Anorak

Madeleine McCann | Anorak - Part 3

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: blaming gypsies is the cheapest solution

Madeleine McCann: as we approach the tenth anniversary of her vanishing the news is coming thick and fast in the British Press.

The Mirror (front page): “MADDIE ‘WAS SNATCHED BY RICH FAMILY’.”

Maddie Mccann MI5

 

Not poor gypsies, then? Not a paedophile – well, not a poor one. And she didn’t wander off. Madeleine McCann was stolen. The Mirror has more:

Missing Madeleine McCann ‘was snatched AFTER leaving apartment to look for parents’

She walked out the door and someone passing buy stole her. Maybe. Because what looks like fact to the Google news bots and headline readers is one man’s opinion. This is the “shocking new abduction theory”.

The man with the theory is Danny Collins.

The three-year-old could not have been taken from the Portuguese flat as the window shutters could only be opened from the inside, journalist Danny Collins has claimed.

The writer, who covered the case at the time, is convinced she left apartment 5a in Praia da Luz looking for her parents before being kidnapped and possibly sold to gypsies.

The gypsies did it?! If you’re going to guess who stole a child walking about a busy holiday complex searching for their parents dining in the area it’s always easy to Press f9 and blame the gypsies. No-one has yet claimed the Jews took her and used her blood to make Matzos and a ritual drink, but give it time.

With no evidence linking gypsies to the child’s vanishing, the story seems happy to point the finger at a group with long history of persecution. That’s revolting.

Says Collins, who has written a book on the case:

 “I came across no clear indication that a planned abduction took place that night. Madeleine awoke and took the opportunity offered by the open patio doors to leave the apartment.”

He’s done lots of research and spoken with lots of people. He’s not found the child. But:

From his findings Collins believes “the most logical conclusion” was that she was snatched by a passing “itinerant” looking for some quick cash.

But Madeleine’s parents still insist the tot would not have wandered out, saying she would have had to open a patio door and two gates, one with a child safety lock, and close them afterwards.

The Mirror’s front-page screamer is sourced in the Sun. Over there we read:

But nearly ten years on, veteran investigative journalist Danny Collins believes he may have uncovered the truth behind the disappearance of little Madeleine McCann.

May. The Mirror’s front-page fact is looking sketchy. But gypsies continue to take a battering. Below a picture of the child in an Everton FC shirt, the Sun writers: “The shocking new theory claims Madeleine McCann could have been stolen by gypsies.”

Disgusting stuff.

Collins is quoted:

The McCanns overlooked the simplest of truths that would later be seized on by the Portuguese investigators and see them considered prime suspects.

“The metal shutters were impossible to lever upwards more than 1-2cm. Nor did the shutters or the sills on which they rested in the closed position show any marks of an attempt at forced entry.”

But what of the gypsies getting treated as suspects?

During his investigations, Collins was told by Iberian travellers that if Madeleine had been found on the street it was likely she would have been taken and a plan hatched to extract a ransom or reward.

But then, given the immediate high-profile nature of the case, they might have sold her to Romany gypsies.

Collins thinks this is the “most logical conclusion”.

As we grab the torches and mach on those Romany gypsies, other news sources have more on ‘Our Maddie’. What about the money?

The Independent: “Madeleine McCann may have been kidnapped by slave traders and sold, claims ex-Scotland Yard detective.”

May. There it is again, that word that can also mean ‘may not’. And who buys and sells children?

Gangs who operate in Mauritania, West Africa, reportedly sell children to rich Middle Eastern families

White slavers!

Leicester Mercury: “Madeleine McCann: New information in the hunt for missing Rothley youngster.”

Information or speculation?

An employee of the holiday resort where Madeleine McCann went missing 10 years ago could hold the key to solving the mystery of the missing toddler, it has been claimed.

Yep. It’s speculation.

In a ‘world exclusive’ Australian documentary aired today, former Scotland Yard police officer Colin Sutton told reporter Rahni Sadler: “There is an employee, somebody who worked within the Ocean Villa complex who has some information or some knowledge that may be of assistance.”

One man’s opinion is a world exclusive. So is this. So is that last breath you took, and the next one. It’s all unique and exclusive. And it’s all utterly useless in finding out what happened to Madeleine McCann.

Meanwhile, Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry, told the makers of the programme, called Sunday Night, that they would not rest until they had found their daughter.

Kate said: “It’s every parent’s worst nightmare, and it’s touched everybody, I think.”

She added: “I don’t believe we would ever reach a point where we think, ‘Oh, we’ve done everything now’. Whilst the situation remains as it is, Madeleine is out there and she needs us to find her.”

Stay tuned:

While there is no evidence that Madeleine is not alive, the programme looked at theories about why, if she had been killed, her body had not been found.

Is there evidence of gypsies? Can an entire race sue?

Mr Sutton told Sunday Night that despite Portuguese authorities conducting their largest ever police search, it was possible Madeleine’s remains could still be hidden in the Praia da Luz area.

He said it was “just large enough and difficult enough terrain to search” that police officers could “search for years and still not be satisfied you’d actually done it properly”.

Thanks. Very helpful.

Publisher of The Portugal News Paul Luckman said he believed there are up to 600 wells scattered throughout Praia da Luz, and that Madeleine’s remains could be in one of them.

He believes there are 600 wells that could contain a body of a child who could be alive. Got it?

He said: “[In] five, 10 years time, somebody suddenly decides to clear the well and they will bring it back into operation… they would clean it out and bones would be found.”

And on and on and on it goes.

Maddie Mccann MI5

 

Daily Star (front page): “MADDIE: MI5 HID HER BODY.”

In a bombshell documentary aired today on Australian TV, Goncalo Amaral suggested MI5 helped to hide Maddie’s body.

It’s duelling ex-cops on the telly.

The detective made the shocking claims on Aussie show Sunday Night which had said it would be revealing a major new lead in the disappearance case.

Amaral said MI5 “for sure had an involvement” in what happened to Maddie.

Proof? Evidence?

“I’m saying for sure [MI5] have an involvement in the situation”

Proof? Evidence?

On the same TV show, in response dad Gerry McCann said: “The less said about Goncalo Amaral the better.”

This might be the least edifying episode yet.

SMG: “Madeleine McCann’s parents deny killing or being negligent of their daughter on Sunday Night.”

Gerry McCann spoke to the show. He is quoted:

“The ludicrous thing is that Madeleine died in the apartment by an accident and we hid her body,” Mr McCann told Sunday Night. “Well, when did she have the accident and die? ‘Cause the only time she was left unattended was when we were at dinner, so if she died then, how could we have disposed of or hidden her body? You know, when there was an immediate search?

“It’s just nonsense! And if she died when we were in the apartment, or fell, why would we cover that up?”

Do not try to answer those questions. Libel is pricey.

When asked by Sunday Night reporter Rahni Sadler “Did you kill your daughter?”, Mr McCann replied: “No. No. Never.

“And you know, there’s nothing with any logic that could, you know… You would have to start with why? How? When? Who? And there’s just simply, you know, no answer to any of these things – there’s nothing to suggest anything. So no – that’s an emphatic ‘no’.”

He asks the questions. But, again, do not try to answer them here. It’d be speculation. Stick to blaming gypsies, who haven’t sued anyone for defamation (yet).

The Sun: “‘THEY ANNIHILATED ME’ Madeleine McCann crime expert who told doc her parents Gerry and Kate may have hidden body plans to sue show for twisting her comments.”

You see.

A CRIME expert who told an explosive Madeline McCann documentary her parents could have hidden their daughter’s body plans to SUE the Aussie TV channel which ran the show.

US criminal profiler Pat Brown featured on Channel 7’s Sunday Night show claiming Gerry and Kate McCann could have put Maddie’s body in a bag, hid at the beach and moved it weeks later.

But the expert – who told the show there was a possibility Madeleine had been killed as the result of an accident, neglect or abuse – now plans to sue the network for defamation.

Pat claims in her original hour-long Skype interview with journalist Rahni Sadler that she made it clear this was only a theory based on her view of the evidence available.

Some theories are cheap. Other theories can be expensive. Says Pat:

“I never stated the McCanns were guilty of anything other than neglecting their children, and I will stand by that. I never said the McCanns are guilty of covering up the death of their child or moving their child’s body. The show purposefully set out to destroy my reputation. The only reason I was featured was to annihilate me by making me look foolish.”

To recap: aliens took her. Probably. But not the ones with expensive lawyers. The other ones.

Such are the facts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted: 24th, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, Reviews | Comment


Madeleine McCann: seeking the man by The Dolphin

Madeleine McCann appears on two national newspapers front pages today. You can read more about the Mirror’s news on a top cop’s theories here.

 

madeleine mccann daily mirror

 

So much for the opinion. What we who have followed this story from the outset crave are facts.

The Express has actual news on the actual investigation into what happened to the missing child.  The paper leads with the “phone box clue” to “Missing Maddie”.

 

daily express maddy mccann

 

James Murray says:

DETECTIVES are investigating phone calls made from a telephone box in Praia da Luz in a bid to trace a man acting suspiciously shortly before Madeleine McCann disappeared.

Indeed. It is odd. Who uses a phone box these days?

The story goes that Adrian and Lizelle Marais, a married couple working at an eatery called The Dolphin close to the phone box, spotted a “strange” man who “looked similar to a photofit of a suspect”. Their restaurant is around 700 metres from the Ocean Club, where Madeleine McCann was staying.

So which suspect are we looking at? We’ve seen a few in the media. The paper notes:

That led Portugal’s public prosecutor to order all phone records for the call box to be checked in an effort to find the man, who has never been traced.

Adding:

The prosecutor made the order on the grounds that the man may have abducted or murdered the lost three-year-old.

And so the jump is made. From being man at phone box at a busy summer holiday report, he is now someone who “may” have murdered a child.

We then get to which “suspect” the story relates to.

The call box is 50 yards from the spot where a man carrying a child similar to Madeleine was seen by Irishman Martin Smith and his family, who had been dining at the Dolphin at around 9pm on the night she disappeared.

Mr Smith’s account formed part of a Crimewatch reenactment.

Policia Judiciaria files on the case outline what Lizelle told officers the day after Madeleine vanished. The report states: “The person used the public telephone for long periods of time, always more than 10 minutes. To her, the person did not appear to be either a tourist or a resident. One time she had passed close to him and had felt ‘strange’ but did not know why.”

Mysterious stuff. But not new. Just old and in light of no developments in the case over ten years, still worthy of a look. And, as the Star proves with its interpretation of the Express‘ story, anything can be vital in the mystery of ‘Our Maddie’. Says the Star: “Madeleine McCann: Phone box may be key to finding Maddie.” Or not.

 

Posted: 23rd, April 2017 | In: Madeleine McCann, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment


Madeleine McCann: five theories, three ex-coppers and 10 years of nothing

Madeleine McCann: A look at reporting on the missing child. It remains frenzied, speculative, lurid and light on news.

Daily Mail: “Did Madeleine McCann wander off and have an accident? Was she stolen to order? Or was it a burglary gone wrong? Detective lays out theories about her disappearance.”

In short: did any crime befall Madeleine McCann? The detective isn’t sure if one did. But, then, he’s isn’t a professional detective. He’s a “former Scotland Yard detective” who “believes he has come up with the five most plausible theories to explain the disappearance of Madeleine McCann”.

