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Sun Columnists in Maddie clash

HOMEPAGE NEWS REPORTS INDEX MEDIA PHOTOS NEWS SEPTEMBER 2007
Original Source: SUN: FRIDAY 21 SEPTEMBER 2007
Published: 21 Sep 2007
Pictures: JON BOND
 
Debate ... Lorraine and Gaunt talk it out

EVER since Madeleine McCann went missing, the nation has been united behind efforts to find her.

But sympathy for her parents Kate and Gerry has crumbled after Portuguese police formally named them as suspects earlier this month.

Sun columnist Jon Gaunt has been one of the McCannsí most outspoken critics. On Monday he accused them of manipulating the media and behaving irresponsibly.

Meanwhile, fellow Sun writer and TV presenter Lorraine Kelly has been fighting in the opposite corner as one of their biggest defenders.

Here, the pair go head to head to debate the case.

 

Watch highlights from the debate

JON GAUNT: Lorraine, youíre a mother, I am a father. You would never leave your kids home alone, would you?

LORRAINE KELLY: No, I would not. The McCanns made a mistake. But donít you think they are saying that to themselves every minute of every day?

They made the biggest mistake of their lives and now they are paying for it in the most horrible way.

JG: I would accept that if it was just a one-off, but it wasnít. It was a pattern of behaviour, they were doing it all the time.

LK: It is not something I would have done. I would have been too worried about my child waking up, but no one knows that better than them.

JG: Hang on, this was a middle-class couple, one is a cardiologist, the other a locum GP. Kate McCann is exactly the sort of woman who would sit in judgement of other people. If it was a working-class family on a caravan holiday in Blackpool, the press would be pouring a bucketload over them.

LK: But they have been criticised. Now what we have to do is get back to the fact that Maddie is still missing.

JG: But they still havenít actually said ?We were wrongí. They left young twins and a three-year-old girl in a room alone. Sorry, theyíre bad parents.

LK: I donít think they are, look what they are going through.

JG: You just feel sorry for them. I feel sympathy too, and I am sure a lot of Sun readers do. But you canít confuse sympathy and support.

If people really supported them there would be more than £1.2million in that fund. When I criticised the McCanns in my column I had the biggest reaction I have ever had, and 98 per cent of people were saying I was right. That they are bad parents.

LK: Well, I have found the majority of feedback in my postbag is positive. The McCanns have been criticised for using the media. But if your child was missing, wouldnít you do everything you could to get them back? Surely we canít give them stick for that?

JG: If they are innocent.

LK: I believe they are innocent. No doubt.

JG: But they are suspects. That puts a question mark over them for me.

LK: The term suspect means something different in Portugal and that has been the trouble all along. And all this secrecy means information has oozed out as rumours. I donít believe they have anything to do with the disappearance.

JG: You just donít want to believe it. You are reacting like a typical mother, you donít want it to be true.

LK: But thereís no real evidence, Jon. The McCanns have an explanation for every single bit of so-called evidence.

JG: I accept that, and none of us know the truth. But the Portuguese police arenít the only ones briefing the press, the McCanns are too. Kate has got herself in trouble by talking about what questions sheís been asked.

I nearly choked on my Alpen on Sunday when I was saw Sky News and the McCanns let the press follow them walking to Mass. That wasnít about Maddie, it was them trying to prove their innocence.

LK: Because they have been accused on one of the most heinous crimes possible and they have to try to clear their names.

JG: The way to do that is in a court of law, it isnít to leak information.

LK: Something has been worrying me. Four years ago there was another little girl who disappeared in that area. The police officer in charge of the Maddie investigation allegedly beat a confession out of the mother.

So there has been a little girl missing already, and now there is another. If we put the focus on the McCanns, we will lose sight of who really did this. They are still out there.

JG: I agree, so letís get the McCanns in court as soon as possible and find out what is happening and move on.

LK: But there isnít enough evidence. As the days go by, the rag, tag and bobtail evidence is falling apart.

JG: There are still certain questions Kate has not answered. For example, why did she wash Cuddle Cat?

LK: Because it was dirty.

JG: Oh, come on. My daughter Bethany has a toy called Dotty. If, God forbid, she went missing, we would never ever wash it because it would smell of her. Why didnít they use a baby sitter? Kate apparently didnít want to leave the kids with a stranger, but she was happy to leave them alone with the door open.

LK: Look, we all watch CSI and want cases neatly wrapped up. But life isnít like that. There could be many reasons for that DNA in the boot. And as for that nonsense that they drugged their child. . .

JG: What about the excuses they are coming out with, that the hair could come from a hairbrush. Iím not saying they are guilty or innocent. Iím saying get them in court to find out.

LK: You would put them through that, two people who have lost their daughter and have nothing to do with it?

JG: You donít know that.

LK: Everybody keeps having a go at the McCanns for not showing enough emotion, as if everyone deals with grief in exactly the same way.

Iím sure that behind closed doors they are sobbing their hearts out.

JG: I think there is serious concern about the twins. I think that social services should intervene. They are suspects, after all.

LK: In Portuguese law.

JG: All the press are being racist implying, ?These Portuguese coppers donít know what they are doingí.

LK: I didnít mean that, I meant in Portuguese law being a suspect means a totally different thing to here.

JG: I think the best thing the McCanns can do now is shut up. They should say: ?If you want to charge us, go ahead, but we are going to hold our council.í

LK: Somewhere out there, there is a person who did something terrible to that poor girl. And that frightens me.

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