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.
Goncalo Amaral is back in the news. The former Portuguese detective has won an appeal against his libel defeat to Madeleine McCann’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann. The court order for him to pay the McCanns £395,000 in damages in April 2015 has been overturned. The Press pick up the story of Amaral and his 2008 book, The Truth of the Lie, in which he accuses the McCanns of “faking Madeleine’s abduction to cover up her accidental death in their apartment” (Star).
Daily Star (front page): “Maddie: Cop Wains Right To Accuse Parents”
“A banned book which accuse Madeleine’s McCanns parents of covering up her death will go on sale across Europe after a shock ruling by three appal court judge in Portugal yesterday,” writes Jerry Lawton. No shock here, at least not to Anorak readers. Back in 2010, AGW told you:
The media awaits the verdict of McCanns Versus Goncalo Amaral. Much depends on it. The McCanns have taken a risk in going against the former police officer in a foreign country. While it can be argued – as they have done – that any publicity for their missing daughter is good because it keeps her name alive in the voracious media.
But it does not keep us looking for the child. It just allows us to gawp at them, the distraught parents of a missing innocent:
YOU know when an accident is going to happen. They even have corporate speak phrases for it these days: “Risk Assessment” is one.
You know when a playing kitten is going to fall from the arm of the chair, you know when the child is going trip and fall, no matter how quick you are to try and get there.
Sometimes you see disasters being created and thundering, in silent-movie slowed down train-wreck style, toward you or others and there’s little you can do other than stand and watch horror-struck by the enormity of it all.
You know the accident’s about to happen and there is nothing you can do but perhaps wonder why you knew?
It has nothing to do with sixth senses, it is because the most powerful computer known to man, your brain, has gathered in all the previous experiences you have weighed in the balance and made a predictive analysis.
That is what is so strange about the current and past behaviour of the parents of the missing child Madeleine McCann.
They have started a court action defending their reputations in Lisbon because the former chief investigating officer Goncalo Amara, is accusing them of being involved in Madeleine’s disappearance. They have also started an action seeking a money settlement for the Portuguese equivalent of libel and in addition are taking on a Lisbon-based documentary production unit for reporting on the detective’s objected to book and the case.
Lisbon was never going to be a perfect spot for the McCann’s to start legal sparring and this week they were dealt what can only be termed a body-blow when the detective’s lawyers produced evidence the UK’s top criminal profiler has said there were “contradictions” in their statements and both should be treated as possible “homicide” suspects.
No arguments, no amount of reshuffling or clarifications can change that and the facts can not be forced back into the can of worms which the McCann parents themselves have allowed to be opened.
The background PR work after the Lisbon shocker has been impressive. The McCann lawyers strode from the courtroom and counter-claimed there were tens, hundreds or more sightings of the missing girl. The UK’s Red Tops dutifully followed the thread and reported the lawyer’s statement. My experience and training gave the brain the predictive text that this looked like a smoke screen, a damage limitation. The missing fact was all these sightings came after the McCann’s themselves had been released from Arguido, suspect, status. The case was archived. It was a cold, leading nowhere, case in the eyes of the top legal and police professionals in Portugal…the responsible authorities have no clues and have suspended work on the case.
It has already been said in these columns, taking on the Portuguese legal system was going to be a minefield but there is one question:
Who is taking the responsibility for the Risk Assessment for this McCann course of action?
Whoever it was needs to be replaced or kept out of the limelight.
Mass public opinion is turning. The McCanns are slipping lower and lower down the celebs’ to be seen with list, certainly no-longer A list and slightly embarrassing to be around according to some whispers.
The McCanns are innocent. No charges have been brought against anyone…except the Chief Investigating Police Officer, Goncalo Amaral.
A second question would have to be: Who on earth took the Risk Assessment decision Amaral was a buffoon an incompetent, bungling, Jacques Clouseau Pink Panther type of police officer?
Come on, wake up! Police officers do not rise through the ranks to positions of authority without being good thief-takers and being very good at spotting the wrongness of something.
Amaral is tougher than the baying section of Britain’s media has portrayed.
The McCanns are becoming battered and worn by this. Just look at their recent photographs. The child is still missing, lost, gone. Arguments still rage over the rightness or wrongness of it all.
Something is judgementally wrong in the Risk Assessments taken here. This week has been hugely damaging to the McCann’s and their cause. The information given this week in the Lisbon court can no longer be ignored or forgotten. It will have a high cost and one of the costs are potential new helpers and donations to the campaign of finding the child.
