29 Feb 2008


THANKS NICKI! Quite remarkable really we need someone from abroad to tell us what is in our own press!

Luv Viv x

Todays news in UK press:(In case there are more than me that first check for news at this site, and then read papers!:)Kate and Gerry McCann set for second police quiz over Madeleine's disappearanceBy Emily Miller 29/02/2008 MirrorPolice probing Madeleine McCann's disappearance are poised to fly to Britain to quiz her parents and their friends.Portuguese police have waited for months for UK approval to re-interview Kate and Gerry, both 39, and the Tapas Seven over the May 3 night the four-year-old vanished.Crucial witnesses David Payne, 41, Jane Tanner and her partner Russell O'Brien, 36, are due to be called first within 10 days.A Portuguese police source said: "We're now just talking about finding a convenient date."A spokesman for the McCanns, of Rothley, Leics, said last night: "They've nothing to hide."The Home Office said: "We have received a legal assistance request from the Portuguese."---McCann pals to face cop quizPublished: Today, the SunPORTUGUESE cops are to jet to Britain to interview Kate and Gerry McCann and their pals in a last-ditch bid to solve Maddie’s disappearance. They want to quiz David Payne, Jane Tanner and partner Russell O’Brien, it was claimed. Authorities have waited months for UK approval, but a source told newspaper 24 horas: “We are finalising the last few details. Within ten days’ a team of investigators will travel to the UK.” Maddie went missing around 10pm from her holiday apartment in Praia da Luz last May as her parents ate with pals in a nearby restaurant. Dr O’Brien, 36, was away from the group at the time changing bed linen after his child was sick. But staff say no-one asked for new sheets. Portuguese police have made formal requests to seize Kate McCann’s diary, said to show how the GP struggled with the daily routine of work and childcare. --Niki


THANKS SO MUCH 2345 Just read this on other thread and thought it was so good people would want it as a sep post.

Viv x

Viv & Everyone,Thought you might enjoy a refresher of Eddie & Keela's work in Luz - on 3A's.Dogs search for more tracesThe two english dogs that have been cooperating in the investigation into the disappearance or death of Madeleine McCann are trying to reconstitute an eventual route for the english girl after leaving, probably already lifeless, the apartment at the Ocean Club, in Praia da Luz, Lagos. This comes after the detection of blood traces in the parents’ room, presumably from the child. Yesterday, another approximately ten cars from persons that are involved in the case were searched.The investigators now try to detect behaviours on the dogs that are identical to those verified in the apartment. While one of the “cocker spaniel” discovered traces of blood on a wall, the other detected the odour of a corpse on the same location. The combination of these two factors increases the consistency of the thesis that the girl died in her parents’ bedroom, as JN reported yesterday, as the victim of a yet unexplained accident, as PJ is inclined to believe at the moment, or as the victim of a crime. Therefore, the abduction theory is increasingly remote.According to information that was obtained by JN, the blood traces are now being analysed by DNA specialists, and compared to Maddie’s genetic profile, in order to clarify any remaining doubts about the person whom the detected samples belong to. Only then will the PJ advance into new inquiries on the McCann couple, and their close circle. The witnesses will be confronted with the elements that have been collected meanwhile.Yesterday’s diligences comprised the searches of vehicles from Robert Murat, his mother Jenny’s van, and the cars of Tuck Price, Murat’s friend and spokesperson, Ralf, an uncle of the arguido, Serguei Malinka, the russian who had business with the anglo-portuguese, the friends Mikaela and Luis Antonio, and also the vehicle that was used by the McCann couple on the days before their daughter vanished.Investigating another crimeThe operation that involved light filters to detect residues, and the two english sniffer dogs, was done in an underground parking lot in Portimao, right in front of the Town Hall and the Criminal Investigation Department at Judiciaria.PJ asked PSP to close 3 of the 4 levels of the parking lot from the public, and for hours the technicians were inside doing their tests. In the late afternoon, most of the automobiles, driven by inspectors, were returned to their owners, but the McCann family’s vehicle was still being analysed at this newspaper’s closing time.A source with the investigations explained to JN that some of the vehicles had been closely inspected in May, when the investigation started. Yet, the possibility that the 4-year old child was killed inside the apartment led investigators to “rethink the whole strategy” and to “analyse again all the traces that were found, and the places that are most likely for the child to have been through”.The use of other investigation techniques by PJ and the english Police is due to the fact that a new investigation line is being explored. The use of ultra-violet light filters appears due to the fact that only now there are clues that point to the girl’s death. “The first possibility was abduction, but the scenario has changes, and that is what we are now working on”, was concluded.Kate and Gerry McCann will be heard again this week, in a last attempt to try to understand what really happened inside the Ocean Club apartment, on May 3. The three british couples that spent their holidays with the McCanns should arrive meanwhile.Cadaver blood is different from a living person’s bloodThere are differences in the chemical composition between the blood from a cadaver and from a living person. Jose Eduardo Pinto da Costa explains that the distinction is made at the “coagulation” level and also through the presence of white and red blood clots. “Cadaver blood has more white or fibrinous clots”, the Forensic Medicine professor tells JN, underlining that this detection is not possible with exams done in Portugal. Yet, he admits that dogs can be trained to distinguish between the two blood types. “Humans have five million olfact cells, while dogs have 220 million!”. In spite of the explamation given by Pinto da Costa, other forensic medicine experts say it is not possible to distinguish between the blood from a living person and that from a cadaver. In Maddie’s case, one of the dogs detected the smell of blood, while the other one marked the presence of a cadaver. The combination of these two factors leads the investigators to believe that Maddie died in her parents’ bedroom.

28 Feb 2008


Did the Retardos grease his palm:-)
From Correio de Manha 27.2.08

It was the very night in which Madeleine disappeared that Castile José António Cardoso says he has transported the girl English, and four adults, in his taxi in Montegordo. It was the very night in which Madeleine disappeared that Castile José António Cardoso says he has transported the girl English, and four adults, in his taxi in Monte Gordo. When CM, a man of 67 years, said that customers "appeared at 20h10," square of taxis near the Casino, "and asked to go to the Apollo Hotel, a few kilometres away. When it arrived, paid the race and, "instead of entering the hotel, were a jeep, with an enrollment of yellow," continues António Cardoso, who then left the site without re-think the issue. Only when the news began to emerge about Madeleine is that the taxi driver is reminded of the customers of the night on May 3. "At that time I noticed that the girl had a dark spot in the order," explains Anthony Cardoso, in a reference to the brand that Madeleine's iris. However, the links that makes the case are more profound. "The adults were three men and a woman, and the man who sat beside me in front of the taxi seemed Murat, and the lady was very similar to the child's mother," reveals. Ended by counting what happened to the Judicial Police and was waiting to be contacted again. What ever happened. Yesterday, however, has been flooded by phone calls from journalists, after the British press have made to circulate a text which was referred to the story of the taxi driver of Monte Gordo. Source linked to the investigation assured the CM that the facts counted by António Cardoso were "investigated" and "track has been abandoned." It should be noted that the alarm on the disappearance of Madeleine was given only for returns of 22.00, the mother of the girl, in Praia da Luz, more than 150 km of Monte Gordo.
PJ ALREADY You received OK TO LETTERS ROGATÓRIAS Next week comes the Algarve an inspector of the police that English will meet with the PJ to define all the procedures that will be taken to meet the letters rogatory. The meeting was scheduled after the British authorities have accepted the demand of the Judiciary to make representations on British soil. After all right, inspectors from the PJ will to Britain where they monitor all cases. As the CM has progressed, initially PJ want to go back to ask Janne Tanner, Russel O'Brien and David Payne, three friends of McCann who spent vacations with them in Portugal. Only then will be decided whether Kate and Gerry will also be questioned. OTHER AVISTAMENTOS ENGLAND Last week, a man residing in the village of Stratton says it appeared at home a couple with a child very similar to Maddie. Ensures that the woman spoke Portuguese and that the minor was very sad and afraid. FRANCE A Dutch student warrants have seen at the beginning of the month, Maddie in the company of a man in the car park of a service station French. The police reviewed the filming of the video surveillance cameras and concluded it is not. ALGARVE The description of a British resident in the ALGARVE McCann leads the detectives of the robot-create the portrait of a man who can think to be related to the case. In January, are detected two similar to the Algarve portrayed, but both assumptions are discarded. MOROCCO A girl Luna is photographed in August. After all, was the daughter of Moroccan parents and was with the mother. John Mira Godinho


Hi All, I found this article interesting going back to September confirming it is the PJ's belief, and indeed my own, that Gerry McCann controls Kate. The Examining Judge had authorised the seizure of Gerry's laptop because they were interested in emails he has exchanged with others. One can understand this, as the case has developed and we have seen the McCann campaign unfold, where Gerry appears to be using contacts to promote "sightings" of Madeleine etc. Some of this have emanated from Amsterdam where we know the McCanns have lived. Also they found it necessary, as he wrote on his blog, to visit friends there, on their European tour. What could have been so pressing that they needed to take time, whilst leaving the twins, to do this?

