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.

Madeleine McCann: Alipio Ribeiro’s Error, Another Madeleine And Days Of Anxiety

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

THE SUN: “Chief says sorry to Maddie cops”

“Police national director Alipio Ribeiro angered detectives probing the mystery and a judge even told him to shut up. Mr Ribeiro has now admitted he made an ‘error of expression’”

Mr Ribeiro’s opinion that the Portuguese police may have acted hastily in naming the McCanns as suspects was big news

“Cops in the Algarve are still trying to pin four-year-old Maddie’s disappearance last May on doctors Kate and Gerry, both 39, of Rothley, Leics”


“Lawyers for the pair want Portugal’s attorney general to clear them as official suspects, but that rarely happens before the end of an investigation”

DAILY MIRROR: “Top cop ‘sorry’ for McCann comment”

Alipio Riberio says it was a “slip of the tongue”. The Mirror says there are “calls for him to resign”, although from whom is not said

Says Carolos Pinto de Abreu, the McCanns’ lawyer: “The status of arguido runs until the end of the inquiry. However, during the inquiry there may be a change”


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Posted: 6th, February 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (898)

Madeleine McCann: A Pundit Says, Judge Eurico Reis Orders And The Sun Omits

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

THE SUN: “Shut up: Maddie cop by judge”

Police national director Alipio Ribeiro “stunned his men” by “admitting” the decision to make “doctors” Kate and Gerry McCann suspects was “hasty”

Judge Eurico Reis said it is “not the cop’s role to publicly comment on cases under investigation. The judge raged: ‘It is his duty to SHUT UP.’”

And: “Portugal’s top prosecutor Antonio Cluny branded Ribeiro’s comment ‘extremely worrying’” – Why worrying? Because of what he said? Or because a policeman has given his personal views about an ongoing case? The Sun fails to make this clear

The McCanns spokesman tells us: “You cannot have the head of the police force openly questioning the validity of the way in which they were made suspects and then not have a review”

Can’t you? Can someone expert in Portuguese law tells us if you can or cannot…


Alipis Ribero is on the radiop. Says Shanahan: “In effect, Mr Ribeiro is saying: ‘We never had any evidence agsint Kate and Gerry. We didn’t take Madeleine’s disappearance seriously… Some of our detectives thought Kate and Gerry looked dodgy. So we made them suspects and hoped something might turn up.”

The tabloids, meanwhile, look at “creepy” Robert Murat, also a suspect – you know, the one the Sun calls an “oddball” 


“TORMENTED Kate and Gerry McCann are to remain official suspects over their daughter’s disappearance. They hoped to have their ‘arguido’ status lifted after Portugal’s top cop Alipio Ribeiro admitted it may have been a mistake to put them in the frame. But government legal advisers yesterday denied they were planning to clear their names”

So the personal views of a policeman are not a deciding factor in an ongoing investigation?

“The 39-year-olds may be considered suspects for as long as the investigation continues – possibly years”

Read all about it!

DAILY MIRROR: “STILL SUSPECTS – Maddy probe team in row over letting McCanns off hook”

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Posted: 5th, February 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (958)

Martin Bell On Necro News And Madeleine McCann

MARIN Bell is a former television war correspondent and politician. He has this to say about the current state of TV news reporting:

Foreign news is expensive and dangerous. So in many cases newspapers and TV networks have abandoned it, retreating into a comfort zone of celebrity stories, consumer news, sport, health-scares and crime. Especially crime. In the last 10 years or so, a particular category has been climbing up the news agenda to a dominant position. I call these stories “necro-news”.

They are about the victimisation of girls and young women. The death or disappearance of anyone from a toddler to a princess is the signal for a media obsession with these stories to the virtual exclusion of all others. The coverage is mawkish, exploitative and highly speculative.

We saw this with the deaths of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in Soham, with the Ipswich murders in December 2006 and most conspicuously with the abduction of Madeleine McCann in Portugal in May last year.

The BBC now accepts, I believe, that it was wrong to give the story the wall-to-wall prominence that it did, or to send its leading anchors to Portugal to front the coverage. But it still found space for a Madeleine story in its first 10 O’Clock News, going head-to-head with ITN’s revamped News At Ten. Both programmes were awash with necro-news.

