The purpose of this site is for information and a record of Gerry McCann's Blog Archives. As most people will appreciate GM deleted all past blogs from the official website. Hopefully this Archive will be helpful to anyone who is interested in Justice for Madeleine Beth McCann. Many Thanks, Pamalam

Note: This site does not belong to the McCanns. It belongs to Pamalam. If you wish to contact the McCanns directly, please use the contact/email details    

Robert Murat (3) 01 January 2008 - Date *

Articles about Robert Murat from 01 January 2008 to date

Robert Murat pages
Period covered
03 May 2007 - 30 June 2007, with timeline
01 July 2007 - 31 December 2007
01 January 2008 - Date
17 July 2008 / 14 November 2008
Kate McCanns' suspicions over Murat's alibi, 01 January 2008
Kate McCann: My suspicions over Murat's alibi on the night Madeleine vanished Daily Mail

By VANESSA ALLEN, Last updated at 16:24pm on 1st January 2008

Kate McCann is suspicious about Robert Murat's alibi for the night her daughter Madeleine vanished, it was revealed yesterday.

The mother of three has confided to friends she believes there are questions about the British expat that need to be answered.

Mrs McCann's doubts emerged after the Daily Mail reported that seven witnesses claim to have seen Mr Murat near the McCanns' holiday apartment on the night of May 3.

He has always insisted he was at home all night at the villa he shares with his elderly mother in Praia da Luz, near the Mark Warner holiday complex.

A friend of Kate and her husband Gerry said: "Kate has always felt there are questions concerning Murat and a body of evidence contrary to what he is saying.

"Gerry doesn't know whether he is involved but Kate has always been suspicious."

Mrs McCann, 39, has avoided publicly voicing suspicions about Mr Murat.

She and Gerry, also 39, even called for calm after he was made an official suspect on May 14 and appealed for him to be treated fairly.

Mr Murat, a property consultant, insists he did not learn about Madeleine's disappearance until the next morning and was not aware of the massive search going on less than 100 yards from his villa, Casa Liliana.

But a source close to Mrs McCann said: "We now have a number of people who have come forward quite independently of us and volunteered information directly in contradiction to what he has said."

Three friends of the McCanns, Rachael Oldfield, Fiona Payne and Russell O'Brien, told police in July that they saw Mr Murat near the Ocean Club holiday complex while they were searching for Madeleine.

They are said to have given statements to Portuguese police saying he introduced himself to them and said: "I am Robert. Can I help in the search?"

Charlotte Pennington, 20, a nanny at the Mark Warner complex, has said she saw Mr Murat on May 4, when he was working as a police translator, and recognised him as a man she had seen near the Ocean Club at midnight.

The Mail told yesterday how holidaymaker Jayne Jensen, 54, also recognised the 34-year-old as a man she saw smoking a cigarette on the street corner opposite the McCanns' apartment

An unnamed British barrister who was on holiday in Praia da Luz at the time is understood to have corroborated what Mrs Jensen said, but not made a formal statement.

Two other tourists also called the hotline operated by the McCanns' private detective agency, Metodo 3, to report similar sightings.

Mr Murat, who has a young daughter from a failed marriage, vehemently denies any involvement in Madeleine's disappearance. His mother Jennifer, 71, has accused Metodo 3 of bribing witnesses to change their evidence.

But a source close to the McCanns said: "He is her son and most mothers would protect their children. Either she knows something or she is mistaken."

Police searched Mr Murat's home and vehicles after he was made a suspect and are understood to have found no forensic evidence linking him to Madeleine.

He is still an official suspect along with the McCanns, who could face fresh police interviews this month.

Man seen by Irish tourist was not Murat, Sky News 04 January 2008
Irish Tourist 'Clears' Suspect Murat Sky News
John Kelly
Updated: 06:57, Friday January 04, 2008
An Irish tourist who saw someone carrying a child in a blanket on the night Madeleine McCann disappeared insists that the mystery man was not Robert Murat.
Martin Smith, from Drogheda in Co Louth, was on holiday in Praia Da Luz with his family when they bumped into the man just before 10pm on May 3 last year.
The Smith family's suspicions were aroused because the man made no response when they asked if the barefoot child was asleep.
"He just put his head down and averted his eyes, which is very unusual in a tourist town at such a quiet time of the year," said Mr Smith.
Initially the Smith family thought nothing more of the encounter - and even the next day when the story broke they still didn't make the connection.
"We were home two weeks when my son rang me up and asked was he dreaming or did we meet a man carrying a child the night Madeleine was taken," said Mr Smith.
"We all remembered the same recollection, and I felt we should report it to the police.
"We've all been beating ourselves up that we should have made the link sooner, if only we'd remembered the next day.
"But the Portuguese police said you see these things on holiday all the time."
The Smiths did contact the Portuguese police once they had returned to Ireland, but say they have had no contact with the officers investigating the case since May last year.
"I rang the Portuguese police and they took a statement from me on the phone," said Mr Smith.
"They asked me to make a statement to the Gardai, which I did, and two days later Leicestershire police got on to us.
"My eldest son, Peter, my youngest daughter, Aoife, and I then flew to Luz to make a statement. They didn't seem to be the most efficient police you ever came across - and that was the last time we had any contact with the investigation.
"I don't know if this information will help the McCanns, but anything we can do to help try to solve it, we will.
"We were looking at all the commotion on Sky News and we really felt quite helpless. We had two grandchildren with us at the time and it had a terrible effect on them - they all wanted to sleep in the same room as us."
But Mr Smith is certain that the man he and his family saw that night was not Robert Murat, who is still officially an "arguido" in the Madeleine McCann investigation.
"I told police it was definitely not him because the man wasn't as big as Murat - I think I would have recognised him because I'd met him several times previously.
"He was wearing beige trousers and a darker top. We all put him in his early 40s and I didn't think he was Portuguese."
Mr Smith's sighting is similar to the one reported by Jane Tanner, a friend of the McCann family.
A spokesman for the McCanns said detectives from the Spanish agency hired to investigate the case are now hoping to speak to the Smiths.
Retired Mr Smith, 58, does not wish to appear on camera in order to protect his family from media intrusion.

