The news as told by the UK’s tabloid press – The Sun, Daily Express, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, Daily Star and News of the World.
How do tabloids stay relevant in the digital age? By investing a fortune in quality journalism and attracting newsreaders to paper products, encouraging the hip and youthful to give newsprint the same respect they’ve rediscovered for radio, vinyl and books? Nah. Easier to keep the ageing readership you’ve already got and feed it headlines based on World War 2 (1939-1945) and Thunderbirds (1965-1966).
Time for a rethink…
How do you report on the pandemic, the confusion sewn by a government with all the nous of a puppy sat by a pile of poo and Boris Johnson air-punching Manchester mayor Andy Burnham on the telly, treating him and the city with all the contempt of a bully thanking his victim for bringing so much lunch money to school.? If you’re the Sun you lead with Meghan Markle in a green dress and pictures of a “takeaway food app addict” being hoisted from his Surrey flat, before presumably being dropped on Salford as an emergency fuel source.
Helpfully, the Express does lead with the Covid-19 story, telling us: “Only National Unity Will Defeat Virus”. Which means: comply or die. Which sounds like a threat. Question the Government and you risk lives. Comply with the Government and your business will go bust, you’ll run out money and die from curable cancers. But you’ll do so in the warm glow that it was for the common good – especially for the NHS which must be “saved” for when we rally need health care and granny, who’s seen neither the outside world not any loved ones for months.
The Mirror says Johnson’s “playing poker with the pandemic”, which makes him sound more fun than fool. Such is the tabloid’s love of betting apps and deals that fill the pages, you expect to see the story sponsored by Paddy Power and a shot of Johnson pulling down his trousers to reveal a pair of green knickers on which are displayed the odds for “everyone dead by teatime”.
The aforesaid Burnham wanted £65m to “prevent a winter of real hardship”. Johnson and his chums offered £60m. They then handed over £22m and forced a Tier 3 lockdown on Manchester. That £60m might still be on the table. But Johnson did his usual bluster and bluff and failed to answer questions about what is on offer and what is not.
We know Johnson thinks Tier 3 is fine and the following venues throughout Manchester must shut or else: bars, unless they serve meals, betting shops, casinos, Bingo halls, games arcades and soft play areas.” You know, all the places Johnson and his Government spend the evening when the lap dancing club is full.
But there is help. The Star brings news: work in the pub. People from different households in different tiers can mix indoors if they are doing work. Call it a “working lunch” and you can mix indoors. “People are permitted to meet indoors for work purposes in high or very high areas,” says an unidentified Government wonk. If Johnson (London – Tier 2) wants to meet a tech guru in a Manchester hotel room, (Tier 3), he can.
Just remember to bring your own pole.
Stan Collymore continues to disabuse the claim that journalism should be based on sound research. The Daily Mirror columnist has been talking about Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish. Collymore wants to tell Mirror readers how proud he is of Grealish for “rejecting” Tottenham in 2018.
“He made the right decision not moving when Spurs wanted him,” says Collymore. “He’d have just been in their squad at that point.”
One problem with Stan’s comment is that relish did no such thing. Grealish did not snub Tottenham. Spurs tried to get him on the super cheap and failed. Grealish was gutted opining to the Telegraph in September 2018:
“Of course, there’s going to be disappointment there. You’ve just got to look at what Spurs have done this season. They’ve beaten Manchester United 3-0 at Old Trafford, they’re playing Barcelona in the Champions League next week. I felt that if I’d gone there I could have maybe been in the England squad by the end of the year. I would never have gone there just to make up the numbers. At the start of the season my head was swivelled, it was all over the place. Even after the transfer window closed, until the end of August, I wasn’t right. At that time it could have got done, but for whatever reason it didn’t. They weren’t willing to pay what Villa wanted at the time.”
Collymore could read about in one other paper, should he be bothered to:
Such are the facts.
Has Lucas Torreira left Arsenal for a new dawn in Spain with Atletico Madrid? The Mirror says he has:
After the Google bots have picked up the Mirror’s story, the paper writes:
Arsenal have reportedly agreed a loan deal with Atletico Madrid for Lucas Torreira.
Says the Mirror:
La Liga giants Atletico moved to the front of the queue to sign the midfielder for the season, and according to Spanish publication AS, have now agreed a deal with Arsenal.
We click the Mirror’s link and head over to AS. We read:
Lucas Torreira, a punto
El centrocampista uruguayo está muy cerca de convertirse en nuevo jugador del Atleti. Sin embargo, la operación está sujeta a salida de Herrera.
Which translates as:
The Uruguayan midfielder is very close to becoming a new Atleti player. However, the operation is subject to Herrera’s departure…for the signing to take place, Hector Herrera’s exit must first be closed.
So AS has not reported the deal is done. The Mirror is talking rubbish. But the Googl bots like it so lots of easy traffic for the self-styled “intelligent tabloid”.
“German police ‘don’t need Madeleine McCann’s body to prove suspect murdered her’,” declares the Mirror. The more depraved killers, often take their victims’ whereabouts to the pit. Ian Brady and Myra Hindley never pointed police nor bereft relatives to Keith Bennett’s remains. It took 23 years for the child rapists, kidnappers and killers to confess to Keith’s murder. Brady confessed to newspaper reporters from his prison cell where he was serving life for three other murders. Police believed the pair had done it. But belief is not what the law deals in. A confession was all the police had. Neither Brady nor Hindley were prosecuted for Keith Bennett’s murder.
The justice system needs evidence to prosecute. The Mirror’s headline is rooted in the to-deadline thoughts of German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters. In one of this many TV appearance, this one on Portugal’s RTP show Sexta as 9, Wolters offered: “To indict someone we don’t need a body. A person can be convicted without a body being found but we have to be convinced a person is dead.” And you are convinced Madeleine McCann is dead? And don’t you also have to have some evidence that your suspect, Christian Brueckner, killed the person whose body is missing? Don’t you need evidence to hurdle all those barriers to justice?
