Anorak News | Madeleine McCann: Killer Trees And The SAS

Madeleine McCann: Killer Trees And The SAS

by | 20th, February 2009

MADDIE WATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann, Kate McCann and Gerry McCann

DAILY TELEGRAPH: “Swap the cotton wool for a mud pie”

It’s Harry de Quetteville.

No Qwat-ville…

Parents should stop being paranoid about their children’s safety and embrace risk


Who would be a parent?

Alfie Patten (possibly) and Chantelle Steadman?

You want to let your children race about outside – run, hide, fall over, scream, snivel (and then get up to go on the rampage again) – but if you do, there’s always the chance that their cuts and bruises could graduate to gashes, fractures and worse.


So you have to feel for poor Julie Sutton, whose eight-year-old son Timothy was killed by a falling tree on a family walk through a National Trust property on New Year’s Day 2005.

Trees can fall down and kill you? Go on…

It would have been much easier – and ultimately safer – for Mrs Sutton to remain, like many of us on that day, embalmed in a post-party haze, slumped in front of a terrible movie, eating leftovers, with the children plugged into the Nintendo.

Plug children into an electrical device… Is that safe, Henry? Oh, what the hell – plug them in. We must learn to let go. Worse things happen in forests.

From playgrounds in Perthshire to secret dens in Devon, and even in city classrooms, children are being freed from the tyranny of a no-risk upbringing and told to get outside and play.

Get out of the house! Pack your bags and **** ***!

In this insurgency against a regime of institutional regulation and paranoid parenting, pointy sticks are welcome. So are saws, hammers and penknives.

Knives. Yeah, more knives. The kids will love ‘em.

Sarah MacKintosh knows that children can never be totally protected from some terrible fate. Just down the road from the Braco kindergarten is the town of Dunblane. That is not her only reminder of the perils of parenting.

And now, mums and dads, get this:

My younger son Rory was born on the day Maddie [Madeleine McCann] disappeared,” she says. “I think of that around his birthday, and can’t imagine the pain her parents went through.

Must try harder.

Daily Mirror: “Who was listening to Kate and Gerry McCann?”

Well, it’s hard to say – Clarence Mitchell was talking so much…

A few days ago I received an interesting letter from Leicestershire police about the Madeleine McCann investigation.

I had asked them, in July, if they had got any warrants (under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act) to use surveillance powers – such as phone tapping and email interception on behalf of the Portuguese police.

The force initially stalled saying it needed to “consult other Agencies” before replying.

After a six month delay, Leicestershire has now claimed it is exempt from Freedom of Information laws in this case due to “national security”.

What did you find out?

I’ve put in dozens of FoI requests to police forces over the years, some you get and some you don’t but “national security” is a new one on me.

To make matters even murkier, Leicestershire claimed a second exemption because the information I requested could relate to “the Security bodies”.

A quick look at the FoI Act reveals “Security bodies” are MI5, MI6, GCHQ, special forces (such as the SAS) and the Serious Organised Crime Agency.



Despite claiming these exemptions, Leicestershire seem at pains to neither confirm nor deny they hold any information relevant to my request anyway.

Check out (slowly I suggest) the tortuous conclusion to the three page letter explaining their stance.

“It is our decision that the Leicestershire Constabulary must maintain a position of neither confirming nor denying that any relevant information is held and that this response, which neither confirms nor denies that information is held, should not be taken as conclusive evidence that the information you have requested exists or does not exist”.

Thanks, but I think that is a rather long-winded way of saying Foxtrot Oscar.

However, it does beg the question just who was bugging the McCanns after they returned from Praia da Luz?

And what has the answer got to do with national security?

Such are the facts…

Posted: 20th, February 2009 | In: Madeleine McCann, Reviews Comments (10) | TrackBack | Permalink