Anorak

Madeleine McCann | Anorak - Part 49

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: Watching Robert Murat

robert-murat-madeleine.jpgMADELEINE McCann is missing. Still missing.

But now the police have a name. And, more importantly, so do the papers.

Robert Murat is all over the front pages. He is a suspect in the hunt for Madeleine McCann. But what of the evidence against him?

The Evidence

“Kidnapping has weird echoes of Soham case,” says the Express’s front page. “MADDY SUSPECT BEHAVED JUST LIKE HUNTLEY.”

Huntley is, of course, Ian Huntley the man who murdered Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, crimes for which he is serving two life sentences. Huntley is the man who had a female accomplice, one Maxine Carr, given three-and-a-half years for conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

Is this what the Express means? Is Murat’s mother Jenny, who has been doing her bit to help the hunt for Madeleine, abetting her son’s crime? At his trial, it emerged that Huntley had been accused of having sex with underage girls and of rape several times in the past. Has Murat a history of criminal depravity?

One thing at a time. We would not want to jump the gun and hang Murat without a full investigation. Of Murat’s mother, the Express says he has advised her son not to return to the family home while he is under suspicion. We hear him tell her: “I am innocent. I am very upset and I think that Portuguese police are just trying to find and Englishman to blame.” But there is no suggestion she is involved in any crime. No-one has questioned her.

Sex

And of Murat’s warped sex? You mean “SEX SECRETS OF MADDY SUSPECT”. You mean the “kinky threesome with pool cleaner and wife”.

Star readers have every right to be appalled at such a front-page headline. It’s not as if the paper that carries adverts for sex phone lines (“Cheap and Dirty”; “Hot and Horny”; “Filthy 4 Free”; Unzip and Unload”) is used to such things.

Readers will be relieved to hear that the threesome is not so shocking. The Star says Murat has been the lover of German Michaela Wulczuch for over a year. And during that time, Wulczuch has been living with her husband, Luis Antonio, a Portuguese swimming pool cleaner.

Readers looking for tales of illicit and degenerate sex may be less than impressed. And we advise them to watch daytime telly and see Armani identify her baby’s father by way of Jeremy Kyle’s DNA test kit and affairs exposed by lie detector.

This is Murat’s “TANGLED LOVE LIFE” (Mirror). All points of this love triangle have been questioned by police. We are not told why, nor what form the questions took.

Murat. Wulczuch. Antonio. This makes one woman and two men, the outline of the people seen with a child at a service station on the road out of Praia da Luz. Walczuch has light, auburn hair.

Is this the evidence? Is this a why they have been questioned?

Jekyll and Hyde

“SUSPECT OR SCAPEGOAT?” asks the Mail. “I’ve been made a scapegoat,” says Murat. The Mail says Murat is the sole suspect in the case of Madeleine McCann. So much for Walczuch and Antonio.

“It’s ruined my life,” says Murat. “It’s made things very difficult for my family here and in Britain. The only way I’ll survive this is if they catch Madeleine’s abductor.”

But the talking has started. This is Murat, of whom Paul Titcombe, an ex-boss speaks. Titcombe is troubled by Murat’s past. He has seen Murat in action, at children’s parties. Says she: “Instead of mingling, he’d go straight to the bouncy castle and jump around. He got a bit of a name for himself. It seemed like a fixation.”

The Sun hears from Murat’s former work colleague Ji Stanton. Says he: “If he didn’t take his medication, he could be very Jekyll and Hyde. People did see him as creepy.” Ji once accused Murat of trying to nick his sale: “Rob just flipped out in seconds. He went berserk, eyes bulging. I was freaked out.”

Such is the evidence. Such is the case against Robert Murat.

Meanwhile, Madeleine McCann is missing…

Madeleine McCann: Robert Murat And More Questions

Posted: 16th, May 2007 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (23) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Madeleine McCann: Robert Murat And More Questions

murat.jpgMADELEINE McCann is missing. Still missing.
But today there is news. The daily front-page shots of Madeleine’s traumatised parents are moved further within the papers to make space for the head of Robert Murat.

“MADELEINE BRITISH MAN IS QUIZZED!” says the Mirror’s front-page headline.

Robert Murat

After the speculation the paper delivers a welter of facts. Robert Murat lives with his mum. Robert Murat is in his 30s. Robert Murat lives with his mother in a villa 150 yards from the apartment where Madeleine McCann was snatched.

The Sun (“MADDIE: BRIT QUIZZED”) says Murat lives 100 yards from that McCann apartment. Like the Mirror, the Sun produces a front-page picture of “one-eyed Murat”. The Mail hears that Murat lost his eye in a BMX accident when he was a boy. The Mail says Murat lives 80 yards from Madeleine’s holiday apartment.

