Recent reports in the mainstream British press about
’s Metropolitan Police delving into
Madeleine McCann’s disappearance raise more questions than they begin to answer.
Under a review codenamed Operation Grange, the Met has been examining material collected by the Portuguese police,
law enforcement agencies and
various private investigators. UK
A rash of stories around the sixth anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance and what might have been her 10th birthday last month were based on yet more speculation and largely devoid of hard news content. But the appetite among British readers is such that anything about the McCanns is good for circulation figures.
Several papers reported the Met’s discovery of a number of “potential new leads” and “people of interest.”
The Sunday Express, for example, was able to reveal 'exclusively' that “Scotland Yard detectives are trying to find a middle-aged couple said to have entered Madeleine McCann’s holiday apartment to comfort her because she was crying.”
According to The Mail on Sunday, “Police are said to be keen to trace six British cleaners who were working in Praia da Luz when Madeleine vanished and who didn't appear in the Portuguese files. They are said to have used a white van and went from apartment to apartment offering their services, chiefly concentrating on expats.”
Detective Chief Superintendent Hamish Campbell, head of Scotland Yard's Homicide and Serious Crime Command, was quoted as saying, “There are a lot of people who could be explored further, if only to be eliminated.”
To some unbiased observers, vague talk of “potential new leads” and “people of interest” did not seem very impressive considering that a team of 30 Scotland Yard detectives have been on the job for two years at a reported cost of £5 million.
Even so, The Daily Telegraph noted: “Det Chief Supt Campbell praised their progress and said they had done a ‘fantastic’ job.”
Now we learn that the Operation Grange review is to be upgraded to a full-scale investigation backed by more resources from the British Home Office. The new investigation will replace the Polícia Judiciária inquiry, which was officially closed in 2008. Widely reported in the British press, the proposed
received little and only belated coverage in Portuguese newspapers. UK
Ever ready to get in a dig at how the Portuguese “bungled” it and are “STILL dragging heels,” the Daily Mail revealed it had “learned that behind the scenes a major diplomatic row is brewing because the Portuguese authorities are adamant they will not reopen the inquiry. Officials in
have told their
British counterparts that under Portuguese laws, they can reopen the case only
if there is new evidence.” Lisbon
Indeed. So why is the Met launching an investigation apparently without any new evidence? So far it has said nothing directly on the subject. “Detectives remain in regular contact with Kate and Gerry McCann and are working closely with the Portuguese police in an attempt to make further progress,” is as far as the Met will go for now. An official statement is expected only “in the next few weeks.”
Confirmation of regular contact with Kate and Gerry McCann begs the question as to whether the Met is focusing solely on the theory that Madeleine was abducted?
Has the Met completely ruled out the more widely held theory in
that something else probably happened to the little girl? Portugal
It would seem so from a report in the Sunday Mirror that claimed, “British police probing Madeleine McCann's disappearance now believe her kidnapper was staying in a holiday flat near the family.”
This is an example of how the British media in general seem to accept that Madeleine was abducted as if it were an established fact.
perspective, plenty of other questions come to mind, if only to put to rest lingering
doubts about Kate and Gerry McCann and the Tapas Seven. Portugal
Will the Met confront the McCanns and their holidaying friends about inconsistencies and contradictions in their accounts to the PJ of what took place in Praia da Luz that fateful night?
Will it insist on a reconstruction of events, and an explanation of why such a reconstruction was denied to the PJ?
Will the Met team be permitted to conduct joint investigations and interviews on Portuguese soil, or will it delegate to the PJ?
“Home Secretary Theresa May has agreed to fund an operation by the Metropolitan Police to continue the search for Madeleine McCann,” according to The Independent, but who will be funding any further work on the case by the PJ?
We may not get answers to such questions in the next few weeks, but let’s hope any new investigation finally solves the mystery and brings those responsible to justice before the seventh anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance.