cameras that can be placed at major checkpoints, such as airports and border crossings, to scan a person’s iris from 40-feet away.
So. Not children, then. It’s a story about a technology hat can be applied to anyone, regardless of age.
Madeleine McCann: the body of the child found wrapped in a duvet inside a suitcase in the middle of nowhere, Australia, is NOT that of the child who vanished in Praia da Luz, Portugal back in 2007.
This we know because the likelihood of it being Our Maddie was at slightly longer odds than her being found working with Elvis in Brent X. It is also a fact broadcast by the BBC:
Body found in suitcase in Australia ‘not missing girl’
Phew! The remains of a child found inside a suitcase by a road in Australia are not that of the “missing girl”. We can all carry on with your lives happily now. Unless, there are more missing children than just Madeleine McCann and the story of the young body in the bag is unsettling.
The body of a girl whose remains were discovered in a suitcase in Australia is not missing Madeleine McCann, police have confirmed.
If not the media’s benchmark for all missing children then who?
South Australia Police said it had ruled out 43 missing children in connection to the discovery by a remote motorway in Wynarka, near Adelaide.
The Mirror: “Madeleine McCann: British cops refuse to rule out possibility child found in suitcase could be missing girl.”
What sick irony that the innocent child who vanished on a family holiday should be found in a suitcase. Where was the body found?
Met Police have contacted their Australian counterparts after skeletal remains were found by a motorist in a suitcase by the side of a remote highway
News on the hunt for Madeleine McCann has been thin. But today the Sun has a story:
Ripper’s vile Maddie slur – EXCLUSIVE: Serial killer casts doubt on McCanns in Broadmoor letter
The Sun has news of Peter Sutcliffe, the so-called Yorkshire Ripper.
YORKSHIRE Ripper Peter Sutcliffe sickeningly casts doubt on the innocence of Madeleine McCann’s parents in a sensational letter revealed today by The Sun.
Mass murderer and woman hates thinks… It’s not the most auspicious start to a scoop, is it? Why should we care what the killer thinks?
In the note — one of a series he sent from Broadmoor — he tells a pen pal “there’s something not quite right” about three-year-old Madeleine’s disappearance during a 2007 family holiday in Portugal.
Another summer brings with it another Madeleine McCann front-page news story. The innocent child who became the media’s benchmark for all missing children is evoked on the Daily Star and Daily Mirror’s front pages. There is talk of child kidnappers in Protaras, Cyprus.
The Star announces:
NEW MADDIE SNATCH HORROR AT BRIT HOLS RESORT
The Mirror goes with:
MY GIRL WAS SNATCHED ON HOLS LIKE MADDIE
Only, she wasn’t snatched. No, not Madeleine. This other child. In fact, no other child has been kidnapped.
The Star’s Jerry Lawton says “hero dad” James Down performed a “citizen’s arrest” on “one of the suspects who had been videoing children on his mobile phone”. Holidaymakers say are “up to 10 child traffickers posing as hotel waiters”.
The Leicester Mercury sees an exodus:
A British father on holiday in Cyprus has spoken about fearing a Madeleine McCann style snatch after his two-year-old daughter was taken by a gang of would-be kidnappers. The incident happened at the Anastasia Beach Complex in Protaras on Tuesday, resulting in tour operator Thomas Cook moving more than one hundred holidaymakers.
The Times has more from the aforesaid heroic Mr Down:
James Down, 30, said that he apprehended the man and claimed that he had found footage of children on his phone. “He’d been on the beach talking to some children and then he was by the pool. I then saw him kneeling behind a wall talking to some little kids,” Mr Down, a wind turbine engineer, said. “I got him by the scruff of the neck and took him to the hotel reception.”
Mr Down, a former soldier from Newcastle, said he took the man’s phone and found images and videos of children taken in the area. He said that he and his friends had later seen a woman who they thought was linked to the man, chased her and grabbed her. “I saw a pick-up truck which had its engine running and a saloon car. Some of our group tried to run after the vehicles, but they drove off. I think they were traffickers,” he said.