Daily Star Page 7: “Maddie SHOCK”
The Portuguese appeal court judges “ordered” the McCanns to pay “full legal fees of the three-year hearing”. The McCanns have “instructed lawyers to appeal against the new ruling”. But the judges call Amaral’s book a “legitimate exercise in the right to express an opinion”. Portugal was once a police state. Free speech is enshrined. The lawyers’ appeal looked doomed.
We then get a rapid-fire vox pop. The McCanns deny Amaral’s claims. A “pal” says they are “seething”. Their spokesman Clarence Mitchell says, “It is a matter for Kate and Gerry’s lawyers to deal with .”
The Sun (front page): “MADDIE: Agony for McCanns as cop wins libel case”
Page 4: “Hunt Hit By Cash Crisis – Maddie £430k Libel Loss Blow – Tec wins against McCanns”
The payment “deprives the Maddie Fund o9f cash to keep the nine-year search going”. Private cash. But not public purse monies. That continues to be spent on the search.
Daily Mirror (Page 7): “Bungling cop in libel triumph over the McCanns”
Is every policeman who fails to solve a case a bungler?
And then we get to the money. The cash Amaral was ordered to pay the McCanns never left his account. All payments – £360,000 and £76,000 in interest – was held until the appeal judges had ruled. The money never came out of the Maddie Fund, did it? It was never in the Fund.
Daily Express (Page 8): “McCanns ‘seething’ as Maddy detective overturns book ruling”
We finally hear from the McCanns’ legal aide. Their Portuguese lawyer, Isable Duarte, “said she was ‘disappointed’ but not surprised” at the ruling.
Daily Mail (Page 30): “McCanns suffer £395k libel loss”
Page 30. The story continues – but less and less people are listening to it.
Daily Mirror (front page): “Maddie Police: We Hope to Find Her Alive”
Well, yes. Of course they do. They’re not ghouls.
Mick Duthie, the police chief leading the “hunt” for the missing child, says, “We hope that we will fine her alive.”
Page 5: “There is always a possibility that we’ll find her…work still needs to be done.”
Got that about the possibility of news? It’s PR-speak for, “We haven’t found her.” With, as the Mirror states, £12m spent on the search so far, police are keen to show they’ve made progress. If Duthie does know what happened to the child, he’s not letting on. He says, “We want to find her alive” but “If she’s been murdered…” She might be alive. She might be dead. Maybes.
Daily Star (front page): “Maddie Search Sensation”
Oh, go on. We’ll play along. What is the sensational news?
It is news that cops “hope to find her alive”. Read. All. About. It.
Page 7: “Top Maddie Cop: New Maddie Clues”
Joe Kasper writes: “Detective Chief Superintendent Mick Duthie says detectives are still pursuing “justifiable and reasonable” leads. No. What he said was that if the police needed more money to find Madeleine McCann, they would ask for it: “There is a missing girl and is she has been murdered and if we think we have got reasonable and justifiable lines of inquiry to pursue then they should be dealt with.”
The Sun (Page 6): “Cops ‘ no closer’ to locating Maddie.”
So much for the Star’s new leads sensation.
Duthie says cops “do not have a ‘full understanding’ what happened to her or why she was taken”.
Mentions of murder: nil.
Daily Express (front page): “Police: Maddy could Still Be Alive”
No body. No proof of anything.
Page 7: “Madeleine police follow up new leads”
Number of new leads mentioned by police: nil.
As another anniversary of Madeleine McCann’s vanishing looms into view, and the news cycle picks up the PR, we learn that nothing has change. Child disappears. And that’s the sum of all the facts.
Daily Mail: “Detectives believe the missing youngster could still be found alive”
Progress: nil. We are still in the lyrical land of “could” and “believe”. Time moves on but the single thread story of the child who vanished in 2007 is snared. The Mail notes the words of Detective Chief Superintendent Mick Duthie. He’s been speaking with the London Evening Standard. We read:
Detective Chief Superintendent Mick Duthie, the head of the Yard’s homicide squad…
Homicide? Is that significant? We are clutching at straws. No evidence whatsoever any harm befell Madeleine McCann, let alone murder.
…said officers were pursuing “justifiable and reasonable” leads in the investigation into the missing three year-old.
Good. Get on with it. Best of luck.