Murat is “stocky”. He offered to help the police hunt as a “translator”. He lives in Casa Liliana, with his mum Jenny.

The Suspect

The Sun’s Julie Moult considers the evidence. And delivers a piece entitled “stories of a fantasist”. “He always seemed so eager to get involved in the police investigation,” says the Sun’s woman–on-the-scene. “Robert claimed he had a daughter just like Madeleine and said he felt compelled to do anything he could. But to me he seemed like classic fantasist.”

The Sun introduces Martin Brunt, the crime news correspondent from its sister organ, TV’s Sky news.

He says Murat told him he’d been taken inside the McCanns’ apartment by police.

Sky news correspondent Ian Woods says he asked Murat to help him speak with locals.

“I met him and had a conversation with him. I tried to find out as much as I could about him,” says Woods, who checked out Murat’s details. “They did check out, and I left it at that for the time.”

The Mail’s Neil Sears also spots Murat. In “My encounters with a man ‘who just wanted to help’”, Sears tells Mail readers, “There was something more to the friendly expat who called himself ‘Rob’ than met the eye.”

Murat made Sears “feel slightly uncomfortable”.

But it was the Sunday Mirror’s Lori Cambell who alerted police to Murat’s behaviour, she saw as “creepy”.

Writing Wrongs

So much for investigative journalism. Questions were asked but nothing more was done. Murat is with police because he made a show of himself, because he acted as if working in an official capacity. Even though the Times says Murat was acting as “an official translator”.

So now the man in the chinos, with the glass eye, who lives with him mum and whose estranged wife, from Hockering, near Norwich, tells a neighbour “How could someone do something so terrible to little girl like that?’ is all over the papers.

Is Murat guilty? The papers produce nothing to indicate that he is. But if Murat is involved, look out for the stories of how British journalism cracked the case.

And look out for Madeleine McCann. Still missing…

Posted: 15th, May 2007 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (1,194) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The Sun Shines On Madeleine McCann

madeleine-mccann-portugal.jpgMADELEINE McCann is still missing.

“WE HAVEN’T GOT A CLUE,” says the Sun’s front page. The paper quotes Chief Inspector Oligario Sousa: “We have examined many leads, but each has now been discontinued. Everything that we have looked at so far has been discounted.”

At least this is what Sousa is telling the Sun. The Portuguese police have not involved the British press in all aspects of the hunt for Madeleine McCann. Sousa is not a recognisable face to British readers and TV watchers from press conferences. The E-fit picture of Madeleine was not made available to the Sun.

So instead of the Sun saying how tireless Portuguese police work is, by a process of elimination, moving ever closer to solving the mystery, readers get an altogether less positive headline.

The message is that the Portuguese police haven’t a clue, and this despite the McCanns thanking them for their hard work. And this in light of what the Mirror calls an “official news blackout”.

madeleine-mccann-media.jpgWhat will get results is the Sun’s poster, which it tells us is “a big hit”. The poster is “flying around the globe”. Thanks to the Sun, 15,000 posters of Madeleine’s face were handed out at Saturday’s Celtic v Aberdeen football match.

“Maddie cops are back to square one,” says the Sun. Although they are not. The Portuguese police have ruled out suspects and possibilities.

But no matter, because the Sun will crack the case. Or at least spread the anxiety, remind people that a girl has gone missing and that it could have been your child.

But the Sun is not alone. Here’s Tony Parsons in the Mirror. He has lost sight of his child:

“My wife and my daughter were in the school changing room packing up the tutu after ballet. I was waiting right outside, kicking around a ball with the kid brother of one of my daughter’s friends. Eventually my wife came out alone. ‘Where is she?’ my wife asked. ‘Isn’t she with you?’ I said. And that’s how it happens.”

Parsons’ child was found in a classroom. She was “chilling out”. Nearly all children are found. The theft of a child is extremely rare.

Parsons is a victim of the anxiety of what is routinely called “every parent’s worst nightmare”, and he is helping to spread the virus of fear.

Meanwhile, away from Parson’s ballet trauma and a football match in Scotland, the Mirror leads with yet another picture of Madeleine McCann’s parents. More time for readers to see the strain “etched” on their faces. “PRAY FOR MADELEINE,” says the Mirror’s masthead.

There is no news of Madeleine McCann. But the papers continue to report without any need to inform or educate, to spread the fear and compete to show which of them cares the most…

Posted: 14th, May 2007 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (80) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Madeleine McCann: When Will It End?

maddieposterportuthumb.jpgTHE search for Madeleine McCann goes on. And all we want to read is that she has been found alive and well.

But each day just brings more pictures of Madeleine McCann’s parents. Cameras in ther faces. Microphones to their lips. Watching them. But we have seen enough of the McCanns’ suffering.

