6 Dec 2009
I could be wrong, but does motor mouth look just a little less arrogant here and somewhat worried, so he should be, I think he realised that expecting Goncalo Amaral to hand over about £400,000 to each of his kids including one who he got rid of and is a Ward of Court (so no longer his responsibility anyway) was probably a bit of a media disaster, even by his standards.
Despair, so do the right thing for Madeleine Kate, go and tell the Police the truth because you know your husband never will.
Don't put your foot in it again
The McCanns jet into Lisbon, 11/12/10 to face Goncalo Amaral in court but at his lawyer's request the case gets adjourned for one month.
Isabel Duarte, the McCanns lawyer states, I just wanted them there for some support, I know 90 per cent of Portuguese people are against us. I am sure Gerry will be very happy with such frankness from his own lawyer, but as the one person who can do something for Madeleine, maybe he should develop some foresight instead of just pursing his lips and claiming, well we believe. 90 per cent cannot be wrong Gerry, Goncalo believes you were involved in the disappearance of your daughter and so do we. So spare her a moment for Christmas and think about the little girl Goncalo has too, almost the same age as Madeleine. Do you think children will be better with countless thousands of pounds, your children, and do you think the innocent little girl that belongs to Goncalo and Sophie will be better with her family bankrupted. You ask to understand this just has to be done, we do not understand. Children need just enough money to have their basic needs catered for, but most important they need love and a stable homelife. But I doubt you would ever understand that or how to remove that agonised look from your wife's face.
minute for Madeleine - CEOP asks the public to spread new online message
The UK's national law enforcement centre for protecting children - the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre - has today issued an online viral message aimed at anyone close to the person who was involved in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
That person could be a relative, friend, work colleague or neighbour. Whoever they are they have a secret that could reveal what happened to Madeleine and protect other children.
In order to increase the possibility of reaching that person, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre supported by global law enforcement agencies and specialist charities, is asking the public to help spread the message via the internet.
It has released a short 60-second film that can be viewed at the CEOP website. This contains the message they are looking to spread and the public are being asked to link to it and build it into their own online environments. The film also includes new age progressed images that show Madeleine as she may look today.
Interpol, Europol and national police agencies from Australia, the US, Canada, the UAE and Europe are supporting the initiative. Specialist charities and NGO's such as the US National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), Missing Children Europe and the UK Charity Parents and Abducted Children Together (PACT) have all thrown their weight and expertise behind the initiative.
Jim Gamble is head of the UK's CEOP Centre and explains the rationale:
"The person we are looking to reach is likely to be a partner, family member, friend or colleague of the person or people who were involved in Madeleine's disappearance. It is also highly probable that they, or someone close to them, is using the internet to search for any updates that may suggest the police are getting closer to discovering the truth."
"Today we want to deliver a message to that person and we're asking everyone who goes online to help us. We want the message to become so widespread that it becomes just one click from any Madeleine search as a constant reminder to that person that it is never too late to do the right thing - that it is never too late for that person to redeem themselves."
"So if you are a parent or carer, a student or member of the public who is a social networker, blogger or emailer, or if you run any type of online environment, big or small please look at the film today, link to it, share it with your friends and post it in the online communities you occupy. Do everything you can to spread it around the online world. We want to make it omnipresent so that the person we are trying to reach sees it and is prompted to do the right thing."
The message is available on the CEOP website and is in seven different languages - English, Arabic, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.
The message reads:
"Madeleine disappeared on 3 May 2007 while on holiday with her family in Portugal. Madeleine is now six years old. We know that there is someone out there who knows who is involved in her disappearance.
They may be keeping this secret out of fear, misplaced loyalty or even love. Keeping this information secret only increases the anguish of Madeleine's family and friends and increases the risk to other children.
If you know who is involved and are keeping this secret remember that it is never too late to do the right thing.
We urge anyone who knows anything about the whereabouts of Madeleine or has any information regarding her disappearance to do the right thing and to give that information to their local police."
Madeleine McCann case on Missing Kids Website
Find Madeleine Website
Download Madeleine McCann Poster of Support here
Previous news article :
Age progressed image released of how missing Madeleine may look now
25 Nov 2009
Meanwhile it would seem smooth talking Irishman, Mr Halligen (no, not Gerry silly) has been arrested in UK for failing to pay his hotel bill and on an extradition warrant back to the US for massive fraud. Strange the way smooth talking Gerry does not come out making an official complaint about the half a million Mr Halligen had from the Find Maddie Fiddle, whoops I mean Fund.
MONEY LAUNDERING MONEY LAUNDERING MONEY LAUNDERING MONEY LAUNDERING MONEY LAUNDERING.com (if you need this webpage urgently contact Gerry McCann of Rothley or Brian Kennedy of Cheshire)
By Mark Hollingsworth
Issue: Friday 28 August 2009
Disillusioned with the Portuguese police, Gerry and Kate McCann turned to private detectives to find their missing daughter. Instead the efforts of the private eyes served only to scare off witnesses, waste funds and raise false hopes. Mark Hollingsworth investigates the investigators.
It was billed as a 'significant development' in the exhaustive search for Madeleine McCann. At a recent dramatic press conference in London, the lead private investigator David Edgar, a retired Cheshire detective inspector, brandished an E-FIT image of an Australian woman, described her as 'a bit of a Victoria Beckham lookalike', and appealed for help in tracing her. The woman was seen 'looking agitated' outside a restaurant in Barcelona three days after Madeleine's disappearance. 'It is a strong lead', said Edgar, wearing a pin-stripe suit in front of a bank of cameras and microphones. 'Madeleine could have been in Barcelona by that point. The fact the conversation took place near the marina could be significant.'
But within days reporters discovered that the private detectives had failed to make the most basic enquiries before announcing their potential breakthrough. Members of Edgar’s team who visited Barcelona had failed to speak to anyone working at the restaurant near where the agitated woman was seen that night, neglected to ask if the mystery woman had been filmed on CCTV cameras and knew nothing about the arrival of an Australian luxury yacht just after Madeleine vanished.
The apparent flaws in this latest development were another salutary lesson for Kate and Gerry McCann, who have relied on private investigators after the Portuguese police spent more time falsely suspecting the parents than searching for their daughter. For their relations with private detectives have been frustrating, unhappy and controversial ever since their daughter's disappearance in May 2007.
The search has been overseen by the millionaire business Brian Kennedy, 49, who set up Madeleine's Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned, which aimed 'to procure that Madeleine's abduction is thoroughly investigated'. A straight-talking, tough, burly self-made entrepreneur and rugby fanatic, he grew up in a council flat near Tynecastle in Scotland and was brought up as a Jehovah's Witness. He started his working life as a window cleaner and by 2007 had acquired a £350 million fortune from double-glazing and home-improvement ventures. Kennedy was outraged by the police insinuations against the McCanns and, though a stranger, worked tirelessly on their behalf. 'His motivation was sincere,' said someone who worked closely with him. 'He was appalled by the Portuguese police, but he also had visions of flying in by helicopter to rescue Madeleine.'
Kennedy commissioned private detectives to conduct an investigation parallel to the one run by the Portuguese police. But his choice showed how dangerous it is when powerful and wealthy businessmen try to play detective. In September 2007, he hired Metodo 3, an agency based in Barcelona, on a six-month contract and paid it an estimated £50,000 a month. Metodo 3 was hired because of Spain's 'language and cultural connection' with Portugal. 'If we'd had big-booted Brits or, heaven forbid, Americans, we would have had doors slammed in our faces' said Clarence Mitchell, spokesperson for the McCann's at the time. 'And it's quite likely that we could have been charged with hindering the investigation as technically it's illegal in Portugal to undertake a secondary investigation.'
The agency had 35 investigators working on the case in Britain, France, Spain, Portugal and Morocco. A hotline was set up for the public to report sightings and suspicions, and the search focussed on Morocco. But the investigation was dogged by over-confidence and braggadocio. 'We know who took Madeleine and hope she will be home by Christmas,' boasted Metodo 3's flamboyant boss Francisco Marco. But no Madeleine materialised and their contract was not renewed.
Until now, few details have emerged about the private investigation during those crucial early months, but an investigation by ES shows that key mistakes were made, which in turn made later enquiries far more challenging.
ES has spoken to several sources close to the private investigations that took place in the first year and discovered that:
* The involvement of Brian Kennedy and his son Patrick in the operation was counter-productive, notably when they were questioned by the local police for acting suspiciously while attempting a 24-hour 'stake out'.
* The relationship between Metodo 3 and the Portuguese police had completely broken down.