Only five. This is progress. On May 10 2007, the Daily Mirror produced SIX theories. They were: the “PAEDOPHILE GANG”, the “LONE PAEDOPHILE”, the “JEALOUS MOTHER”, Madeleine wandering off and “DROWNED”, the “OPPORTUNIST PAEDOPHILE”, the “CHILDLESS COUPLE”.

Colin Sutton is the “detective” with the five-fingered theory. He first told it to the Mirror, which is the source for the Mail’s story.

 

madeleine mccann daily mirror

 

Daily Mirror: “Was Madeleine McCann stolen to order, taken by lone paedo or did she just wander off? The scenarios that could explain her disappearance.”

Sutton’s Five Theories that could be useful are:

1 The McCanns or the Tapas Seven

The McCanns have been libelled. Take care. Speculation hurst lives. Says Sutton:

I can understand why the Portuguese police asked questions about the McCanns and the Tapas Seven. As uncomfortable as it is, the first place I would have started looking is their group. Without any other information to go on, the most likely scenario when a three-year-old girl disappears into thin air is that someone close to her knows what happened.

However, the police do appear to have decided quite quickly that was the only line of investigation they were going to take.

By concentrating just on that scenario they may have missed tips or other lines that meant going down a completely different investigation route.

After that he adds a further four theories:

2 Targeted kidnap by a trafficking gang

This is the most likely scenario once those closely linked to Madeleine have been ruled out.

Concluding;

Given all the facts we know, it’s the most likely and credible scenario.

But why did they take her?

A trafficking ring is more likely than a lone paedophile or paedophile ring. Yes there are paedophiles, yes she is a little blonde girl. But I think six and seven-year-old girls are much more at risk from paedophiles or child abuse rings.

Paedophiles target blonde girls more than, says, brunette or black girls? We know that the media prefers blonde victims.

Looking at the trafficking angle, unless the order was specifically for a young blonde girl, why her and not one of the twins?

Dunno. Got a theory?

Babies have less memories than a three-year-old. If Madeleine is alive she will probably remember she had another mother and father and used to live in another house.

Probably. Or not. The theories contain more theories.

If you were stealing on spec you would have taken one of the twins. Not both, just one. So it goes back to a specific order for a young blonde girl.

Has a young blonde girl died and their parents want to replace her? Or is there another reason for stealing to order? When you pick it all apart it’s the most likely scenario.

He picks, but he comes up with no answers, just more questions. The scab grows back over the wound:

3 She wandered off and had a fatal accident

He says Madeleine McCann left Cuddle Cat, her toy, behind. He says the fact of the toy remaining in the holiday flat makes this theory unlikely.

4 Opportunist abducted her

This is less likely than other scenarios. The chances of a predatory paedophile just happening across Madeleine and being able to abduct her without being detected are just so remote.

Sarah Payne, right, who was eight (when she was killed by Roy Whiting in 2000), and five-year-old April Jones (who was killed by Mark Bridger in Wales in 2012) are probably the only cases that match something like that.

Yeah, Probably.

5 Killed as part of a burglary gone wrong

This is extremely unlikely. If you have got a burglar who has gone into the apartment for material theft, the chances are once they find there are kids in there they will run a mile.

The Mirror concludes this flight of fancy by telling readers: “Anyone with information about Madeleine McCann’s disappearance should call the Find Madeleine investigation line on: 0845 8384699 or email: investigation@findmadeleine.com.”

Exactly. If you know anything, tell the police. If you know nothing, tell the readers.

The Sun: “MADDIE SUSPECTS – Convicted British paedo, heroin-addicted burglar and bogus charity collectors among main suspects in Madeleine McCann disappearance, says top cop.”

The top cop is Sutton As as for the smack head being a child snatcher, well, he told the Mirror: “Junkies don’t take three-year-old girls.” The convicted British paedo is Raymond Hewlett. He’s dead.

Having conjured suspects from the ether, the Sun adds in a second story: “WAS MADDIE KIDNAPPED TO ORDER? Top Brit ex-cop says Madeleine McCann could have been snatched by traffickers to replace grieving parents’ own dead child.”

As Sutton of the newsroom guesses – is that big reward still on offer? – and the newspaper lap up his thoughts, the Mirror turns to another ex-cop for more theories.

Sunday Mirror: “Ex-top cop breaks Madeleine McCann silence to say where he thinks she was taken.”

Madeleine McCann was snatched and taken to a warren of caves nearby that have never been searched, a Portuguese investigator has suggested.

The theory comes from ex cop Paulo Pereira Cristovao – who became the boss of Portugal’s missing children agency in the same year the three-year-old disappeared.

He says: “I think this case has lots of mistakes – from many persons, from many situations, from the police and maybe from the government. At the end of the day we all forgot one person: Madeleine McCann.”

No. We don’t. There has been ten years of reporting on the case. The innocent child has not been forgotten – she has, though, be turned into the benchmark for all missing children and used to sell papers. And, like all ex-ops with opinions, Cristovao didn’t take long to add a “maybe” to what he thinks.

We’re not told why Cristovao is talking now, only that he has imagined what he’d have done if he had kidnapped a child in Praia da Luz. He thinks Madeleine McCann is dead:

“I put myself in the role of someone who knew nothing about the streets or the region. Where would I put the body of a girl? I stood at the apartment door – to the right is the town of Portimao. There are lots of people there, lots of buildings. If I had kidnapped her that’s not the way I’d want to go. I would want to go left, and find the first side road. I put my car on that road, and I went straight to Burgau. It’s a nearby beach, with a lot of rocks with caves.

“It’s a good place to put somebody. As far as I know the police never went there, because you would need divers.”

As far as he knows. Good idea to check, no? Aren’t facts useful when you’re investigating and theorising?

“In a case where you hear theories like aliens and gypsies kidnapping Madeleine, I think this is as good as all the others.”

Alien abduction is notoriously hard to verify. Police divers looking in a lake less so.

“We’ve heard theories so stupid over these 10 years,” he adds without irony.” When we don’t understand something, we complicate it. I think sometimes – always – the best solution is the simple solution.”

Clydebank Post: “Madeleine McCann breakthrough: Aussie TV show claims to have solved mystery of tot’s disappearance.”

Pull up an armchair. You too, detectives.

Channel 7’s Sunday Night show has released a teaser clip of this weekend’s programme in which it promises to be a “landmark television event”.

The video claims the show has a new line of inquiry which could bring investigators closer to solving the mystery of the youngster’s disappearance.

Trailing a theory about what happened to Madeleine McCann is grim. A post on the channel’s Facebook says:

“The disappearance of Madeleine McCann has continued to captivate the world for nearly ten years. Maddie was only three years old when she vanished from her family’s holiday apartment in Portugal. The police search that followed became the largest in Portugal’s history – but no trace of the missing toddler was ever found. Now, new developments in the case could finally reveal the truth about what happened to little Maddie.”

Could. Or could not. Stay tuned. We’re right back after these ads.

Daily Star: “Madeleine McCann: Missing Maddie now 13 and looks like THIS.”

She’s alive! The Star knows it. In the paper’s rush to dash out an “exclusive” artist’s rendering of what the child might look like, it produces this (below). The person on the left looks a lot like Kate McCann.

madeleine mccann daily star

Daily Record: “Cop in Madeleine McCann case remains utterly unrepentant after damning book blaming Kate and Gerry.”

The hatchet job on Goncalo Amaral begins:

Despite becoming a shadow of his former self, Goncalo Amaral still has no sympathy for the parents of the missing youngster.

F*** the policeman:

On the side of the run-down apartment building, the grafitti reads “Foda a policia”. You don’t need to be fluent in Portuguese to figure out the expletive-laden translation.

This crime-ridden Lisbon estate is home to the ex-detective once tasked with solving Madeleine McCann ‘s disappearance.

So crap at police work is Amaral that even his own home if plagued by crime. We then get a potted history of his life, which is portrayed as unrelentingly sad and failed. We learn that he was “sacked from the Maddie probe after criticising British police and making mistakes”. He “then penned a damning book pointing the finger of blame at her parents, Kate and Gerry . He accused them of covering up her death and faking her abduction. The couple sued, sparking an eight-year libel battle that the ex-cop has now won.”
It was always risky to sue in a country where free speech has been so hard won.
The Mirror then get personal:

In the early days, he was alleged to work just four-and-a-half-hours a day. Sporting a large beer belly, he regularly enjoyed three-hour lunches.

Amaral, 57, split from second wife Sofia in 2012, blaming the pressures of the case. He moved back to the tough Lisbon suburb of Olivais, where he grew up. His expensive suits and fedora are gone.

So too has the beer belly and chauffeur-driven Mercedes, replaced by a battered Citroen Picasso.

His slimming is a negative?

But the arrogance remains – as the Mirror discovered when we confronted Amaral last week. Amaral also refused to apologise for the mistakes that hampered the early days of the probe. Instead, he threatened to have our reporter and photographer arrested.

But it was his cruel refusal to offer any sympathy to Kate and Gerry that was the most damning.

Is the purpose of the Mirror’s barrage of ‘Our Maddie’ articles aimed at securing an exclusive with the McCanns?

Daily Mirror: “Madeleine McCann’s parents Kate and Gerry met as junior doctors and had perfect life until their daughter vanished.”

That’s pretty much the entire story, which shows no sign of reaching an end.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 23rd, April 2017 | In: Madeleine McCann, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment


Madeleine McCann: the nanny does’t REALLY know anything

In a “WORLD EXCLUSIVE” the Daily Mirror leads with Madeleine McCann and the statement: “What REALLY happened the night Madeleine disappeared.”

 

 

There are three pages to this front-page screamer. And they can all be distilled into four simple words: “We do not know.” But for the umpteenth time in almost 10 years since Madeleine McCann vanished and the media went into a voracious feeding frenzy, the Mirror will speculate and theorise.

The small twist in this latest burst of ‘no news’ is that the “Nanny” is breaking her “10 YEAR SILENCE” and will tell us what she saw happening in Praia da Luz after the child vanished. Over pages 4 and 5 we hear from an unnamed woman billed as a “nanny”, “ex-carer”, “former child minder” and “witness” who worked for Mark Warner at the Ocean Club Resort in the Algarve at the time of Madeleine McCann’s vanishing. Surely the woman who was there the night Madeleine McCann vanished and soon became the media’s ‘Our Maddie’ has spoken before, notably to the police? This is a woman who “looked after the girl several times”.

It soon becomes apparent that she does not know what “REALY” happened to the child.

She says she helped search for the child, including looking in bins “in case her body was in there”.

She says the police arrived late and the flat was already polluted by much to-ing and fro-ing.

She was interviewed by Portuguese police.

And then feelings takes over from fact. She says she was “astonished” Kate and Gerry McCann were “ever deemed suspects in their own child’s disappearance”.

She tells us Madeleine McCann was “pretty”,  “a real cutie”, very sweet” and “really nice”. These are elements that made the story fly. The blonde child sold papers in a way a missing black child or adult would not.

She had a “feeling the locals didn’t want us there”. She says the place felt unsuited to families. She was handed a rape whistle and advised not to go out alone late at night.

She “hopes” Madeleine McCann is alive.