You begin to wonder is what Wolters is on the telly? What does he know? What does he merely think he knows? Asked if he had any forensic evidence placing Brueckner inside the flat where Madeleine was sleeping, Wolters added: “I have an answer but we have decided not to divulge this information. I can’t say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ as that would bring a thousand other questions and I cannot go into details. But you have to believe me when I say we have more evidence. Here in Germany our Public Ministry only divulges things when they are solid.”
Which is why Christian Brueckner has not been charged with any offences linked to the vanishing for Madeleine McCann. We can believe Wolters has “more evidence” but we do not know what he has evidence of? And his appearing on the telly, points to it being a fishing expedition, a warning to criminals that Wolters and his team are on to you so it’d be best if you confessed now.
Maybe you called him Brueckner? Someone somebody you know called Bruckner while he was in the vicinity of the Ocean Club complex shortly after Madeleine McCann disappeared? That call lasted around half an hour. “We have the number that called him but we haven’t managed to attribute that number to anyone at the moment,” says Wolters. “We don’t know what the conversation was about and we don’t know the relationship between the people who spoke. We are searching for a witness to establish the content of the conversation which lasted nearly half an hour and so was quite a long conversation. We hope someone remembers that conversation. We don’t have any reason to believe that person could be involved in what happened that night to Madeleine.”
They’re searching for the witness – any witness will do. So Wolters is on the telly in Portugal and in the tabloids in the UK. His profile rises. But we learn nothing knew.
“Christian…must remain in jail until 2024 at least after losing a legal challenge last week,” says the Sun. “He was convicted in Germany of the 2005 rape of an American OAP in Praia da Luz.”
The clock ticks.
Christian Brueckner is innocent of any involvement in the vanishing of Madeleine McCann. If you doubt that statement is true, prove that it isn’t. That’s the challenge facing German prosecutors who believe the convicted peadophile stole the child and murdered her. “The disappearance of Madeleine McCann: Have they got the right man this time?” asks Martin Brunt, the Sky News reporter who has been hot on the heels of rumours. trolls and not a single meaningful development since Madeleine McCann went missing in May 2007 and became the media’s ‘Our Maddie’. Brunt has been speaking to lawyers. After a few paragraphs telling us who Christian Bruekner is, Brunt sums up the entire case against the infamous criminal:
The case against him is circumstantial – he is a convicted paedophile, he lived in the area, and on the night she disappeared, his mobile phone was in use nearby. The next day he changed the registration of one of his vehicles.
“Have they got the right man this time?,” ask Brunt seven paragraphs into his feature. Around 60 short paragrapahs later, Brunt concludes:
In fact, one source told me that Christian B may be no better a suspect for Madeleine’s abduction than two other principle targets.
They are the unnamed suspect, who may still be the subject of an undercover operation, and Euclides Monteiro, a sacked Ocean club waiter and thief who died two years after Madeleine vanished and was later eliminated from the inquiry.
The Mirror has a few words on the investigation. “Madeleine McCann investigators have ‘no smoking gun’ to charge Christian Brueckner,” trills the headline. Its worst than that. They have no gun. They have no smoke. They have a belief, an idea. German Prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters is doing the rounds, telling Portuguese media:
“All I can say is this is like a puzzle and there are many pieces that lead us to believe Christian B is responsible.”
Hold the book deal, Hans. You’re going to need more.
“One of the pieces is the signal from the mobile phone he was using at the time Madeleine McCann disappeared and has been shown to have been in the area of the Ocean Club resort where she was staying.”
You’ve 20 more chapters to fill, Hans. What else you got?
“The result of our investigation does not point in any way to the possibility the suspect might have kept Madeleine alive. We have nothing to indicate she could be alive. Everything we have points to her being dead. We have no margin of manoeuvre.”
Is that lost in translation – “no magian of manoeuvre”? Is that Google Translate for ‘we have no open mind’? Of course any good blockbuster needs a good plot. Goncalo Amaral is the Portuguese coppers who wrote a book about the case. Will any book Wolters writes reach a firmer conclusion, give us the definitive story?
Mr Wolters also rebutted claims made by disgraced former police officer Goncalo Amaral, who met with Brueckner’s defence lawyer Friedrich Fulscher last week in Portugal, that the German was being “scapegoated.”
The controversial ex-cop, who was removed from the initial Madeleine McCann investigation for criticising British police, is involved in an ongoing legal battle with her parents Kate and Gerry over his insistence she died by accident in their apartment and they covered it up…
German Belief v Portuguese Insistence? Or to put it another way: German Insistence v Portuguese Belief. Wolters continues:
“I know this former inspector speaks a lot and comments on our work. We’re not going to get into a war of words. All I will say is that we have carried out a very serious investigation and there is no indication whatsoever Madeleine McCann’s parents are linked to her disappearance. On the other hand we have a lot of evidence pointing to Christian B killing her. Goncalo Amaral knows how he reaches his conclusions and that’s not up to us to judge.”
To which the Sun thunders:
Kate and Gerry McCann are not suspects. They are on the record in the Star, sort of:
But Kate and Gerry “won’t believe she’s dead” until a body has been found, it is claimed. A source close to the family said: “Until a body is found and it is proved to be Madeleine’s, Kate and Gerry are not giving up hope. These latest ‘she’s dead but there’s no body’ theories have been repeated over the past three-and-a-half months but in all this time there appears to be no significant new development.”
At least someone is dealing in facts. The unnamed source – why unnamed and not on the record? – wants facts not theories.
Over to the Mail:
A German drifter and partner-in-crime of Madeleine McCann prime suspect Christian Brueckner has branded him an ‘evil psychopath’ who is ‘capable of taking a child’.
Manfred Seyferth, 64, said 43-year-old Brueckner was known as ‘The Climber’ for his ability to break into homes, and was robbing apartments in Praia da Luz the year the young girl vanished.
