Gerry McCanns interview with Vanity Fair magazine
+ 38 observations on the article
Clarence Mitchell says McCanns not happy with Vanity Fair article
02 February 2008
To 'Expresso', Clarence Mitchell revealed additionally that the extensive feature devoted to the Maddie case in the February
issue of 'Vanity Fair' didn't please the McCanns. Although they're used to denying the news that is published daily in
the Portuguese and British press, this instance "goes further".
In Mitchell's words, the incorrections start right at the beginning of the article, where it's announced "the first interview
with Gerry McCann since he and his wife, Kate, were declared arguidos". And the conversation between the 'Vanity Fair' journalist,
Judy Bachrach, and Gerry — that took place at the end of September — "should not have been transcribed. We agreed
previously that it would be all off the record and the reporter agreed. We were caught by surprise".
The magazine tells
additionally (taking recourse to the statements of Esther Adley, from 'The Guardian') that Gerry, after the decision to return
to the UK, on September 9, and already under the arguido status, contacted Sky News previously warning them to reserve a seat
on the EasyJet flight. Mitchell, that was not the couple's spokesman at the time, denies everything and only regrets that
the reporter didn't confront Gerry with such "accusations".
Unanswered Prayers, published 10 January 2008
Unanswered Prayers Vanity Fair
After three-year-old Madeleine McCann disappeared on a family vacation in Portugal, her parents pursued
a high-stakes strategy: media saturation. It succeeded beyond their wildest imaginings—winning the aid of everyone from
J. K. Rowling to the Pope—and failed miserably. Getting the first in-depth interview with Gerry McCann since he and
his wife, Kate, were declared suspects, the author re-traces their footsteps to their daughter’s empty bed.
by Judy Bachrach
WEB EXCLUSIVE January 10,
On a hot day last September, four months after their daughter, Madeleine, almost
four, vanished from a sleepy resort town in Portugal during a family vacation, Kate and Gerry McCann, both British doctors,
opened their villa door to a local policeman.
The policeman’s name was Ricardo, and he had been, relatively
speaking, on friendly terms with the couple. He knew their circumstances. Their lives, heavy with grief since their daughter’s
disappearance, had undergone a few small improvements. Kate had grown shockingly thin, but at least she was eating regular
This time, however, the bearing of the detective from the Policia Judiciária was different. And the McCanns
were not entirely surprised. “Because for months they used to have regular weekly meetings with the Portuguese police,
and then they stopped,” recalls Gerry’s older sister Trish Cameron, who was in the villa at the time. Also, without
the McCanns’ knowledge or consent, the police had photocopied Kate’s diary, examined her borrowed Bible, and removed
“Do you have something to tell us?” Ricardo asked, dramatically.
Kate replied. “Do you have something to tell us?”
He nodded. “Yes. You are being made arguidos.”
He was using the Portuguese word for “formal suspects.”
It was at that point, Trish says, that her sister-in-law
became incandescent with rage, screaming, “Do you honestly believe that I would murder my own child?”
said the policeman.
The Portuguese police, as they informed the world through calculated leaks to their own media,
simply believed that Gerry, a Scottish cardiologist, and Kate, a general practitioner, both 39, were lying when they said
their daughter had been abducted from their resort villa the night of May 3. Authorities now suspected the McCanns were somehow
responsible for their daughter’s death and the disposal of her body, though in what manner no one seems to know. Local
incinerators have been scoured, to no avail. The $4 million reward for information leading to Madeleine’s recovery;
the televised pleas by the McCanns; the hiring of Control Risks Groups, a security firm whose directors included former S.A.S.
commander Sir Michael Rose; the Find Madeleine Web site visited by more than 80 million people in three months after the disappearance—these,
the police believed, were all red herrings.
And for a long time the global media were of the same opinion. “Could
Kate and Gerry McCann have had a hand in their own child’s disappearance?” People magazine asked in September.
By October, Britain’s Daily Mail had an answer: new dna tests “put the mccanns back under suspicion.” Body
fluids found in a car rented by the McCanns 25 days after Madeleine disappeared, it was subsequently reported, matched 88
percent of the child’s genetic profile. (A problem with this information, British DNA specialist Nigel Hodge informs
me, is that most genetic profiles are based on 20 DNA components. “And 88 is not divisible by 20,” he says flatly.
Moreover: “If there are DNA components that do not match, the DNA could not come from that person.”)
the tabloids summoned up yet another genetic fantasy: maddie: who’s her daddy? asked the Daily Star in October, implying
that Gerry is not Madeleine’s biological father. (The girl was conceived through in-vitro fertilization.) As the news
industry trumpeted All Madeleine All the Time, and Barbara Walters and Oprah clamored for interviews, Kate’s elegant
face grew more gaunt in each tabloid photo. Meanwhile, a British poll revealed that 48 percent of all respondents believed
the couple could have been responsible for their daughter’s death. Only 20 percent considered them completely innocent.
“Yes, yes, I know,” Gerry says bitterly. “Kate killed her in a frenzy, Madeleine was sedated by
us, she fell down the stairs—in which case you would have thought they’d have found her body. I’ve heard
all that! There have been a huge number of theories in the media. But what I want to know is—who told them all that?”
In fact, much of what is aired or printed about the vanished girl and her parents is mendacious, mistaken, or just
plain conflicting: according to the press, to various detectives, and to top Portuguese authorities, the child is alternatively
alive in Morocco (or maybe Portugal or Bosnia) or dead, killed one moment by kidnappers and in other instances by family.
In all these hypotheses the supporting facts are invented, from the reason for Kate’s lack of public emotion to the
first acts of the Portuguese police (dubbed “the Keystone Cops” and “Butt Heads” by reporters). Thus,
the media has managed to rob the McCanns of their daughter a second time. And to complicate matters, it was Gerry McCann himself
who, two days after Madeleine’s disappearance, ignited the media conflagration that is now consuming the couple.
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 with this last devastating conclusion—namely that Madeleine
will likely never reappear—Madeleine’s own father haltingly agrees.
Gerry McCann has vivid blue eyes set
in an impassive face, and a jaw that has grown more angular and prominent as the tragedy has unfolded and almost seven pounds
have melted from his frame. There are those, including a onetime close associate, who find him difficult and controlling,
feeling he has the trademark arrogance and self-regard of many surgeons. And his judgment 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.
But months of anguish have taken their toll, and now there is mainly resignation.
When the policeman came to their
door with the bad news that they were now suspects, Gerry simply asked him to leave. “Why shoot the messenger? I felt
that saying anything more was not going to change what happened,” he says.
Kate, however, cannot help replaying
the circumstances that led to the child’s disappearance—the work, she is certain, of a mysterious abductor. “I
will tell you what I haven’t told anyone,” says Jon Corner, a family friend. “In August, I was with Kate
in Portugal. She told me, ‘I wish I could roll back time and go back to the day before Madeleine was abducted. I would
slow down time. I would get a really good look around and have a really good think. And I’d think: Where are you? Who
are you? Who is secretly watching my family? Because someone was watching my family very, very carefully. And taking notes.’ ”
“That’s a logical conclusion for anyone who knows anything about what happened to us,” Gerry says
briskly. This is his first detailed and candid interview since being declared a suspect, and so great is his loathing of most
journalists that it takes place in utter secrecy near his home, in Leicestershire. In a country inn lined with portraits of
ladies in powdered wigs, a polite manager points the way to the back exit, in the event other reporters drop by.
front-page stories about the McCanns sell newspapers—up to 30,000 extra copies a day—perhaps because they happen
to be a handsome, prosperous couple wrecked by tragedy (“Let’s face it: if Kate were fat and spotty and aging,
they wouldn’t be selling all these papers,” says Trish), the British media believe that sales don’t really
soar unless the couple is accused of villainy. “The last equivalent story was probably the Second World War,”
observed a columnist for The Guardian. When, in November, Panorama, a BBC newsmagazine show, bought the same five-month-old
footage of the McCanns (shot by a family friend) as ABC’s 48 Hours and repackaged it, viewership rose by 2 million,
to 5.3 million.