 

maddie mccann crime

 

She does not tell us anything new about the night Madeleine McCann vanished. But the woman “believes all key witnesses – including herself and the McCanns – should be put together in the same room”. Why? For a TV spectacular? “I bet all of our memories could add up what actually happened,” she opines.

But those memories are in the same room. They in the room at the police station. They are part of a huge investigation. And as yet, the police have still not established what crime if any befell Madeleine McCann. There are no suspects. There is only the single fact we knew on May 7 2007: Madeleine McCann vanished.

Posted: 18th, April 2017 | In: Madeleine McCann, Reviews | Comments (5)


Madeleine McCann: hiding in ‘plain sight’

More news on Madeleine McCan in our occasional look at reporting on the missing child. And the news is huge. The Sunday Express thunders: “Madeleine McCann alive but hidden in plain sight.”

She’s not hidden at all, then? Which begs the question: where is she? And then we read the paper’s news that this is not a fact. This is the view of “an expert”. He says the missing child whose picture travelled the world “could be living in an isolated property just miles inland from seaside towns on the Algarve”. She could be. And, then again, maybe she isn’t.

In this “exclusive” bout of speculation the Express  hears from former police detective Dave Edgar, “who was hired by Kate and Gerry McCann for three years to try and find their missing daughter”. That he didn’t find the child is clear. But his work has formed an opinion. “There is every possibility that Madeleine is still alive and could be being hidden somewhere,” says Mr Edgar. It’s possible she could be alive. So says the expert, who adds: “When you get up beyond the main strip of the Algarve there’s countless isolated properties where Madeleine could be being held.”

So she’s not hiding in plain sight, then? She’s being “held” in a remote property. Maybe. Maybe not. We heard much the same eight years ago. Why is a man’s old theory presented as news today?

Having wondered aloud about the child’s whereabouts, Edgar then reads minds. “I would suggest that 10 years, while it seems a long time, would not feel like that to that person with information,” says Edgar. “What happened on that night would still be fresh in their mind.” Unless they’re deranged, demented, ill or forgetful.  Or dead.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 9th, April 2017 | In: Madeleine McCann, Tabloids | Comment


Madeleine McCann: Spain’s gypsy child kidnappers

The absence of anything beyond theorising has turned Madeleine McCann into a commodity. And like all goods and services, the media’s speculative assault on Madeleine McCann means ‘Our Maddie’ can be exported to become any nation’s very own Maddie. BrazilIsraelAmericaSpain, New Zealand, Panama, Greece and Holland have all had their versions of the media’s benchmark for missing children.

 

madeleine mccann daily star gypsies

 

On March 31, the Daily Star led with news of a “Spanish Maddie ‘kidnap'”. That the word “kidnap” was served to readers wrapped in inverted commas promised a story light on facts. Line one told us: “A Madeleine McCann lookalike has been grabbed by a ‘scar-faced’ gypsy” in Estepona.

The “British girl’s mum said the abductor grabbed her daughter’s hand and tried to take her away after promising sweets”. The man known locally as “Paco” was already with a young child, “whom he used to strike up a conversation with the girl”. Paedo gypsy child kidnappers? (Always the gypsies.) “When the girl’s mum began to scream the man with a scar on his head ran off.”

So not all that much like the vanishing of Madeleine McCann, then. Unless you, like the Star, considers it relevant that the “girl bears a resemblance to Madeleine McCann”.

 

maddleine mccann suspect

Is this Paco?

 

maddleine mccann suspect daily star

Paco’s dead?

 

In other ‘Their Maddie’ news, the Sun says the remains of “America’s Maddie McCann” have been found. This ‘Maddie’ was called Isabel Celis. Her parents last saw her alive at their home in Tuscon, Arizona, in April 2012. “The mysterious case sent shockwaves around the world,” says the Sun, “and bore a haunting resemblance to the disappearance of Maddie McCann”.

 

Isabel Celis

Isabel Celis

 

But kgun9, Tuscon’s local news station, makes no mention of Madeleine McCann at all as it delivers the grim news of a dead child. Isabel Celis was 6-years old at the time of her disappearance.

But the Daily Mirror does. “Harrowing 911 calls from devastated parents of ‘America’s Maddie McCann’ on morning she vanished after police find remains,” comes the headline. The paper invites its readers to listen in. Come on, readers, pull up an armchair and watch the parents.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 2nd, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment


Madeleine McCann: the ‘abductor’s secret confession’

Madeleine McCann: A look at reporting on the missing child. Today the Mirror leads with news that “Someone is protecting Maddie’s kidnapper”. They are? Maybe. Who?  Dunno. It’s a ‘SEARCH COP’S CLAIM”. A “detective inspector” is “convinced” the “abductor has confessed to a friend”.

 

maddie mccann kidnapper daily mirror

 

It soon turns out that the “COP”, the “detective inspector”, is a “former Detective Inspector” called Dave Edgar. Having established that the front-page headline is a little light on facts  – the “cop” is no longer a serving police officer; the “detective inspector” isn’t a detective inspector – readers might wonder at the point of the story, let alone why it’s worthy of the Mirror’s front page.

Reading on we learn that retired Det Insp Dave Edgar, for it is he, “broke his silence for the first time to open his files. Revealing findings, that a child-sex gang most likely took the three-year-old.” He tells the paper: “Someone knows what happened and it’s time they came forward.”

What is “most likely” is not a fact. But if you thought that woolly, the next line tops it: “Mr Edgar believes an abductor has secretly confessed to the crime.”

A detective deals with gathering evidence and facts. But this story is one of belief and an imagined secret. The story continues:

Calling for an end to the agony of Maddie’s parents Kate and Gerry, he pleaded: “If anyone confided in you, now is the time to come forward.”

Now. Or, indeed, any time in the last ten years.

We then get what Edgar, “one of the top experts on the case”, “also believes”. There’s a list:

There is no evidence to suggest Kate and Gerry were involved.
It was a well planned abduction.
There was no evidence against two prime suspects of abducting her from Praia Da Luz in May.
The motive for taking three-year-old Madeleine was sexual.
There is still hope she is alive.

With no child to look at, the Mirror just looks at the parents, raking over old ground:

After Madeleine vanished from the McCanns’ Warner Ocean Club holiday flat, while her parents were dining with friends, Portuguese police named Kate and Gerry as “arguidos” or suspects.

Yes. They were.

But Mr Edgar dismisses that, flying in the face of last week’s Lisbon court decision to uphold the right of Portuguese detective Goncalo Amaral to publish his book alleging Madeleine had died and the McCanns covered it up.

And:

“I was looking at everything and that would include them,” he said. “If I found any evidence against Kate and Gerry I would have given it to the police immediately. Kate and Gerry would expect no less. But I found no shred of evidence. We obviously look at all factors – motive, preparation, opportunity – and there was absolutely nothing.”

Fair enough. But why do other theories get aired? Is there evidence a sex gang stole Madeleine McCann? Is there evidence the child was abducted? Is there evidence she is alive? Isn’t broadcasting theories what caused the McCanns and Robert Murat to be libelled?

Mr Edgar was “paid for by the Find Madeleine Fund” to crack the case. That he didn’t is regrettable. But why are we now listening to what he believes? Surely it’s wise to stick to what he knows and has found?

He [Edgar] has heard dozens of theories about Madeleine – that she had wandered off, and been run over, become the victim of a random burglar or taken by someone wanting to raise a child for themselves.

So much for the theories. What of the facts?

He believes it was a planned operation by a lone kidnapper or a gang.

No facts. Well, only one: a child vanished.

Almost 10 years after the story began, a national tabloid is leading with speculation, just as many have done ever since May 2007. Says Egdar: “If the motive was gang-related child prostitution, there might have been more than one involved.”

Believes. If. Might. And on it goes, this guessing. However educated and based on well-trained hunches the theorising is, it remains guesswork. Get a load of this line:

Like millions of others, the retired detective clings to the hope that Madeleine is still alive, possibly being held prisoner and potentially still in Portugal.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 27th, March 2017 | In: Madeleine McCann, Tabloids | Comment


Madeleine McCann: horror in Cyprus and trolling the McCanns in the Sun

Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child.

We begin this round-up with news in the Sun that the missing child’s parents are posting on their official Facebook page. In “BEATING THE BULLIES” we read that Kate and Gerry McCann have re-opened their Find Maddie Facebook account amid a “huge outpouring of love and support” after “taking a ‘break’ from trolls”.

You might well wonder how that is news. But social media functions as something nasty for old media to look down on, like a school gates mum gathering her PTA pals around to snipe at the gauche new arrival. “As the page administrator switched it back on,” we’re told “she vowed to ‘continue to turn the page off if we receive hateful posts’.”

But you can’t turn off the Sun’s comments section. Beneath the paper’s story “MADDIE PROBE SLAMMED – Good Morning Britain viewers in meltdown over ‘ridiculous’ £11million bill for the Madeleine McCann investigation as top cop declares it a waste of money”, the Sun’s bleeding hearts offer lots of opinion. These are the comments in order of appearance on the Sun’s story:

 

the Sun Madeleine MCCan

the Sun Madeleine MCCan the Sun Madeleine MCCan

 

The “TOP COMMENTS” are:

 

the Sun Madeleine MCCan

 

One site’s ‘Bullies” and “trolls” are another’s commenters and readers.

Having made not an inch of progress in finding out what happened to Madeleine McCann, the voracious Press see if they can have any better luck with a new ‘Maddie’.

“My daughter could have been the next Maddie McCann,” says the Mail’s headline. “Mother staying at five-star Cyprus hotel woke to find maid trying to snatch her one-year-old.”

The maid did it!

Siobhan Prescott, 25, “claims she woke to find her one-year-old daughter Harper crying as a dark-haired woman in her 40s attempted to pick her up out of her cot at the five star King Evelthon Beach and Hotel Resort in Chloraca Bay, Cyprus.”

As parents cancel their family summer holiday and eyes “dark-haired” women (in Greece!) with suspicion, the Mail tells us what happened next:

The horrified mother claims she was powerless to react because she was sleeping naked, so screamed out for her partner Simon Smith who was on the balcony of their room.

Who knew British holidaymakers were so demure?

Anyhow, Simon came running.

He confronted the sheepish woman, who was dressed in a maid’s outfit, and demanded to know what she was doing.

The woman said something in another language, before bursting into tears and trying to flee the room – but stopped to make a phone call from the room phone.

Eh? She made a phone call before legging it? So there are finger prints, a number to track and you got a good look at the would-be abductor. Right now the only thing Madeleine McCann-like about his story is that readers to examine someone else’s parenting skills.

“I was napping when a maid snuck into the room and tried to snatch my baby,” says Siobhan. “The only reason I woke up was because Harper screamed out, otherwise she could have been the next Maddie McCann.”

Well, yes, aside from the fact that this time both parents were in and the child never did go missing. What the incident could have been is the subject of the thrilling headline, but what actually was it?

“We were furious and we made our way down to the reception and demanded the hotel manager immediately,” says Siobhan. “I was absolutely hysterical, but the hotel management just said she was cleaning the room and picked up my baby to check she was alright. But it was rubbish. That woman had no cleaning products on her and it was the afternoon so our room had already been cleaned. I was naked in the bed, what kind of person walks into a room when a woman is lying naked on the bed? She let herself in with the aim to try and steal our baby.”

