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 Dangers Of PR And Libel

MADDIE WATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann, Kate McCann and Gerry McCann: Where PR persons cautiously tread?

FACT:The only person so far brought before the Beak in the mysterious case of the missing child Madeleine McCann is Goncalo Amaral the former chief investigating police officer.

I’m no fan of former Tory PR woman Amanda Platell, but she shows signs of the PR penny beginning to drop in today’s Daily Mail with this:

CONJECTURE: ‘Kate and Gerry McCann say they have no regrets in taking a Portuguese policeman to court for libel, thus subjecting themselves to weeks of lurid accusations in court.
……I fear they will never put an end to the vile rumours about them… the tragedy of the ongoing court case is that it will only give oxygen to the conspiracy theorists.

Are Kate and Gerry really sure that this will help find Madeleine?’

FACT: How much worse for their already shattered family life will it be if they lose? Second Place in this sort of contest is an appalling position, not recoverable and there is no chance of a rematch.

Even an outright win leaves mud sticking.

Could that explain the good Drs Kate and Gerry McCann PR person Clarence Mitchell’s curious non-appearance in Portugal this week? – AGW

Well, Anorak did mention the risks more than a while ago.

Madeleine McCann: No suspects. So sign of the child.

Posted: 16th, January 2010 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (34)

Madeleine McCann: Amaral ‘Fala Com McCanns’ And Ten More Years

amaral5MADDIE WATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann, Kate McCann and Gerry McCann: Ten more years, gawping at Kate McCann, Amaral the panto baddie (boo- hiss – f*** off) and libel…

FIRST the good news for the voracious media in the never-ending story of Our Maddie, as the Daily Star says:


After ten more years of Our Maddie, the Star will have to return to Katie Price updates. But ten years is not too shabby. If the Daily Express can do it with Princess Diana for a decade, the Star’s sister paper can darn well do it for Our Maddie. It’s the least it can do.

Former detective Goncalo Amaral has vowed to take the fight to get his controversial book published to the European Court of Human Rights if he loses his current case.

But legal experts say that process could take a decade. Mr Amaral’s book claims Madeleine died in her family’s holiday flat in Praia da Luz, Portugal.

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Posted: 15th, January 2010 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann | Comment

The Other View On The McCann Court Case: When Libel Trials Go Wrong

wilde1MADDIE WATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann, Kate McCann and Gerry McCann: There is a another view of this McCann court case which I warned about almost three years ago.

AGW writes:

This is not a good battlefield for the McCanns. The Portuguese are only 30 years from one of the world’s most cruel dictatorships and are paranoid about free speech. Libel trials are notorious for going wrong.
Read on:

Posted: 13th, January 2010 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (4)

Madeleine McCann: Amaral’s Diamond, Dead In A Dream And Four Theories

mccanns13MADDIE WATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann, Kate McCann and Gerry McCann: Maddie ‘died’ in the family apartment; Maddy was lying on a hillside, Kate McCann’s “agony” and Amaral’s wearing a diamond earring…

Pictures Of All The Madeleine McCann Suspects

Goncalo Amaral says any ban on his book, Maddie: The Truth Of The Lie, is against his freedom of speech. The book says Madeleine McCann died in the family apartment. The McCanns says this is not so – she was abducted. She want libel damages.

The news:

Daily Express (front page): “MADDIE ‘DIED’ IN APARTMENT”

Portuguese police chief’s amazing claim to court ion £1m McCann libel case

Claim. Not fact. Do the police deal in claims? Do the courts?

MADELEINE McCann died in her family’s holiday apartment as the result of a tragic accident and her parents concealed her body, a police chief told a court in Portugal yesterday.

So they were made “arguidos”. But the McCanns are no longer arguidos. Because – get this – the above was a theory. No fact.

One officer even claimed that Portuguese police changed their inquiry from a missing person search to a murder investigation after Kate told him she had a nightmare and had seen Madeleine’s body lying on a hillside.

Can a dream be a fact?

The Sun calls it a “sick claim” delivered in a “courtroom outburst”. Back in the Express:

He said: “The conclusion that was arrived at was that Madeleine McCann died at the apartment and the McCann couple simulated the abduction to hide the fact that they had not taken care of their children.

Chief Inspector Tavares de Almeida told the court that he believed the couple, from Rothley, Leicestershire, were directly involved in Madeleine’s disappearance – a theory he said was shared by Portuguese and British officers working on the case.

