Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Madeleine, the media and the Met

Recent reports in the mainstream British press about London’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, UK law enforcement agencies and various private investigators.
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 UK inquiry has received little and only belated coverage in Portuguese newspapers.
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 Lisbon have told their British counterparts that under Portuguese laws, they can reopen the case only if there is new evidence.”
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 Portugal that something else probably happened to the little girl?
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.
From the Portugal 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.
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. 


  1. Well i have a question: Is the Met convinced now, beyond a shadow of doubt, that Madeleine McCann was indeed abducted from apartment 5a during the evening of 3rd May 2007? You see, if they are, that would constitute a vital nugget that would almost certainly provide the PJ with the new evidence that they need to reopen the inquiry. Wouldn't it?

    1. They said so over a year ago. I do not know why this fact cannot be acknowledged - is it a type of denial? Redwood's first announcement was very widely reported in the UK - did the Portuguese press ignore it? 'taken in a criminal act by a stranger' leaves no wriggle room at all. April 2012 !!

  2. Fortunately not everyone in the UK is taken in by UK media spin and out and out lies. Lots of us believe the PJ did a fantastic job in the face of diversion tactics, lies, leaks and the strange refusal of the British authorities to share vital information with the Portuguese investigation team.
    The PJ case files are now being discussed openly, and in ever-increasing numbers on The Madeleine McCann Controversy Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/507450985946255/

    I hope you don't mind me posting the link here Len. It's vital that the facts reach as many people as possible

  3. "beyond a shadow of doubt, that Madeleine McCann was indeed abducted.."
    I think MET have to prove that tiny issue first. It will be like a magic trick.
    And whoooooosh goes the cadaver smell too. Tricky.

  4. Why can't we have good journalism in the UK. The above very succintly reviews the whole case in a nutshell and doesn't spout the rubbish recycled in the Daily Fail et al

  5. How refreshing to see some unbiased journalism. Thanks for pointing out that `the British Media in general seem to accept that Madeleine was abducted as if it was an established fact". Now that is weird !

  6. Dear Len Port, please read the PJ Files (http://www.mccannpjfiles.co.uk/PJ/ORIGINAL_FILES.htm). The first 6 volumes (pages 1 to 1,709) are enough to show it was an abduction by a stranger to the McCann and their holiday group ... You can also find there the name of some of the "20 persons of interest".

  7. Dear Anonymous of 5.05 pm on 19th June: The evidence everyone has been looking for... somewhere within 1.709 pages! If this evidence truly exists, why not point out the relevant page?

  8. yes please do. We have had so many non news stories and now we have just had the chief executive of missing people charity on television stating that maddy WAS A STRANGER ABDUCTION ABROAD" hoping SY solve case!opinion is divided but only one version pushed or allowed it feels like.!

  9. You know folks it's all very simple... all we should be asking of those fab detectives over at Scotland Yard is.. 'are they interested in the answers to the 48 questions that Kate Mccaan refused to answer?'.

    That's all we need know in order to decide if they (SY) are taking part in an exoneration exercise or a genuine enquiry.

    If their answer is no they're not interested.. then I think they should stop pissing around with taxpayers' money. Five million quid chasing something that their own highly trained dogs have told them doesn't exist, is way over the top.

    There must be countless criminals in cells, sitting on the edge of their seats, waiting to see with what kind of articulation does Scotland Yard dismiss the cadaver dog evidence.. before they launch an appeal.

  10. It has been a game, but the only strategic game you can play here on Earth is Chess. Get these Tapas 9 over to Portugal, let them carry out the re construction using any scenario, in any order from their statements and voila--Check Mate.

    The rest is spind doctors spinning illusions for doctors.

  11. Dear Anonymous (June 19, 2013 at 5:05 PM),

    OK I had already read the documents that you mentioned in your post and, as an ex-police officer, who specialised in criminal intelligence (gathering/collation/interpreting) I cannot find any evidence within those volumes that definitively points to stranger abduction - it is merely one of a number of possible scenarios and, given other more substantive and different indications within the files, the least likely.

    As you correctly point out there are a number of "people of interest" detailed within the PJ files who, if I was involved in the investigative review, I would be looking to re-interview, but purely to clarify points of detail. However, my primary focus at this stage would be on the 9 "people of interest" at the very crux of the investigation and my professional belief is that this is where the current MPS review is strategically centred, despite the smokescreen that may recently have been thrown up by the more salacious elements of the British media.

