Madeleine McCann

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.

How Madeleine McCann Became A Fictional Character Called ‘Our Maddie’

madelianaMADDIE WATCHAnorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann: Writing in the Guardian, Esther Addley names Our Maddy one of the “Icons of the decade”.

It’s the unsettling mix of the incredibly intimate and the coolly tactical that has made the mystery of Madeleine McCann the biggest and most extraordinary child abduction story in history

No. It isn’t. The disappearance of Madeleine McCann is notable for one thing: the media feeding frenzy. The story itself has one thread: child goes missing. It is a newsworthy event but not the “most extraordinary child abduction story in history”.

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Posted: 23rd, December 2009 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comment (1)

Madeleine McCann: Watching Kate McCann Cry

kate-mccann-maddieMADDIE WATCHAnorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann: DID you see Kate McCann crying in Portugal? The Mirror leads its hunt for Our Maddie with:

“Madeleine McCann’s parents in tears during church visit”

But it’s the Express that really stares:

HEARTBROKEN Kate McCann returned to Britain yesterday without visiting the holiday apartment where she last saw her missing daughter Madeleine.

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Posted: 14th, December 2009 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comment

Madeleine McCann: Gawping At Kate McCann In Praia Da Luz

KATE McCann and Gerry McCann are back in Praia da Luz. This means that they are once more featured on the cover of the Daily Express:


Kate McCann finds solace in return to Praia da Luz

And we are watching the parents. No end in sight of this single-thread narrative that causes the media to obsess. There is just more chance to look at the parents, examine the grief and were the Express not, as it factually states, the “WORLD’S GREATEST NEWSPAPER” we might imagine it was enjoying the experience of looking.

Kate McCann is innocent. No police are arresting her. But still we are invited to stare.

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Posted: 13th, December 2009 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (6)

Madeleine McCann: The English Gag And A Fight In Portugal

MADDIE WATCHAnorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann: Gerry and Kate McCann are in Lisbon, Portugal, petitioning a judge for a total ban on Goncalo Amaral’s book The Truth Of The Lie, in which the former policeman challenges their version of Madeleine’s disappearance.

It is also effectively a libel trial, as the McCanns seek damages. They say that anyone reading the book will conclude that Madeleine is dead and stop looking for her.

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Posted: 11th, December 2009 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (5)

Madeleine McCann: Novelty Records And Clues

mccann-parentsMADDIE WATCHAnorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann: The Daily Express has scoop and songs to search for Our Maddie by..

AS the Daily Star has Katie Price, the Daily Express has Madeleine McCann. And today Express readers get:


DETECTIVES in Britain have passed details of several possible sightings of Madeleine McCann to their Portuguese counterparts following a worldwide internet appeal.

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Posted: 6th, December 2009 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comment (1)

Madeleine McCann: In Qatar

mccann-fear3MADDIE WATCH Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann: Madeleine McCann evoked Qatar…

IN “Woman fights for son taken by Sharia court”, the Telegraph reports on British mother Rebecca Jones’ fight “to win back her son Adam, 10, after a Sharia court in Qatar awarded custody of the boy to her dead ex-husband’s family.”

The use of the word “Sharia” seems unnecessary given that Qatar is an Arab emirate stuck on Saudi Arabia. It’s news of the tautological.

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Posted: 29th, November 2009 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comment (1)

Madeleine McCann: I Foiled The ‘Maddie Conman’ From 300 Miles Away

MADDIE WATCH Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann: The true story of the arrest of the “Maddie fraudster” – the “Maddie conman” – Kevin Halligen, Maddie’s “James Bond spy“.

WHEN Kevin Halligen was arrested in a dispute over a bill at an Oxfordshire hotel, the UK press billed him as the “Maddie fraudster”. Halligen owned a detective company hired by Kate and Gerry McCann to find their daughter. His arrest had nothing to do the media’s Our Maddie. Halligen’s alleged fraud involves a dispute with a law firm in the US. The Sun said it found Halligen when its “investigators staked out a luxury Oxford hotel then tipped off cops”. But the man who really spotted him and tipped off the police and the press offers his account exclusively to Anorak. Christopher Winsley explains.


LIKE many 22-year-old students across the UK, my Sunday’s start with a spiltting headache, and very little memory from the night before. Last weekend, I regret to say, was no different. I woke up after an enjoyable evening, followed by coffee, and a trip to the local shop to buy a few newspapers to linger over throughout the day.

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Posted: 29th, November 2009 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann | Comments (5)

Madeleine McCann: The Media Creates A New Maddie Monster And Twists The Facts

find-amddieMADDIE WATCH Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann: Madeleine McCann is still making news. No, the not because she has been found or that anyone is investigating her disappearance, but because ‘Maddie Fruadster‘ Kevin Halligen has been nicked.