This “murder porn” news is cheap. It competes for an audience among those who watch TV news. Not everyone does. Many get their news via the internet, or have no interest in it…


Posted: 4th, February 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (28)

Madeleine McCann: Marcos Correia Knows, A Find And Jeremy Vargas

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

DAILY MIRROR front page: “DIVERS HUNT FOR MADDY IN LAKE – Underworld tip-off leads to fresh search”

“The hunt, near the Algarve resort where she went missing in May, followed an underworld tip-off to lawyer Marcos Correia

Says Marcos: “They told me she was thrown into a deserted lake with murky waters. I’m convinced this is the place”

Pages 4 and 5: “I believe this is where Madeleine’s body lies”

Mr Correaia is a “Good Samaritan”. He is paying for a team to search the lake. And the name of this lake? It’s the Barragem do Arade reservoir. The police have been here before

Marcos says: “I was able to identify the site on December 10 and immediately informed police. Who did nothing”

The Mirror says he was “ignored”

Says Marcos: “I got tried of waiting for them to act on my information, so I decided to act”
The police went to the reservoir in October, and here

“MY BOYS LOST TOO” – Jeremy Vargas is missing. He went missing form Gran Canaria eight weeks before Madeleine McCann vanished

Says Jeremy’s mum Ithaisa Suarez: “Police from Madrid told me that they have been in contact with Portuguese police investigating Madeleine”

DAILY STAR front page: “Maddie: Divers’ shock find at bottom of lake”
They’ve found here?

Page 12: “’Maddie’s body is in this lake’,” says Marcos Correia. Divers have made a “significant” find

It’s a…length of knotted cord “which could have been used to truss up a body”

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Posted: 4th, February 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (931)

Madeleine McCann: Alipio Ribeiro’s Thinks, Clarence Mitchell Knows And A Birthday

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

DAILY STAR ON SUNDAY: “MADDIE COPS SAYS SORRY – Police ‘too quick’ “to blame parents”

“A top policeman has sensationally admitted that making Gerry and Kate McCann suspects over their daughter Maddie’s disappearance was too ‘hasty’. Alipio Ribeiro, boss of the Portuguese department in charge of the investigation, dropped his bombshell in a radio interview”

Says Clarence Mitchell, the McCanns spokesman: “Now that the national director of the Policia Judiciaria apparently acknowledges that they should never have been made arguidos, it follows there is no case for them to answer.”


“As the couple bravely celebrated the third birthday of their twins, Sean and Amelie, one of Portugal’s most senior detectives admitted that making them suspects had been a “hasty” mistake”

Did Mr Alipio Ribeiro say “mistake” in his radio interview?

Says the paper: “The couple, both 39, said the official’s comments were tantamount to an admission that Portuguese detectives had bungled by centring their investigation on them.”

Says Mr Ribeiro to Portugal’s Radio Renascenca, owned by the Catholic Church:

“At this moment in time and speaking with the experience I have of Portugal’s Public Prosecution Service and the constitution of arguidos, I think there perhaps should have been another assessment before the McCanns were made official suspects.

“I don’t have any doubt about that. The national director of the Policia Judiciaria doesn’t give out orders on the constitution of arguidos but there was a certain hastiness”

Says the paper: “Last night Ribeiro was under growing pressure to stand down as national director of their country’s Policia Judiciaria”. Pressure from, whom?

MAIL ON SUNDAY: “”Police chief: We were too quick to make Gerry and Kate ‘arguidos’”

Says the Mail: “Kate and Gerry McCann’s bid to clear their names over the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine has been given a massive boost after the head of Portugal’s police admitted it had been a mistake to rush into making them official suspects”
Mr McCann says: “We need a breakthrough and this looks like it could be one. It is fantastic news. We still have a long way to go but people in Portugal need to understand what has been happening and what we have been going through. We know it will take the police a long time to accept what has been happening is wrong but it is an important step towards that”

Says the McCanns’ lawyer in Portugal, Carlos Pinto de Abreu: “Many people who may have vital information have possibly not come forward as they wrongly suspected the McCanns”

What about that huge reward, and doing the right thing? People may be deterred from coming forward for fear of being named in the media and questioned by Metodo 3, the McCann’s private investigators. But let us not speculate

SUNDAY PEOPLE: “MADDIE U-TURN – EXCLUSIVE Cops admit mistake on twins’ birthday”

“Kate and Gerry McCann threw a birthday bash for their twins yesterday – as a top cop admitted it was WRONG to name them as suspects over missing Maddie”

Well, Policia Judiciaria “boss” Alipio Ribeiro, said the police acted too hasilty. “Ribeiro last night faced calls to resign over the astonishing U-turn” – although from whom, the paper does not bother to say

Say the McCanns: “The support we have had from around the world has been amazing. It’s helped maintain our strength and hope and this has helped the search for our precious Madeleine. We believe there is a very good chance she is still alive. She deserves the love and security of her family. She needs to be back home with her mummy and daddy, brother and sister”

THE GUARDIAN: “Police chief says ‘we were too hasty’ in naming McCanns as suspects”

“In an interview to be aired on Portuguese radio today, Alípio Ribeiro, the national director of the Polícia Judiciária, will concede that police may have acted too soon in making Kate and Gerry McCann formal suspects, known in Portugal as arguidos. His comments were interpreted last night by the McCanns as a tacit admission that the police were wrong to name them as being involved in the disappearance of their four-year-old daughter”

Madeleine McCann: speculation, suspicion and sensation 

Posted: 3rd, February 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (890)

Madeleine McCann: Alipio Ribeiro’s Police Acted In Haste

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

Alipio Ribeiro, head of the Policia Judiciaria, is in interview with Portugal’s Radio Renascenca.