* Key witnesses were questioned far too aggressively, so much so that some of them later refused to talk to the police
* Many of the investigators had little experience of the required painstaking forensic detective work.
By April 2008, nearing the first anniversary of the disappearance, Kennedy and the McCanns were desperate. And so when Henri Exton, a former undercover police officer who worked on M15 operations, and Kevin Halligen, a smooth-talking Irishman who claimed to have worked for covert British government intelligence agency GCHQ, walked through the door, their timing was perfect. Their sales pitch was classic James Bond spook-talk: everything had to be 'top secret' and 'on a need to know basis'. The operation would involve 24-hour alert systems, undercover units, satellite imagery and round-the-clock surveillance teams that would fly in at short notice. This sounded very exiting but, as one source close to the investigation told ES, it was also very expensive and ultimately unsuccessful. 'The real job at hand was old-fashioned, tedious, forensic police work rather than these boy's own, glory boy antics,' he said.
But Kennedy was impressed by the license-to-spy presentation and Exton and Halligen were hire for a fee of £100,000 per month plus expenses. Ostensibly, the contract was with Halligen's UK security company, Red Defence International Ltd, and an office was set up in Jermyn Street, in St James's. Only a tiny group of employees did the painstaking investigative work of dealing with thousands of emails and phone calls. Instead, resources were channelled into undercover operations in paedophile rings and among gypsies throughout Europe, encouraged by Kennedy. A five-man surveillance team was dispatched in Portugal, overseen by the experienced Exton, for six weeks.
Born in Belgium in 1951, Exton had been a highly effective undercover officer for the Manchester police. A maverick and dynamic figure, he successfully infiltrated gangs of football hooligans in the 1980's. While not popular among his colleagues, in 1991 he was seconded to work on MI5 undercover operations against drug dealers, gangsters and terrorists, and was later awarded the Queen's Police Medal for 'outstanding bravery'. By all accounts, the charismatic Exton was a dedicated officer. But in November 2002, the stress appeared to have overcome his judgement when he was arrested for shoplifting.
While working on an MI5 surveillance, Exton was caught leaving a tax-free shopping area at Manchester airport with a bottle of perfume he had not paid for. The police were called and he was given the option of the offence being dealt with under caution or to face prosecution. He chose a police caution and so in effect admitted his guilt. Exton was sacked, but was furious about the way he had been treated and threatened to sue MI5. He later set up his own consulting company and moved to Bury in Lancashire.
While Exton, however flawed, was the genuine article as an investigator, Halligen was a very different character. Born in Dublin in 1961, he has been described as a 'Walter Mitty figure'. He used false names to collect prospective clients at airports in order to preserve secrecy, and he called himself 'Kevin' or 'Richard' or 'Patrick' at different times to describe himself to business contacts. There appears to be no reason for all this subterfuge except that he thought this was what agents did. A conspiracy theorist and lover of the secret world, he is obsessed by surveillance gadgets and even installed a covert camera to spy on his own employees. He claimed to have worked for GCHQ, but in fact he was employed by the Atomic Energy Authority (AEA) as head of defence systems in the rather less glamorous field of new information technology, researching the use of 'special batteries'. He told former colleagues and potential girlfriends that he used to work for MI5, MI6 and the CIA. He also claimed that he was nearly kidnapped by the IRA, was involved in the first Gulf War and had been a freefall parachutist.
Very little of this is true. What is true is that Halligen has a degree in electronics, worked on the fringes of the intelligence community while at AEA and does understand government communications. He could also be an astonishingly persuasive, engaging and charming individual. Strikingly self-confident and articulate, he could be generous and clubbable. 'He was very good company but only when it suited him,' says one friend. 'He kept people in compartments.'
After leaving the AEA, Halligen set up Red Defence International Ltd as an international security and political risk company, advising clients on the risks involved in investing and doing business in unstable, war-torn and corrupt countries. He worked closely with political risk companies and was a persuasive advocate of IT security. In 2006, he struck gold when hired by Trafigura, the Dutch commodities trading company. Executives were imprisoned in the Ivory Coast after toxic waste was dumped in landfills near its biggest city Abidjan. Trafigura was blamed and hired Red Defence International at vast expense to help with the negotiations to release its executives. A Falcon business jet was rented for several months during the operation and it was Halligen's first taste of the good life. The case only ended when Trafigura paid $197 million to the government of the Ivory Coast to secure the release of the prisoners.
Halligen made a fortune from Trafigura and was suddenly flying everywhere first-class, staying at the Lansborough and Stafford hotels in London and The Willard hotel in Washington DC for months at a time. In 2007 he set up Oakley International Group and registered at the offices of the prestigious law firm Patton Boggs, in Washington DC, as an international security company. He was now strutting the stage as a self-proclaimed international spy expert and joined the Special Forces Club in Knightsbridge, where he met Exton.
During the Madeleine investigation, Halligen spent vast amounts of time in the HeyJo bar in the basement of the Abracadabra Club near his Jermyn Street office. Armed with a clutch of unregistered mobile phones and a Blackberry, the bar was in effect his office. 'He was there virtually the whole day,' a former colleague told ES. 'He had an amazing tolerance for alcohol and a prodigious memory and so occasionally he would have amazing bursts of intelligence, lucidity and insights. They were very rare but they did happen.'
When not imbibing in St James's, Halligen was in the United States, trying to drum up investors for Oakley International. On 15 August 2008, at the height of the McCann investigation crisis, he persuaded Andre Hollis, a former US Drug enforcement agency official, to write out an $80,000 cheque to Oakley in return for a ten per cent share-holding. The money was then transferred into the private accounts of Halligen and his girlfriend Shirin Trachiotis to finance a holiday in Italy, according to Hollis. In a $6 million lawsuit filed in Fairfax County, Virginia, Hollis alleges that Halligen 'received monies for Oakley's services rendered and deposited the same into his personal accounts' and 'repeatedly and systematically depleted funds from Oakley's bank accounts for inappropriate personal expenses'.
Hollis was not the only victim. Mark Aspinall, a respected lawyer who worked closely with Halligen, invested £500,000 in Oakley and lost the lot. Earlier this year he filed a lawsuit in Washington DC against Halligen claiming $1.4 million in damages. The finances of Oakley International are in chaos and numerous employees, specialist consultants and contractors have not been paid. Some of them now face financial ruin.
Meanwhile, Exton was running the surveillance teams in Portugal and often paying his operatives upfront, so would occasionally be out-of-pocket because Halligen had not transferred funds. Exton genuinely believed that progress was being made and substantial and credible reports on child trafficking were submitted. But by mid-August 2008, Kennedy and Gerry McCann were increasingly concerned by an absence of details of how the money was being spent. At one meeting, Halligen was asked how many men constituted a surveillance team and he produced a piece of paper on which he wrote 'between one and ten'. But he then refused to say how many were working and how much they were being paid.
While Kennedy and Gerry McCann accepted that the mission was extremely difficult and some secrecy was necessary, Halligen was charging very high rates and expenses. And eyebrows were raised when all the money was paid to Oakley International, solely owned and managed by Halligen. One invoice, seen by ES, shows that for 'accrued expenses to May 5, 2008' (just one month into the contract), Oakley charged $74,155. The 'point of contact' was Halligen who provided a UK mobile telephone number.
While Kennedy was ready to accept Halligen at face value, Gerry McCann – sharp, focused and intelligent – was more sceptical. The contract with Oakley International and Halligen was terminated by the end of September 2008, after £500,000-plus expenses had been spent.
For the McCanns it was a bitter experience, Exton has returned to Cheshire and, like so many people, is owed money by Halligen. As for Halligen, he has gone into hiding, leaving a trail of debt and numerous former business associates and creditors looking for him. He was last seen in January of this year in Rome, drinking and spending prodigiously at the Hilton Cavalieri and Excelsior hotels. He is now believed by private investigators, who have been searching for him to serve papers on behalf of creditors, to be in the UK and watching his back. Meanwhile, in the eye of the storm, the McCanns continue the search for their lost daughter.
31 Oct 2009
a ship chartered by Trafigura dumped a cargo of toxic waste
MESSRS Carter-Fuck, London’s most vainglorious solicitors, tout for business by boasting of their matchless skills in “reputation management”. But after the Trafigura affair, which has put them on a par with Nick Griffin and Jan Moir as the most reviled people in Britain, potential clients may wonder about that.
If Carter-Fuck can’t even manage its own reputation, why should anyone else entrust theirs to it?