“TOT SNATCH HORROR,” thunders the Sun. “Brit mum reveals terrifying moment maid tried to snatch her toddler from cot on holiday and says ‘she could have been the next Madeleine McCann’”.

A TERRIFIED mum said she feared her daughter could have been the “next Madeline McCann” after she woke to find a hotel maid looming over her cot.

Siobhan Prescott, 25, claims the worker was attempting to pick up one-year-old Harper, who was screaming hysterically.

The baby was crying. The woman picked her up. The Sun writes:

The family were on a dream holiday to Cyprus between February 22 and March 1 when the horror unfolded.

It was weird and unsettling, no doubt. But a “horror”?

They claim they were later told by the hotel that the same maid had been sacked two years previously following an “incident” but was on her first day back in work.

So the woman “dressed as a maid” was a maid, which is why she was dressed as one. Is that right?

Siobhan said: “I am lucky to have woken up, but if I hadn’t God knows what would have happened. Harper could have easily been snatched and we would be in the exact same situation as Kate and Gerry McCann.”

What, hated by Sun readers?

Posted: 22nd, March 2017 | In: Madeleine McCann, Tabloids | Comment


Madeleine McCann: a manhunt, a lifeline and a missing man

Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child.

Daily Mirror (front page): ”Maddie Cops Hunt Worker At Resort.’ The now ‘ex-employee has ‘vanished’. Like the missing child, he just disappeared?

 

maddie mccann daily mirror

 

In the very first paragraph we get not facts but news that ‘cops believe’ the missing worker has ‘clues about her disappearance’. The Portuguese man worked at the Ocean Club resort at the time Madeleine McCann ‘was snatched in 2007’.

The next headline adds: ‘Madeleine McCann cops hunt worker at resort as they fear he “kept secrets” from local police.’ So the missing man spoke with police, then. ‘He gave a statement at the time but detectives fear he may have kept secrets.’ The man spoke with police two days after the child vanished.

Believe. Fear. May. It’s the Maddie Mantra.

As ever with this story of the missing child, facts give way to feeling. Unable to add anything of substance, the Mirror repeats itself: ‘British officers trying to find the youngster fear he may have kept secrets from local detectives that could have led to a ­breakthrough in the case.’ Why do British police believe the wanted man may not have told local police everything? A Portuguese police ‘source’ tells readers: “British officers are convinced he knows more than he was previously saying and are very keen to question him.”

They don’t believe it. They know it. they are convinced. Is that why the ‘Maddie cops’ are ‘hunting’ him? They are not looking for him to help with their enquiries. They are hunting him, as you might hunt for a man who doesn’t want to be caught. The word is more loaded than Gorge bush at a frat house party. But hold on. The unnamed source tells us that the hunted man might not have anything to do with the missing child. “They are not suggesting he stole Maddie,” says the ‘source, “but he may know people who could have been involved after a burglary went wrong. The investigation in Britain seems to be grinding to a halt and they want to rule him out of the case if not rule him in. Then detectives know they have done everything in their power to try to solve the case.”

So much for the manhunt.

As for the facts, the Mirror soon revisits the old news: “Her doctor parents Kate and Gerry McCann , of Rothley, Leics, have always believed their daughter is still alive.” As ever, the paper mentions the parents’ jobs.

 

maddie mccann daily express life

 

Daily Express (front page): ‘Parents’ joy at lifeline in hunt for Madeleine’

Another hunt, but this time it’s the search for the missing child. The Express hones in on Madeleine McCann’s parents. The child peers out from the paper’s cover, as she has done scores of times over the past decade.

 

madeleine mccann daily express

 

And we learn nothing new. All we know is the child went missing. The rest is speculation.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 13th, March 2017 | In: Madeleine McCann, Tabloids | Comment (1)


Madeleine McCann: just £85,000 left to find ‘Our Maddie’

Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child. The Metropolitan Police continue to search for Madeleine McCann, the child who became the media’s ‘Our Maddie’.

 

maddy solved

 

Sunday Express (front page): ‘Madeleine Bombshell – Police net closes in one just one man who is key to the mystery’.

The police have been given more funding to find our what happened to Madeleine McCann in 2007. The Express‘s lead story and the extra cash are linked, as Caroline Wheeler explains:

DETECTIVES investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have identified a person they want to question and have been given an extra £85,000 to follow up the crucial lead.

That doesn’t sound like very much money. The BBC says it’s enough ‘to extend the search for a further six months’ – a search that has to date cost anything from £11.1m to £13m, depending on what publication you read.

Is it a sign the cops are closing in on their quarry? Or it a sign that funds are being reduced considerably – that the investigation is being wound down? The Express says there’s a ‘specific person of interest they need to question’:

The lead is seen as solid enough to persuade the Home Office to grant the extra money which will extend the search until September.

It’s not much money, though, is it, especially to follow up a ‘solid lead’.

All we’re told is that the mystery man was possibly in Portugal when Madeleine McCann went missing. If you think that’s all a bit blurry, it isn’t cleared up one line on when we’re told:

International intelligence agencies have been working together to find the “person of interest” who detectives believe may hold the key to solving the case.

And with that we’ve progressed not an inch. What detectives ‘believe may’ could be the Maddie Mantra. And very quickly what looked like fact becomes editorialised wishful thinking:

Had the information not been deemed a “solid live lead” then the £13million police investigation would have been wound up.

The mystery man is called a ‘crucial lead’. What was once shrouded in ‘believe’ and ‘may’ is now ‘crucial’.

A Home Office spokesman delivers the official line:

“Following an application from the Metropolitan Police for special grant funding the Home Office has confirmed £85,000 in operational costs for Operation Grange for the period April 1 until September 2017.

“As with all applications the resources required are reviewed regularly and careful consideration is given before any new funding is allocated.”

Cue an anonymous ‘insider’ to tell us: “There is just one person who detectives want to speak to who was near to the area where Madeleine disappeared almost 10 years ago. An international search has been underway to find them.”

Them or him? How near were they?

Policing Minister Brandon Lewis, who rubber-stamped the cash, steps in:

“I am pleased to be able to support the British police who are trying to get to the bottom of what happened to Madeleine McCann and give some kind of closure and justice to her family.”

When one newspaper leads the rest follow.

The Sun: ‘NEW MADDIE SUSPECT Cops given extra £85k to probe new key suspect in Madeleine McCann’s disappearance a decade ago.’

Detectives have identified an individual they believe was near the coastal resort of Praia da Luz, Portugal when the tot went missing in 2007

That police only ‘believe’ the person was in Portugal soon becomes a fact that they were:

The person was near the area where Madeleine went missing from in the coastal resort of Praia da Luz, Portugal in May 2007.

Is this person who was there and maybe wasn’t there a suspect, then?

The person could be a Portuguese suspect.

For that insight we can look to now fewer than three journalists, the story is ‘By Ryan Sabey, Political Correspondent, Tracey Kandohla and Brittany Vonow’.

Over on LBC this morning, Andrew Castle has been fielding calls about whether or not the cash is value for money. After an hour of chatter, in which Castle says ‘as a parent, “you would expect your government to support you”, it turns out that no-one who calls in can be certain of anything other than that the child is missing.

And so it is that on a slow news day you can still press’f9’ on the keyboard and call up an ‘Our Maddie’ story and field all those nasty, doltish, unhelpful, anonymous and to-deadline opinions.

 

Posted: 12th, March 2017 | In: Madeleine McCann, Tabloids | Comment


Madeleine McCann: flogging apartment 5a at the Ocean Complex

Madeleine McCann: what the media says about the missing child.

The Sun (page 4), tells us that the ‘MADDIE HOLS FLAT’ has been sold for ‘half price’. The flat in which Madeleine McCann and her family were staying when she vanished has been bought for ‘just £113,000’ by a ‘British gran’, having been put on the market for £225,000, we read. The new owner has been ‘living in the property after secretly buying it “years ago”‘.

Is she bought it year ago, why is her purchase news now? As the 10th anniversary of the child vanishing looms, is the Sun campaigning for an interview with the parents? And the price seems not far off the going rate.

In 2008, the Mail told us the flat’s owner had been ‘trying to sell the two-bedroom ground-floor apartment since 2007 with an asking price of £255,000 – around £50,000 less than the asking price’.

But the Portugal Resident website told its readers in 2008: ‘THE APARTMENT rented by the McCanns while they were on holiday in Praia da Luz in May 2007 is on the market for 215,000 euros.’

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 24th, February 2017 | In: Madeleine McCann, Tabloids | Comment


Madeleine McCann: finding hope in Cairns, Jodie Marsh’s dog and looking for ‘my Maddie’

Madeleine McCann: a reporting review on the missing child.

As we must, let’s begin with news of the English child who went missing in Portugal by looking at the Australia’s Cairns Post, which features a message for Kate and Gerry McCann: ‘Maddie McCann’s parents need to move on, for their kids’ sake.’

Louise Roberts kicks off her heartfelt advice to the parents of a missing child who became the media’s benchmark for all missing children by telling her readers: ‘Only Madeleine McCann and her presumed abductors know what really happened the night she went missing, but none of them are available to reveal the brutal truth.’

You can wrestle with what ‘presumed abductors’ know and don’t know, being as they are unnamed and, as Roberts suggests, possibly unreal. As for that ‘brutal truth’, it’s delivered after Roberts imagines the teenage Madeleine McCann. ‘Maddie should be 13 now,’ she calculates, ‘armed with an iPhone and cocooned in family love and the carefree discoveries of teenage life in middle England.’  She then adds: ‘There isn’t a single clue as to whether she is alive today but the lucrative whodunit industry dogging her parents Gerry and Kate, who deny any part in her death, rumbles on.’

Having slammed the armchair detectives who spin the single fact – child vanishes – and confusingly told us that we don’t know if Madeleine McCann is alive but her parents are not to be blamed for her ‘death’, Roberts advises: ‘But it’s time for the McCanns to turn off the legal tap and focus on the family life they have left.’

Mawkish much. ‘The time they have left” suggests new horrors lurking around the corner. What they are Roberts doesn’t say, so she harks back to the night of May 7 2003 and tells us: ‘Maddie was asleep in the holiday flat alone with her twin siblings while their parents ate tapas in a bar 50 metres away. It was a spring evening in May 2007.’ May is in Spring. Fact! ‘She disappeared and the guilt and the blame game began for them. There is no doubt they were remiss in leaving her alone — even Gerry said it was a mistake.’

She adds: ‘Former Portuguese detective Goncalo Amaral claims in his book that Maddie McCann’s parents faked her abduction, but they’d be better off ignoring his terrible claims.’ Terrible’ but worth repeating to the good people of Cairns. And then Roberts tucks into the parents, who we’ve been watching in the media for nearly a decade. She writes:

‘The couple are emotionally paralysed not only by her disappearance but by their consciences, never shaking off the sick feeling that they were not there when Maddie needed them. And the public has never let them forget it.’

The public, of course, are not journalists, who occupy a higher level. Roberts is here to inform. Not for her amateur sleuthing and a tawdry ‘whodunnit’. ‘The McCanns faked the abduction, according to Goncalo Amaral,’ she says in the spirit of enlightenment and moving on, ‘to cover up the death of their eldest daughter in their holiday flat in Praia da Luz in the country’s south.’

And:

‘Maddie’s legacy has gone from a relentless search for clues to a ruinous, exploitative and mind-blowingly expensive war between her parents and anyone who challenges their steadfast belief that a stranger abducted her.’