He says said there was a “certain hastiness” in making the McCanns suspects.

Says the McCanns’ spokesman, Clarence Mitchell: “Now the national director of the Policia Judiciaria apparently accepts they should not have been made arguido, it follows that there is no case for Kate and Gerry to answer”

Is that what he said? Or did Mr Ribeiro say they police might have acted with a “certain hastiness”? Is something being lost in translation?

Says Mr Mitchell: “”As I have consistently said, Kate and Gerry are entirely innocent of any involvement in the disappearance of Madeleine.”

He goes on:

“If the Portuguese police, under Mr Ribeiro, now do the only proper thing by eliminating Kate and Gerry from their inquiry, they and our own investigators can work together rapidly and effectively to find Madeleine and to bring those responsible for her abduction to justice.”

And the arguido status is intended as a kind of protection, giving those involved in investigations more rights than witnesses.

DAILY TELEGRAPH: “Police ‘haste’ in making McCanns suspects”

Says Alipio Ribeiro, “perhaps should have been another assessment” before Kate and Gerry McCann were declared “arguidos”

Says Clarence Mitchell: “What has been lacking so far is formal liaison with the police. If Kate and Gerry are no longer arguidos perhaps there will be better co-ordination, and the police and our investigators can act rapidly to find Madeleine”

But they are arguidos

HELIUM: “Thinking The Unthinkable: Did Madeleine McCann’s parents kill her?”

YES – a writer specualtes

NO – a writer speculates

Posted: 2nd, February 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (113)

Madeleine McCann: Family Holiday Survey

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

DAILY TELEGRAPH: “Madeleine McCann disappearance putting parents off hotel childcare”

“Parents are less likely to use hotel baby childcare services following the disappearance of three-year-old Madeleine McCann while on holiday in Portugal last year”

Mum and dad are spending more time with the nippers, as a family…

“A survey by family travel website showed that 62 per cent of parents were now less likely to leave their children alone in their room using baby listening, or in the care of hotel or resort staff”

So no hard facts, just a survey. Are people using baby listening services less?

“The tragic disappearance of Madeleine McCann has obviously had a dramatic effect on parents’ attitudes,” says Lucy Ace, managing director of

“Such incidents are extremely rare but it has definitely made parents re-evaluate their holiday childcare – whether it’s baby listening or even qualified babysitting.”

Says the paper: “However, a quarter of those polled said recent news stories had had no effect on their attitudes”

Did you get the name of her company? It’s called Take the family – a holiday firm that wants mum and dad to spend more time with the children, as a family. Now look at the facts…

UPDATES to follow

Madeleine McCann: Spreading the fear

Posted: 2nd, February 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (425)

Madeleine McCann: Britney Spears, Lolita And Birthday Cards

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

DAILY MAIL: “Woolworths forced to withdraw LOLITA bedroom furniture range for girls”

The Lolita Midsleeper Combi, a wooden bed with pull-out desk and cupboard designed for girls aged around six, retails on the Woolworths website for £349.99

The name has “sexual connotations”. A “mother” sees it and writes: “Am I being particularly sensitive, or does anyone else out there think it’s bad taste for Woolies to have a kiddy bed range named ‘Lolita’?”

Well, you don’t have to buy it…

A spokesman for the company says: “What seems to have happened is the staff who run the website had never heard of Lolita, and to be honest no one else here had either. We had to look it up on Wikipedia. But we certainly know who she is now”

Trusting Wikipedia for information has its own dangers. (And look out for an article on the state of British education.) But no danger is bigger than a bed named, perhaps, in honour of a charcter in a novel by Vladimir Nabokov

Or Lolita the killer whale

Or Lolita Fatjo, pre-production coordinator for Star Trek

Or many other women called Lolita

“On-line parent power has been growing in recent years. In 2006 Tesco stopped selling a pole-dancing kit on its website over accusations it was destroying children’s innocence. And last summer an on-line campaign by Mumsnet resulted in a cinema advert about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann stopped from being screened before the children’s film Shrek the Third

THE TIMES: “Staff at Woolworths baffled by fuss over the little girl’s bed called Lolita”

“Woolworths has withdrawn bedroom furniture for young girls bearing the sexually charged name Lolita after a campaign waged by a mothers’ online chat room”

An internal company e-mail seen by The Times goes: “As discussed, we’ve got the product below on our website. Can it be hidden as soon as is possible? Then I really need to find out how it came about being on our site and who bought it. Lolita is a word that means sexually active young teenagers, so a young girls’ range of bedroom products is in very poor taste. We’ve had an approach from a website who are clearly a little disturbed by this”

THE SUN: “Gift from Maddie for twins”

No, not furniture

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Posted: 1st, February 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (1,022)

Is It Too Soon For A Madeleine McCann Movie?