He was speaking weeks after the Home Secretary Theresa May granted police £95,000 to extend the five year old inquiry for a further six months.
This is about money, then, and value in how it’s spent.
Mr Duthie, who is in overall charge of the investigation Operation Grange, said: “There is ongoing work. There is always a possibility that we will find Madeleine and we hope that we will find her alive. That’s what we want and that’s what the family and the public want and that is why the Home Office continue to fund it. There is work that needs to be done still. “
The police chief admitted detectives did not have a “full understanding” of what happened to Madeleine or why she was taken but added: “That is why the work continues. “
Full understanding? Is that another way of saying they don’t know what happened to her?
He told the Standard: “There is a missing girl and if she has been murdered and if we think we have got justifiable and reasonable lines of inquiry to pursue then they should be dealt with.”
Murder. He said it. That’s grim. He added:
“The investigation continues. We go to the Home Office every six months. We have a smaller team dealing with it because we have less inquiries to deal with but we still have a job to do. I imagine that if we have not completed our inquiries within six months we will go back to the Home Office and ask for more money.”
We told you that.
He refused to give further details about the inquiry but confirmed that detectives were still examining possible links to a series of burglaries in the Algrarve area at the time Madeleine went missing.
If. Could. Possible. A child vanished. And that’s what we know.
The Sun (Page 15): “Maddie haunt get another 6 months”
News that £95,000 in “extra funding” has been earmarked to find the missing child “brings fresh hope to parents Kate and Gerry McCann”. We hear from “gran Susan Healy”, who says the police “must think it is worth continuing. We are very grateful.”
We also hear from the McCanns’ PR Clarence Mitchell, who says the family “have enough money left in the Madeleine Fund” to pay for private detectives.
The Mirror (Page 7): “Maddie hunt can carry on”
The money has comes from Home Secretary Theresa May, we’re told.
Daily Star (Page 14): “Six Months to Find Maddie”
Really? No. There is extra money for six months more police work. Then… Well, why with £12m invested in the investigation would police and the holders of the public purse baulk at another £100,000? This one will carry on.
Such are the facts…
The paper says “the Home Office has set a budget for this year of just under £95,000, which will pay for only half a year of investigations by the team of four working on the case.” So, not six months to find the Madeleine McCann, then. Six months until the latest tranche of cash runs out. And then..?
Once the money runs out in the autumn, Scotland Yard will almost certainly shelve Operation Grange, their five-year review and investigation, which has cost close to £12million but has failed to bring anyone to justice or discover what happened to Madeleine.
The paper had us right up to “almost”. “Almost certainly” is another way of saying “definitely uncertainly”. We then get to the missing child’s parents:
Soon the child’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, face the emotionally daunting prospect of paying for a new private investigation with a war chest of some £750,000, raised largely through sales of Kate’s widely praised book on the enduring mystery.
They have paid for private detectives before. Having speculated on the money, the police hunt and the McCann’s state of mind, the Express has a few facts:
At the height of the Yard’s inquiries more than 30 detectives and support staff were working on Operation Grange, based at Belgravia police station in central London. When the inquiry was in full swing a team of specially trained officers carried out detailed searches of carefully chosen scrubland near where Madeleine was taken at Praia da Luz on the Algarve on May 3, 2007.
And that is it. Although we do get to hear from the Home Office:
A Home Office spokeswoman said: “Following a request from the Metropolitan Police Service, we have agreed to provide nearly £95,000 of further funding. The funding reflects the reduced scale of the investigation, which was announced by the force last year.”
Such are the facts.
The Sun has a loaded headline:
Joy for Ben Needham’s mum as cops given extra £450k to find missing son – while Maddie hunt totals £11M
Are the two cases of British children who vanished on overseas trips connected? Why else would Madeleine McCann’s name be invoked in a headline about Ben Needham?
SOUTH Yorkshire Police have been given an extra £450,000 to find missing Ben Needham as the 25th anniversary of his disappearance draws near. Police were granted £700k by the Home Office last January for more resources into the investigation, but that money will have run out by the end of the month.
Good news. The disappearance of Ben Needham is an open sore. But then this:
The amount given to Operation Ben still pales in significance compare to the £11 million spent on Madeleine McCann’s search fund.
