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: 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.
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?
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”.
The Mirror tells of the McCanns’ devastating defeat.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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?
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.
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’.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
Fruity King said the football club’s decision to buy back the player was ‘worse’ than leaving Maddie alone
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 is missing. There are no suspects.
“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.
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.
‘Paedophile’ Sir Clement Freud lived close to where Madeleine McCann went missing as police ‘urged to probe link’
Sir Clement Freund, who died in 2009, was a paedophile? The Mirror wants us to consider it. But it’s uncertain if the dead man molested or raped or kidnapped children so it’s placed the word “paedophile” inside inverted commas. How fair is that.
Freud is believed to have sexually abused girls as young as 11, a documentary has claimed, and invited the McCanns to his Portuguese villa after she disappeared
Believed. By whom and why? And – get this – Freud reached out to the McCanns after not before their child vanished.
First up, we can look at who says the dead man did criminal things to innocent children.
Sylvia Woosley, now in her late seventies, said she was repeatedly assaulted by Freud over 60 years ago. A second woman claimed the former star of Radio 4’s Just a Minute panel game raped her aged 18 after years of grooming that included taking her on trips to the House of Commons.
Just a Minute is on the BBC. It’s a hat-trick of the tabloids game of Paedo Hunt for Freud: MP. Tick. BBC employee. Tick. Dead. Tick.
Former Crown Prosecution Service chief Nazir Afzal told the ITV Exposure programme that Freud, who died in 2009 aged 84, would have been charged with child sex offences based on Sylvia’s case if he was still alive.
He said: “I would have no doubt there is sufficient evidence to prosecute Sir Clement Freud.”
What the current CPS chief thinks we are not told. But it’s good to see Afzal finds life after service as TV pundit. Can Sylvia’s claims be tested?
Freud’s widow Jill, now 89, said in response to the film: “This is a very sad day for me. I was married to Clement for 58 years and loved him dearly. I am shocked, deeply saddened and profoundly sorry for what has happened to these women. I sincerely hope they will now have some peace.”
Now back to the paper’s ‘Our Maddie’ news:
‘Paedophile’ Sir Clement Freud had a villa in the resort Madeleine McCann vanished from and befriended her parents in the weeks after she went missing. Detectives investigating the three-year-old’s disappearance from in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in 2007 have been alerted to the revelation and are reportedly expected to assess the new information before deciding if it may be relevant to the inquiry.
Did the McCanns ever visit with Freud?
They were invited to his house twice after Madeleine vanished and kept in contact by phone and email…. Writing about their first meeting – two months after Madeleine vanished – Kate wrote in her book Madeleine: “I’m usually very intimidated by people with brains the size of planets but Clement was incredibly warm, funny and instantly likeable.”
He had cooked a watercress and egg salad followed by a chicken and mushroom risotto which was “the best risotto we’ve ever tasted before or since”.
He invited them for dinner again in September that year but they cancelled because they had been named arguidos in the investigation. But they did go to his house for drinks later in the evening and he was dressed in a nightshirt watching a cookery show.
The depraved old bast…
Kate wrote of the meeting: “He gave me one of his looks and a giant glass of brandy, and managed to get a smile out of me with his greeting: ‘So, Kate, which of the devout Catholic, alcoholic, depressed, nymphomaniac parts is correct?’ Clement cheered us up with his lugubrious wit, and would continue to do so by email after his return to England,” she added.
The Telegraph has more: “Sir Clement Freud exposed as a paedophile as police urged to probe Madeleine McCann links.”
Exposed? Surely it has been alleged or claimed.
Sir Clement Freud, the former broadcaster and politician, was exposed on Tuesday night as a paedophile who sexually abused girls as young as 10 for decades.
Sylvia Woosley said Freud befriended her family in 1948, when he was working at a hotel in the South of France, and started abusing her when she was 10.
Four years later, following a family crisis, her mother asked Freud and his wife Jill if they would look after Mrs Woosley, and she found herself living under the same roof as her abuser, being brought up as a daughter. The abuse continued until she managed to move away when she was 19…
A second woman wishes to remain anonymous. She alleges:
Another woman told ITV that Freud started abusing her in the 1970s, when she was 11, and eventually raped her when she was 18, by which time he was a Liberal MP sharing an office with Cyril Smith, who was also unmasked as a paedophile after his death. The rape was so brutal that his victim bled for a week.