IN today’s Madeldeine McCann Watch, Peter Bradshaw asks: “How soon is too soon for a movie based on a news story?”

Anorak takes a look: 

Raid On Entebbe (1976) – Victory at Entebbe, Raid On Entebbe & Entebbe: Operation Thunderbolt (all 1978)

Gianni Versace killed (1997) – The Versace Murder (1998)

9/11 (2001) – United 93 & World Trade Center (both 2006)

Charge Of The Light Brigade (1854) – The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936)

Mass suicide by Jim Jones’ Peoples’ Temple cult (1978) – Guyana: Cult of the Damned (1980)

Bloody Sunday (1972) – Bloody Sunday (2002)

Deaths of rappers Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls (1997) – Biggie and Tupac (2002)

Veronica Guerin murdered in Dublin (1996) – Veronica Guerin (2006)

Azaria Chamberlain is killed at Ayures Rock (1980) – A Cry in the Dark (1988)

John Reginald Christie, mass murderer (1940 to 1953) – 10 Rillington Palce (1971)

Great Train Robbery (1963) – The Great St. Trinian’s Train Robbery (1966)

Madeleine McCann…

Posted: 31st, January 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (66)

Madeleine McCann: The McCanns, The Media, Bile And The Enigmatic Deadpan Film

madeleine_mccann2.jpgMADDYWATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann


A letter of appeal from the Portuguese police requesting Kate McCann’s diary, Gerry McCann’s laptop, Madeleine McCann’s Cudle Cat and featuring a list of 100 questions for the “Tapas Seven” has not been sent. The paper says the police forgot to

The official are “bungling”. A “friend” says: “It’s a fiasco”

In Madrid “hundreds” of balloons were released “in honour of Madeleine”. And: “Children also held up pictures of the four-year-old”

Parents look on. Hands are held tighter. It could have been you. What is the purpose of this event? Is this spreading the fear and the anxiety?

THE GUARDIAN: “Before the dust settles – Movie-makers used to wait until news stories were over before moving in. Not any more, writes Peter Bradshaw

The Madeleine McCann Movie

“Gerry McCann has confirmed that he took a preliminary meeting with a representative from IMG, an entertainment agency associated with the company who made Touching the Void – although these particular film-makers have themselves denied any interest”

Will the film be made?

Asks Bradshaw: “How soon is too soon for a movie based on a news story? Two real events are threatening to transform themselves into celluloid with dizzying speed: the 2006 Securitas robbery in Tonbridge, over which a five-man gang was recently convicted of stealing £53m, and the kidnap of Madeleine McCann in 2007 – for which, of course, no one has been convicted at all”

What kind of film with the McCann movie be?

“If the Securitas film becomes a mockney geezer film, then the McCann film would almost certainly play in another mode entirely: the Enigmatic Deadpan genre. Family dysfunction documentaries such as Capturing the Friedmans and My Kid Could Do That are all the rage, and I wonder if the McCanns quite realise the manner of mysterious neutrality in which they would inevitably be represented? If the film is made now, the McCanns cannot expect any film-maker simply to state that they are innocent. The film would show their day-to-day campaign, and there would be plenty of interviews with them looking uncomfortable, lots of odd silences. There would, I suspect, be no voiceover, just plenty of unanswered questions hanging in the air. And this would not necessarily be in bad faith: without the case being cleared up, no other approach is possible”

ROY GREENSLADE: “The McCanns’ debate: from banality to an outpouring of bile”

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Posted: 31st, January 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (729)

Clarence Mitchell And A Debate On The McCanns And The Media

clarence-mitchell-mccann.jpgOVER the news wires: “Madeleine’s parents ‘not suspects'”

Says Clarence Mitchell: “I have never once seen or heard anything from either of them to give me any cause for suspicion in any shape or form.

“I have also had briefings privately from the police and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) centre that also gave me complete reassurance that the authorities, in this country certainly, are treating this as a case of rare stranger abduction, as they call it.”

Mr Mitchell says he feels “shamed” as a former reporter by the “sloppiness” and “laziness” of certain journalists in covering the story of the missing child.

Anorak has been commenting on just this for months…

Mr Mitchell was speaking at a debate on The McCanns and the Media at the London School of Economics.

He adds: “What we have taken issue with, and our lawyers continue to review, is the aspect of coverage that is not only distorted but wilfully misrepresentative at times of the facts as we know them or the lack of facts. In that vacuum I’m afraid some very sloppy standards have crept in.”