A great deal of money has been invested / spent on the hunt for Madeleine McCann. Good. Let’s hope we get to know what happened to her. The problem is not what is spent, rather what is not. Do you think it unfair that the case of one missing child gets more public cash than another because, like the media and police who stand accused of picking blondes over blacks and rich over poor, there is bias at work?
If you want to compare what is spent on what, it might be better wondering how much has been spent on the hunt for other children who vanished in the UK, like, say Charlene Downes? She disappeared 12 years ago from her home in Blackpool, Lancashire, when aged 14. There is a £100,000 reward on offer for information leading to, well, something. Was she murdered, as Paige Chivers was? Paige went missing from her Blackpool home on 23 August 2007. She was 15. Three days later her feckless father reported her missing. The police operator recorded the year of Paige’s birth incorrectly – as 1962 not 1992 – and that she had left home voluntarily. Police were looking for a 45-year-old woman who had left home of her own accord. On 7 September the error was rectified.
Paige had sought help from Robert Ewing, 37 years her senior. Ewing, a known paedophile, had groomed Paige for sex. To keep her quiet, he murdered her. In July 2015, Ewing was convicted of murder at Preston Crown Court. His co-defendant, Gareth Dewhurst, 46, was convicted of disposing of her body three days later.
How much cash was spent investigating the disappearances of these two girls from impoverished backgrounds? How much police work has gone into either investigation?
The BBC provides notes:
Less than a fortnight before her disappearance, Ewing “tested the water” with police when he contacted them anonymously and said a “problem child” had turned up on his doorstep after being thrown out by her father. The prosecution said Ewing had wanted to see what official reaction there would be to a 15-year-old girl turning up on the doorstep of a 52-year-old man. “The answer he learned… was very little,” said Brian Cummings QC.
Back to the Sun’s story of stolen lives and money:
But it is still a promising step for Ben’s heartbroken mum Kerry Needham, as the government agreed to hand over more cash to find her long-lost son. Kerry said: “Please end the pain my family are suffering. I know he’s out there somewhere, please call the detectives and put an end to it.”
Ben was 21-months-old when he disappeared on July 24 1991 as he played outside the house his grandparents’ farmhouse in Kos.
Resources are finite, of course. But where police chose to spend their money and time should not be a decision triggered by media pressure.
Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child.
Daily Star (front page): “Maddie is potted in Paraguay”
A “massive police hunt” is underway in Paraguay, says the Star, which adds that this is “Paraguay, South America”, and must not to be confused with any other Paraguay.
Page 9: “Copes Probing Maddie Sighting in Paraguay”
Is the missing child “living in custody of a woman in the city of Aregua”? Was British private eye Miraz Ullah Ali, who “praised the alarm”, right to believe sources who told him the child arrived in Paraguay “a month or two ago” as “sources” told his “team”?
The paper adds: “He says wealthy well-wishers were offering a 2million euro reward for information leading to the youngster’s safe return.”
Daily Mirror (Page 9): “‘I saw Maddie’ claim denied
Claims made by Briton Miraz Ullah Ali Isa (his name keeps on growing) have been “dismissed”.
So much for the “massive” police search, then.
Not other news in the British Press, os we go to AS Color in Paraguay (South America), where this story first aired.
We learn that many locals have now claimed the “juicy reward” – “part of that reward was posted by English magnate Richard Branson”. That reward still stands? In 2007, the BBC reported:
Rewards totalling £2.5m have been offered to anyone who can help with information leading to the safe return of Madeleine McCann. The News of the World and businessmen including Sir Richard Branson have jointly pledged £1.5m. Scottish tycoon Stephen Winyard has offered £1m.
The NoTW is no more.
The News of the World has promised £250,000 – matching the contribution of Top Shop owner Sir Philip Green.
Such are the facts.
The Mail: “Heartache for McCann family as authorities debunk reports missing Madeleine is living ‘in the custody of a woman’ in Paraguay following claims by British ‘private eye'”
Is that huge reward still on offer, the one the News of the World put up?
British man Miraz Ullah Ali Isa, who claims to be a private eye, had said Maddie was living ‘in the custody of a woman’ in the city of Aregua. His claims are believed to have triggered a major search involving four local police stations, an anti-kidnapping division and Interpol.
Claims. Claims. Believed. Any more facts?
Her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, had been informed of the reports and appealed for anyone with information to come forward. But investigators have now debunked the alleged sighting and questioned the credibility of researcher Miraz Ullah Ali Isa.