It’s news on Page 11 of the Daily Express: “Madeleine ‘detective’ fraud case.” Halligen ran a firm that was hired to look for Our Maddie. But the alleged fraud has nothing to do with the monies he earned for that job. This is a “£1.2 million fraud in the US”. Earlier it was a “£1.3milion” fraud .

Such are the facts – and the shifting exchange rates.

The Sun, meanwhile, searches for a link between Halligen’s alleged fraud and Madeleine McCann. How can we turn Halligen into a figure of hate? The paper screams:

“Maddie rat tried to sue fund for £150k’

Conniving Halligen was sacked by the charity – which had already paid him £300,000 – after bosses began to suspect he was a conman. But he then had the nerve to threaten to sue for half as much money again, claiming he was still owed it as part of a three-phase contract. A source close to the fund said: “There were a series of letters between our solicitors and his.

“He said he was going to sue us for what he claimed he was still owed and our message was basically, ‘See you in court’.”

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Posted: 26th, November 2009 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann | Comments (2)

Madeleine McCann: Kevin Halligen Becomes The ‘Maddie Faudster’

46977891MADDIE WATCH Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann: KEVIN Halligen has been arrested. But his arrest has nothing to do with Halligen’s company Oakley International, which was paid £300,000 from campaign donations to find Madeleine McCann.

Halligan has been arrested over a separate alleged fraud. Police were called in light of a discrepancy over his bill at the Old Bank Hotel in Oxford.

Thames Valley Police said in a statement: “We arrested a 48-year-old man at the Old Bank Hotel in Oxford. It was a discrepancy over his hotel bill.”

Halligen is wanted in the United States, accused of using a client’s funds – a law firm – for his own benefit. It is alleged he bought a mansion in Virginia with the firm’s money.

It is claimed he had said the money was to help secure the release of two business executives from the Dutch company Trafigura, who were arrested in the Ivory Coast.

But it’s his relationship with Our Maddie that occupies the mind of the press:

A spokesman for the McCann family said: “Our association with Halligen and Oakley International ended well over a year ago. Given that an arrest has been made it would be inappropriate for us to comment.”

The Sun (front page): “MADDIE FRAUDSTER NICKED”

Halligen is the “Madeleine fraudster” even though he is accused of committing no fraud against the missing child nor her team.

Sky News says: “Madeleine ‘Conman’ Charged With Fraud”. Meanwhile, back in the Sun:

A DODGY “detective” on the run accused of swindling the Madeleine McCann fund out of £300,000 was nicked last night – thanks to The Sun. Kevin Halligen, 50, was led from his bolthole in handcuffs after our investigators staked out a luxury Oxford hotel then tipped off cops. The fugitive whined to police: “How did you find me?”

Well, Sky News mentions a discrepancy in the bill – a bill that ran into thousands of pounds, allegedly, the Sun prefers to foster the idea that police and hacks are scouting the country for the ‘Maddie fraudster’.

Our team tipped off police that he and his lover were about to flee after we staked out their bolthole.

But what that bit about the bill? Oh:

Last night cops who found him and his girlfriend with their bags packed were holding him over his unpaid bill at the plush Old Bank hotel in Oxford.

So they didn’t arrest Halligen over the Sun’s tip off, nor did police arrest him because of any link to Our Maddie. The arrested him over an unpaid bill. What other facts?

He won a £500,000 contract as the McCanns, both 41-year-old doctors from Rothley, Leics, prayed for clues. Much of the cash is said to have gone on luxury hotels, chauffeured limos and first-class flights as he lived the high life.

It is alleged. But the name of Our Maddie, once evoked is hard to shift:

The Times gives us:

A 48-year-old man wanted by the FBI who allegedly defrauded people across the world, including the Madeleine McCann fund, was arrested last night at a hotel in Oxford.

Whereas in the Telegraph we get:

The security consultant whose company was paid £300,000 from publicly donated funds to help find Madeleine McCann has been charged with a separate £1.3m fraud.

Or to put the news another way: Man who once worked on Madeleine McCann case arrested over unpaid hotel bill.

Posted: 25th, November 2009 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (3)

Madeleine McCann And The Wanted ‘James Bond’ Spy

oakley-international1MADDIE WATCH Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann: The “secret agent con man”, Oakley International and detectives seek detectives…

For three summers, the hunt has been on for the media’s Our Maddie. She has yet to be found. What happend to her has yet to be established. All we know is that she missing.

The detectives have failed.

The Guardian: “FBI searches for detective who worked on Madeleine McCann case”

He’s gone missing? Is foul play suspected? What say the detectives who aren’t missing?

A British security consultant who was paid £300,000 to assist efforts by Kate and Gerry McCann to find their daughter Madeleine is being sought by the FBI over an alleged £1.3m fraud.

A £500,000 contract given to Kevin Halligen’s private detective agency, Oakley International, to help with the search for the missing child was terminated last year after a major benefactor of the McCanns expressed concerns about the quality of the firm’s work.