David Payne/Robert Murat - Could witnesses have confused these two?
David Payne/Robert Murat
David Payne (left) and Robert Murat

Robert Murat/David Payne
Robert Murat (left) and David Payne

Madeleine witnesses 'may have mistaken this friend of the McCanns for Murat' on night she disappeared Daily Mail
Last updated at 08:10am on 8th January 2008
Doubt was cast on the evidence of several key witnesses in the Madeleine McCann disappearance last night.
Those who said they saw suspect Robert Murat outside the family's holiday apartment on the night she vanished may have named the wrong man, it was revealed.
Detectives believe the witnesses who said they saw the British expat could have confused him with a friend of Kate and Gerry McCann, David Payne, who was out searching for the missing three-year-old.
If true, the claim could force police into a rethink of their eight-month investigation.
Mr Murat, 34, has insisted he spent the night of May 3 at home in the villa he shares with his mother Jennifer, 72, less than 100 yards from the McCanns' holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal. His mother said he never left the house.
But a series of witnesses have given statements claiming to have seen him around the Ocean Club apartment complex in the hours after Mrs McCann, 39, raised the alarm.
They include three friends of the McCanns - Russell O'Brien, Fiona Payne and Rachael Oldfield - who later confronted Mr Murat at a police station after he was made a suspect and said he offered to help them search that night.
Mark Warner nanny Charlotte Pennington said she saw him hanging around outside the Ocean Club's reception at about 10pm.
British holidaymaker Jayne Jensen, an unnamed British barrister and two unidentified British tourists all claim to have seen him around the complex that night.
But none of them knew the 34-year-old property consultant before that night.
Police are examining the theory that they could have confused him with Mr Payne.
The medical researcher, who is 41, was searching around the complex that night and - in a street lit by orange streetlights - could easily have been mistaken for Mr Murat.
Mr Murat's lawyer Francisco Pagarete told the Daily Mail: "Robert has always said the witnesses were mistaken. He was not there that night."
A source close to the inquiry said: "The similarity between the two has rendered many witness accounts virtually worthless."
But he added: "What is baffling is that Mr Payne's wife and two of his friends are among those who claim to have seen Mr Murat outside the McCanns' apartment that night. You'd think a wife would recognise her own husband."
The Paynes were unavailable for comment. They are due to be reinterviewed by British police on behalf of their Portuguese counterparts within weeks.

McCanns say Murat not kidnapper,  27 January 2008
McCanns say Murat not kidnapper Daily Express - Online links removed

By Matt Drake, Sunday January 27, 2008

Kate and Gerry McCann are certain original suspect Robert Murat is not the man who snatched their daughter Madeleine.

But private detectives searching for the missing four-year-old still believe he may have acted as a "spotter" for a kidnap gang targeting the McCann family.

The couple have now revealed how they never thought the expatriate was responsible. Despite doubts over his alibi, they have ruled out the 34-year-old after a major  probe in Praia da Luz.

A 10-strong squad of investigators mounted an undercover operation finding "strong" proof he was in the vicinity after Madeleine’s disappearance. 

Several witnesses gave statements to Spanish detectives from the Metodo 3 agency, claiming they had chatted with Murat after the alarm was raised by Kate at 10pm.

The couple's lawyers sent petitions to senior Portuguese police to re-interview him.

One theory is that Murat – going through an expensive divorce – may have been paid by a paedophile gang to select a child. 

A friend of the McCanns said last night: "Privately Kate and Gerry have always believed that Murat was not the man who took Madeleine.

"However, they do not think he should be cleared because there is enough evidence to suggest he could have been a spotter for a gang.

"Murat has told the police that he was not at the apartment on the night she went missing but lots of people saw him and he went round introducing himself saying, 'Hi, I'm Robert'. He still has a lot of questions to answer."

His lawyer Francisco Pagarette said: "Robert is very happy to hear what they think now but the fact is that it is ridiculous to suggest he helped anyone else take the child."

Police give Murat computers back, 23 March 2008
Police give Murat computers back The Press Association

Released 23 March 2008, 01:18am

Portuguese police have returned computers and other possessions they seized from Madeleine McCann "suspect" Robert Murat, he has said.

He described the move as a "very positive sign" - but is still waiting to be officially cleared of involvement in the young girl's disappearance.

Mr Murat, 34, lives just yards from the holiday apartment in the Portuguese seaside resort of Praia da Luz where Madeleine vanished on May 3 last year.

Detectives took him in for questioning 11 days after the child went missing and made him the first "arguido", or formal suspect, in the case.

They also searched the villa he shares with his mother and seized a number of his possessions, including three computers, clothes and a pair of shoes.

Police returned these items to Mr Murat on Thursday, although they did not give any clues about the progress of their investigation.

The Anglo-Portuguese ex-pat said: "It is a very positive sign - there's no doubt about that whatsoever. Why would they return something if it was in the middle of being investigated in any way, shape or form?

"We are very happy to have the computers back, and I hope I will have my arguido status dropped very shortly."

Mr Murat said he was "considering his options" for taking legal action over allegedly libellous articles printed about him in the wake of the apologies to Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, published by four national newspapers this week.

He strenuously denies any involvement in the missing girl's disappearance, as do fellow arguidos Mr and Mrs McCann.

Murat 'cleared' according to The People, 23 March 2008
By Joshua Layton
23 March 2008
Madeleine McCann suspect Robert Murat was last night sensationally CLEARED of snatching the four-year-old.

The ex-pat Brit has suffered ten months of torment after being named an arguido by Portuguese police.

But friends claim detectives failed to find a shred of evidence against the property developer.

And cops have now been forced to return clothes and computers they seized from the Algarve home he shares with mum Jenny, 72.

Last night relatives called on investigators to formally lift his arguido status.

And they they demanded a public apology for his "unfair" treatment at the hands of police.

The decision to rule out Murat, 34, means detectives now have no solid suspects, no leads and no clues - effectively signalling the end of the hunt for Maddie.

And it puts them under massive pressure to announce Maddie's 39-year-old parents Kate and Gerry are also officially out of the frame.