Seyferth, who acted as a key witness against Brueckner when he was jailed for the rape of an American woman in 2018, believes the peadophile is guilty of taking thee-year-old Madeleine from her parents’ holiday apartment in 2007.
He tells the Sun:
“Christian is a bad, bad man. He is evil. I never liked him and he is a psychopath. He is obsessed with small children and I didn’t like it. He always had a young girlfriend with him and I think he is easily capable of taking a small child.”
“I think he may have something to do with Maddie.”
What of that rape case? Says the Sun:
Christian was convicted of attacking a 72-year-old woman in her own home at Praia da Luz in 2005.
Says the Mirror:
Brueckner, a German citizen, is currently in Justizvollzugsanstalt Kiel prison, where he is trying to overturn his sentence for raping a woman, 73, in Portugal.
Madeleine McCann is missing. It’s pretty much the only fact media and theorists can agree on.
“Gareth Bale completed his emotional return to Tottenham on Wednesday night in a move that was driven by Jose Mourinho.” So declares the Daily Mail in a story that in the Express is reduced to the status of strong rumour.
The Express says Bale joining Spurs for £20m (the Mail says the loan fee from Real Madrid is £13m) completes the “jigsaw” and makes Spurs complete. The Star agrees that Bale is the “final piece” in the jigsaw. There’s Bale just slotting in below Spurs and England player Deli Alli – the player the Mail says is to leave the club.
And in the Guardian, there’s Bale looking up as Alli departs, doubtless wondering how Jose Mourinho will react to discover someone has removed a big bit of his jigsaw:
Such are the facts.
Last week Sky News presented an exclusive news feature on Madeleine McCann and the man German police suspect of kidnapping and murdering her, the convicted paedophile and rapist Christian Brueckner, oddly dubbed ‘Christian B’ in an internet-denying spot of Teutonic legalise. The report revealed nothing. Martin Brunt reviewed the hunches and theories, but could not shake that we only know one thing for certain: child vanished. Today the Sun has more developments. The suspect’s lawyer has “admitted” something. Oh, yes, you think. Has he broken client-brief confidentiality and given us the word on the depraved criminal? No.
The lawyer of prime Madeleine McCann suspect Christian B has admitted he would not trust his client around his kids. Friedrich Fuelscher “insisted that if he had a daughter he would not let the convicted paedophile look after her”.
Before we demand he adopt a girl and test the theory, we wonder what other jobs Fuelscher could admit his client is unsuited to. I’d go for the obvious (kindergarten teacher, toilet attendant and paediatric nurse) and then consider the more exotic (UN Special Envoy to Thailand). The jury is out on whether Brueckner would make a decent BBC presenter of family TV shows in which he makes children’s wishes come true. There’s been a vacancy at the Beeb ever since Jimmy Savile gibbered his last and was subsequently ruled to have been the biggest paedophile who ever lived.
The Sun’s story is based on what the daughter-less lawyer told the Mirror. “I’d let him look after my dogs but I wouldn’t let him look after my children or my daughter – if I had them,” says Fuelscher. “He could be my dogsitter, yes, but because of his record I would not let him look after my own daughter.”
As to the value of giving a convicted paedophile a puppy, well, Charlie has something to say about that:
The Daily Star is upset. “Show us the money!” it demands. It’s a story about the LA-based Dook and Dutch-ass of Sussex-shire. The paper says they must repay the £2.4m British taxpayers forked out to do up Frogmore Cottage, their official UK residence. They have the cash, having secured a £75m Netflix deal.
The tabloid is outraged. But online, before you read about the Star’s demands for the greedy feckers to pay us back our dough, we read about those, er, trolls unable to appreciate the good work done by the minted hereditary titled toffs’ tireless campaign for equality. A pox on those “nasty keyboard warriors”:
In the tabloid world, Harry and Meghan are now people who you either like or don’t like. You cannot ignore them. It’s not allowed. And the Sussexes would not have it any other way.
“Our focus will be on creating content that informs but also gives hope,” says the couple. “As new parents, making inspirational family programming is also important to us.” Words that surely chime with many new parents pointing a phone camera at their little ‘un and dreaming of a £250 windfall from You’ve Been Framed.
Those Harry and Meghan TV schedules in full:
The Woke Awake Club – rise and shine with Archie
Harry’s Half Hour – Live cam footage of Harry trying to work out how you can be a hereditary peer and a champion for equality without being conflicted. Much hilarity ensues
Grandma’s Army – a look at various weaponry used to maintain social order in the UK, Commonwealth and British protectorates
Palace Break – Harry Windsor plans to bust his brother Wills Windsor out of a prison of living hell
The Frown – Meghan looks disapprovingly at footage of the Royal Family
“Brought back together by mum,” says the Daily Mirror. It’s a story about Prince Wills and Harry Baseball Cap. A royal insider says moves to erect a statue to Princess Diana to mark what wold have been her 60th birthday will “help to heal old wounds”. The Express guesses that Wills and Harry will both be in attendance when the statue is unveiled. And Meghan Markle might be there, too. Today the Express has a scoop: “Meghan Markle’s obsession with Princess Diana exposed by former childhood friend”:
That just one of many Meghan Markle stories published by the Daily Express today – move that cold be called obsessive:
No fewer than 13 stories today on Meghan Markle – that’s not including the many more Express articles than namecheck her for SEO purposes.
As for being obsessed with Diana, well…
Such are the facts…
Did you see the books arranged behind Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Castle Rock school in Coalville, Leicestershire. Was the school librarian making a point in their choice of books to backdrop Boris? Titles on the top shelf included: Betrayed, The Resistance, The Subtle Knife, Fahrenheit 451, The Toll, Oliver Twist and Terry Pratchett’s genius Guards! Guards! What could it all mean asked the assembled hacks. “No comment,” said the school, which is, of course, a comment.
“Books seen behind Boris Johnson tell their own story,” says the Guardian headline. “Has a savvy school librarian or English teacher snatched a golden opportunity to have a pop at the PM in front of the nation?” asks a reporter from the TES. “Are the books behind Boris artfully arranged with a secret political agenda and commentary on the current government?” mused the Indy.