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Posted: 22nd, November 2009 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann | Comments (4)

Madeleine McCann Is Every Parent’s Bogeyman

maddie-pornMADDIE WATCH Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann: Michael White’s poppy pornography and Our Spanish Maddie keeps Shannon Kyle in work.

FIRST up, the Guardian’s Michael White tells us about how the “pornography of grief has devalued poignancy of the poppy” and how Madeleine McCann is implicated in it:

The Victorians made a lot of fuss over death too. Just look at those tombstones: exotic, even erotic, in old cemeteries. But at least it was the deaths of their own loved ones they were mourning. Death was everywhere all the time before the development of modern antibiotics.

Now death sits in rest homes, impatiently waiting for life to finish swirling round the plug hole.

We, who have so little experience of it by comparison, have forgotten how to handle the great unknown in a largely godless age. Hence the macabre fuss over Princess Di, over missing Madeleine McCann and over poor, abused Jade Goody too.

Jade Goody gets two adjectives; Our Maddie gets none.

After White, the Guardian gives space to Shannon Kyle to deliver yet another of those Odes To Parenting, in which Our Maddie is the parent’s bogeyman:

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Posted: 13th, November 2009 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (2)

Can Madeleine McCann Win Britain’s Got Talent?

hopeMADDIE WATCH Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann: CAN Madeleine McCann win Britain’s Got Talent?

In “My talent will help hunt for Madeleine McCann”, the Chester Chronicle shines a light on piano player Brian Davies, who “hopes to win Britain’s Got Talent with a score he is dedicating to missing Madeleine McCann.”

Remember that if you don’t vote for Mr Davies then you’re not voting for Our Maddie. And that would make you an utter ****. Vote Paul Davies and keep Maddie’s name in your minds and so bring her closer to home.

Piano player Brian Davies, 59, of Old Chester Road, Helsby, who says he has never had a music lesson in his life, has written an instrumental piece – entitled Forget Me Not – which he hopes will help raise awareness of the Find Madeleine campaign.

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Posted: 12th, November 2009 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (5)

Madeleine McCann: Prudent Kate And Gerry McCann Still Have Two Kids Left

gonebabygonepic3MADDIE WATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann:  In a piece entitled “Madeleine McCann’s Siblings, Sky News’ Colin Brazier delivers an article which blends fact with fiction to produce something opportunistic, hideous that should offer Kate And Gerry McCann no little comfort:

Just over two years ago the release of the film Gone Baby Gone was allegedly postponed because of parallels with the case of Madeleine McCann.

Not alleged. This is what we learnt from Affleck on October 12, 2007:

“Disney UK made the decision to postpone the movie but I absolutely support it and I’m pleased by what I think is erring on the side of good taste. There’s no rush. It’s obviously a sensitive time and if there are any similarities we can wait to distribute the movie in the UK. I was only vaguely aware of the Madeleine case because it wasn’t a big thing here in the United States. Maybe I’m out of it because I don’t read many newspapers, but I didn’t really know much about it until somebody said, ‘Hey, there may be some similarities’.”

Anyone traumatised by Afflecks’s performance in car accident movie Changing Lanes, who is a devout Christian and found Dogma offensive or who fears impending Armageddon can applaud Ben’s actions.

The Times told us:

However, in the wake of the Madeleine McCann case, this adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s 1998 novel was withdrawn from this year’s Times/bfi London Film Festival because of its sensitive subject matter, and may never be released in the UK”

The film was released. Child abuse was delivered as a form of entertainment. And Affleck told us:

Affleck: What has happened to Madeleine McCann is terrible and it was the right decision to wait until now before bringing out the film, as we didn’t want to upset the family.

Affleck: “I worked with the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children [which is involved in the search for Madeleine McCann] and I found out about the extent of child abuse internationally. It is horrifying.

Affleck: “Sometimes, abuse is as simple as leaving your kids in front of the TV all day and thinking that it is sufficient parenting.”

Back to Brazier and “Madeleine McCann’s siblings”:

It was felt the movie, which tells the fictional story of the abduction of a four-year-old girl, was too close to real life. Although written before Madeleine McCann’s abduction [sic], Gone Baby Gone contained some inadvertent but nonetheless [sic] extraordinarily coincidental material. The plot focuses on a 4-year-old played by an actress – actually called Madeleine – who shows an uncanny resemblance to the real Madeleine McCann. I watched the film six months ago and was quite staggered by how accidentally art had imitated life.

You mean to say that stories can be based on real life events, and fears? Brazier then introduces readers to more works of fiction:

Child abduction has been dealt with by artists before. In his 1987 novel The Child In Time, Ian McEwan writes about the disappearance of a three year old. The scene where the father loses sight of his daughter in a supermarket, while momentarily distracted, never to see her again, is brilliantly wrought.

How does it end, Colin?

