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.
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.
Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child in the news.
The Daily Star (Page 21): “McCann Blow Over Cop’s Maddie Book”
The story beings:
“The top police officer in the Madeleine McCann case expect her parents to lose their £1m libel battle against him”
Portugal achieved its freedom of speech laws after a period of brutal dicatorship. And that should be ‘former “top police officer”.
The Daily Mail online reads the Star and adds:
McCanns ‘set to lose £1m libel action’ over claims they faked Madeleine’s disappearance to cover-up her death, says police chief who made allegations in book..
The former police chief who published astonishing claims that Kate and Gerry McCann faked their daughter Madeleine’s disappearance to cover up her death expects them to lose their libel battle against him, it was claimed today.
Goncalo Amaral is reported to have said the early rulings by the judge in the case suggested her verdict may be ‘favourable’ to him.
The 57-year-old told Portuguese television on Friday that Maria Emilia Melo e Castro’s indications so far led him to believe he would win the case, according to the Daily Star.
News on Madeleine McCann, the innocent missing child, has been thin on the ground. But today the Sun has some news:
Find Maddie fund dries up as donations shrink
Donations to the fund have dropped. Well, the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Grange is on the case. So. Why donate to private detectives who have in years of looking and earning come up with zilch? And The Met is having some success, as the Indy reports:
Operation Grange, which is believed to have cost in the region of £7.3 million, has uncovered a number of significant leads.
The Sun adds:
PUBLIC donations to a fund set up to find missing Madeleine McCann dwindled to just £21,000 in the last financial year, latest accounts reveal.
That sounds pretty generous.
The Find Madeleine campaign made £21,264 from fundraising in the 12 months to March 31, 2014. That figure compares to £70,250 the previous year and £306,393 the year before that.
It raked in £1.8million at its height shortly after Madeleine, three, vanished from a holiday home in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in 2007.
The £21,264 of donations last year were made up of £2,744 in wrist band and T-shirt sales, with the rest collected.
Money for Maddie used to be big. Remember the News of the World’s huge reward? Hey, remember the News of the World?
The Sun goes on:
But administration costs such as accountancy fees and an audit swallowed up £21,005 of that cash.
So much for charity. No-one has to work for free.
But papers filed with Companies House in London last week show the charity’s account still currently has a healthy total balance of £753,056.
That’s a lot of money. If that’s just sitting there, why give more?
That is through unspent money brought forward from previous years and around £1million from mum Kate McCann’s 384-page best-seller Madeleine: Our Daughter’s Disappearance and the Continuing Search for Her.
Madeleine disappeared from her bed in the family’s apartment on May 3, 2007, while Kate and dad Gerry were eating at a nearby tapas restaurant.
A spokesman for the McCanns, who are from Rothley in Leicestershire, said: “Kate and Gerry and the board of directors remain extremely grateful to everybody who has helped in the search for Madeleine by donating to the fund.”
Just last month Kate and Gerry, both 46, said they had been “amazed” by the support they have received.
The organisation, which has six directors including Kate and Gerry, pays for a 24/7 helpline for tipsters to call.
Or you could just call the police…
Madeleine McCann: A look at the missing child in the news.
BBC: “Madeleine McCann: British police to observe questioning in Portugal”
British police investigating Madeleine McCann’s disappearance in 2007 have arrived in Portugal to observe the questioning of 11 people. It is the biggest number called in for questioning since the Met’s Operation Grange began in 2011.
Who are the 11?
Among those being interviewed – although not as suspects – are Robert Murat and his wife.
He’s innocent. All 11 are innocent. The febrile reporting that would have portrayed all as “suspects” is now surely passed.
BBC correspondent Christian Fraser said they would be looking for “inconsistencies” with any answers given seven years ago.
Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child in the news:
Get Hampshire reports: “Convicted Aldershot paedophile questioned over Madeleine McCann disappearance”
Roderick MacDonald, 77, was questioned by police in his prison cell as British officers try to uncover vital clues about who snatched Madeleine, aged three at the time of her disappearance, in 2007. MacDonald, said to have been in the Algarve when she vanished, was questioned about his alleged connection to a child sex gang operating in Portugal and linked to her disappearance.
It is believed he was pressed on what he knew about a spate of burglaries which occurred in the Praia da Luz resort where Madeleine’s family were staying when she went missing. British detectives think the burglaries – believed to be carried out by a lone intruder between 2004 and 2010 – could be the key to finally solving what happened to her.
