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    

2011: Jan/Feb  key News Events - Days(1339-1397)*

News from January/February 2011 that is not covered elsewhere on the site

Database to identify child abuse threat, 09 January 2011
Database to identify child abuse threat Sunday Post (paper edition)

Sunday Post, 09 January 2011

Images of runaway kids will be cross-checked

EXCLUSIVE by John Paul Breslin
09 January 2011

FACES of runaways and missing children could be cross-referenced against a national database of child abuse images to find out if they are being harmed.

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) has used facial recognition software to scan for some missing children in its database of videos and pictures of abuse.

However, it is now considering expanding this to look for all runaways and missing kids in the UK.

It could even search material after children have been reunited with their families to ensure they didn't run away to escape abuse.

Martin Houghton-Brown, Chief Executive of charity Missing People, said CEOP is already searching for "a significant number of children who have been missing for over a year".

However, he wants the organisation to go further and check for all runaways.

"It's clear that some young people are targeted for sexual exploitation, and the first indication of that can be that they're running away from home," he said.

"One of the mediums that potential exploiters and abusers will use is the Internet.

"There should be a national resource where pictures of missing children can be cross-checked against online child abuse images.

"We need to be robust in the way that we prevent these incidents from happening and investigate them, and CEOP's expertise would be valuable in doing that."

Every year, 9000 children go missing in Scotland. The figure is closer to 77,000 in the UK as a whole.

CEOP's database contains hundreds of thousands of photos and videos of abuse that have been seized in child sex offender investigations.

Using facial recognition software to search the database for all runaways and missing children could help save more youngsters and bring their abusers to justice.

CEOP asked members of the public who were in Praia da Luz around the time of Madeleine McCann's disappearance to send them images of their holiday.

The organisation said it wanted the images to "build a larger intelligence picture".

However, a spokesman for Kate and Gerry McCann said he would not discuss whether or not CEOP has searched its database for the little girl.

"CEOP has worked closely with the McCann's to assist the search for Madeleine," he said.

"Kate and Gerry have been pleased with the work that CEOP has done on their behalf over the last three and a half years.


"But they will not discuss, for operational reasons, any detail of the technical work that has been carried out.

"Of course, Kate and Gerry would welcome anything and any development in technology that would allow child sex offenders to be brought to justice."

Charities are worried that Government proposals to merge CEOP within a new National Crime Agency would scupper the organisation's facial recognition plans.

Former chief executive Jim Gamble, two senior managers and a group of specialist Internet investigators have already quit CEOP over the proposed merger.

The Association of Chief Police Officers and Shadow Home Secretary Alan Johnson have also said they want CEOP to remain a standalone body.

Contempt of court: a matter of legal judgment, 10 January 2011
Contempt of court: a matter of legal judgment The Guardian

UK law on contempt applies to any publication that creates 'a substantial risk' of prejudicing the course of justice

Gill Phillips
Monday 10 January 2011

The disappearance of Madeleine McCann demonstrates the consequences of overreporting criminal cases

UK law on contempt is set out in the 1981 Contempt of Court Act, which applies to all publications that create "a substantial risk" the course of justice will be "seriously prejudiced". The 1981 Act was passed, in part, in response to the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in a case involving The Sunday Times, and was perceived as representing a shift in the balance of public interest in favour of freedom of speech.The law does not set out what is allowed or not but lays down broad principles: it is a question of judgment in each case as to what may create "substantial risk". The most obvious examples are revealing a defendant's previous convictions or otherwise implying guilt.

In the US, the power of the courts to punish for contempt by publication is extremely limited. Compare, for example, the UK position to the US media coverage of the proceedings against OJ Simpson, Michael Jackson and Phil Spector. Or that of Los Angeles Lakers basketball player Kobe Bryant, charged with the rape of a young woman in a hotel in Colorado. One cable television station invited viewers to vote on Bryant's innocence or guilt – a US judge subsequently dismissed the case against Bryant, after the accused failed to testify. There is a TV channel and website dedicated to ongoing prosecutions, where you can watch the trial, access the evidence and vote on matters relating to the trial as a "13th" juror.

In practice, a number of matters are relevant when considering if a publication is likely to create a "substantial risk of serious prejudice": if the trial involves lay assessors, such as a jury (judges should be able to rise above what they read in the papers); the likelihood of the publication coming to a potential juror's attention; its likely impact on an ordinary reader at the time of publication; and the so-called fade factor (how far away the trial is likely to be) – the longer the gap between publication and the trial, the less the substantial risk of serious prejudice is likely to be. In previous cases involving the media, gaps of three and 10 months between publication and trial were held to have lessened any risk; in another case involving ITN and the publication of widely circulated information that a prisoner who had escaped from jail was a convicted IRA terrorist did not negate that risk.

Publication during a trial is clearly problematic. In June 1999 the Sun published serious allegations about a defendant in a murder trial just as the jury were retiring; the charge was dropped and the Sun was fined £35,000. The collapse of an assault trial involving Leeds United footballers in April 2001, following publication of an interview with the victim's father in the Sunday Mirror (which some jury members had read while deliberating), resulted in its editor, Colin Myler, resigning; the paper was subsequently found guilty of contempt of court, fined £75,000 and ordered to pay costs of £100,000.

In recent years the UK attorney general's office has taken to issuing what it calls "guidance" in high-profile criminal cases (as it has done in the Joanna Yeates case) but this does no more than remind newspaper lawyers what they already know. Whether because successive attorney generals have believed the law is against them or because they think that coverage had been distastefulbut not overstepped the line, there has been an apparent reluctance to bring contempt proceeding against the media in recent years over their post-arrest/pre-trial reporting. Judges seem to accept that most pre-trial coverage, while it may be prejudicial, falls short of creating a "substantial risk of being seriously prejudicial". On a practical level, one factor that will rein in the media's reporting of a case is the risk of being sued for defamation. Go too far in reporting speculation and innuendo after an arrest and there is a real risk of that if the accused is not charged.

Although Madeleine McCann's disappearance took place abroad and was not covered by UK contempt rules, it serves as a salutory reminder of the consequences for the UK media of overreporting criminal cases. Following accusations in the press, Gerry and Kate McCann and Robert Murat instigated libel actions: the Daily Express and the Daily Star published front-page apologies and agreed to pay the McCanns £550,000 in damages; and a group of British newspapers settled with Murat for a £600,000 payout and issued a public apology. The Tapas Seven (friends of the McCanns) were awarded about £375,000 in damages and secured printed apologies from Express Newspapers.

Things have changed greatly since 1981, not least with the advent of new technology and the web, which have made reporting a truly global affair, reaching into the corners of every country in the world. Looking forward, the options appear to be: enforce the present regime more rigorously, based on the belief that jurors are easily influenced and misled and consequently need to be protected; reinstate the practice of isolating juries by sending them to hotels to deliberate their verdicts – this is unlikely to happen other than in the most sensitive of cases, as it is too expensive; or operate tighter jury vetting to see if people have been influenced.

Realistically, the UK courts are fighting a losing battle in trying to control publications under the contempt of court provisions – even if the law in the UK were to be made more restrictive, it would not restrict foreign media outlets or the blogosphere.

The sensible way forward appears to be to give jurors robust instructions at the outset of a trial – not to discuss the case with others; to disregard any media reports; not to be tempted to be amateur detectives and go searching on the internet; to make their decision based only on the evidence they hear in court.

In 1996, the then lord chief justice, Peter Taylor, refused to accept as a ground of appeal against conviction by Rosemary West (who had been sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of 10 young women and girls) that adverse publicity surrounding her arrest had affected the jury's ability to reach a fair verdict; he felt juries were capable of concentrating on the evidence and resisting the media's sensationalist excesses.