At last Wednesday’s Commons debate on super-injunctions, MPs queued up to denounce the Carter-Fuckwits. “In past years, people who sought to gag parliament or were held to have behaved inappropriately in relation to parliament were brought before the Bar of the House and in some cases sent to prison,” thundered Denis MacShane MP. “Do we not need to see Carter-Ruck’s partners before the Bar of the House to apologise publicly for this attempt to suborn parliamentary democracy?”
Still striving to defend the indefensible, Adam Tudor of Carter-Fuck issued a press release. “Despite suggestions to the contrary in certain quarters,” he harrumphed, “neither Trafigura nor Carter-Ruck has at any time improperly sought to stifle or restrict debate in parliament or the reporting thereof.”
Yeah, right. Perhaps he’s already forgotten the letter he sent to the Guardian on 12 October after learning that the paper intended to report a parliamentary question tabled by Paul Farrelly MP which mentioned the secret Trafigura injunction. “The threatened publication referring to the existence of the injunction would… place the Guardian in contempt of court,” he wrote. “Accordingly, please confirm by immediate return that the publications threatened will not take place.” What was that, if not an attempt to stifle the reporting of parliamentary proceedings? It certainly stifled the Guardian, at least for a day – though the Eye went ahead and published the MP’s question anyway
Silencing the Speaker
Later that week Tudor sent a letter to the Commons Speaker, John Bercow, with copies to all MPs and peers, repeating his claim that the Guardian would have been in breach of the injunction had it quoted Farrelly’s question, even though it was on the order paper and on parliament’s website. He also argued that a parliamentary debate on the subject should not go ahead because the case concerning the injunction was still sub judice. If that wasn’t an attempt to “restrict debate in Parliament”, what is? Ah yes, Tudor would say, but it wasn’t “improper”. Furious MPs thought otherwise. A day later, Carter-Fuck bowed to the inevitable and agreed to lift the injunction.
Ironically none of this would have happened but for Carter-Fuck’s decision to go for a super-injunction, whose very existence cannot be reported. When Farrelly submitted his question, the clerks in the table office did their customary checks on high court records to see if the case was sub judice, in which case they would have ruled it out of order. They found no record of the Trafigura injunction because it had been “anonymised” as RJW &
‘Censorship by judicial process’
Carter-Fuck can expect plenty more grief over coming weeks, as the select committee on culture, media and sport prepares its report on libel and privacy. Giving evidence to the committee in May, alongside Ian Hislop, Alan Rusbridger of the Guardian said that he hadn’t been hit with the kind of chilling super-injunction that the Eye’s editor called “censorship by judicial process”.
Rusbridger has now written to the committee chairman, John Whittingdale MP, confessing that he spoke too soon: “This process of casually granting these secrecy orders appears to be spreading.” When Trafigura obtained its high court order, he reveals, the judge was told that the Guardian must be muzzled from publishing anything about the injunction because otherwise it might run a story accusing the company of, er, muzzling the press.
Rusbridger appends a chronology of the “prolonged campaign of legal harassment” by Carter-Fuck against the Grauniad and its reporter David Leigh, but his brief summary omits some of the liveliest exchanges. According to other documents seen by the Eye, in May this year Leigh sent Tudor an email accusing them of bullying and misleading the Guardian. “We shall continue to put allegations to you prior to possible publication, in order to continue to behave as responsible journalists,” Leigh concluded. “But will you behave as responsible solicitors?”
Tudor fired off a letter to Rusbridger protesting at this implicit slur on his firm’s integrity, which “verges on the hysterical”. It was, he wailed, “extraordinary” and “unprecedented” that a journalist “can feel it even remotely appropriate to behave in this manner”.
Worse was to come. In August, one of Carter-Fuck’s spies told them about a Powerpoint presentation given by Leigh at the Centre for Investigative Journalism’s summer school. Apparently he had shown the audience photographs of three Carter-Fuck partners (including Adam Tudor) and described them as “bullies”. He had then told the audience: “I don’t want you to think I’m being completely unbalanced when I say I hate these people. But I do hate these particular people.”
“What this episode illustrates yet again,” Tudor complained to the Guardian legal department, “is that Mr Leigh’s actions are not those of a rational, responsible journalist.” Henceforth, he declared, Carter-Fuck would not engage in correspondence with Leigh, since “we can no longer be expected to tolerate his increasingly unreasonable (and, at times, abusive) approach”. Poor diddums!
26 Oct 2009
|Last Updated: Thursday, 10 May 2007, 21:48 GMT 22:48 UK |
CCTV checked in Madeleine search
Chief Inspector Olegario de Sousa held a news conference to give more details of the search for the three-year-old.
He said the ground search was being scaled back as the results had been "zero", and no arrests had been made.
Items of clothing found locally did not belong to Madeleine, he said. A picture of the pyjamas she was wearing when she vanished has been released.
Madeleine, of Rothley, Leicestershire, disappeared from an apartment in Praia da Luz, in the Algarve, a week ago.
Police with dogs searched the McCann's apartment again on Thursday evening, while the family chose to remain at a police station outside the Algarve town.
Police said it is the final time they will search the block to look for clues. The wider search in the area will end in the next few days.
Mr Sousa said Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, and several of their British friends had been interviewed again on Thursday, but there were "no suspicions on them".
On scaling back the ground search, he said police and volunteers had searched a 200sq-km (77sq-mile) area - and some locations more than once.
Mr Sousa insisted he was doing everything he could to find the little girl, but so far from the ground search "the results are zero".
Local media have been reporting that police had examined footage taken at a petrol station, thought to be of two men and a woman driving a car with a British number plate, on the night of the Madeleine's disappearance.
And in the UK, Crimestoppers said it had passed on 35 "useful pieces of information" to Leicester police, who lead the UK side of the inquiry.
Police refused to confirm or deny reports about any possible leads, citing Portuguese law which prohibits them from releasing any information about an ongoing investigation.
But Mr Sousa did say "images of video surveillance" had been collected from several locations "in order to check possible leads that may have been recorded".
Investigators had asked locals if they recognised an image of a possible suspect, described by one shopkeeper as being very sketchy and looking only like "an egg with hair".
Madeleine's mother has attended a church service for her daughter in Praia da Luz.
Another service was held later on Merseyside, organised by friends of the family and led by Father Paul Seddon, who married the McCanns and baptised Madeleine.
On Friday, a vigil is planned in Glasgow, where Madeleine's father comes from.
And Celtic and Aberdeen footballers will show their support for the McCann family by wearing yellow armbands during their match on Saturday.
Earlier, photographs of Madeleine wearing an Everton FC shirt were released by the club.
Team captain Phil Neville said: "Everton has fans all over the world and I know that they, along with everyone connected with the football club, are hoping and praying for Madeleine's safe return."
Madeleine's grandmother, Susan Healy, from Liverpool, said Portuguese police made mistakes at the start of their investigation, possibly because they were "inexperienced".
However, the British ambassador to Portugal, John Buck, said he had been assured by Portuguese authorities that "everything possible" was being done.
Meanwhile, Madeleine's uncle, John McCann, from Glasgow, countered criticism from those who say the couple were wrong to leave their children alone in their apartment while they ate dinner at a nearby restaurant.
"If you look at the layout of that place, it was entirely safe. The issue at stake here was, that the flat was broken into, and wee Madeleine was abducted," he told BBC Radio Five Live.
British child abduction experts have flown to Portugal to assist the investigation.
Superintendent Graham Hill of Surrey police, who investigated the disappearance and murder of Surrey schoolgirl, Milly Dowler, is among them.
The UK's Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), which works to tackle child sex abuse, has launched a poster campaign appealing for information on Madeleine's disappearance.
It is asking people to display the posters, which can be downloaded from its website at www.ceop.gov.uk.
The international number for Crimestoppers is +44 1883 731 336. People with information about Madeleine can call anonymously.
The complex where Madeleine disappeared
18 Oct 2009
Gerry, desperately seeking Madeleine, aged two, or, it would seem aged about ten, no hint of what happened in between, as yet.
SATELLITE CLUE TO MADDIE KIDNAP
MISSING: Madeleine McCann
Sunday October 18,2009
By James Murray HOME Secretary Alan Johnson is prepared to ask US spy chiefs for satellite images which may show the face of Madeleine McCann’s kidnapper, following intervention by the Sunday Express.
Hope of new progress came after it emerged Leicestershire Police never made a formal request to the Home Office for views of Praia da Luz on Portugal’s Algarve at the time the little girl vanished in May 2007.
The quality of pictures taken by satellites in space is now so good they can reputedly identify the colour of someone’s eyes.