A reward has been posted. The News of the World has put up a “record” £1.5 million reward for the safe return of Madeleine McCann. “POTTER GOLD,” says the headline as JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, has offered £250,000.

Others have donated money: Simon Cowell, tycoon Philip Green, Richard Branson, Wayne Rooney, the England cricket team and more.

The money may work. When dealing with the lowest form of human life, money may trigger a reaction, a lead to find Madeleine. Appealing to the criminals’ better nature is hopeless. But will money affect they who stole Madeleine? How could they claim it and get away with their crime?

The reward may also trigger a lot of bogus calls, false claims from chancers afer the cash.

“COPS: MADDIE IS STILL ALIVE,” says the front page of the People. But they don’t know. Not for sure. To put this headline on the front page is bad reporting, offering false hope. It smacks of opportunism, using Madeleine to sell newspapers.

The News of the World has money. The People has Madeleine alive. And the Express has the group experience, turning Madeleine into “OUR MADELEINE”.

All that helps the effort to find Madeleine is good. But what more can be done?

But how long before Madeleine is moved from the front pages? Talk of the police in Portugal scaling down the hunt is a sign of nothing.

All hope of finding Madeleine McCann alive, if at all, is lost when the tabloids no longer feature her on their front pages.

And her family is left alone…

Posted: 13th, May 2007 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (36) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Madeleine McCann: Watching The Parents

mccann.jpgMORE no news on the Madeleine McCann case.

It is now a week since the three-year-old girl was snatched from a Portugal holiday resort.

The story has been distressing to watch on our TV screens. What it must like for the parents of Madeleine only a few can know.

BLAME

But their misery is far from complete. With no news of Madeleine, and the Portuguese police having no need to indulge the British tabloids with speculation and theory, Madeleine’s parents are the central characters.

And today’s front-page news, as reported by the caring Mirror, is: “THEY KNOW LEAVING KIDS WAS WRONG.”

Does the Mirror mean to say that Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry, now think they did the wrong thing in nipping out for a bite to eat and leaving the children in the apartment on what they thought was a secure resort?

Does the Mirror mean that the McCanns know that popping back regularly to look at their children and checking on their well being was less than perfect?

Does the Mirror mean that the McCanns realise they should not have left their children alone, just like it is wrong to leave a child in a hotel under the auspices of a baby monitoring service, to leave a child in the car while mum goes to pay for petrol, to talk to a neighbour over a garden fence while the children are indoors?

Of course this is not the Mirror’s view. Oh, no. This is Madeleine’s grandmother, Susan Healy, saying: “They know this was a mistake. But it wasn’t child neglect, it wasn’t not caring for your children.”

mccanns.jpgThat she feels the need to say this is wrong. That the Mirror can lead with Madeleine’s grief-worn parents is pathetic and misguided. That the paper can talk of “people are asking why they didn’t make use of the crèche” at the resort or take the children out to dinner with them is wrong.

But the Mirror has news to write. And the police aren’t playing the game.

THEORIES

So the Mirror produces: “THE 6 THEORIES.”

Only six! Why this cautious approach? But it is all the Mirror has. And readers hear of the “PAEDOPHILE GANG”, the “LONE PAEDOPHILE”, the “JEALOUS MOTHER”, Madeleine wandering off and “DROWNED”, the “OPPORTUNIST PAEDOPHILE”, the “CHILDLESS COUPLE”.

But the Sun has more. It has 130 more. As the front-page headline screams: “MADDIE COPS HUNT 130 BRIT PAEDOS.”

The paper says “at least” 130 British paedophiles “might” have taken Madeleine McCann.

In “ALGARVE IS ‘HAVEN’ FOR PERVS”, readers learn that Portugal is a “magnet for sun-seeking perverts from Britain and the rest of Europe”.

Who knew that perverts get off on watching children at the beach?

Us And Them

But help is on its way. The Sun lists the British coppers who will go out there and see to it that justice is done. We, says the paper, are the only country with a sex offenders’ register.

All convicted perverts must inform the police of their desire to go abroad. At least 130 have. And the police are looking for them.

But – and whisper this – might it be that convicted sexual deviants don’t all tell the police what they plan to do? They are not monitored while overseas. And might it be that not all sexual predators are caught and make it to the list?

Among the policemans’ names is Detective Superintendent Graham Hill, attached to theChild Exploitation and Protection Centre. Hill is on the case. He has flown to Portugal.

Hill worked on the case of Milly Dowler. She was snatched from near Walton railway station, Surrey, in 2002. Her body was found six months later. Her killer or killers have never been caught.

Perhaps Hill’s experiences can help. Perhaps he’ll have more luck. Perhaps not.

Meanwhile, a family is distraught, and bearing up incredibly well under the strain and the merciless gaze of the newspapers…

Posted: 10th, May 2007 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (2,260) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0