I was also interested to read the PJ seek letters - I have not heard mention of this before. What I do know from working with domestic violence offenders is that quite often, when they have violently assaulted their partner, and she has responded by terminating the relationship, he will then bombard her with letters, emails, texts, flowers etc. Anything in fact to try and get her back under control. Frequently in court proceedings against such men for harassment, these letters, emails etc are used in evidence against them. Of course the letters they refer to may also be to other business contacts he has e.g. the wealthy businessman friend who lives on the outskirst of Luz Geraghty who had an interest in a massive regeneration project of Leicestershire hospitals, shelved following an audit in between May and July 2007 following a massive increase of some £200M in projected costs.

The McCanns themselves add credence to the findings of forensic evidence in their hire car by stating that they wanted to carry out their own independant tests and suggesting what was found emanated from dirty nappies and rotting meat. If they knew this report was absurd, as their supporters seek to suggest....how did they move a body three weeks later under the media spotlight...then why would they bother to answer it or get independent tests done, which were worthless anyway because all the forensic evidence has already been "swept" from the hire car. I am not sure how it can be known that officers failed to wear protective clothing and this does seem extremely unlikely, even so, they could not have contaminated the hire car with DNA from Madeleine's suppurating corpse or indeed a large chunk of her hair - so this does seem a rather far fetched claim. In the case of Dando's killer it is suggested that gun residue found in his pocket could have come from police cross contamination - this is a far more understandable claim to make - not that I think this dangerous Dando and Princess Di Stalker is innocent!

I wonder if they wanted to subject Cuddle cat to further analysis to find out whether this toy was actually a new one and never even belonged to Madeleine in the first place. Kate seemed to be doing her best to wear it in and I noted when she thought the camera was not watching Amelie was actually carrying it in PDL!

I am not sure who David Hughes is but he does confirm it was the McCanns hope to set up yet another fund to get money from the public for their defence "fighting fund". Clearly the spin was intended to persuade us all how utterly corrupt and inept the PJ are so that we would dig deep and help this poor couple...Their anger and frustration at continuing to be named prime suspects is clear enough and obviously stops them from seeking to make any more money, although clearly no stone has been left unturned in looking for way to do so. As Clarence says he speaks to hundreds of them! I wonder what Vanity Fair paid the McCanns last October and why Kate McCann was unwilling to co-operate in this interview. Clearly he does not always control her quite as well as he may wish!

Finally this article confirms the inquisatorial system in Portuguese law, where at all stages, the investigation is subject to the scrutiny of a judge who authorises further searches and seizure of evidence, advises where the PJ should be concentrating their enquiries in light of what has so far been learned. The judges function is also to look at cost effectiveness. Such an enquiry is resource intensive and extremely expensive. If he believes the current focus of the enquiry is ill-fated or ill advised then he has the power to stop the enquiry altogether. The fact that he has, at every stage, ordered it to proceed, the last occasion being on 3 January confirms the McCanns are now to face trial with the actual exhibits being seised to produce at that trial.

Viv x

By Amol Rajan in Praia da Luz and Ian HerbertThursday, 13 September 2007
The parents of Madeleine McCann are considering commissioning independent forensic tests on the hire car they used in Portugal which appears to be the main source of the Portuguese police force's evidence against them.
A friend of the family said the silver Renault Scenic was being kept in a "safe place" – believed to be a pound at Faro airport – and the Budget rental car company confirmed earlier this week that the McCanns had not returned it, contrary to the firm's expectations.
Police sources in Portugal have been briefing local newspapers that "bodily fluids" – substance created during the decomposition of body tissue – with an 88 per cent match to Madeleine have been found in the vehicle, hired 25 days after Madeleine vanished.
A forensic examination of the car was undertaken by Portugal's Policia Judicaria, but they did not seize the vehicle. An independent forensic examination would give the McCanns an invaluable opportunity to demonstrate that the Portuguese forensic examination was inadequate.
It is known that some of the officers who undertook an examination of the McCanns' apartment did not wear protective clothing, which means there is a risk that they passed on DNA to the vehicle and "cross-contaminated" it.
The McCanns emerged from their home in Rothley, Leicestershire, yesterday to spend an hour walking with their twins in a local park, in an attempt to demonstrate a return to normality. But within hours of that, Portuguese prosecutors served notice of their intent to pursue the McCanns when they disclosed that the judge considering the case had written to Leicestershire police asking the force to secure and pass on a white laptop used by the McCanns in Portugal, Kate McCann's diary and a number of letters.
"Gerry's computer is the main thing police want to analyse," a Portugese police source said last night. "They want to know what kind of emails Gerry exchanged with certain people. The police think Gerry controls Kate and they want the computer and lots of things including letters and personal items."
Police also intend to seize some of Madeleine's toys for analysis, a Portugese newspaper reported yesterday. Among them will be Madeleine's favourite stuffed animal, Cuddle Cat, which Mrs McCann has been seen clutching almost continuously since her daughter went missing, the Diario de Noticias said. A family spokesman, David Hughes, could not confirm either of these claims, but said he believed "Cuddle Cat" had already undergone forensic testing. Mr Hughes said the McCanns will not seek to use any of the £1m raised by the fund to find Madeleine to pay for their legal defence. But they may seek to set up a separate fighting fund to pay mounting legal costs from defending themselves against accusations they were involved in her death.
"Gerry and Kate's view is that if they take money from the fund, it might be that 90 per cent of people who made donations aren't bothered about it. But if 10 per cent of people are bothered about it, they don't want to upset them. They want to take the controversy out of the situation," said Mr Hughes.
Family sources suggest that an alternative fund is "one of the options they may look at" to pay for the lawyers they have appointed both in Portugal and the UK.
Portuguese law
Criminal investigations in Portugal, as in most European countries, are part of an inquisitorial system rather than the UK's adversarial one. The public prosecutor decides if there is sufficient evidence but this must then be placed before an examining magistrate or judge responsible for formal charging. The judge will either agree with the prosecutor or throw out the case. Where powers are sought to gather more evidence the prosecutor must ask the examining magistrate. Should the case go to court the magistrate determines issues of both fact and law deciding the defendant's guilt or innocence.

25 Feb 2008


He is now remanded in custody!

Please also see the thread with the damning article from The Times concerning Metodo3 - but Clarence tells us operationally they are really good - what in bribery, corruption, and smuggling millions of pounds worth of cocaine - no wonder Gerry hand picked them for the job! Just how many people have they bribed and harassed now I wonder and how many years prison is it going to get them...My heart goes out to the PJ in trying to unravel this lot on limited resources, I hope Spanish police, UK and interpol are giving them full backing and support. No wonder the PJ wanted the assistance of Europol who work with various Member States where there is International crime. As a small country with limited resources they must be struggling to cope with this investigation.

Viv x
From The Daily Telegraph yesterday:
Madeleine McCann: detective agency link held
Last Updated: 3:16am GMT 24/02/2008
A retired policeman linked to the private detective agency hired to find Madeleine McCann has been arrested on suspicion of helping criminals who stole £25 million of cocaine.
Antonio Jimenez, who has been linked to Metodo 3, the Spanish detective agency hired by the McCann family to find their missing daughter, was last night remanded by a judge investigating alleged police corruption and the theft in 2005 of 1,100?lb of cocaine from a Barcelona dockyard.
The arrest comes amid mounting scepticism about the role of Metodo 3 in the search for Madeleine, who disappeared on May 3 last year while on holiday with her family in Praia da Luz, Portugal.
Metodo 3, whose contract with Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry expires next month and has yet to be renewed, was criticised last year when Francisco Marco, its managing director, spoke of finding the four-year-old by Christmas.
It has also emerged that, in 1995, five senior members of the agency were arrested in a phone-tapping case. They were never charged, however, and an investigating judge threw out the case, condemning police entrapment.

Clarence Mitchell, the spokesman for the McCanns, sought to distance Jimenez from Metodo 3.
He said: "He is nothing to do with us. He collaborated with Metodo 3 on a project, but that was two years before the company was hired to find Madeleine.
"We still have faith in the work of Metodo 3."
Mr Marco denied Spanish television reports that Jiminez, 53, has worked for Metodo 3 for three years.
He insisted that Jimenez was, until three weeks ago, a business partner of his mother, Maria Fernandez Lado, who founded Metodo 3. He said Jimenez had been involved with a separate company.
Spanish records, however, reportedly showed that this business had the same listed address as Metodo 3.
separate article found by Delores of the Pink Rose!