Both stories have different endings. In the film the child is found alive and well. In the book the child is never found and the mystery is never solved. But the book does offer one answer.

And in Maddie’s story? What happens?

Mercifully, such abductions are as rare now as they were fifty years ago (it’s only our paranoia which has increased). But the phenomenon of couples destroyed by the loss of an only-child may be on the rise.

Anyone following his argument. Child abduction in books is rare. But many one-child couples break up. Are these parents in the real world or in books? Is there a difference? Is it all just a form of entertainment?

Think of some recent high-profile cases.


Tragic parents like Neil and Kazumi Puttick. In June, they leapt to their deaths from Beachy Head, clutching the body of their five-year-old son Sam. He had died of meningitis the week before and his parents were crippled with grief. Or parents like 40-year-old Joanna Coombs. Last year, her body was found on the same tracks where her daughter – and only child – had died two months before.

These are real parents whose tragedies are placed in the context of works of fiction. And what do they have to do with Madeleine McCann or her siblings, the twin or which there are, er, two?

It stands to reason that when parents put all their eggs in one all-too-fragile basket, the loss of that child may prove insupportable. Previous generations understood that a larger family provided a shield against the loss of a singleton. In the words of Churchill’s famous, if callous, dictum: “One for mother, one for father, one for increase and one for accidents“.

Anyone else feeling sick? Lucky the McCanns had a couple of children left over, then. Good news. How prudent of them to bring three children into the world. It might well be what has kept them going, and alive. You want more from Brazier? Here goes:

When tragedy strikes a multi-child family, parents are more likely to carry on for those who remain, no matter how grief-stricken they are.

How much more likely? More likely than the McCanns or less likely than the cast of Schindler’s List?

Some social scientists already fret about how the rise of the only child is changing society. One talks about the ‘Saving Private Ryan’ effect. The fictional Private Ryan was the only one of four brothers to survive the battle for Normandy in 1944. Would a modern parent be so sanguine about an only-child fighting for his or her country?

Answers in the form of a work of fiction.

That’s a choice few will have to make. But many will make much more quotidian decisions about danger. It is one reason why so many modern children are not permitted to take risks of almost any description.

Fact and fiction. Can you spot the difference?

Posted: 11th, November 2009 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann | Comments (7)

Madeleine McCann: 29 Muslim Countries Refuse To Join Hunt For Our Maddie

115MADDIE WATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann: Scotland Yard investigates, 19 countries – how many are Muslim, Daily Star readers? – refuse to hunt for Our Maddie and Gerry McCann tells the twins all he knows.

Sunday Express (front page): “YARD ASKED TO REOPEN MADDIE CASE”

By whom?

“Calls for Scotland Yard to step in after police in Portugal fail to take the latest appeal for information seriously”

Calls by whom?

The Express features not a picture of the Our Maddie its readers know but the one mocked up by the fine people at Ceops. The piece is written by James Murray, who goes under the new title “Investigations Editor”. As for the news:

Kate and Gerry McCann want the Yard’s renowned kidnap team to assess an avalanche of new information after last week’s emotional internet appeal, which generated five million hits from around the world.

This does not seem unfair. A British national has gone missing. But what information should the police spend their resources looking at? James Murray investigates:

Portuguese ¬police, the Sunday Express can reveal, have failed to set up a new phone line for callers to ring with information.

So no police station have a phone? Has the National Emergency Number – 112 – been decommissioned by those bungling Portuguese coppers?

Last night there was fury over the dismissive response. Interpol and Europol are among 163 ¬forces worldwide that have committed to help with the appeal.

Fury. Always the fury. But can it be that 163 police forces have committed to help find Madeleine McCann? And if police in South African, Canada, Chile, Japan and Romania are looking then why not the Portuguese? There are 192 coutries in the UN. This means that 29 countries are not helping find Our Maddie. Which is shocking.

No news on what those 163 police forces are doing to look, but Murray is more concerned with what the Portuguese are not doing:

Portugal’s Policia Judiciaria is still in charge of the Madeleine case because that is where she disappeared over two years ago. It would say only that if credible information comes in by fax, letter or email, it would be passed to senior officers if it was deemed “significant”.

So the front-page headline that they will not investigate is wrong. They will. What the Portuguese will not do is investigate every phone call and emails. This entire front-page screamer seems to be based on one man’s opinion.

Last night former Scotland Yard chief Dai Davies said it was time to let the Yard take over. The former royal protection head said: “Madeleine is a ­British subject and she deserves the best, which the Yard can provide. It is time to put any daft police protocols to one side and get on with the job of finding her. It is a solvable case.

“It is astonishing and disgraceful that the Portuguese have not assigned a specific team to scrutinise leads which could provide a breakthrough in the world’s biggest child abduction case.

“It is frankly outrageous that the parents of this poor child should be hiring private detectives to conduct an investigation which should have been taken on by the Yard in the first place.”