The Telegraph than adds this to the dead man’s history:
With his finger on the capital’s showbiz pulse he helped propel a number of young acts to stardom and later boasted of being the first person to book the now disgraced entertainer, Rolf Harris.
The Sun: “NEW INFORMATION ‘Paedophile’ Sir Clement Freud lived close to where Madeleine McCann went missing – as TV doc makes startling claims”
Startling claims made by TV show. Yes.
Such are the facts.
The Sunday Mirror leads with the child it calls “Maddie”. The headline thunders: “Sharon’s Shocking Rants Over Missing Maddie.”
Foul-mouthed, pixie-voiced reality TV show Sharon Osbourne, for it is she, has said something. With no other news to report on (what – no killer wasps in your picnic basket and Great white sharks in Devon? – ed), Sharon’s words are front-page news.
Outspoken star Sharon Osbourne has been blasted by the parents of missing Madeleine McCann after she branded them “insane” for leaving their daughter alone.
Outspoken woman speaks out! That’s a shock? This is Sharon who is married to drug-addled rock star and bat-head-biter Ozzy. If anyone knows insane… Which makes us wonder: is Sharon trolling the McCanns?
Former X Factor judge Sharon made the hurtful claims on her US chat show The Talk as she criticised parents for leaving children without supervision.
How cutting-edge is The Talk in talking about a news item from 2007 that has trundled on in the media, turning the missing child into the benchmark of all missing children. The ‘Missing Maddie” story is a fallback news item. Just press f9 on the keyboard and watch as the journalisamobile churn out some non-news.
In a clear attack on Kate and Gerry McCann, Sharon said: “I will tell you a very quick story. There was a husband and wife on holiday in Portugal. They left their baby in the room sleeping, sleeping while they went to dinner in the restaurant. While they were in the resort their baby was taken. And it is like, ‘Oh but we can see everything that is going on’ and it is, like, insane.”
Quick story, yes. One with no ending and – get his – Sharon can’t even get the facts right. The McCanns left three children in their apartment. Madeleine McCann was not a baby – she was aged 4. Then she vanished. Them’s the facts. it. It’s a single-thread story.
Sharon’s comments are facile, desperate and appear calculated to attract headlines (job done).
Of course, this is the story of Madeleine McCann and the Mirror is every bit as desperate. It too presses f9, slaps the non-news on its front page and then asks “Kate and Gerry” for a few words, which they duly don’t give.
A family friend said: “It’s very disappointing when someone with such a high profile makes this sort of ignorant, ill-informed comment. She should think about the effect it could have on Madeleine’s brother and sister, as well as the wider family.”
Chances are the children wouldn’t have heard Sharon’s words on her dire US telly show. So, good of the Mirror to broadcast them in the UK and tell them what they missed. Cheers. Not that anyone under 16 buys the Mirror.
Goncalo Amaral is back in the news. The former Portuguese detective has won an appeal against his libel defeat to Madeleine McCann’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann. The court order for him to pay the McCanns £395,000 in damages in April 2015 has been overturned. The Press pick up the story of Amaral and his 2008 book, The Truth of the Lie, in which he accuses the McCanns of “faking Madeleine’s abduction to cover up her accidental death in their apartment” (Star).
Daily Star (front page): “Maddie: Cop Wains Right To Accuse Parents”
“A banned book which accuse Madeleine’s McCanns parents of covering up her death will go on sale across Europe after a shock ruling by three appal court judge in Portugal yesterday,” writes Jerry Lawton. No shock here, at least not to Anorak readers. Back in 2010, AGW told you:
The media awaits the verdict of McCanns Versus Goncalo Amaral. Much depends on it. The McCanns have taken a risk in going against the former police officer in a foreign country. While it can be argued – as they have done – that any publicity for their missing daughter is good because it keeps her name alive in the voracious media.
But it does not keep us looking for the child. It just allows us to gawp at them, the distraught parents of a missing innocent:
YOU know when an accident is going to happen. They even have corporate speak phrases for it these days: “Risk Assessment” is one.
You know when a playing kitten is going to fall from the arm of the chair, you know when the child is going trip and fall, no matter how quick you are to try and get there.
Sometimes you see disasters being created and thundering, in silent-movie slowed down train-wreck style, toward you or others and there’s little you can do other than stand and watch horror-struck by the enormity of it all.
You know the accident’s about to happen and there is nothing you can do but perhaps wonder why you knew?