Think they were traffickers? Can anyone ask the man Mr Down’s arrested and frog-marched into the hotel if he is interested in selling children?
The Daily Record’s James Moncur writes:
THREE youngsters were being lured into cars at the Anastasia Beach Complex, near Protaras, when the child-snatcher were caught [sic].
Got him! Brilliant. No make him talk.
A holidaymaker at the Cyprus resort with a wedding party from Dundee said: “We had seen these people around the hotel all week. They’d been in the pool and interacting with some of the children. Some of them were wearing staff outfits so they could blend in more easily. It was really scary.”
Scots dad Greg Letford, 28, told how the gang – who staff claimed were Romanians – targeted kids on Tuesday night.
He said: “This Romanian couple were leading the two young children towards a waiting car, another person had a third child up against a wall ready to go, too. Someone spotted what they were up to and stopped them. If he hadn’t been there those kids would have gone. One of the men got away and we heard the getaway car crashed a short distance away too. When the police turned up, they took the man and woman into an office in the hotel and a crowd built up in the foyer – there must have been about 60 or 70 really angry people. It was chaos. The police got them into a van through a window for their protection. One of the hotel staff later told us they were Romanian and that one of them used to work at the hotel.”
And the arrested man and the Romanian “holiday hell gang”? Well, the ‘arrested’ man is from Bulgaria. As the Times notes:
Police said they had arrested the Bulgarian man, 19, accused of filming children, but there had been no reports of an abduction and searches of his mobile phone, home and person led nowhere. Other reports suggested the man had been assaulted by a group at the hotel. Nikoletta Tyrimou, a police spokeswoman, said that police made one, not two, arrests and that there was no get-away car or people in disguise stalking children. She said: “Upon arriving at the scene, police officers arrested a 19-year-old man from Bulgaria whom holidaymakers said had been filming their children and was trying to abduct them.
“We questioned the suspect, went through his phone and also searched his home. Nothing we found suggests that he is part of a child-abducting gang or that he was stalking children. The man has since been released.”
It did? They did? Mr Daniel Mann tells the Mirror that kidnappers tried to steal his daughter Lillie last year.
It also emerged that a two-year-old girl from Durham had disappeared for 40 minutes at the same resort last year. She was finally spotted being carried away from the hotel by a woman who claimed to have found the toddler wandering alone.
Says Mr Mann:
“It was awful. My daughter was about 10 yards from me at the pool and in the time it took me to turn around and say, ‘It is time to go I will go and get the bairn,’ she had gone.We were frantically searching for about 40 minutes. I could feel my stomach churning the longer it went on. There were people joining to help all the time. One or two mentioned Madeleine McCann, you can imagine how that made me feel. We found her in the arms of an Eastern European woman who was walking towards a car park. My partner saw her, she thought she was carrying a bag of potatoes, then she realised it was our child. She ran after her, screaming.”
Thomas Cook have made this statement:
The safety and welfare of our customers is always our first priority and upon hearing about the alleged incident, we immediately deployed our experienced resort team to the property to provide those customers in residence with individual support. On request, we assisted 16 customer bookings who wished to move to an alternative hotel and two families who travelled back to the UK early. Although there are conflicting reports as to what exactly occurred at the property, we would like to reassure all customers that we take all allegations incredibly seriously and we are continuing to work closely with our customers in resort and the local authorities.
So. Not 100 holidaymakers, then. And Mr Mann’s partner, Lillie’s mother Kay Baldasara, adds that the woman ‘abducting’ her daughter is on the loose:
“By the time I checked over Lillie, she had gone.”
The pair reported the kidnap attempt to Durham Police when they returned home after the holiday last August. The case was referred to Operation Grange, the unit leading the search for Madeleine. It was also shared with detectives in Cyprus. There have been no arrests.
Daniel told how the latest kidnap bids at the hotel brought their own horror flooding back.