Dai Davis…? Oh, him. He’s the top copper who in a retired and media-friendly capacity jetted to Paia Da Luz in 2007, and with skiful investigative prowess came up with just four theories as to what happened to Our Maddie. Mirror readers learnt:

1. Maddie was snatched by an opportunist paedophile.
2. A planned abduction, plotted in UK, in which she was “snatched to order” by a paedophile gang.
3. Someone holding a grudge against the McCanns.
4. Snatched by local childless couple.

In 2008, he opined:

“The Portuguese investigation has quite simply not solved the crime and it is now looking increasingly likely that it will be shelved. I would suggest that this is the time to call on the Yard to take the lead and to get them to form a team of detectives to work on the case”

In other Maddie non-news news:

Mail on Sunday: “McCanns use psychologist to help tell twins about Madeleine

Mrs McCann, 41, said experts have said the youngsters will ask about Madeleine’s disappearance when they are ready. “We’ll be led by them,” she said. “We’ve had advice from a child psychologist and they’ve said Sean and Amelie will lead the way. If they ask a question, we’ll answer them honestly. I’m not going to rush them, but if they ask something then I’ll answer them.”

Mr McCann, 41, a heart specialist, added: “We will answer their questions openly and honestly. What they ask, we’ll tell them. We’ll tell them what happened and what information we know.”

So what happened and what is known? Well , kids, an innocent child went missing. And the media went nuts.

Madeleine McCann: no suspects. No sign of the child. Just a media narrative…

* 192-163 equals whatever reader Martyn P tells us.


Image 1 of 1

Robbie Williams wears a Maddie t-shirt while watching England's Ricky Hatton bout against Mexico's Jose Luis Castillo at the Thomas & Mack Centre Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

Posted: 8th, November 2009 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (6)

Madeleine McCann: The Fund Is Investigated, In Pictures

5131608MADDIE WATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann: The Fund is investigated.

The Sun: “Anti-McCann group facing fraud probe”

FRAUD cops are probing the bank account of a campaign group which says Maddie McCann is dead – and aims to blame her parents.

Who are they, then?

Controversial lawyer Tony Bennett helped set up the Madeleine Foundation, but its account is now frozen.

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Posted: 7th, November 2009 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comment

Madeleine McCann: Found In 160 Countries

mccann20MADDIE WATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann: A successful campaign.

Daily Mirror: “Madeleine clip success”

She’s been found?

Up to 100,000 people an hour have watched A Minute For Madeleine, it was revealed yesterday.

They come to help? Or do they come to stare?

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Posted: 5th, November 2009 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comment

Madeleine McCann: Sean And Amelie Get Speaking Parts, In Pictures

newmaddie-682_92080_920880a1MADDIE WATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann: Up until know we have heard nothing from the McCanns’ twins, Sean and Amelie. But today we get:

McCann Twins: We will fight man who took our sister Maddie

What man? What kidnap? The Daily Record says a “beast” took her. If the kids are going to be crime fighters they need to understand the facts. And the facts are two: Madeleine McCann in missing. There are no suspects.

The media gets to work staring at the kids who we watched go to school, who now have speaking parts in the media circus:

Mirror: “‘The twins both know the person who took Madeleine has done something very bad.. they just want her back home'”

Madeleine McCann’s four-year-old twin siblings are now slowly grasping the horror of her abduction, their parents revealed yesterday.

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Posted: 4th, November 2009 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (9)

Madeleine McCann: Let’s Blame The Muslims

newmaddie-682_92080_920880aMADDIE WATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann: The McCanns has aked the police to create an image of Our Maddie as she might look now. There is also a video. The media gets to work:

Sky News: “Pictures Of Madeleine McCann, Aged Six”

Police have released new age-enhanced pictures of Madeleine McCann. This is how Madeleine McCann would look now, aged six. We’ve seen similar artist’s impressions before.

There’s a video of the missing child in seven languages, on the website of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre. One picture shows her with a deep suntan she might have developed if she is living in southern Europe or North Africa.

Says Ceop’s head Jim Gamble:

“The person we are looking to reach is likely to be a partner, family member, friend or colleague of the person or people who were involved in Madeleine’s disappearance. If you haven’t divulged your secret because of love, loyalty or fear, be assured that it is never too late to reveal the information to your local police…

“If you are a parent or carer, a student or member of the public who is a social networker, blogger or emailer, or if you run any type of online environment, big or small, please look at the film today, link to it, share it with your friends and post it in the online communities you occupy.”

That’s Ceop. Never heard of it? You have now.

Those front pages:

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Posted: 3rd, November 2009 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann | Comments (51)

Madeleine McCann: Kate McCann To Appear On BBC And ITV Interviews

7309066MADDIE WATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann: Madeleine McCann is on the cover of the Sunday Express. Says the headline:

McCanns launch TV blitz to find Maddie

If only the Express group and owners had TV channels they could use to help. Of, course, they do:

We interrupt this edition of Teen A*** Sla*s on the Fantasy Channel to bring news of the appeal to find Our Maddie.