    To Len Port: may I commend you on your very balanced article - a refreshing change for a subject that is frequently surrounded by myths, obfuscation, and downright lies.

  12. Abduction. Fact or fiction?
    Why did Kate say from the start that it was an abduction?
    Because the shutters were interfered with, the window opened, and the curtain blowing in the draught.
    Fair enough.

    But we now know that the shutters weren't smashed, jemmied or otherwise forced open, the sheen of lichen was unsmudged and the only fingerprint on the window was Kate's. No evidence of an abduction, then, from standing in the bedroom doorway.

    So why was 'abduction' the first and only scenario acceptable to the parents?

    The case as, the Team want it investigated, is based on a lie from the start. Even Clarence Mitchell admitted months late (after the parents had fled Portugal)that the window/shutter claims were a 'mistake in the heat of the moment'. Perhaps, but still claimed as the truth in Kate's book, published with clear hindsight.

    Had this been a simple staged robbery with the intention of defrauding an insurance company, the couple would have had their knuckles rapped within days.

    Yet with the life of a child involved, the same untrue stage-setting is still propounded as 'the truth'.

    It is beyond my comprehension.

  13. Many thanks for this post.

    I am Portuguese and i am with the first PJ Team investigation!

    I want to do the mourning for Madeleine. Is impossible to Her to rest in peace. .....

    I want the real truth and Justice to Her and to Gonçalo Amaral´s life ( destroyed by UK and PT political ) .

    But............ i feel always so pessimist and the mccann machine is completely powerful.

    Madeleine needs peace and GA also.

    I hope that You feel better...... You know.....

  14. Whenever I read or see on tv that Portugal has declined to reopen the case, I want to see some balance. How about we hear about one of the major real reasons, besides no new evidence? The McCann's will only cooperate if they're exempt from blame. What is the point in PJ doing all that work and coming to the same conclusion as before, only to not be able to take it further? Why is half the UK ignoring what's really going on? Why are the McCann's percieved to be modern-day heroes? Why do people excuse them for their negligence 'because they've suffered enough'? Why is there no balance? Why keep scapegoating PJ when they were doing their best to help?

    It stinks. On behalf of free-thinking Brits everywhere, I truly apologise for the appalling treatment of GA and the rest of Portugal by the ignorant people among us.

  15. I wonder if the MET and the CPS lawyers(which, it seems travelled to Portugal to meet with the PJ and the MP, see the Standard newspaper)will ask(DEMAND)the McCanns and their Tapas friends to come to Portugal and do the RECONSTRUCTION of the events of the 3rd May 2007? The recostruction the PJ wanted to make but could not because they ALL refused to participate with one lame excuse after another?
    And, will the MET and the CPS lawyers ask (DEMAND) Kate McCann to answer the 48 questions she refuse to answer during the PJ interrogation? Or why she declined to answer...? 48 questions, quite simple to answer realy, 48 questions any desperate and innocent mother of a missing child would be quite willing to answer, in order to do everything in her power to help the investigation!


  16. Since these postings it has now officially been announced by the met,they have 28 people of interest. As a former police officer it beyond believe that this investigation is backed by u.k. Govt. The met should be investigating the tapas 7 statements,some of which changed time and again.
    Depending what was in the papers. A waste of Police time.
    Again why was the door unlocked you would not leave 1000 euros lying on the side, and leave door unlocked, so why do so when there are three young children inside. It is also alleged and apparenty confirmed that on a previous night these children were left alone whilst the adults went to chaplins restraunt which is a good 10 mins walk from apartments. if this is true why are people discarding neglect charges against parents. let someone from the met come forward and and stop these rumours or fact and take appropriate action. Also take a serious look at jane tanners statements.

  17. Tapas statements did not change that I can see, not in any way that is materially important to the enquiry. SY know what they are doing, armchair detectives basically don't - although they like to think they do.
    I have no idea why Len is surprised that the Met think Madeleine was abducted. It is not new news - a year ago Redwood said she was taken in a criminal act by a stranger, which to me rules out her parents. All they said this time simply reinforced that, and made clear that they have all been interviewed again.
    Some people will only EVER be happy with an investigation which declares the parents suspects from the off, but realistically we all know that is not going to happen. Not because they are protected or important or Freemasaons or any of the rest of the rubbish, but because there is no real evidence against them - and never was.

  18. "Neither her parents or any of the members of the group that were with her are either persons of interest or suspects." - DCI Redwood, Metropolitan Police Service