Last night a senior source with the Portuguese police said: “We know US spy satellites regularly sweep over Portugal looking at military installations and government facilities.
“So we thought they might actually have images of Praia da Luz on the day of the kidnapping and the preceding days.
“We hoped spy images may have captured the kidnapper watching the apartment prior to the event or even on the day itself. Obviously, having a picture would have speeded up the apprehension of the offender.”
Google Earth view from where Madeleine was snatched
Yet more than two years after Madeleine was snatched no help has been forthcoming, despite early requests from senior Portuguese detectives.
The Portuguese source explained: “This was fully discussed with Leicestershire Police and officials with the British Government.
“We were confident of getting progress because of Gordon Brown’s interest in the case and this apparent special relationship between Britain and the United States.
“Your ambassador to Portugal even visited our officers soon after the kidnap.
“The bad news for us is that we got nowhere with this avenue of inquiry, which was both frustrating and infuriating.”
For, despite all the talk, nothing appears to have been done officially with the British government and the formal requests were never made.
Last night a spokesman for Mr Johnson said extensive checks within the security intelligence community had failed to discover any formal request ever having come to them through Leicestershire Police from Portugal.
However, he said that if a request were now made Mr Johnson would see whether he could offer any assistance in trying to persuade the Americans to become co-operative.
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The issue appears so sensitive that Prime Minister Mr Brown may have to speak directly to US President Barack Obama in order to achieve co-operation.
The Sunday Express sought explanations for the extraordinary situation from the US government’s ultra- secretive National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
The agency’s lawyers are now considering a Freedom of Information request from the Sunday Express.
A spokesman for the agency said: “NGA does not provide imagery to private citizens or private companies. For reasons of national security we do not discuss specifics about what images we have or our capabilities.”
Private investigators working for parents Kate and Gerry McCann, who live in Rothley, Leicestershire, have also tried to access US satellite images, but with no success.
6 Oct 2009
MCCANN DETECTIVES CLAIM ALL 3 CHILDREN DRUGGED/Russell O'Brien disappears and so does Maddie says The Times
By James Murray
The kidnapper of Madeleine McCann drugged her and her twin brother and sister so they would all be quiet while she was snatched.
A duplicate key may also have been used to gain entrance to the holiday apartment where the children were sleeping, say investigators.
It means the monster is still a threat to children living or holidaying on Portugal’s Algarve and must be caught urgently as he is highly likely to reoffend.
Former police detectives David Edgar and Arthur Cowley have spent months re-analysing every shred of evidence.
They are convinced the abductor went to the family’s apartment on May 3 2007 fully prepared with sufficient drugs, probably chloroform, to knock out all three children.
The fact that Sean and Amelie, then just 18 months old, failed to wake when the alarm was raised, nor even as they were taken to another apartment in the cold night air, has persuaded the detectives that they, too, must have been drugged.
Had the twins been tested for drugs immediately, any medication used could have been established, making it easier to identify the kidnapper, but vital time was lost.
Chloroform can be made easily and other sedatives, such as the horse tranquilliser ketamine, are commonly in circulation in the criminal underworld.
Even now, however, experts say there may be forensic clues on clothing or bedding which could yield a breakthrough.
The Sunday Express can further reveal that the McCanns’ private detectives are working on a solid theory about exactly how Madeleine was abducted.
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Just as television investigator Donal MacIntyre suggested in this paper three weeks ago, they believe there was a dry run prior to the kidnap that fateful night at apartment 5a of the Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz.
While checking the layout of the apartment the night before, the kidnapper probably woke Sean, who in turn woke Madeleine. In the morning she had told Kate and Gerry she was frightened.
The fact that the children woke up is thought to have persuaded the kidnapper to use knock-out drugs when he returned the next night to take Madeleine, three.
On the question of the duplicate key, holidaymakers often left front door keys under the doormats during the day.
A theory emerging is that the kidnapper had a duplicate key to apartment 5a, which could have been used on the night to enter by the front door.
Mr Edgar and Mr Cowley do not believe Madeleine was taken through an open window as it would have been awkward, time consuming and there were no forensic clues left behind.
It is far more likely, they say, that he simply walked out of the front door with her in his arms. It had been thought that the front door was double locked, making it impossible to open from the inside, but this doubt falls away if there was a duplicate key.
The theory suggests the kidnapper had been targeting the apartment for a long time and had a detailed knowledge of the lock system.
With the front door unlocked, it is easy to simply pull a latch across to open it from the inside.
Another possibility is that the front door was not double-locked when Kate and Gerry left through the unlocked patio doors to join their seven friends at the resort’s tapas bar some 30 metres from their apartment.
Meanwhile it emerged yesterday that the parents of a two-year-old girl who has gone missing in New Zealand are being supported by the McCanns.
Aisling Symes vanished from a relative’s house in an Auckland suburb on Monday.
Her mother Angela had been close by, standing beside a washing machine.
There have been reports that the girl was later seen with a woman of Asian appearance.
Detectives believe she was abducted. Despite repeated appeals for help their searches have so far drawn a blank.
Kate and Gerry McCann said their “thoughts and prayers” were with the family.
The little girl’s father, Allan Symes, who is originally from County Waterford in Ireland, made an emotional plea for her return, saying: “These recent days have proven to be the most harrowing of our lives; no sleep and we feel like we’re barely existing, just surviving every moment, not knowing where Aisling is.”
It has also emerged that police in Sweden are trying to find a girl said to bear a resemblance to Madeleine after a photograph was posted on a website.
However, she does not appear to have the distinctive mark Madeleine has in her right eye.
Lecturing at a lawyers' conferene in Madrid, on the media, the right to privacy and defamation, Gerry poses beneath the picture of his made up little two year old and the made up and non existent 6 year old, whilst not hesitating to put the two fingers up! Well, we never did think he actually valued his right to privacy, that surely has to be some kind of a joke. And as for defamation, OK when he is slating the Portuguese Police, just does not like it when it comes back at him!
From Times Online October 9, 2007
McCann children 'were not alone in apartment'
Kate and Gerry McCann say there are innocent explanations for all the evidence
3D model 'casts doubt on Madeleine abduction'
Significant new evidence about the night Madeleine McCann disappeared has been uncovered, it was claimed, as one of Portugal’s most senior detectives took charge of the investigation.
Paulo Rebelo, an assistant national director of the Polícia Judiciária (PJ), took over responsibility for the case last night. He made his name in the investigation into Portugal’s most notorious paedophile ring.
His appointment was made amid reports in Portugal that detectives have evidence contradicting Kate and Gerry McCann's version of the events of the night that they reported their daughter missing.
3D model 'casts doubt on Madeleine abduction'
Madeleine evidence inconclusive
New detective to lead Madeleine case
Police believe that Madeleine and her twin brother and sister may not have been alone in the McCann holiday apartment, but that the children of seven British friends who were on holiday with the McCanns were also present when Madeleine disappeared on May 3, the 24 Horas newspaper claimed.
The McCanns, from Rothley, Leicestershire, have insisted that Madeleine was with only her two-year-old twin siblings, Sean and Amelie, while they dined with their friends at a tapas restaurant at the Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz. The group has claimed that their children were in their own apartments and that they made checks on their own children and those of their friends during the evening.
However, a source within the investigation was quoted by 24 Horas as saying: “It’s not only the collected evidence that points to the fact that there were more children inside that [the McCanns'] apartment.
“Evidence also exists, following the interrogations to the other people who that were at the Ocean Club, that only the McCanns’ apartment was visited by the people who attended the dinner.”
The children had visited each other’s apartments regularly in the six days that they had been at the Ocean Club. The newspaper does not explain how any forensic evidence could be pinpointed to the evening of Madeleine’s disappearance.
The newspaper also casts doubt on claims by one of the McCanns’ friends that he was looking after his unwell daughter when he was away from the restaurant on the evening Madeleine disappeared.
It says that Russell O’Brien, a hospital consultant from Exeter, left the restaurant at 9.35pm and returned at 10pm, just minutes before Mrs McCann discovered that Madeleine was missing. Mr O’Brien has strenuously denied any involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance and has never been a formal suspect in the investigation.
24 Horas reported: “The British man guaranteed he took that long because he visited his sick daughter, and she vomited. He says he asked for the sheets to be changed, but the staff at the Ocean Club assured the investigators that nobody asked for any bedsheets to be changed that evening.”
Mr O’Brien’s partner, Jane Tanner, told police that she had seen a man carrying a girl away from the McCanns’ apartment at 9.15pm. However, another witness has insisted that she was not in the area at that time.