He singled out “the sloppiness and laziness of some of the journalists, and the lack of independence of thought and checking of facts”.

Mr Mitchell said he understood putting a story about Madeleine’s disappearance on the front page could add 70,000 sales to some newspapers, meaning there was “definitely a commercial imperative” to reporting on the case. He assured the audience they could be certain that “every single one” of the negative stories they read or heard about the McCanns was untrue.

But wasn’t it the Independent on Sunday that reported: “Maddy’s off the front page”:

“Followers of the Madeleine McCann story have been able to depend on the ‘Evening Standard’ to clear the front page for any development. So how come a potential breakthrough, with police looking into the disappearance of another little girl near Praia da Luz, was buried on page 17? The answer is: sales fell by 10,000 the last two times Maddy made the cover, so the news desk have been told to curb their Maddy enthusiasm. If only they’d tell the ‘Express’ to do likewise.”

As for the McCanns being innocent, all we know is that they deny harming their daughter but remain on the Portuguese police’s list of suspects, along with Robert Murat….

Posted: 30th, January 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (168)

Madeleine McCann: Jacqui Smith, Global Warming And Legal Action

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


“The investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann is being stalled by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, it was claimed last night. Police chiefs in Portugal are said to be frustrated at Home Office delays over a formal request to question Kate and Gerry McCann”

Now the Portuguese police are ganging up on The Home Secretary

A Portuguese police source tells us: “It is very strange that we have heard nothing. There seems to be no sense of urgency. We cannot proceed until these interrogations have been carried out”

Says a Home Office spokesman: “We have not received a formal request concerning the investigation. It is not appropriate to comment further”

DAILY MIRROR: “Madeleine McCann: Police quiz delay”

“Portuguese police have still not asked permission to quiz Gerry and Kate McCann about Maddy again – four months after saying they would.
Bungling detectives claim a request was sent to Britain more than three weeks ago but last night the Home Office confirmed nothing had arrived”

So it’s not Jacqui Smith’s fault? You can come out now, Jacqui…

Says the McCanns’ spokesman Clarence Mitchell: “Any inconsistencies the police believe exist in their evidence can be cleared up very quickly and then we hope Kate and Gerry’s names will be cleared. This cannot happen soon enough”

MAKING CRIME PAY, by Sue Carroll

“Metodo 3 (which last year claimed it knew where Madeleine was and said she would be home by Christmas) has 40 investigators working on the case. It’s been reported that each has a replica of Cuddle Cat, Madeleine’s favourite toy, which they are encouraged to squeeze when they feel ‘demotivated’ by the size of their task. If that doesn’t work, perhaps a glance at their weekly pay cheques might help”

THE TIMES: “Green issues matter for holidaymakers – Before booking breaks, Britons are demanding that holiday companies take a responsible approach to the environment”

Madeleine McCann and global warming?

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Posted: 30th, January 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (755)

Madeleine McCann: Four, Three Men, DNAboost And Risk

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

DAILY STAR: “Cops slam pics of Maddie suspects – Innocent people are put at ‘risk’”

“Four” people who look like the drawings inspired by holidaymaker Gail Cooper have now been questioned by police

So says the Star. Although on closer inspection Jose Marques plus Joaquim Agostinho plus a Portuguese builder in Gibraltar makes three, not four

Celebrity criminologist Francisco Moita Flores says: “It is manipulation and propaganda.” No, not the Star’s reporting, rather the sketches

DAILY MAIL: “Fourth man questioned in Maddie e-fit probe”

When is an e-fit a drawing? Compare and contrast

The Mail sees the Portuguese builder questioned and then freed. “At least” three other men have been questioned

THE SUN: “SUPER DNA ‘WILL CLEAR McCANNS – They welcome new-style forensic tests”

A tiny sample is, reportedly, found in the McCanns’ Renault Scenic hire car. How did it get there? From her clothes, say the McCanns. “Another theory was that Maddie’s younger brother and sister may have similar DNA,” says the Sun

And there’s a new test. It’s called DNAboost. DNAboost “can separate or ‘clarify’ profiles and unravel tiny samples”

With DNAboost what you thought had gone comes back with a bang!

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Posted: 29th, January 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (930)

Another Madeleine McCann Joke

gordon-brown.jpgWHEN is it too early to make a joke of a tragedy?

Rory Bremner’s Channel 4 show has a sketch:

Two men in a pub: “One of the characters says: ‘I don’t trust Gordon Brown… I wouldn’t be surprised if the night before the election he went on television and said ‘look what I found’ and held up little Maddie McCann.”