Gill Phillips is the Guardian's director of editorial legal services

Mauritius honeymoon murder: We're not even safe in paradise, 13 January 2011
Mauritius honeymoon murder: We're not even safe in paradise The Telegraph

By Judith Woods
7:00AM GMT 13 Jan 2011

- Extract -

When I visited Mauritius, in 2006, I was with my elder daughter, then aged three. As she was too tired from the day's giddy excitements to stay up past supper, I would tuck her into bed before heading off, without a second’s thought, to dine with friends.

A year later, Madeleine McCann was taken from an Algarve holiday apartment in Praia da Luz. Her appalling abduction robbed a family of their daughter and every parent of their prelapsarian innocence – their naivety – that far-flung locations were automatically safer, strangers kinder, risks lower than at home.

I shudder now to think of having left my child – albeit inside a locked hotel room – alone in what is, for all the fluffy white bath robes, a developing nation, where petty crime has an altogether more desperate, vicious edge. My hotel was luxurious to a fault, peopled with a vast number of smiling staff and well-heeled guests; does that make it less likely or more likely to be targeted by criminals?

Special investigation: The vital questions that honeymoon murder suspect Shrien Dewani still won't answer, 15 January 2011
Special investigation: The vital questions that honeymoon murder suspect Shrien Dewani still won't answer Daily Mail

Last updated at 1:57 AM on 15th January 2011

- Extract -

There, their VW Sharan people carrier was hijacked by two gunmen who robbed and dumped Mr Dewani, then shot dead his 28-year-old bride [Anni].

However, Anni's family in Sweden are not ­convinced and side firmly with the South ­African authorities, who wish to try him for plotting her murder.

The extradition application resumes in the High Court in London on Thursday. In many ways, the case disturbingly echoes that of Madeleine McCann — which I have studied at length and written about on many occasions. And visiting South Africa this week on the trail of the honeymoon murderer, the parallels seemed clear.

A mysterious crime is committed overseas, and — eager to protect its reputation — the host country promptly accuses the apparent victim, a British tourist, of being behind it.

There follows a fiercely patriotic international row which is seized upon by internet conspiracy theorists, whose lurid speculation further ­muddies the truth.

And, almost inevitably in this spin-obsessed age, a PR battle begins. The McCanns employed former BBC man Clarence Mitchell to do their bidding; the Dewanis have plumped for the altogether racier Max Clifford.

Polícia Judiciária loses 31 chief inspectors, 15 January 2011
Polícia Judiciária loses 31 chief inspectors Diário de Notícias

15 January 2011

"Correio da Manhã" makes headlines today with the departure of 31 "historical" inspectors from the Judicial Police, which it said are "disillusioned with the law and upset with the recent budget cuts."

According to "Correio da Manhã", among the losses are José Braz, director of the Lisbon PJ, Calado Oliveira, PJ coordinator assigned to work exclusively on the Freeport case and Paulo Rebelo, of the Faro PJ, responsible for the Maddie case after the exit of Gonçalo Amaral.

The daily writes that some of the PJ's most skilled staff say working for the police "is almost an embarrassment that we must hide from the neighbours."


Link to article in Correio da Manhã

'Madeleine could still be alive', issued 18 January 2011

'Madeleine could still be alive' Woman's Own (paper edition)

Woman's Own, Issue: 24 January 2011

Magazine issue date: 24 January 2011
Appeared in shops: 18 January 2011

This article is identical to that published in the Daily Record, 23 December 2010.

Sick joke Tory stands down as candidate, 19 January 2011
Sick joke Tory stands down as candidate Wales Online

by Martin Shipton, Western Mail
Jan 19 2011

A CONSERVATIVE candidate who made a sick joke about the missing girl Madeleine McCann has stood down "for personal reasons", it was confirmed last night.

It was reported on Monday that Richard Lowe had been selected to stand in Alyn & Deeside in May’s Assembly election.

But a Welsh Conservative Party spokesman said last night: "He was selected as the candidate for the seat, but stood down for personal reasons last week. We shall not be commenting further."

In 2009 Mr Lowe, who is a member of Cheshire West and Chester Council, had the Tory whip withdrawn for four months after making a sick joke on Facebook about Madeleine.

He was forced to apologise for "inappropriate" comments he posted in response to boasts by fellow Conservative Matt Lewis about dressing up as Madeleine McCann for a New Year’s Eve party.

Mr Lowe had written on the social networking site: "Is this a cunning (Baldrick style) plan to obtain the reward money? Room for one more?"

His group leader, Mike Jones, said after Mr Lowe's reinstatement: "He's done a lot of growing up in the last three months."

In April last year it was revealed that Mr Lowe had attended only one council meeting in six months, despite receiving an annual allowance of £11,458. He told a local paper at the time: "It's purely because it's been one thing after another.

"One meeting I was involved in a car crash, another there was a meeting in work which I couldn't get out of until late.

"I know as well as anybody else that's not fantastic but I give my apologies as and when I can."

A Welsh Labour spokesman said: "This must go down as a record for shortest stay as an Assembly candidate.

"We have no idea why Councillor Lowe has resigned but voting for this man would have been hard to stomach for people across Alyn & Deeside. There is no room in politics for the sick kind of behaviour he has been involved in the past."

Mr Lowe is the second Conservative Assembly candidate to resign in recent months, the other being Anthony Ridge-Newman in Gower.

Maddie 'seen with suspect' in Dubai, 20 January 2011
Maddie 'seen with suspect' in Dubai The Sun

Scary ... suspect


Published: Today (20 January 2011)

COPS are probing claims missing Madeleine McCann has been seen - in Dubai.

A girl looking like Maddie was spotted with a man "identical" to an artist's impression of a suspect seen close to where she vanished in Portugal in May 2007.

Missing ... Madeleine

An unnamed 35-year-old businessman told police he saw the girl with the man and two women outside a shopping mall in Dubai in November last year.

He said: "The guy looked very like the suspect because he had a scary face, a moustache, and was very skinny.

"The woman with him was also very thin. Behind them I saw a little girl, about seven or eight years old, with a black woman in a veil.

"The girl looked so similar to the younger Madeleine. She had light brown hair. But it was her nose and eyes that made me think it was the missing girl."

Interpol and private investigators hired by Maddie's parents Kate and Gerry are probing the sighting. Maddie was three when she vanished on a family holiday in Praia da Luz.

McCann phone hacking attempt claim, 20 January 2011
McCann phone hacking attempt claim The Press Association

(UKPA) 20 January 2011

The spokesman for the family of Madeleine McCann has spoken of his fear that he may have been a victim of attempts to hack into his mobile phone.

Clarence Mitchell, who also worked for the Conservative Party during the General Election, said records from Vodafone appeared to show someone had tried to get information from his phone at the height of the case involving the missing girl.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's PM programme, Mr Mitchell said he had no idea who might have made the three suspect calls but said it seemed to be a "cack-handed" attempt to get into his voicemail messages.

He said he was led to make inquiries after he was approached by the BBC.

"I was always concerned that if some journalists were up to this sort of thing, then I might be a target but I had no proof," he said.

He told the BBC that Vodafone looked back at records for calls regarding his number on their customer services number and flagged up three entries.

Mr Mitchell said he believed someone had been "fishing" for information.

He continued: "It is impossible to state with any accuracy who was behind these calls. I do know they weren't me.

"It would be naive of me, given the situation I was in at the time and the amount of journalistic inquiry and traffic that I was receiving on that number, to think that it wasn't journalistic in its nature. There's no other reason for anybody else to try to get into my number. This was a cack-handed, pretty low-level amateurish attempt."

He said the McCanns would be "angered and upset" by the alleged attempts to intercept messages during the time of the investigation into their daughter's disappearance.