We must all do what we can to help. The Sunday Express tells us:

KATE McCANN will take part in a round of heart-rending TV interviews this week appealing for anyone who has knowledge of her daughter Madeleine’s kidnapping to come forward.

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Posted: 1st, November 2009 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann | Comments (25)

Madeleine McCann: A Con, A Call To Imagine The Worst And A Joke

7951719MADDIE WATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann: A fresh appeal to imagine the worst, more jokes, a con and Our Maddie will now entertain you…

The Sun: “’Imagine if she was your child’”

She’s not? But if she were…

THE parents of missing Madeleine McCann have posted a poignant internet appeal for information – urging readers: “Imagine if she was your child.”

Isn’t that what columnists and mums and dads have been doing for over two years, looking at Our Maddie and whispering, “There for the grace of God…’? Isn’t it every parent’s worst nightmare? Hasn’t Anorak spent three summers chronicling sighting and repeats of Our Maddie?

Appearing beside two pictures of the vanished girl, the wording reads: “Imagine if she was your child, imagine the pain and grief, imagine if someone like you never came forward.”

Imagine if Our Maddie was not the media’s only story on missing children. Imagine if there were others who weren’t blonde of blue eyed who never made it to the front page and made Prime Minister’s weep. Imagine if Our Maddie was not a story that sold papers.

Another appeal says: “A little girl stolen, a family torn apart, but saying nothing is the worst crime of all.” Yet another says: “If you stay quiet you are as guilty as those who took her.”

The McCanns’ words are aimed at any abductors. But in the media they become something more, an appeal to every reader to do something or be complicit in a child’s suffering. But what can you do? You can look. Look. Look. No not look at the parents. Look for Our Maddie.

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Posted: 31st, October 2009 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (5)

Madeleine McCann: Snatched For £100,000 By Kidnappers Not Interested In £1.5 Million Reward

mccann-reward1IN “MAIL-ORDER MADDIE ‘WAS SNATCHED BY CRIME LORD‘”, the Daily Star adds another theory to the many that have passed for reporting on the disappearance of an innocent child.

MADDIE McCann was a “mail-order kid” snatched by a scarfaced North African crime lord, according to explosive new claims revealed today.

This one has many of the elements of an Our Maddie story: foreigners; darkies, North Africa, kidnap and a “claim” supported by not a shred of evidence.

Police are now hunting an Algerian mafia boss who allegedly bragged to British associates in Portugal just weeks after the child’s disappearance.

And we know this now because…?

He told them he had snatched Madeleine in a £100,000 “steal-to- order” kidnap plot. And the Daily Star Sunday can reveal that police are set to quiz two jailed British gangsters believed to have heard his shock claims.

This is getting bigger and bigger. What facts? As June say in the Forums:

She was snatched for £100k allegedly? weren’t the rewards on offer multmillion at the time? strange they didn’t speak out then….

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Posted: 25th, October 2009 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (16)

Madeleine McCann Is An Everton Mascot

_46583161_-7MADELEINE McCann is now an official Everton FC mascot. The club has printed T-shirts.

Shirts, emblazoned with pictures of Madeleine McCann, are being handed out ahead of Everton FC’s Europa League tie with Portuguese team Benfica. They have been created to highlight the campaign to find the child, who was three when she vanished while on holiday in Portugal in May 2007.

Benfica play in Portugal. Win it for Maddie, Everton. Can Our Maddie inspire? It might catch on. What team did Ben Needham support? Keith Bennett?

Congratulations to the McCanns for keeping their daughter in the public eye. But who does not crave for them to find her; to be left alone? Right now, their hunt for their daughter exists as a public spectacle. You wear the T-shirt to show that you care. You display a shallow sentiment. Others join in. You all feel it. Only you don’t. Not really. You go through the motions, afraid to say, “No, I don’t feel much at all.”

Every fan who bought a ticket can collect a T-shirt, which has the words “We’re Still Looking For You” on it.

And you thought Evertonians were just looking for a decent centre half.

A total of 6,000 shirts have been produced by the club – 3,000 in English and 3,000 bearing the message in Portuguese.

It’s all horribly mawkish. Anorak was there when Liverpool fans commemorated the 96 who died in Hillsborough. It was poignant and noisy. And it was relevant. This is something else:

Everton chairman Bill Kenwright said: “I will never, ever forget that image of a beautiful, smiling child in an Everton shirt.”

And you thought a missing child was painful enough; even though the media were turned on by her blue eyes and blonde hair. And you also might have thought fans were on there way to watch a game of football, excited at a chance to escape the pains of life for an hour and an a half, with a break for half time. But you should know different:

Fans with a match ticket can pick up a free T-shirt from Goodison Park or Liverpool Airport before embarking on their flight to Portugal.