Maybe he just made an honest mistake? Many others have seen her in – deep breath:
Canada,Italy, Sweden, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Majorca,Belgium, Bosnia, France, Australia, Brazil,Wales, Malta, Italy, Germany, Austrialia, France, Dubai, Dorset, USA , India and New Zealand (by boat).
The Mail adds:
But the report is still understood to have sparked in investigation.
Any other names in this story?
Commissioner Sanny Amarilla, a deputy chief involved in the search, said four police stations, intelligence personnel from the Interior Ministry and Interpol divisions were involved in the search. He said: ‘We are investigating neighbourhoods where there are foreign citizens, villas, condos, to see if there is someone with a similar description that corresponds to the newspaper clipping. ‘This news stretches across the globe, it is very important. So if they are in the area we need to find this girl and return her to her family.’
But the allegations have now been dismissed by inspector Luis Ignacio Arias of Interpol in Paraguay, who said that his office had ‘nothing concrete’ about Isa’s identity. He told EFE the researcher had never contacted the National Police or the Foreign Ministry with his reported sighting.
The Sun: “‘Madeleine in Paraguay’: Cops launch manhunt after missing McCann is ‘spotted'”
More inverted commas, or are four in one headline enough? We hear more from the PI:
Ali told Color ABC: “My team and I received the information that Madeleine arrived in Paraguay a month or two ago and is living in Areguá in the custody of a woman.”
Such are the facts.
Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child.
Daily Star (front page): “Maddie: Parents ‘blamed'”
For what? Why? But whom? We soon get to know:
Katie Hopkins sparks fury by saying Maddie McCann’s parents ‘must share blame’
Katie Hopkins, for those of you blessedly not in the know, is a former contestant on The Apprentice TV show – the one on which ‘driven’ people try to win a job working for Alan Sugar in a Brentwood office block. Hopkins lost but did score a job belching ‘controversial’ opinions to deadline for the Sun newspaper and, remarkably, a TV show of her own. That all ended, meaning Katie now shouts exclusively on free-to-air Twitter.
The Star thinks her tweets worthy of its front page. Robin Cottle has created a story from a tweet:
She claimed Kate and Gerry McCann should take some blame for her disappearance.
The 41-year-old also insisted the heartbroken couple did not “deserve” the £11million of taxpayers’ cash shelled out to search for Madeleine.
This is in the Star, which once libelled Kate and Gerry McCann.
One Twitter user wrote: “Katie Hopkins victim blaming the McCanns suggests people have no self control, the blame lies with whoever wrongly took what wasn’t theirs.”
Good grief. This story had not made any progress.
Another added: “Yes they made a mistake. Thousands do the same every day and get away with it. Cruel for Hopkins to rub salt in it surely. How did she become our moral guide?”
Answer: when the Star wanted cheap filler.
But some supported the outspoken celeb, with one saying: “Agree with absolutely everything @KTHopkins has said about Maddie’s disappearance, she’s only saying what the rest of you think anyway.”
Always useful when talking of “outrage” to report both sides of the shouting match.
Having seduced readers with a limp story on the missing child, the report takes a jerking twist:
Madeleine went missing during a family holiday in Praia de Luz, Portugal, almost nine years ago. Meanwhile, Hopkins announced yesterday that she was about to go under the surgeon’s knife to cure her epilepsy.
“Meanwhile…” Even the Dallas TV show (‘Meanwhile…back at the Ranch’) didn’t jump around like a demented kangaroo – which might very well be writing both the Star’s reports and Katie’s tweets.
She told fans she will “see them on the other side” and claimed not to be scared about the brain operation.
For those of you not on Twitter, ‘the other side’ is thought to be a reference to Facebook.
Daily Star (front page): “MADDIE: Twins Secret torment”
The twins are the child’s siblings Sean and Amelie. Kate McCann has “for the first time revealed” what the children, aged 11, “feel about their sister’s disappearance”. Not true. In November 2009, the Mirror told us:
Madeleine McCann’s four-year-old twin siblings are now slowly grasping the horror of her abduction, their parents revealed yesterday. Heart specialist Gerry revealed: “They’re saying, ‘When we find who took her we will fight them’. That doesn’t come directly from us saying that.
And right at the start, back in 2007, the Sun told us:
“MADDIE COME HOME – Amelie hugs Maddie’s cuddle cat.”