McCann spokesman Mitchell tells of phone security fear, 20 January 2011
McCann spokesman Mitchell tells of phone security fear BBC News

By Jon Manel PM, BBC Radio 4
20 January 2011, Last updated at 22:34

The spokesman for the family of Madeleine McCann says he will contact the police because he believes someone attempted to access information about his mobile phone account and voicemail.

Clarence Mitchell became the family's point of contact for the media after three-year-old Madeleine disappeared from the holiday apartment where her family was staying in Portugal in May 2007.

Journalists from dozens of news organisations around the world regarded him as a key to potential new angles.

Mr Mitchell asked his mobile phone provider, Vodafone, to check his account details after years of allegations about how some journalists got their stories.

'Blatant attempt'

"I was always concerned that if some journalists were up to this sort of thing that I might be a target but I had no proof," he said.

Mr Mitchell was told that records of calls made and received are routinely destroyed after about a year.

However, he was provided with some information including details of calls made to Vodafone about his account.

Two instances were drawn to his attention, the first one on 29 February 2008.

Mr Mitchell said: "The operator lists it, saying 'a gentleman called wishing to check the phone', as he gets calls each night from the number and wanting information and is a 'witness on the CID trial for McCanns'.

"Well, that doesn't make sense. It certainly wasn't me that made that call. I would never use that phraseology and there was no such thing as a CID trial for the McCanns. It's ridiculous.

"That appears to me to be a blatant attempt to get information about whose number it was and what was happening. Thankfully the operator didn't give them anything."

'Fishing for information'

Another call was made to Vodafone customer services in July 2008.

Mr Mitchell said: "Basically it [the entry] claims the person ringing - not me I stress - had received a text message, claiming that a third party had been trying to access their voicemail but there was nothing on the account showing that.

"Well, that's because it isn't true. I never got such a text. Somebody else is again fishing for information here. The Vodafone operator believed they were talking to me as the account holder, that's why they listed it as customer."

Mr Mitchell says he knows "absolutely" that he did not make either call.

On both occasions, he says, "thankfully" the phone company's security measures worked and no information was divulged.

To his frustration, due to the lack of other information now available, he says he cannot trace who might have done this.

"It is impossible to state with any accuracy who was behind these calls. Given the situation that I was in at the time and the amount of journalistic inquiry and traffic that I was receiving on that number, it would be naive of me to think that it wasn't journalistic in its nature.

"This was a cack-handed, pretty low level, amateurish attempt. I'm angry, I'm shocked by it but I'm not surprised."

Mr Mitchell also said that Kate and Gerry McCann, of Rothley, Leicestershire, had a "very dim view" of some sections of the British press and therefore had a "world weariness" about the situation.

"They're angered by this and will be upset, but again, like myself, in some respects not surprised that somebody could be so stupid as to possibly try this," he said.

Ian Burrell: Those who rush to demonise innocent suspects need to pause, 24 January 2011
Ian Burrell: Those who rush to demonise innocent suspects need to pause The Independent

Media on Monday
Monday, 24 January 2011

If British journalism ever had a collective consciousness, it could pride itself on exposing such travesties as the convictions of the Birmingham Six, the Bridgewater Four and the Maguire Seven. But, these days the media seems to create more miscarriages of justice than it solves.

The list is getting longer. Having had dubious roles in the character assassinations of the London misfits Colin Stagg and Barry George, the press demonised the innocent "school nerd" Tom Stephens in stories about the Ipswich vice murders. He "always wore tight trousers", a former school-friend told The Daily Telegraph. Even the award of £600,000 damages paid by 11 titles to Robert Murat – who was compared to the child killer Ian Huntley after aiding the search for Madeleine McCann – has not discouraged the press from trying to finger the local weirdo for murder.

Christopher Jefferies, landlord of the Bristol murder victim Joanna Yeates, was variously described by The Sun as "weird, posh, lewd and creepy", a "blue-rinse, long-haired bachelor", who was "very unkempt and had dirty fingernails" and was "fascinated by making lewd sexual remarks". The comments were attributed to unnamed students of the highly-regarded former member of the English department at Clifton College. The Daily Mirror quoted another "ex-pupil" asserting that Mr Jefferies, 65, was "obsessed" with Oscar Wilde and his "favourite" work was "The Ballad of Reading Gaol". The paper noted that this poem "tells the story of a man who was hanged for cutting his wife's throat". The Daily Mail wondered if Mr Jefferies could "hold the key" to a murder case in which the victim's flat showed no signs of a forced entry.

The Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, felt obliged to issue the press with a rare warning over potential contempt of court. When the former schoolmaster was released without charge on 1 January he promptly contacted lawyers. The Stokoe Partnership, a London firm, issued an alert to all national newspapers in respect of "a number of damaging and highly defamatory media reports". This coverage, it said, "was based on uninformed speculation, rumour and insinuation. The suggestion that our client was in any way involved in Ms Yeates' murder is false and seriously defamatory".

Mr Jefferies, who remains on police bail, is understood to be considering whether to pursue legal action over the press coverage. On Saturday, a 32-year-old man was charged with murdering Ms Yeates.

Stephen "Stig" Abell, director of the Press Complaints Commission, says the self-regulatory body is trying to be "more proactive" in approaching people who are named in such stories, such as Mr Jefferies, and offering "to investigate on their behalf". But media observers say it is harder to clear your name in the internet era. "If you Google 'Christopher Jefferies' I suspect that for an awful long time to come his name will be associated with the murder of Jo Yeates," says Martin Moore, director of the Media Standards Trust. "It appears as though the press feel there are less constraints. They don't seem to be worried about codes of self-regulation or about libel."

It had been assumed that the extreme treatment of Mr Murat, who compared his treatment to "a fox being pursued by a pack of hounds", was linked to the case being based in foreign jurisdiction. The case of Shrien Dewani, who is accused in South Africa of murdering his wife Anni, has also prompted widespread media speculation regarding his possible motive.

"Sensation sells," says publicist Max Clifford, who has worked for Murat and Dewani. "It's always been like that but it's getting more vicious and destructive. They'll always be tarred no matter what happens."

Media silk Desmond Browne QC believes the pack mentality on big stories drives reporters to outdo each other in sensationalism. "There's a syndrome best described by the cliché of 'feeding frenzy' – they are encouraged by the excesses of each other and in the general mêlée caution gets thrown to the wind."

Casual acquaintances and former classmates who offer anonymous quotes on character that are open to wide interpretation form part of the problem. But responsibility for their use rests with the media.

Kevin Marsh, former editor of BBC Radio 4's Today programme and executive editor of the BBC College of Journalism, says trial by media is especially harmful when the Government is reviewing libel laws said to be "chilling" investigative reporting. "The one thing the [Daily] Express and [Daily] Star journalists could have done with when committing 106 libels against the McCanns was a bit of 'chilling'," he says. "Or the journalists who had Colin Stagg banged to rights in the Rachel Nickell case, Tom Stephens in the Ipswich murders, or Chris Jefferies in the Yeates murder. Couldn't they have done with a bit more 'chill'?"


Related quote:

Excerpt from interview with Clarence Mitchell Expresso (no online link)

Maria Barbosa
29 September 2007

Whilst you were a journalist following the case of Jessica and Holly in Soham. The children were found dead 2 weeks later. Did you predict the same ending to this case?

I thought that by this time she would have been found dead or alive, but an ending similar to the case of Jessica and Holly is possible, I don't want to and can't speak about Robert Murat but some of the journalists that worked with me in Soham, and that were recently in Portugal, saw similarities between the case and Robert Murat, more than this I will not say.