We’ll end this round-up with the Cyprus Mail’s take on events. Constantinos Psillides writes:
The British media reporting on the alleged attempted kidnapping of three youngsters at a Protaras hotel, “has been completely blown out of proportion and it’s all wrong,” an eyewitness has said.
The tourist, who wanted to remain anonymous, told the Cyprus Mail that while he wasn’t part of the wedding party that was taking place at the Anastasia hotel at the time, he witnessed what happened firsthand.
“At some point we heard a large commotion and screams. Somebody attacked a young man yelling “paedophile, paedophile” and then suddenly a group of around 50 people were chasing him.
The 19-year-old Bulgarian was attacked?
We joined them and chased two people to the front desk, a man and a woman.
Police came and took the young man in custody – a 19-year-old Bulgarian — but let the woman go because it turned out that she had nothing to do with the incident and that she just happened to be there. That’s what really happened, nothing more,” said the holidaymaker, adding that he was appalled after reading news reports on the story.
“They said that child snatchers were posing as hotel staff. That’s completely ridiculous, I have no idea where they got that from,” the holidaymaker said.
“I also noticed that some have been connecting this incident to the Madeleine case. That is both wrong and disrespectful,” stressed the holidaymaker, referring to the famous case of then three-year old Madeleine McCann who disappeared from her room while holidaying with her family in a holiday resort in Portugal in 2007.
Meanwhile, a source close to the investigation told the Cyprus Mail that the parents of the 19-year old Bulgarian that was arrested are employed by the company that owns Anastasia Beach hotel, Tsokkos Hotels.
He was with his mum and dad. Their son has been abused?
The 19-year old apparently spent a lot of time in the hotel, frequenting the pool area. The source said that on the 19-year-old’s phone, police found four pictures, none of which depicted children.
“They were pictures of a hotel show. We went through the suspect’s phone, we searched his house thoroughly and found absolutely nothing to suggest that he was a paedophile, a kidnapper or that he was part of a gang.”
But he might have been, right?
Madeleine McCann’s parents Gerry and Kate McCann have won £357,000 (Daily Telegraph) after successfully suing ex-police chief Goncalo Amaral. The former Portuguese policeman suggested in his book The Truth Of The Lie that the couple had faked their daughter’s abduction. That view was defamatory.
The McCanns’ spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, says:
“It was entirely focused on the effect of the libels on our other children and the damage that was done to the search for Madeleine.”
The McCanns, from Rothley in Leicestershire, said the claims exacerbated their anguish and discouraged people from coming forward with information after Madeleine disappeared… Mr Amaral, who initially headed the inquiry into Madeleine’s disappearance, was taken off the case in October 2007…. His book, published in 2008, has been a bestseller in Portugal.
The McCanns were originally seeking 1.25m euros (almost £900,000) in damages from Mr Amaral, his publisher and a company that produced a documentary based on his book. In a written verdict, a court in the Portugeuse capital Lisbon ruled Mr Amaral should pay Mr and Mrs McCann 250,000 euros each in damages, plus interest in excess of 100,000 euros (£71,500).
The court also barred Mr Amaral and his publisher from selling the book or issuing further editions. It also barred the producer of the film from selling the rights to broadcast or distribute it.
A former Portuguese detective has been ordered to pay 606,000 euros (£433,000) to the parents of missing Madeleine McCann as their two-year libel trial comes to an end…
A civil court in Lisbon ruled against Mr Amaral, and ordered him to pay 500,000 euros (£357,000) in damages and 106,000 euros (£76,000) in interest to the McCanns.
In a lengthy ruling on Tuesday, Amaral was found guilty of libelling the pair and ordered to pay them €250,000 (£179,170) each in damages, plus €106,000 (£76,000) in interest. The judge also banned further sale of his book, the Truth of the Lie.
The ruling comes days before the eighth anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance on Sunday. She vanished from her parents’ holiday apartment in Praia da Luz on the evening of Thursday 3 May 2007, triggering the biggest missing persons investigation for decades.