What you might not also have noticed is the PM’s words on the exams results fiasco. “I’m afraid your grades were almost derailed by a mutant algorithm,” guffed Boris. “I know how stressful that must have been for pupils up and down the country. I’m very, very glad that it has finally been sorted out.”
That mutant algorithm was coded by human beings. Sally Collier, the head of England’s exams regulator Ofqual has resigned. Jonathan Slater, the most senior civil servant in the Department for Education (DfE), is ‘stepping down’. But Gavin Williamson, the Secretary of State for Education, aka The Mutant, remains. Look for codes and symbols of defiance by all means, but in so doing try not to miss the obvious. Nearly 800 libraries have closed since 2010. Johnson holidayed amid the exam disaster-class, popping up to tell us that he was reading Lucretius’s On the Nature of Things.
Johnson, that school librarian and political pundits dialling in opinions from seats positioned in front of their bookshelves – watching on for signs of wrong-thinking by their peers and enemies – all assure us that books matter. But schoolchildren suffer through the lack of books and formal education. The local library has gone and there’s no longer a free space to sit, read the think. Books have been reduced to props. And that is telling.
At the time of writing, Christian Brueckner remains innocent of any crimes relating to the vanishing of Madeleine McCann. The convicted paedophile is not unique. Everyone is assumed innocent because, as the Daily Star announces in a headline from the ‘no-news is still news’ school of journalism: “Madeleine McCann hopes boosted as charity says ‘no evidence she’s been harmed’.” It can be argued there is no evidence any crime befell the child. All we know is that she disappeared.
The Star is relaying an announcement on the website for the Madeleine Fund. The objects of the Madeleine Fund are:
To secure the safe return to her family of Madeleine McCann who was abducted in Praia da Luz, Portugal on Thursday 3rd May 2007;
To procure that Madeleine’s abduction is thoroughly investigated and that her abductors, as well as those who played or play any part in assisting them, are identified and brought to justice; and
To provide support, including financial assistance, to Madeleine’s family.
Kate McCann and Gerry McCann, Madeleine parents, are listed as two of the company’s six directors.
“There is absolutely nothing to suggest that Madeleine has been harmed. Madeleine is still missing and someone needs to be looking for her. She is young and vulnerable and needs our help. We love her dearly and miss her beyond words.”
The story is not one of hope being “boosted”, rather of hope being maintained in the absence of evidence to the contrary.
Over in the Sun, Christian Brueckner’s “friend” “has spoken of his horror at finding videos showing him raping an elderly woman”. The pal, named only as Manfred S, was “tracked down to Portugal by a German documentary”. For some reason we hear about the precise contents of one video, as if we need to know more than it was a “brutal rape” involving torture. Manfred “immediately alerted police about the videos which were found in Christian B’s house after he broke in while his pal was in prison.”
The paedophile rapist is a depraved criminal. This we know. But the Mail thinks we need to know more:
Madeleine McCann prime suspect was found with secret stash of 391 child porn photos and 68 vile videos, as court records reveal the full horror of crimes that landed Christian Brueckner in jail
As news of the sick bastard’s behaviour oozes into titillation, the Olive Press has an exclusive:
So too the Sun:
How does this link to the missing child? The Sun:
In Madeleine’s case, two sisters saw two blond men outside her family’s rental apartment in Praia da Luz hours before she disappeared.
One had blue eyes, like Christian B, while the other had green eyes.
According to police sources, Christian B and a mystery man of similar height were spotted drinking at a festival in the Algarve village of Messines ahead of the 2017 incident.
In March 2019, the Sun reported:
Jayne Jensen told the Netflix documentary The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann: “[My sister] was walking just slightly in front of me and then she stopped and looked back at me and motioned with her head. And it was here we saw the two men. I caught up with my sister and I said what was that about? She said – ‘Well, two single blonde men on their own’, which just made me chuckle. But they were wrongly placed, and that was that, until later that day when we had heard that Madeleine was taken it was only then piecing back – who were these guys?”
Such are the facts.
The Daily Mail hits gold with news linking Princess Diana to Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein. “Princess Diana Bridesmaid was guest on Epstein island: Clemmie Hambro who took two trips on paedophile’s private jet says ‘I was young, naive and lucky to escape’.” Paedos and Princess Diana. This is tabloid gold. (Jimmy Savile is away.)
Was Clementine lucky to escape the paedophile’s clutches? Didn’t Jeffrey Epstein only abuse the poor and naive, not the minted and connected? Clemmie – posho name, posho connections – is the great grand-daughter of Sir Winston Churchill. His paternal great-grandfather, Carl Joachim Hambro, founded the Hambro Bank. She took the jaunts in 1999, when she was 23-years-old and employed at the Christie’s auction house in New York.
Clemmie Hambro took two flights on the paedophile’s jet. She went to Epstein’s luxury homes “where he spent many years abusing young girls. One of them was on Little St James in the US Virgin Islands, known to locals as Paedo Island.”
Innocent Clemmie, whose name appears in the dead paedophile’s flight records, has issued a statement:
“The first flight was a work trip with female colleagues to look at Epstein’s new home in Santa Fe to discuss what art he was going to buy. The second trip, to Little St James, was a personal invitation, which I thought would be fun to accept, but I didn’t know anyone there, didn’t really enjoy myself, and never went back. My heart breaks for all the survivors, now I know what happened on that island.In the course of those two trips, I was not abused, nor did I see anyone abused, or anything untoward happen, with minors or otherwise. I have been completely horrified about the revelations of his conduct since then. I was clearly very lucky, my heart goes out to those who were abused by him, and I trust they get the justice they so deserve.”
Lucky? To travel the world by private jet, flogging art to the mega-rich? Or lucky that as a 23-year-old woman she was not abused by a paedophile?