McCanns organising a 'Bag of Hope' fundraising event, 24 January 2011
McCanns organising a 'Bag of Hope' fundraising event Barbara Daley - Hair

24 January 2011

Salon Talk

- Extract -

Something that that made everyone happy this week was the news that a young girl has been reunited with her family 23 years after she was kidnapped from a hospital in New York. It gives us all hope for Madeleine McCann. It's hard to believe that she has been missing for four years but I hope this new story can give some comfort to her parents who continue to work tirelessly to find her. Kate and Gerry are organising a charity event later this year in Liverpool its called a 'Bag of Hope' They are asking peole to donate bags of any kind from designer handbags to sports bag to be auctioned to raise much needed funds. If you would like to support this great event then contact karen Mccalman the find madeleine campaign co-ordinator her email address is

McCanns appeal to Portuguese people, 28 January 2011
McCanns appeal to Portuguese people The Algarve Resident

Updated: 28-Jan-2011 17:12:05

Kate and Gerry McCann have made an appeal to the Portuguese people for them to support their petition calling for a review of the case of their missing daughter Madeleine.

Since its launch in November 2010, more than 40,000 people have signed the petition, which asks for the authorities in Portugal and the UK to conduct an independent and transparent review of all the information regarding the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

Gerry McCann said: "We need the authorities to do more. Our goal is to reach 100,000 signatures that would represent 100,000 people who want a review of the facts and suspects found at the time of the investigation.

"Reports and information received by the PJ during the first phase of the investigation may not have been reviewed in the best way, which meant that the data from the investigation was not reviewed correctly."

Kate McCann added: "We know we can only ask for the case to be reopened if we have new facts but given that the official investigation has now stopped it will be almost impossible for us to find these new facts that could lead to the reopening of the case.

"Therefore we appeal to the authorities, both Portuguese and English, to reassess the entire process so that we can find our daughter."

Police inquiry into phone-hacking keeps on growing, 30 January 2011
Police inquiry into phone-hacking keeps on growing The Independent on Sunday

By James Hanning and Brian Brady
Sunday, 30 January 2011

- Extract -

It has also emerged that Gerry and Kate McCann have consulted layers in connection with the possible hacking of their phone in the days following their daughter Madeleine's disappearance in Portugal.

Kate and Gerry McCann hunt for caller who tried to grab agent's phone records, 30 January 2011
Kate and Gerry McCann hunt for caller who tried to grab agent's phone records Sunday Express

Attempts have been made to find out about phone calls the McCanns made to their spokesman

By James Murray
Sunday January 30,2011

KATE and Gerry McCann are furious after discovering attempts have been made to find out about phone calls they made to their spokesman, Clarence Mitchell.

Scotland Yard is trying to establish who tried to get information from Mr Mitchell's mobile phone provider, while the McCanns are checking their phone records to see if they were also targeted.

The news comes just as the pair have signed a deal for a reputed £200,000 with The Sun, the sister paper of the News of the World, to serialise a book on the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine in Portugal in 2007.

There is no suggestion anyone from Rupert Murdoch's News International has tried to use phone-hacking against Mr Mitchell. He said the first incident was in 2008, when a mystery caller claiming to be a court witness contacted Vodafone on February 29, seeking details of his phone.

Mr Mitchell said: "The operator lists it, saying 'a gentleman called wishing to check the phone' as he gets calls each night from the number wanting information and is a 'witness on the CID trial for McCanns'. It certainly wasn't me that made that call. There was no such thing as a CID trial for the McCanns.

"That appears to be a blatant attempt to get information about whose number it was and what was happening. Thankfully, the operator didn't give them anything."

A further call was made to Vodafone in July. Mr Mitchell said: "Basically, it [the entry] claims the person ringing, not me, received a text message claiming that a third party had been trying to access their voicemail but there was nothing on the account showing that. That's because it isn't true, I never got such a text. Somebody else is again fishing for information."

This week Mr Mitchell will pass his phone records to Scotland Yard. Kate and Gerry, both 42, have found nothing untoward on their phone statements, but are re-examining all their records.

Mr Mitchell said: "We have concerns. We would be foolish if we didn't think they were of interest."

Kate's book about Madeleine's disappearance will be published on May 12, her eighth birthday.

Parents of missing Madeleine McCann demand phone hacking files, 30 January 2011
Parents of missing Madeleine McCann demand phone hacking files Daily Record

Nicola Fifield, Sunday Mail
Jan 30 2011

KATE and Gerry McCann have demanded copies of their mobile phone records over fears their voicemail messages might have been hacked.

Their spokesman Clarence Mitchell said the parents of missing Madeleine McCann were concerned they could be victims of the News of the World phone hacking scandal.

Ian Edmondson, head of news at the paper, was sacked last week after evidence emerged that he was linked to the hacking of mobile phones belonging to high profile individuals.

Mitchell, who recently revealed that someone attempted to access information about his own mobile phone account and voicemail, stressed there was no evidence yet to suggest Kate and Gerry had been targetted.

He said: "Gerry has seen his records and there is nothing untoward on his account. An initial assessment of Kate's account also shows nothing untoward, but we are re-examining the records to be sure.

"Yes, of course, we have concerns. We would be foolish if we didn't think that they were of interest.

"But Kate and Gerry have bigger things to worry about and they consider this to be a bit of a distraction from the search to find their daughter."

Mitchell became the family's point of contact for the media after three-year-old Madeleine disappeared from the holiday apartment where her family was staying in Portugal in May 2007.

Mitchell said Vodafone had warned him about two attempts to access his account. He added: "That appears to me to be a blatant attempt to get information.

"I am going to make a formal complaint to the police.

"I have no idea who made these calls but given it was at the height of the Madeleine story with some papers running front page news on it every day, I can only assume it was a journalist."

The truth of the lie is always revealed by the face, 31 January 2011
The truth of the lie is always revealed by the face Jornal de Notícias

31 January 2011
Thanks to Astro for translation

"People speak without speaking. The face screams," says Armindo Freitas-Magalhães, director of the Laboratory for Facial Expression of Emotions (FEELab) at Fernando Pessoa University. And it always screams the truth. Even when one tries to hide, simulate or distort.

Because the muscles draw on the face (the stage) the emotions that are generated in the brain (the dressing rooms) in a spontaneous and involuntary way, the psychologist explains. And he states: "Facial expressions never lie".

Paul Ekman, a famous North American psychologist who inspired the television series "Lie to me", has cartographed the expression of emotions on the human face, based on muscle movements of the face, the eyes, the nose, the mouth, the eyelids, the eyebrows, the forehead and the neck. The result is the Facial Action Coding System (FACS), a scientifically validated instrument – contrary to the polygraph – that has many uses, including criminal investigation.

The Paul Ekman Group cooperates with the FBI, the CIA, the Scotland Yard and other investigation agencies, just like in the television show, which is fictional and exaggerated in some aspects, but with scientific bases, asserts Freitas-Magalhães, who is also a member of the institution.

In Portugal, the study of facial expressions has never been applied in police investigations and the fact that police interrogation is not recorded on video renders its application more difficult. The FEELab's director confirms the existence of "non official approaches", when Madeleine McCann disappeared, and he even came to analyze the parents' expressions during public statements.

He concluded that when they stated that they had never given their children sedatives, there was no congruence between the verbal language (words) and the non verbal (facial expressions). Which indicates that they lied. "The way one says something is more important than what is being said. Even blinking gives indications about what one is feeling," the psychologist stresses.

Every expression, every movement has a meaning. More than that: they are universal. A Portuguese person's face reveals emotions such as happiness, despise or surprise in the same way that a Chinese. In other words, they use the same facial markers. What differs are the rules of social exhibition, Freitas-Magalhães explains, citing Ekman's studies in New Guinea, which demonstrated the universality of the facial expression of emotions.