Says Ofcom, thre broadcasting watchdog: “The idea that politicians might be insensitive enough to attempt to exploit the tragedy surrounding the disappearance of Madeleine McCann to their advantage was consistent with the general purpose of the sketch

“Whilst perhaps painful for some viewers to have been reminded of Madeleine McCann’s disappearance, we concluded the suggestion that politicians might consider cynically using such an event to their advantage justified the inclusion of such a reference in this satirical sketch”

That’s the official ruling on a TV joke, folks. There’s another McCann joke here. And here.

You’ll be told when to laugh…

Posted: 29th, January 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (118)

Madeleine McCann: Tabloid Snap, Metodo 3 PD and McCanns Innocent

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


“A loner who looks like a drawing of a ‘creepy’ Madeleine McCann suspect has denied any links to her disappearance”

Joaquim Agostinho says: “It’s not me in the picture. I accept that the drawing looks like me”

The Mirror reports: “The former cockle picker, who lives in Altura, 90 miles from Praia da Luz, added: ‘I did not kill Madeleine and I’ve never been to Praia da Luz. I cannot even drive’”

But still his picture is in the paper in connection with a story about a missing child. Fingers are pointed

MADELEINE in Chile. What news of that? “Yesterday, police ruled out a “Madeleine” sighting in Chile after the girl was identified as American Haylee Dreyer, six”

DAILY EXPRESS front page: “MADELEINE – Amazing lookalike: ‘I did not kidnap and kill her’”

Mr Agostinho looks like an artist’s impression of man whom British tourist Gail Cooper says she saw acting hanging around Praia da Luz. He is the “oddball


Matches. Like in a game of snap? Snap! Snap! Snap!

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Posted: 28th, January 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (1,332)

How Anorak Handles The Madeleine McCann Story

IN Battered an Bewildered, Anorak moderators look at how to handle the Madeleine McCann story and the reactions to it…

Read it here

Posted: 28th, January 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (17)

Madeleine McCann: Joaquim Agostinho Gives His Friends A Laugh

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

DAILY MAIL: “A Portuguese drifter who strongly resembles Madeleine McCann’s suspected kidnapper has been spotted at an Algarve resort”


“Joaquim Agostinho was seen in Altura last week after two British tourists complained they had been followed by a prowler who looked ‘identical’ to a sketch of the alleged kidnapper.

Says Mr Agostinho, who denies any involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance: “I did not kill Madeleine and I’ve never been to Praia da Luz.”

Says Gail Cooper: ” He’s the spitting image of the man I saw three times at the resort where Madeleine vanished.”

News Of The World: Says Mr Agostino:  “I cannot even drive. I accept that the drawing looks like me. All my friends have been laughing about it”

Fingers are pointing…  

Posted: 27th, January 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (81)

Madeleine McCann: Duarte Levy, Clarence Mitchell And The Daily Mirror

mccanns-clarence-mitchell.jpgDUARTE Levy writes on the case of Madeleine McCann. He alleges that that Clarence Mitchell, the McCanns’ PR adviser, is “using the Government’s services to keep watch on journalists and forum participants.” Says Mr Levy:

Clarence Mitchell, the McCann’s PR adviser and spokesman, continues to make use of the British government’s services despite having officially resigned from his position as director of the Media Monitoring Unit*. The accusation comes from a Home Office source who has stated that the outgoing director had called upon his former service to keep a watch not only on several journalists but also on the behaviour of participants in a list of forums and blogs considered to be “highly detrimental to the image of the McCanns and that of the British government”.

Can what Mr Levy alleges be true? And if it is, why would it be a big deal for the McCanns’ spokesman to keep an eye on the web, and get what help he can? Mr Levy continues:

Clarence Mitchell, a former journalist for the Daily Express and the BBC, was seconded by the Foreign Office to act as a liaison officer between the media and Madeleine’s parents. Through the intermediary of the respective British embassies, it was he who organised the McCann’s visits to the Vatican, Madrid, Berlin, Amsterdam and Rabat.

Since the very early days, media monitoring has been an important part of Clarence Mitchell’s work. While the McCann’s were in Praia da Luz, it was he who decided to separate journalists according to nationality: the British first, and the Portuguese last.

Today, the McCann’s PR campaign relies more than ever on monitoring public opinion: over the past few days several UK forums and blogs have been shut down due to “anti-McCann” comments. Amongst them is the Mirror newspaper’s forum, which erased all comments about the case without warning when the participants started to debate Home Office interference.

No response from Mr Mitchell is quoted in Mr Levy’s email to us. But why did the Daily Mirror close its forum? Anyone from those forums care to tell us what they know?

Anorak’s monitoring team try to read all reader comments – of which there are thousands.

Posted: 27th, January 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (741)

Madeleine McCann In Chile, Maybe

MADELEINE McCann may be in Chile.

Police chief Segundo Leyton, head of the police unit specialised in the search of missing people, said the investigation was ordered after a man, who was not identified by name, reported seeing “a couple of foreigners” with a girl who looked like Madeleine in the city of Vicuna, 500 kilometres, (350 miles) north of Santiago.