Let us know if you got one and why you did; and why you didn’t. What, you didn’t get a T-shirt and wear it for Our Maddie? What’s the matter with you – don’t you care?

An anecdote: When Princess Diana was eulogised at Wesmintster Abbey, two Japanese people were laughing in Green Park, enjoying the sun. One began talking on a phone. A woman near to your writer moved across, hung up their phone call and asked them, rhetorically: “Don’t you have any shame?”

When we advertise our grief and care in public for someone we never met and never knew, we do so to reveal more about ourselves than the subject. We display signs of mourning sickness.

Spotter: Yampster

Madeleine McCann: The Story In Pictures

Posted: 22nd, October 2009 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann | Comments (20)

Madeleine McCann: Profits From Amaral’s Book ‘Arrested’

amaral2MADDIE WATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann: Portuguese organ Espresso reports Goncalo’s Amaral’s book has been “arrested” (seized?) – apologies for the translation (via Joana Morais):

The Civil Court of Lisbon has ordered the arrest of all the profits that were obtained through the sale of the book “Maddie, the truth about the lie”, by former PJ inspector Gonçalo Amaral, following a process that was filed by the parents of the little English girl that disappeared in the Algarve in May 2007.

by Ricardo Marques

According to the court order, the editors that published the book have already been notified that all profits from the cession and sale of the book will be arrested for the eventual payment of an amount of 1,2 million euro.

The court notifications about this injunction have already been sent to Italy, Holland, Denmark, Germany, Spain, France, countries where the book has been translated and published.

Gonçalo Amaral, the inspector who led the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, in 2007, was removed from the case after statements that he made to the media.

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Posted: 21st, October 2009 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (7)

The Madeleine McCann GPS Locator For Your Potentially Missing Kids

mccann-madeleine4MADDIE WATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann: Madeleine McCann’s name is being used in the context of a bit of kit that tags your kids.

Anna Maxted tests a new device that enables parents to track their child via satellite from a computer or mobile phone.

Anna Maxted is the Telegraph’s jobbing mum, which in the media makes her ideally placed to spread the panic about missing kidzzz. Because mums know best (in pictures).

The last time I mislaid a child – my four-year old, in the park, for 15 endless minutes – I wished unashamedly that he could be chipped, like the cat.

You mislaid a child? Surely you lose a child. You mislay your keys. Can you mislay a cat? Interestingly, one of Maxted’s kids – she has three boys – is called Oscar, which is a name ideally suited to a dog.

When Steve Salmon’s young daughter vanished during a family pub lunch (later found petting a pony in the adjacent field), he doubtless wished the same thing. Two years on, Salmon, chief executive of communications firm Lok8u, has launched the equally tongue-twisting NuM8, the world’s first GPS locator for children.

It’s not. A little research on the internet and Anorak finds this – and it is, like Maxted, beyond parody:

Child Locator as Featured in Duracell BrickHouse Child Locator Commercial; Distance Alerts help you keep a watchful eye on your wandering children, in a way that hasn’t been possible before. It’s Not You, All Children Wander; 2,185 Go Missing Every Day. Locate anything or anyone from 600 ft to an inch away. Get a warning from the custom distance alert or via included panic button tag.

It’s brought to you by Brickhouse Security. Brickhouse is a word usually joined to the word “shit”. You may also recall this warning from Anorak:

“New laws to regulate the use of high-tech child-tracking devices are being called for by MPs amid fears they could be used by paedophiles and stalkers. The technology is aimed at parents wanting to keep tabs on their children after a series of high-profile child murders and the disappearance of Madeleine McCann”

And there was this pair who rented out child tracking devices at the airport. While your stick your locator on the nose on your face, Maxted reviews her gadget:

To all appearances, it’s a chunky, child-friendly wristwatch, worn by the subject, that enables the fond parent to track their darling via satellite from a computer or mobile phone. But this is not a gadget for the morally squeamish. Behind the bright colours – choose from aqua blue, hot pink and lime green, or neutral black – the rubber strap contains a “web of reinforced steel”. If anyone – rebellious child or dastardly adult – attempts to remove the locator from its assigned wrist, Mummy or Daddy is alerted from their cappuccino via text…

Better if the in-built blowers began to shape the froth on the cappuccino to form the word “PAEDO” in chocolate.

According to the charity Missing Persons, formerly National Missing Persons Helpline, an estimated 140,000 children and young people run away or go missing every year in the United Kingdom. This, coupled with mothering three boys, has eroded my principles. I cannot wait to tag my kids.

That many, eh? How many are found alive and well? Maxted does not care to say.We do:

Tarling and Burrows’ 2004 study of Metropolitan Police missing person cases found that 99 per cent of cases were resolved within one year.

Any other facts?