It has nothing to do with sixth senses, it is because the most powerful computer known to man, your brain, has gathered in all the previous experiences you have weighed in the balance and made a predictive analysis.
That is what is so strange about the current and past behaviour of the parents of the missing child Madeleine McCann.
They have started a court action defending their reputations in Lisbon because the former chief investigating officer Goncalo Amara, is accusing them of being involved in Madeleine’s disappearance. They have also started an action seeking a money settlement for the Portuguese equivalent of libel and in addition are taking on a Lisbon-based documentary production unit for reporting on the detective’s objected to book and the case.
Lisbon was never going to be a perfect spot for the McCann’s to start legal sparring and this week they were dealt what can only be termed a body-blow when the detective’s lawyers produced evidence the UK’s top criminal profiler has said there were “contradictions” in their statements and both should be treated as possible “homicide” suspects.
No arguments, no amount of reshuffling or clarifications can change that and the facts can not be forced back into the can of worms which the McCann parents themselves have allowed to be opened.
The background PR work after the Lisbon shocker has been impressive. The McCann lawyers strode from the courtroom and counter-claimed there were tens, hundreds or more sightings of the missing girl. The UK’s Red Tops dutifully followed the thread and reported the lawyer’s statement. My experience and training gave the brain the predictive text that this looked like a smoke screen, a damage limitation. The missing fact was all these sightings came after the McCann’s themselves had been released from Arguido, suspect, status. The case was archived. It was a cold, leading nowhere, case in the eyes of the top legal and police professionals in Portugal…the responsible authorities have no clues and have suspended work on the case.
It has already been said in these columns, taking on the Portuguese legal system was going to be a minefield but there is one question:
Who is taking the responsibility for the Risk Assessment for this McCann course of action?
Whoever it was needs to be replaced or kept out of the limelight.
Mass public opinion is turning. The McCanns are slipping lower and lower down the celebs’ to be seen with list, certainly no-longer A list and slightly embarrassing to be around according to some whispers.
The McCanns are innocent. No charges have been brought against anyone…except the Chief Investigating Police Officer, Goncalo Amaral.
A second question would have to be: Who on earth took the Risk Assessment decision Amaral was a buffoon an incompetent, bungling, Jacques Clouseau Pink Panther type of police officer?
Come on, wake up! Police officers do not rise through the ranks to positions of authority without being good thief-takers and being very good at spotting the wrongness of something.
Amaral is tougher than the baying section of Britain’s media has portrayed.
The McCanns are becoming battered and worn by this. Just look at their recent photographs. The child is still missing, lost, gone. Arguments still rage over the rightness or wrongness of it all.
Something is judgementally wrong in the Risk Assessments taken here. This week has been hugely damaging to the McCann’s and their cause. The information given this week in the Lisbon court can no longer be ignored or forgotten. It will have a high cost and one of the costs are potential new helpers and donations to the campaign of finding the child.
Daily Star Page 7: “Maddie SHOCK”
The Portuguese appeal court judges “ordered” the McCanns to pay “full legal fees of the three-year hearing”. The McCanns have “instructed lawyers to appeal against the new ruling”. But the judges call Amaral’s book a “legitimate exercise in the right to express an opinion”. Portugal was once a police state. Free speech is enshrined. The lawyers’ appeal looked doomed.
We then get a rapid-fire vox pop. The McCanns deny Amaral’s claims. A “pal” says they are “seething”. Their spokesman Clarence Mitchell says, “It is a matter for Kate and Gerry’s lawyers to deal with .”
The Sun (front page): “MADDIE: Agony for McCanns as cop wins libel case”
Page 4: “Hunt Hit By Cash Crisis – Maddie £430k Libel Loss Blow – Tec wins against McCanns”
The payment “deprives the Maddie Fund o9f cash to keep the nine-year search going”. Private cash. But not public purse monies. That continues to be spent on the search.
Daily Mirror (Page 7): “Bungling cop in libel triumph over the McCanns”
Is every policeman who fails to solve a case a bungler?
And then we get to the money. The cash Amaral was ordered to pay the McCanns never left his account. All payments – £360,000 and £76,000 in interest – was held until the appeal judges had ruled. The money never came out of the Maddie Fund, did it? It was never in the Fund.
Daily Express (Page 8): “McCanns ‘seething’ as Maddy detective overturns book ruling”
We finally hear from the McCanns’ legal aide. Their Portuguese lawyer, Isable Duarte, “said she was ‘disappointed’ but not surprised” at the ruling.