And after the speculation, Roberts reaches her ‘brutal truth’: ‘It’s time for Gerry and Kate, trapped on a grief and reputation treadmill, to change focus. Time to get busy living, ditch the reputation management and let the chips fall where they will.’

As their spokesman Clarence Mitchell begins to file a ‘no comment’ comment, Roberts delivers the time-honoured media motif: Maddie & Me. ‘I speak with more than a passing interest in this case,’ she says. ‘I was a reporter in London when the story broke and my son was the same age as Maddie.’

There but for the grace of god.

She then speaks up for the McCann twins, who ‘have some right to fade into the background and find some kind of a normal life away from the glare of scandal and innuendo’. As the twins dream of a life away from the media spotlight – tip: they know who you are in Cairns –  Roberts returns to her own ‘Maddie’. ‘I could never imagine giving up hope to find a missing child but I would not sweat over what was said about me either,’ she says, knowingly.

But before she goes to check on her child, Roberts, who told us of the ‘presumed abductors and mused on whether the child is alive or dead, opines: ‘None of it is going to bring Maddie back. Only the perpetrators know where her body is, who took her, where they took her. And why.’  The parents really can move on because Roberts’ ‘brutal truth’ turns out to be that Madeleine McCann was kidnapped and is now dead.

She signs off: ‘The only “winners” here are lawyers and so-called authors still making a buck from the blonde preschooler with the signature blemish on the blue iris of her right eye.’

And the media, right, who get to press f9 on the keyboard and churn out another ‘Our Maddie’ story?

And now for a few words from the fragrant English rose, Jodie Marsh.

Closer Magazine: ‘Jodie Marsh goes on a bizarre Twitter rant about the McCann’s after This Morning interview.’

You can read about that interview in which a to-deadline Madeleine McCann expert told mid-morning telly watchers he thinks she might have wandered off here.

Closer magazine’s Emma Dodds says ‘former glamour model Jodie Marsh’ was watching. She ‘vented her frustrations at the case, shockingly even blaming Maddie’s parents Gerry and Kate McCann for her disappearance, despite there being no evidence that they were involved… Jodie angrily tweeted that they “should concentrate on finding Maddie,” rather than being “concerned with all this legal action.”‘

Advice is coming thick and fast for the McCanns. It’s all well-meaning, of course. And before long Jodie is delivering her own ‘Maddie & Me’, tweeting: “I must admit, if it were my child I’d be on my hands & knees digging up the earth with my bare hands! Nothing else would matter…” With no children to hold tight, Jodie scouts around for something to make into her own Maddie. She finds it. “My dog went missing for 10 mins the other night & I was running up the street screaming her name like a lunatic. I was beside myself,” she reveals. “And if I was so hysterical over my dog, the hysteria would be ten fold if it were my child. I wouldn’t be suing people. I’d be SEARCHING.”

Having heard a missing child likened to a non-missing dog, we turn to the Sun, where the headline runs: ‘FIGHTING FOR THE CAUSE Kate McCann offers support to missing persons charity just hours after top cop claims new theory to Madeleine’s disappearance.’

Kate McCann is the ‘brave mum’ who ‘put aside her own anguish over snatched daughter Madeleine to help a pal raise money for charity’. As people ‘continued to heap more misery on her family, she has spared time to consider other missing children and adults.’  The charity is called Missing People. You can find out more here.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 23rd, February 2017 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, Reviews | Comment


Madeleine McCann: TV expert reads missing child’s mind and un-solves crimes

Madeleine McCann was not kidnapped, says a ‘top investigator’. ‘MADDIE “WENT LOOKING FOR HER MUM & DAD”,’ announces the Star’s front-page headline. This is, says the paper, an ‘astonishing claim’. When investigators make claims you wonder if they understand the rudiments of investigations, which are about gathering evidence.

The story begins by billing former child prosecution officer Mark Williams-Thomas as ‘an investigator who unmasked pervert Jimmy Savile’. Those are some credentials. And were it not for the unhappy fact that the depraved BBC DJ was branded the ‘man who groomed the nation’ after he’d stopped polluting the airwaves and started to befoul the soil, it would be useful.

 

Madeleine-McCann-This-Morning-Mark-Williams-Thomas-ITV

Watch Unsolved – the TV show with no ending whatsoever

 

The Star notes that Williams-Thomas was on TV’s This Morning when (continues on Page 7) he says: “We know the twins did not wake up on days prior to her disappearance.” The Star refers to the claim that on the morning of her vanishing Madeleine McCann had asked her parents: “Where were you last night?” He continues: “I think as a result of that, Madeleine was clearly aware they [her parents] were in the tapas bar that was in the resort. Now the interesting element is that in order to get to the tapas bar bar you had to actually come out of the premiss – walk on a public road – to go back in again. and that raises a concern I have…”

Still there? He’s getting to his point. Having told us what the missing child was thinking, he adds: “Madeleine, I believe…

Yep. What a man believes is front-page news. As ever, the single fact – child vanishes – is stretched out. Anyhow, what he believes is that the child woke up and went looking for her parents. And then..? And…? And Philip Schofield, the show’s host, steps in and declares: “Legally we have to leave it there.” He did not add, “Come back next week to find out what an expert thinks happened next!”

As ‘Our Maddie’ continues to entertain the folk back home, the parents’ spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, issues a wordy no comment comment. “This is pure speculation,” he notes “and as such  Kate and Gerry will not be dignifying it with any sort of comments whatsoever.” But their spokesman will. And so too will a “family pal”, who offers: “When did he [Williams-Thomas] become an expert on this high profile case?” This is a rhetorical question because the unnamed source swiftly answers, “Never.”

As the Star listens to speculation, the Mirror reports ‘Maddie “went to find parents in tapas restaurant”‘ below the bigger headline: “We ARE innocent – McCanns slam judges who says they haven’t been formally cleared.” Their lawyer, Isabel Duarte, states: “There is no evidence they have committed any crime.” Please don’t speculate on what if any crimes have been committed. To do so would be potentially libellous. Stick to reading the missing child’s mind via a TV expert and imagining what she did. The media has pointed the finger before and been found wanting.

This latest legal episode centres on the McCanns’ failed court action against Goncalo Amaral, the ex-copper who wrote a book on the case and having been ordered to pay the McCanns libel damages for things he claimed in it, saw the ruling overruled on the grounds of his “right to freedom of expression”. The Mirror says Amaral could now sue the couple. In making its ruling the Portuguese Supreme Court said nothing more should be read into its words, whether it be innocence or guilt. To what is moot. The McCann’s arguido status was lifted in July 2008, and the judges said nothing can be deferred by it. The McCanns’ complaint, notes the paper, ‘said the archiving took place because “sufficient evidence had been collected to show they had not committed any crime”.

Over in the Mail, we learn that Williams-Thomas was on This Morning to plug a new telly show about unsolved crimes. So that bit about Schofield saying ‘stay tuned’ was only half in jest. It really is that ghoulish.

Posted: 22nd, February 2017 | In: Madeleine McCann, Reviews | Comment


Madeleine McCann: all aboard the ‘Our Maddie’ charabanc for a ten-year anniversary tour

Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the vanished child.

The Sun picks up the news that sleuths can book a place on the ‘Our Maddie’ charabanc. Armchair detectives can go mobile. The paper tells us:

The trips to the apartment – named Luz Tours – where the missing three-year-old was last seen alive has been slammed as “appalling”.

Why are they not named Maddie Tours or something equally to the point? Luz Tours seems a tad cryptic.

The paper then repackages old news: ‘The McCann family were staying in an apartment at the Ocean club, Praia Da Luz, Portugal, when she vanished.’

And since May 7 2007 that has been pretty much the entire story. As facts go, those are them. But the single thread story has spun out and out until we get news of an ‘unnamed’ tour operator who apparently wrote about his trips somewhere – the Sun doesn’t say where:

The tour organiser wrote: “Luz Tours are for people with considerable expertise in the Madeleine McCann case.” He added: “I don’t think there is a way to commercialise Luz Tours and I wouldn’t want to even if it was possible. However, I find it ironic that I get keel-hauled for trying to progress the Madeleine McCann case, for free, and Scott Michaels gets lauded for running a business based on dead celebrities.”

Far from being ‘ghoulish, the Maddie Tour is a public service. As for Scott Michaels, well, he ‘founded the now infamous Dearly Departed Tours in Hollywood 15 years ago’. Book a seat and Scott will show you where famous people croaked.

Is this news or is this marketing? The paper hears from ‘one expat’. They’re upset and aghast. “I don’t know what’s worse – running this sick tour or pretending it’s doing it to find Maddie,” says the unnamed source. “I think the organisers are twisted and the people that go on these ghoulish tours are not much better. It’s totally uncalled for and needs to stop.”

Best leave the Madeleine McCann sightseeing to the journalists and the cops.

The Mirror calls the tour ‘sick’. It adds:

The trips also take in the nearby tapas restaurant where her parents Kate and Gerry were dining when she vanished and wasteland spots where British cops have dug for her body.

And you thought you wouldn’t have any fun on holiday.

Tourists on the excursions – named Luz Tours and dubbed the “Luz Challenge” – are reportedly then invited to speculate on what happened.

When it comes to speculation best leave it to the Mirror, which helpfully produced its six theories in May 2010. The paper told readers of the “PAEDOPHILE GANG”, the “LONE PAEDOPHILE”, the “JEALOUS MOTHER”, Madeleine wandering off and “DROWNED”, the “OPPORTUNIST PAEDOPHILE”, the “CHILDLESS COUPLE”. You can print it out and use it to kick stat chatter on the tour bus.

 

mccann amaral mirror

 

In other news, the Mirror says:

Kate and Gerry McCann lodge complaint after court ruled couple were ‘not formally in the clear’ over Madeleine’s disappearance

You can read more about that here. The Mirror then says, in the interests of sound reporting and fact: ‘Detectives are said to be working on a theory that she was kidnapped by a European trafficking gang.’ No need to spend your cash on a tour when you can debate the vanishing at home.

The Mail has more. And it adds a new word to the Madeleine McCann Glossary:

Correio da Manha reported today: ‘The McCanns have requested the annulment of the Supreme Court decision, terming it frivolous for saying it ‘had not been possible for public prosecutors to obtain sufficient evidence of crimes by the appellants.’

The newspaper said the McCanns had described the ruling as ‘leviano’ in the complaint lodged through their Portuguese lawyer – which in English translates as ‘frivolous’ but can also mean ‘sloppy’ or ‘rash’.

Leivano could be used to describe much of the repotting on this matter – reporting that libelled the parents and Robert Murat, pointed the finger at gypsies, demanded dying paedophiles make death-bed confessions and made Madeleine McCann into ‘Our Maddie’, the benchmark for all missing people.

 

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To prove how little the case has progressed the Sun asks:

MCCANN COURT BATTLE Who is Goncalo Amaral? Ex-Madeleine McCann cop whose claimed Gerry and Kate faked her abduction

Question asked. Question answered.

Over in the Star, the paper produces news from nothing.

Maddie McCann parents blast ‘cash-in’ claims ahead of 10th anniversary of disappearance

Ten years of this. When Anorak first started to cover this tory we told you it would run and run. In place of news, the Star oozes:

KATE and Gerry McCann have blasted claims they plan to make a fortune from the 10th anniversary of daughter Madeleine’s disappearance.