“There was a tragic accident in the apartment that night and they neglected the care of their children. It was the conclusion of both Portuguese and British police. We have always spoken of a tragic accidental death. There was no homicide.”


Asked if he thought Madeleine was dead, Mr de Almeida replied: “Yes. She is dead. It was not only the police who believed this but the public prosecutor. The McCanns did not kill her but they concealed the body.”

The Scotsman:

(He told the court the main evidence for this was the findings of British police sniffer dogs sent to Portugal to examine the flat. The McCanns’ lawyer, Isabel Duarte, challenged this claim, arguing that the sniffer dog results did not constitute proof and were not allowed as evidence.)

Let’s stick to the facts:

After a tense opening, their spokeswoman confirmed that the couple found listening to the allegations very painful. She said: “I think it is hurting them. They can feel hurt by these things being repeated again and again and again. However, they know what really happened so they are confident. They just want to find their daughter.”

Daily Mirror (front page): “MADDY DREAM MAKE KATE A SUSPECT”

Just weeks after Madeleine McCann vanished, sobbing mum Kate rang the Portuguese detective appointed to look after her to tell of a horrific dream in which she had seen her daughter’s dead body.

Distraught Kate said Madeleine had been lying on a hillside overlooking the beach at Praia da Luz. She begged Inspector Ricardo Paiva to search the spot.

Astonishingly, rather than inspiring pity at a desperate mother’s plight, the incident sparked only suspicion in the minds of the officers who were supposed to be hunting Madeleine and her abductor.

Is that astonishing? The Star calls it a “Kate’s murder dream.” The Sun is astonished:

KATE McCann had a dream in which she saw the body of missing daughter Madeleine on a hillside above their holiday resort, a court heard yesterday.

And after she told Portuguese cops of the nightmare, they became convinced the little girl had been KILLED rather than abducted.

That might be because Kate McCann “had seen her daughter’s dead body.”

The McCanns’ Portuguese police liaison officer Inspector Ricardo Paiva is on the stand:

But the detective admitted the police had been suspicious of the McCanns from the start – simply because they had tried to give the stalled hunt for Madeleine some much-needed momentum.

So it wasn’t the dream that make Kate McCann a person of interest to the Portuguese police – it was the fact that she was the moth of the missing child.

He added: “They disobeyed our request to keep quiet about the details of their daughter’s disappearance while we conducted our investigation. Instead, they turned it into a media circus.”

They didn’t do that alone – someone who worked on the case actually wrote a book.

Let’s stick to the facts:

Kate regularly shook her head in frustration. Gerry remained grim-faced.

Kate. Gerry. Not Mr and Mrs McCann. We are not looking at a trial in a foreign country – a trial that investigates whether freedom of speech has its limits. We are just watching the parents of the missing girl.

The Sun (front page): Maddie is dead and you hid her

Antonella Lazzeri delivers “His smiles, their pain”, telling readers that Kate McCann is

“Stroking a photo of Maddie tied to her handbag, Kate McCann”. She looks “tearfully down to the floor, horror-stricken… she flinched when the cop said of Madeleine in a loud and stark voice ‘She is dead’

Goncalo Amaral “smiled”.., “he diamond in his left ear glittering in the courtroom’s lights.”

Daily Star (front page): “Madeleine died inside apartment’”

Kate inched closer to her husband in the public gallery of the Palace of Justice in Lisbon as the officer gave his verdict.

A verdict? It was a claim not long ago.

District Attorney Jose Menezes, who handled the case, said there had been no evidence to charge the McCanns with any crime.

But he believed they neglected their children, and lied about how often they checked on them during a meal with pals at a tapas bar the night Madeleine disappeared. He said four possibilities of what happened to the youngster remain – kidnap, child-trafficking, homicide or her body was hidden after an accidental death.

Now we’re getting somrwhere. Only four theories.

Meanwhile in court:

Mrs McCann wearing a dark coloured floral dress sat impassively in the front row of the court room beside her husband. The pair held hands and exchanged occasional whispers and nods as they were passed notes by interpreters informing them of court proceedings, which were carried out in Portuguese.

Mr Amaral, dressed in a dark suit and purple tie, was seated at the bench beside his legal team, fifteen feet away from the couple. He spent much of the proceedings with his eyes closed avoiding the direct gaze of the McCanns.