In this search for villainy, the British tabloids are aided by the most unlikely ally: the Portuguese
police, who are often the sources for some of the more outrageous allegations, unquestioningly swallowed by the Portuguese
“No, the leak about [Madeleine’s] DNA not being compatible with Gerry’s is not malicious,
not at all,” a Portuguese journalist tells me sarcastically, referring to the who’s her daddy? headline, before
turning deadly earnest. “It is revenge, pure and simple. Because the British attack our police as stupid. And backward.
And incompetent. Because they say we are a primitive country and our laws are primitive!”
The Portuguese police
“don’t want to be portrayed as a leather-jacketed, swearing bunch of fat, greasy villains who beat people up with
rubber hoses,” one of the most active in the McCann camp tells me, and yet this is exactly how they have been portrayed.
Thus the Madeleine frenzy, which began as a story about bad judgment and irretrievable loss, has spun out of control,
each day bringing fresh allegations, outrage, celebrity alliances—the Pope! J. K. Rowling! David Beckham!—and
sensational links to power. At the E.U. summit in mid-October, for instance, British prime minister Gordon Brown, who had
regularly been in touch with the McCanns, raised the Madeleine issue with Portuguese prime minister José Sócrates, urging
“proper cooperation between the British and Portuguese police.” Gerry’s allies were jubilant.
yet this high-powered strategy has also backfired. There appears to be massive resentment among the Portuguese. Although Madeleine’s
photo is posted at Heathrow, it is nowhere to be found at Faro, the airport nearest the seaside village from which she disappeared.
Shortly after the McCanns hired a team of Spanish private investigators, in early October, word leaked out that the
Portuguese police had stopped their search for Madeleine (at least temporarily). Nothing the parents have done has worked
“The McCanns have completely changed the way we now look for missing children—it used to be
you go to the police; now it means you go to the media, to celebrities,” says a disapproving Scotland Yard specialist
in abused children.
“There are many cases in the world of children who have disappeared,” Portuguese national
police chief Alípio Ribeiro recently complained. “But none have this external component, this massive public exposure,
that gives it a fantastic, almost surreal dimension.”
The McCanns are both reviled and pitied, occasionally
in the same breath. Madeleine’s face has appeared on movie screens, on cell phones, in e-mails, in airports, in health
centers, and on British Airways planes. “So the strategy we used,” says Gerry, “well—somehow something
caught the public’s imagination.” But it has not caught their daughter’s abductor.
The McCanns are
also fairly sure their phones are monitored not only by the British police, who are waiting to see if a kidnapper calls, but
also by Portuguese authorities. “It’s quite possible,” acknowledges Gerry’s older brother, John McCann,
a pharmaceutical salesman who lives in Glasgow. “Because there’s information that’s been appearing in the
press that you’d have to think, How did that get into the public domain? Because it wasn’t us releasing it. Every
now and again, amidst all the speculation and rumor and outright lies, there’s been a grain of truth.”
happened in the last two months has clearly polarized people,” Gerry says slowly. “People can support you in your
darkest hours, and in our case the darkest hour was of course when Madeleine went missing.”
And now, I wonder,
with all the polarization?
“And now it is just”—he swallows hard—“bleak.”
da Luz (population 1,000) is regularly described, with reason, as “a little Britain.” The same could be said of
the entire Algarve, the southern Portuguese province in which the village is situated, which was partially ransacked in the
late 16th century by the Earl of Essex. That tradition is now carried on by more than 50,000 British property owners in the
area. Signs are in English, and every other commercial establishment proclaims itself an “Irish pub,” which means
Carling beer and, on Sundays, shoulder of lamb and “Yorkie pud.” At 10 o’clock one very warm morning, four
beet-red Englishmen sampling lagers in an outdoor café steps away from the turquoise sea are being scolded by their desperate
guide: “You are always drunk before noon!”
New security guards, in burgundy berets and black military
pants, now ring portions of the Ocean Club resort, where the McCanns were staying until mid-September. The village is quite
desolate. The heart went out of it last May.
For almost a week last spring, the McCanns’ holiday routine was
unvarying. After high tea, at 5:30 p.m., Madeleine and her two-year-old twin siblings, Sean and Amelie, would be retrieved
by their parents from the kids’ club. Two hours later the children were put to bed back in their own room in an unprepossessing
corner villa, its two entrances bordered by terra-cotta tile and a small white wall covered with pink bougainvillea. The back
door, reached by a gate and a flight of steps, was left unlocked.
Then the McCanns would join seven friends at the
resort’s tapas bar, close by the swimming pool, an area described by Gerry as “like being at the bottom of your
garden.… You could see our apartment from where we were.” You can indeed glimpse the very top part. However, in
order to see anyone entering through the back, one would have to dine standing up. The other entrance to the villa is not
visible at all.
At intervals, members of the group (since dubbed “the Tapas Nine”) checked on one another’s
children, although this method was imperfect. The night of May 3, Gerry checked on Madeleine, fast asleep in her pink-and-white
Winnie the Pooh pajamas, and the twins, at 9:05, but the friend who next checked on the McCann children said afterward that
he did not actually see Madeleine.
Thus the most important clue to the mystery of Madeleine’s disappearance
was initially ignored. At around 9:15, another friend, Jane Tanner, emerged from her own villa to see a white man in beige
trousers—five feet six, brown hair (longer in the back), and perhaps 35, she later told the police. In his arms he cradled
a child wearing pink-and-white pajamas.
It wasn’t until Kate walked into the villa at 10 and felt a sickening
breeze—the front window had been jimmied open—that she realized something terrible had happened. “The scene
was stark,” Gerry tells me. On one bed the twins lay sleeping. In the next lay only the plush cat toy Madeleine was
never without. That was when Kate came out screaming, “Madeleine has gone!”
In subsequent moments, she
seems to have added, “They’ve taken her! We have let her down!” This was the version Sheena Rawcliffe, the
managing director of The Resident, a local English-language newspaper, quickly learned, albeit secondhand, and the phrasing
puzzled her. What was meant by “They”? It was the first element to ignite suspicion in the Portuguese press, but
not the only one. What kind of parents would go out to eat and leave their small children alone in the room, especially in
a country where restaurants welcome children, the local press wondered. Why didn’t they hire one of the resort’s
babysitters? What child can actually fall asleep at 7:30 p.m.? In Portugal, as in many Latin countries, bedtime for even small
kids might be as late as 10.
Moreover, Rawcliffe says, “If my child were missing, I wouldn’t think right
away he was abducted. I would think, Where has the little ****** gone?”
But the McCanns were certain of their
suspicions. “Wee Madeleine knows better than to wander away,” another of Gerry’s sisters, Philomena McCann,
recalls him saying. And besides, the child was too small to open the window and crawl out. Gerry spent the night scouring
the village for his daughter, and talking on his cell phone to relatives.
“Well, never in my life had I heard
my wee brother so devastated,” says Philomena, who lives in Ullapool, in northern Scotland. “He was absolutely
wailing on the phone. He was incomprehensible at times.”
“It’s all my fault, because Kate and I
went out to dinner,” he wept to Philomena, who was stunned. She adds, “My wee brother is not a person who panics—he
and Kate are very measured people, usually. That’s when I knew how bad things were.”
