Madeleine McCann

Madeleine McCann Category

News digests and reviews of the missing child in the news. Madeleine McCann vanished on Thursday, 3 May 2007 from a rented holiday flat in Praia da Luz, Portugal. Madeleine, on holiday with her twin siblings and parents Kate and Gerry McCann,became the biggest news story of the past decade. We’ve followed it closely ever since the story broke.

Shannon Matthews: Craig Meehan, Vigilantes And Blaming New Labour

craigmeehan-court.jpgSHANNON Watch: Anorak’s look at the case of Shannon Matthews in the media


THE mum of Shannon Matthews ditched her lover yesterday as he appeared in court accused of possessing porn pictures of children as young as four. But she has now broken off her four-year relationship with the 22-year-old supermarket fishmonger, saying she “didn’t want to be part of his life”.

Karen acted after he appeared in court on 11 charges of possessing 130 indecent images of youngsters. Fourteen of the pictures were said to show adults having sex with children as young as 11. Others showed children aged just four performing sex acts.

Is Craig Meehan innocent?

Says one local: “He wouldn’t last a minute. People on this estate act first and ask questions later. He may be innocent, but these folk won’t wait for a judge and jury. They feel betrayed and are very angry.”

TIMES: “Shannon Matthews: Craig Meehan remanded in custody”

The partner of Shannon Matthews’s mother was remanded in custody charged with possessing 140 pornographic images of children on two computers.

Or 130 images? Meehan is a “supermarket fishmonger”. Such are the facts.

THE SUN: “I want nothing to do with him”

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Posted: 4th, April 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann, Tabloids | Comments (79)

Madeleine McCann: The McCanns’ Return To Portugal, A Year Of Looking And Ben Affleck

madeleine-mccann.jpgMADDYWATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann

THE SUN: “McCanns risk arrest over visit”

KATE and Gerry McCann may risk arrest by returning to Portugal for the one-year anniversary of their daughter’s disappearance.

The couple are prepared to take the chance in a last ditch attempt to revive interest in four-year-old Maddie, missing since May 3.

Any facts?

The doctors, both 39, left the Praia da Luz resort last September – 48 hours after being made official suspects over the mystery.

Gerry and Kate McCann are Doctors. Such are the facts.

Says the McCanns’ spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: “They want to be there for the first anniversary. Going out there would send the strongest possible message that Madeleine could still be alive and the search for her should continue.”

SYDNEY MORNING HERALD: “Turning the tabloids”

Ben Affleck is Gone Baby Gone:

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Posted: 4th, April 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (1,577)

Stolen ID And Wrongly Branded A Paedophile

CAN there be much worse than being wrongly branded paedophile?

With ID fraud on the rise, the assumption is you’ll lose money which can be claimed back. But Simon Bunce lost his job, and his father cut off contact, when he was arrested after an ID fraudster used his credit card details on a child porn website.


Posted: 3rd, April 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (4)

Shannon Matthews: Craig Meehan And Paul Donovan News Round Up

craig-meehan.jpgSHANNON Watch: Anorak’s look at the case of Shannon Matthews in the media

ANKIT Saha: “From my humble legal viewpoint, I find it quite startling that the Police took the action they did against Meechan. Normally the authorities operate against the issue of child porn on the level of website owners and online distributors.”


THE stepfather of kidnapped schoolgirl Shannon Matthews was remanded in custody today after being charged with possessing child pornography.

Craig Meehan, 22, appeared at Dewsbury Magistrates Court this morning facing 11 charges of possessing 140 indecent images of children.

He will remain in police custody until April 11 when he will reappear at the court.

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Posted: 3rd, April 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann, Tabloids | Comments (65)

Madeleine McCann: Robert Murat Sees His Daughter

murat2.jpgMADDYWATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann

DAILY MAIL: “Madeleine suspect Robert Murat back in Britain to see his five-year-old daughter”

It is understood Mr Murat had not seen five-year-old Sofia since being named an official suspect in the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann almost a year ago.

Hunting Madeleine McCann And Robert Murat

Two weeks ago he informed police he wanted to visit the UK and see Sofia – and was allowed to do so. The fact that Portuguese authorities did not stand in his way suggests there is no evidence against Mr Murat.