More fact sin the Mail, where Kate’s “agony” is headline news. And we learn that, “Mr and Mrs McCann [are] both doctors”.

A child is missing. One fact.

Pictures Of All The Madeleine McCann Suspects

Posted: 13th, January 2010 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann | Comments (30)

Court Hears Madeleine McCann ‘Died In Holiday Apartment’

LAWYER Jose Magalhaes e Menezes tells the court in the Goncalo Amaral libel trial of a report signed by Tavares De Almeida that said Madeleine McCann had ‘died’ in the family’s apartment.

Tavares De Almeida was the police chief inspector at the time Madeleine vanished.

Mr Amaral makes the same suggestion in his book that the McCanns would like banned. They are seeking libel damages. Mr Amaral says a ban infringes on his freedom of speech. A trial ensues.

And Sky News screams:

Madeleine McCann ‘Died In Holiday Apartment’

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Posted: 12th, January 2010 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (12)

Madeleine McCann: Coronation Street’s Simon Missing And Amaral’s Trial

mccanns-birthday21MADDIE WATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann, Kate McCann and Gerry McCann: Portugal, Amaral, libel and Coronation Street:

IN Portugal, Kate and Gerry McCann’s legal action against Goncalo Amaral will last three days. As the disappearance of an innocent child became a form of entertainment, a brand for PRs and speculation, Amaral penned Maddie: The Truth Of The Lie, in which he claimed that Madeleine died in her family’s holiday flat on the night she disappeared.

That a detective who worked on the high-profile case should make his claims in a book – even using the tabloid nickname for the child – is pretty much in keeping with a single-thread story that became a chance for viewers at home to play armchair detective, show how much you care by a mawkish display of ribbon wearing and gawp at the girl’s bereft parents.

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Posted: 12th, January 2010 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann | Comments (10)

Madeleine McCann: More Speculation, Children for Sale And Joana Cipriano

8190791MADDIE WATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann, Kate McCann and Gerry McCann.

Kate and Gerry McCann are back in to Portugal for the libel trial against Goncalo Amaral, the detective who penned ‘The Truth of The Lie’, a book questioning the McCanns’ account about what happened to their daughter.

Says Clarence Mitchell:

“The details of their travel plans and itinerary will at their request remain private.”

Which means that journalists will actually have to follow the McCanns rather than simply rocking up for press conferences.

The news round-up:

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Posted: 11th, January 2010 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann | Comments (9)

Madeleine McCann And The Senior Police Officer ‘Paedo’

MADDIE WATCHAnorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann: HOLLIE Greig, who has Down’s Syndrome, “claims she was abused for 14 years from the age of six, and has given police the names of some of the men she says assaulted her, including a senior police officer and a sheriff.”

So reports the Press and Journal. However:

The Crown Office revealed last night that there was not enough reliable evidence to proceed with the case, however.

And this has what to do with the media’s Our Maddie?

Mrs Greig claims two of the alleged abusers moved to Portugal a number of years ago and she went to her local police station at Shrewsbury to pass on that information when news broke of the kidnapping of Madeleine McCann.

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Posted: 7th, January 2010 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (14)

Madeleine McCann Overlooks Ireland’s River Suir

MADELEINE McCann: Madeleine McCann Overlooks The River Suir. Why? Why not?


Posted: 5th, January 2010 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (2)

Madeleine McCann: British Police On Operation Task Will Not Release Files

46383112MADDIE WATCHAnorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann: News is that Leicestershire Police files on the hunt for Madeleine McCann will only be made public when anyone involved in her alleged kidnapping is brought to justice.

Anorak learns that force’s paperwork includes everything from correspondence with Government ministers and the McCanns, details of police meetings, and possible leads and sightings.

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Posted: 3rd, January 2010 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (14)

Madeleine McCann’s Kidnapper Turns Up On Facebook

idiot-maddyMADDIE WATCHAnorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann: On Facebook, Madeleine McCann’s kidnapper has created a fan group. The message is:

“If 2,000,000 people join this group, I will give back Maddie McCann.”

Facebook plus Madeleine McCann: the tabloids are going to love this one. The person who set this is up is either: a) a kidnapper; b) a fantasist; c) unaware of the reward for the child’s return; d) a shock comic looking to attract lots of attention to themselves; e) a parodist mocking how people use the web to talk to Madeleine McCann and show how much they care?

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Posted: 24th, December 2009 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comment

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.


Picture 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)

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