Madeleine McCann is the story that keeps on spinning. When the innocent child went missing, the voracious media embarked on a feeding frenzy. Kate and Gerry McCann, her parents, were libelled, so too was Robert Murat. Books were written. TV shows were inspired. Fact became merged with fiction. Sensation was presented as truth. And all the while the child the press renamed ‘Our Maddie’ remained vanished.
2014 has not been a bumper year for storirs of Out Maddie, but there have been many many front page, mostly in the Daily Express, Daily Star and Daily Mirror. The paper talk is off “Maddie Cops” making arrests “soon”, “suspects”, “quizzes”, “diggings”, “clues” and “trolls”.
Madeleine McCann: Anorak’s look at the missing child in the news. Today the Mirror leads with a Madeleine McCann ‘BOMBSHELL':
The “MADDIE COPS IGNORED LAKE TIP-OFF”.
David Collins notes:
A letter handed in to Portuguese police claimed to know the final resting place of Madeleine McCann, it has emerged.
Well, there have been many tip-offs. But they’ve all come to nothing.
An employee of the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz found the letter in the doorway of apartment 5A, where Madeleine vanished, on the first anniversary of her disappearance. The handyman, who we are not naming but was formerly employed by the holiday resort, immediately handed in the note to the police in May 2008.
What did t ysay?
The note was heade: “Madeleine Beth McCann”. It contained “a description below of how she had been dumped in the Barragem da Bravura reservoir, nine miles from the holiday resort.”
“It was raining that night so it was soaking wet when I found it. It clearly said Madeleine’s name at the top. It was written in Portuguese. Beneath it was a location for what it claimed was her final resting place.I spoke to the other staff about it and they said to hand it in to the Portuguese police. I gave it to them, but I have no idea what they did about it. It would be the perfect place to hide a body.”
MADELEINE McCann: Anorak’s look at the missing child in the news.
The Daily Express features Madeleine McCann on its front page.
“POLICE WANT TO QUIZ MURAT AS A WITNESS”
Robert Murat, the man monstered by the media, is back in the news. But he’s no suspct in any crime. He’s a possible witness to something, maybe or maybe not.
Madeleine McCann: Anorak’s look at the missing child in the news.
BBC: “Ex-suspect Murat ‘faces new questions’
Robert Murat..? The poor sod who was monstered and libelled?
Police investigating the disappearance of British girl Madeleine McCann are to question former suspect Robert Murat. A source close to the case has told the BBC that two of 11 people due to be questioned by officers in Portugal are Mr Murat and his wife.
MADELEINE McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child in the news. Today the tabloids’ ‘Our Maddie’ is back on the Mirror’s front page:
The ‘EXCLUSIVE’ news is that there a ‘Brit Man & Woman’ are ‘NEW SUSPECTS’.
MADELEINE McCann: a look at reporting on the media’s favourite missing child.
The Daily Mail has news:
How is that the “most poignant image this Halloween”?
The photograph was released on Friday to mark Halloween, and appears beside three others of Maddie, including the well-known one of her clutching three tennis balls under her chin. A source close to the McCanns said: ‘The photo which hasn’t been seen before has been put out as part of the campaign and is authorised by Kate and Gerry.’
Just as the Daily Express gets its weather news from looking at a crystal ball, the ‘World’s Greatest Newspaper’ conjures front-page news of Madeleine McCann from the ether.
The headline tells readers:
Madeleine McCann: 100 strands of untested human hair provide new hope in DNA hunt
Gerard Couzens reports:
Nearly 100 strands of hair tested during the original Madeleine McCann investigation were never DNA-matched, it emerged today. Portuguese forensic experts analysed 444 hair strands they believed could hold the key to the youngster’s May 3 2007 disappearance.
They found 432 were human and 12 non-human. They were unable to DNA-match 98 of them and only obtained partial results from 19 of them, Portuguese daily Correio da Manha reported.
MADELEINE McCann: Anorak’s look at the missing child in the news.
The Daily Star leads with the story:
MADDIE: BRIT PAEDO ARRESTED – Perv was in Algarve in 2007
So. Can this pervert be linked to the missing child in anything other than a headline? And that story of a “ghost child” by the missing Madeleine is in questionable taste, no?
Maddie McCann police arrest British paedophile who was on Algarve at time of disappearance
A CONVICTED paedophile thought to have been in Portugal when Madeleine McCann vanished has been arrested in Malta.