In the hunt for Madeleine McCann, even the most factual of facts can be wrung through the mangle and come out altered. The Sun looks at Christian Brueckner and thunders: “Madeleine McCann latest news: Prime suspect Christian B to learn outcome of appeal over 2005 Portugal rape TODAY.”
In 2005, Brueckner broke into a woman’s apartment in Portugal and raped her at knife point. In 2006, Portuguese authorities dropped the rape investigation due to lack of evidence. He was charged with the rape as recently as 2019. In December that year, Brueckner was convicted and sentenced to seven years for the rape. His prison term has yet to start because he argues that the conviction was unlawful. He is in prison in Germany on a 21-month sentence for drugs.
And the Sun says “TODAY” the convicted paedophile suspected of kidnapping and murdering Madeleine McCann could walk free. Which is…wrong. Today judges at European Court of Justice will give their opinion ahead of a final verdict on that appeal. Their final judgement, which is binding on courts across the EU, will be delivered soon afterwards. But not today.
Madeleine McCann: a look at repotting on the missing child. In the stead of any news on the hunt for the missing child, the Daily Express gawps at the parents. News is that Gerry McCann had an ‘image fixed indelibly’ in his memory from less than an hour before his daughter disappeared”. This was “revealed during a book written by the parents on the missing toddler”. First up, dear Daily Express: get a sub-editor. Yesterday’s garbled news form Reach plc titles (the Express, Star and Mirror) was riddled with typos and literals.
The scoop is that Kate McCann wrote something in her book, Madeleine: Our Daughter’s Disappearance and the Continuing Search for Her. That book was published in 2011. The Express has taken 9 years to tell its readers what was “revealed in it”.
Here’s the extract – “the heartbreaking account of Gerry’s final memory of seeing his daughter”:
“Madeleine was lying there on her left-hand side, her legs under the covers, in exactly the same position as we’d left her. For Gerry, this became one of those images I described earlier, pictures that fix themselves indelibly, almost photographically, in the memory. He paused for a couple of seconds to look at Madeleine and thought to himself, she’s so beautiful. After pulling the bedroom door to, restoring it to its original angle, he went to the bathroom before leaving the apartment.”
As the Express reads old books to ‘reveal’ nothing new, the Mirror looks at Christian Bruckner, the convicted German peadophile and rapist accused of kidnapping and murdering Madeleine McCann, a claim he denies. The headline is a sort of anti-news:
Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brueckner ruled out of raping and murdering girl, 11
Claudia Ruf was kidnapped from Grevenbroich, Germany, in 1996, while walking her neighbour’s dog – before her partly burned body was found dumped around 40 miles away
A police spokesman told German newspaper Bild: “After comparing the information obtained, it can be said that Christian B was not in Grevenbroich at the time in the case of Claudia Ruf. In addition, a DNA comparison is said to have been negative.”
Are we now at the point where every unsolved case of child abduction and murder is to cross-checked with Christian Brueckner’s life? Good to look but why now – why not check him before? It all looks a b it ike PR, as if the police having pointe the finger at the revolting Brueckner are desperate to keep his name in the frame. This might be in hope that someone who knows something comes forward. But right now the is only circumstantial evidence linking Brueckner to the worlds most famous missing child. And in light of any evidence saying he committed a crime against her, we should presume he did not.
Do “powerful men” have sex with underage girls? Isn’t it the needy, weak, perverted men who do that? Perhaps by “powerful”, the Sun means merely wealthy and connected, the men’s power rooted not in moral fibre but base possessions, those chattels amassed by men who need to prove themselves through job titles, fast cars and vapid, innocent girls who lacking the weltschmerz of their equally minted brood mares are unlikely to know them out as the pathetic bellends they undoubtedly are?
The Sun’s story is that dead paedo Jeffrey Epstein’s former lover Ghislaine Maxwell “recorded videos of powerful people having sex with under-age girls, according to a former friend of the pair.” Oh that dead tabloid news source, the depraved Max Clifford, should not be around to miss this one. Tales of two-way mirrors at sex parties for the great and good were his stock in trade. Clifford died in prison, convicted of eight historical indecent assaults on women and young girls. Epstein also died in prison. Did he leave behind videos of his guests molesting minors?
A “reformed jewel thief, who uses the pseudonym William Steel, claims the couple made him watch some to prove how they “owned” people”. Made to watch [insert name here] having sex with underage girls? And made not to tell the police? “I saw videos of very powerful people – celebrities, world figures – in those videos having sex, threesomes, even orgies with minors.” So you told the police, right?
“They wanted to impress me and intimidate me. They were so powerful because of who they knew worldwide.”
Fear kept him quiet?
Steel, who stole millions of dollars in art and jewellery across the US, also revealed how Epstein and Maxwell used to buy his stolen goods – even though they were both so wealthy – to give to the girls they were grooming.
He sold it to them out of fear?
“I saw Jeff with a young girl who looked only about 13 or 14 and he had his hand in the back of her shorts. That’s what first got my attention. was so young and he was much older. That’s when I knew that he was dirty.
“I had about 200,000 dollars worth of jewellery that I was getting rid of and later I struck up a conversation with him. He later said the girl he was with was his niece but I called bulls**t on that, telling him I saw what he was doing with her.”
And then you sold him a load of stolen goods and kept quiet – from fear?
It’s a good story. But until we see the videos, it’s just that. Says the Sun: “Steel is now planning to write a book about his experiences with the notorious pair.” With all proceeds going to their alleged victims? Don’t count on it…
Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child.
Let’s begin with the Daily Star and its news that Christian Brueckner and the allegation that he kidnapped and murdered Madeleine McCann. He denies the claims. The headline tells us pretty much everything about the case so far: “Madeleine McCann cops ‘may not have concrete evidence she is dead’.” The story begins: “German police may not have “concrete evidence” that Madeleine McCann is dead, it has been claimed.” Claimed by? On June 26, the Sun was adamant:
Now more news on that “concrete evidence”. Meet Mick Neville, a former copper billed as the man who helped create the Met Police’s Central Forensic Image Team in 2012. This new face on the media roster “spent a number of years working with the military police in Germany”. He tells the paper: “A big issue here is the phrase ‘concrete evidence’. The German prosecutor has stated several times that he has concrete evidence that Madeleine is dead. But the meaning has been lost in translation. In English the phrase means ‘irrefutable’ but in German it means ‘reasonable suspicion’ or ‘more than a rumour’. German police need to ensure that there is concrete evidence before they make an arrest – but it not enough to convict [sic].”