Was it ever suggested by police that there was evidence against the “creepy” “oddball”? The man whose “alibi was blown“. Or was it the tabloid press making the suggestions and the police taking note?

Says Mrs Murat: “All he wanted to do was help the McCanns.”

Madeleine McCann: Robert Murat’s trial buy media

Posted: 3rd, April 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (1,222)

Shannon Matthews: Stepdad Craig Meehan Arrested

shannon-matthews-new1.jpgSHANNON Watch: Anorak’s look at the case of Shannon Matthews in the media

YORKSHIRE EVENING POST: “Today’s development came on the day that Karen Matthews, 32, was due to have a second meeting with her daughter Shannon – who is still being looked after by a foster family.

“The YEP has been informed that Social Services bosses have spent the last few days arranging for the visit to take place – at an undisclosed location.

“However, that reunion has now been put on hold in light of the arrest of Karen’s partner. The YEP has also learned that detectives probing Shannon’s 24 day disappearance are still interviewing the youngster. They are anxious to establish exactly what happened to her during the time she was missing. However, detectives are able to interview her for only short periods at a time because of her tender age, and the delicate nature of the questioning.”

DAILY MAIL: “Police arrest Shannon Matthews’ stepfather on child porn charges”

Police investigating the disappearance of Shannon Matthews have arrested her stepfather Craig Meehan on suspicion of possessing indecent images of children.

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Posted: 2nd, April 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann, Tabloids | Comments (148)

Madeleine McCann: McCanns’ Police Files, Evidence And Organised Crime

maddy-pic.jpg MADDYWATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann

THE SCOTSMAN: “McCanns set to see police ‘evidence’ against them”

Says the paper: “Madeleine McCann’s parents could see the Portuguese authorities’ case against them within a fortnight.”


Rogerio Alves said police files may be made public on 14 April, when the official secrecy period covering the investigation into the young girl’s disappearance is due to end. The Portuguese lawyer said this period could only be extended in major inquiries, such as those involving terrorism and organised crime.

But if Madeleine was taken by an organised group of human traffickers, as has been suggested many times, what is that if not organised crime? The “could” would becomes a “could not”.

THE TIMES: “McCanns may see file”

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Posted: 2nd, April 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (960)

Madeleine McCann: The Sangria 7 And Introducing The McCanns’ Lawyers

mccann-reward.jpgMADDYWATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann

The Sangria 7. It’s the Tapas 9.

Detective Superintendent Stuart Prior, who heads the British arm of the probe, is likely to lead the interviews. Police chief Paulo Rebelo, the man in charge of the investigation, is also likely to make the high-profile trip to Britain.

Detectives want to clear up any “inconsistencies” in the group’s stories about what happened the night Madeleine went missing.

Says McCanns’ spokesman Clarence Mitchell:

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Posted: 1st, April 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (877)

Madeleine McCann: Fiona MacKeown Compares And More Questions

madeleine_mccann5.jpgMADDYWATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann

DAILY MAIL: “The very sinister cover-up behind Scarlett’s murder in Goa”

The paper looks to Fiona MacKeown, mother to murdered teenager Scarlett Keeling.

“I have nine children which makes you strong and there has been a lot to do. When I have nothing to do but think – it’s very hard. She really fought for her life and I think about that all the time.”

How does she feel about all the criticism of her for leaving Scarlett?

“I’m not surprised, really. Look at what’s been said about Madeleine McCann’s mother, and she is the picture of elegance.”

Says Fiona Mackeown, the media’s Charlotte Rampling.

DAILY TELEGRAPH: “Madeleine McCann police in last ditch visit”

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Posted: 31st, March 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (932)

Madeleine McCann: A Tapas Quiz, Doctors And McCanns

madeleine-mccann-dress.jpgMADDYWATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann


Big news for those who thought the cops’ specialist food knowledge was donuts and kebabs. Cops making a last-ditch bid to solve the Maddie McCann mystery will spend only THREE DAYS quizzing the Tapas Seven.

Not the Tapas Nine. Not the Sangria Seven.

The detectives are particularly keen to see Dr David Payne, Jane Tanner and her partner Dr Russell O’Brien. Doctors Gerry and Kate, both 39, are not expected to face more questioning.

Doctors. Such are the facts.

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Posted: 30th, March 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (572)

Madeleine McCann: 100 More Questions, McCanns And Shannon

mccanns_11.jpgMADDYWATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann


The same 100 questions Portuguese police compiled last November, or new ones?