Detective Informing McCann arrested for theft of 400 kg of cocaineHe was the one who "discovered" witnesses who claimed to have Maddie apperçuA private detectives serving McCann, belonging to the agency Metodo 3, has been arrested for involvement in the theft of 400 kg of cocaine in the port of Barcelona.Detective Antonio J.R. 53 year old - who works for Metodo 3 on the file of investigation in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann - held the position of Chief Inspector of the Unit for Drugs and Organized Crime (Udyco) by the police in Barcelona when of the facts. He had left the police to go directly to the agency Metodo 3, the precise time when the internal investigation had begun about the disappearance of 400 kg of cocaine in a total of one and a half tonnes , arrested on a boat from Venezuela. The Court of First Instance of Martorell (Barcelona), which has now dictated preventive prison, without recourse, Antonio JR, accused of malfeasance, corruption, bribery of public officials and criminal association illegal.Serving Metodo 3 since 2005, the detective was responsible for special operations in the framework of investigations in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, he had in recent months travelled to Morocco and Portugal, announcing several witnesses , who said seeing Madeleine.Enfants Kidnappes 16th Feb.,

24 Feb 2008

As the second of the articles from the Guardian below confirm what was immediately being fed to the press in PDL at the time was contrived and controlled. We saw Gerry McCann immediately reading a prepared "script". How come he could not just talk spontaneously and his sadness at the loss of his daughter and appeal to the public for help? This control freakery he always displays has made the public, quite rightly, highly suspicious from the outset. Given all this control freakery from the outset.. how odd then, that here we have a report of Gerry McCann himself checking the children at 9.30, not Oldfield! Given that it clearly has been so contrived and controlled, why have we had so many conflicting stories about who checked the children and precisely when? These lies are quite rightly at the heart of the police case and their need to interview certain TAPAS members, yet again, prior to finally assembling the prosecution case which must surely see other TAPAS members, particularly OB and Tanner named as Arguidos. Oldfield appears to have agreed to have falsely stated he checked the children at 9.30 - I think it is highly likely that if he was prepared to admit that was a lie - which the police can prove anyway due to other witnesses, he may avoid prosecution himself by becoming a prosecution witness. This fits with Docmacs account that it is him who has gone to the police via his solicitor to change his story. Far better to do this than give up his fantastic lifestyle living in a £1M pad in Surrey. Surely, he would reason, he is not going to give that up and go to prison, for the sake of Kate and Gerry McCann once he realised the game was up. Who would!

~Viv x

Q&A: Madeleine McCann
Steven Morris in Praia da Luz, Portugal
Tuesday May 8 2007

This article was first published on guardian.co.uk on Tuesday May 08 2007. It was last updated at 16:41 on May 08 2007.When did Madeleine vanish?
Between 9.30pm and 10pm on Thursday. Her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, were dining at a tapas bar in a Mark Warner resort around 100 metres from the apartment where Madeleine and her twin siblings were sleeping. The McCanns checked on the children at around half-hourly intervals. Mr McCann checked at 9.30pm, but when the couple returned at about 10pm, Madeleine had gone. A pool, hedge, wall and alleyway are between the bar and the apartment.
How could a kidnapper have got into the apartment?
There are three likely routes. The bedroom in which Madeleine was sleeping has a window with a plastic shutter and a door leading to a narrow car park and a quiet residential street. This side of the apartment cannot be seen from the tapas bar. At the back of the apartment, which can partially be seen from the bar, are French windows. These were the doors the parents were coming in through when they checked the children, and may have been left unlocked.
Were the doors or window forced?
Members of Madeleine's family said the shutter on the street window was forced, and police have fingerprinted it. However, the Mark Warner holiday company said there was no sign of a forced break-in. A kidnapper could have come through the street window and left via the street door. It is unlikely he or she would have entered or left via the French windows, because they face the tapas bar and the rest of the complex.
Do the police have any suspects?
At the weekend, they seemed to say they had a suspect in mind. However, it became clear earlier this week that this was not a named person but a man who witnesses had seen acting suspiciously. A sketch of the man has been made but not published - normal procedure for the police in Portugal - but it is not a clear image.
Why has so little information been published?
The Portuguese police claim their judicial system makes it impossible to release information for fear of prejudicing any future case. However, Madeleine's family are known to be frustrated at the way the investigation is being handled. It was their decision to make the direct appeal to any kidnapper and to release details of what Madeleine was wearing - the police had not done so.
Has the search been thorough?
Many people, including some family members, believe not. Criticism that the police did not even begin searching immediately, however, seems unfounded - officers and members of the public began a search as soon as Madeleine was reported missing.
However, there is scant evidence of an organised, exhaustive search. Neither border nor marine police were given descriptions of Madeleine for many hours after she vanished, and officers have not been seen making extensive door-to-door inquiries.
What about the police investigation?
Again, it appears unsatisfactory. The scene has not been secured as tightly as it would have been in the UK. Passers-by are allowed to go right up to the shutters of the window that Madeleine's parents say were forced. The lack of appeals for help and information has upset the family and surprised police experts.
There have been suggestions that the police are hiding behind the idea that they cannot release information because they might prejudice the case. Article 86 of the Portuguese processo penal says information must not be released, apart from in exceptional circumstances. Nevertheless, the lack of information has created a vaccuum that has been filled by speculation and theories ranging from the idea that a paedophile ring is behind the kidnapping to the claim that she may have been abducted to order.

Mechanics of the McCann campaign
Professional media management may have generated coverage of Maddy's disappearance, but it hasn't helped with public sympathy for the family
Steve Hewlett
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January 31, 2008 2:30 PM Printable version
A Media Society/Polis debate last night saw Gerry and Kate McCann's current and former spokespeople - Clarence Mitchell and Justine McGuinness - discuss the media and the McCanns with Kelvin MacKenzie, Roy Greenslade and filmmakers Roger Graef and David Mills. I should say in the interests of transparency that I chaired the event in front of a packed house at the LSE in London.
The big question set out for debate by the organisers was how well (or badly) had the press and media done in their coverage of what must surely be the most reported story of the last nine months. Consensus among the speakers was pretty negative and Clarence Mitchell was utterly scathing, accusing some journalists of peddling information they knew to be wrong or unfounded - largely for the purpose of stoking up sales. MacKenzie, ex-editor of the Sun, cautioned the audience against being too censorious on the grounds that it was their fascination with the story that led newspapers - which are, after all, commercial entities - to deal with it so prominently and frequently.
MacKenzie then went on to say two things that in my view had rather greater resonance in the meeting than any of the relatively predictable press bashing - no matter how justified. He said that the public response to his Sun column, which he said was characteristic of Sun readers (ie somewhat downmarket in demographic terms), can be huge but was overwhelmingly negative towards Kate and Gerry McCann. Having left their children alone in the apartment while going out for a good time with friends has not gone down well - with the Sun's readership at least, not to mention quite a few folk in last evening's LSE audience.
This is not to suggest that most (or even many) readers think they're guilty in any sense; more that they've been complicit in their own misfortune by being less-than-attentive parents. This more starkly than anything else, it was suggested, reveals the class-based nature of public responses not so much to the calamity of Madeleine's disappearance as to her family's efforts since. And on that front MacKenzie went on to say - even more tellingly perhaps - that in the public mind PR and truth were rarely thought to sit comfortably together.
And there's the rub. Try as they might neither Clarence Mitchell nor Justine McGuinness could quite shake off the sense that the way they've managed this case might have contributed to some negative public sentiment towards the family. In place initially as what Mitchell described as "a buffer" between the shocked and distraught parents and the world's media, hungry for news about Madeleine, it's clear that what developed was a professional media management operation. With city PR firm Bell Pottinger on hand - primarily, we can assume, to defend the interests of their clients Mark Warner Holidays - as well as Justine and, latterly, Clarence with all their experience of Westminster spin, the McCanns could not have wanted for more professional advice. But as time went on media management itself - and once you've started feeding stories to the press to get control of the agenda, you really can't stop - began generating negative reaction from other parties.
Portuguese journalists found people close to the McCanns unwilling to speak for fear of breaking an agreement that Kate and Gerry would pre-authorise anything that was to be said in public. This is standard media management in Westminster or the City but it struck some in Portugal, who thought they were simply dealing with an utterly distraught family, as so strange as to be suspicious. The Portuguese police, however slow and incompetent they might have been, found themselves on the wrong end of a very high powered media onslaught - orchestrated and facilitated in no small measure by what became the McCann campaign. They may not have been ideally equipped or experienced to deal with the case of a disappeared child but they certainly weren't prepared to find themselves up against professional media managers.
In many ways, it's hard to see what else Kate and Gerry McCann could have done; offered the same kind of assistance, how many of us would have turned it down if we thought it might help to get our missing child back? Nevertheless, it's hard to avoid at least a nagging sense of unease about aspects of the "campaign" which would appear to be reflected in what some people think about Kate and Gerry McCann.

22 Feb 2008


I hate to confess this but I really do find him rather yummy...(!)

On a more serious note, he indicates that the McCanns could only have been held in custody if the Portuguese felt the homicide was intentional i.e. murder, non-intentional homicide i.e. manslaughter they could not be held in custody. This may explain why they were allowed to come home whilst the investigation continued. In most cases of homicide by parents on a child, the parent lost their temper and attacked the child, not intending to kill them, and so generally the charge is manslaughter.

"According to Portuguese law, we don't need to have the body to decide that it is homicide".

He gives a very clear and helpful explanation of the legal position under Portuguese law.