Is this the first sighting in South America?

Leyton said, the unidentified man, a refrigeration technician, told police that the man he saw looked very much like a suspected kidnapper of Madeleine whose artist’s sketch was released recently by the girl’s parents.

Leyton told AP Television there is “similarity of 90-percent” between the man spotted in Vicuna and the artist’s sketch of the suspected kidnapper. “The physical signs of the child are coincident with the minor in question,” he said.

This is an update on Anorak’s Maddy round-up – HERE

Posted: 26th, January 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (76)

Madeleine McCann: Oprah Winfrey, Barbara Walters And Rape

pope-oprah.pngMADDYWATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann


“AMERICA’S top chat show hosts are locked in a bidding war for an exclusive interview with the parents of Madeleine McCann. Oprah Winfrey and Barbara Walters have each pledged £1million in an attempt to get them in front of the TV cameras, it emerged yesterday”

Winfrey and Walters – the Pope and Queen Mother of Ameican TV chatter…

Do those shows take advertising? They do. What will the ad-breaks induce viewers to buy? What is the point of the interview? The McCanns cannot discuss the case.

Says the McCanns’ spokesman Clarence Mitchell: “We are not in the market for selling Kate and Gerry’s story to the highest bidder. And we are not impressed by big names. We talk to media from all over the world”

But money is important. The fighting fun is running low

DAILY MAIL: “Kate and Gerry McCann in £1million deal to tell all to Oprah Winfrey”

“Kate and Gerry McCann are at the centre of a bidding war between Oprah Winfrey and Barbara Walters.

“Both celebrities are desperate to land an exclusive deal for the couple to talk about their missing daughter. If it goes ahead, it will be the largest publicly-known amount ever paid for a broadcast interview”

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Posted: 26th, January 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (730)

Madeline McCann: Joaquim Jose Marques, Pigs And The Man In The Sketch

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

THE SUN: “COPS QUIZ PIG FARMER – Is this man in Maddie sketch?”

Joaquim Jose Marques is pictured holding a gun. He is smoking a cigarette. The Sun wonders if he is the man in recently released “kidnapper” sketch?

He lives in a house eight miles from Praia da Luz. Portuguese police have spoken with him twice

He sees the Sun’s man coming. He asks: “Look at this face. Is this the face in the picture?”
Says Gail Coooper, whose statement to private detectives led to the sketch: “The hair is different and the skin tone is darker”

So Marques is not the man… Next!

DAILY STAR front page: “MADDIE: WE FIND WEIRDO SUSPECT – He comes out packing a gun”

A Daily Star reporter is on your doorstep; so too a hack from the Sun. Do you grab a gun?
“EXCLUSIVE,” says the Star. “The weirdo whose image is on a million posters in the Madeleine McCann hunt was traced by the Daily Star – and threatened to shoot our man with his rifle”

The Star is certain

“The ‘creepy’ prowler fingered in the hunt for Madeleine McCann was last night revealed as a penniless pig farmer … with a gun”

The Star is very certain. And the police?

“Police are certain Joaquim Jose Marques is the suspicious stranger spotted lurking in Praia da Luz a fortnight before Madeleine vanished”

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Posted: 25th, January 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (1,108)

Madeleine McCann: Another Robert Murat, Maddy At The Oscars And Posters

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


Meet Praia da Luz estate agent Angus Symington (pictured). Look like anyone? Robert Murat, perhaps?

“Their resemblance shows that witnesses who claim they saw Mr Murat outside the McCanns’ apartment on the night Madeleine vanished may have named the wrong man. Expatriate Mr Murat has always insisted he was with his mother”

Doesn’t Robert Murat also look like David Payne?

Says Robert Murat of Symington: “I’m amazed by the likeness, The hairline and the nose, it could be me. Just the chin is different. This guy has every reason to be at the Ocean Club. Remember – people work. I wouldn’t want what happened to me to happen to anyone else”

Says Mr Murat’s uncle Ralph Eveleigh: “Bloody hell – it’s Robert. They are very similar”

The WORLD’S BEST NEWSPAPER says “The lookalikes could force police into a total rethink of their eight-month investigation”

Or the police could just speak with Mr Symington. Says he: “I had been away in England for 10 days and came back the day before Madeleine went missing. I was here on the day, and for a few days following, but then I left again for a week. I categorically wasn’t around on the night she vanished. I left Praia da Luz at close of business at 6pm to go home. It couldn’t have been me. The first I was aware of the story was when I arrived at work the next day”

So how will this lookalike put Mr Murat in the clear?