Kate and Gerry McCann’s holiday friends will be quizzed again to check alleged discrepancies in their stories. The Tapas Seven, who had dinner with the McCanns on the night their daughter Madeleine, four, vanished, will have more than 100 questions put to them by Portuguese police.

Tapas Seven. Tapas Nine. What will the tabloids settle on?

The Mirror quotes a source who tells a source, Portuguese paper 24 Horas: “We are at a crucial phase. There are clear contradictions in the statements that the McCanns and their friends gave. Many things have to be clarified. The need to question Madeleine’s parents again will be determined by the results of the interrogations of their holiday friends.”

In which instance the Tapas Nine will be questioned.

SPENBOROUGH GUARDIAN: “The Shannon Matthews documentary was about more than a missing girl”

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Posted: 29th, March 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (783)

Madeleine McCann: Heather Mills, Bad Jokes And A Lynch Mob

mccann-picture.jpgMADDYWATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann

THE SCOTSMAN: “Child molester escapes mob”

A convicted child molester, Santiago del Valle Garcia, arrested in connection with the violent death of a five-year-old Spanish girl, narrowly escaped a mob who tried to grab him from a police van.

The man has yet to be charged with kidnapping and killing Mari Luz Cortes.

The girl disappeared less than two hours’ drive from where Madeleine McCann vanished in May 2007.

Is a two hour drive so very near? It takes around one and a half hours to drive from London to Birmingham, or across London.

CBS NEWS: “Loathing Heather Mills – Why Britain Hates The Former Mrs. McCartney”

You either love her or you hate her but the chances are that if you are British and you have ever heard her or seen her – you probably hate her. Heather Mills – the ex-Mrs Paul McCartney – is our latest willing export across the Atlantic. We loathe her – I mean really, really loathe her.

Well, most of us admire Lady Heather, but as for love, that would be stretching things. Can we settle on lusting after her? But what has this do with a missing child?

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Posted: 28th, March 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (815)

Madeleine McCann: Mari Luz Cortes, Santiago del Valle Garcia And Clarence Mitchell Says

mari-cortes-mccann-poster.jpgMADDYWATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann

THE SUN: “Quiz killer paedo over our Maddie”

Santiago del Valle Garcia has been arrested by Spanish police over the death of Mari Luz Cortes – “Maddy 2“. He has neither been tried nor convicted of murder. Although the Sun is certain.

Says the Sun: “Both girls were pictured on posters put up by four-year-old Maddie’s parents because the cases were so chillingly similar.”

A spokesman for the couple, “who are both doctors aged 39” – such are the facts – says: “Given the similarity in their ages it is important police make absolutely sure there’s no connection.”

But what of the similarity between the cases?

“Sources said the pervert, who has convictions for child abuse, confessed he dumped Mari Luz’s body in panic after she fell to her death down stairs.”

DAILY MIRROR: “McCanns want Spanish paedophile quizzed on missing Madeleine”

Says Clarence Mitchell, spokesman for the McCanns: “We hope the Portuguese police will be liaising with the Spanish police to establish this man’s movements around the time Madeleine disappeared.

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Posted: 27th, March 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (816)

Madeleine McCann: Selling Books, Keeping Your Child Safe And Michael Donovan

children-in-danger.jpgMADDYWATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann

IRISH INDEPENDENT: “Wearing kid gloves – In this age of multiple dangers, how do parents strike a balance between wrapping children in swaddling clothes and giving them leeway? Aine Nugent reads a new guidebook on the subject”

Clinical psychologist Paul Gilligan has penned Keeping Your Child Safe, a book that will spread anxiety and must be read ANYONE who genuinely cares about their kids. If you don’t read it, then you only have yourself to blame should something dreadful befall your children.

Everyone breathed a sigh of relief as nine-year-old Shannon Matthews was found safe and well. It is every parent’s worst nightmare that their child should go missing — a tragic reality that the families of Madeleine McCann and Amy Fitzpatrick are still going through.

Keeping our children safe is the first priority of parents, and the modern world has more dangers in it than it did when we were children — perhaps because we’re more aware of them. Because of developments in technology, communication has never been easier — and never more fraught with danger.