Viv x

21 Feb 2008


Seems clear this serial killer who grew up with an abusive father was pretty good at keeping just how evil he is all to himself but had a nasty angry streak, debts and no personality...
If the psychiatrists can get him to engage it will interesting to hear what they make of him but there are echoes of Shipman here, I think, profoundly disturbed at the loss of his mom...and terrified of his disciplinarian father.
Viv x
From Times Online
February 21, 2008
Profile: Steve Wright, taciturn golfer with deadly secret
to not show photographer information --> to not show image description -->
Steve Wright: those who were close to him have no clue as to what drove the former publican to kill to not show enlarge option -->
Sean O'Neill, Crime Editor of The Times
The handful of people who regarded Steve Wright as a friend thought of him as quiet, a little awkward in company – taciturn except when the conversation turned to golf about which he was almost obsessive.
He seemed devoted to Pamela Goodman, his latest partner, and was a bit unlucky when it came to finding and holding down a decent job.
Only after he was arrested did they start to find other words and unearth memories of incidents that didn't seem quite right. The social awkwardness became stand-offishness, the quiet demeanour seemed secretive, and the devotion to Ms Goodman now appeared domineering.
As they started to deny that they had ever been friends, indeed only really knew him to say "hello" to, they recalled incidents when Wright had been suddenly rude or inexplicably aggressive.
Related Links
Text: letter from Steve Wright to his father
Ipswich prostitute: 'Noise saved me from Wright'
How prostitute search became hunt for a serial killer
Pictures: Ipswich murders-->
But no-one had him marked down as the serial killer who had carried out the most intensive killing spree in British criminal history – murdering five street prostitutes over six weeks and dumping their bodies in streams and on wasteland around the outskirts of Ipswich.
All of their bodies were found in the first ten days of December 2006, a frightening period when short, wintry days and long, dark nights heightened the sense of insecurity in the Suffolk town.
For the psychiatrists who will now assess him in prison, Wright will prove a fascinating subject.
In his early months in prison, it will be their job to prepare a detailed assessment of his mental condition, literacy and family background before planning how and where he will spend his sentence.
But it will be left to him to decide when he wants to “engage” with the psychiatrists.
To date, there has been little to suggest Wright is prepared to reveal his motives. At trial he mounted a stubborn defence, despite the presence of evidence linking him directly to all five murders.
Letters from prison to Ms Goodman revealed his state of denial. "Please believe me when I say I'm not capable of those crimes," he wrote in January last year.
He professed his dedication to Ms Goodman, yet he betrayed her repeatedly – dropping her off at the call centre where she worked before cruising the red light area of Ipswich for sex and victims.
An examination of Wright’s life reveals a contempt for women that may stem from a lengthy separation from his mother, a dislike of his stepmother, two brief marriages and years of paying strangers for sex.
Wright was born on April 24, 1958, in Erpingham, Norfolk and grew up with parents who were on a collision course for separation. His mother, Patricia, married his father, Conrad, when she was aged just 16 and pregnant.
She lived in the shadow of a husband who worked as a police officer in the RAF, then at Felixstowe docks and showed a ruthless disciplinarian streak in both his professional and family lives.
His mother walked out on the marriage and her children abruptly when Wright was just eight. His father remarried a short time later but Wright never warmed to his stepmother, Valerie.
In interviews since his arrest, Patricia has claimed that the son she left was the "apple of her eye" and never showed any inclination towards violence when she was around.
“Steve was shy, especially in a crowd, but he was such a love when he was a kid,” she said. “I never saw any violence there. He definitely didn’t have it in him when he was a little boy.
“Steve was withdrawn. He was afraid of his dad if I wasn’t there. He would actually hold his breath and pass out if he thought his dad was going to smack him."
Patricia claims she was prevented legally from taking her four children with her and they grew up subject to their father's strict rules.
She was fleetingly reunited with Wright when she visited Britain over Christmas 1992. But as she left to fly home, he made it clear in a foul-mouthed tirade that he did not want to see her again.
Wright left school at 16 with no qualifications and took a job at a hotel in Aldeburgh, Suffolk, where he received “silver service” training.
A friend suggested they join the Merchant Navy together and the pair went to Sea School in Gravesend with a view to joining at 17.
His first job was as a dishwasher in the kitchen of a ferry operating out of the port of Felixstowe.
In 1978 he married for the first time to Angela O’Donovan in Milford Haven, West Wales in 1978 and she bore him a son. Wright also has a daughter.
Wright and his first wife divorced and she has since remarried. Speaking of her ex-husband’s notoriety shortly after his arrest, she said the news of his crimes had "come as a complete bolt out of the blue."
In 1987, Wright married again to Diane Cassell in a ceremony in Braintree, Essex. He met his second wife while working on the QE2 where one of his fellow crew members was Suzy Lamplugh, who was murdered while working as an estate agent in 1986.
Police are understood to have reviewed the Lamplugh murder file but ruled out Wright as a suspect.
Steve Adler, a former steward on the QE2, said in an interview: “Steve wasn’t really one of the lads and was on the periphery - but he liked the girls. He would sniff around all the girls and particularly the beauticians.”
Mr Adler claimed Wright visited prostitutes when they landed at Pattaya in Thailand.
He married Diane only because the brewery they wanted to work for demanded that couples were married if they were going to acquire the tenancy of a pub.
They took over the Ferry Boat Inn in Norwich but separated after less than a year of running the pub when he left her for another woman.
The pub was in the centre of Norwich’s red light district and a regular haunt of prostitutes. Natalie Pearman, 16, a prostitute who frequented the pub was murdered in 1992 and her body was found dumped in woodland. The murders of Kellie Pratt and Michelle Bettles, who also worked the streets of Norwich, are also unsolved.
The second Mrs Wright now lives in Hartlepool, and is known as Diane Cole. She said: “I couldn’t believe it when I first saw his name on the telly. Our marriage wasn’t good and I was glad when it ended.”
In the 1990s, beset with money problems, Wright went to live in Thailand. He is said to have married there but returned apparently in worse financial straits.
His experiences overseas made paying for sex with women a lifetime habit that probably contributed to his financial problems and two attempted suicides.
His half-brother, Keith, said: “He tried to do himself in a couple of times. In about 1995 or 1996 they found him in a car down some alleyway. He’d attached a hose to his exhaust.
“In about 2000, after coming back from Thailand, he took an overdose of pills. We went to pick him up from a bedsit in Ipswich.
“I think everything got to him. He went to Thailand and got with some girl who ended up scamming him for everything he had. He got himself into a lot of debt, I suppose he couldn’t find a way out. Everything got to him.”
Wright declared himself bankrupt with debts of £30,000, on his father’s advice, and tried to set his life right. He found work in a variety of short-lived jobs - as a labourer, fork lift truck driver and barman.
Money problems persisted – he was sacked for stealing £40 from a bar where he worked – and he continued to pay prostitutes for sex.
The street girls who continued to work in Ipswich during the dangerous nights of winter 2006 said Wright was a regular punter, cruising the streets in his Ford Mondeo while his partner worked the nightshift at a call centre. They knew him as Mondeo Man.
One prostitute, who gave her name as Lou, regarded Wright as “an average, normal punter” with whom she had sex two or three times a month.
He didn’t strike me as weird,” she said. “I can usually tell if someone is trustworthy and he always seemed all right with me and never gave any reason to believe I was in danger.
“You would often see him driving round looking for girls, even if he had picked you the night before."
Another girl described him as a “wham-bam-thank-you mam” punter who she never saw as a threat.
Wright was adept at keeping his nocturnal habits secret from his partner, Pam, his workmates and his fellow golfers.
He had been a member of Seckford Golf Club, Woodbridge, for five years, played off a handicap of 19 and would happily fill his day playing 36 holes of golf.
He joined the Brook Hotel Regulars Golf and Notbale Delinquents Society, set up by customers at the bar where he worked.
The Seckford club’s professional Simon Jay, 30, said: “We always knew Steve Wright as a quiet chap who was very unassuming. I used to say, ‘Morning Steve’ when he came in and that was it. He always played in black. His golfing gear was black trousers and a black jumper or roll neck.”
It is understood his membership was due to be suspended at about the time of his arrest because of failure to pay his monthly £47.50 subscription.
The other regular fixture in his life was enjoying a few pints at Uncle Tom's Cabin, a popular Ipswich pub.
Sheila Davis, the landlady, and her partner Eddie Roberts befriended the couple about four years ago and invited them to a holiday in Ireland.
Ms Davis said: “He was a very, very quiet man, hard to talk to, bordering on stand-offish. He was off-hand once when he just shoved me out of the way when I was sitting on a chair.
“It surprised me. I was talking to Pam and I had annoyed him but I didn’t know why. I couldn’t believe he would do a thing like that. It was a silly thing but it stuck in my head.”
“If you could speak to him about golf he would answer you. But you couldn’t talk to him one on one. There was an awkwardness about him. He never cracked a joke. He never contributed to any conversation.”
She added: “Pam and I would talk a lot, and according to her he would say how he hated tarty women.
“I was shocked when he was arrested but subsequently less so as I started to look back. Pamela had no idea he was sleeping with prostitutes.”
Ms Davis said she had received a letter from Wright. “It said ‘You must know in your heart I am not capable of doing this’ ... but I don’t know.
“He is a nice looking man, not slimey, nothing like that. But, as a personality - there is none. He had no personality."

19 Feb 2008



I think either the McCanns had an injunction served on them to stop the debate about them or more likely

The Daily Express have been advised their articles and forum seriously prejudice an ongoing criminal investigation which could certainly mean they know the PJ imminent/McCanns to be charged!

Stay on current thread I think guys!