Simulations are obviously possible, and some people handle them well, especially in situations where there is an emotional emptiness, but the produced expressions do not comply with the criteria of truthfulness and someone who has mastered the FACS is able to detect the lies. Always, the investigator guarantees. One of the ways to find the falsehood of an expression is to analyze the face's symmetry: in case of a simulation, the left side's movements do not match the right side's movements.


The McCanns interview, 10 August 2007 RTP Channel


By Nigel Moore

Sandra Felgueiras: In that evening, did you give to your kids something like Calpol to help them sleep?

Gerry McCann: You know, we're not going to comment on anything but, you know, there is absolutely no way we used any sedative drugs or anything like that and, you know, we'll... we have cooperated fully with the police, we'll answer any queries, errm... any tests that they want to do, at any... (video cuts)


Gerry McCanns' statement, 07 September 2007

Medication for the children

When questioned, he states that none of his children takes any kind of medication regularly in England.

When they travelled on holiday to Portugal they brought several medicines, namely Calpol, Nurofen, for fevers and pains, both for adults and children, Losec for gastric problems that he occasionally suffers from, and an anti-histamine called Terfenadine for hay fever. He did not give any of these medicines or any others to the children while on holiday in Portugal.

Jo Yeates' parents: It's far worse for the McCanns, 01 February 2011
Jo Yeates' parents: It's far worse for the McCanns The Sun

Sympathy ... David and Teresa Yeates

Published: Today (01 February 2011)

THE parents of murdered Jo Yeates last night told how they feel "lucky" - because at least they can hold a funeral for her.

Heartbroken David and Teresa Yeates told how the murder of Jo, 25, had left them grief-stricken and changed their lives forever.

But they also spoke of their sympathy for others - like Madeleine McCann's family - whose loved ones disappear without trace.

Murdered ... Jo Yeates

Vanished ... Madeleine McCann

The couple gave a moving and dignified interview after a judge yesterday heard that lawyers representing murder accused Vincent Tabak had released Jo's body following a second post mortem.

IT consultant David, 63, said: "We appreciate we are not the only people who go through this.

"We keep reminding ourselves that we are not unique and this helps in some way, but we are very sad for others who have been through it as well.

"We really feel for those people who have not been able to bury their children. We keep reminding ourselves that in some way we are, we are loath to use the word, but 'lucky'.

"The McCanns are one set of people like this but there are others as well. I can't imagine what it must be like not to be able to bury their children, or to have to bury some bones discovered years later. Whatever we have experienced, they probably had it a lot worse. There is a finality to our situation. The perpetual not knowing would be worse."

David added: "We do not know if we will ever have closure. We will always have Jo in our minds as long as we live. What happened has changed our lives forever."

David said he and supermarket worker Teresa, 58, had sought comfort in Jo's happiness before her death.

He added: "We try to keep ourselves going with what Jo achieved and the fact that she was very happy. Everything had come together for her, we feel she was at the happiest time of her life."

Jo, a landscape architect, disappeared on December 17 after drinks with friends. Her snow-covered body was found on Christmas Day beside a country lane three miles from her flat in Clifton, Bristol.

Her parents, from Ampfield, Hants, are now organising her funeral, although a date has not yet been set.

David said: "We are planning an ordinary funeral - we are not trying to glamorise what happened. We cannot celebrate her life - it is difficult to associate celebration with what has happened."

Jo's family yesterday learned they face an eight-month wait before Tabak, 32, is due to stand trial at Bristol Crown Court.

He appeared before court via video link from the prison where he is being held on remand. A judge said the next hearing would be on May 4, and set a provisional trial date of October 4.

The Words That Link Madeleine And Jo, 01 February 2011
The Words That Link Madeleine And Jo Sky News - Life of Crime Blog

Martin Brunt

By Martin Brunt
February 01, 2011 3:08 PM

Sympathy from the parents of murdered Jo Yeates for Kate and Gerry McCann.

David and Teresa Yeates said they felt "lucky" that at least they were able to give their daughter a funeral.

Mr. Yeates said: "We really feel for those people who have not been able to bury their children.

"We keep reminding ourselves that in some way we are, we are loath to use the word, but 'lucky'." The McCanns are one set of people like this, but there are others as well.

"I can't imagine what it must be like not to be able to bury their children, or to have to bury some bones discovered years later."

The McCanns responded in a statement: "We are very grateful to David and Teresa Yeates for keeping us in their thoughts at such a painful time for their own family. While the anguish of not knowing what has happened to Madeleine is truly awful, we, of course, still have hope that our ongoing search for our daughter will lead to her being found alive.

"Recent cases such as that of Carlina White in the USA, reunited with her family after being abducted as a baby some 23 years ago, only serve to renew our resolve to never give up. It again proves that hope is not unfounded.

"We would ask anyone who has any information about Madeleine to get in touch with their local police immediately or contact our private investigators via"

Fundraisers can learn from our human response to disasters, 04 February 2011
Fundraisers can learn from our human response to disasters The Vancouver Sun

By Jeremy Douglas, Special to the Sun
February 4, 2011

What if I gave you $100 to donate to either (a) Sandra, a young, homeless girl whose parents abandoned her, or (b) the overall homelessness plight? Who would you give the money to? Most of you will pick Sandra even though donating to "homelessness" would go to people in a similar situation to Sandra. Why? Because we're hard-wired to care more about a victim we can identify with than a large number of people or faceless statistics, no matter how grim. That's why, according to academics, people stand by and do nothing or do not intervene early enough in the face of great tragedies, like the genocide in Rwanda. It's impossible to comprehend 800,000 individuals. They're just "lots and lots of dots."

We don't lose sleep over genocide, but we're deeply affected by one person's story, like the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. This isn't right or wrong, it's simply a fact about how people comprehend individual lives. To reluctantly quote Josef Stalin: "A single death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic." Our brains are programmed to tune out large numbers of people and instead focus on single individuals. This tells us a lot about why we support certain causes and why, for example, 33 Chilean miners received more press coverage than 20 million flood-affected Pakistanis. The fewer the number of people the more "real" a story becomes.

To prove this theory, researchers conducted an experiment in which they gave people the opportunity to donate up to $5 to Save the Children. They could chose which area of the charity's work the money would go toward: (a) an identifiable victim (African girl Rokia); (b) statistical victims (starvation in Africa); or (c) identifiable victim with statistics (Rokia + starvation stats). Donations to an identifiable victim, Rokia, generated more than twice as much money as donations to a statistical portrayal of starvation in African. Even adding statistics to Rokia's story reduced the donation amount. Other research found that adding just one extra person to the appeal reduced the amount of the donation. The more people involved the less we are affected. People don't like numbers when it comes to compassion.

This awareness of human psychology has practical implications for charities and fundraisers. Fundraising is all about understanding people's motivations for supporting a cause -- is Anna donating to our charity because she just wants to run 10k, or does she genuinely care about the cause (or both)? Either way, her decision is rational and thought out. The decision to support one person instead of many, however, is unconscious. It has to do with the way we feel about an issue in an instant rather than stepping back and taking a rational look at it. There is something about the face and story of one individual that grabs us and makes us want to take action.

So, to maximize donations, fundraisers should focus their public appeals on one person's story, accompanied by a powerful image.

In the words of Mother Teresa, "If I look at the mass, I will never act. If I look at the one, I will."

Jeremy Douglas is a professional fundraising consultant.


Related quotes:

Unanswered Prayers Vanity Fair

by Judy Bachrach
January 10, 2008

- Extract -

It is Gerry who is behind what he tells me is "the marketing … a high public awareness" of Madeleine. At his side while we talk is Clarence Mitchell, a voluble former government media analyst and BBC reporter, handpicked by Gerry to be the latest in a line of spokesmen. On October 17, Mitchell spoke at Coventry University. His topic: "Missing Madeleine McCann: The Perfect PR Campaign." Except that it has been anything but perfect.