A source within the PJ is quoted by 24 Horas as saying: “In face of so many contradictions and in face of the forensics results that we already hold, we have very few doubts that the girl died inside that apartment, and we only have doubts about who concealed the corpse.”
The report follows claims in the British media that although tests on samples discovered in the McCanns’ apartment and hire car do not prove that Madeleine is dead, they have strengthened the theory that her parents were involved in her disappearance.
A source at the Forensic Science Service in Birmingham, which carried out the tests on behalf of the Portuguese authorities, is reported to have said that the results showed police were right to make the couple arguidos, or official suspects.
3D model 'casts doubt on Madeleine abduction'
Madeleine evidence inconclusive
New detective to lead Madeleine case
However, the McCanns’ British law firm, Kingsley Napley, has brought in its own forensic team to explain why the samples may be totally unconnected to Madeleine’s disappearance.
The couple insist that any DNA found in the Renault Scenic hired 25 days after Madeleine’s disappearance could have been transferred innocently from their daughter’s clothing when they moved to a new apartment.
Clarence Mitchell, the couple’s spokesman, said today: “Kate and Gerry have nothing to hide at all. They are perfectly happy to answer any of this, if it comes to it. There are wholly innocent explanations for anything the police may or may not have found."
Mr Mitchell said the couple were unable to grieve for Madeleine because they did not know yet what had happened to their daughter. “They need that knowledge whether Madeleine is alive or dead - let’s face it, she might be,” he said. “They need to know, before they can move on, before they can deal with that.
“In the absence of that hard information, they are doing what they can to, one, clear their names of these dreadful smears and, two, to actually get on with the job of finding her. That is the message we want to go to police in Portugal - ‘find Madeleine’.”
The couple hope that the appointment of a new head of the investigation will refocus the inquiry on finding their daughter. Mr Rebelo was appointed last night after the demotion of the previous lead investigator, Gonçalo Amaral, who had claimed that British police were being manipulated by Madeleine’s parents.
Mr Rebelo made his career at the Central Directory for the Investigation of Drug Trafficking before being appointed one of four associate directors of the PJ. He was head of the Criminal Investigation department in Lisbon when it uncovered a notorious paedophile ring. The “Casa Pia” ring had been abusing boys at state-run children’s homes for decades before being uncovered in 2002. Those alleged to have been involved included senior politicians, a former ambassador, celebrities and wealthy businessmen.
Mr Rebelo was described by colleagues as “highly regarded internally, he has done some excellent work for the PJ, he is nice and a good communicator”. He is close to the PJ’s national director, Alípio Ribeiro.
3 Oct 2009
By David Rose
Last updated at 9:59 PM on 03rd October 2009
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The bungled inquiry into allegations of child abuse and murder at a Jersey care home will cost taxpayers on the island at least £20million, a Mail on Sunday investigation reveals today.
Lenny Harper, the controversial detective who initially headed Operation Rectangle, also spent thousands of pounds of public money staying in four-star hotels and eating in some of London’s top restaurants.
His handling of the Haut de la Garenne children’s home probe has been described as
a ‘shambles’ by Mick Gradwell, the detective drafted in to replace Harper.
The evidence of lavish expenses claims and extraordinary financial waste includes paying £93,000 to Martin Grime, the handler of the sniffer dog Eddie, who was charged with the grim task of finding children’s bodies that were supposedly entombed in concrete in the institution, known as ‘the Jersey House of Horrors’, which closed in 1986.
To date the ‘human remains’ that triggered the storm surrounding the case have turned out to be a piece of coconut shell.
A leaked report by financial auditors into the investigation shows Grime received £750 a day for the first seven days’ work his dog did and £650 a day for 136 days thereafter.
But it has come to light that he did not have a UK licence for the job. Grime said this
did not matter as Jersey is not in the UK.
Meanwhile, colleagues of Harper have told how he clocked up a huge expenses bill by flying to London regularly to hold meetings with Scotland Yard officers.
In total, Harper and his colleague PC Andrew Linsell, a Jersey traffic officer whom Harper appointed as his personal chauffeur, made 49 claims between January and August 2008 on their force credit cards for meals costing more than £50.
More than £5,700 was on Harper’s card alone.
Only one member of staff who worked at Haut de la Garenne has been convicted as part of the investigation so far. Gordon Wateridge, 78, was found guilty of eight indecent assaults on teenage girls and jailed for two years in August.
'£20m fiasco' of chaos and waste behind the Jersey child abuse inquiry
Main witness had a history of psychotic fantasy and alcoholism
Detectives took lavish meals in London restaurants
Sniffer dog's handler was paid £93,000
Traffic officer was used as detective's 'chauffeur'
Questionable: Deputy Chief Officer Lenny Harper speaks at a press conference at the former Haut de la Garenne children's home in Jersey
Just 11 days before Jersey's deputy police chief Lenny Harper made the island a byword for horror by claiming to have found the 'partial remains of a child' beneath the Haut de la Garenne former children's home, he was adamantly refusing to dig for bodies.
'We have not a shred of evidence to suggest there is anything there,' he told his forensic services manager Vicky Coupland in an email dated February 12, 2008 and obtained by The Mail on Sunday.
According to any 'reasoned assessment', Harper added, it was hard to see how a child could have been entombed in concrete in an institution full of children.
He said: 'There is going to be blood from spotty teenagers. We could end up being massively distracted by small bits of blood that have no relevance. In all the statements and intelligence we have not even a suggestion that there may be or have been bodies.'
If only Harper had stuck to that view, he would have prevented much expense and anguish.
Last month, Gordon Wateridge was jailed for two years for abusing children - to date, he is the only former Haut de la Garenne staff member to be charged with or convicted for offences relating to the treatment of children at the home.
But there were no bodies and, according to a Jersey government spokeswoman, the total cost of the investigation is likely to reach an incredible £20million - half the cost of the complex investigation that snared the gang plotting to blow up airliners with liquid bombs.
Last night Mick Gradwell, the detective chief superintendent from Lancashire who took over the investigation after Harper retired, said that when he arrived to pick up the threads a year ago he found Harper had left a 'shambles', and had flagrantly ignored the basic rules of modern criminal investigation.
'There was no planning, no strategy and no control of costs,' Gradwell said. 'Worse, there were no proper records. Lenny pumped up the media to expect a house of horrors. But as he himself had recognised when he wrote those emails, the evidence was never there.'
A three-month investigation by The Mail on Sunday has revealed:
The main witness behind Harper's decision to begin the search for bodies was a woman with a known history of psychotic fantasy and alcoholism. She named children she said she had seen jumping to their deaths from Haut de la Garenne windows and hanging from trees in the garden, where she said she also found a severed hand. None of these claims were true.
Eddie the sniffer dog - the animal that had supposedly found the 'scent of death' in the Portuguese flat where Madeleine McCann disappeared - no longer had a licence for UK police forensic work when Harper started using him in Jersey. Eddie, whose owner, Martin Grime, was paid £93,600 for less than five months' work, triggered the first excavations by barking at a spot where Harper's team then unearthed what was claimed to be part of a child's skull. In fact, as a Kew Gardens expert has now confirmed, it was a piece of coconut shell.
Financial investigators have spent months poring over the inquiry's costs. They have found they were massively inflated - not only by Harper's mismanagement, but by frequent trips to London, where he and his colleagues claimed expenses for lavish meals.
Harper also retained the island's only police car equipped with a numberplate recognition device for his own personal use, and its driver, PC Andrew Linsell, as his chauffeur. He ordered Linsell to pick him up from home each morning, and sometimes kept him on duty late in the evening to ferry him around.
Earlier this year, Harper defied a Jersey Royal Court order to return to the island to give evidence in an Haut de la Garenne abuse trial and to produce his 'day books' - the notes every UK Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) is required to make about everything he does and to store with inquiry records. Harper claimed they did not exist because Metropolitan Police security experts had advised him not to keep day books. A Scotland Yard spokeswoman denied this, saying the Met told Harper they were essential.
Flawed inquiry: A tent covers one of the excavations at the former children's home of Haut de la Garenne
The absence of the day books means that where Harper's recollections of crucial events differ widely from those of others, there is no way of checking his contemporary record.
Harper refused to comment last night, saying anything he might want to say was contained in a 15,000-word account he recently posted on a website run by a Jersey senator, Stuart Syvret, who has described Harper's critics as 'scum' trying to cover up child abuse.
Harper's article does not address the new evidence revealed by The Mail on Sunday, but states that any criticism of him is ' nonsense' based on 'lies and half-truths'.