Murat has been left a broken man by his ordeal.

He has been bombarded with hate-mail from around the world - including threats to kidnap his five-year-old daughter Sofia.

And he has even had to endure leaked police reports claiming - wrongly - child-porn was found on his computers.

A source said: "This is basically the end of the investigation - there's no avenue left to turn down.

"But what Murat's been left with is a life sentence looking over his shoulder."

And his ex-wife Dawn, who is bringing up Sofia in Norfolk, told how nutters have vowed to target the little girl who bears a striking resemblance to Madeleine.

One chilling message to Murat warned: "You killed Maddie - now we'll get your daughter."

Dawn, 42, said: "There are a lot of weird people out there and if something happens to one innocent child they think 'An eye for an eye'.

"They want to hurt another innocent child - my daughter.

"I'm constantly on the lookout for anything suspicious or anyone paying her attention."

She added: "We are living in constant fear.

"It's every parent's nightmare to have their child in the predicament my daughter is in.

"But you have to be prepared for the worst in case it happens."

Dawn was speaking days after a car belonging to one of Murat's associates in Portugal was torched - and the word "speak" was spraypainted on the road next to it.

She is even thinking of changing Sofia's surname to protect her from the slurs against her dad.

Dawn said: "At the moment she is safe because we have the support of the village where we live.

"But aside from the physical danger, what her father's been wrongly accused of will go with her everywhere. It will be there at high school - and her first job interview."

Dawn revealed she had been desperate to be at Murat's side when he was first named an arguido 12 days after Maddie disappeared in Praia da Luz on May 3 last year.

At the time, a worried relative told her Murat was on the brink of suicide.

But Dawn's ex - whose home is just 100 yards from the holiday flat where Madeleine was last seen - refused to let her fly out to Portugal with Sofia.

Dawn said: "He insisted he didn't want Sofia exposed to threats and put at unnecessary risk, so it was agreed we would remain in the UK to ensure her safety.

"I told him I'm behind him 100 per cent.

"And he promised me he would not give in and would always be there for Sofia."

Dawn revealed Murat - who is legally banned from speaking about his anguish because he is still an arguido - had been left a chainsmoking, broken recluse by his ten-month ordeal.

She said: "I've known Rob for 13 years and he wouldn't hurt a fly.

"He was a popular, outgoing person before all this. But it has shattered him."

Dawn told how the "worst moment" came when a newspaper compared him to Soham murderer Ian Huntley. School caretaker Huntley, 33, openly joined the hunt for missing ten-year-olds Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells in 2002.

He even wept as he told TV crews how he had seen them alive just before they vanished.

But he was arrested days later after the best friends' bodies were found and is now jailed for life for the killings.

Murat was linked to the fiend because he also publicly helped police by acting as an interpreter after Maddie disappeared.

But Dawn said: "Does that make him a killer? Of course it doesn't. "Rob's trouble is that he always wants to help.

"As a family we have joked about how his over-zealousness would rebound on him. On this occasion it did - spectacularly."

Despite splitting with her hubby three years ago, Dawn has vowed to stand by Murat.

She also wants an apology like the ones given the McCanns last week by four British newspapers.

Dawn said: "It's totally unfair. If there was a shred of evidence I could understand - but there's nothing, absolutely nothing."

She added: "The McCanns deserved their apology and Rob does too.

"In fact, it's the least he deserves because life will never be the same for him again."

Under Portuguese law, Murat should have lost his arguido status after eight months if there was no evidence against him. But cops won an extension - which has never been officially announced.

Mild-mannered father who became first one accused, 01 May 2008
Mild-mannered father who became first one accused Guardian
Robert Murat's life irreversibly changed the day he was named a suspect in Madeleine McCann's disappearance
Press Association
Thursday May 1 2008 
Robert Murat has struggled to work, seen details of his personal life aired in public and endured speculation that he could have been involved in a crime that has shocked the world - something he strenuously denies.

Portuguese detectives took the 34-year-old property consultant in for questioning just 11 days after Madeleine went missing.

As officers searched the villa just 150 yards from the McCanns' holiday apartment he shared with his mother, Jenny, journalists uncovered details about the man under interview.

Murat was born in Hammersmith, west London, in November 1973 to a Portuguese father and a British mother, and went to school in Portugal before moving back to Britain as a young man.

He held a number of different jobs, including working as a car salesman in Norwich and at a Bernard Matthews poultry farm in Norfolk.

At Christmas 1993, aged 19, Murat met Dawn, a woman eight years his senior whom he went on to marry in March 2001.

After settling in the village of Hockering, Norfolk, the couple had a daughter called Sofia in October 2002.
In 2005, they moved to live with Murat's mother in Praia da Luz, in southern Portugal.

But Dawn Murat - who also had a grown-up son from a previous relationship - grew homesick and returned home to England. That was a prelude to the breakdown of their marriage later that year.

Murat stayed in the Algarve, working in property and as a translator, but regularly returned to Norfolk to see his daughter.

Neighbours in Hockering spoke of a good-natured and generous man who was liked by everyone.

Geoffrey Livock, 71, said: "He would rather help than hinder anyone. He got on with everybody.

"He used to come to the pub and have a laugh and joke and have a game of darts or pool.

"His English was very good. If you were talking to him you would think he was more English than Portuguese. I didn't know anyone to dislike him."

In the days after Madeleine's disappearance on May 3 2007, Murat was frequently seen around the police cordon in front of the McCanns' flat in the Ocean Club complex.

He told reporters and locals he was helping the family and Portuguese police by translating witness statements.

Murat also said he had a daughter the same age as the missing girl who looked just like her - which proved to be true.

Jenny Murat was involved in the early days of the search for Madeleine, organising a stall on the seafront to appeal for information.

One British journalist became suspicious about Murat and went to Portuguese police, the British embassy and Leicestershire police with her concerns.

Whether prompted by the British reporter's tip-off or their own suspicions, Portuguese detectives swooped on Murat on May 14.

Search teams scoured his mother's comfortable villa, named Casa Liliana, while officers interrogated him at the police station in Portimao, about 15 miles from Praia da Luz.