Viv x

I think this article from El Mundo, December 07 is very illuminate, particularly in putting Murat right back in the frame emphasising his prior relationship with Gerry. It does seem likely 10 June was the date Gerry finally disposed of little Maddie and phone records confirm, lied to the police about his whereabouts. It really is so horrible, but encouraging in given us an insight as to the depth and extent of the evidence the police have collated against Gerry McCann in particular. It does sound like OB is in very serious trouble indeed - how odd our press do not report on his whereabouts /whether he is at work etc. The lack of reporting here really does give cause for concern. Investigative journalism book get throw out the window on the McCann case unless it is on some wild goose chase in Morocco, Portugal etc. - nothing here where the real suspects are housed!

Viv x

'Case Maddie' narrows the fence The wiretapping involving Gerry McCann and Russell O'Brien, which would be suspect DUARTE LEVY. Special to THE WORLD LONDON .- Seven months after the night when Madeleine McCann mysteriously disappeared from his bed, police Portuguese seemed closer than ever to solving the case, which so much ink and money has caused. After a surprise visit to Elderby, headquarters of the police in London (United Kingdom), which operates Kate and Gerry McCann, the Portuguese authorities are preparing to return to interrogate the group of nine British are at the heart of the mystery. After cooperating with the British authorities, the Portuguese Judicial Police will be required to travel to England the next few weeks, with the aim of interrogating both Gerry and Kate McCann and seven of his friends with the parents of Maddie were having dinner the night of On 3 May. Elderby's meeting between the Portuguese and British police in the presence of various specialists in forensics, served to reinforce the research that the team continues Paulo Rebelo since last July and which led to consider as arguidos ( suspects) to marry McCann The Portuguese Judicial Police still suspecting that Kate and Gerry McCann hid the body of her daughter, Madeleine, and simulated his abduction. One complaint that extends to two other suspects, Robert Murata and Russell O'Brien. Contrary to what many thought so far, the Judicial Police has in its possession more evidence that simple DNA analysis. According to various testimonies, available, for example, from the list of telephone calls made by the marriage McCann and his friends, and knows also the recipients of those calls and, in some cases, the exact content of the conversations held by all members of the group. The call that most intrigued the Portuguese police took place on June 10 between Russell O'Brien and Gerry McCann. The father of Maddie initially assured the police that the call had been made from a location four miles from Ocean Club. However, eavesdropping on calls and triangulation of antennas enabled the Portuguese police, in collaboration with technicians British verify that these claims were false. The place from which the call was made and the content of the same signs are missing and the police want to explore in interrogations, which could lead to the rapid location of the body Madeleine. The triangulation of calls has enabled the police discovered an abandoned barn, where they found a towel stained with blood and waste from the boot of the Renault Scenic rented by McCann. In addition, several videos and various photographs are part of the summary, including some showing that Murat already knew the group members. Aside from the strange coincidence that Murat had been in Exeter, where residents then Russell O'Brien and Jane Tanner, the police received their British colleagues various elements that can prove that Gerry McCann and Robert Murata had already been seen and spoken on several occasions, even before the McCann travel to Praia da Luz. A source close to the Prosecutor's Office confirmed that there is sufficient evidence, regardless of the DNA test, to make formal accusations. But that decision will only be taken after the interrogation, and near the end of the term after which the summary of the case will no longer be secret. With the strengthening of the line of research and suspicions of the police on the Portuguese McCann, investigators have eight months to conclude its investigation. Since then, the process becomes public, according to the new penal code Portuguese. The situation of Robert Murata, Gerry and Kate could therefore worse. Indeed, Murata was declared a suspect or arguido on May 14 and, therefore, its eight months ending in January. Marriage McCann was declared a suspect on September 7, which, in his case, the term expiring in May.

18 Feb 2008


There is a lack of kindness among British children and many do not share family meal times. Why are British parents so thoughtless and selfish? Being kind and compassionate is a skill children can learn from their parents. What hope for the remaining two children of Kate and Gerry McCann, if they remain with their parents? The McCann sycophants on the Daily Express demonstrate the sort of personality characteristics that explain these awful figures. They defend the McCanns very serious neglect of three tiny children 'a mistake that Kate and Gerry McCann will have to live with for the rest of their lives' (Rosiepops). At least they still have a life. These people show no concern or empathy for little children - just how many of them are there in the UK. It is a national disgrace the government should take urgent measures to address. The McCann style of parenting brings the issue to the forefront of the public's mind and British parents should ask themselves the question - do I really love and nurture my child, making them feel so loved and so special in my eyes? Buying a heap of expensive toys for christmas will not make amends for serious parental failure to nurture, love and protect.

If you click on the link to the United Nations Study below, you will see on the chart that for family and peer relationships UK is bottom in position 21, Portugal 2nd - in this category. This may place into context why Portuguese parents just cannot understand the behaviour of Kate and Gerry McCann whereas it seems clear from some on the Daily Express, there are British parents who see little wrong in it. This is where British parents can learn from the Portuguese rather than criticise, even though scoring on all measure places Portugal in the bottom 5 but still way ahead of UK. This brings into context the hypocritical criticism of the treatment and well-being of children in Portugal by some very unpleasant characters on the Daily Express. Trying to suggest that it is simply not a safe place for children to be. The evidence confirms it is in fact a far safer place for them. They point to just a few abductions off the streets, not from childrens beds in Portugal over recent months and seek to use this as a link to the demise of Madeleine and again, as a completely unjustified piece of villification of Portugal. As a poster on the DE~ tonight pointed out there are over 70,000 children who disappear every year in the UK - a truly staggering picture of the misery our children are suffering and what of all the rest who do not disappear. What of all the murders by our teenagers? Happy slapping videos - what sort of monsters for parents do these children have? There is barely a week goes by when we do not hear of some poor man going out to a gang of teenagers asking them not to urinate or damage his car - and for this he is kicked to death. This is a social issue, not a legal one. Certainly we can just lock these kids up when they do something as horrifying as that but what of Tony Blair promise to also attack the causes of crime? Rotten parents! ASBOs - is this the best the government can do - many of these young lads and girls too wear the ASBO crown as a status symbol. Social policy is the answer but it is an expensive one - we dont need any more legal gimmicks - it will not make any difference! We need to educate children in school about treating others with humanity and respect with a very firm emphasis on developing anti-discriminatory attitudes. A study of some of the nasty characters on the DE demonstrates they all suffer from this disease. Just like playground bullies they look for any means to attack and ridicule. In schools we also need to develop a passion for art, animals, the environment etc equipping them to be decent adults who will make decent parents rather than those who dump their children at every given opportunity and preach hatred and nastiness towards fellow human beings blind to the lasting harm they cause.


By the way Leigh 3 - thanks for your post that led me to this article x You always bring up such interesting and worthwhile issues for discussion.

British children: poorer, at greater risk and more insecure
· UN puts UK bottom of 21 advanced nations· 'A crisis at heart of our society' - children's commissioner

Sarah Boseley, health editor
The Guardian,
Wednesday February 14 2007

Children smoke outside a shop in Bristol. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty
Children growing up in the United Kingdom suffer greater deprivation, worse relationships with their parents and are exposed to more risks from alcohol, drugs and unsafe sex than those in any other wealthy country in the world, according to a study from the United Nations.
The UK is bottom of the league of 21 economically advanced countries according to a "report card"' put together by Unicef on the wellbeing of children and adolescents, trailing the United States which comes second to last.
Today's findings will be a blow to the government, which has set great store by lifting children out of poverty and improving their education and prospects. Al Aynsley Green, the children's commissioner for England, acknowledges that the UN has accurately highlighted the troubled lives of children. "There is a crisis at the heart of our society and we must not continue to ignore the impact of our attitudes towards children and young people and the effect that this has on their wellbeing," he says in a response today.
"I hope this report will prompt us all to look beyond the statistics and to the underlying causes of our failure to nurture happy and healthy children in the UK. These children represent the future of our country and from the findings of this report they are in poor health, unable to maintain loving and successful relationships, feel unsafe and insecure, have low aspirations and put themselves at risk.
"It is time to stop demonising children and young people for what goes wrong and start supporting them to make positive choices. To bring an end to the confusing messages we give to young people about their role, responsibility and position in society and ensure that every child feels valued and has their rights respected."
The Unicef team assessed the treatment of children in six different areas - material wellbeing; health and safety; educational wellbeing, family and peer relationships, behaviours and risks; and the young people's own perceptions of their wellbeing.
The Netherlands tops the league, followed by Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Spain. The bottom five are Portugal, Austria, Hungary, the US and the UK.
Nine countries, all of them in northern Europe, have brought child poverty down below 10%, the report shows. But it remains at 15% in the three southern European countries - Portugal, Spain and Italy - and in the UK, Ireland and the US. Child poverty is a relative measure that shows how far their standard of living has fallen below the national average.
The Unicef report adds: "The evidence from many countries persistently shows that children who grow up in poverty are more vulnerable: specifically, they are more likely to be in poor health, to have learning and behavioural difficulties, to underachieve at school, to become pregnant at too early an age, to have lower skills and aspirations, to be low paid, unemployed and welfare-dependent."
The Conservatives seized on the report, claiming that it endorsed their attack on the way in which Gordon Brown had addressed the issue of child poverty, and the prime minister had demonised the role of children in his drive against antisocial behaviour.
The shadow chancellor, George Osborne, said: "This report tells the truth about Brown's Britain. After 10 years of his welfare and education policies, our children today have the lowest wellbeing in the developed world."
Labour said it had taken 700,000 people out of child poverty and was mounting an unprecedented investment programme in a network of children's centres. A government spokesman argued that in many cases the data use d in the report was several years old and "does not reflect more recent improvements in the UK such as the continuing fall in the teenage pregnancy rate or in the proportion of children living in workless households".
Some of the most shocking findings concern the relationships children and adolescents have with their family and peers. The UK is bottom of the 21 countries.
This, says Unicef, "is as difficult to measure as it is critical to wellbeing".
To attempt to score countries, the experts have focused on children's own reports of how much time their parents spend "just talking" to them, how many say they eat the main meal of the day with their parents more than once a week and the percentages of 11, 13 and 15-year-olds who find their peers "kind and helpful". UK parents do reasonably well on "talking regularly" - 60% of children say they chat, putting Britain 12th in the league table. But while a similar proportion say they eat together more than once a week, the UK lags towards the bottom of the league, with Italy, Iceland and France at the very top end.
The report presents a sad picture of relationships with friends, which are so important to children. Not much more than 40% of the UK's 11, 13 and 15-year-olds find their peers "kind and helpful", which is the worst score of all the developed countries.
The UK takes bottom place "by a considerable distance" for the number of young people who smoke, abuse drink and drugs, engage in risky sex and become pregnant at too early an age. For 16 out of 17 OECD countries with the data, between 15% and 28% of young people have had sex by the age of 15. For the UK, the figure is 40%.
On education, the UK comes 17th out of 21. At the age of 15, British children score relatively well on reading, mathematical and scientific literacy. But more than 30% of 15- to 19-year-olds are not in education or training and are not looking beyond low-skilled work.