Such are the facts…
When Brenda Leyland was doorstepped by Sky News reporter Martin Brunt, she became the “McCann Troll”, the woman who under the name ‘sweepyface’ had bombarded Twitter with comments about the parents of missing Madeleine McCann.
No longer a real human being, Leyland was monstered by the media until she achieved the status of public enemy, awful enough to be branded a “hate-fuelled” (Times) “twisted, fecked-up bitch” (Daily Mirror). She was the eptiome of “sheer evil“.
We were left to wonder: who was hounding who?
Two days after being ‘exposed’ on the telly for our entertainment, Brenda Leyland was dead. The verdict: suicide.
At the coroner’s inquest at Leicester Town Hall, Martin Brunt says (via the Telegraph):
“At the end of the conversation she said it was a pleasure to meet you. I said I hoped I hadn’t ruined her day which I considered very much a throwaway remark. I was out of the country when I was told that Brenda Leyland had been found dead. I was devastated and I still am and the enormity of what’s happened will always be with me.”
Martin Brunt is a skilled reporter. It would be churlish not to take his upset as anything other than genuine. But his role as trollhunter-in-chief is regrettable. Swept along by a mob-fed eagerness to ‘unmask’ trolls and expose anyone saying nasty things to the glare of publicity and most excitedly court action, Brunt got his popular story.
Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child.
The Daily Star, Page 25: “McCanns: Don’t Give Up Hint For Maddie”
Jerry Lawton says the parents of Madeleine McCann – the missing child who became the media’s ‘Our Maddie – are “incredibly grateful to every officer woeking to find Madeleine”.
The headline (“MADDIE – CALL OFF HUNT, WE NEED COPS IN UK”) looks at how the £10m spent in finding out what happened to the child occupies 31 Met police detectives. The Star says these resources are “ring-fenced”, preventing the Maddie cops from working on other cases, such as the “14 unconnected killings” across London.
Readers are told that officers are “baffled” why so many police are on one case that has so far turend up not a single clue, no evidence and zero proof as to what happned to the child.
Metropolitan Police Federation chairman John Tully says:
“It is time to refocus…we no longer have the resources to conduct special inquiries all over the world which have nothing to do with London… But we have £600m of cuts… It is surprising to see an inquiry like the McCann investigation ring-fenced… there is resentment of significant resources diverted to a case that has no apparent connection with London.”
His grumble is more to do with falling police investment than the McCann case. But £10m is a fortune for a case that has progressed not one inch.
But it won’t stop. Not now…
Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child in the news.
The Daily Star has news on Page 11:
“Dad of Kidnapped Girls: Don’t Give Up Hope Over Maddie”
Morne and Celeste Nurse’s daughter was kidnapped from hospital in 1997 when she was three days old. The woman suspected of stealing the child is “understood” to have suffered a stillbirth before her crime. She is not thought to be a threat to society because she has been released on police bail.
Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child in the news.
The Times reports on the inquest into the death of Brenda Leyland, 63, the woman accused of being obsessed with the McCanns, posting thousands of tweets about the missing child’s parents. In one, she called them the “worst of humankind”. Other tweets might be libellous.
You might not have noticed Leyland had it not been for Sky News’ decision to doorstep her on the telly. Sky said Leyland had “trolled” the parents of Madeleine McCann. But what did Sky do? Was it any better? Worse?
While @sleepface (Leyland’s twitter handle) tweeted to a handful of of followers, Sky brodcast to the masses.
And if we get to see her squirm, why do we not also get to see the journalists and editors who libelled the McCanns and Robert Murat on the rack?
How many of the people who absued the McCanns and Murat in the mainstream media can you name? Were any of them doorstepped?
And it makes us wonder if Brenda Leyland a useful fool, a soft target to make the media look tough on so-called trolls people who says nasty things?
It’s not as if the media is hot on all trolls. The police and the maisntream media only protect the trolls who stray off-message. Did you nark to the police on the trolls who wanted ‘racist tram lady’ Emma West raped and murdered, her child left motherless? What about the tweeters who wanted Jose Cunningham, a kind of tabloid Aunt Sally, killed and her children placed in State care?