Read on if you dare…

Keeping Your Child Safe looks at the ways in which children can be put in danger, unwittingly, unintentionally, but detrimentally.

Madeleine McCann: Spreading the fear

Shannon Matthews: Michael Donovan, 39, will appear before Dewsbury magistrates court in West Yorkshire. He was arrested on March 14 after police raided a house and found the missing 11-year-old.

Posted: 26th, March 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (514)

Madeleine McCann: On Lawyers, Media And Local Newspapers

madeleine-graffiti.jpg MADDYWATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann

LIVERPOOL DAILY POST: “Local experts forecast liklihood [sic] of Madleine McCanns’ damages case”

DEFAMATION specialists in the region have commented on the outcome of a case brought by the parents of Madeleine McCann which resulted in four national newspapers issuing front-page apologies for their coverage of the toddler’s disappearance.

Liverpool has taken the McCanns to its big heart. Not for nothing is Liverpool the European city of Culture. Kate McCann was born in Liverpool and her mother Susan Healy lives in the area.

The local Liverpool paper has invited a panel of local lawyers to share their thoughts with locals about the local story of a young girl from Leicestershire who went missing in Portugal.

We are no longer watching the parents in the media. We are watching the media in the media. Anorak is watching the media watching the media. Thank you for watching.

THE GUARDIAN: “This reckless reporting cannot continue”

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Posted: 25th, March 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (470)

Madeleine McCann: Robert Murat’s Relief

murat1.jpgMADDYWATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann

DAILY MIRROR: “Murat: It’s big relief”

Madeleine McCann suspect Robert Murat, 34, last night spoke of his joy that he looks likely to be officially cleared in days.

After having his computers returned, he said at his Praia da Luz home last night: “I’m so relieved.”

No mention of the Mirror’s super sleuth Lori Campbell who fingered “weird” Murat.

DAILY MAIL: “Murat could soon be cleared as Madeleine suspect after police return his possessions”

Even his computer – with the Sun’s “kid porn”.

His lawyer Francisco Pagarete said: “The police received an order from the public prosecutor to give everything back to Robert. All his items have been returned. We believe it is another step towards his clearance as a suspect. It’s a good sign.
“But we will have to wait and see. There is nothing official saying his status as an arguido is being revoked.”

Even if yesterday the Sunday People had “CLEARED” him.

No word from the The Mail’s Neil Sears, who told us: “There was something more to the friendly expat who called himself ‘Rob’ than met the eye.” Murat made Sears “feel slightly uncomfortable”.

DAILY TELEGRAPH: “Robert Murat close to being cleared over Madeleine McCann disappearance”

Robert Murat has moved a step closer to being cleared as a suspect in Madeleine McCann’s disappearance after police returned possessions seized from him 10 months ago.

Says hi mother, Jenny Murat, 74: “Every single item that the police took has been returned to us. Of course we hope it means Robert’s arguido status will be lifted shortly. But we’ve had no official confirmation that that is the case and we’re not getting too excited.”

Madeleine McCann: Speculation and survival

Posted: 24th, March 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (978)

Madeleine McCann: Robert Murat ‘Cleared’, Maddy’s Bedroom And ‘No Case’ Against McCanns

murat-innocent-1.pngMADDYWATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann


Portuguese cops hand back Murat’s seized computers Arguido status set to be dropped Family demands apology for ‘unfair’ smears against dad

Robert Murat is no longer a suspect. Robert Murat is longer a suspect?

Madeleine McCann suspect Robert Murat was last night sensationally CLEARED of snatching the four-year-old. The ex-pat Brit has suffered ten months of torment after being named an arguido by Portuguese police.

Robert Murat is no longer a suspect. The Sunday People has the facts.

Only: “Last night relatives called on investigators to formally lift his arguido status.”

Robert Murat is still a suspect. Read all about it.

Murat’s ex-wife Dawn says: “There are a lot of weird people out there and if something happens to one innocent child they think ‘An eye for an eye’. They want to hurt another innocent child – my daughter. I’m constantly on the lookout for anything suspicious or anyone paying her attention.”

It’s “every parent’s worst nightmare”, says she. It’s not at all pleasant. But scream “paedo” and this is how people who care deeply for children react.

Dawn told how the “worst moment” came when a newspaper compared him to Soham murderer Ian Huntley. School caretaker Huntley, 33, openly joined the hunt for missing ten-year-olds Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells in 2002.