Daily Mail (Page 30): “McCanns suffer £395k libel loss”
Page 30. The story continues – but less and less people are listening to it.
Daily Mirror (front page): “Maddie Police: We Hope to Find Her Alive”
Well, yes. Of course they do. They’re not ghouls.
Mick Duthie, the police chief leading the “hunt” for the missing child, says, “We hope that we will fine her alive.”
Page 5: “There is always a possibility that we’ll find her…work still needs to be done.”
Got that about the possibility of news? It’s PR-speak for, “We haven’t found her.” With, as the Mirror states, £12m spent on the search so far, police are keen to show they’ve made progress. If Duthie does know what happened to the child, he’s not letting on. He says, “We want to find her alive” but “If she’s been murdered…” She might be alive. She might be dead. Maybes.
Daily Star (front page): “Maddie Search Sensation”
Oh, go on. We’ll play along. What is the sensational news?
It is news that cops “hope to find her alive”. Read. All. About. It.
Page 7: “Top Maddie Cop: New Maddie Clues”
Joe Kasper writes: “Detective Chief Superintendent Mick Duthie says detectives are still pursuing “justifiable and reasonable” leads. No. What he said was that if the police needed more money to find Madeleine McCann, they would ask for it: “There is a missing girl and is she has been murdered and if we think we have got reasonable and justifiable lines of inquiry to pursue then they should be dealt with.”
The Sun (Page 6): “Cops ‘ no closer’ to locating Maddie.”
So much for the Star’s new leads sensation.
Duthie says cops “do not have a ‘full understanding’ what happened to her or why she was taken”.
Mentions of murder: nil.
Daily Express (front page): “Police: Maddy could Still Be Alive”
No body. No proof of anything.
Page 7: “Madeleine police follow up new leads”
Number of new leads mentioned by police: nil.
As another anniversary of Madeleine McCann’s vanishing looms into view, and the news cycle picks up the PR, we learn that nothing has change. Child disappears. And that’s the sum of all the facts.
Daily Mail: “Detectives believe the missing youngster could still be found alive”
Progress: nil. We are still in the lyrical land of “could” and “believe”. Time moves on but the single thread story of the child who vanished in 2007 is snared. The Mail notes the words of Detective Chief Superintendent Mick Duthie. He’s been speaking with the London Evening Standard. We read:
Detective Chief Superintendent Mick Duthie, the head of the Yard’s homicide squad…
Homicide? Is that significant? We are clutching at straws. No evidence whatsoever any harm befell Madeleine McCann, let alone murder.
…said officers were pursuing “justifiable and reasonable” leads in the investigation into the missing three year-old.
Good. Get on with it. Best of luck.
He was speaking weeks after the Home Secretary Theresa May granted police £95,000 to extend the five year old inquiry for a further six months.
This is about money, then, and value in how it’s spent.
Mr Duthie, who is in overall charge of the investigation Operation Grange, said: “There is ongoing work. There is always a possibility that we will find Madeleine and we hope that we will find her alive. That’s what we want and that’s what the family and the public want and that is why the Home Office continue to fund it. There is work that needs to be done still. “
The police chief admitted detectives did not have a “full understanding” of what happened to Madeleine or why she was taken but added: “That is why the work continues. “
Full understanding? Is that another way of saying they don’t know what happened to her?
He told the Standard: “There is a missing girl and if she has been murdered and if we think we have got justifiable and reasonable lines of inquiry to pursue then they should be dealt with.”
Murder. He said it. That’s grim. He added:
“The investigation continues. We go to the Home Office every six months. We have a smaller team dealing with it because we have less inquiries to deal with but we still have a job to do. I imagine that if we have not completed our inquiries within six months we will go back to the Home Office and ask for more money.”
We told you that.
He refused to give further details about the inquiry but confirmed that detectives were still examining possible links to a series of burglaries in the Algrarve area at the time Madeleine went missing.
If. Could. Possible. A child vanished. And that’s what we know.
The Sun (Page 15): “Maddie haunt get another 6 months”
News that £95,000 in “extra funding” has been earmarked to find the missing child “brings fresh hope to parents Kate and Gerry McCann”. We hear from “gran Susan Healy”, who says the police “must think it is worth continuing. We are very grateful.”
We also hear from the McCanns’ PR Clarence Mitchell, who says the family “have enough money left in the Madeleine Fund” to pay for private detectives.