At 4:30 in the morning,
when the search was temporarily called off, the McCanns found a policeman by their door, smoking, seemingly unworried. “Help
me, please help me!” a frantic Kate sobbed into her cell phone to a childhood friend. The police had done nothing overnight,
she added; the couple were all alone with no one to turn to.
That same morning, Gerry’s sister Trish phoned
the BBC in Glasgow and sent photos of the beautiful little girl who had vanished from the resort. “The day after Madeleine
was abducted, as Kate and I left the police station, there were 150 journalists in front of it,” Gerry recalls. “Alex
Woolfall [the McCanns’ first spokesperson] explained to me that either I interact with the media or we would be hounded
by the press.”
Actually, reporters noticed, Gerry seemed to interact avidly. Within a week, the media ranks
in the tiny village swelled to 200: Dutch, German, Spanish, and Portuguese nudging their British and American counterparts.
Until very recently, Sky News covered the story in such depth that the top three offerings on its Web site were “UK
News,” “Madeleine,” and “World News.” The Portuguese police had never seen anything like it.
In the months following the child’s disappearance, the supposed incompetence of the Portuguese police was the
subject of many devastating articles in the press, with an attitude wryly summed up by the Scotland Yard detective as “Johnny
**** is not good enough to do it.” This was at the precise time that, as Gerry explains, “we were relying on the
Portuguese to find Madeleine, and it was not helpful at all.” However, since the media were, without a doubt, fed in
part by the McCann camp, it is hard to know whom to blame.
It wasn’t true, for instance, that there were no
fingertip searches performed at the villa, as reported by one British tabloid, or that the shutters were contaminated in the
investigation, as reported by another; two on-the-scene reporters claim that personnel in Portuguese C.S.I. uniforms were
seen taking fingerprints from those shutters early on, and then dispatched them to the Instituto Nacional de Medicina Legal
in Porto and Coimbra. Nor did police treat Madeleine’s disappearance lightly.
As Woolfall explains, when he
arrived a day and a half after Madeleine had vanished: “There were lots of police, I have to say. There is a big emphasis
placed on children and family in Portugal. There was no doubt there was a massive effort trying to find her. And you had Portuguese
policemen canceling leave and working over weekends.”
On the other hand, the moment police investigate a crime
in Portugal, the country’s judicial-secrecy laws basically shroud everything—facts, names, suspects, witnesses—in
a blanket of silence. Police press conferences are almost nonexistent; information is usually obtained only through leaks.
(In Madeleine’s case, the police appointed a spokesperson, but after being kept clueless by his colleagues, he ultimately
resigned.) There are other drawbacks—for example, Portugal has no DNA data banks or national missing-child alerts.
Praia da Luz is not the ideal venue for a topflight criminal investigation. Gonçalo Amaral, who for five months was the senior
detective in the case, is himself involved in another legal battle. He is accused of covering up a beating by his subordinates
of a Portuguese woman who was ultimately convicted of killing her own child. Locally there are no cadaver dogs trained in
tracking human blood or remains; after Madeleine vanished, local residents actually used household pets under the guidance
of police with drug-sniffing dogs. “Let me tell you, I know a lot about detective dogs, and I don’t know why the
police would want anyone bringing their pets to assist,” says Robert Tucker, who runs a New York security firm.
of the things the McCanns very much wanted was a forensic sketch of the man the witness saw carrying the girl wearing pink-and-white
pajamas,” recalls Justine McGuinness, an early spokesperson for the McCanns. In the vital first months, their pleas
went unanswered. In addition, newspapers claimed the sheets on Madeleine’s bed were never sent for analysis.
by May 15 the police (with the help of a suspicious British journalist from the Sunday Mirror) believed they had found their
man: Robert Murat, a mild, slightly plump Englishman of 33 with a detached retina who lives with his mother in a large villa
with a lush garden three minutes from the resort. He was declared an arguido—a status he holds to this day, along with
the McCanns—and brought in to the police station for 19 hours of interrogation, say his relatives, with no food or sleep.
There, I learn on good authority, three of the Tapas Nine were put into a room with Murat, and each of them identified
him as a man they’d seen hanging about the resort in the hours after Madeleine vanished. One of the witnesses, Fiona
Payne, told police she’d actually seen him behind the McCanns’ villa that night, and recalled his “dodgy
eye.” Another, Russell O’Brien, claimed Murat had said he spoke Portuguese as well as English, which is in fact
the case. The McCann friends were not alone in their suspicions. By late December it emerged that three other witnesses claimed
to have seen Murat near the McCanns’ villa apartment the night of the abduction.
It is part of the odd dynamic
of this story that when I phone Sally Eveleigh, Murat’s cousin, who also lives in Praia da Luz, her first remark is
that she cannot utter a syllable about Murat without the O.K. of her British press agent, the famously rambunctious Max Clifford.
And when his blessing is secured, her second is: “Wonderful, darling, see you shortly. Robert can’t talk to you,
because he’s an arguido. But we’ll have a bit of a party, won’t we?”
When I arrive at her
massive house, lined with rosy tile and Moroccan rugs, Sally greets me in floor-length blue voile trimmed with pretty stones.
And the party includes Murat: five feet 10 inches, dark-haired, wearing beige trousers, serving us tea, wine, and cigarettes.
“All I can say,” says Murat, “is that I am innocent. There is no way I was at the resort that night.
Full stop. I was in my mother’s kitchen until one a.m. Yes, we are a kitchen kind of family. I spent the night at the
house.” As an arguido he cannot reveal more. But he does drive me around and point out the major landmarks of the case.
“That’s the apartment from which Madeleine vanished,” he says. “That’s my mother’s villa.”
The police ransacked the place four months ago and came up with nothing.
‘I wish I hadn’t gone to the
tapas bar. I wish I’d stayed in the apartment that night. I wish I’d stayed in the room when I checked on her
five minutes longer,” Gerry recalls thinking in the days that followed his child’s disappearance. The world, he
says, was “all black, with maybe tiny points of light.” The company that owns the resort sent Alan Pike, a trauma
counselor, over from Britain, and he spoke to the couple every day for two weeks. Initially, the counselor tells me, he found
the couple “catatonic.” They were certain Madeleine was dead.
But pessimism, the counselor knew, inhibits
action. Moreover, he adds, “they still needed to be a mother and father to two other children.”
yourself of the evidence: there is nothing yet to demonstrate that Madeleine has died,” Pike told the McCanns. It’s
time, he added, to take control of the things you can.
Gerry felt re-invigorated by such advice. “We can’t
cry our eyes out every day, because that’s not helping,” he says. “So after three days I picked myself up—quicker
than Kate could.”
Indeed, Woolfall recalls Gerry’s saying shortly after he arrived, “My biggest
fear is that this could be a weekend story: british girl taken from portuguese resort—a terrible story! And then that’s
it.” The fickleness of the media, Woolfall adds, had Gerry worried. They might so easily “move on to something
else,” Gerry told him. Gradually a strategy was devised: stories, pictures, and exotic destinations were woven together,
permanently enrapturing the press and luring it into a long, sleepless vigil.
By the end of May, an audience with
the Pope had been arranged through the Westminster office of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor. The couple and a pool
of reporters flew direct from Praia da Luz to the Pontiff in a Learjet belonging to the British billionaire Sir Philip Green.
Other celebrities were just as carefully selected and eagerly appealed to: J. K. Rowling, in part, Gerry explains,
because the Harry Potter author had lived in Portugal for a time. Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo, because he is
Portuguese, and Gerry used to play soccer himself. David Beckham—another Gerry idea—who was living in Spain at
the time of Madeleine’s disappearance. Experts in child abduction had informed the McCanns that Madeleine was very likely
still somewhere on the Iberian Peninsula.