EXPRESS: “Kidnapping has weird echoes of Soham case – MADDY SUSPECT BEHAVED JUST LIKE HUNTLEY.”

BBC: Says Robert Murat:

“It is a very positive sign, there’s no doubt about that whatsoever. Why would they return something if it was in the middle of being investigated in any way, shape or form? We are very happy to have the computers back, and I hope I will have my arguido status dropped very shortly.”

SUNDAY EXPRESS: “Kate and Gerry MCann Sorry”

Another day, and another front-page apology. How many times can the Express say sorry to the McCanns? And does saying sorry lead to an increase in sales?


What a day it is for The Sunday People: Murat no longer a suspect; case against McCann dropped. The People scoops the rest.

The Tapas Seven face fresh questioning next month as cops launch a last ditch attempt to solve the Madeleine McCann mystery.

No longer the newspapers’ “Tapas Nine”.

Portuguese detectives will fly to Britain on April 7 after winning permission from public prosecutors to quiz the seven pals who were at a tapas bar with Maddie’s parents Kate and Gerry when the four-year-old disappeared.

But what of the headline that police have “no case”?

A source revealed: “Police had prepared various questions they wanted to ask Kate and Gerry. “But the prosecutors felt it was a waste of time because the McCanns would refuse to answer the questions – a right that Portuguese law grants official suspects.”

And the exclusive about the headline about there being “no case”?

Kate and Gerry, both 39, of Rothley, Leics, deny involvement in the disappearance and believe the new move will show they have no case to answer.

Such are the facts. No speculation in the Sunday People. No room for a libel payout.

Comfort of the room that’s frozen in time

Madeleine McCann’s parents have kept their daughter’s bedroom exactly as it was before she disappeared…Kate still sits quietly there every night and prays. And they have vowed never to move from the house in Rothley, Leics, until they know what happened to Maddie.

And we’re back to being voyeurs, peeking inside the room of a missing child. Voyeurs.

Her bed sheets and patterned duvet remaining unchanged and her clothes are still hanging in the wardrobe and neatly folded in a chest of drawers. Kate has refused to hand down the clothes to Maddie’s three-year-old sister Amelie who bears a striking resemblance to her.

But this is not speculation. This is fact.

Gerry’s mum Eileen McCann said: “At one time the door to Madeleine’s room remained closed. But now the twins go in and play. Kate and Gerry don’t want to shut them out. The whole family feels closer to Madeleine by being in her bedroom.”

As do tabloid readers.

DAILY MIRROR: “Maddie cops fly to Britain”

By Lori Campbell – the hack who fingered Murat as creepy and then told everyone about her scoop.

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Posted: 23rd, March 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (276)

Madeleine McCann: Porn, Liverpool For McCanns And Libel

madeleine-liverpool.jpgMADDYWATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann

THE INDEPENDENT: “Saga of the McCanns is not yet over”

Says Richard Ingrams:

No one can feel too sorry at the thought of Express owner Richmond Desmond, who has made a huge fortune out of pornography, having to shell out a fraction of his profits to the needy McCanns.

No, not climate porn, the Independent’s apocalyptic visions of climate change, but real flesh and hair porn – the porn that has given Richard Demsond “huge profits”; which must mean many not only enjoy porn and are happy to pay for it. Would “no one” feel sorry for Mr Desmond if his fine curtailed his porn output?

The Story of the McCanns and Express Newspaper was broken by Anorak 

All the same, the story is puzzling. The Express was undoubtedly guilty of libel. But the suggestion that the McCanns might have been in one way or another responsible for their daughter’s death did not originate with the newspaper. It was the Portuguese police who long ago branded the McCanns as suspects. And officially they remain so. It has never been explained why they were so convinced of the McCanns’ guilt when all the facts seem to point the other way.

Facts? There is only one fact: Madeleine McCann is missing.

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Posted: 22nd, March 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Madeleine McCann, Tabloids | Comments (453)

Madeleine McCann: The Anniversary, Malinka’s Car And Unsavoury E-Mails

rothley-mccann.jpgMADDYWATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann

DAILY MIRROR: “KATE TOLD TO FORGET PORTUGAL – She’ll miss Maddy anniversary”

A year of Madeleine McCann stories.