The Mirror (Page 7): “Maddie hunt can carry on”
The money has comes from Home Secretary Theresa May, we’re told.
Daily Star (Page 14): “Six Months to Find Maddie”
Really? No. There is extra money for six months more police work. Then… Well, why with £12m invested in the investigation would police and the holders of the public purse baulk at another £100,000? This one will carry on.
Such are the facts…
The paper says “the Home Office has set a budget for this year of just under £95,000, which will pay for only half a year of investigations by the team of four working on the case.” So, not six months to find the Madeleine McCann, then. Six months until the latest tranche of cash runs out. And then..?
Once the money runs out in the autumn, Scotland Yard will almost certainly shelve Operation Grange, their five-year review and investigation, which has cost close to £12million but has failed to bring anyone to justice or discover what happened to Madeleine.
The paper had us right up to “almost”. “Almost certainly” is another way of saying “definitely uncertainly”. We then get to the missing child’s parents:
Soon the child’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, face the emotionally daunting prospect of paying for a new private investigation with a war chest of some £750,000, raised largely through sales of Kate’s widely praised book on the enduring mystery.
They have paid for private detectives before. Having speculated on the money, the police hunt and the McCann’s state of mind, the Express has a few facts:
At the height of the Yard’s inquiries more than 30 detectives and support staff were working on Operation Grange, based at Belgravia police station in central London. When the inquiry was in full swing a team of specially trained officers carried out detailed searches of carefully chosen scrubland near where Madeleine was taken at Praia da Luz on the Algarve on May 3, 2007.
And that is it. Although we do get to hear from the Home Office:
A Home Office spokeswoman said: “Following a request from the Metropolitan Police Service, we have agreed to provide nearly £95,000 of further funding. The funding reflects the reduced scale of the investigation, which was announced by the force last year.”
Such are the facts.
The Sun has a loaded headline:
Joy for Ben Needham’s mum as cops given extra £450k to find missing son – while Maddie hunt totals £11M
Are the two cases of British children who vanished on overseas trips connected? Why else would Madeleine McCann’s name be invoked in a headline about Ben Needham?
SOUTH Yorkshire Police have been given an extra £450,000 to find missing Ben Needham as the 25th anniversary of his disappearance draws near. Police were granted £700k by the Home Office last January for more resources into the investigation, but that money will have run out by the end of the month.
Good news. The disappearance of Ben Needham is an open sore. But then this:
The amount given to Operation Ben still pales in significance compare to the £11 million spent on Madeleine McCann’s search fund.
A great deal of money has been invested / spent on the hunt for Madeleine McCann. Good. Let’s hope we get to know what happened to her. The problem is not what is spent, rather what is not. Do you think it unfair that the case of one missing child gets more public cash than another because, like the media and police who stand accused of picking blondes over blacks and rich over poor, there is bias at work?
If you want to compare what is spent on what, it might be better wondering how much has been spent on the hunt for other children who vanished in the UK, like, say Charlene Downes? She disappeared 12 years ago from her home in Blackpool, Lancashire, when aged 14. There is a £100,000 reward on offer for information leading to, well, something. Was she murdered, as Paige Chivers was? Paige went missing from her Blackpool home on 23 August 2007. She was 15. Three days later her feckless father reported her missing. The police operator recorded the year of Paige’s birth incorrectly – as 1962 not 1992 – and that she had left home voluntarily. Police were looking for a 45-year-old woman who had left home of her own accord. On 7 September the error was rectified.
Paige had sought help from Robert Ewing, 37 years her senior. Ewing, a known paedophile, had groomed Paige for sex. To keep her quiet, he murdered her. In July 2015, Ewing was convicted of murder at Preston Crown Court. His co-defendant, Gareth Dewhurst, 46, was convicted of disposing of her body three days later.
How much cash was spent investigating the disappearances of these two girls from impoverished backgrounds? How much police work has gone into either investigation?
The BBC provides notes:
Less than a fortnight before her disappearance, Ewing “tested the water” with police when he contacted them anonymously and said a “problem child” had turned up on his doorstep after being thrown out by her father. The prosecution said Ewing had wanted to see what official reaction there would be to a 15-year-old girl turning up on the doorstep of a 52-year-old man. “The answer he learned… was very little,” said Brian Cummings QC.