At the same time, police interviewed two other people, Murat's German girlfriend Michaela Walczuch, and her estranged Portuguese husband, Luis Antonio.

On May 15, detectives announced that Murat had been made an "arguido", or formal suspect, in the case.
Friends said the weeks and months that followed were agonising for Murat.

He adamantly protested his innocence, insisting he was at home with his mother all evening when Madeleine disappeared.

But he was barred from speaking publicly in his own defence by Portugal's strict "secrecy of justice" laws.
In August, police spent two days carrying out a second search of Casa Liliana but apparently found nothing of interest.

Then, in a dramatic twist, the police investigation appeared to shift focus onto Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, who were themselves made arguidos on September 7.

Murat tried to get on with his life, visiting the UK to see his daughter in October and again in March. But he was frustrated by the lack of information coming from investigators and the cloud of suspicion that continued to hang over him and those around him.

Murat said it was a "a very positive sign" when on March 20 police returned a number of possessions - including three computers, clothes and a pair of shoes - seized when he was first interviewed.

In mid-April it emerged that Murat had instructed London-based solicitors Simons Muirhead and Burton, and was suing 11 British newspapers and one TV station for libel.

But he continues to wait for an official letter from the Portuguese judicial authorities formally clearing him of any involvement.

Scotsman apologises to Robert Murat, 16 May 2008

Scotsman apologises to Robert Murat for defamatory Madeline McCann story Press Gazette


By Patrick Smith

16 May 2008 


One year after alleging that he had joked about being the "no.1 suspect" in the police hunt for Madeline McCann, The Scotsman has apologised to Robert Murat and admitted publishing defamatory allegations about him.


In April, Murat legal actions against 11 British newspapers and Sky News for stories linking him to the investigation and accusing him of being a prime suspect.


In an apology yesterday the paper said: "On 15 May an article about Robert Murat headed 'Madeleine: He jokes of being 'No.1 suspect'' was published in which we reported a number of defamatory allegations about Mr Murat in connection with the abduction of Madeleine McCann.


"The article wrongly accused him of 'hanging around' the scene in a manner which recalled the Soham murders.


"Likening his behaviour in this way to that of Soham murderer, Ian Huntley, suggested that he was involved in the abduction of Madeleine McCann. It was a seriously defamatory allegation and wholly untrue."


The apology continued: "We also wrongly implied that he had been unfeeling and insensitive about Madeleine McCann's disappearance and had lied about his role in the police investigation. That was not our intention.


"We accept that Mr Murat was assisting the police investigation into Madeleine McCann's disappearance and that his behaviour was entirely proper throughout, and we are happy to make that clear.


"We apologise to Mr Murat for the hurt, distress and damage to his reputation caused by the article."


The Johnston Press-owned paper did not pay out any damages.


Murat, who lives in the Portuguese town of Praia de Luz where McCann went missing, came to the attention of the press after she disappeared in May 2007. He appeared in several articles at the time as someone that was helping police with their inquiries.


He is suing through London solicitors Simon, Muirhead and Burton on a conditional fee agreement.


Robert Murat - an apology, 14 May 2008

Robert Murat - an apology The Scotsman


  • Last Updated: 14 May 2008 7:36 PM
  • Source: The Scotsman
  • ON 15 MAY 2007 an article about Robert Murat headed "Madeleine: He jokes of being 'No.1 suspect'" was published in which we reported a number of defamatory allegations about Mr Murat in connection with the abduction of Madeleine McCann.

    The article wrongly accused him of "hanging around" the scene in a manner which recalled the Soham murders. Likening his behaviour in this way to that of Soham murderer, Ian Huntley, suggested that he was involved in the abduction of Madeleine McCann.

    It was a seriously defamatory allegation and wholly untrue.

    We also wrongly implied that he had been unfeeling and insensitive about Madeleine McCann's disappearance and had lied about his role in the police investigation. That was not our intention.

    We accept that Mr Murat was assisting the police investigation into Madeleine McCann's disappearance and that his behaviour was entirely proper throughout, and we are happy to make that clear.

    We apologise to Mr Murat for the hurt, distress and damage to his reputation caused by the article.

    17 July 2008:
    Robert Murat accepts a £600,000 settlement from 11 British newspapers

    Clifford 'not happy' with Robert Murat, no longer advising 'arguido' suspect18 July 2008
    Clifford 'not happy' with Robert Murat, no longer advising 'arguido' suspect PRWeek
    David Quainton
    Max Clifford has written a letter to PRWeek expressing his disappointment in the actions of Robert Murat, the man implicated in the Madeleine McCann disappearance.
    Clifford said he was disappointed in Murat using his lawyers' PR agency (The PR Office), when he had previously advised the Briton for free. The PR Office said Murat had 'changed strategy'.
    Murat yesterday received a substantial payout, of around £600,000, from the British press which had made various unfounded accusations towards him. As yet, Murat has not been found guilty of any charges related to Madeleine's disappearance.
    The PR Office was brought in to handle the Murat case against various British newspapers.
    Here Clifford's statement follows in full:

    'Last summer, when his arguido status was put in place by the Portuguese authorities, it signalled the start of a character assassination of Robert Murat by sections of the Portuguese and British media. I was approached by Robert's family who claimed that Robert and they were having their lives destroyed by this coverage and desperately sought my help.

    I totally sympathised with them and agreed to help them just as I have helped many others when facing the worst excesses of the British media. They made it clear that neither Robert nor themselves could afford to pay me and that it was impossible for Robert to work. Nevertheless, I agreed to do whatever I could to help their plight whilst explaining that because of Robert's arguido status I was unable to officially represent him.

    Together with Nicola Phillips from my office, I spent a huge amount of time and effort over many months talking to Robert and his Aunt Sally, often late at night and doing everything possible to help them and stop the unjustifiable media onslaught.

    So you can imagine this week how I felt when Robert admitted to me he was paying a PR firm that he had been introduced to by his legal team. Having worked free of charge and in the words of Robert and his Aunt Sally, "been both wonderfully supportive and successful", I was not happy.