A 2004 Home Office study (Newiss and Fairbrother, 2004: 1-6) found that, of the 798 police reports of child abduction and attempted child abduction in England and Wales that year:

• 56 per cent or all reports involved a stranger
• 47 per cent of all reports were ‘attempted child abductions by a stranger’
• 9 per cent of all reports were successful child abductions by a stranger


…of the 798 police reports of child abduction and attempted child abduction in England and Wales that year, 23 per cent involved abduction by a parent.

Back to Maxted of the cappuccino:

Guilt forces me to opt for full disclosure. I tell the seven-year-old, “This is like a Ben 10 watch. You wear it, and I track you, like the police track baddies who try to escape from prison.”

He can but try…

I hunch over my phone in the park café, compulsively following the blue balloon on the screen’s Googlemap that proves that Oscar is safe beyond the trees, racing down the hill on his scooter without a helmet.

No helmet? WTF??!!!

It’s a luxury to sit for five minutes and know that one’s offspring has not been dragged out of the park by a predator.

Mums, eh. Always on the go.

I know he is fine, because my husband has marked a “safe zone” on the map – if Oscar breaches the park perimeter, I receive a warning text, and ‘live tracking’ will commence.

What if your husband’s taken him? What then?

Yet, as the locator doesn’t record heights, there’s always the chance that he might climb a tree – and, sipping espresso while staring at the screen balloon on my phone, if he fell out, I’d be none the wiser until the ambulance arrived.

Cappuccino. Espresso. We’re not medical experts, but we’d consider cutting down on the caffeine.

Suddenly, I feel NuM8’s reassurance is insufficient. I’m ready to step surveillance up a level. Might I suggest the next generation wristwatch comes with a hidden micro-camera, angled at my child’s face?

Then you can watch him being assaulted, smashing his head open or sobbing in real time?

This may be why, when I describe my new toy to Honor Rhodes, director of development at the Family and Parenting Institute, she is unimpressed. “Is this,” she says, “a symptom of panic-stricken but lazy parenting? I wonder what it is that we are trying to guard against, and I think it is that we don’t want our child to be Madeleine McCann. While that was so terrible, the worst thing that could possibly occur, it happens incredibly rarely. Your child is more likely to be struck by lightning.”

Was the media’s Our Maddie struck by lightning?

My resolve is tested when the three-year-old disappears into a school playground. He eventually turns up, happy and breathless, after a game of chase with the big children. I say sternly: “I didn’t know where you were, and I was frightened. Do not run off again!”

At which point he sobs and the big kids point and laugh heartily?

Meanwhile, Over in New Zealand, the tragic death of young child is the subject of the big debate: Aisling Symes was not abducted.

It is “Every parent’s secret dread“.

The tragic story of Aisling Symes captured so many hearts because it was a “lightning rod of dread” for all parents.

And then this:

The spectre of international cases, such as James Bulger, JonBenet Ramsey, and Madeleine McCann are buried deep in parental psyches, she says. However, when these cases are international, we can register but ignore them, she says. Suddenly, a child was missing in New Zealand and all those demons emerged.

And the global media reacts…

Madeleine McCann is missing – still missing. There are no suspects. there is no evidence of what happened to her. Her parents are innocent. Her name is being used to sell goods and services…

Posted: 20th, October 2009 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann | Comments (10)

Madeleine McCann: Alan Johnson, Satellite Images And Barack Obama

5110520MADDIE WATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann: Justine McGuinness sues, Alan Johnson, Gordon Brown, Barack Obama and a satellite image…

Press Gazette: “People in payout over Madeleine Fund libel”

Justine McGuinness is back in the news:

A public relations expert who helped in the search for Madeleine McCann accepted a donation to charity today over a claim that she overcharged the fund set up to find the missing child.

Another day and with it another libel case.

In 2007, The People story “alleged that she had charged the fund £20,000 in excess of her agreed fee and that, following a discussion with Gerry McCann in the summer of 2007, she was forced to part company with the fund.”

Melville-Brown said MGN Limited had accepted that the allegations were incorrect and apologised. So damages?

It agreed to make a donation to an undisclosed charity of Ms McGuinness’s choice.

PRs know how to handle their own PR.

Says her brief, Amber Melville-Brown:

The public is entitled to know, indeed demands to know, the truth, and the press fulfils a vital role in servicing our need for news. But Fleet Street must guard against rubbishing reputations in the process through the inaccurate and sensational reporting of emotive stories.”

Nice idea. But the public demands entertainment, and the papers demand readers. If you want the truth, you need to digest a lot of news and make up your own mind. Or read Anorak.

Which brings us to this story in the Sunday Express:


HOME Secretary Alan Johnson is prepared to ask US spy chiefs for satellite images which may show the face of Madeleine McCann’s kidnapper, following intervention by the Sunday Express.

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Posted: 18th, October 2009 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (14)