The media were constantly sought out. Reporters followed the McCanns on
trips to Washington (where then U.S. attorney general Alberto Gonzales met with the couple); to Morocco—just in case
Madeleine had been taken there—where they met with Charki Draiss, director-general of national security; and to Amsterdam,
where the McCanns had once lived. If the networks needed fresh footage, they would be told the exact time the McCanns might
be walking to church in Praia da Luz.
So, as it turned out, this was not a weekend story. As time went by, Gerry explains
that although “grief washes over you—it’s like a big wave, mostly I was able to beat it back.” The
industry he poured into the search jolted him out of depression.
But Kate wasn’t buoyed. From time to time,
she would turn to friends and offer a wistful half-plea—“I hope whoever has Madeleine is giving her blankets …
is feeding her properly … is keeping her warm.” Not really absorbing at first, her confidant explains, “what
kind of person this was.”
Eventually, though, the probable nature of the abductor was brought home to her in
the most explicit and horrifying way. Never talk about Madeleine’s preferences to the press, British police warned the
McCanns, because whatever Madeleine most loves—a favorite cartoon, say—could be used as a tool for manipulation
by her kidnapper.
Madeleine’s mother was also warned not to weep in public. “That was one of the things
they were told right from the beginning,” McGuinness reveals. “Don’t show any emotion, because whoever took
the child could get off on that, and take it out on the child. Or the abductor might find tears stimulating in some way. Appalling
when you’re being told not to show any emotion in public and your daughter is abducted!”
as it turned out, dangerous for the couple. The P.R. campaign was actually backfiring, regarded by many as slick and, given
the gravity of the McCanns’ loss, at times downright strange. “I always wanted to meet the pope,” a British
reader e-mailed The Resident newspaper, “and now I know how.” Portuguese police made note of Kate’s seeming
stoicism in front of the press—the tearless face. They also marveled at the powerful allies the McCanns had accumulated.
“Why are these people able to put together the biggest media campaign ever, from the Pope to the White House?”
asks Paulo Reis, a Portuguese freelance journalist who writes a blog about Madeleine, and with considerable authority: he
seems to have excellent contacts in law enforcement. “Why are they all coming out strongly defending the McCanns? Who
are the McCanns?” he wonders.
Kate and Gerry McCann are both Roman Catholic, the children of carpenters, and
products of Scottish medical training, but there the resemblance ends. Gerry, the youngest of five children, is by far the
more ambitious and confident of the couple, secure always in the knowledge, as his sister Philomena explains, “that
he was absolutely the pet of the family.” As a result, his brother, John, tells me, he grew up “very sociable,
always involved in clubs—football clubs, athletic clubs. He likes mixing with people. And like most of us in the family,
Kate Healy, a deeply religious only child from Liverpool, once confided to her sister-in-law,
“There were too many times when I’ve been alone,” and that solitude evidently left its mark. On meeting
her in 1992 the boisterous McCanns found her, John recalls, “reserved.” (Although this reserve was apparently
not impenetrable. At the University of Dundee, as the Mail on Sunday recently discovered, Kate’s nickname was “Hot
Lips Healy,” and she was renowned, according to her yearbook, for leading friends astray during “alcoholic binges.”
When asked about this recently by a friend, Kate groaned and said, “My God! I hope they don’t get the rest of
that part of my life.”)
At first, she was not deeply impressed by Gerry, refusing even to go out with him. In
1996, she moved to New Zealand to work as an anesthesiologist in a hospital, and it was only when an impassioned Gerry followed
her that the family realized the relationship was serious. They married in 1998 and settled initially in Glasgow.
Kate shifted career course, abandoning anesthesiology for the regular hours and relatively modest pay of a general practitioner.
“To be honest, I don’t think Kate is ambitious,” Philomena says. “The career wasn’t as important
to her as having a family.”
That family, however, took years to materialize. There were two rounds of in-vitro
fertilization, culminating in Madeleine: “As close to a perfect child as you can get,” says Gerry. Less than two
years later another round resulted in the twins—born after a very difficult pregnancy, during which, Philomena says,
Kate was confined to her bed for months and almost lost them.
“To be perfectly honest, Kate continued to work
as a doctor simply for the economics of it,” says Philomena. “Even though she ended up working only one and a
half days a week, that money made a big difference to them. Gerry could have managed to support them all, but it would have
been difficult, a stretch for him.”
The press has regularly portrayed the couple as far wealthier. Huge emphasis
has been put on the large, $1.2 million neo-Georgian-style house in Rothley, Leicestershire, into which the couple moved in
“People may think, Ooh, these rich middle-class McCanns,” John says bitterly. “Well, these
rich middle-class McCanns have studied for donkey’s years, made loads of sacrifices, and put themselves through a lot
of inconvenience to get where they are just now. For Catholics, we’ve got a strong Protestant work ethic!” He
shakes his head when asked about how things used to be for the couple.
“Everything going for them, perfect family.
And as we all know from great bits of literature, sometimes the fates intervene to ruin perfection,” he says. But philosophy
fails him when he thinks of Madeleine. “This is our wee girl. My niece! Their darling daughter, for Christ’s sake!”
“So beautiful, astonishingly bright, and I’d have to say very charismatic. She would shine out of a crowd,”
family friend Jon Corner says of the child. “So—God forgive me—maybe that’s part of the problem. That
special quality. Some ******* picked up on that.”
As months went by, the McCanns turned desperate. There they
were, still in Praia da Luz, with nothing to show for it. “We had been trying to persuade Kate to come home,”
recalls Gerry’s sister Trish. “But they lived in dread that if Madeleine turned up in Portugal and they weren’t
there, it would be horrible.”
Although initially reluctant, the McCanns finally informed the media of Madeleine’s
unique right eye—a risky revelation. Whoever had taken the child now held a universally recognizable little girl.
understood that. 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.”
On the 100th day of her disappearance, however,
the marketing of Madeleine came to a halt. On August 11, the police spokesman, Olegário de Sousa, gave an interview to the
BBC in which he said clues had been found “that could point to the possible death of the little child.”
McCanns were livid. They had entertained this idea, but their fears had been partially allayed during their July trip to see
the U.S. attorney general. “We learned in Washington that there are plenty of cases where peoples’ children were
discovered after two years!” says McGuinness. “And some cases where people’s children were discovered after
four years.” That, she adds, is what “kept Kate going.”
But the police felt they had good reason
to suspect the child was dead. They had borrowed a pair of springer spaniels trained by South Yorkshire police to smell particles
of blood so minute they are invisible to humans. The animals seemed to have picked up the scent of a corpse on Kate’s
trousers and on the key fob of the couple’s rental car. (The McCann camp claimed that as a doctor Kate had been near
corpses, but since she is a general practitioner the press scoffed at the explanation.)
More than any other evidence,
it was the surprising reaction of the dogs from Britain that led Portuguese police to declare the couple official suspects.
The investigators thought they had other clues: there was DNA possibly belonging to Madeleine in the McCann car, rented 25
days after the child vanished, but as that car had at various times contained the missing girl’s hairbrushes and sandals,
and the soiled diapers of her siblings, the evidence is not wholly conclusive. Moreover, forensic DNA specialist Nigel Hodge,
who has investigated more than 1,000 criminal cases, tells me that, in very rare instances, “it is possible for sisters
to have the same DNA profile.”
In mid-September, Kate and Gerry were brought in separately to a dingy four-story
police station for questioning—Kate first, for 11 hours, and on the next day 7 more. The questioning was interminable,
says Trish, who was at the station, in part because “there was no interpreter. At one point there were six people in
front of Kate—cops and a lawyer—and they were all just speaking Portuguese!”