It has in fact been so counterproductive that, as winter approached, Portuguese attorney general Fernando Pinto Monteiro suggested that one way or another the McCanns were responsible for their child's death. Specifically he said that if indeed Madeleine had been kidnapped, it was the carefully contrived publicity engineered by her parents that likely sealed her fate. "With the whole world having Madeleine's photo," he observed, any abductor would have been pushed to such a degree that "there's a greater probability of the little girl being dead than alive."


And his judgment [Gerry McCann] is certainly questionable. In the fall, for instance, it emerged that the McCanns had made two mortgage payments from the $2.4 million fund set up to find Madeleine.


Gerry understood that [informing the media of Madeleine's unique right eye - a risky revelation]. But, he says, the iris "is Madeleine's only true distinctive feature. Certainly we thought it was possible that this could potentially hurt her or" - he grimaces - "her abductor might do something to her eye.… But in terms of marketing, it was a good ploy."

Weekly Record 57 (6 February), 04 February 2011
Weekly Record 57 (6 February) Liverpool Metro Cathedral

Claire Hanlon Assistant to the Dean
04 Feb, 2011

- Extract -

A couple of special items this week to note. The Archbishop will be with us on Tuesday to celebrate the 5.15pm Sung Mass for the fifteenth anniversary of the death of Archbishop Worlock - can it really be fifteen years ago ? On Saturday evening at 7.30pm the University of Liverpool Chamber Choir are holding a concert in the Cathedral which I encourage you to come along to. Curtis Perriman, one of the Gentlemen of the Choir is the Director and it promises to be an interesting programme of works. Whilst this is going on in the Cathedral, there is a Fund Raising Dinner for Madeleine McCann being held in the Crypt. It is almost four years since the little girl went missing from the family's apartment in the Algarve region of Portugal and we continue to remember the family in our prayers at the Cathedral.

Madeleine McCann is in America – and I know who took her, 18 February 2011
Madeleine McCann is in America – and I know who took her The Sun

The Sun, 18 February 2011

From EMILY NASH and JON CLARKE in Huelva, Spain
Published: Today (18 February 2011)

AN INVESTIGATOR has told cops Madeleine McCann was taken to the US - and he has named two key suspects.

Marcelino Italiano, 36, said she had been snatched by an Algarve-based paedophile ring. The amateur sleuth added: "They can get away with anything."

Maddie vanished in Portugal in May 2007.

Angolan-born Italiano said the gang of influential and dangerous perverts had hunted children in the Algarve before smuggling them out of Portugal.

And he told how he had to flee for his life when his investigations threatened to unmask them.

The 6ft 4in nightclub bouncer said: "I know these people were involved and I have been told that Madeleine may now be in America.

"I can't say how, but I have known these people and believe they can get away with anything.

"I think there have been over a dozen children kidnapped. They prey on the weak and vulnerable."

Italiano, 36, said the ring was based in Faro and Albufeira, but had high-level contacts in Portugal's judiciary and links to a legal practice in London.

He added: "They are ruthless. I have been attacked twice for trying to investigate it and even lost my front tooth in one attack.

"I am prepared to go to any length to reveal the truth about these sick people - they need to be exposed."

Italiano has handed a dossier of information he uncovered to police in Huelva, south west Spain.

He says it includes the names of two prominent Portuguese businessmen and provided photographs of them at a birthday party in the Algarve.

Officers have passed the information to Portuguese cops while private investigators hired by the Find Madeleine Fund - set up by her parents Kate and Gerry - are also looking into the dramatic claims.

They chillingly echo the case of the Casa Pia paedophile ring, which involved the abduction of youngsters from state-run orphanages.

In September six men including a solicitor, a former ambassador and a TV presenter were jailed for sexually abusing 32 children living at Casa Pia homes across Portugal.

One of the chief witnesses, former resident Paulo Namora, told the trial that many of the group's wealthy members were based in the Algarve.

Last night a lawyer acting on behalf of Italiano told The Sun her client had a "credible and believable story".

She added: "He told the police he believed Maddie was taken by the gang and he believes she may now be in the US."

A spokesman for Kate and Gerry, of Rothley, Leics, said: "We are grateful for the information.

"As with any information of this nature the man concerned has done the right thing by informing the Spanish authorities.

"Clearly it will be a matter for them and the private investigators currently searching for Madeleine to investigate further."

Maddie was about to turn four when she disappeared from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007.

Bungling Portuguese police named her parents as suspects before clearing them.

In 2008 detectives looked into suggestions that Maddie may have been taken "to order" by a child smuggling ring based in Belgium.

Scotland Yard intelligence officer John Shord sent Leicestershire police an email reporting: "Somebody connected to this group saw Maddie, took a photograph of her and sent it to Belgium.

"The purchaser agreed that the girl was suitable and Maddie was taken."

Some of the information, which came from an anonymous source, was dismissed as not credible.

And both Portuguese police and Interpol were unable to unearth further details. Meanwhile the McCanns' team of investigators have interviewed hundreds of witnesses, received more than 1,000 phone calls and dealt with more than 15,000 emails from people from across the globe.

Sightings have been reported across Europe and North Africa and as far away as Canada, Tasmania and Dubai.


The Sun Says: Maddie probe The Sun (paper edition)

POLICE must spare no effort investigating the latest Madeleine McCann twist.

As The Sun reveals, detectives have been told Maddie may have been abducted and smuggled to America by an evil gang.

Portuguese cops were too quick to point the finger at Maddie's heartbroken parents, Kate and Gerry, when Maddie vanished almost four years ago.

Let's see police act fast to check out this important new lead.


Comment: 'Madeleine McCann is in America – and I know who took her' Joana Morais blogspot

The Sun: 'They chillingly echo the case of the Casa Pia paedophile ring, which involved the abduction of youngsters from state-run orphanages.'

By Astro
18 February 2011

Anyone who knows the most basic facts about the Casa Pia case is able to see through the manoeuvre that is being attempted here.

As usual, this is exclusively for British comsumption. The British public has no knowledge about the Casa Pia case, and is therefore largely unable to distinguish fact from fiction. This is not the first time that someone tries to link Madeleine's disappearance with the Casa Pia scandal. I think it is important to stress that within the Casa Pia case, several prominent personalities have been accused and found guilty of abusing young boys from a social institution (the "Casa Pia") - appeals have been filed, therefore the sentences are, in fact, suspended until further ruling from higher courts.

There has never been a case of abduction within the Casa Pia investigation.

Maddie is in US .. I know who took her (paper edition), 18 February 2011

The Sun, pages 4 and 5, 18 February 2011
Click image to enlarge

Club doorman tells Spanish police he knows who snatched Madeleine McCann, 18 February 2011
Club doorman tells Spanish police he knows who snatched Madeleine McCann The Olive Press

Marcelino Jorge Italiano

EXCLUSIVE By Jon Clarke in Huelva
February 18, 2011

A NIGHTCLUB doorman has revealed to the Olive Press that he knows the key figures behind a paedophile gang that kidnapped missing Maddie McCann.

Marcelino Jorge Italiano, 36, has told Spanish police that a group of high-ranking lawyers, based in Faro and Albufeira on the Algarve, are linked to a paedophile ring that abducts children.

The Angolan, who worked in club security on the Algarve for ten years, claimed that he is "terrified" for his safety after confronting the gang.

"I think there have been over a dozen children kidnapped," he told the Olive Press.

"They prey on the weak and vulnerable.

"They are ruthless. I have been attacked twice for trying to investigate it and even lost my front tooth."