Lawyers have told the couple that to return on May 3 may be risky in view of the fact they are still official suspects over the missing four-year-old. There are fears it might provoke demands for them to be quizzed by police again.

“May”. “Fears”. It’s News of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in a nutchell.

A “friend” says: “The lawyers are just being ultra-cautious. But there remains a possibility they may suddenly be called in. The anniversary would then become a circus which is the last thing they want. It is sad because Portugal is where Kate feels closest to Madeleine.”

So says a friend of the McCanns in the national press.

The six-month anniversary was marked by a flurry of speculation, yellow ribbons and a book.

THE SUN: “Murat pal’s car is torched”

A close pal of Maddie suspect Robert Murat has been targeted by an arsonist — apparently attempting to make him reveal details of the case.

Apparently. Or not.

There was a similar arson incident last year when Malinka’s van was blown up at night.

This is Sergey Malinka. Back in May 2007, the Sun heard Portuguese TV report that Malinka has convictions for “sex crimes.” Does he have any criminal convictions? “Not as far as I know,” said Moscow-born Malinka. Did the Sun bother to investigate further? Is Portuguese TV a reputable source of fact?

What says Malinka of his car: “It was a nice car, but at least I wasn’t inside it. I’m angry and I want to find out who it was.”

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Posted: 21st, March 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (982)

Madeleine Mcann: Express Newspapers Win, Robert Murat’s Tabloid Trial And Money

maccann-inflatable.jpgMADDYWATCH Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann

What irony in the McCanns winning £550,000 damages from the tabloid press, to whom they turned to keep their missing daughter Madeleine in the public eye. Thanks to the tabloids, Madeleine is big news once more. And with the money – notably the Star’s – get this – donation going to the Find Madeleine Fund, Express Newspapers have helped the search for the missing girl.

Meanwhile, the News of the World’s reward remains unclaimed. So is this a victory for Express Newspapers? Is the Express the tabloid that cares most?

FINANCIAL TIMES: “McCann libel payout cues media debate”

Lawyers and newspaper executives agreed on Wednesday that a £550,000 ($1.1m) payout by Express Newspapers to the parents of missing Madeleine McCann would temper tabloid behaviour. But not for long.

Not for long:

“WHY was Shannon laughing,” Sunday Express

Broadcaster Andrew Neil, former editor of The Sunday Times, said: “The Express got its come-uppance and I believe the editor should resign. But it is only the worst example…Whether that lesson will be heeded for long, I’m not so sure.”

Hunting Madeleine McCann And Robert Murat

A former tabloid editor, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, added: “It’s a disaster for them from a PR point of view, but I don’t think it will affect their circulation, certainly not the Star. It might make everyone more cautious, but I doubt that will last.”


THAT “Express apology – By Robert Shrimsley”

We now acknowledge there is no evidence whatsoever to support our theory that repeating this rubbish every day on our front page did in fact bring us any extra readers. We furthermore recognise that we should have stuck to the Diana inquest, given that she is dead and can’t sue.

Sun: “TWO British sisters have revealed they saw oddball Robert Murat lurking by the Portuguese holiday apartment from which Madeleine McCann vanished”

As an expression of our regret we are going to spend the next few weeks hounding Heather Mills in the hope this does the trick.

She’s blonde. So she’ll do.

Express front pages to look out for:


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Posted: 20th, March 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Madeleine McCann, Tabloids | Comments (770)

Madeleine McCann: The Star ‘Donates’ To The McCanns, The Express Apologises And Sue Carroll Explains

mccann-express.jpgMADDYWATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann and Shannon Matthews

DAILY EXPRESS: “Kate and Gerry McCann: Sorry”

The Express once more has the disappearance of Madeleine McCann on its front page. No picture of the missing blonde child. Not now. Instead, readers see a picture of her parents looking pained.

Read more here.

And how Anorak broke this story.

The Daily Express today takes the unprecedented step of making a front-page apology to Kate and Gerry McCann.

We do so because we accept that a number of articles in the newspaper have suggested that the couple caused the death of their missing daughter Madeleine and then covered it up.

We acknowledge that there is no evidence whatsoever to support this theory and that Kate and Gerry are completely innocent of any involvement in their daughter’s disappearance.

We trust that the suspicion that has clouded their lives for many months will soon be lifted.