    In spite of this I am very pleased with what we at MCA did for Robert and his family, as many of the things written about him without so much as a shred of evidence were totally disgusting.

    Robert continues to have a huge battle on his hands to clear his name and to get his life back on track and I wish him and his family every success in achieving this.

    For now, I'll concentrate my time on my many appreciative paying clients and my continued battle with prostate cancer.'

    In response PR Office founder Shimon Cohen said his agency was 'engaged by [Murat's legal team] Simons Muirhead & Burton to provide litigation PR support for yesterday's hearing'.

    'The change of circumstances in this case brought about a change of strategy,' he continued. 'Max Clifford Associates was advised by Simons Muirhead & Burton in a timely and appropriate manner that their services were not required this week, during the days leading up to the Statement in Open Court or in the immediate aftermath.'

    Robert Murat Sues McCann Friends, 26 July 2008
    Robert Murat Sues McCann Friends SOL 
    By Felícia Cabrita and Margarida Davim
    26 July 2008
    Thanks to Joana Morais for translation
    Robert Murat is going to prosecute two friends of the McCann couple for perjury in a confrontation ordered by the judge. Also the Portuguese State will be prosecuted, for allegedly "ruining his life". A curiosity: in the thorough searches to his house, Roman ruins were discovered.

    Francisco Pagarete, Murat's Lawyer, does not know the evidence that the English gave during the investigation. However, he was present at the confrontation that - months after Murat had been constituted as arguido - was done between his client, Rachel Oldfield and Fiona Payne. The lawyer guarantees to SOL: "They lied in front of us, with the clear intention of incriminating my client".

    Pagarete explains that, as soon as the case ends being under the secrecy of justice, he is going to consult 12 thousand pages of the process to find other evidences: "According to what I read in SOL, it was a British journalist who did the first accusation to the English Police. I will check if that is in the process".

    14 November 2008:
    Robert Murat accepts a 'substantial' undisclosed sum from Sky News

    Robert Murat 'scarred forever by tabloid newspaper lies', 05 March 2009
    Robert Murat 'scarred forever by tabloid newspaper lies' Press Gazette
    By Paul McNally 
    5 March 2009
    Robert Murat, the British expatriate falsely linked to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in Portugal, has said his life has been "scarred forever" by the tabloid press.
    The property consultant, who last year won £600,000 in libel damages for almost 100 "seriously defamatory" stories in British newspapers, was speaking at the Cambridge Union Society in favour of a motion that "the tabloid press does more harm than good".
    In his first public speech on the matter, Murat said the intense press interest in him for eight months turned his home village into a "ghoulish carnival" and "nearly destroyed" his family's lives.
    Murat accepted "substantial" damages from Associated, Mirror Group, News Group and Express Newspapers in July last year.
    Express Newspapers also paid out to Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, and the so-called "tapas seven" - the group of friends staying in the Algarve holiday resort of Praia da Luiz when the three-year-old girl disappeared.
    "There was never a shred of evidence that I was in any way involved, despite eight months of lurid headlines," Murat said.
    "At times, I felt like a fox being pursued by a pack of hounds. I was literally forced to jump over fences to avoid the scramble of photographers waiting outside."
    Murat claimed British journalists sent out to Portugal were so anxious to develop new angles that they fabricated stories - and "the lies got bigger and bolder".
    "To my personal cost, I now know what the maxim: 'Never let the truth get in the way of a good story' really means," he said.
    "Mobiles glued to their ears, ringing through to their newsdesks to bid and outbid one another for the next outlandish tale, British tabloid journalists did not so much cover the story as move it on from one breathless mix of speculation and invention to the next."
    He later added: "My own life will be scarred forever by the lies they printed."
    Murat's lawyer, Louis Charalambous from Simons Muirhead and Burton, was also speaking in favour of the motion.
    He said: "It's not the fact that they are tabloids, or the fact that they are not broadsheets, but that they cynically exploit their readers, with an agenda which suits their editors and owners, often at the expense of their targets - be they good or bad, deserving or undeserving."
    Also speaking in support of the motion were Montgomeryshire MP Lembit Opik and Guardian assistant editor Michael White.
    The motion was opposed by media consultant Peter Bazalgette and Sport Newspapers editor-in-chief Murray Morse.

    Robert Murat joins tabloid press debate, 05 March 2009
    Robert Murat joins tabloid press debate Norwich Evening News
    05 March 2009 08:53
    The Norfolk man paid libel damages after being accused by the media of being involved in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann will take part in a debate tonight about the tabloid press.
    Robert Murat, a former property developer who is in his mid 30s, was listed as an official suspect by police investigating the disappearance of the three-year-old girl while she was on holiday with her parents in Praia da Luz, Portugal in May 2007.
    Detectives later lifted his official suspect status and Mr Murat, who was living in Praia da Luz after leaving Hockering, Norfolk, accepted damages from newspapers and a television company.
    He will take part in a discussion at Cambridge University and propose the motion "This House Believes Tabloids Do More Harm Than Good'' during the debate at the Cambridge Union Society.
    His lawyer, Louis Charalambous, said today: "Mr Murat accepted Cambridge Union Society's invitation to propose the motion as it represented the most favourable forum within which he could personally and once and for all, set the record straight about his experience at the hands of the British tabloids.
    "He has chosen this as his sole and only opportunity to share these experiences and the plight of victims of the press pack.''
    Four national newspaper groups apologised for publishing false allegations about Mr Murat at a court hearing in July.
    News International, Mirror Group Newspapers, Express Newspapers and Associated Newspapers acknowledged making "false claims'', in a statement read out in the High Court.
    In November, Mr Murat accepted libel damages in settlement of an action against British Sky Broadcasting.