A MILLION posters go up” – Posters of Madeleine in French, Arabic, Portuguese and Spanish. But not in English? The poster will feature the likeness of the man Gail Cooper says she saw


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Posted: 24th, January 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (1,509)

Madeleine McCann: Gail Cooper Says And Amy Fitzpatrick

amyfitzpatrickfamily_1.jpgMADDYWATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann

THE SUN: “Potential Maddie witness snub”

“The British woman who may have seen Maddie McCann’s kidnapper has NOT been quizzed by Portuguese cops”

Gail Cooper says she saw a man. An artist’s impression of the man has been released
Gail, of Newark, Notts, says: “They never contacted me. He must be found, even if it is to rule him out”

IRISH INDEPENDENT: “Mum vows to continue search for missing teen Amy”

“Mari Luz Cortes vanished on January 13, as she went to buy sweets from a local kiosk in the Spanish town of Huelva, near the border with Portugal. A massive search for the five-year-old is ongoing.

“The disappearance has been linked to that of Madeleine McCann from the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz, although police said they did not think the two cases were connected.
Ms Fitzpatrick yesterday said that her only daughter is “still just a kid”.

“She is only 15 and she has disappeared without trace.”

Amy Fitpatrick was 15 when she vanished after leaving her friend’s house near Feungirola, in Spain, at 10pm on New Year’s Day. She set out on the 20-minute walk to her own house, but has not been seen since.

The news and the views

Posted: 23rd, January 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (1,434)

Madeleine McCann: The Witnesses See, A Sketch And Killer Bob

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

DAILY MAIL: “Madeleine: Four witnesses say they saw suspect pictured in new poster campaign”

“Four key witnesses in the Madeleine McCann investigation could have seen the man shown in a new sketch of a potential suspect, it emerged yesterday”

But there were no witnesses? And “could” and “potential” in one line…

“But four witnesses may have seen the unidentified man – first on the night the three-year-old went missing, then later with named suspect Robert Murat, and finally in Morocco

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Posted: 22nd, January 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (1,210)

Madeleine McCann: Gail Cooper Feels, Clarence Mitchell PR PI And Armchair Detectives

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

GLASGOW DAILY RECORD: “Find This Man New Suspect Sketch Prompts Family Plea”

“THE family of Madeleine McCann yesterday issued a desperate message to the world saying: ‘Find this man’. Gerry and Kate McCann have called for an international search after an artist’s impression of a man they believe may have been involved in their daughter’s disappearance was released”
McCanns’ spokesman Clarence Mitchell says: “Who is he? Where is he? What, if any, is his connection to Madeleine’s disappearance?… If he is innocent, we want him to come forward for his own sake so he can be ruled out”

Would you go forward and enter the circus?

DAILY MIRROR front page: “New hope for Kate – NEW CLUE IN HUNT FOR MADDY”

Each new clue gives a new headline and story. Play along at home. You the sleuth

“WHO IS HE.. WHERE IS HE? THE SEARCH FOR MADELEINE Sinister stranger in paedo gang fear”

“Kate and Gerry McCann yesterday issued a desperate plea for information about a bogus charity collector whose gang are feared to have snatched Madeleine”

Gail Cooper says she saw him. So did Paul Gordon

Says Gerry McCann: “We appeal to anyone who knows him or may have seen him to contact our investigators” – Not the police?

A McCann family source says: “It’s significant. This is the first time we have been able to produce a detailed picture of someone who could have taken Madeleine. Our agents have been speaking to a witness who has told us about another man seen around the area. We’re doing all we can to get a similar image of him”

THE SUN: “FIND THE WEIRDO – Hunt for scruff feared to have taken Maddie”
A picture of Clarence Mitchell holding up the sketches of the “oddball”. No, not Robert Murat, another “oddball”

Says Clarence Mitchell: “Kate and Gerry are quite buoyant. Every time we do something like this it gives them strength”

As for the man: “The McCanns’ investigators Metodo 3 followed up the April sightings. Gail said the suspect was aged 38-45, long-haired with a handlebar moustache and big teeth. He may have been North African”

Gail Cooper says she saw him. She tells us: “He was very unpleasant and creepy. I felt vulnerable in his presence. He made my blood run cold”


Says Clarence Mitchell: “Calls are coming in. One man rang to says he distinctly remembers seeing this man during a visit to Portugal two years ago. Others are being co-ordinated by the investigation team in Spain”

The Express says this image “bears a close resemblance to an earlier drawing of a man seen carrying a child on the night Madeleine disappeared. That would be the picture rooted in Jane Tanner’s sighting. The picture of the man with no face

“WORLDWIDE hunt for suspect”

Says Gail Cooper: “In my job I have to assess people and make a judgment. My judgment is that this man could have been the kidnapper. I would recognise him immediately if I saw him again. His appearance has really stuck in my mind. What happened is still very vivid to me”

Everyone’s a sleuth looking for Madeleine McCann

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Posted: 21st, January 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann | Comments (1,286)