As an expression of its regret, the Daily Express has now paid a very substantial sum into the Madeleine Fund and we promise to do all in our power to help efforts to find her.

Kate and Gerry, we are truly sorry to have added to your distress.

We assure you that we hope Madeleine will one day be found alive and well and will be restored to her loving family.

The paper paid the money into the find Madeleine Fund, or the paper paid the money to the McCanns – as the law decreed it should – and it is they who have chosen to pay it in to the Find Madeleine Fund?

Anyhow, at least the sensation is now at an end.


The Daily Star today makes a wholehearted apology to Kate and Gerry McCann for stories suggesting the couple were responsible for, or may be responsible for, the death of their daughter Madeleine and for covering it up. We now recognise that such a suggestion is absolutely untrue and that Kate and Gerry are completely innocent of any involvement in their daughter’s disappearance.

As an expression of our regret we have now made a substantial donation to the Madeleine Fund in the hope that it helps efforts to find her.

We sincerely apologise for any additional distress we have caused the family.

THE SUN: “McCann rage at Maddie book claim”

A FORMER Portuguese police chief has angered Madeleine McCann’s parents by claiming in a novel that the toddler is dead – and her body dumped at sea.

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Posted: 19th, March 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann, Tabloids | Comments (645)

Madeleine McCann: Four Newspapers To Pay McCanns Damages

daily-express-mccann11.jpgNEWS is that the Daily and Sunday Express and sister papers the Daily Star and Daily Star Sunday will pay a “substantial” sum and print front-page apologies to Kate and Gerry McCann, parents to Madeleine McCann.

This story was broken by Anorak.

Kate and Gerry McCann’s lawyers says that some of the newspapers’ articles were “grossly defamatory”.

All damages will be donated to the Find Madeleine fund.

The Daily Express is to carry a full front-page apology in Wednesday’s paper, while the Star’s apology will take over half its front-page. The papers are expected to apologise for suggesting Kate and Gerry McCann were involved in their daughter’s disappearance. The action relates to more than a hundred stories across the four titles, including 42 printed in the Daily Express.

Says Roy Greenslade:

“I think this is an amazing stand-down, u-turn, by the Express newspapers. I think when people realise that more than 100 stories have been complained about as being grossly defamatory, it will annihilate the Express’ readers sense of trust and credibility in their newspaper.”

THE GUARDIAN: “Express and Star apologies to McCanns bring all journalism into disrepute”

Five days ago, when it emerged that the group had removed all its McCann stories from its websites, I gave some examples of the tendentious, and often mendacious, material the Daily Express had been running. Over the weeks and months since May last year, when Madeleine vanished in Portugal, they added up to a substantial libel on the McCanns.

Five days… Sureley longer than that, Mr Greenslade. February 22nd.

This was no journalistic accident, but a sustained campaign of vitriol against a grief-stricken family. The stories were not merely speculative, but laced with innuendo which continually made accusations against the McCanns on the basis of anonymous sources and without any hard evidence.


Wild claims, often made by unattributed sources to Portuguese newspapers, were then spun even more negatively by the Express and Star titles. Of course, they were not the only papers to carry prejudicial material, but they were by far the worst.

I am delighted that the papers, owned by the pornographer Richard Desmond, have been forced to humble themselves. I only wish the McCanns had acted even faster, but no blame should attach to them. Their major concern has, quite naturally, centred on their missing daughter.

A single fact: Madeleine McCann is missing. And speculation, sensation and innuendo. Anorak has followed the case from the outset – a voracious media feeding frenzy.

But, taking into account that other papers have also carried inaccurate and inappropriate stories about the story, it is also a day in which many British journalists have cause to hang their heads in shame.

But it goes on still…

Did the Express titles go to such lengths, eschewing all ethical standards, purely to win sales? If they did, it didn’t show up in their circulation figures because all four titles have lost sales over the past nine months. Or was it, as I suspect, less calculating, a case of casual cruelty rather than premeditated sales-building? It’s hard to know which is worse.

The disappearance of Madeleine McCann

Posted: 18th, March 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann, Tabloids | Comments (79)

Madeleine McCann: A Source Says, Shannon Matthews And Down Under

mccann-picture.jpgMADDYWATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann

THE SUN: “Maddie picture was ‘a mistake’”

MISSING Madeleine McCann’s parents yesterday blasted claims that releasing a photo of her had led to her death. Publishing the image may have “panicked” a kidnapper into killing her, said a legal source in Portugal. It was also claimed that Portuguese prosecutors now believed her body would NEVER be found.