    Madeleine: Murat speaks out against tabloid fairytales, 05 March 2009
    Madeleine: Murat speaks out against tabloid fairytales
    Thursday, 05 March 2009 20:31
    Robert Murat has delivered a scathing attack on the journalists who defamed him over the abduction of Madeleine McCann, saying he felt "like a fox being pursued by a pack of hounds".
    Mr Murat won undisclosed libel damages for defamatory claims made by 11 national newspapers about Madeleine, whose disappearance and suspected abduction in a Portuguese holiday resort dominated headlines over the summer of 2007.
    Tonight, addressing an audience of students at Cambridge University's Union Society, Mr Murat described in detail for the first time the "horror story" of being pursued by journalists.
    During his speech Mr Murat explained how he blamed a specific unnamed journalist, who was "so anxious, it appeared, to break a story that she literally created her own".
    "To my personal cost, I now know what the maxim 'never let the truth get in the way of a good story' really means," he said.
    "Over a period of many months, day after day, a torrent of outlandish, untrue, and deeply hurtful allegations about me were systematically splashed across the pages of British newspapers.
    "I was one day said to be a sexual predator, another day a kidnapper; the tabloids reported apparently that I had been outside the McCann flat on the night Madeleine went missing, with her DNA apparently found in my home.
    "They even came up with a story that I had a secret chamber under the floor of the house. Fairytales. Every single one of them, as the police themselves concluded."
    Mr Murat argued against the motion that 'tabloids do more harm than good', describing them as a "travesty" and a "force for harm".
    "My own life will be scarred for ever by the lies they printed," he added.
    Media litigation lawyer Louis Charalambous, Mr Murat's lawyer of Simon, Muirhead and Burton, said his former client had had his "reputation destroyed" by the press.
    He said: "Although Mr Murat's good name has now been rightfully restored and he and his family have begun rebuilding their life, the intolerable distress and stress they experienced as a result of such malicious reporting to benefit ad revenues and market share, is a shameful episode in the history of the British press."
    Other speakers at the Union debate included Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik, former Endemol chairman Peter Bazalgette and Guardian assistant editor Michael White.
    Madeleine was three when she disappeared from her parents Kate and Gerry McCann's holiday villa in Praia da Luz.
    Mr and Mrs McCann, as well as Mr Murat, were named as arguidos - official suspects - by Portuguese police, who dropped the investigation into Madeleine's disappearance last year.
    A team of private investigators hired by Mr and Mrs McCann, from Rothley, Leicestershire, is still trying to locate Madeleine.

    Murat addresses Cambridge Union, 05 March 2009
    Murat addresses Cambridge Union BBC News
    Page last updated at 20:43 GMT, Thursday, 5 March 2009
    A man who won damages from newspapers after being named a suspect in the Madeleine McCann case has said his life has been scarred by the tabloid press.
    Robert Murat, who previously lived in Hockering, Norfolk, was a suspect, or arguido, under Portuguese law before being cleared of any involvement.
    In a Cambridge Union debate, Mr Murat said his "life will be scarred forever" due to "lies" printed in the tabloids.
    The debate is on whether tabloid newspapers do more harm than good.
    Three-year-old Madeleine disappeared while her family was on holiday in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in May 2007.
    Mr Murat, who is in his mid-30s, proposed the motion, "This house believes tabloids do more harm than good" during the debate at the Cambridge Union Society.
    'Pack of hounds'
    "There was never a shred of evidence that I was in any way involved despite eight months of lurid headlines," said Mr Murat.
    "But could the acres of newsprint devoted to publishing inaccurate and hurtful stories about me have been put to better use in finding Madeleine?
    "I have dwelt on that a lot, agonised about it and the fact is we'll never know."
    He said he felt like "a fox being pursued by a pack of hounds", and added: "Often I felt like I was somewhere between a Kafka novel and the Will Smith movie Enemy Of The State."
    Mr Murat said that after Madeleine disappeared, he, like other locals, felt a natural urge to help.
    He said since he was fluent in English and Portuguese he "pitched in" by helping police translate British witnesses' statements.
    He became a suspect after "one particular tabloid journalist" approached police to convince them that he was "acting suspiciously".

    Robert Murat at Cambridge University's Union Society, 05 March 2009

    Madeleine Foundation Chairman Debbie Butler tries to engage Robert Murat in conversation about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann

    Madeleine Foundation Chairman Debbie Butler tries to engage Robert Murat in conversation about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann

    Robert Murat

    Robert Murat shares a joke as he listens to one of the speakers

    Robert Murat in the background (left of picture) as he listens to his lawyer Mr  Louis Charlambous of Simons, Muirhead and Burton

    Robert Murat (left of picture) listens to his lawyer Mr Louis Charlambous of Simons, Muirhead and Burton (click image to enlarge).
    Photographs courtesy of The Madeleine Foundation