How? Are there to be commemorative mugs, tours, newspaper retrospectives – ‘Maddie: 10 Years of Guessing’?

Spokesman Clarence Mitchell denied allegations in the Portuguese press that the parents were taking fees for interviews. He said: “They want to make it clear they are not making any money out of Madeleine’s disappearance. Any claims are spurious nonsense but fit in with the Portuguese agenda.”

The Sun adds:

As interest increases daily to clinch the sought-after decade deal by broadcasting and publishing giants, the family have admitted: “It’s crazy!”

You might even call it ‘sick’.

Posted: 19th, February 2017 | In: Madeleine McCann, Reviews | Comment


Madeleine McCann: innocence not presumed, The Moorside and rewards unclaimed

Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child. News is that her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, are ‘not in the clear’.

The Mirror (front page): ‘McCanns’ agony at Maddie ruling by court.’

Page 9: ‘Judge: McCanns are not formally in clear’

Are they formally not in the clear? It’s a tad confusing.

Reading on we’re told that Portugal’s Supreme Court has ‘failed to put them in the clear’ over their daughter’ disappearance. Although the McCanns are no longer arguidos – what the Mirror calls the a Portuguese legal term for ‘formal suspects’ – judges says ‘this does not equate to a ruling of innocence’.

Isn’t innocence presumed?

In 2007, the Guardian told us what an arguido is:

An “arguido” – normally translated as “named suspect” or “formal suspect” – is someone who is treated by Portuguese police as more than a witness, but has not been arrested or charged. Under Portuguese law, a person declared an arguido – “arguida” in the case of a woman – has legal protection that is not extended to a witness, including the right to remain silent during questioning and the right to legal representation.

Detectives invoke arguido status on someone as a preliminary to an arrest being made or charges brought, a Portuguese law expert, Lita Gale, told Guardian Unlimited today. “If you are an arguido they have to have suspicion that a crime has been committed by that person,” she said.

The BBC said:

How is arguido status given and what does it mean?

Under Portuguese law either the police or a person being questioned can request that they be formally named as a suspect, a process called arguido. Artur Rego, a Portuguese lawyer, told BBC News: “Arguido is the person who has been accused of being the perpetrator. This is just an accusation made exactly at the end of the investigation.”

A person can ask for arguido status if they feel the line of questioning is implying that they are a suspect. This gives them more rights than a witness would have.

Back to the Mirror, which has been looking at the report into the McCanns’ failed libel case against Goncalo Amaral, the ex-copper who who wrote a book ‘claiming they were responsible for Madeleine’s “death” in 2007’. In the ruling on that case, the judges wrote, “It should not be said that the appellant were cleared via the ruling announcing the archiving of the criminal case” in July 2008.

The Mirror says the judges note that ‘the case was not shelved because prosecutors believed Kate and Gerry… were innocent – but due to lack to evidence.” Said the Portuguese Supreme Court: “It doesn’t therefore seem acceptable that the ruling, based on the insufficiency of evidence, should be equated to proof of innocence.”

The Mirror calls the ruling ‘painful’ for the McCanns.

The Mail has more. The story does not feature in today’s newspaper, only online.

Highlighting the McCanns’ Tapas Nine friend Jane Tanner’s much-questioned sighting of the suspected ‘abductor’, they added: ‘It’s true that the aforementioned criminal inquiry ended up being archived, namely because none of the apparent evidence that led to the appellants being made ‘arguidos’ was subsequently confirmed or consolidated.

‘However even the archive ruling raises serious concerns relating to the truth of the allegation that Madeleine was kidnapped.’

Facts. There was only ever one: child vanishes.

The Sun (page 1):  ‘FRESH TORMENT – McCanns ‘Are NOT IN CLEAR'”

This is ‘fresh anguish’ for the McCanns, says the Sun. The judges ‘said there were “serious concerns” over the theory that Madeleine had been abducted’.

The Sun says that Amaral plans to write a second book about the case and the McCanns will ‘sue again if it it is published on Britain’.

The paper also notes that the judges said ‘It would be wrong to draw any inference about the couple’s guilt or innocence from the ruling’.

As the papers look at the parents and the courts, offering no word on any hunt for the missing child, the Sun adds a dig at the BBC. “Kate and Gerry McCann have slammed BBC show The Moorside as “appalling and insensitive”. They told pals the drama based on the 2008 search for Shannon Matthews was in “poor taste and bad timing”.

What did that case have to do with the McCanns?

Says the Sun: ‘The McCanns were mentioned in Tuesday’s drama, with one resident claiming their case received more publicity and reward money as they were “posher”.’

Tsk! Overlooking how the ‘pals’ have the Sun’s ear, you might wonder how the Sun approached the stories of the girl it called ‘Maddie’ and Shannon?

In 2008, the Sun offered a £20,000 reward to find missing “little princess” Shannon Matthews. The Indy wrote:

Even The Sun’s support yesterday caused disappointment. “I’m devastated, to be honest,” said a coach driver, as others around him agreed. “That poster should have been on the front page.” It was on page 17.

 

maedleine mccann reward

 

You might also wonder why the Sun dresses controversy over the Shannon Matthews TV show as a McCann issue and not one for Shannon’s family?

Daily Star (Page 7): ‘Links to Maddie “awful”‘.

The paper says Gerry and Kate McCann are ‘said to be furious at multiple references to Maddie’s disappearance in  the Moorside”. But surely mentioning Madeleine McCann keeps her name in the news. That’s good, no? Maybe that’s why a ‘source’ is talking to the media?

 

Posted: 9th, February 2017 | In: Madeleine McCann, Tabloids | Comment


Madeleine McCaan: Amaral wins, Maddie Missing and Kate doesn’t sing on BGT

Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child. Today Madeleine McCann is on the front pages of the Mirror and Express.

As ever we are looking at the missing child’s parents in the papers, Kate and Gerry McCann. They’ve lost their libel case against former detective Goncarlo Amaral, who in a book and documentary implicated them in their daughter’s disappearance. In 2015, a Lisbon court sided with the McCanns, ordering Amaral to pay €500,000 (£429,000) in compensation to the parents.

Last year that ruling was overturned. The McCanns took the case to Portugal’s supreme court. And lost.

The McCanns have issued a statement:

“What we have been told by our lawyers is obviously extremely disappointing. It is eight years since we brought the action and in that time the landscape has dramatically changed, namely there is now a joint Metropolitan police-Policia Judiciaria investigation which is what we’ve always wanted.

“The police in both countries continue to work on the basis that there is no evidence that Madeleine has come to physical harm. We will, of course, be discussing the implications of the supreme court ruling with our lawyers in due course.”

The Express tells of the McCanns’ “new agony”.

 

madeleine mccann express

 

The Mirror tells of the McCanns’ devastating defeat.

 

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The Daily Record sums up in a headline:

Kate and Gerry McCann facing financial ruin after losing libel case against cop who said they faked daughter’s abduction.

Adding:

Kate and Gerry McCann could be left penniless… Kate and Gerry will also have to pay his legal fees – believed to be a six-figure sum – as well as their own lawyers’ bills.

What about the fighting fund to find the child? Martin Fricker writes:

The result could empty Madeleine’s Fund – a company set up days after Madeleine vanished – and leave the McCanns broke.

Madeleine’s Fund has about £700,000 in the coffers. But accounts filed last month say nearly £500,000 of that was invested last year in an unknown venture.

So around £200,000 remains?

More than £4.2million has been donated to the fund since three-year-old Madeleine vanished from the apartment in Praia da Luz.

The Sun has a slightly different figure:

If they are ordered to pay Mr Amaral’s legal costs, the money may have to come from the Find Madeleine fund – which has dwindled to around £480,000.

The Telegraph wonders what will happen next:

Madeleine McCann’s parents could be sued by police chief who falsely accused them of covering up death

‘Could’ is not news.

Over in the Mail there is news of a sort:

Madeleine McCann’s mother Kate and her choir made up of families of missing people hope to win Britain’s Got Talent after reducing judges to tears with a heartbreaking performance in secret auditions

Reducing the BGT judges to tears is a task akin to differentiating between your arse and your elbow. But the Mail’s story is weaker than Amanda Holden’s tear ducts .

Madeleine McCann’s mother Kate, 48, is an ambassador for the The Missing People’s Choir, which is expected to appear on the talent show in May, ten years after her daughter’s disappearance from Praia Da Luz in Portugal.

Although she has not been singing in the choir during the auditions, Mrs McCann may become more involved if they progress to the televised stages.

The Mail has used Kate McCann to flog a story that doesn’t feature her.

There is no word on the investigation into what happned to Madeleine McCann.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 1st, February 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Madeleine McCann, Tabloids | Comment


Madeleine McCann: four months to find her, kidnapped to order and important news

Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child.

Having led with “important” news on the hunt for the missing child only yesterday, the Sun makes not a single mention of the child. The Express, however, leads with the story on its cover. “NEW TWIST IN POLICE HUNT FOR MADELEINE McCANN,” declares the paper, the words hanging by a familiar picture of the child.

On Page 7, we get to the news. Below stories about Scarlett Moffatt winning I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! and a new treatment for Parkinson’s disease, we read: “Did people-traffickers snatch Maddy?” To which the only sensible answer is: Dunno. Did they?

New funding for the police search for Madeleine McCann will investigate a tip that she could have been kidnapped by people smugglers. The child “may have been  photographed with her parents son the beach by a ‘spotter’ for a gang,” says the paper. Or may not have been. We don’t know. It’s a theory. A “police source” is quoted: “It raises hope that she could still be alive.” After that a “friend” of Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry McCann is quoted: “There is definite hard evidence that this is happening and they have looked into the fact someone was targeting children and may well have been sterling children to order.”

 

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In the Star, on Page 15, readers are told, “MADDIE: 4 MOTHS TO FIND HER.” That’s how long British police have been given to locate the child who vanished in May 2007. The paper says “detectives have changed their minds about what happened “. They no longer believe she was “snatched by burglars during botched raids on the family’s holiday apartment”. They now think child-traffickers may be behind the disappearance. A “source”  unnamed, as ever – says this is the “last roll of the dice”.

It’s the “last chance” to find the child, says the Mail on its page 14. Police want to “work out if she was kidnapped to order”. The paper adds that “no trace of her has ever been found”. Readers are told that the parents “were ultimately forced to raise funds for teams of private detective to chase a barrage of often spurious tip-offs”. And that the the “child trafficking theory was first raised in 2007 by private detectives who believed there could have been gang ‘spotters’ working on the resort.”

Believed. Could. But no facts.

As for four months to find the child, the Mail says when the public funding for the police search ends on April 1 2017, more money will be provided if “investigators have evidence that the few remaining leads are worth pursuing”.

Madeleine McCann went missing in 2007. Such are the facts.

Posted: 5th, December 2016 | In: Madeleine McCann, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment


Madeleine McCann: the ‘important lead’, unnamed sources and sexual exploitation

Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child.

The Sun (front page): ” MADDIE GANG PROBE Cops given cash to probe ‘important’ new lead that Maddie was snatched by people trafficking gang.”

Important enough for the paper’s front page – but not ‘important’ enough to avoid those inverted commas.