A legal source?

The source said: “An abductor felt trapped and got rid of her. The parents may have contributed to this story having an unfortunate ending.”

A source says and the Sun reacts. Contact the usual sources.

Says the McCanns’ spokesman Clarence Mitchell: “They don’t believe Maddie is dead.”

THE HERALD: “Why Shannon’s welfare is the only priority”

Is it? And what has it to do with Madeleine McCann?

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Posted: 18th, March 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann, Tabloids | Comments (556)

Shannon Matthews: Bratz, Mystic Babies And Sir Norman Bettison

shannon-m.jpgSHANNON WATCHAnorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Shannon Matthews
Shannon Matthews has been in the care of the local authority since she was found. The media had a few hours to speculate and focus on Shannon “what ifs” but now the shutters are down. The man has been charged and will appear in court today.

DAILY MAIL: “Don’t let Shannon go home because her mother’s not ‘ready’, say her grandparents”

You can always interview the family.

“We just don’t want Shannon going back to that house. She can stay with us,” said the nine-year-old’s grandfather Gordon Matthews. “I don’t think that Karen and Craig are ready to look after her properly. While all this has been happening, we had Shannon’s brother and sister staying here with us and they were both so happy – they didn’t want to go back.”

Wonder why? Let’s speculate…

He and his wife June are fearful that Shannon, who is in foster care after her 24- day abduction ordeal, could soon be back at home. Mrs Matthews, 64, added: “I have been thinking of Shannon going back to Karen. It’s just not right. Karen was a great mum before she took Craig in. Since he arrived they’ve had a terrible life.”

Craig Meehan is innocent. Why mention him?

Mr Matthews added: “Craig is like a tiny child. He’s so immature. He rings Karen all the time on the phone, literally 20 times a day.”

Maybe it’s love? Maybe Karen Matthews likes children?

“Karen is like a taxi service for him. She picks him up and drops him off everywhere. I have never liked him and I don’t want Shannon going back to her mother while he is around, you just wouldn’t want him looking after your child.”


Shannon Matthews will not return to her mum and stepdad but will be looked after by specialist carers. Police chief Sir Norman Bettison confirmed that the nine-year-old will not be going home just yet to Karen Matthews, 32, and 22-year-old Craig Meehan for the moment.

Norman Bettison. West Yorkshire’s leading copper. After listening to the grandparents, listening to Norman is the next story. Prepared to update the Wikipedia entry, sir!

Says Sir Norman B-E-T-T-I-S-O-N: “She is safe. She’s well. She’s in the place where we think that she’s safest at the moment.”

He singles out Detectives Paul Kettlewell and Nick Townsend who refused to leave when they got no answer at a flat where neighbours said they could hear a child’s footsteps. They watched the front and back entrances and called for a battering ram. They broke down the door and discovered Shannon.

Says Chief Constable Sir Norman: “I think it is amazing and I think it is a question of pride for me that they started to make inquiries of the neighbours. Given this was the 700th action they had undertaken since the start of the investigation…

“It’s been phenomenal and it’s been unprecedented [“You’ve already used ‘amazing’ sir!] and let me tell you where I’m standing it’s been entirely professional. It’s painstaking methodical work.”

Of his officers: “They’re special people, extraordinary people doing an extraordinary job.”

Wikipedia: Sir Norman Bettison the Amazing, phenomenal, extraordinary, unprecedented…

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Posted: 18th, March 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Madeleine McCann, Tabloids | Comments (94)

Shannon Matthews: Sir Norman Bettison’s Wikipedia Update

SHANNON Matthews is safe. The man suspected of taking her in a suspected abduction is being quizzed. And over the newswires:

Meanwhile, West Yorkshire chief constable Sir Norman Bettison highlighted the work of detectives Paul Kettlewell and Nick Townsend as he defended the professionalism of his force. Sir Norman said his officers have interviewed 6,000 people and searched 3,000 houses over the past three weeks and said he was amazed to have to defend his force publicly against criticism over its speed in recovering her.

Sir Norman Bettison, Wikipedia And Celebrity Policing

Posted: 17th, March 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (51)