Police expert says you need evidence to make an arrest. Who knew? So what did Wolters say? Here he is on Sky News saying in English there “no opportunity she is still alive”:
Wolters later said: “Because there is no forensic evidence there may be a little bit of hope. We don’t want to kill the hope and because there is no forensic evidence it may be possible.”
As the German prosecutors attempt to build a concrete case from sand and water – and the Star searches high and low for a German-English dictionary – the Sun notes, “Christian B allegedly boasted to a pal about performing a sex act in front of a room full of sleeping British girls.” The convicted rapist and paedophile did what? He “told a close friend he crept into a holiday home in Portugal naked and started masturbating. He fled when one of the teens woke up and began to alert her friends, it’s claimed.”
Alleges. Claims. May. May not. In search of facts, the Express peers into a hole: “Madeleine McCann suspect ‘dug out cellar at a second cabin’.” The inclusion of inverted commas alerts readers to the fact that the suspect might not have dug out a cellar in a converted cabin. Reading on, we learn:
The suspect, 43, is said to have had access to an isolated German bungalow beside a vegetable plot for three years before vanishing in April 2016. Residents are now urging police to dig at the site in Braunschweig, northern Germany.
The plot of land is about 50 miles from the allotment near Hanover where police found a hidden chamber during a three-day digging operation this week.
Chilling similarities have emerged as neighbours told how the suspect fell foul of officials at the Braunschweig site after digging a cellar beneath the house without permission.
A friend of the suspect told German television that the suspect had planned to turn the basement of his “garden colony” house into a “cellar dungeon” like that of Josef Fritzl, the Austrian monster who held his daughter prisoner for 24 years.
Another “friend” said his pal wanted to be like the notorious paedophile Josef Fritzl? Where does Brueckner meet his so-called friends? The Mirror hears a witness say:
“Brueckner excavated the floor of the house. He took out the rocks and the earth. He dug a big hole.He carried out the rocks and earth by hand and dumped it out by the front of the house. He put put [sic] planks of wood over the top of the hole. It took him two months to complete. He started in the morning and worked until evening. Doing this work got him in trouble with the authorities in charge the gardens.”
They watched him dig. And the authorities knew about it. And how can this be linked to Madeleine McCann? Says the Mirror:
His first allotment in Hanover was excavated this week. Buildings on the site were demolished in late 2007 or 2008 but the cellar remained hidden. Neighbours told how he set up camp there in 2007 – the year Madeleine disappeared. Neighbours in Braunschweig now believed this site will also be probed by police.
Another owner of an adjoining garden in Braunschweig told reporters how Brueckner never seemed to do any gardening, but instead would work in his shed and spend time with his young girlfriend, Nakscije Miftari.
This was before he suddenly disappeared.
They referred to him as a “strange man” and would occasionally have a beer with him.
Is having beer with him another act of ‘friendship’? The Express picks up the story – and yet again there’s a typo. The Star, Express and Mirror are all owned by Reach plc. Someone there should invest in a sub-editor
Such are the facts.
Ruth Ellis achieved was the last woman to be hanged in the United Kingdom. Convicted of the murder of her lover, David Blakely, Ruth Ellis was hanged on 13 July 1955 at HMP Holloway, London. Writing in the Daily Mirror, Cassandra looked at the grotesque spectacle that shamed a nation:
According to the BBC Arsenal are in a fight with AC Milan, Valencia and Real Betis in their attempts to sign midfielder Dani Ceballos, 23, on a permanent deal. The Spanish player signed to Real Madrid has been on loan at Arsenal this season. The BBC’s source is the Daily Express, the newspaper built on clickbait and SEO tricks. So we click.
The Express has been watching the telly. It repeats the words Mikel Arteta, the Arsenal manager, told everyone with a TV before Arsenal’s match with Leicester last Wednesday. “I’m really happy with him, the way he’s [Ceballos] evolving, and I love how much he likes to play football – the passion he puts into every training session and every game, you just have to see his celebrations,” says Arteta. “I think he’s evolving in the right way and he’s becoming a really important player for us.”
And then Express readers get a load of ifs and buts and coulds. If Arsenal quality for the Champions League – which they won’t do – they “could” sign Ceballos. So much for the scoop.
But hold on a moment. Just over a week ago, a few days before Arteta was hailing Ceballos as a “big talent” he wanted to keep at the club, the Express’s sister title, the Daily Mirror told readers:
Arsenal reportedly won’t sign Dani Ceballos when his loan spell from Real Madrid ends – as the midfielder has not done enough to impress manager Mikel Arteta.
The source was The Sun:
The Sun‘s source? There isn’t one. It’s almost as if the tabloids don’t have a clue what they’re talking about and design content for clicks. As it is, Arsenal are looking to sign Ceballos. And given his recent efforts, he’d be well worth the investment.
Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child.
The Mirror says Christian Brueckner, the man suspected of murdering Madeleine McCann, “‘made [a] all from ‘same place” where she vanished about an hour later”. He did? Well, so it is “claimed”. And why is ‘same place’ in inverted commas? The teaser is more precise – sort of: “Paedophile Christian Brueckner allegedly used a mobile phone outside the Ocean Club about an hour before Madeleine McCann disappeared from her family’s holiday flat at the same complex in May 2007.”
The news is alleged. And the source is an entertainment TV show in Germany:
Rudi Cerne, the host of Aktenzeichen XY… Ungelöst (Case number XY… Unsolved), told Focus: “The call came from the same place where the little girl was last seen alive. I get the impression something important is happening now.”