Finally, she adds,
Kate was given a long list of interpreters, many of whom lived 200 miles away in Lisbon, and told to choose. “Kate was
furious at that as well,” Trish recalls.
Over and over again, I am told by a McCann family member, Kate was
shown footage of the dogs. It was the animals’ reaction to the scent inside the McCanns’ rental car that particularly
interested the authorities.
But the police had more on their minds, as they informed Kate. From what they’d
read of her diary, she was clearly a stressed-out mother. Her children were difficult to put to sleep, weren’t they?
They needed sedatives to sleep, perhaps? Maybe that’s how Madeleine died? Will you confess, they asked.
the police went over a passage from the borrowed Bible found in Kate’s villa: verses in the second Book of Samuel, Chapter
12. The page containing the passage was crumpled. The verses in question deal with the illness and death of King David’s
child, a tragedy that occurs after David “scorned the Lord.” Obviously such a page had meaning for her, the police
To compound matters, one of Kate’s lawyers, Carlos Pinto de Abreu, relayed to her that if she confessed
to having inadvertently killed her daughter and disposing of the corpse, things might go easier. Her jail term might even
be as little as two years.
“I’m not going to *****ng lie!” Kate barked. The next day she stopped
answering a fair number of police questions. “She had already answered some of them,” says Trish. “And her
lawyer told her she didn’t have to answer questions.”
“As I suppose you know,” Pike, the trauma
counselor, tells me, “the police told her during the interviews that her other two children might be taken away.”
It was time to go home, Gerry decided by September 9. But not alone.
“When Gerry and Kate were about
to go home to Britain, Gerry phoned Sky News and said, ‘We’re going home on EasyJet, be on it!’ ”
recalls Esther Addley, who has written incisively about the McCanns for The Guardian.
On the couple’s return,
there was further pain to contend with. More than 17,000 people had signed a petition suggesting that Leicestershire social
services investigate them for leaving their three small children completely alone in the villa.
‘At the time
we did it, it was not irresponsible!” Gerry snaps. It is the one subject on which he is quite defensive, arguing first
one way, then conceding the opposite: “Of course we feel guilty about not having been there, and that is just something
we have to deal with for the rest of our lives. You are not asking anything we don’t think about on a daily basis. We
live this 24 hours a day.” His lips twist as he struggles for composure. “But I can’t talk to you about
the details of what happened. I live under threat from the Portuguese—if I do talk—of two years’ imprisonment.”
He smiles grimly. “It seems to be the same sentence as disposing of a child’s body.”
The mayor of
tiny Praia da Luz, Manuel Domingues Borba, announced just a few weeks ago that he for one “would never leave my children
sleeping alone and go to dinner in a foreign country.” The McCanns, in his opinion, are “guilty of negligence
at the very least.” The Portuguese police, under chief Alípio Ribeiro, are reviewing the case. Some of their detectives,
I am told, will likely be flying to Britain soon to re-interview the McCanns, although no official request has yet been made.
Should the McCanns actually be charged and tried, their legal strategy will be to focus, in part, on what they claim is the
unreliability of evidence turned up by the dogs and to try to move the trial to Britain from Portugal. The McCanns live in
perpetual limbo. There is no exit.
By early January there was more bad news: Correio da Manhã, a Portuguese newspaper,
claimed that the Policia Judiciária were about to deliver an interim report, suggesting the McCanns were “prime suspects”
after all, who could have accidentally killed Madeleine, and then disposed of her body. Or, the report added, perhaps the
child was in fact abducted. In other words, eight months after the little girl vanished, the police still know nothing.
word has leaked out that the McCanns feel abandoned even by Gordon Brown, once their close ally. Their spokesman doesn’t
quite deny this. “That was one of our backers who said it. We would never be that impolitic,” he says. “But
it is true that we have requested a meeting with the prime minister to show him the strength of our case, to explain Kate
and Gerry’s innocence—and yet all we’ve been offered is a medium-level-consular meeting, which we rejected.”
Occasionally their $1,200-an-hour lawyer Angus McBride, whose salary is defrayed by Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson,
Scottish businessman Stephen Winyard, and Brian Kennedy, a multi-millionaire rugby-team owner, drops in on the British tabloids
to protest headlines such as portuguese paper smear: “kate killed madeleine as gerry played tennis.”
Kate, this is all too much. At nights, as her mother recently informed one newspaper, she awakes and thinks Madeleine has
come home. While her husband and I talk, she ducks into the local Catholic church, unable, despite her earlier resolve, to
face a single question.
Kate is fragile, I say to Gerry.
“That is undoubtedly true,” he concedes.
“It’s very difficult to describe this situation. One month, three months, five months, five and a half months.
And I know now that, probably, the chances of getting Madeleine back are slim. You know, it’s difficult. Very difficult.”
He swallows hard. “You might never see her again. But still you have the hope. Still.”
On Sunday he will
join his despairing wife in church, even though, as Gerry puts it, “I am not the most religious person in the world.”
The whole McCann family is going to church more often, for that matter, even his skeptical older brother.
would you do when you’re desperate?” says John. “You start to ask the big questions again: Why does this
“And,” he says wearily, “I think there’s probably still no God.”
Vanity Fair article - Contradictions, Confusion and Observations
1) The McCanns' defensive need to control the investigation
'Also, without the McCanns' knowledge or consent, the police had photocopied Kate's diary, examined her borrowed bible,
and removed Gerry's laptop.'
- It should be remembered that this is an investigation into the probable death of a three-year old girl, in which there
is no evidence of any abduction having taken place. Do the McCanns believe that the Policia Judiciaria should post them a
letter asking for written consent to carry out their investigation? Why should the McCanns' need to try and control the investigation
in this way?
After all, if they are 'wholly innocent', as Clarence Mitchell repeatedly asserts, then what have they to fear or resent from
a thorough and exhaustive investigation being carried out? The McCanns have promised to leave 'no stone unturned' in the search
for Madeleine but they would appear to believe that this does not apply to themselves.
2) The official website - Visitors or hits?
'...the Find Madeleine Web Site visited by more than 80 million people in three months after the disappearance...'
- This statement, and previous statements about the number of people visiting the official site, needs clarification.
There is a very clear difference between 'visitors' to a website and the number of 'hits' recorded. 'Visitors', as implied,
is the number of people who have visited the site. 'Hits' are the number of times a person clicks their mouse whilst on the
website, for example: one person visiting the site, who looked at 5 pages, whilst they were there, would be recorded as 1
visitor and 5 hits. So, you see there can be a vast difference between statistics for visitors and hits - the hits are always
going to hugely outnumber the number of visitors. Especially in the early days of a website, when people are exploring and
clicking on every page to see what is there.
- Reuters report, 18 May 2007 (link)
'LONDON (Reuters) - A Web site set up to help find missing four-year-old Madeleine McCann has received more than 50 million
hits, its operator said on Friday.'
Calum MacRae, who operates the official website and claims to have years of experience would know very well the difference
between a 'visitor' and a 'hit'. So, were the 'hit' figures released to create a distorted impression of the public interest
in the case?
The reason would be obvious: People are far more likely to contribute to a 'Fund' if they feel they are part of a huge
groundswell. The psychology being that they really are part of something big and making a difference. After all, who would
want to contribute to something that is not going to make any difference at all?
3) Maddie: Who's her daddy?
'...maddie: who's her daddy? asked the Daily Star in October...'
- The Daily Star were merely recycling a report that had originated from Portuguese newspaper 24 Horas.
24 Horas editor Luis Fontes said his story was confirmed by Portuguese and British police insiders. "It’s true,"
he said. "Our sources are rock solid. If they think they can sue us, bring it on."