16 Feb 2008


Very interesting!
Come on all you psychologists - comments please! I can see the basic similarity.
Viv x

Correio de Manha:

2008-02-15 - 00:30:00 'Fatima': Picture-robot seen the microscope SIC disassemble face Natália Ferraz Fatima Lopes showed the reconstitution of the anthropometric design which transformed the face of Kate McCann A new video of Paul Sergeant, Pedro Gamito again surprised at 'Chronic Police' yesterday morning program 'Fatima,' SIC. The portrait-robot kidnapping of the suspect, McCann Maddie was transmuted in the face of the mother, Kate. This transfiguration, obtained from the reconstitution of the anthropometric portrait-robot suspected of kidnapping of the girl, indicates that the same picture is not reliable. Reconstitution anthropometric, technical views on CSI, was produced by Paul Sergeant, Pedro Gamito, professors of forensic psychology at the University of Lisbon Lusófona. The technique showed, as the experts explained, "that the portrait-robot has nothing to do with the suspect in the Algarve, both traits that are of a female face and Anglo-Saxon, which both can lead to the face of Kate McCann as any other woman. " Fatima Lopes, presenter of 'Fatima', the CM stressed that "Paul Sergeant, Pedro Gamito worked scientifically the facts and were invited to return to the program and this new video show publicly on the case." Francisco Moita Flores, criminalista commentator in the 'Chronicle Thriller', was also yesterday in the SIC and explained to the CM: "The robot-portrait of the suspect of the abduction is a false clue, I do not know if done in bad faith. It shows a man with a bad guy, but unintentionally, projected what are the emotional references, a fantasy driven by the subconscious of who has the elements for the making of the picture. " "The reconstitution anthropometric serves to show that picture is just a manoeuvre," he adds, concluding: "It goes through the head of anyone who has kidnapped the mother to daughter." The robot-portrait of the suspect of the abduction of Maddie was provided by the assessor Press the family McCann and led the authorities to point to the hypothesis, once removed, it being a man of Castro Marim. THE ARRIVAL OF CARA SUSPEITO The portrait-robot gets up from a reconstitution of the lines fisionómicos the suspect of a crime that victims or witnesses can describe. The police have equipment that help these witnesses to reconstituírem the features of the suspect. From this information, it made a sketch, then treated by specialist designers who comprise the craniofacial characteristics of the suspect. Reconstitution anthropometric seek the face suggested by portrait-robot. Filomena Galacho

13 Feb 2008

Current thread - Portugal Statement/ METODO 3 BLATANT LIARS THE EVIDENCE

What an excellant piece of investigative journalism from The Times. So McCann employees Clarence Mitchell and the avaricious and rather creepy Mr Marco are blatant liars - what can we deduce from that? Just like their employers..