Operation Rectangle, Harper's inquiry into 'historic' allegations of child abuse in the Jersey care system, began in September 2007. There was compelling evidence such abuse had occurred, and that the island's police had not dealt with it appropriately.
For example, in 2003, two years after Harper became deputy police chief, his detectives learnt that a former resident of Haut de la Garenne was saying he had been taken on boat trips between the ages of six and ten and subjected to repeated and serious sexual assaults.
But instead of investigating the alleged abuser, the police charged the victim for trying to blackmail his assailant.
At first, Rectangle was a low-key affair and attracted only local publicity. By February 2008, Harper's team had received some claims about possible murders at Haut de la Garenne, a children's home for 86 years until it closed in 1986. But they were far from reliable.
Besides the statements by the psychotic woman, the police had been told by a Jersey lawyer that one of his clients had claimed children had been killed there. However, Rectangle detectives had already interviewed this man and he had said nothing about murders.
It was true that in 2003 builders at Haut de la Garenne had found bones, but they were from animals. Moreover, there had never been a single contemporary report of a child going missing.
Gradwell said: 'Even children in care have families, friends and teachers, none of whom had ever reported a disappearance. Lenny has said one of his problems was the Jersey records were patchy and incomplete, so it was hard to be sure who had actually been there. In fact, they were excellent and very detailed.'
As the emails to Coupland demonstrate, at first Harper displayed a healthy scepticism. So what made him change his mind? According to a senior detective who worked on Harper's team, one factor was sniffer dog Eddie's handler, Martin Grime.
'Grime made a presentation, showing him [Harper] a video of the dog finding the "scent of death" in Kate and Gerry McCann's car,' the detective said.
False trails: Eddie the sniffer dog with handler Martin Grime
'They were still formal suspects and the case had got worldwide publicity. It seemed to get Lenny very excited. I think Grime kind of bewitched him.'
Dave Warcup, Jersey's acting chief police officer, told The Mail on Sunday that he had appointed an independent team of auditors to examine Harper's spending. It includes two forensic accountants and a police expert in seizing criminals' assets.
The team's interim report, seen by this newspaper, reveals that Grime was paid £750 a day for the first seven days he spent on the island and £650 a day for the following 136 days.
Yet Grime, who had left South Yorkshire police in July 2007 and was selling his dogs' services through his private business, had failed to keep up the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) licence that certified Eddie as a police 'cadaver dog'.
Grime did have a second sniffer dog, Keela, but its licence expired a fortnight after they arrived in Jersey.
ACPO rules governing UK police dogs state: 'Dog and handler teams that fail to remain in-licence are deemed "not competent".'
Grime admitted to The Mail on Sunday that the dog's licence had lapsed. He said: 'After I retired, my dogs were tested according to my own standards which are more stringent than ACPO's. But Jersey is not in the UK, so they were in their rights to employ whoever they wanted.' He said his fees were 'all agreed' and that he had given Jersey a 'discount'.
Asked about the 'human remains' found by Eddie that turned out to be coconut, Grime said bizarrely: 'People aren't right 100 per cent of the time. Otherwise they wouldn't be human.'
The auditors' interim report concludes: 'It was an expensive mistake to bring in Mr Grime. It would have been far preferable and much cheaper to have tried to obtain appropriately trained dogs and handlers from UK police forces.'
Harper, it adds, did not consider this option. For much of the time Grime spent on Jersey, the report reveals, he was not even working with his dogs, but as an assistant to the Haut de la Garenne crime scene manager - duties for which he had no qualifications, and which did 'not justify the payment to him of £650 a day'.
Meanwhile, Harper approached the National Police Improvement Agency (NPIA), the body that co-ordinates all UK national police functions and training, asking for advice about forensic experts and equipment such as ground-penetrating radar.
He went to London and met its chief executive, Peter Neyroud, a former Thames Valley chief constable and a seasoned murder investigator. 'The narrative he gave me was that there had been abuse, maybe murder, and a cover-up by Jersey's establishment,' Neyroud said.
Needle in a haystack: A police forensics officer sifts through the rubble collected during the investigation at Haut de la Garenne
He explained that in a case like this, detectives would normally need weeks of painstaking preparation before they started to dig.
The SIO's 'bible' - the ACPO Murder Manual - says planning a formal 'search strategy' is a 'key priority': instead of merely 'fishing', investigators should direct searches in the light of other evidence.
Neyroud said: 'You certainly don't go rushing in. I must say, I was surprised by how fast Lenny moved.'
Once Eddie started sniffing, any notion of a strategy disappeared. Karl Harrison, one of the scientists Harper brought in from a UK company, LGC Forensics, summed up the inquiry's approach in a comment to the financial investigators.
He said: 'We followed the dog. Where the dog barked was dug up.' This, says the interim report, was 'a fundamental error'.
Harper had not worked as a detective since 1991. In his website article he claims he was experienced at investigating child rape, 'execution-style' slayings and terrorism. In fact, he served as an SIO only in less complex cases, such as domestic murders.
The gaps in his knowledge were huge. The report says he had 'little idea' of how to use the HOLMES computer system, for years the mainstay of every major inquiry, and in one email to a colleague he asked: 'What role does the analyst play?' Analysts have been central to big investigations for almost 20 years.
Meanwhile, even before the 'skull fragment' was found, Harper was apparently thinking about how to achieve maximum media impact. Neyroud said: 'He said he was getting local media coverage, but complained he hadn't got traction beyond the island.
I recommended he talk to an experienced national reporter. I also said, "If you're going to dig, you need to plan what you say to the media very carefully." The last thing a sensitive inquiry like this needs is the kind of rampant speculation that was soon on every front page: you need to be very cautious about what you say, and to whom.'
Later, Anne Harrison, the NPIA's head of operational support, paid several visits to Jersey with a former Met commander, Andre Baker. In his website article, Harper says these visits are evidence that his conduct of the case was 'fully endorsed' at UK national level.
However, asked whether he had 'endorsed' Harper's actions, Baker said through a spokeswoman: 'The investigation remains the sole responsibility of the investigating force, the Senior Investigating Officer and the chief officer.'
As for Harrison, said Neyroud, she was appalled to see Harper had completely ignored crucial parts of the Murder Manual and the NPIA's advice about dealing with the media. Neyroud said: 'Working out and sticking to a media strategy is also vital. Harper simply didn't have one.'
Digging the dirt: 'Where the sniffer dog barked was dug up,' says one of the scientists drafted in to the investigation
Harrison sometimes found it difficult to see him, Neyroud added, because he was spending hours each day giving interviews to journalists. When Harper did make time to see Harrison, he said: 'We do it the Jersey way here.'
Harper basked in the media attention. 'Once we'd found the piece of "skull", the excitement of telling the Press overwhelmed him,' a former Jersey detective said. On one occasion, he said, he saw Harper punch the air, saying: 'What a job to go out on!'
Harper, says the report, was rarely seen at the incident room in the police station in St Helier, where detectives were assembling evidence of non-lethal child abuse.
The detective said: 'He usually just went straight to Haut de la Garenne. I had to drive out there to find out what was happening because he just wasn't briefing us. It developed into two separate jobs - the sex-abuse inquiry at the police station, and the sexy scene at la Garenne.'
The report quotes another detective who said: 'There was nothing fed from the scene into the incident room. God knows how they knew what they were looking for, because they had no idea of what was in the system.'
In his website article, Harper insists he was told by Jersey's government that the eventual cost of his investigation was 'irrelevant' and that he should spend whatever he needed. Presumably the island's leaders did not expect to have to subsidise Harper's expensive habits.
The report says that between January and August 2008, Harper made six trips to Scotland Yard in London on expenses. He was always accompanied by between one and four other officers. The trips accounted for 18 days of Harper's time and 41 days of his colleagues' time.
None of the meetings at the Yard took more than two hours. Ostensibly, they were held to assess the possible security risks to Harper's inquiry. But one Jersey detective who was there said: 'If there was a discussion about assessing risk, it was so brief I hardly noticed it. It was mainly small talk, and discussion of where we were going out that night.'
Even if the meetings had all been essential, it would have been easy for Harper to fly to London and back on the same day. Yet he and the others always spent at least one and usually two nights in a four-star hotel.
This made some of his companions 'uncomfortable', the report says. But trying to get out of the trips 'did not go down well with Lenny'.
Jersey police expenses policy sets a ceiling for dinner of £25.22 per head. It allows alcohol to be claimed only for 'essential' business entertainment. Officers must submit fully itemised restaurant bills.