    Madeleine McCann claims nearly destroyed my life, says Robert Murat, 06 March 2009
    Madeleine McCann claims nearly destroyed my life, says Robert Murat Guardian
    Michael White
    Friday 6 March 2009 11:13 GMT
    Robert Murat, the man falsely suspected by the world's media and Portuguese police of involvement in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, spoke last night of the "very real harm tabloid journalism has done to me and those close to me", adding: "It came close to destroying our lives."
    In what he said would be his "first and only public statement" on his ordeal, 35-year-old Murat gave a measured account of his treatment, which won him an estimated £600,000 in libel settlements, mostly involving tabloid newspapers.
    He told a student audience at Cambridge University that he had "felt like a fox being pursued by a pack of hounds ... [caught] between a Kafka novel and the Will Smith movie Enemy of the State".
    It was all lies, covering acres of newsprint which could have been devoted to trying to find the daughter of British doctors Kate and Gerry McCann, he said. But those lies had generated hate mail and personal threats. Murat's mother, his partner, daughter and ex-wife had been besieged in their homes.
    The Algarve-based property consultant explained that he had become involved in the McCann case after he offered to translate witness statements during the police search for Madeleine following her disappearance from a hotel in Praia da Luz in May 2007. She has never been found and her parents – also suspects at one stage – received libel damages too.
    In Murat's case, a British journalist covering the disappearance had been "so anxious to break the story" that she created it. "She tried to convince the Portuguese police that I was acting suspiciously."
    He had never been arrested but had been interviewed and made an "arguido", or official suspect. His arguido status unleashed a "torrent of outlandish, untrue and deeply hurtful allegations".
    It was claimed he was a sexual predator, seen outside the McCanns' holiday flat, that incriminating DNA had been found, that his nearby home contained a secret chamber – all "fairy tales" concocted to generate sales and profit, as the police later concluded.
    Blind in one eye because of a detached retina, he had read that he actually had a glass eye. Soon newspapers were quoting contemporaries from his school days "saying I popped out my eye and rolled it around the playground as a party trick … I do not have a glass eye".
    Murat, who was accompanied by Louis Charalambous, his London lawyer in the case, was speaking at a Cambridge Union debate on the motion titled "this House believes the tabloids do more harm than good".
    Speaking against the pair were Murray Morse, a former editor of the Cambridge Evening News, now editor-in-chief of the Daily and Sunday Sport, and the television entrepreneur, Peter Bazalgette, co-creator of Big Brother and a former president of the university's debating society.
    Both speakers were generous in acknowledging the grave harm done to Murat. The Daily Sport had not joined the attacks on him, Mr Morse pointed out. But they insisted that in their campaigning roles the tabloids do more good than harm among their millions of readers, cheering them up, articulating their concerns as well as educating them. The motion reflected snobbery in British society, Mr Morse argued.
    But Murat's speech, delivered from a carefully prepared text by a self-confessed novice, was the focus of the evening's event. "From my own personal cost, I now know what the maxim 'never let the truth stand in the way of a good story' really means," he told a crowded house.
    Relatives had been offered "huge amounts of money" to confirm obscene theories about him. While he stressed that he understood the importance of free and open journalism in a democratic society, "the tabloids are not a force for good, in my experience they are a force for harm".
    Charalambous, an experienced lawyer from law firm Simons, Muirhead & Burton, widened the attack on the tabloids by arguing that the drama surrounding Jade Goody's cancer was "a voyeuristic circus with ringmaster Max Clifford cracking his whip … we have lost all sense of perspective, all sense of decency".
    Morse had argued that Goody's decision to publicise her cervical cancer had been the "morally right" thing to do. He said that in promoting public awareness of the disease as no NHS campaign could have done it had been a force for good. Accusing the broadsheet media of hypocrisy he joked: "At a time of crisis the Sport can be relied on to panic and give you plenty of naked ladies."
    But Charalambous countered this defence in describing how Goody had been fiercely denounced before her recent rehabilitation by tabloids that had cynically wiped clean their collective memory. His claims were reinforced by Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik.
    A Daily Sport columnist, Opik admitted having a relationship with the tabloids "because they have a relationship with my relationships". Much of it was funny, but not the libels – which had won him "loads of cases", most of them out of court, the MP said. When his ex-fiancée revealed she had suffered a miscarriage he learned about it from the newspaper headline: "I lost Lembit's baby."
    "From that day I have never been in any doubt that the tabloids do more harm than good," the MP said, adding that in the search for profits the press had lost its moral compass.
    The motion was later carried by about 230 votes to 30.
    Express Newspapers titles the Daily Express, Sunday Express and Daily Star; Associated's Daily Mail, London Evening Standard and Metro; MGN's Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Daily Record; and News International's Sun and News of the World apologised and agreed to pay Murat £600,000 in libel damages in July last year over making false allegations against him. In November, Sky News apologised in the high court and agreed to pay "substantial damages" over a libellous web story and video about the Madeleine McCann disappearance.
    Michael White also took part in last night's debate, speaking in support of the motion.

    Robert Murat to start judicial proceedings for defamation against Portuguese media, 22 May 2009
    Robert Murat to start judicial proceedings for defamation against Portuguese media Diario de Notícias

    Robert Murat

    22 May 2009
    Thanks to Astro for translation
    Robert Murat, an arguido that was cleared in the Maddie case stated that he is to start judicial proceedings over defamation against Portuguese media. He claims compensation amounting to 140 thousand euros.
    Articles and contents that were allegedly published and broadcast by Jornal do Barlavento, Jornal de Notícias and TVI are at stake.

    Expat is to sue Tapas Bar friends, 19 February 2010
    Expat is to sue Tapas Bar friends Daily Express

    Robert Murat is taking legal action against four of the McCanns' friends

    By Daily Express Reporter
    Friday February 19,2010

    BRITON Robert Murat, wrongly labelled a suspect in the Madeleine investigation, is taking legal action against four of the McCanns' friends, it was revealed yesterday.

    The estate agent has lodged a "criminal complaint" against Jane Tanner, 39, who claimed she saw a man carrying a child near the McCanns' holiday apartment on the night Madeleine vanished.

    A second complaint has been made against Ms Tanner's partner, Dr Russell O'Brien, and Fiona Payne and Rachael Oldfield, also members of the so-called Tapas Seven.

    It is understood that the complaints centre on allegations that the four gave evidence to Portuguese police which led to them making Mr Murat, 35, a suspect in the investigation.

    The expat, who lived in Praia da Luz at the time, was found to have no involvement in Madeleine's disappearance.

    Details of the allegations, lodged at a court in Lagos in the Algarve, are unclear because under Portuguese law the parties involved cannot discuss them.

    The lawyer tells how the PJ's attitude changed, 05 March 2010
    The lawyer tells how the PJ's attitude changed Publico

    Robert Murat with Francisco Pagarete

    "Nobody lies without a reason"

    by Idalio Revez
    05 March 2010

    Thanks to Astro for translation

    The first time that Robert Murat was questioned at the PJ in Portimão, his lawyer Francisco Pagarete tells, the questions were of the kind: "You did it! Tell us what you did with the child!". At that time, the investigators were looking for a thread that would lead them to a possible abductor. One and a half months later, the situation changes: "How did you help the parents get rid of the child's body?". In August, already accompanied by his lawyer, the police environment changes radically: "We know you have nothing to do with this, we apologise for making you come back here once more".