The six foot four inch bouncer – who has now fled across the border to Spain – gave his dossier of information to the Policia Nacional in Huelva this week.

His lawyer, who was present during the hour-long interview, told the paper: "He seems credible and believable and he does not trust the Portuguese police.

"He also seems pretty convinced that Maddie may have been taken from Portugal to the US."

Italiano, a former semi-professional Basketball player, claims the key figures include two businessmen both based on the Algarve.

He insists that the group has high level contacts in Portugal's judiciary and links to a legal practice in London.

He told detectives that he got much of the information from the ex-wife of one of the businessmen and has photographs of the group.

"I know these people were involved and I have been told that Madeleine may now be in America," he said. "I can't say how, but I have known these people and believe they can get away with anything."

In particular he wants to give the information to the family of Maddie, who went missing while on holiday in the Algarve in 2007.

A spokesman for the family Clarence Mitchell told the Olive Press: "We are taking this seriously and want to talk to him.

"We are aware of one of the names mentioned and are already investigating.

"We plan to come over to talk to him."

He confirmed that a possible link to the high-level 'Casa Pia' paedophile ring was not being discounted.

In September six men including a solicitor, a former ambassador and a TV presenter were jailed for sexually abusing 32 children living at Casa Pia homes across Portugal.

According to the main witness Pedro Namora, who is now a lawyer, there were many wealthy members on the Algarve and they regularly used houses down there.

Exclusive: Express editor Peter Hill on his amazing 50-year-career and his regret over Madeleine McCann, 18 February 2011
Exclusive: Express editor Peter Hill on his amazing 50-year-career and his regret over Madeleine McCann Press Gazette

By Dominic Ponsford
18 February 2011

Peter Hill today edits his last edition of the Daily Express ending an amazing 50-year career in newspapers.

After starting on the Colne Valley Guardian in West Yorkshire straight out of school he worked his way up through the regional and national press to edit the Daily Star for five years between 1998 and 2003 (rapidly growing its circulation at a time when other redtops were flagging).

He has edited the Daily Express for the last seven years.

In an interview with Press Gazette this week he spoke about his pride at his achievements at the Star and Daily Express, but also voiced his regret over coverage of the Madeleine McCann disappearance which resulted in a record libel payout.

In March 2008 all four Express Newspapers national titles printed front-page apologies after a £550,000 out of court settlement following many articles which implied that Gerry and Kate McCann were to blame for the disappearance of their three-year-old daughter from Praia da Luz, Portugal, in 2007.

Asked whether he had any regrets about the coverage, Hill said: "The fact of the matter is that the McCanns could have sued any of the British media. All the British media went crazy about the story because it was such an amazing story.

"You could say that all the media had to some extent fallen for the leaks that were put out by the Portuguese police and the Portuguese authorities.

"While I regret that we printed those hurtful things about the McCanns – it was not done with any malice at all.

"As you see from the recent Beckham case, in the United States there would have been no case for libel because there was no question of malice."

(article continues...)


Peter Hill: 'I did too much on the Madeleine McCann story' The Guardian

The retiring editor of the Daily Express on the costly libel and his relationship with Richard Desmond

Roy Greenslade
Monday 21 February 2011

Peter Hill has pulled off that most difficult of tricks in the media world. He has managed to maintain a low profile despite being at the centre of several controversies and attracting considerable criticism during his seven years as editor of the Daily Express. He has also achieved the rare distinction in national newspapers of choosing to retire rather than being axed. Friday evening was his last in the Express chair, and marked the end of a journalistic career stretching back 50 years.

He waited until his final week to give a rare formal interview, at the Northern & Shell building beside the Thames, to look back over his years in newspapers and to answer his critics. Hill is certainly not reticent. He does not apologise for his lengthy campaign against immigration, which earned him odium, nor for his paper's derided obsession with the death of Princess Diana.

But he is contrite about the sad episode that ended with Express Newspapers being landed with one of the most expensive legal bills in newspaper history – the coverage of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in Hill's paper and its three other titles, the Daily Star, Sunday Express and Daily Star Sunday. He says: "I did too much on the story. I accept that."

Too much wasn't the only problem though. There were also the stories that suggested Madeleine's parents, Gerry and Kate McCann, might have been complicit in her disappearance, which in its apology Express Newspapers admitted were "seriously defamatory".

Asked whether he regretted libelling the McCanns, he replies: "Of course I do. And I insisted on apologising on the front of the newspaper when it became clear that it was a complete fabrication. We gave them £500,000. It doesn't redound to my credit but it did help them to continue the search."

Leaking stories

So why did it happen? "It was a huge story, and every adult in the country had an opinion on it. I admit it helped to sell the paper. There were many factors involved, such as the way Maddy's parents sought publicity in an unprecedented way.

"All the way through, our principal focus was on 'what's happened to Maddy?' The Portuguese police and British legal sources were leaking stories that implied the McCanns were guilty in some way. We were not to know that the Portuguese police were ineffectual and, in some cases, corrupt."

The furore following the legal settlement led to questions about press behaviour in parliament and to attacks on the Press Complaints Commission for what was perceived as a failure of the self-regulatory body to act decisively. Hill was a member of the PCC and remained in place for several months after the court case until suddenly departing. "I was not ousted," he stresses. "We all agreed it would be better for the PCC if I went."

I suggested to him that the PCC's then chairman, Sir Christopher Meyer, was disappointed that he had not walked earlier. Hill flushes and says scornfully: "I have no time whatsoever for Christopher Meyer. He is a complete hypocrite. I was disgusted with him.

"Throughout the time that the McCann stories were running he was friendly towards me. He never said a word about it, and nothing was said about it at the PCC. There was no criticism, no suggestion that papers should rein back on the coverage.

"Then, quite suddenly, Meyer went on television to denounce me. I was absolutely astonished, because, until that time, he'd said nothing about it. I was very angry about it. I shall never forgive him. He didn't disclose that his wife was intimately connected to the McCanns through her charity. But what can you expect from a man who ratted on all his previous colleagues and intimates in the Foreign Office?"

Meyer disputes Hill's account, but does say that his PCC membership was not tenable after the McCanns' settlement. He strenuously denies that his wife, Catherine, was close to the McCanns. He says she made a single trip with them to Brussels to lobby the EU over the need for resources to fight child abduction.

But was Hill's PCC departure linked to the recent decision by the owner of Express Newspapers, Richard Desmond, to withhold the fees to fund the commission? Hill says: "Richard was disgusted with the way Christopher Meyer behaved."

Clearly irked by the mention of the McCanns episode, Hill says: "I will not allow that to be the only thing that people talk about in relation to me, though the Guardian likes to mention it. It was not the defining moment of my career."

(article continues...)

'Madeleine McCann' in America claim, 18 February 2011
'Madeleine McCann' in America claim The Telegraph

The parents of missing Madeleine McCann welcomed new information which suggests their daughter may be in America.

11:14AM GMT 18 Feb 2011

The parents of missing Madeleine McCann today welcomed new information which suggests their daughter may be in America.

A spokesman for Kate and Gerry McCann said an investigator had done "absolutely the right thing" by going to police with his suspicions.

Today's Sun newspaper quoted amateur sleuth Marcelino Italiano as saying Madeleine had been snatched by an Algarve-based paedophile ring which had taken a dozen other children.

The Angolan-born nightclub bouncer said: "I know these people were involved and I have been told that Madeleine may now be in America."

He has handed a dossier including the names of two prominent Portuguese businessmen to police in Huelva, south-west Spain, the newspaper said.

A spokesman for the McCanns said: "As with any information concerning Madeleine, this man has done absolutely the right thing by going to the police in Spain.

"It is entirely appropriate that the police and any other law enforcement body now investigates these claims along with the private investigators currently searching for Madeleine.