Rudi gets the impression… More after the ads… Stay tuned… Cerne shared his thoughts in a trailer for tomorrow night’s TV programme. “The only thing I can say at the moment is that this also includes the telephone number of the Portuguese prepaid card that was called from the German suspect’s cellphone,” he says. “Not even an hour before Maddie disappeared. The call also came from the same place where the little girl was last seen alive, in Praia da Luz in the Algarve.” Lest you mistake the toothsome, tanned TV host for a detective, he then note: “I’m not an investigator.”
In another of its myriad stories on the missing child, the Mirror announces: “Madeleine McCann suspect had rape case bungled by police two years before she vanished – Christian Brueckner, 43, could have been jailed for the brutal rape of a US woman in 2005 – almost 18 months before Madeleine McCann was taken – but blunders by Portuguese police kept him free until 2017.”
In December 2019, Brueckner was convicted of rape. He is appealing the conviction. Says the Mirror:
A rope, hair and some clothes from a house where Brueckner, 43, raped an American woman in 2005 didn’t get tested for DNA, leaving him at large until 2017 when he was caught.
The villa the rape took place in is a 10-minute stroll from the Praia da Luz apartment where Madeleine, who was three at the time, vanished in May 2007.
What other heinous crimes took place in the area in 2005, when the American woman was raped, are not said. As for that crime scene being a “stroll” from the place where Madeleine McCann vanished from, well, she vanished in May 2007. You can walk slowly.
The Mail repeats the story, observing that the suspect could have been caught two years BEFORE the innocent child went missing. In which case… if he did do it, she would not have gone missing. We’re told:
The 2005 rape case inquiry was abandoned five months after the horrific attack, while neither a red T-shirt stuffed in the victim’s mouth nor a nylon rope used to tie her hands together were DNA tested, according to The Sun.
Over to the Sun, then:
After her disappearance Portuguese police failed to seal off the McCann family holiday apartment for almost 24 hours.
It led to a crime scene contamination by up to 50 people. Cleaners washed bed sheets and ash from officers’ cigarettes was found in evidence samples. The 2005 rape inquiry was abandoned after just five months.
Is there a source for new that Portuguese police made a hash to the rape case?
Official documents show Carlos Farinha, then Director of the Judicial Police’s Forensic Science Laboratory, wrote in a letter dated November 28, 2009: “We have learned by telephone that the examination is no longer necessary. We are therefore cancelling the tests and returning the material sent to us for analysis.”
German prosecutors are now convinced the mistakes made by Portuguese police in the 2005 rape case left child sex offender Christian B free to snatch Madeleine.
They might be convinced. But they don’t have any evidence to charge the depraved criminal.
Madeleine McCann: an at-a-glance look at news of the missing child.
Christian Brueckner could be out of prison next week, says the NY Post. The convicted peadophile and rapist suspected to murdering the missing child has applied for parole having served two-thirds of a sentence for drugs.
In the Sun we hear from an unnamed source “close to the German investigation”. “If the superior court decides to free him then it will severely impact the case,” says someone. “He could vanish and then we will not be able to put him on trial. We are fighting for him to be kept in court.”
How likely is it that if he is released from prison the man suspected of killing the child who has obsessed media for over a decade will vanish and not be closely watched by a million reporters, police, members of the public and bounty hunters keen to get their hands on the scoop and the reward money? And there’s the matter of his conviction for rape.
Christian Brueckner was pinched in 2018 on a warrant issued for a drugs offence in 2011.
But he was subsequently put on trial and convicted of raping a 72-year-old American woman at her villa in Praia da Luz in 2005. He was sentenced to seven years in December. But because he is appealing against the rape conviction, under German law the sentence is yet to be imposed.
So he will walk “free”? No. He won’t.
The Mirror looks at the child’s parents, as ever it has done. “Madeleine McCann parents face more pain as police say suspect could escape justice.” This headline pivots on your concept of justice. The teaser nails its:
“German authorities are convinced paedophile Christian Brueckner killer Maddie but prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters sais the investigation ‘could be stopped if we fail to find the missing evidence'”
In the dash to scream “no news” first, the Mirror makes two typos in one line. But worse than that is the interpretation of what justice is and if you can achieve it without evidence. German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters tells German newspaper Braunschweig Zeitung: “You have to be realistic that the investigation may not lead to a charge for the murder of Madeleine. It could be stopped if we fail to find the missing evidence. But we are still convinced of the guilt of the accused and hope for further promising investigative approaches.”
May. Could. If. Missing evidence. The German prosecutors case looks watertight, in the same way a sieve makes a good lifeboat.
The Metro chips in with: “Madeleine McCann suspect might not be charged despite ‘concrete evidence’ of murder.” When “concrete evidence” is couched in inverted commas it’s not all that concrete. Says Wolters: “I am currently unable to predict the outcome of our investigation but we are still convinced of the guilt of the accused and hope for further promising investigative approaches.” But is there to convince a judge and jury?
Is the suspect about to walk free, then? Wolters explains: “Of course, it is always good to know where a suspect is to be able to access them if necessary. And, of course, detention always offers a certain guarantee that the detainee will not commit any further crimes.”
And on it goes. But wait. The Manchester Evening News has news!
“Lawyer who represented Madeleine McCann parents wants to turn village pub into nursery.” In Rochdale.
Such are the facts.
Another days and with it another injury to an Arsenal player. This time it’s Bernd Leno, the talented Arsenal goalkeeper who jarred his knee in a match against Brighton. So bad was the “horror injury” that according to the Sun, broadcaster BT Sport “refused” to show it on the telly. Dead bodies, war, famine and George Floyd having his neck sat on by a policeman for nearly nine minutes in America (he was pronounced dead not long after) are all suitable items for tea-time watching. But the German goalie jarring his knee is unacceptable to Arsenal fans who have seen in recent years two players (Euduardo and Ramsay) carried from the pitch with badly broken legs and another (Diaby) badly hurt.