Viv x

Madeleine McCann and Metodo 3: Private eyes, public lies
Paid £50,000 a month to find Madeleine McCann, the Spanish detective Francisco Marco said he hoped to have her home for Christmas. He issued this photofit of a suspect last month; it set off a media frenzy, but Portuguese police say it has ‘no credibility’. Christine Toomey turns the tables on a private eye who is anything but
Francisco Marco might have been thinking about other matters on the day he apparently spoke out about his hopes that Madeleine McCann would be home for Christmas. It was the day his Spanish private detective agency, Metodo 3 – paid an estimated £50,000 a month to help find Madeleine – moved from cramped premises above a grocer’s shop specialising in sausages in Barcelona’s commercial district to a multi-million-pound suite of offices in a grand villa on one of the city’s most prestigious boulevards.
When a taxi driver drops me off at Metodo’s new premises, he tilts his finger against the tip of his nose and says “pijo” – meaning stuck-up or snobbish. Pointing to the restaurant on the ground floor, he says: “That’s where people who like to show off go – so others can see their Rolex watches and designer clothes.”
It is in his office on the second floor that Marco has agreed to meet me, the first British journalist, he says, to whom he has ever granted an interview. When I point out that he was filmed by a Panorama documentary crew in November claiming he was “very, very close to finding the kidnapper” of Madeleine, he corrects himself: “Well, apart from that.” Marco will tell me later how who he has spoken to, and what he has or has not said, has been misunderstood.
But first I must wait, taking a seat at a long, highly polished boardroom table surrounded by pristine white-leather chairs. At one end of the room, discreetly lit shelves display an impressive collection of vintage box cameras and binoculars. Stacked against the walls are modern paintings waiting to be hung. It feels more like an art gallery than the hub of one of the most frantic manhunts of modern times.
There is no discernible ringing of telephones; little sign of activity of any kind, other than a woman searching for a lead to take a pet poodle for a walk and the occasional to-ing and fro-ing of workmen putting finishing touches to the sleek remodelling of the office complex.
It is not clear whether this is where the hotlines for any information about Madeleine are answered. Opposite the boardroom is an open-plan area of around half a dozen cubicles, equipped with banks of phones and computers. Most are empty when I arrive; admittedly it is lunch time. But I cannot ask about this.
“We won’t answer any questions about Maddie. Maddie is off limits – is that understood?” Marco’s cousin Jose Luis, another of the agency’s employees, warns me sternly.
Catching me eyeing the setup, he is quick to explain that Metodo 3, or M-3, bought the premises earlier last year. Though I say nothing, I get the distinct impression he wants to make it clear that this was before M-3 persuaded those involved in decisions regarding the £1m Find Madeleine Fund – partially made up of donations from the public and partly from business backers such as Brian Kennedy – to sign a six-figure, six-month contract with the firm, whose financial fortunes now seem assured by the worldwide publicity they’ve since received.
“All the remodelling work took months, so we only moved in on December 14,” he says, hesitating slightly before adding: “Moving is better at Christmas.” The implication that this was a quiet period for M-3 is strange, as it was exactly the time Marco is reported to have said his agency was “hoping, God willing” that Madeleine would be imminently reunited with her family. Marco has since denied he said this.
I cannot ask him to clarify what he did say, or whether talking about an ongoing investigation is potentially detrimental. Instead, I am left to discuss the matter with a handful of other private detective agencies in Barcelona, the private-eye capital of Spain. What they tell me is disturbing.
I expect a certain amount of rivalry, and some of what they say about M-3 could be dismissed as jealous gossip. But they claim otherwise.
They say there is nothing they would like more than to see M-3 succeed in solving the mystery of Madeleine’s disappearance. But they worry that M-3’s inflated claims of progress in the case is making a laughing stock of the rest of them. References to Inspector Clouseau cut deep. They are proud that, unlike their UK counterparts, Spanish private detectives have to be vetted and licensed. They must also have a specialised university degree in private investigation. More importantly, in a profession where discretion is critical, they worry about the effect of such public declarations on the progress of any investigation. It is in the days following reports that the Find Madeleine Fund is considering sacking M-3 that I talk to Marco – though of course I cannot discuss this with him.
Clarence Mitchell, the spokesman for Kate and Gerry McCann, Madeleine’s parents, says he believes M-3 “put themselves forward” for the task, as did a number of other companies. Just a week after the four-year-old’s disappearance from the McCanns’ holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in the Algarve on May 3 last year, Portuguese police had announced that official searches were being wound down. Initially, the British security company Control Risks Group, a firm founded by former SAS men, was called on for advice. Mitchell confirms that the company is still “assisting in an advisory capacity”, but he says that the reason the
Spanish detective agency was hired was because of Portugal’s “language and cultural connection” with Spain. “If we’d had big-booted Brits or, God forbid, Americans, we’d have had doors slammed in our face, and it’s quite likely we could have been charged with hindering the investigation, as technically it’s illegal in Portugal to undertake a secondary investigation,” Mitchell explains. “But because it’s Metodo 3, [Alipio] Ribeiro [national director of Portugal’s Policia Judiciara] is turning a blind eye.” Portuguese police are reported to dismiss M-3 as “small fry”.
Mitchell says the decision to hire M-3 on a six-month contract from September was taken “collectively” by Gerry McCann, and the family’s lawyers and backers, on the grounds that the agency had the manpower, profile and resources to work in several countries. “You can argue now whether it was the right decision or not,” he says, referring to widespread reports that M-3 will find its contract terminated in March – if it hasn’t been already – and not just because the Find Madeleine Fund is dwindling. “But operationally Metodo 3 are good on the ground,” he insists.
It was M-3, for instance, who recently commissioned a police artist to draw a sketch of the man they believe could be involved in Madeleine’s disappearance, despite Portuguese-police claims that the sketch had “no credibility”.
Clearly, the McCanns are desperate to keep Madeleine’s disappearance in the public eye. And the release of photofits by M-3 will help to achieve this. The McCanns insist, however, that they are not engaged in a bidding war for interviews with American television.
But when 35-year-old Marco finally breezes into his company boardroom and throws himself into a chair opposite me, I do not get the impression that the prospect of losing the contract that has brought his company such notoriety is playing much on his mind.
Marco slaps on the table a 144-page pre-prepared dossier of articles written in the Spanish press about himself and M-3. He goes on to list some of those in the city he says I have already been speaking to about his company. Had my movements been monitored? If so, why would a private detective agency be interested in this at a time when they were supposed to be tirelessly searching for the most famous missing child in the world? This confounds me until, after talking to Marco for half an hour, I conclude that what motivates him – as much as, if not more than, his professed desire to present Madeleine with the doll he boasts he carries around in his briefcase to hand to her when he finds her – is a sense of self-regard, self-publicity and money.
) ) ) ) )
In most of the many pictures of himself included in the material he hands me, Marco looks a little nerdy. He wears the same serious expression, slightly askew glasses and suit and tie in nearly all of them. But when we meet he has a more debonair look. He is wearing a black polo-neck jumper underneath a sports jacket, sharper, and better-adjusted half-rimmed glasses, and a fringe that looks as though it has been blow-dried. It is as if his image of how a suave private eye should be has finally been realised.
In contrast to the other private eyes I meet, however, Marco is anything but relaxed. While most of them sit back easily in their chairs, trying to size me up, Marco leans towards me as we talk. He presses his hands hard on the table, almost in a prayer position, to emphasise a point, and has an intense, slightly unnerving stare.
He seems eager to please. He summons a female assistant on several occasions to bring me material, including a book he has recently written, to illustrate what he is talking about. Even when I make it clear this is not necessary – aware that these distractions eat into the time we have to talk – he insists, partly showing off.
When I ask about his background, Marco summons her to photocopy the first pages of his doctoral thesis on private investigation: he has a master’s degree and a PhD in penal law. He gets strangely agitated when she can’t find it, telling her to carry on looking, then mutters that he will have to look for it himself. Eventually he starts to reminisce about his youth. As a teenager, Marco says, he was so keen to become a private detective that he would get up at 5am to follow people on his scooter and record their movements before starting and after finishing his studies. His mother, Maria “Marita” Fernandez Lado, founded M-3 in 1986, when he was a boy, and he used to help out in the agency every holiday.
I hear several different accounts of what Marita was doing before she set up the agency. According to her son, she was working on a fashion magazine when, by chance, through Marco and his brother’s boyhood love of sailing, she met and became friends with a private detective. “From that moment, she decided she wanted to create her own detective agency, and wanted it to be a big company with big cases, a real business. She wanted to change the public image of a small private detective concerned with infidelities,” Marco says.
In Spain, private eyes are sometimes called huelebraguetas – “fly [zip] sniffers”. One of the reasons Barcelona has always been the home of so many of them, Marco explains, is that Catalonia – traditionally one of the wealthiest regions in Spain – had many rich families wanting to safeguard their inheritance. So parents would employ “fly sniffers” to check out the backgrounds of the people their sons or daughters wanted to marry. M-3 took a different track. It started specialising in investigating financial swindles, industrial espionage and insurance fraud. His mother was the first private detective, Marco says, to provide video evidence used in court to unmask an insurance fraudster: she filmed a man reading who had claimed to be blind. Marco also speaks about how in the early 1990s his mother had helped advise the Barcelona police, who were setting up a new department dedicated to investigating gambling and the welfare of children. He says his mother advised them on how to track adolescents who had run away from home, helping them to trace 15 or 16 of them at that time. (It is when I try to bring the interview back to this subject, to see if these were the children the agency has talked about finding in the past, that the interview grinds to a halt.)
But the agency almost came to grief early on, when police raided its offices, and Marco, his mother, father and brother were arrested and briefly jailed in 1995 on charges of phone-tapping and attempting to sell taped conversations. They were never prosecuted, as it was clear that the police had entrapped them.
Their big break came nearly 10 years later, when M-3 was credited with tracking down one of Spain’s most-infamous spies, Francisco Paesa, a notorious arms dealer and double agent also known as “El Zorro” (The Fox) and “the man with a thousand faces”. Paesa fled Spain after being charged with money-laundering. His family claimed he died in Thailand in 1998 and arranged for Gregorian masses to be sung for his soul for a month at a Cistercian monastery in northern Spain. Acting for a client who claimed to have been defrauded by Paesa’s niece, M-3 traced the fugitive to Luxembourg. At the behest of the Spanish national newspaper El Mundo, the agency then traced him to Paris. Paesa remains on the run, however.
“This was just one of our great achievements. Our biggest successes have never been made public,” boasts Marco. “If you speak to other detectives in Spain, I don’t think they will speak very highly of us because they are envious. But as far as other detectives around the world are concerned, we are the biggest, the most famous; the ones who work well.”
Again in collaboration with El Mundo, and again by following an illegal money trail, M-3 last year tracked down the daughter of the wanted Nazi war criminal Aribert Heim to a farm in Chile. “This was pro-bono work, and we only do it when we have time,” says Marco. The hard-pressed detective did have time just before Christmas, however, to launch a book he had co-written with a Spanish journalist. The book claims that clients of M-3 sacked directors of a charity involved in sponsoring children in the Third World, were victims of a plot to discredit them by people associated with a Spanish branch of Oxfam who were jealous that the public was giving them large donations. The sacked directors are still under investigation for fraud.
It is perhaps because Marco has spent so much time collaborating with journalists in the past that he feels so comfortable talking to the press – the Spanish press, at least – about his investigation into Madeleine McCann. In November he gave two lengthy interviews about the case, one to El Mundo and another to a Barcelona newspaper, La Vanguardia.
In the interview with El Mundo, Marco talks touchingly about how his six-year-old son asks him the same question every evening when he kisses him goodnight: “Papa, have you found Maddie?” Because the little boy is learning to read, the article continues, he knows that his father is “the most famous detective in the world”.
But why, the journalist Juan Carlos de la Cal asks, would anyone in the UK, “the country of Sherlock Holmes, with all its cold-war spies and one of the most reliable secret services in the world”, have chosen M-3 to help? “Because we were the only ones who proposed a coherent hypothesis about the disappearance of their daughter,” Marco replies, explaining that M-3’s “principal line of enquiry” at that time – the article was published on November 25 – was “paedophiles”. He talks about how he “cried with rage” when he investigated on the internet how paedophiles operate.
Apart from these comments made by Marco, little concrete is known about how M-3 has been conducting its investigation. In the same article, Marco’s mother says the agency, which she claims has located 23 missing children in the past, has “20 or so” people working exclusively on the McCann case. M-3 was said at that time to be receiving an average of 100 calls a day “from the four quarters of the globe”, and to have half a dozen translators answering them in different languages. The agency has distributed posters worldwide bearing Madeleine’s picture with the telephone number of a dedicated hotline it has set up to receive tip-offs. The interview was carried out just after Marco returned from a two-week trip to Morocco, a country he describes as being known for child-trafficking and a “perfect” place to hide a stolen child. The north receives Spanish TV, he says, but the rest of Morocco knows nothing about the affair.
Yet in an interview published three weeks earlier in the newspaper La Vanguardia, Marco claimed that the agency had “around 40 people, here and in Morocco” working on the case, on the hypothesis that the child was smuggled out of Portugal, via the Spanish port of Tarifa, to Morocco, “where a blonde girl like Madeleine would be considered a status symbol”. At that time he said he didn’t want to think about paedophilia being involved. Asked how often his agency contacts the McCanns with updates, Marco replies “daily”. He adds that the fee that M-3 is charging for its services is not high. He says that it is “symbolic”.
In the same article – accompanied by a photograph of Marco holding a Sherlock Holmes-style hat – he says with absolute certainty that Madeleine is alive. “If I didn’t think she was alive, I wouldn’t be looking for her!” At first he states categorically that he will find her before M-3’s six-month contract runs out in March. But also in the same article the journalist explains that Marco proposes taking him out to dinner if he does not find the missing four-year-old before April 30. Unless all such statements are “misunderstandings”, Marco is in danger of leaving everyone with hopes that are not fulfilled.
When I start to touch on these themes – the claim, for instance, that M-3 traces around 300 missing people a year – Marco is quick to clarify. He says that, of the 1,000 or so investigations his agency undertakes every year, “between 100 and 200 involve English people who owe money and have fled England for Spain; the same with Germans, etcetera, etcetera”. This makes it sound as if much of the agency’s work
is little more than aiding bailiffs or debt-collecting, though I do not believe this to be the case. But when I ask him to elaborate on the 23 missing children his mother is reported to have said the agency has located in the past, Marco eases himself away from the table for the first time, tilting far back in his chair. He cannot talk about that on the grounds of confidentiality, he says. Shortly after this, his cousin Jose Luis, who has sat mostly silent until now, calls time on the interview with a chopping motion of his hand.
As I leave M-3’s office I pass another door discreetly announcing it is that of a private Swiss bank. As I take a seat in the restaurant downstairs for lunch, I notice Marco’s father, Francisco Marco Puyuelo, sitting close by. I nod at him and smile. He does not smile back. I have heard unsettling reports about Puyuelo.
He is rather menacing-looking, and I feel uncomfortable as he sits staring at me, slowly spooning chocolate ice cream into his mouth.
) ) ) ) )
It is easy to feel a little paranoid in Barcelona. Nearly every quarter seems to have its own private detective agency. Offices are prominently advertised; on the short ride in from the airport
I pass four. The city’s yellow-pages directory has six sides of listings. According to Catalonia’s College of Private Detectives, the professional association to which private detectives working in the region are obliged to belong, of the estimated 2,900 licensed private eyes in Spain – around 1,500 of them actively working – 370 are in Catalonia, mostly Barcelona.
The city has traditionally had a prestigious record for private investigation. One of Spain’s most well-known detectives, Eugenio Velez-Troya, was based in Barcelona, where he helped set up the first university course in private investigation, covering subjects such as civil and criminal law, forensic analysis and psychology.
One of the largest private detective agencies in Spain, Grupo Winterman, founded by Jose Maria Vilamajo more than 30 years ago, is based in Barcelona, though the company now has 10 offices in different cities with a staff of around 150. Vilamajo is the only detective prepared to talk on the record; the others prefer to remain anonymous for fear of professional reprisal. He talks about how Barcelona came to have so many private detectives, pointing out that competition in the field is now so intense that it is pushing individual agencies to “specialise”.
Vilamajo is the only private detective apart from Marco to receive me in a spacious company boardroom, which, it strikes me, might be the model on which Metodo 3, anticipating rapid expansion, is basing its new office setup.
I meet the other private eyes either in bars or in their more modest premises, with more cloak-and-dagger decor, though nearly all have an impressive array of certificates praising their work. One has the theme music from the film The Godfather as a mobile-phone ring tone.
All talk of the “different way” M-3 has of operating from other agencies in the city. Most of what they say I have no way of substantiating. Traditionally, they say, M-3 has wined and dined clients more than others, sometimes holding grand “round-table” suppers to which it invites important figures in the community.
One ageing sleuth slides across the table a Spanish newspaper article entitled “Detectives with marketing” , in case I might have missed it. A short piece referring to the book Marco recently co-wrote about the alleged charity conspiracy, it makes the point that the book “is another step in the direction of incorporating marketing into the business of private investigation”.
When I ask what’s wrong with a business marketing itself, my question elicits a long sigh. Suddenly I can see that underlying much of the rancour M-3’s rivals feel towards it is a sense that they are not “old-school gumshoes” working in the shadows. One of their criticisms of Marco is that “he doesn’t know much about the street. He’s good at theory. He’s like a manager, always dressed up in a suit and tie”.
So he has a team of others to do the legwork, I argue. Another long sigh. “Not as many as he claims,” comes the response. On this point, all those I speak to agree. None believes M-3’s claims that it has 40 people working on the hunt for Madeleine, since the maximum number M-3 employs in its Barcelona office, they believe, is a dozen, with another few in its Madrid branch.
But again, I point out, it could have any number of operatives working for it in other countries, namely Portugal and Morocco.
My comment draws a weary smile. Metodo 3 company records for the six years up to 2005 appear to show a decline in the number of permanent employees listed – from 26 in 1999 to just 12 in 2005 – although there could be some accounting explanation for this.
Perhaps the most worrying of the detectives’ concerns is the consistent complaint that M-3 is using its involvement in the search for Madeleine to raise its profile and that Marco’s statements about how close he is to finding the child could be seriously prejudicing attempts to find out the truth. “If the agency fails to solve the mystery of Madeleine’s disappearance, that failure will be forgotten in a few years,” said one. “But M-3 will be famous and, ultimately, that is what they want.”
“They are making us look ridiculous,” says another detective. “The English are looking at us and laughing and we are very worried, very upset about it. They [M-3] are denigrating the ethics of our profession.”
To seek guidance on how private detectives are expected to behave, I visit the president of Catalonia’s College of Private Detectives: Jose Maria Fernandez Abril. After making the point that he is unable to speak about any individual member of his professional association, he proceeds to carefully read me a statement that begins: “Following the media impact of affairs in which detectives belonging to the college are involved…” It clearly echoes the concerns that others I have spoken to voice about the conduct of Metodo 3.
“No general conclusions should be drawn about the profession from the actions of any individual,” Abril reads, before helpfully explaining that this means: “You can’t go around saying you are the best in the world, implying that everyone else is somehow worse.”
More importantly, there are repeated references to how members are obliged to comply with the college’s strict code of conduct, which includes: not stating with certainty the result of an investigation and not revealing information about an investigation without agreeing it first with the client.
In other words, if M-3 was to argue that announcing just when it believed it would find Madeleine would help its investigation, the announcement should have been cleared with the McCanns. Given the deep dismay Gerry McCann is reported to have expressed over Marco’s comments about how close the agency was to finding his daughter’s kidnappers and about her being reunited with her family for Christmas, it seems unlikely any agreement over such statements was ever made.
As I leave, Abril informs me that the college has in recent years organised an annual “Night of the Detectives” supper. This year it will be held in March. He invites me to attend. At the supper, various prizes are presented. Among them is one for the fiction author they believe has contributed most to the public understanding of investigative work. This year they have awarded the prize to Dan Brown, author of the worldwide bestseller The Da Vinci Code.
They are a little hurt that he has not replied to, or even acknowledged, their invitation to attend.All this could be almost funny if I were not constantly aware that the reason I have come to Barcelona is because an exhausted little girl enjoying a family holiday went to sleep in pink pyjamas alongside her twin brother and sister on the night of May 3 last year, then disappeared. The anguish and desperation of her parents account for the Spanish detective-agency’s lucrative contract. The boasting and apparent false hopes fed to them by Marco could yet prove to be his downfall.

