Madeleine McCann | Anorak

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: the revolting Ben Needham fight

maccann-inflatableMadeleine McCann is back in the news. The Sun thunders:

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.

So what?

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.

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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.

Posted: 6th, October 2015 | In: Madeleine McCann, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Madeleine McCann: another £2m earmarked for 6 more months of searching

mccann-rewardMadeleine 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. 

He said:

“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.

Posted: 18th, September 2015 | In: Madeleine McCann, News | Comments (3) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Madeleine McCann: £11m ‘wasted’ and counting

mccann foundMadeleine McCann: a look at the missing child in the news.

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?

Posted: 3rd, September 2015 | In: Madeleine McCann, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Madeleine McCann: chasing shadows and guilty foreigners

mccann found


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.

O’Connor says:

“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.

Posted: 2nd, September 2015 | In: Madeleine McCann, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Madeleine McCann: Pittsburgh terrorists, the blonde theory and Frankie Boyle’s fun with child murder

madeleine mccann first press call


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.

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Posted: 11th, August 2015 | In: Madeleine McCann, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Madeleine McCann: 43 unnamed children not found in Australian suitcase

madeleine-2Madeleine 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.

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Posted: 29th, July 2015 | In: Madeleine McCann, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Madeleine McCann: wrapped in a quilt and posted to Australia (maybe)

mccann australiaMadeleine McCann is back in the news. It’s summer, and with a grim seasonal regularity, the media’s ‘Our Maddie’ is making headlines:

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

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Posted: 28th, July 2015 | In: Madeleine McCann, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Madeleine McCann, the Yorkshire Ripper and date night with Jimmy Savile cops

maddie mccann yorkshire ripper


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.

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Posted: 8th, July 2015 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Madeleine McCann paedophile mania grips Cyrpus

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:



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The Mirror goes with:



madeleine mccann copycat



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”.


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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?


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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.”


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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.

Go on:

“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?

Posted: 19th, June 2015 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Madeleine McCann: back on the front pages, libel and Goncalo Amaral is ruined

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 BBC:

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.

The Guardian:

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…


Mccann amaral libel


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Posted: 28th, April 2015 | In: Madeleine McCann, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Madeleine McCann: Innocent Brenda Leyland was hounded to death by the Trollhunters

Brenda Leyland


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.

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Posted: 20th, March 2015 | In: Madeleine McCann, News | Comments (7) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Madeleine McCann: the Police Federation and spelling it out

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”.

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Posted: 19th, March 2015 | In: Madeleine McCann, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Madeleine McCann: British police baffled why they are looking for her

Maddie Mccann huntMadeleine McCann peers out from the front-page of the Daily Star. The familiar picture of the holidaymaker who became ‘Our Maddie illustrates the still more familiar story that there is no news.

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…


Posted: 18th, March 2015 | In: Madeleine McCann, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Madeleine McCann: Zephany Nurse, Yeremi Vargas and Blackpool peadophiles

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.

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Posted: 12th, March 2015 | In: Madeleine McCann, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Madeleine McCann: RIPA and the public death of Brenda Leyland



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?

And, remember, that what you say on Twitter can earn you prison sentence and a police raid. Well, only if the police and Twitter mob need you to make themselves look morally sound, that is.

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…

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Posted: 22nd, February 2015 | In: Madeleine McCann, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Man ‘looking for Madeleine McCann’ in child abuse images guilty of thought crimes

thought crimeMadeleine McCann: then story of the misisng child as told by the news media. Today we meet David Brinkman.

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.”

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Posted: 16th, February 2015 | In: Madeleine McCann, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Madeleine McCann: the search costs £9m and counting

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.

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Posted: 12th, February 2015 | In: Madeleine McCann, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Madeleine McCann: Mark Warner pulls out of Praia da Luz and Amaral’s libel case rumbles on

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.

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Posted: 26th, January 2015 | In: Madeleine McCann, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Madeleine McCann: people are still donating to the find Maddie fund

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…



Posted: 22nd, January 2015 | In: Madeleine McCann, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Madeleine McCann: Robert Murat, looking for ‘inconsistencies’ and Amaral

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.

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Posted: 9th, December 2014 | In: Madeleine McCann, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Madeleine McCann: Roderick MacDonald, No Suspects And DCI Nicola Wall

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.

How linked?

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.

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Posted: 7th, December 2014 | In: Madeleine McCann, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Madeleine McCann Arrests, Clues And Trolls: All The 2014 Front Pages

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”.

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Posted: 3rd, December 2014 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, News | Comments (3) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Madeleine McCann: Searching Barragem da Bravura For Signs Of A Story

Madeleine McCann: Anorak’s look at the missing child in the news. Today the Mirror leads with a Madeleine McCann ‘BOMBSHELL’:


Screen shot 2014-11-25 at 08.02.36



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.”

He says:

“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.”

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Posted: 25th, November 2014 | In: Madeleine McCann, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Madeleine McCann: Robert Murat Is Back On The Front Pages

MADELEINE McCann:  Anorak’s look at the missing child in the news.

The Daily Express features Madeleine McCann on its front page.




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.

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Posted: 20th, November 2014 | In: Madeleine McCann, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Madeleine McCann: Robert Murat Is Back But Daniel Entwistle Is Still Missing

murat maddie


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.

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Posted: 19th, November 2014 | In: Madeleine McCann, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0