"These investigations are now under way."

Madeleine McCann

Madeleine McCann on holiday in Praia da Luz in the Algarve in May 2007

Madeleine was nearly four when she vanished from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in the Algarve on May 3, 2007 as her parents dined with friends nearby.

Despite a massive police investigation and huge publicity worldwide, she has not been found.

The official Portuguese inquiry into Madeleine's disappearance was formally shelved in July 2008, although private detectives employed by the McCanns have continued the search.

Sightings have been reported from around the world but the child has not been traced.

McCanns Cast Doubt On US Abduction Claims, 18 February 2011
McCanns Cast Doubt On US Abduction Claims Sky News

Steph Oliver, Sky News online
1:37pm UK, Friday February 18, 2011

A family spokesman has insisted reports that Madeleine McCann was taken to the US after being snatched during a family holiday in Portugal must be treated with caution.

Clarence Mitchell told Sky News he was sceptical about claims made by a private investigator that Madeleine was abducted by an international paedophile gang.

The Angolan-born man and nightclub bouncer who made the claims also said he was forced to flee for his life when the group became aware of his interest.

Madeleine was nearly four when she disappeared from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007.

"We should stress a note of caution here. These are claims that have been made to Spanish police, we understand," said Mr Mitchell.

"If this man has any credible information about Madeleine, he has done the right thing in the first instance by going to the police.

"But of course this information has to be investigated to establish if there is any truth or not."

Mr Mitchell went on: "America is a long way from Portugal. Smuggling a child into America through traditional channels would be virtually impossible.

"That's not to say it's not feasible, it possibly could be done, it's something that investigators have considered.

"There have been other tip-offs that America may have been a destination, but so far nothing has come of those."

Mr Mitchell added the fact the man did not approach the media first, was not seeking money for his story and was naming names suggested he may be a " slightly more serious an informant than some".

However, he cautioned: "That is not to say it is not fantasy, we just don't know at this stage."

Maddie cops to question sleuth, 19 February 2011
Maddie cops to question sleuth The Sun

Published: 19 Feb 2011

DETECTIVES searching for Madeleine McCann are set to interview a man who claims she was taken to America.

Private investigators hired by her parents Kate, 42, and Gerry, 41, are preparing to fly to Spain to talk to Marcelino Italiano "within a week", a source said last night.

The Sun told yesterday how Angolan Italiano, 36, believes a paedophile ring that snatched Maddie also took a dozen other kids.

He revealed that the gang of dangerous perverts – claimed to have high-level contacts in Portugal's legal system – hunted children in the Algarve before smuggling them out of the country.

Maddie was three when she was snatched from a holiday flat in Praia da Luz in 2007.

Amateur sleuth Italiano, who has been attacked twice as he tried to expose the truth, has now handed a dossier of evidence to Spanish cops.

A spokesman for the McCanns, of Rothley, Leics, said last night investigators would contact Italiano's lawyer.

He added: "Once the basic investigative work is done they will seek to speak to him in the very near future."

New Maddie hope, 27 February 2011
New Maddie hope Daily Star Sunday

Daily Star Sunday, 27 February 2011

By Jonathan Corke
27th February 2011

MADELEINE McCann's parents hope a major police breakthrough against human trafficking in Portugal's Algarve might lead them to their missing daughter.

We can reveal how, in a huge bust earlier this month, 12 men were arrested on suspicion of trafficking women and children and forcing them into the sex trade.

And it is hoped they could have vital information on Madeleine's case and may even know who took her from the resort of Praia da Luz in May 2007.

Last night Madeleine's parents, doctors Kate and Gerry McCann, both 42, were anxiously waiting to hear of any new lines of inquiry.

Spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "Clearly any information that the Portuguese authorities gather from this operation that is relevant to Madeleine would be of crucial importance.

"Obviously, Kate and Gerry will want to hear from the relevant authorities should anything of significance develop."

The raid, codenamed Operation Roadbook, saw immigration officials from Portugal's SEF border security agency and police join forces to smash the network.

According to detectives, 30 young women, including several under-age girls, were rescued as eight properties and 11 cars were raided across the Algarve and Aveiro, in the north of Portugal.

The SEF said they believe the ring to be responsible for the sexual exploitation of "many" young women in the Algarve.

In a statement they said: "The network used very violent physical and psychological coercion to force dozens of young women into prostitution.

"Some of the women were found to be underage while others had been the victims of the forced administration of narcotics."

According to the SEF, the gang constantly moved the girls to different locations, both in Portugal and outside the country, where they would be sold and traded.

"The movement of the prostitutes between different networks hindered the police and judicial authorities in being able to conduct a criminal investigation.

"But authorities in Spain, Italy, the UK and Germany co-operated with us with the assistance of Europol in this case."

A police source said missing persons cases in the Algarve were being looked at as a result of the sting.

Madeleine, from Rothley, Leics, was just three when she vanished from the holiday resort of Praia da Luz in the Algarve nearly four years ago.

Investigators trying to track down the missing girl have long suspected her to be the victim of a professional human trafficking network.

A source said: "Even if these men were not involved they may have information about who was and the channels used."

The 12 men, who are all EU citizens, are being held in custody with court hearings taking place in the main Algarve tourist city of Albufeira.

Maddie: Kate plea to perv's widow, 27 February 2011
Kate plea to perv's widow News of the World (paper edition)

Mum to mum ... please tell

EXCLUSIVE By Matthew Drake
Sunday 27 Feb 2011

HEARTBROKEN Kate McCann is pleading with the widow of a dead paedophile to break her silence in the hunt for snatched daughter Madeleine.

But Mariana Schmuecker – herself a mother of six -has snubbed FOUR requests to reveal secrets about her husband, convicted child rapist Raymond Hewlett.

Detectives believe what she knows could hold the vital key to their investigation.

When the News of the World confronted her the callous German just snarled: "Clear off! I'm sick to death of hearing about Maddie McCann!".


Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry desperately want Mariana to shed light on Hewlett's links with child-sex perverts in Portugal’s Algarve, where three-year-old Maddie vanished in May 2007.

Ex-fairground worker Hewlett bore a striking resemblence to the straggly-haired man seen lurking near the McCanns' holiday apartment.

His previous conviction included the rape of a 12-year-old girl he lured into his car then drugged with paint stripper. And he was bragged how gipsies had offered him "good money" for his own blonde-haired daughter aged two.

But Mariana, who suddenly shipped off to Morocco with Hewlett just three weeks after Maddie's disappearance, has stayed tight- lipped – even about her partner's flawed alibi.

Hewlett claimed that on the Thursday Madeleine (right) was abducted he was with his family at a market up the coast in Fuzets. But that market is only held on Saturdays. A source close to the McCanns told us: "Through detectives Kate has begged Mariana to speak out and hopes she will do the right thing. As a mother herself you'd think she'd want to help."

Mariana lives with her kids in the German city of Aachen, in the same flat she shared with Hewlett before he died two years ago of throat cancer at 64.

A source close to the investigation said: "Our detectives are pretty certain Mariana knows a lot about Hewlett's background and activities. That would open up doors to paedophile networks in the Algarve.

"We were never able to rule Hewlett out as a suspect. He'd have had useful information and we're convinced Mariana is more than able to fill in the gaps. But she just tells us to go away or puts the phone down."

"We want to know WHO she knows, and WHAT she's heard about possible routes to spirit a child out of the country."

"She and Hewlett left Portugal at a rate of knots because he feared being associated with Madeleine's disappearance."

"We wanted to know about the six children Mariana and Hewlett had because none of them had any official birth documents. And there was a seventh child who died in mysterious circumstances."

"They never explained how they could move from country to country with the children despite having no passports."

With thanks to Nigel at McCann Files


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