The rest of the Press follow the Sun’s lead.

The Mirror: ‘Madeleine McCann cops chasing ‘important new lead’ as investigation reaches “last roll of the dice”.’

The Indy: “Scotland Yard set to investigate ‘important’ new lead in disappearance of Madeleine McCann.”

Daily Mail: “Scotland Yard given extra funding to probe ‘important’ new lead over theory that Madeleine McCann was kidnapped by trafficking gang.”

It’s important. Maybe.

Over pages 4 and 5, readers are told more.

The development is being taken so seriously that senior Whitehall officials have been briefed by the Met on its progress.

Well, the hunt for the missing child has cost a lot of public money. Maybe the bean counters are worried about a lack of value for their investment?

And what of the breakthrough?

Detectives are following a tip that a gang of European traffickers snatched the tot after taking pictures of her. It could end up proving that she is still alive, nearly ten years after she vanished.

Everyone sane would like this story to have a happy ending. But how can anything prove the child is alive other than her being found?

As with so much to do with this story, an unnamed source is quoted:

A source said: “This is an important new line of inquiry which could provide an explanation on whether Madeleine was abducted and transported away. It raises hope that she could still be alive.”

Surely we only know if the new tip is important if it comes up with evidence that explains what happened to Madeleine McCann.

Retired Yard detective Colin Sutton said the extra money for the last line of inquiry means “there must be something worthwhile”.

Who needs evidence when you’re a retired detective?

The Sun adds: “Reports following Madeleine’s disappearance suggested she could have been taken to Belgium or Morocco in North Africa.”

But we have seen no evidence that she was.

But this is interesting:

The Met’s clubs and vice unit received a tip that the ring had placed an order for a “young girl” just three days before Madeleine went missing. Leicestershire Police, who at that point led the Operation Task effort to help find Madeleine, were also informed.

Is there any evidence to support the story?

In 2011, police in Portugal smashed a trafficking ring snatching young women and underage girls in the Algarve and Aveiro, in the north of the country.

The Portugal Resident has more:

An operation to crack down on human trafficking has led to the arrests of 12 men identified as being part of a criminal network in the Algarve and Aveiro, in the north of Portugal.The ring is believed to be responsible for the sexual exploitation of many young women in the Algarve, some of them underage, who were being coerced into acting as prostitutes in the region

Go on:

During the operation, 30 Romanian women were identified as possible victims of human trafficking.

The SEF, Portugal’s immigration and border service, added:

“The movement of the prostitutes between different networks hindered the police and judicial authorities in being able to conduct a criminal investigation but authorities in Spain, Italy, the UK and Germany cooperated with us with the assistance of Europol in this case.”

Algarve Social Democrat (PSD) MP Mendes Bota was unimpressed with the suspects’ treatment:

Speaking to Lusa News Agency on Monday this week, Mendes Bota claimed that, “a few days after they were arrested”, the majority of the individuals detained by SEF Immigration Officers during the February bust “were released by a judge who decided that they should await their trial, who knows when [the trial will commence], unrestrained.”

We can’t find any news on any trail.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 4th, December 2016 | In: Madeleine McCann, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment


‘Madeleine McCann’ is a 21-year-old Swedish woman with Asperger’s called Embla

Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child.

The Mirror (page 21): “‘MADDIE’ LIVING ROUGH IN ITALY IS SWEDISH STUDENT”.

Madeleine McCann was taken to Sweden, enrolled at university there before absconding to live rough in Italy? No. Tracey Kandohla tells us that Embla Jauhojarvi has been “identified” after “claims she could have been Madeleine McCann”. Madeleine McCann vanished in 2007. She was 4. Embla Jauhojarvi is 21.

 

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The Mirror says photos of Embla, who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, look a bit like mock-ups of how Madeleine McCann might look were she 21-years-old and living rough on the streets of Rome.

Who on earth thought Embla could be the missing child? The Mirror notes: ” The Official Find Madeleine Campaign on Facebook, endorsed by parents Kate and Gerry McCann, alerted the Met Police.”

The story goes that Embla told Italian police her name was Maria and she was English. Italian police “said the girl was too old to be Madeleine”. Embla is 21. She is a woman. She is not a “girl”.

Daily Star (Page 6): “Hopes Dashed After Web’s ‘Maddie’ Claim”

Andrew James says Embla was “said to resemble Madeleine McCann”. She doesn’t. But she does have “the same distinctive blemish in her eye as Madeleine”. To recap: Embla is white and one of her eyes looks a bit like of the missing child’s eyes.

Say Rome police: “There has speculation but Madeleine would be 13 now and this is much older. It’s not her.”

As we look up the Italian for ‘No shit, Sherlock”, the Express has more.

 

Maria-Madeleine-McCann-Rome

Not a 13-year-old girl

 

Daily Express (Page 21): “Who is the mysterious ‘MARIA'”?

Well,  you could find out by reading the Mail’s tory of two days ago: “EXCLUSIVE: ‘That’s my girl!’ Swedish father reveals the mystery English-speaking homeless girl of Rome is his daughter, 21, who suffers from Asperger’s and vanished six months ago.”

Or you could read Dominic Midgley, who pulls on his gumshoes and writes on the woman sleeping rough in Rome:

She could not be fingerprinted because she had committed no crime but she was photographed. She stares out of the pictures with dull blue eyes that betray a resigned acceptance of her plight rather than active unhappiness…

As Midgley reads minds, we learn that Embla is daughter to Tahvo Jauhojärvi, “the owner of a gym equipment company in Stockholm.”

Mystery solved!

Daily Mail and Sun: nothing.

We all want to see a happy ending to the story of Madeleine McCann’s vanishing. But, as ever, the tabloids are going with sensation over facts. How does this help?

Posted: 23rd, November 2016 | In: Madeleine McCann, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment


Madeleine McCann: Majorca mums, Goncalo Amaral’s next blockbuster and ‘the worst thing imaginable’

Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child.

The Sun: “FRESH MADDIE SCANDAL.”

What old or, to use the Sun’s terminology, stale Maddie scandal? The only thing we know is that a child vanished and the news media launched into a voracious feeding frenzy. There are no suspects. In fact, police have yet to prove what crime, if any, befell her.

The Sun continues: “Ex-cop who accused McCann’s of faking Maddie’s abduction plans second book slamming Brit cops.”

The former policeman in Goncalo Amaral. His theories are just theories. His writing a second book is not a scandal; it’s pretty much what best-selling authors so when their first book has been a hit. They write a sequel. The writer will be pleased the Sun is advertising his tome:

Goncalo Amaral has almost finished his second book, but although it is expected to centre around the 2008 disappearance of Maddie in Algarave, Portugal, it is unclear what details the author will release.

Details? Who needs details? We do get a few facts about his past work:

The 56-year-old author previously wrote The Truth Of The Lie in 2008, which accused her parents Kate and Gerry McCann of faking Maddie’s abduction. But the couple have previously been left reeling after having their £395,000 libel victory revoked by Lisbon appeal judges who overturned a ban on his book in April.

To add insult to injury, Amaral also is planning to sue the couple for compensation after winning his appeal.

We learn that writing about a missing child pays handsomely:

Amaral is understood to have earned £316,000 from his book before it was banned.

And?

According to a source, the ex-police chief has been getting help from friends and well-wishers to survive as all of his property is “tied up” legally during the civil action with the McCanns.

All unpleasant stuff.

As for the facts, well that is a single thread. Nothing has changed. Nonetheless the Sun sees fit to hold one end and repeat:

Maddie went missing on May 3 2007 from her bed in a holiday apartment in the Praia da Luz resort…

With no news of Madeleine McCann, the Mail focuses on no news of missing Ben Needham. The paper’s headline runs:

The worst thing imaginable’: Kate McCann says her ‘heart goes out’ to Ben Needham’s mother as Kerry prepares for the worst while police in Kos dig SECOND site

The worst thing imaginable, we learn, is to have police dig for your missing child’s remains. The Press lap up the drama. Note that this is different from the tabloids’ “every parent’s worst nightmare”, which is for your child to vanish.

The Mail reports this as news because “a close friend of the former GP told MailOnline: ‘This brings back dreadful memories for Kate. She went through a similar horrendous experience a few years back when the authorities were digging for Madeleine. Not knowing if they are going to unearth the remains of your child as you wait helplessly is the worst thing imaginable. It is galling.
Kate’s says her heart goes out to Kerry Needham at such a traumatic time. She is very sympathetic and wants to offer her strength and solidarity. They have met up in the past as fellow mums of high profile missing children and share a seemingly never ending pain and anguish.”

Ben Needham and Madeleine McCann are two distinct stories and cases. They are both names tabloid readers are familiar with. Why? Well, there are rare cases. But are high profile missing children always very young, white and blond. Are we that shallow? Andrew Godsen, 14, went missing in 2007. Charlene Downes was 14 when she vanished. Aamina Khan was 6 when she went missing in 2011. She vanished with her mother Humma Dar after her father was given custody.

The Indy notes:

While her disappearance is no doubt a huge tragedy, we have to wonder why it is Madeleine McCann, a pretty white girl, who has captured the sympathy of the public, and not girls with names like Aamina Khan, Elizabeth Ogungbayibi, or Folawiyo Oladejo.

Which ones sell the most papers? Which ones get the tourists flocking?

Leicester Mercury: “Madeleine McCann tour takes customers on sightseeing trip around town where she disappeared”

Is it full of journalists?

Holidaymakers are being offered Madeleine McCann tours of the holiday complex where she disappeared. Tourists taking up the trips – which Madeleine’s parents are said to find distressing – are invited to speculate on what happened to the then-three-year-old in May 1997.

It’s a magical mystery your that recaptures the ghoulish wonder of working in newsroom before all the libel cases kicked in.

The tours take visitors to the Praia da Luz apartment where the Rothley family were staying and the tapas restaurant where her parents Gerry and Kate were dining when she vanished.

Are drinks and snacks included?

The Edinburgh Evening News tells ghouls not to book early. There might be more. Helen Martin writes:

ANOTHER unnamed British tourist in Spain has been given a suspended sentence for leaving her child alone to go out on the razzle. Staff in a Majorca hotel, alerted by other guests, found the seven-year-old boy abandoned and crying in his room. Police searched for the mother in vain and arrested her when she returned – at breakfast time. After all the publicity that surrounded the tragic disappearance of Madeleine McCann in the Algarve when her parents hadn’t even left the complex, how could any mum do such a thing?

The law dealt with her.

Worse, if they can do so in a foreign country, how often does it happen at home? Such women are a national disgrace. Removing their kids might be going too far, but taking away their passports seems like a good idea.

Breaking up families “might be going too far” if you leave a child at home when you pop out? Might? It is.

Madeleine McCann is missing. There are no suspects. But there is lots of ‘news’.

 

Posted: 6th, October 2016 | In: Madeleine McCann, Reviews | Comment


Madeleine McCann: more taxpayers’ money, Amaral’s cash and thought crimes

madeleine-2Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child.

The Sun bring news of “Maddie Hope”. What hope? The Sun tells us: “Madeleine McCann fund given £100k of government money to keep search alive until April.” That word “alive” is an odd choice. Why not ‘going’?

The paper notes that the police hunt “has already cost taxpayers millions”. So is £100 enough – or too much? When should the money end. If £12m has been spent on the hunt so far, why stop now?