Back to the Sun’s story of stolen lives and money:
But it is still a promising step for Ben’s heartbroken mum Kerry Needham, as the government agreed to hand over more cash to find her long-lost son. Kerry said: “Please end the pain my family are suffering. I know he’s out there somewhere, please call the detectives and put an end to it.”
Ben was 21-months-old when he disappeared on July 24 1991 as he played outside the house his grandparents’ farmhouse in Kos.
Resources are finite, of course. But where police chose to spend their money and time should not be a decision triggered by media pressure.
Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child.
Daily Star (front page): “Maddie is potted in Paraguay”
A “massive police hunt” is underway in Paraguay, says the Star, which adds that this is “Paraguay, South America”, and must not to be confused with any other Paraguay.
Page 9: “Copes Probing Maddie Sighting in Paraguay”
Is the missing child “living in custody of a woman in the city of Aregua”? Was British private eye Miraz Ullah Ali, who “praised the alarm”, right to believe sources who told him the child arrived in Paraguay “a month or two ago” as “sources” told his “team”?
The paper adds: “He says wealthy well-wishers were offering a 2million euro reward for information leading to the youngster’s safe return.”
Daily Mirror (Page 9): “‘I saw Maddie’ claim denied
Claims made by Briton Miraz Ullah Ali Isa (his name keeps on growing) have been “dismissed”.
So much for the “massive” police search, then.
Not other news in the British Press, os we go to AS Color in Paraguay (South America), where this story first aired.
We learn that many locals have now claimed the “juicy reward” – “part of that reward was posted by English magnate Richard Branson”. That reward still stands? In 2007, the BBC reported:
Rewards totalling £2.5m have been offered to anyone who can help with information leading to the safe return of Madeleine McCann. The News of the World and businessmen including Sir Richard Branson have jointly pledged £1.5m. Scottish tycoon Stephen Winyard has offered £1m.
The NoTW is no more.
The News of the World has promised £250,000 – matching the contribution of Top Shop owner Sir Philip Green.
Such are the facts.
The Mail: “Heartache for McCann family as authorities debunk reports missing Madeleine is living ‘in the custody of a woman’ in Paraguay following claims by British ‘private eye'”
Is that huge reward still on offer, the one the News of the World put up?
British man Miraz Ullah Ali Isa, who claims to be a private eye, had said Maddie was living ‘in the custody of a woman’ in the city of Aregua. His claims are believed to have triggered a major search involving four local police stations, an anti-kidnapping division and Interpol.
Claims. Claims. Believed. Any more facts?
Her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, had been informed of the reports and appealed for anyone with information to come forward. But investigators have now debunked the alleged sighting and questioned the credibility of researcher Miraz Ullah Ali Isa.
Maybe he just made an honest mistake? Many others have seen her in – deep breath:
Canada,Italy, Sweden, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Majorca,Belgium, Bosnia, France, Australia, Brazil,Wales, Malta, Italy, Germany, Austrialia, France, Dubai, Dorset, USA , India and New Zealand (by boat).
The Mail adds:
But the report is still understood to have sparked in investigation.
Any other names in this story?
Commissioner Sanny Amarilla, a deputy chief involved in the search, said four police stations, intelligence personnel from the Interior Ministry and Interpol divisions were involved in the search. He said: ‘We are investigating neighbourhoods where there are foreign citizens, villas, condos, to see if there is someone with a similar description that corresponds to the newspaper clipping. ‘This news stretches across the globe, it is very important. So if they are in the area we need to find this girl and return her to her family.’
But the allegations have now been dismissed by inspector Luis Ignacio Arias of Interpol in Paraguay, who said that his office had ‘nothing concrete’ about Isa’s identity. He told EFE the researcher had never contacted the National Police or the Foreign Ministry with his reported sighting.
The Sun: “‘Madeleine in Paraguay’: Cops launch manhunt after missing McCann is ‘spotted'”
More inverted commas, or are four in one headline enough? We hear more from the PI:
Ali told Color ABC: “My team and I received the information that Madeleine arrived in Paraguay a month or two ago and is living in Areguá in the custody of a woman.”
Such are the facts.
Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child.
Daily Star (front page): “Maddie: Parents ‘blamed'”
For what? Why? But whom? We soon get to know:
Katie Hopkins sparks fury by saying Maddie McCann’s parents ‘must share blame’
Katie Hopkins, for those of you blessedly not in the know, is a former contestant on The Apprentice TV show – the one on which ‘driven’ people try to win a job working for Alan Sugar in a Brentwood office block. Hopkins lost but did score a job belching ‘controversial’ opinions to deadline for the Sun newspaper and, remarkably, a TV show of her own. That all ended, meaning Katie now shouts exclusively on free-to-air Twitter.