For anyone keen to see the incident help is at hand because you can watch Leno jarring his leg on the official Arsenal website. Elsewhere you can see Leno cussing at the Brighton player who clattered him, contributing to the injury and leaving the ground on crutches. We can assure viewers that Leno will walk again. In other news: 60,000 people are dead from Covid-19. As you were…
On June 15 the Sun told readers that Madeleine’s McCann’s parents were due to receive a letter from German prosectors. The letter would tell Gerry and Kate McCann how their daughter died, allegedly at the hands of convicted rapist and paedophile Christian Brueckner, currently serving time in a German prison. By way of a clue, the Mail added that police in Portugal were getting ready to search wells around the Algarve resort where the child vanished in 2007.
One day on and with the murder suspect is not talking, the Sun told readers that the McCanns had been sent the “saddest letter”.
The “concrete evidence” of Madeleine McCann’s death was not revealed in the missive. But the letter had been sent, That much was certain. “Prosecutors in Germany have written to Kate and Gerry McCann to tell them Madeleine is dead,” said the Sun. They have “concrete evidence” suspect Christian B killed her but cannot yet reveal details.”
And then the fact was undone by a “BOMBSHELL”, of which there have been many. This one is that the McCanns have yet to receive the letter.
Prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters has already proven to be less than certain, having informed us that he assumed Madeleine McCann was dead adding later that she might not be. Maybe the letter was sent to the family’s reps, the police or has been delayed in the post. The McCanns note on their website:
“The widely reported news that we have received a letter from the German authorities that states there is evidence or proof that Madeleine is dead is FALSE. Like many unsubstantiated stories in the media, this has caused unnecessary anxiety to friends and family and once again disrupted our lives.”
Says Wolters, as quoted in the Express:
“We have re-established contact with the McCann family in writing. We, of course, really consider the fact that it is going to be very hard for the family when we tell them that we assume Madeline is dead. But we can’t say why she is dead. It is more important that we are is successful and we are able to get the culprit as opposed to just putting our cards on the table and tell them why we think she might be.”
“Might be.” She might be dead. He might be a murderer. Or to put it another way, she might not be dead. He might not be a murderer.
Wolters is quoted more on the Sun:
“It would be easier for them [the McCanns] if I could tell them what we know but I can’t. All I can say is there is no forensic evidence but there is other evidence which indicates she is dead. I don’t want to go into any details about the letter, when it was written or how it was sent. All I will confirm is that it has been written.”
Such are the facts.
Christian Brueckner has yet to be arrested or charged with the alleged murder of Madeleine McCann. there is no news. So the media returns to its default poistion: watching the parents. The Sunday Mirror leads with news that Kate and Gerry McCann have called on the German prosecutor who assumes their daughter is dead to provide evidence.
Last week. Hans Christian Wolters, a spokesman for the Braunschweig public prosecutor’s office, told Sky News:
“The hard evidence we don’t have, we don’t have the crucial evidence of Madeleine McCann’s body. We expect that she is dead, but we don’t have enough evidence that we can get a warrant for our suspect in Germany for the murder of Madeleine McCann. At the moment, we also don’t have enough proof for a trial at court, but we have some evidence that the suspect has done the deed. That’s why we need more information from people, especially places he has lived, so we can target these places especially and search there for Madeleine.”
Seems fair to ask him what he’s seen, no, especially if you’re the parents of the missing child and are desperate for news. Surely Wolters is not just speculating, riffing in the public arena in the hope that someone takes the line and points the finger? “German Prosecutors Dash Hopes of Finding Madeleine McCann alive,” says the New York Times. Can we see the evidence, please?
Hold on a mo. Wolters is talking to the Mirror:
“Because there is no forensic evidence there may be a little bit of hope (that she is alive). We don’t want to kill the hope and because there is no forensic evidence it may be theoretically possible. I know it’s important for the British people when I say she is dead, but I did not know it was so important.”
There is no forensic evidence so it’s theoretical she is alive. It’s also theoretical that she is dead. The theories can go on and on infinitum until we see evidence. And at the moment the theory is that convicted paedophile Christian Brueckner murdered the innocent child. And German cops are so certain he did it they’ve not charged him anything in relation to the case. Will they?
“I think the Portuguese officials still think that Maddie’s parents are responsible for her disappearance. From our perspective, the suspect is in jail in Germany right now. And this is not the case for Maddie’s parents. We think that the parents don’t have anything to do with it. We are convinced that our 43-year-old suspect is the murderer of Maddie McCann.”
Wolters is convinced the German police have identified the suspected murderer. Although the victim might be alive. Clear?
The Times says the rapist and child abuser is “receiving counselling in prison while he is held in isolation to prevent other inmates attacking him”. If he’s in isolations, how… Never mind. Here comes the depraved criminal’s lawyer, Friedrich Fülscher, to tell RTL TV how his client is coping:
“How should a person who is isolated in a correctional facility and who is accused by half the world’s population of the worst crimes?”
Confessing would be useful. But he’s not done so.
Anti-racism protests triggered by the killing of George Floyd in the US occupy the front pages. The Mirror calls it “The march for change”. Thousands of us took part in anti-racism protests across the UK at the weekend. The paper leads with the picture of a statue of tycoon, patron and slave trader Edward Colston being pulled down and thrown into Bristol harbour. It’s a striking image. And you wonder a few things, including: if history is eradicated from view, does it vanish from our minds? Does celebrating the life of a slave trader encourage or tacitly approve racism? And who chooses which status go where and when?
You might wonder what “change” the Mirror champions, giving that there’s never been a black editor on the Mirror not indeed on any major national newspaper. The board of Reach plc, which owns the Mirror, Express and Star titles, is less racially diverse than the membership at a provincial golf club:
The all-white board isn’t proof that Reach doesn’t have a fine equalities policy and impeccable anti-racist credentials. But it does illustrate that when aspirational, intelligent black people look up they often see a bank of successful white faces looking down.