There has been, to date, no attempt by the McCanns' expensively assembled team of lawyers to take 24 Horas 'on'.
4) Gerry's temperament and profession
'There are those, including a onetime close associate, who find him difficult and controlling, feeling he has the trademark
arrogance and self-regard of many surgeons.'
- Two points here: This is the first description, in 9 months, to paint Gerry in anything less than saintly, even
Secondly, Gerry is not a surgeon. He's a cardiologist.
5) The August footage - Who got the money?
'When, in November, Panorama, a BBC newsmagazine show, bought the same five-month-old footage of the McCanns (shot by
a family friend) as ABC’s 48 Hours and repackaged it, viewership rose by 2 million, to 5.3 million.'
- One must assume that both ABC and the BBC paid handsomely for Jon Corner's footage of the McCanns at their holiday
villa in August. After all, it was clearly going to be a huge ratings winner. So how much did they pay and where
did the money go? Straight to Jon Corner or into the account of Madeleine's Fund?
As Madeleine's Fund is a private limited company and has no legal requirement to divulge, at this stage, its financial
position, we are unlikely to get a clear answer on this question for a very long time.
6) Kate's rages
'Trish says that her sister-in-law became incandescent with rage, screaming, "Do you honestly believe that I would murder
my own child?"
"Kate was furious at that as well," Trish recalls (that interpeters were 200 miles away)
"I'm not going to f*cking lie!" barked Kate.
- In the space of one article, Kate is described as 'incandescent with rage', 'screaming', 'furious' and barking
abuse at a police officer. Not quite the picture we've been presented of Kate as a slightly shy, quiet and reserved person.
7) Why jump to murder?
'He nodded (Ricardo the police officer). "Yes. You are being made arguidos."... It was at that point, Trish says, that
her sister-in-law became incandescent with rage, screaming, "Do you honestly believe that I would murder my own child?"
- At this point, Kate had not been interviewed and had therefore not been presented with any evidence that the Policia
Judiciaria may have had. So why did she immediately think that the PJ wanted to make her an arguido for murdering her daughter?
Why did this make her scream with rage? Up to that point there had been no official declaration, or implication, that the
PJ believed Kate or Gerry were in any way involved in Madeleine's disappearance.
However, there is something about this report that doesn't ring true and needs to be further investigated.
Would the PJ send a junior ranked local policeman to knock on the McCanns' door to tell them they were going to be made
arguidos? After all the media and political scrutiny on the PJ's handling of the case, such a move would appear unbelievable.
It is recorded that the police informed the McCanns that they would be required for further questioning on 03 September
2007 - this is presumably the visit that Gerry describes in the article. The McCanns then carry on about their daily business,
visiting friends, dropping the twins off at kids club and jogging.
On 05 September 2007, Gerry records in his blog that he is
'surprised to find increased media presence in Praia da Luz again today. We were followed down to church, then to the shops
and back to our accommodation which is very unusual'.
Why would Gerry describe that as 'very unusual' if he already knew
he was going to be made an arguido? Consider this report:
- From Timesonline, 09 September 2007 (link)
'The consultant cardiologist, said the lawyer, had just joined his wife as a prime suspect in the death
of his daughter, Madeleine, who went missing four months ago.
Beneath his unflinching exterior, Gerry was in a state of turmoil and fury. "We are being absolutely stitched
up by the Portuguese police," he had told a friend after his wife Kate had earlier been named a suspect after hours of interrogation.
"We are completely f*****, we should have seen this coming weeks ago and gone back to Britain."'
Do these sound like the words of a man who already knew he was going to be made an arguido? Indeed, if he had known,
there's every indication from his statement above that they would have left the country before the PJ could get them in for
questioning. As it was, they left immediately afterwards.
There must be serious doubts over whether this whole section of the article can be taken seriously.
The Timesonline article also says:
'Detectives had warned their lawyer that the McCanns might be made arguidos - suspects - in the investigation, but had
emphasised that it would be a purely "technical" move. The status would give the McCanns greater rights in interviews.'
Again, it says the lawyer had been informed - not a junior police officer, who had then been asked to knock on their
door, like he was coming to collect their milk money.
And, even if it had been presented as a purely "technical" move to the McCanns previously, giving them 'greater rights
in interviews', then why would Kate become 'incandescent with rage', screaming "Do you honestly think I would murder
my own child?"
So we can therefore assume it was not the 'arguido' status itself that so rattled Gerry and Kate. So, what was it? There
is only one conclusion: It was the strength of the police evidence that they were confonted with over the course of their
And it is logical to assume that it was that evidence that convinced them to get out of Portugal as fast as they
8) If I could turn back time...
"I will tell you what I haven't told anyone," says Jon Corner, a family friend. "In August, I was with Kate in Portugal.
She told me, 'I wish I could roll back time and go back to the day before Madeleine was abducted. I would slow down time.
I would get a really good look around have a really good think. And I'd think: Where are you? Who are you? Who is secretly
watching my family? Because someone was watching my family very, very carefully. And taking notes.'"
- This would appear to be a very unusual thing to say. Why go back to the day before and try to find someone taking notes
on the family? Why not go back to the night Madeleine disappeared and stay in the apartment with her? It reads as though she'd
like to go back, identify and eliminate the 'abductor', then put Madeleine safely into bed and get back to the tapas restaurant.
Is she, yet again, trying to smother accusations of neglect by persistently focussing on the abductor and not her
irresponsible actions of that night, and throughout the holiday, of leaving her small children alone?
It also needs to be asked why Jon Corner is repeating a private conversation with Kate, with such relish, to
an American journalist.
9) Gerry's turn of phrase 1
"People can support you in your darkest hours, and in our case the darkest hour was of course when Madeleine went missing."
- This is a very odd turn of phrase to use to describe the abduction and likely death of your daughter. Of course, Gerry
is not talking about a literal hour but he is talking of the moments after Madeleine was allegedly abducted. The complete
phrase that Gerry alludes to is: 'The darkest hour is just before dawn'.
So, is Gerry saying that dawn has broken? That would certainly tie in with his rather strange statement to
the Catholic newspaper, The Tablet, published 16 June 2007, in which he described seeing a light that opened out in front
He said: "I can't say it was a vision because I am not clear what a vision is but I had a mental image and it certainly
helped me decide. I became a man possessed that night. The next day I was up at dawn, making phone calls."
It would appear that dawn really did break for Gerry. But why?
10) The 'locked' patio doors
'The back door, reached by a gate and a flight of steps, was left unlocked.'
- This contradicts all the initial accounts, by closest family and friends in the aftermath of Madeleine's disappearance.
Those accounts, arising from individual phone calls from either Kate or Gerry, all stated that the apartment was securely
locked and that the abductor gained entry through the bedroom window.
The 'unlocked' patio doors were only revealed when it became quickly clear that there had been no forced entry through
the shuttered window.
11) Pyjama contradiction
'Gerry checked on Madeleine, fast asleep in her pink-and-white Winnie the Pooh pyjamas'
- We must assume that, as this is an interview with Gerry, it has come from his mouth. If so, then Gerry needs to look
again at the pyjamas he is holding up to the camera on Crimewatch and in Berlin. If he does, he will see that the pyjamas
he says Madeleine was wearing have Eeyore on the front not Winnie the Pooh.
12) Jane Tanner contradictions 1
'...another friend, Jane Tanner, emerged from her own villa to see a white man in beige trousers...'