The story of what Amelie and Sean feel continues on Page 8. The headline declares: “Kate: Twins Want Sister Maddie Back.” Not really a shock that, is it. Kids can be unpredictable and cruel, but no-one really expected the headline to declare the children happy their innocent sister is not by their side.
Matthew Young writes:
Madeleine McCann’s siblings says they wants her back. Parents Kate and Gerry have told twins Amelie and Sean, now 11, all about missing Maddie.”
At 11, you’d suppose they also read about her on the internet and, maybe, in newspapers – although what any child is doing with the Daily Star is one for the health experts.
Eventually we hear from Mrs McCann, whose words gave the Star a front-page scoop. “There is nothing kept from them,” she says. “They still raise money at school for the Find Madeleine Fund, which is great.”
In no other newspapers are Kate McCann’s words mentioned, let alone turned into a front-page sensation. Is the Daily Star attempting to make up for libelling the McCanns by keeping their missing child’s name in the news? Or is it just lazy reporting?
Maddie Watch: a look at reporting on Madeleine McCann, the child who vanished in 2007.
Daily Express (front page): “MADDY – Why I think our daughter is still alive and in Portugal”
Maddy – why is this front-page news?
On Page 7 we hear from “MUM KATE”. The headline assures us: “Maddy’s mum: We’ll never give up. I want and end, answer.”
We all do. The story has become all. The single fact – child vanishes – remains unaltered since 2007. The voracious media feeding frenzy has created victims of libel but shed no light on that fact.
Maddie Watch: a look at reporting on Madeleine McCann, the child who vanished in 2007.
The Sun (front page): “McCann Exclusive”
What news is worthy of a front-page exclusive?
The headline declares: “Kate: Maddie still in Algarve.”
Does that mean we can stop looking for the missing child elsewhere?
KATE McCann yesterday said she believes her missing daughter Madeleine is still somewhere in the Algarve
Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child:
The Sun: “New Maddie hunt as Kate and Gerry launch last-ditch bid using final £750k in appeal fund”
The story is, as ever, a no-news story.
KATE and Gerry McCann are set to launch a final bid to find their missing daughter when funds for the police operation to find her dry up next year.
We’ve been her before.
Scotland Yard officers and detectives in the £12million ‘Operation Grange’ investigation have been searching for information on the whereabouts of missing Maddie McCann since 2011 but funding is only guaranteed until April 2016.
And then what?
However, parents Kate and Gerry have kept back £750k to launch a final private investigation if the operation fails to find conclusive information about their daughter, who went missing in Portugal shortly before her fourth birthday in May, 2007.
And the McCanns are set to dip into this fund in the New Year as part of a last-ditch attempt to trace Maddie or uncover the truth about their missing daughter.
And on and on it goes.
What is interesting is what the Sun allows in its comments section. The story has garnered three comments. We’ve screen-grabbed them all:
Is calling the parents “vermin” and suggesting they “did it” – whatever “it” is – allowable? Is this what the tabloids call ‘trolling’? We assume jibird65 is referring to the child’s parents and not the police
Wonder what Sun columnist Lorraine Kelly thinks of it? She wrote of “trolls” talking about the McCanns:
They have been accused of killing their own child, of hiding her body and covering up their “crime”. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so downright cruel.
I cannot begin to comprehend what would make someone even think such thoughts about a couple who have suffered such a devastating loss — never mind writing down the venomous comments and posting them on Twitter and Facebook.
Not to mention the Sun.
Labelling people who do this as “trolls” doesn’t describe the vileness of their actions. So I am heartened that the police are investigating the internet abuse directed at the McCanns.
Such are the facts.
Comments are closed.
Madeleine McCann is back. The missing child – the media’s benchmark for all missing children – looks out from the cover of the Daily Express, as she has done so many time before.
What do we miss most about ‘Our Maddy’ at Christmas”?
As the Daily Express readership compile a list of things they miss about ‘Our Maddy’, we interject: it’s not about your ‘Our Maddy’, the media construct; it’s about the parents’ ‘Our Maddy’. It is the “Parents’ Heartache”.
On Page 5, we get more. We get a list of things Kate and Gerry McCann miss about their daughter.
You might have read this front-page scoop on November 11, when it featured in pretty much every tabloid.
Why now has the Express seen fit not only to repeat the story but to make it front-page news?
We can only suppose that what with there being no other news in the world right now, the editor pressed f9 on the keyboard and pumped out a routine ‘Our Maddy’ no-news feature.
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?