These rules did not apply to Harper. For example, the report reveals that during a trip at the beginning of February 2008, he and a colleague submitted force credit-card receipts for three meals totalling £1,100.
Error: A piece of cocunut shell wrongly identified as a fragment of a child's skull during the Jersey probe
As on later visits, they dined at the Bombay Brasserie, a high-end restaurant in Soho, and at Shepherd's near Victoria, long favoured by politicians and senior officers from the Yard.
Sometimes the bills were extraordinary. On May 1, a dinner at Shepherd's cost Jersey taxpayers £699, split among three police credit cards. As usual, there was no itemised receipt.
Harper was paying for an additional guest that night - a reporter from a Sunday newspaper. Given her presence, the report comments: 'We do not see how this occasion can possibly be regarded as a business dinner within the terms of the policy.'
The other officers present told the investigators they believed Harper told them to put the cost on several cards to disguise how much they had spent.
Meanwhile, Harper was also claiming dinners in Jersey, at restaurants such as Chateau la Chaire, billed on its website as 'truly one of Jersey's finest country-house hotels'.
In all, the investigators found 49 separate claims between January and August on Harper's and PC Linsell's force cards for meals that cost more than £50. More than £5,700 was on Harper's card alone.
The report contains other examples of Harper's waste. Large sums were spent on overtime, with some officers claiming tens of thousands of pounds. Then there is PC Linsell, Harper's chauffeur, who normally worked as a traffic officer.
'He was required to be at Mr Harper's disposal throughout the day and sometimes into the evening,' the report says, 'until Mr Harper decided he wanted to go home. The police vehicle would then have to be returned to police headquarters before PC Linsell could go off duty.'
There might be times when an SIO would need to be driven somewhere, the report says. 'However, to have a personal chauffeur is a very different matter - not even the chief officer has a driver. The deployment of PC Linsell in this way could be regarded as an abuse.'
If Harper were still serving, his use of Linsell might well constitute a breach of the police discipline code, the report says.
Against this background, with Jersey the focus of the world's media, the discovery that the 'skull fragment' found on February 23, 2008 was vegetable rather than human posed a big problem for Harper. He resorted to denial and exaggeration.
In his web article, Harper claims: 'I had never said there was evidence of murder - only evidence that there was something that needed investigation.'
Jailed: Child abuser Gordon Wateridge is the only former Haut de la Garenne staff member to be charged over treatment of children there
But on May 17 last year, when he was contacted by The Mail on Sunday about the 'skull' actually being coconut, he said the real story was that newly dug-up fragments 'have been positively identified as being very young children's bones', buried as recently as the Eighties.
He added: 'The anthropologists are saying we have dead children there, not a dead child.' There were also teeth, and 'experts are saying that these teeth could not possibly have come out naturally before death because there is so much of the root attached to them'.
The claims were false. On May 2, Harper had also emailed three senior Jersey officials saying he now had proof that a second child had been buried at Haut de la Garenne: 'The bone fragments are from the skull of a child... The expert's initial findings are that the child died fairly recently - confirmation will mean that a homicide inquiry will have to [be] launched.'
Last week, Harper and his supporter Syvret claimed this email was tampered with. But his former secretary, Vickie Ellis, has said in a police statement that she sent it exactly as he dictated it.
Two years after Operation Rectangle began, there is little to show for the £20million.
Besides Wateridge, a former resident of Haut de la Garenne has been convicted of assaulting children there and given probation. Another man, Claude Donnelly, got 15 years for raping several children, but these offences were not related to Haut de la Garenne. Two other men - who did not work at the home - have been charged.
For Mick Gradwell, who retired last month after 30 years as an officer, the only way to clear up the mess is to hold a public inquiry into both Harper and Jersey's child abuse. He said: 'This is one of the worst policing fiascos of modern times, and those responsible need to be called to account.'
Meanwhile, nothing infuriates those still serving more than the claim there has been a cover-up.
Dave Warcup said: 'The inquiry team numbered between 40 and 50 experienced officers made up of both local officers and personnel seconded from the UK.
'The majority of the team had no previous association with Jersey. These assertions are clearly fanciful. They are insulting to every individual who has worked in and around the inquiry.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1217863/Bungled-Jersey-child-abuse-probe-branded-20million-shambles.html#ixzz0SuXZXLJ2
23 Sep 2009
The McCanns giving one of their very rare "press conferences", well rare in Portugal anyway. They are also hiring some PRs over there to try and make the Portuguese people like them again, I am sure that will be one big success. Just as they deserve...Shame Gerry always looks so shifty though! Nothing shifty about people who think they need PR people, people who say their daughter was abducted by a stranger.
10:46am UK, Wednesday September 23, 2009
Kate McCann has returned to Portugal for the first time since being quizzed by police over her daughter Madeleine's disappearance, her spokesman has told Sky.
Sky News: First For Breaking News
"Kate and (her husband) Gerry have gone to Lisbon for a series of meetings with their lawyers and other advisers," Clarence Mitchell said.
"They are planning to be there for one day. They are not going to Praia de Luz."
Madeleine was three when she went missing in the resort of Praia da Luz in May, 2007.
Mr Mitchell continued: "It is Kate's first visit back to Portugal since 2007 and it is difficult.
"It's something that has always been daunting for her but she knew she would go back at some stage - and she's always said she'll do anything necessary to keep the search for Madeleine alive.
"If it means a trip to speak to the Portuguese media, then so be it. But she's always said she'll do anything to keep the inquiry alive.
"What keeps her going is a sense of momentum, and important meetings with lawyers and advisers are critical to the campaign."
More to follow...
Kate e Gerry McCann stated today in Lisbon that they have returned to Portugal to "find new leads and a strategy that allows to maximize the search" of their daughter Madeleine, who disappeared more than 2 years ago in the Algarve.
"It's a very important day for us and for the search of Madeleine. This can be a turning point in the search and we are willing to do whatever needs to be done to keep searching for our daughter" said Kate McCann, who spoke to the journalists together with her husband Gerry, in a press conference at a Lisbon Hotel.
The McCann couple, who have arrived today in Portugal, started by recalling that there were two judicial processes that concluded "that there are no evidences that Maddie is dead, or that we are, in anyway involved in her death".
in News Agency Lusa
Video excerpt of the Conference
Read more: http://joana-morais.blogspot.com/2009/09/mccanns-lisbon-press-conference.html#ixzz0RxDaoPPU
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives
18 Sep 2009
DAILY EXPRESS TELL US EXACTLY HOW MADDIE WAS ABDUCTED, I KID YOU NOT!!OF THIS WE ARE CERTAIN BY CARRIE
MADELEINE: I KNOW HOW SHE WAS TAKEN
By Donal MacIntyre
MADELEINE McCann was abducted by at least two kidnappers who must have carried out several dry runs in the days leading up to her disappearance.
After spending a week on the ground investigating the case and the methods used by the kidnappers, I can only conclude that they must have entered the apartment to carry out a rehearsal, because they were working to an incredibly tight schedule.
The three-minute time frame they allowed themselves left no margin for error.
But even though they did their homework with meticulous care, they still came within seconds of capture.
I believe the focus of the investigation for the private investigators hired by Madeleine’s parents should be on a breakdown of who was in and around the Mark Warner Ocean Club in Praia da Luz throughout their holiday.
It is more than probable key witnesses would have seen the kidnappers in the days and nights leading up to the abduction on
Such was the narrow window of opportunity, only agile, sharp-witted people well-practised in breaking and entering properties could have pulled this off.
Over the past week I have conducted a cold case review of most of the available evidence relating to the abduction and had lengthy discussions with numerous Portuguese sources who cannot be identified.
Crucial to unravelling the whole case is establishing what precisely took place from to on the night Madeleine vanished.
In my view too little attention has been paid to what I believe was a key sighting.
A dark-haired woman was observed standing near a street light at a road junction that overlooks
She was seen looking at the apartment as the late evening gloom descended.
Was she also watching to see the movements of Kate and Gerry McCann and their holiday friends, the so-called Tapas Seven? I think so.
The same witness who saw the mystery woman also saw a gold or brown Nissan car driving erratically past the woman.
Despite appeals neither the woman nor the driver of the car has come forward.
Was this Nissan the getaway car and was its driver conducting a dry run at this very time? Again, I think so.
Although we do not, sadly, have a minute-by-minute breakdown of the events that took place, this is the scenario that I believe unfolded.
Having settled Madeleine, then three, and their two-year- old twins, Sean and Amelie, Gerry and Kate, from Rothley, Leicestershire, have a glass of wine before heading off to the tapas bar, a minute’s walk away, to join their friends Jane Tanner and her partner Russell O’Brien, Rachel and Mathew Oldfield, David and Fiona Payne and Diane Webster.