- Although this confirms early reports, that Jane Tanner was on her way to the tapas restaurant when she saw
the alleged abductor, she very clearly stated on the Panorama documentary that she was on her way from the tapas
restaurant to check on her children when she saw the alleged abductor. Which was it? How could something so fundamental to
the enquiry be reported incorrectly? Is this Gerry getting his facts mixed up or has he let slip the truth? Or is it just
poorly researched journalism?
13) Jane Tanner contradictions 2
'...a white man in beige trousers - five feet six...'
- Tanner, on the BBC Panorama programme, gave a description of the man she alleges to have seen: "He was about
probably 5ft 8in tall, he was taller than me but not 6ft and so between those two."
She starts by saying he was 5ft 8in tall but before she has even finished the sentence he has grown to 5ft 10in tall
- 'not 6ft and so between those two'.
Certainly not 5ft 6in - according to Tanner herself.
14) Jane Tanner contradictions 3
'In his arms he cradled a child wearing pink-and-white pyjamas.'
- How Tanner could identify pink-and-white pyjamas remains a mystery. The pyjama bottoms that Madeleine is alleged
to have been wearing were 'cut-off' style, just below the knee. When carried in the rather bizarre fashion described by Tanner
(not cradled but held out in front, almost like a sacrificial lamb) the pyjama bottoms would have ridden up above the knee
making them impossible to see.
She describes the man walking away from her 'urgently' and admits he was 'some distance' away, under street lamps which
reduce colours to indecipherable shades. She could surely not have been able to see the pyjama tops, which had cropped arms,
and which were the only item that was pink.
15) Kate's check/Oldfield's 'check'
'It wasn't until Kate walked in the villa at 10 and felt a sickening breeze - the front window had been jimmied open
- that she realised something terrible had happened'
- If so, how could Matthew Oldfield not also have felt this 'sickening breeze' when he entered the apartment, at 9:30pm, and
made a cursory look inside the children's bedroom? Remember, Tanner's abductor is timed at 9:15pm and the window and shutter
would, by this time, have been wide open - the same as when Kate checked 30 minutes later.
16) The 'broken' shutter
'- the front window had been jimmied open -'
- We must presume 'jimmied' is an American version of jemmied, or the author misunderstood Gerry's accent. Whichever,
this has now been completely discredited. The initial searches found absolutely no evidence of a forced break-in, despite
initial reports that the shutter had been forced/broken/smashed/jemmied.
It was further discredited in the Channel 4 Dispatches documentary.
Indeed, Clarence Mitchell, speaking to RTE 'Prime Time' in October said very clearly that "There was no evidence
of a break-in."
17) Sleeping arrangements
'On one bed the twins lay sleeping. In the next lay only the plush cat toy Madeleine was never without.'
- Are we to believe that the twins were sleeping together in one bed? This would certainly contradict all previous reports
that clearly stated that the twins slept in separate cots. Why would they be sleeping in the same bed? Does this imply that
previous reports, which alleged that all the group's children, bar one, were sleeping in that bedroom,
were correct? Or is it Gerry getting mixed up again? Or poor journalism?
18) Cuddle Cat
'On one bed the twins lay sleeping. In the next lay only the plush cat toy Madeleine was never without.'
- From Daily Express, 13 August 2007 (link)
'New evidence emerged yesterday to support Kate and Gerry McCanns' theory that Madeleine was abducted and not killed
in her room, as suggested by Portuguese police.
Her Cuddle Cate - her favourite comfort toy - was taken while she slept and placed on a shelf in the room, which
only an adult would have been able to reach.
A police source said yesterday: "When Kate tucked Madeleine up in bed earlier in the evening, she had the toy tightly
in her arms, as she did every night.
"So Kate was terrified when she spotted it had been left in a place too high for her to reach."'
It would appear widely accepted now that Cuddle Cat was left on the bed, so why, assuming this police source is
reliable, would Kate have said the toy was on a high shelf?
Again, it would appear to be another confusing prop to support their unwavering insistance that an abduction had taken
19) A hint of discipline?
"Wee Madeleine knows better than to wander away," another of Gerry's sisters, Philomena McCann, recalls him saying.'
- The phrase that Gerry uses could be interpreted as having an undertone of aggression, hinting at firm discipline. The
logical follow up question to that phrase is surely 'What would happen to her if she did wander away?' or 'What
has happened to her on previous ocassions when she has wandered away?'
It is alleged that on a previous night, Madeleine did indeed wander away and was found hiding in the bushes. What was
20) The police search
'...Kate sobbed into her cell phone to a childhood friend. The police had done nothing overnight, she added; the couple
were all alone with no one to turn to.'
- The Ocean Club Operations Manager, John Hill, has disputed this fact and said that around 60 staff and guests at the
complex had searched until 4.30am while local police notified border police, Spanish police and airports.
"It was a very emotional and very frantic night and everyone did a fantastic job of getting involved and trying
to search the area," he said.
Kate was later to admit, in her first interview with Jane Hill on 25 May 2007, that she did not actually
do any 'physical searching' herself. Yet, following that night, she managed to go jogging on a regular basis with Gerry.
21) Forensic sketch
"One of the things the McCanns very much wanted was a forensic sketch of the man the witness saw carrying the girl wearing
pink-and-white pyjamas" recalls Justine McGuiness...'
- If the McCanns wanted a forensic sketch so badly then why did one not appear until 25 October 2007, 175 days after
Madeleine's disappearance? And it only appeared then because the detective agency Metodo 3 commissioned it - not the
22) Another subliminal implication of Murat
'And the party includes Murat: five feet 10 inches, dark haired, wearing beige trousers...'
- Why could there possibly be any need to mention the colour of Murat's trousers? Simple: Because 'beige trousers'
have already been specifically mentioned in the article to describe the trousers the alleged abductor was wearing - even
though Murat does not bear any resemblance to Tanner's description, in any shape or form. It is subliminal 'guilt by association.'
23) The McCanns in the aftermath (Alan Pike - trauma counsellor)
'Initially, the cousellor tells me, he found the couple "catatonic." They were certain Madeleine was dead...'
"Remind yourself of the evidence: there is nothing yet to demonstrate that Madeleine has died," Pike told the McCanns.'
- Catatonia is a form of schizophrenia in which the sufferer experiences stupor, with outbreaks of excitement. It is surely unusual
that both parents should respond in this identical way and further highlights their unusual and, at times, proactive
Was this declaration by Pike, that there was no evidence that Madeleine had died, a catalyst for the McCanns? Was this
the moment Gerry had his 'vision' of a light opening up before him?
A reminder of what Gerry said: "I can't say it was a vision because I am not clear what a vision is but I had a mental
image and it certainly helped me decide. I became a man possessed that night. The next day I was up at dawn, making phone
24) Gerry's turn of phrase 2
'Gerry explains that although "grief washes over you - it's like a big wave, mostly I was able to beat it back'
- This is a very confused analogy. You cannot face a 'big wave' and 'beat it back'. With what? A big stick?
No, the only way to 'beat' a big wave is to ride it.
Is that really a closer analogy to how Gerry feels? That throughout this investigation he is riding a big wave?
And that if he falls off he will be devoured by the unforgiving seas?
25) The McCanns' desperation?
'As months went by, the McCanns turned desperate'
- This is not borne out by Gerry's blogs which become increasingly jovial and light hearted during the period up to the
time he and Kate were declared arguidos. Far from desperate, Gerry appears to have been revelling in the organisation
of fund raising events, planning campaign strategy and focussing on the long term agenda.
26) Madeleine's unique right eye 1
initially reluctant, the
McCanns finally informed the
media of Madeleine's unique
right eye - a risky
revelation. Whoever had the
child now held a universally
recognisable little girl.'
- From the Timesonline, 06 November 2007 (link)
A senior Portuguese police officer has condemned the parents of Madeleine McCann for creating a “monster of information”
that has failed to help in finding their daughter.