    About Maddie's disappearance, the lawyer says: "I don't know what happened to the child – I just say one thing: if nobody did anything wrong, why did they point a finger at Murat?". And concerning the question that disquiets Murat – "Why did the McCanns' three friends lie, saying that they had seen him there [Ocean Club] on that night" - he adds his own opinion: "Nobody lies without a reason". Concerning what was said and written about this subject, he considers that the media left his client "lying on the floor" and that his life was never the same again. "Children threw stones at the house, saying: "A bad man lives here". During the summer of 2007, people would roam towards Casa Liliana, in Praia da Luz, where Murat lived. "Psychologically, he was shattered," he stresses, recalling that little by little, he tries to emerge from the depression that he fell into, but it is very hard. "Before I am his lawyer, I am his friend," he states, recalling that they went to kindergarten together. "There is a difference between freedom of expression and rummaging through people's private life." "The right to give news ends where another person's right to an intimate life starts".

    Concerning the British media, his position is very critical: "The press was biased. The news was broken in the following way: "This man is guilty, we have already caught him and it was even us who turned him over to the police"," he says, alluding to the journalist who said she had noted "strange" signs in Murat during his contact with the media. But there is a difference in the way that these cases are handled in Portugal and in England. The lawsuits that were filed against the British press were swiftly settled with a "deal" concerning the amount of the compensation. In our country, "there is no evolution" concerning the five lawsuits that have been filed almost one year ago.

    "The sensationalist newspapers are sensationalist by nature. The others just did their job," he says.

    Robert Murat continues to receive death threats and has lost the sense of life, 05 March 2010
    Robert Murat continues to receive death threats and has lost the sense of life Publico

    Robert Murat

    His life has been "shattered". He wanted to help, he alleges, but ended up as an arguido. Now he tries to find a direction. But that night in 2007 continues to persecute him.

    by Idalio Revez
    05 March 2010

    Thanks to Astro for translation

    Robert Murat, three years after Maddie's disappearance, in Praia da Luz, still has his life "shattered" because he was "at the wrong place, at the wrong time".

    The first suspect of being involved in the child's disappearance was this English man, aged 36, for whom being made arguido earned him a condemnation from public opinion that he never freed himself from. In an interview to Publico, the first one that he gives to a member of the media since the English child's disappearance, leaves a question in the air that robs him of his sleep until this day: "Three of the McCanns' friends were at the PJ, saying that they had seen me there, that night [May 3, 2007]. What I ask is why did they lie?".

    "I have a daughter, too", says Robert Murat, remembering Sofia, aged seven, who lives in England with her mother. "My family was a victim, too – the journalists invaded the area where they live, and the British police had to take my daughter to a safe place." His ex-wife, he says, "even received an offer of 220 thousand euros to give an interview saying that I was a paedophile". She did not give in. Robert Murat, in defence of his honour and his reputation, had 13 members of the British media sued. He received a significant compensation, but he does not reveal the amount.

    Despite the pressures and the money offers for him to speak – he was offered over 300 thousand euros to allow himself being filmed and to speak about the Maddie case -, he shut up. Now, after the book 'The Truth of The Lie', by Gonçalo Amaral, the coordinator of this case investigation, saw its sale being forbidden under orders from the Lisbon Civil Court, and after the British newspapers returned to the issue by publishing images that the Portuguese police allegedly neglected, he decided to speak to Publico.

    Since he saw himself involved in this process, Robert Murat has been searching for a direction to give to his life. "I have been through horrible situations. Just recently, I have received a letter with a death threat, written in English, sent from France." When this case broke out, he was about to start a real estate business on the internet, "but everything was deactivated".

    Meanwhile, he married an Anglo-Portuguese woman, went to the USA, on a honeymoon, late last year, but did not go unnoticed: "Here, I feel the discomfort of seeing people pointing at me, but over there I was recognised, as well."

    Which is not strange. The appeals to find Madeleine McCann continue and the parents are still convinced that their daughter is alive. Therefore, they have criticised the investigation that was carried out by the Portuguese authorities, because they dropped the abduction theory. From Morocco to the United States, passing through Spain and Holland, hundreds of pieces of information passed on to the PJ, reporting children that allegedly resembled Maddie. News about several appearances of Maddie went around the world and a reward of 2.5 million euros was offered to anyone who could supply information.

    From witness to arguido

    Robert Murat accuses the media of having "fabricated" news, pursuing audiences. "They didn't care about the truth." "I have people I know at the BBC who told me: "Shut up, because they are going to turn this all around"". His lawyer, Francisco Pagarete, gave him the same advice. "That is the main reason why I haven't talked until now, but it was very hard."

    His life and that of his relatives – a brother and a sister, who live in England - "has been rummaged and filled with lies". In the summer three years ago, Praia da Luz became a battlefield between the world's main television networks, fighting for ratings. "There was great pressure from the English media, forcing the Portuguese police to present a face," says Robert Murat, lamenting his luck: "I wanted to help, I ended up being pointed out as a suspect".

    This Englishman, who went to school in Portugal, says: "I have always enjoyed helping people, it's who I am". In England, where he lived for 15 years and worked as a car salesman, he also cooperated with the British authorities. "I worked as a translator, for the police and at the court."

    When the child disappeared in Praia da Luz, on the 3rd of May, 2007, he had returned to Portugal two days earlier, to launch the Romigen business. He took part in the searches and, together with his mother, was one of the persons who mobilised the local community to find the little girl.

    11 days later, he entered the Policia Judiciaria building in Portimao as a witness, and left as an arguido. Concerning the questioning session that he was subject to, he recalls: "It reminded me of a KGB movie, I felt they were trying to set me up". Nevertheless, he recognises that the PJ "suffered a lot of pressure to find a guilty person". He, an English citizen who first played the role of a translator for the GNR, then for the PJ itself, "at their request", was the one who best fit the news that were being published: "I was the scapegoat," he emphasizes. The English media, he evokes, "were already saying that there would be developments before I was made an arguido". A British journalist said that Robert Murat had a "strange" behaviour and denounced him to the Judiciaria.

    He and his mother, a nurse, aged 73, were two of the persons who were at the front line of the solidarity campaign that developed around the McCann couple. At the GNR's side, or independently, many people took part in the successive searches, in the surroundings of Lagos, looking for Maddie. But that effort was not recognised, he accuses. "There is one thing which, in a way, displeases me – to those people who were involved in the searches, nobody said thank you". Who does he think should have said thank you? "That has nothing to do with me, but I think someone should have said thank you."

    With thanks to Nigel at McCann Files


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