The Star adds that this cash means the search can continue until April 2017. Madeleine McCann vanished in May 2007. It’s pretty safe to expect lots of news about the child one month after the police’s latest budget runs out – unless, of course, she has been found before then.

We then hear of the family fund. The Star says more than £4.2m has been donated to Madeleine’s Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned Ltd since its launch 12 days after she vanished in May 2007. Unnamed sources says there is “as little as” £480,000 left. If £100,000 buys six-months of police work, surely nearly five times that sum is enough for private detectives to look for the child for the next five years?

Yes, maybe. But the fund’s money has been earmarked for other causes. “The McCanns face paying £434,000 to ex-Portuguese police chief Goncalo Amaral’s lawyers after losing their libel action against him,” says the Star, “which would leave less than £50,000 in the coffers.”

That libel action was always fraught with danger.

Maybe the McCanns can raise funds from their daughter’s appearance on TV shows. E! has rather tasteless article entitled: “Nancy Grace’s 10 Most Captivating Cases: Casey Anthony, Jodi Arias and More Crime Stories We Couldn’t Stop Watching.” In the Top Ten grim stories about loss, murder and death, the entertainment broadcaster includes Madeleine McCann.

From a bit sick to depraved. Australian news tells us, “A convicted paedophile has been convicted of producing child pornography material after he was caught scrawling notes on his prison cell wall and writing stories about missing children William Tyrrell and Madeleine McCann.” Sick stuff. But a crime? Did he abuse children or just think about abusing children? If you can be convicted for drawing revolting images and writing nasty stories, can you be convicted of thinking things you don’t put down on paper?

ABC adds:

A Tasmanian man who wrote fictitious stories in prison about the fate of high-profile missing children William Tyrell and Madeleine McCann has pleaded guilty to producing child exploitation material.

Can you tell the difference between fact and fiction?

Sonny Day, 60, pleaded guilty after he was caught writing about the sexual activity of children on the walls of his prison cell, under a desk and on paper. He was convicted of accessing, transmitting and possessing child pornography in 2014 after being jailed for similar offences in 2011.

Writing things is a crime in Australia.

Meanwhile, in the world of non-fiction, Madeleine McCann is still missing.

Posted: 21st, September 2016 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, Reviews | Comment


Madeleine McCann and Damien Nettles compete for Theresa May’s cash

nettles damienMadeleine McCann: a look at the missing child in the news.

The Sun: “FRESH HOPE FOR MADDIE? Brit cops may push for more government cash to help hunt for missing Madeleine McCann”

A questions mark. A story headlined “may”. No new facts. No news. This is the story since 2007, when the child vanished. The paper continues:

DETECTIVES investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have “outstanding work” left to do on the inquiry and may apply for more Home Office funding.

Or, they may not. The word “may” appears in the headline versions of the same story on the Daily Express and Daily Telegraph websites.

The Sun adds:

In April, then-home secretary Theresa May granted the team £95,000 to keep the investigation going, with the cash expected to last until October. On Wednesday, Scotland Yard said it would talk to the Home Office about funding.

A force spokesman told the Press Association: “Whilst there remains outstanding work on this case, the Metropolitan Police Service will remain in dialogue with the Home Office regarding the continuation of funding.”

It’s a sad story with no sign of an end. But if not Madeleine, what could money be spent on?

Gloucestershire Live: “Family want Madeleine McCann-style woodland search for teenage relative who disappeared 20 years ago”

Madeleine McCann is the benchmark of all missing children.

Prime Minister Theresa May is coming under pressure to make missing schoolboy Damien Nettles the next Madeleine McCann so police can search a copse where his family have been told his body was buried 20 years ago.

Finite resources are being stretched.

Relatives in the Forest of Dean want police to carry out an official search of the woodland at the back of Gurnard Sailing Club on the Isle of Wight which has been named by some sources on the island as the ‘murdered’ teenager’s final resting place. And they have started a petition to force the Government to plough more money into solving the mystery of the 16-year-old who disappeared walking home from a party on November 2, 1996.

Some supporters have already started searching the woodlands with cadaver dogs, but the family believe they need the expertise of cold case murder squad forensic teams to either find his body or rule out the woodlands which are a few miles from where he vanished.

Money:

And they are hoping the petition will mean Damien’s case will attract extra funding for one last push in the same way as the Maddie McCann inquiry received an extra £12 million and Ben Needham inquiry was given £1 million so detectives could travel to Kos earlier this year.

Damien Nettles’ family have posted a petition online:

Please provide Hampshire Police with funding to find Damien Nettles remains

Damien Nettles aged 16 went missing 20 years ago in Cowes, Isle of Wight. His case remains a missing person despite a presumption of murder. Hampshire Police do not have the resources or funding to elevate this case. His family are desperate for justice and closure to move on. Thank you in advance.

You can read more about the disappearance here.  Damien Nettles disappeared on November 2, 1996 when he was 16.

Posted: 24th, August 2016 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, Reviews | Comment


Madeleine McCann: ‘Sick’ tweets from The Sun and Fruity King

It’s been a slow summer for news of Madeleine McCann, the missing child who was once a mainstay of the summer news cycle. The Sun, however, has news:

SICK MADDIE SLUR Online casino mocks Madeleine McCann’s family in sick tweet about Man Utd’s new £109million signing Paul Pogba

 

madeleine mccann sick

 

Sick?

Fruity King said the football club’s decision to buy back the player was ‘worse’ than leaving Maddie alone

Vile!

The vile tweet, sent to Fruity King’s 2,264 followers, was published in the same week it was announced British police have stopped their forensic investigation into Maddie‘s disappearance.

And it might be as sick as this from 2013:

 

madeleine mccann sick tweet

 

Madeleine McCann is missing. There are no suspects.

 

Posted: 19th, August 2016 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment


Madeleine McCann: who killed Peggy Knobloch?

Peggy Knobloch“Body of German Maddie is found,” says the Daily Star on its page 7. The so-dubbed “German Maddie” is a “missing girl who looked like Madeleine McCann”. How grim. A dead child called Peggy Knobloch – yep, she had a name of her own – is recast as another person. Worst yet, Peggy vanished from her home in May 2001 – six years before Madeleine McCann went missing. Before Madeleine McCann – the Star’s ‘Our Maddie’ – had been born.

Peggy Knobloch was nine and making her way home from school when she vanished.

The Mail says Peggy Knobloch is “considered ‘the German Madeleine McCann'”. The Sun says she is the “German Maddie”. The Mirror calls her the “German ‘Madeleine McCann'”.

Madeleine McCann was four when she vanished. She was on holiday in Portugal.

As papers browse old missing person’s files for other blonde children they can rebrand as “[insert location here] Maddie”, we read that a man was jailed for life in 2004 for telling police he had sexually abused Peggy and killed her. After 10 years in a secure hospital, the man withdrew his confession and was released.

He wasn’t in Portugal in 2007.

The link between Peggy Knobloch and Madeleine McCann exists only in the pages of the febrile Press, wherein blonde children are always news.

The Mirror, however, produces a tasteless clickbait-style “Five reasons why ‘German Maddie’s’ disappearance 15 years ago is strikingly similar to the McCann case”. Writes Sophie Evans as “REASON 1”:

Peggy had blonde hair – just like Madeleine. The German youngster also had bright blue eyes, while Madeleine has ‘blue and green eyes’.

Will the Mirror see spooky similarities when black or Asian children go missing in Portugal, the UK, Germany or beyond? Or does the Mirror save its biggest scoops for blondes?

And why else is Peggy in the news? The Indy says the “remains of ‘German Madeleine McCann'” were found in woods after a 15-year search. The thinking is that a wild animal dug up her body, which was found by a man out looking for mushrooms.  The paper adds”: “At the time it was presumed she had been kidnapped and murdered, although police will now be able to launch a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding her death.”

A body helps a missing person story reach a conclusion.

The search for Madeleine McCann goes on.

Posted: 6th, July 2016 | In: Madeleine McCann, Reviews, Tabloids | Comments (2)


Madeleine McCann: Freud, Murat and a lynching at the Plough and Paedophile

maddie rewardMadeleine McCann: a look at the missing child in the news.

Daily Star (page 8): “Peado MP’s New Links to Maddie”

The paedo MP is the alleged paedophile MP Sir Clement Freud. He’s dead. He’s no longer an MP. Indeed, when he was alive he was not a known paedo, either. For a man who achieved celebrity and popularity in his lifetime, Freud’s post-breathing career has been disappointing.

The Star says that “bombshell emails” between Freud and Kate and Gerry McCann will be investigated as part of the police probe into the dead man’s alleged crimes against children. The former BBC TV broadcaster reached out to the McCanns when their daughter vanished. He had a home in Portugal not far when were Madeleine went missing. Kate says Freud “cheered her up”. Now a “source close to the family” says: “They took it at face value that he sympathised with their situation. They did not see anything sinister in his behaviour.”

You wonder what sinister intent he might have had? The mind boggles.

Daily Mail (Page 8): “Freud ‘drank in resort bar with ex-Maddie suspect'”.

Who is this former suspect? Why, it’s the entirely innocent Robert Murat, the poor sod libelled by sections of the British press. The Mail says the “paedophile ex-MP” – now a fact, apparently – “was said to have been on ‘nodding terms’ with  Robert Murat”. What happened to Murat and Freud being drinking buddies, drinking “with” each other?

The Mail says the “ex-MP’s local was dubbed the Plough and Paedophile”. It’s the Plough and Harrow, dubbed a haven for child molesters after a Briton working at the pub “went on the run after police tried to talk to him about allegations of child sex abuse images and grooming”.

But that is not where Murat drank. The pub Freud and Murat visited – but not together – is called the Pig’s Head. The landlord, one Robert Hurst, has been speaking with the Sun. That paper reports:

Freud, who was unmasked as a child abuser last week, was also a regular at a pub in Praia da Luz dubbed The Plough and Paedophile. The fact Freud and Murat knew each other is one in a series of odd links that the dead former Liberal MP had to the McCanns. He had also entertained Gerry and Kate at his house in the days after Madeleine disappeared in 2007.

Is that an odd link – two Britishers abroad on the Med frequenting the same local pub? Murat is innocent. The Sun features a photo of him and the caption “Prime suspect…Murat was later cleared by cops.” So, he’s not a prime suspect, then. He’s not a suspect at all. He was an arguido, much as the McCanns were branded. They too were libelled in the British Press. They too must be presumed innocent. There are no suspects in the case of Madeleine McCann. But there are victims who have been tarnished by association.

Robert Hurst, landlord of the Pigs Head, said: “I find that really odd. I can’t imagine why he would suddenly want to invite them to his house. At the time Madeleine went, all hell was going on. Police everywhere, people just stunned and he’s straight in there having them over to dinner. When it came out this week that he was a paedophile, it made you wonder what he was up to?”

Back in the Mail, we hear of  Vicky Hayes, “one of Sir Clement’s victims”, who says she told the police of Freud after she read of his befriending the McCanns in Kate McCann’s book. She was “convinced he was part of a paedophile rings operating in the Algarve”. The paper notes that Freud’s son, Matthew, says his dad was in the UK when the child vanished.

Some claims can’t be hard to prove. The rest of it invites nothing but speculation.

Posted: 20th, June 2016 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment (1)