MADELEINE McCann: Anorak’s regular looks at the missing child in the media.
The Mirror: “New Madeleine McCann prosecutor has vowed to solve case – bringing fresh hope to her parents”
High-flying investigator Ines Sequeira has taken on the case and British detectives believe her appointment will shake up the investigation
Taken over the Met’s Operation Grange?
A new prosecutor has been put in charge of the Madeleine McCann case – and has vowed to solve it. High-flying investigator Ines Sequeira said she was “utterly determined” to crack the case, bringing fresh hope to Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry.
Encouraging news. Who is she? And why now?
British detectives believe the appointment will shake up the probe and Scotland Yard officers will fly out next week to discuss a shortlist of seven prime suspects with their Portuguese counterparts.
BRENDA Leyland continues to make news. Today’s round-up of the woman branded the “Madeleine McCann troll”:
New India Express – yep, it’s an international story:
…No one in the neat village of Burton Overy, Leics, suspected that Mrs Leyland had a cruel bone in her body, let alone the sort of mindset to pursue a vitriolic campaign again the grieving parents of the missing child, Madeleine McCann.
A likeable, churchgoing woman of no obviously strong views, she seemed more interested in gardening, photography and quizzes than any solitary obsession with tweeting. She also had a passionate, innocuous leading role in the village’s annual scarecrow competition.
MADELEINE McCann: a look at the missing child in the news media, with Brenda Leyland:
In the Times, Carole Midgley is talking about trolls:
Who could look at the photo of Brenda Leyland with her handsome son, his arm curled protectively around her shoulders, and feel anything but desperately sad? We don’t yet know how or why Ms Leyland died in that room in the Marriott hotel, Leicestershire, but we know a man has lost his mother and we know how history will remember her: as the so-called “troll” accused of tweeting thousands of hate-filled messages about the grieving parents of Madeleine McCann…
BRENDA Leyland continues to make news. The woman monstered by the media, outed by twitter hunters who allegedly tweeted thousands of often abusive and potentially libellous messages about the parents of missing Madeleine McCann, is dead. This is an at-a-glance round-up of today’s news on her:
It’s never OK to troll anyone – even a troll – Cyberspace is medieval – we no sooner take in an event than put the people at the heart of it in the stocks, be they the McCanns, Brenda Leyland or Sky News…
On so many levels, the story of Brenda Leyland, the church-going Twitter troll who said some ungodly things about the McCann family, makes my heart ache… I can’t stand the idea of this lonely woman with her pathetic double life under the pseudonym of “Sweepyface”; one minute attending church, the next rushing home to spill on to the internet noxious bile about a couple with a missing child. But nor can I bear that she was treated in some quarters as if she herself had abducted Madeleine McCann, and not just acted like a deluded moron with broadband and access to some of the web’s crazier conspiracy theories.
WHAT is the media is saying about Brenda Leyland, the woman “unmasked” as a “troll” by anonymous troll hunters, door-stepped by Sky News and called a “bitch” in the Daily Mirror. Brenda Leyland is now dead. She had 172 followers on Twitter. Her account is closed.
The woman who took her own life after being accused of directing online abuse at Madeleine McCann’s parents had sent more than 4,000 tweets about the couple over the past year. Police formally identified the dead woman today as Brenda Leyland, 63, who was confronted last week by a Sky News TV crew over her apparent “trolling” of the couple… she had used the Twitter handle @sweepyface to attack the McCanns.
… she had used the hashtag #McCann no fewer than 4,220 times since November last year, accusing them of neglect and questioning their version of the events leading up to the disappearance of their daughter in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in May 2007. Reprising many of the accusations used by McCann “haters”, she also regularly accused the couple of using money collected for the Find Madeleine fund for their own personal enrichment. One tweet last week read: “#mccann ” If it stinks like a rotten fish it is a rotten fish ” all connected seem to prosper ??”
THE death of Brenda Leyland is now a matter of education. The BBC consults an expert:
Dr Arthur Cassidy, a psychologist who specialises in social media, said Mrs Leyland appeared to have a middle class upbringing which was unusual in trolling.
Not if you work for the Daily Mail, it isn’t. But go on:
He said: “In this particular case, her whole repertoire of trolling is slightly different from those of well-seasoned trolls because of her uniqueness and the way she has done this. It would signify to me that she has been quite a novice at this.”