At about Gerry leaves the table and walks over to the apartment to check on the twins and Madeleine.
The Praia da Luz resort
He enters the apartment and then goes to the toilet. He checks on his children and savours a proud father’s moment as he stands by the doorway looking into the back bedroom where they are all soundly asleep.
The twins are in cots and Madeleine in bed, holding her favourite toy, Cuddle Cat. Gerry spends up to 10 minutes in the five-room apartment and will only later reflect that he felt there was someone else there at the same time.
For the kidnap to have taken place I believe Gerry’s gut instinct was sound.
So we must assume that a few minutes before Gerry arrived, the abductor walked along the public road beside the apartment, opened the gate, walked up 10 steps to the patio and entered through the open patio doors.
At this stage he or she is a heartbeat away from being caught. But where could the abductor have hidden? Gerry walked through the front room, used the bathroom and looked in on the children – but did he check anywhere else?
My view is that the abductor was probably in the children’s bedroom, possibly behind the door or crouching behind furniture.
As Gerry strolls out of the patio doors, closing but not locking them, he leaves through the same small gate facing the road where the abductor has entered minutes before.
Just outside, he meets television producer Jes Wilkins on the way back to the tapas bar. There is not another soul on the street.
Back inside the apartment the abductor must be breathing a sigh of relief as Gerry leaves, then realises his exit route is blocked and plan B has to be put into operation.
For this, help is essential. The abductor inside the apartment passes Madeleine – probably put to sleep with chloroform – through the open window into the accomplice’s arms.
In the distance, the voices of Gerry McCann and Jes Wilkins waft through the air.
What trauma would Madeleine suffer if, terrified and forcibly kept silent, she hears Dad’s voice as she is being bundled into the hands of dangerous strangers? At the same time – about – and unnoticed by Wilkins and Gerry, Jane Tanner observes them chatting.
The kidnapper holding Madeleine retreats to the adjacent car park before heading on to the same footpath where, a short distance downhill, Gerry and Wilkins are talking.
The accomplice makes his way out of the window and into the darkness.
The kidnappers think they have got away with it, but they are on the brink of being caught.
Despite hearing the voices of Madeleine’s father a short distance away, the kidnapper holding the girl plans to cross the road junction just above them.
As he hits the footpath, he sees both men chatting and Jane Tanner heading his way – three potential witnesses to the abduction, including the father of the child.
Why choose such a potentially disastrous course? My belief is that he had to make a rendezvous with the getaway driver.
The seven seconds he took to cross the road were either well-planned, foolhardy or a sign of breathtaking confidence. In any case, the kidnapper never faltered and was never seen again.
Jane Tanner says he was carrying a child. She believes it was Madeleine and her theory is supported by the McCann investigators.
The timing of the statements from the key witnesses suggests that there was a maximum of three to five minutes for the abduction to be executed.
In such circumstances only good planning and co-ordination could make this possible. It would be an extraordinary effort, needing an astonishing degree of luck, if this had been done on an opportunistic basis.
The clean execution of the kidnap, without a hint of a
Such precision is the hallmark of fixated, obsessive sexual predators. There were 20 known paedophiles living on the
However, the area must be a magnet for sex offenders. It has a creche, school and nursery. Add a transient population of young holidaymakers and you have a lot of attractions for sexual predators.
With its road access the McCann apartment was the most vulnerable in the complex and it is easy to see why a paedophile would make it a target.
The McCanns’ decision, formed by the semi-secure nature of the holiday complex, to use a check-in system for their children rather than have babysitters allowed the abductors to strike. In hindsight, that unfortunate decision left their children vulnerable to an abductor.
Last week I walked unchallenged on to the property in the company of another journalist. We were both unsuitably dressed and surrounded by children and parents. We had a drink and left. Two hours later I returned and again was not challenged.
Today there is more lighting around the complex but little else has changed. Until the kidnappers are caught, the unspoken fear will remain that Praia da Luz is a sunny place for shady people.
All that remains visible of the Madeleine McCann campaign there is a touching shrine in the beautiful church on the sea front.
Pray For Me, the heart-shaped poster pleads. Below it, 10 electric candles flicker in her memory. Many more will be lit before this mystery is solved.
Lawyers representing Kate and Gerry McCann have demanded that a website claiming their daughter was not abducted should be taken down.
The Madeleine Foundation claims Madeleine is dead and her parents bear some responsibility for her death.
The McCanns’ spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: “Kate and Gerry have made it clear they will not dignify the actions of the so-called Madeleine Foundation with any comment.”
They have just nicked my brilliant scenario from 7 September: How Very Dare They???Well maybe we should get on to "Cutting Edge" and ask them why they did not do a proper reconstruction along the lines of what Gerry told us.
Then we would have to be shown, abductor not jemmying the window and shutter open and climbing in over Kate's unmade bed without leaving any forensic trace.
Abductor hearing Gerry, firstly coming in through the front door via his key (4 May) and secondly Gerry coming in through rear patio door (10 May). We would have to see the abductor in a flurry around this apt as he attempted to hide whilst Gerry was entering both the doors, as depicted. Eventually in an utter panic, said abductor would be depicted hiding behind the bedroom door as Gerry entered and waving to him when Gerry turned around to depart and saw him there. Perhaps abductor could say to Gerry it is OK I only want Maddie, you can keep the other two. I am not sure at what stage Gerry went and had a strain on the toilet but am sure this could be fitted in.
From there, Gerry could be depicted exiting the apartment having exchanged pleasantries with the abductor and standing on guard at the rear exit (just to make sure he did not get too greedy).
Gerry could then be depicted whizzing backwards and forwards across the road as he chatted to Wilkins.
Gerry could then be depicted standing facing up the road looking at the abductor at the same time as Jane Tanner squeezed past him also looking at said abductor.
Said abductor would have to be depicted either clambering through the bedroom window with Maddie, fast asleep and avoiding at all costs and scrapes in lichen or leaving any forensic trace.
Or said abductor could be depicted opening the front door with Maddie cradled across his arms and without needing to worry about it being deadlocked because of course Gerry wanted to be helpful and not put the deadlock.
Then said abductor could be depicted whizzing across with short dark hair and being 5'10 and then again with masses of thick dago hair and a moustache but also looking a lot like a woman and being 5'7".
Now did I miss anything ou?
Carrie Today at 19:03
All we need to know is that three very small children were left alone repeatedly, by their parents. And the only reason we are all here discussing
the minutae surrounding these parents, is that one of those very small children is missing.
Madeleine Beth McCann is missing either because her parents did indeed, leave her and her siblings night after night, and an abductor really did take the eldest,
who had not yet reached her fourth birthday. OR, the same parents knew exactly what had happened to Madeleine, and as many believe, that an "abduction" was staged by the parents and their friends; friends who also admitted leaving their small children. These are the only scenarios. And whichever way the spin doctors spin it - and my goodness, they certainly have, whether the first or the second scenario happened - it totally stinks, because IT IS THE FAULT OF THE PARENTS.
That Gerry McCann said that their parenting was "in the realms of responsible" is the stuff of fairytales. We all KNOW that if this was the case, then they would have all their kids, and we would have never heard of any of them. The only reason we know about the McCanns, is because they were , at best, by their own admission, negligent. When Clarence Mitchell announced smugly to the nation that "it is a British thing (leaving small kiddies alone) we all do it" we know that he was lying. Because we don't. We simply KNOW as parents, that small children should never, ever, be left. The fact that he said this is, is proof (to me anyway) that the McCann's actions needed justifying. But there is no justification in the world, for what they did.
They left them. They admit this. They won't apologise for it - the most they will grudgingly say is, "we wish we were there when she was taken". As if it was inevitable. But we all know that IF she was taken, then it is no one's fault but their own. As doctors, they should KNOW all too well the horrors that await unattended children. And yet they still try to distance themselves from the blame. But they can't. Because the buck stops with them, it always has, and it always will.
Sometimes, whilst we trawl through posts and files, we may have doubts. We can't see the woods for the trees. But if we remember why we are all here - and go back to the beginning...then it all becomes clear.
They left her. They let her down - they then deflected blame and hired PR people to spin for them. But some things are totally unspinnable. Which is why I'm still here - she deserved so much better. And one day, sooner or later, truth will out, for a little girl who was appallingly let down - and who often appears an afterthought, whilst the PR people try to spin the unspinnable, and paint her parents whiter than white.