It’s clear that after being exposed, Brenda Leyland was fair game for so-called trolls who monstered her. She became international news. She became the pivot for a debate on free speech. And very soon she was dead. She was buried in the Press and in the ground.
Brenda Leyland was monstered on twitter and billed as a “twisted, fecked up bitch” by a Mirror columnist. We yet to read a description so strong for any woman joining ISIS. Leyland really was that bad.
The question we asked ran: was Brenda Leyland driven to her death by the mob?
And who tipped Sky News off? Who told the police about this woman with her fixation?
The coroner wants to know.
A coroner has demanded that a Sky News reporter divulge his source for a story about a woman who was found dead after the broadcaster revealed that she had “trolled” the parents of Madeleine McCann.
The demand has raised fresh concerns about the state encroaching on journalists’ rights to keep their sources confidential, in the wake of revelations that police forces looked into their phone records on hundreds of occasions.
Martin Brunt, who doorstepped Leyland should, of course, not reveal who tipped him off.
Martin Brunt, Sky’s crime correspondent, is due to give evidence next month at the inquest of Brenda Leyland, 63, whose body was found in October.
Mrs Leyland, of Burton Overy, Leicestershire, had been confronted days earlier as part of Mr Brunt’s exposé of a vitriolic online campaign against Kate and Gerry McCann. Their daughter, Madeleine, was three years old when she vanished from their holiday apartment in Portugal in 2007…
Leicestershire police wrote to Sky on behalf of the coroner, Catherine Mason, asking a series of questions including the identity of the person who was behind the dossier of tweets. Sky has said that it will protect its source, arguing that its rights are protected under European law. It is understood that neither the police nor the coroner have responded since.
Mr Brunt and Jonathan Levy, director of news gathering and operations at Sky News, are expected to be called to give evidence as witnesses on March 20.
They will, of course, not reveal their sources. They must not. The problem is that just as the barriers between public and private discourse have changed, so too has the law.
The demand comes after the government promised to change legislation so that police must gain a judge’s agreement before they can snoop on journalists. It took action after it emerged that phone or email data was accessed to uncover confidential sources on 600 occasions.
Police admitted using the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) to obtain email and phone communications between 82 journalists and 242 sources across 34 investigations in the past three years.
RIPA is the law of the totalitarian police state. RIPA is the law that makes all of us suspects. If you hated hacking, you should hate RIPA.
The Press Gazette reports:
Some 82 journalists have had their communications data obtained by police under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act in three years, the Interception of Communications Commissioner’s Office has found.
It’s an outrage. It’s phone hacking. And it’s legal…
The Mirror introduces us to “Vile David Brinkman” who says he’s no paedophile and possessed 694 indecent pictures and 88 video clips of children being abused for research purposes.
The paper adds that the “sick pensioner” was looking for Madeleine McCann. He was on a “crusade” to find Madeleine.
At Aberdeen Sheriff Court Brinkman’s lawyer claims:
“He has been on this one man crusade as he is perfectly satisfied that Madeleine McCann was removed from the property in 2007 and has found her way into a paedophile ring. As a result of that he got himself immersed in looking at child pornography.”
Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child and Operation Grange.
The Daily Mail reports:
British police take 67 return flights to Portugal as cost of Madeleine McCann search nears £9million
Well, the train does take longer…
British police searching for missing Madeleine McCann spent £16,000 on 67 return flights to Portugal last year, helping the cost of the investigation to soar to nearly £9million.
The trips, which cost more than £1,300 per month, came as the Met Police carried out the biggest ever search undertaken by a team of British police overseas, in a bid to find clues about the young girl’s disappearance.
That’s around £240 a trip. And, in truth, that does seem high, given that they are heading to a resort airport. A £480 round-trip to the Portugal costas should surely cost less. But, then, we don’t have all the details, and shipping equipment costs extra.
In June, police flew to the Algarve to carry out forensic searches around Praia da Luz, focusing on scrubland a few hundred metres from the apartment block where Madeleine was last seen alive.