The Star thinks her tweets worthy of its front page. Robin Cottle has created a story from a tweet:
She claimed Kate and Gerry McCann should take some blame for her disappearance.
The 41-year-old also insisted the heartbroken couple did not “deserve” the £11million of taxpayers’ cash shelled out to search for Madeleine.
This is in the Star, which once libelled Kate and Gerry McCann.
One Twitter user wrote: “Katie Hopkins victim blaming the McCanns suggests people have no self control, the blame lies with whoever wrongly took what wasn’t theirs.”
Good grief. This story had not made any progress.
Another added: “Yes they made a mistake. Thousands do the same every day and get away with it. Cruel for Hopkins to rub salt in it surely. How did she become our moral guide?”
Answer: when the Star wanted cheap filler.
But some supported the outspoken celeb, with one saying: “Agree with absolutely everything @KTHopkins has said about Maddie’s disappearance, she’s only saying what the rest of you think anyway.”
Always useful when talking of “outrage” to report both sides of the shouting match.
Having seduced readers with a limp story on the missing child, the report takes a jerking twist:
Madeleine went missing during a family holiday in Praia de Luz, Portugal, almost nine years ago. Meanwhile, Hopkins announced yesterday that she was about to go under the surgeon’s knife to cure her epilepsy.
“Meanwhile…” Even the Dallas TV show (‘Meanwhile…back at the Ranch’) didn’t jump around like a demented kangaroo – which might very well be writing both the Star’s reports and Katie’s tweets.
She told fans she will “see them on the other side” and claimed not to be scared about the brain operation.
For those of you not on Twitter, ‘the other side’ is thought to be a reference to Facebook.
Daily Star (front page): “MADDIE: Twins Secret torment”
The twins are the child’s siblings Sean and Amelie. Kate McCann has “for the first time revealed” what the children, aged 11, “feel about their sister’s disappearance”. Not true. In November 2009, the Mirror told us:
Madeleine McCann’s four-year-old twin siblings are now slowly grasping the horror of her abduction, their parents revealed yesterday. Heart specialist Gerry revealed: “They’re saying, ‘When we find who took her we will fight them’. That doesn’t come directly from us saying that.
And right at the start, back in 2007, the Sun told us:
“MADDIE COME HOME – Amelie hugs Maddie’s cuddle cat.”
The story of what Amelie and Sean feel continues on Page 8. The headline declares: “Kate: Twins Want Sister Maddie Back.” Not really a shock that, is it. Kids can be unpredictable and cruel, but no-one really expected the headline to declare the children happy their innocent sister is not by their side.
Matthew Young writes:
Madeleine McCann’s siblings says they wants her back. Parents Kate and Gerry have told twins Amelie and Sean, now 11, all about missing Maddie.”
At 11, you’d suppose they also read about her on the internet and, maybe, in newspapers – although what any child is doing with the Daily Star is one for the health experts.
Eventually we hear from Mrs McCann, whose words gave the Star a front-page scoop. “There is nothing kept from them,” she says. “They still raise money at school for the Find Madeleine Fund, which is great.”
In no other newspapers are Kate McCann’s words mentioned, let alone turned into a front-page sensation. Is the Daily Star attempting to make up for libelling the McCanns by keeping their missing child’s name in the news? Or is it just lazy reporting?
Maddie Watch: a look at reporting on Madeleine McCann, the child who vanished in 2007.
Daily Express (front page): “MADDY – Why I think our daughter is still alive and in Portugal”
Maddy – why is this front-page news?
On Page 7 we hear from “MUM KATE”. The headline assures us: “Maddy’s mum: We’ll never give up. I want and end, answer.”
We all do. The story has become all. The single fact – child vanishes – remains unaltered since 2007. The voracious media feeding frenzy has created victims of libel but shed no light on that fact.
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Maddie Watch: a look at reporting on Madeleine McCann, the child who vanished in 2007.
The Sun (front page): “McCann Exclusive”
What news is worthy of a front-page exclusive?
The headline declares: “Kate: Maddie still in Algarve.”
Does that mean we can stop looking for the missing child elsewhere?
KATE McCann yesterday said she believes her missing daughter Madeleine is still somewhere in the Algarve
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