12 Feb 2008


Wed Jan 30, 5:39 PM ET
LONDON (AFP) - Police do not suspect the parents of missing toddler Madeleine McCann were involved in her disappearance, the couple's spokesman said on Wednesday.

During a debate on media coverage of the child's disappearance, Clarence Mitchell told a packed theatre at the London School of Economics that officials, whom he did not identify, had told him in private briefings that the case was being treated as a "rare stranger abduction".
"I have also had briefings privately from the police and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection 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," he said

So Clarence Mitchell claims he has had private briefings from the police who have given him complete reassurance..rare strange abduction ..Well the Police as he puts it who are dealing with this matter are Leicester Police (strange he didnt say which police!) and they say they are not in a position to release information, confirm or deny anything or brief the press and the heart of the enquiry is to find out what happened to Madeleine. So, this emails makes clear they would not speak to him and they are not treating this as rare stranger abduction. Now either Clarence Mitchell or Leicester Police are telling lies. I say Clarence Mitchell is a blatant liar and if he does not like that, as I have said before, then he can sue me, as he is so fond of threatening to do but never actually does.

This email is very encouraging and reassuring that Leicester Police are working under the direction of the PJ and they are fully co-operating with them.

Viv x

REPLY FROM LEICS POLICE!!THANKS DOVE ON THE DAILY EXPRESS!WE certainly do support Leics Police - what a nice email! Viv x -------------------------From Leicestershire police.I have today received this reply:"Thank you for your correspondance in relation to the Madeleine McCann investigation.Leicestershire Constabulary is one of a number of UK law enforcement agencies who are supporting the Portuguese authorities with their investigations into the disappearance of four-year-old Madeleine McCann.Our role is to complete and co-ordinate UK based enquiries at the request of the Portuguese authorities.Any tasks completed by British Police are under the direction of the Portuguese police and the results forwarded onto Portugal.The fact that this is not our investigation and also the implications of Portuguese judicial secrecy mean that we are not in aposition to release information,brief the press on the investigation`s progress or confirm or deny any specifics relating to the case.At the heart of this inquiry is an innocent little girl who went missing in May 2007.Our focus remains in doing everything we can to assist the Judicial Police and the Portuguese authorities to find out what has happened to Madeleine.I am sure that you would support us in this."• Posted by: Dove


It is with some regret that due to the activities of a troll on this site I have now turned on registered users only. Therefore please register to continue posting and provide a user name.

Thanks to you all for your continuing support. I am sure the few minutes of our time to do this will be worthwhile.

Viv x