Carlos Anjos, president of the Association of Criminal Investigation Staff, said that detectives had advised Kate and Gerry
McCann against their media campaign. They had also warned the couple against drawing attention to Madeleine's distinctive
right eye, saying that it could have put her life in greater danger.
27) Madeleine's unique right eye 2
'Gerry understood that (the risk of revealing details of Madeleine's unique eye). 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."
- Quite how Gerry could dismiss the thought of Madeleine being severely harmed, or 'something' being done to
her eye (presumably being gouged out), for the positive attraction of using it as a good marketing ploy is cold,
heartless and chilling beyond words. In fact, it's grotesque.
28) DNA in the back of the hire car
'but as that car had at various times contained the missing girl's hairbrushes and sandals, and the soiled diapers of
her siblings, the evidence is not wholly conclusive.'
- This begs two questions:
What were Madeleine's hairbrushes and sandals doing in the back of the car 25 days after her disappearance? Did the McCanns
pack them? If so, why?
Why would they have put soiled diapers (nappies), loose, in the back of the car? The smell, in the Portuguese heat would
surely have been overwhelming. It is hard to believe that anybody would toss soiled nappies into the boot without first
securing them in some form of bag.
The McCanns continued use of this 'soiled nappies' excuse probably, unfortunately, tells us something about
the kind of fluids that investigators found in the rear boot well of their Renault Scenic hire car.
29) A question of interpreters 1
"there was no interpreter. At one point there were six people in front of Kate - cops and a lawyer - and they were all
just speaking Portuguese!"
- Is it not natural that they would speak Portuguese amongst themselves, bearing in mind that they were Portuguese? And
what about Kate's lawyer, Carlos Pinto de Abreu? He must surely have been able to translate, even if just in the short term, otherwise
why would they have hired such an extraordinarily expensive lawyer, if he couldn't communicate directly with them?
In actual fact, he demonstrated that he could speak English perfectly well when he delivered statements outside the police
offices in Portimao.
Indeed, there was a police officer there who could speak English. In the BBC Panorama documentary aired on 19 November
2007, Susan Healy (Kate's mother) said:
''They'd had a meal with this guy, with his family, and the children have played together, and she talked to me about
this particular police officer as being as if he was a friend, and she felt quite comforted by having this guy who spoke English
as well, and he was in the interview and he didn't make eye contact with Kate at all.''
30) A question of interpreters 2
'Kate was given a long list of interpreters, many of whom lived 200 miles away in Lisbon, and told to choose. "Kate was
furious at that as well," Trish recalls.'
- Let's get this clear. 'Kate was given a long list of interpreters, many of whom lived 200 miles away'.
So, it is clear that they didn't all live 200 miles away - it doesn't even mention that a majority lived 200
miles away. That surely means that on a 'long list' of interpreters there were many who didn't live 200 miles away. So why
should this make Kate furious? Why not just calmly choose the one who lived closest to Portimao?
31) The plea bargain offer (during Kate's questioning)
'To compound matters, one of Kate's lawyers, Carlos Pinto de Abreu, relayed to her that if she confessed to having inadvertently
killed her daughter and disposing of the corpse, things might go easier. Her jail term might even be as little as two years.'
- From the Guardian, 17 September 2007: (link)
Police were still questioning Gerry McCann when, already, his sister Philomena was telling Sky they had offered Kate
McCann a reduced two-year sentence if she admitted to killing her daughter accidentally, hiding the body and then secretly
disposing of it weeks later.
On this occasion the police officers were right to be angry. Like many things said about the McCann affair over the past
days and months, the story was wrong. There was no offer of a plea bargain. It had all been "a misunderstanding", the McCann
lawyer, Carlos Pinto de Abreu, explained the following day.
32) Involving the press/media
'When Gerry and Kate were about to go home to Britain, Gerry phoned Sky News and said, ‘We’re going home on
EasyJet, be on it!’ ” recalls Esther Addley, who has written incisively about the McCanns for The Guardian.'
- Sky News also confirmed that the press had been invited to witness the early morning departure from their holiday villa.
Why do the McCanns have this pathological desire and need to involve the press/media in everything they do?
33) Gerry's Policia Judiciaria interview, leading to arguido status
- No comments! The interview is with Gerry but despite recounting Kate's interview in some precise detail, Gerry fails
to mention a single word about his interview. Why?
34) The punishment to fit the crime
Gerry: 'I live under threat from the Portuguese - if I do talk - of two years' imprisonment." He smiles grimly. "It seems
to be the same sentence as disposing of a child's body'.
- This is very revealing. Why should Gerry need to compare the punishment for breaking the strict Portuguese secrecy laws
with anything at all? Yet he does. And, unbelievably, he compares it to 'disposing of a child's body'. How does he know, so
readily, the sentence for disposing of a child's body? He could only possibly know that if he had previously
researched it. So, why has he researched that particular crime, and mentally logged the sentence, as opposed to any other?
35) Kate's visions of Madeleine
'At nights, as her mother recently informed one newspaper, she awakes and thinks Madeleine has come home.'
- This has been well documented before but it still remains very unusual that Kate should be having regular visions
of her daughter, who she insists is still alive.
From the Daily Star, 19 October 2007: (link)
Tormented Kate McCann told last night how she is visited in the night by the spirit of her missing daughter Madeleine.
The anguished GP says she is regularly woken up by visions of the four-year-old in her bedroom. Kate, 39, revealed the visions
to her mum, Susan Healy, who was worried about her daughter’s lack of sleep
Susan had assumed Kate and husband Gerry were being kept awake by her two-year old twins, Sean and Amelie. She was stunned
when Kate revealed it was missing Madeleine who was haunting her.
Susan, said: "She told me she has difficulty sleeping and wakes during the night. I asked: 'Do the twins come and
wake you up?'
Kate said: "No, it's Madeleine. She comes in.'"
36) Gerry's displacement from Madeleine's disappearance
Gerry: 'And I know that, probably, the chances of getting Madeleine back are slim. You know, it's difficult. Very difficult."
He swallows hard. "You might never see her again. But still you have hope. Still."'
- In much the same way as Kate regularly places herself outside of the events of Madeleine's disappearance, looking in,
so Gerry does the same here.
Why does he say "You might never see her again." and 'But still you have hope." He is placing himself
as an observer, displacing himself from events like they are happening to someone else.
Why does he not say 'We might never see her again. But still we have hope." Is that not what we would expect to hear from
someone who is desperate for the return of their missing daughter? Someone who would be tormented by visions of where
she was, who she was with and what they were doing to her.
We would expect wholly personal and heartfelt words but what we get is impersonal and displaced.
Is it because he doesn't really know how he should feel?
Because there never was any abduction?
37) Religion in Gerry's life
'On Sunday he will join his despairing wife in church, even though, as Gerry puts it, “I am not the most religious
person in the world."'
- It is reported that on the night Madeleine disappeared, Gerry preferred to seek out the local church, rather
than search for Madeleine. At that point he clearly didn't know where the church was, so presumably had never visited it whilst
Yet, following 03 May 2007, and being given the keys to the church, he appears to have visited it just about every day.
That is when he wasn't meeting the Pope or visiting the holy shrine at Fatima.
In the immediate aftermath of Madeleine's disappearance, he asked his relatives to "Pray for us". Why would a man, by his
own words 'not the most religious person in the world' seek prayers, for himself, at that time?
Would it not have been more appropriate, human and relevant to say "Pray for Madeleine"? Why should they need to pray for
Gerry and Kate - there was no threat or danger to either of them.
38) And finally, Kate McCann
'While her husband and I talk, she ducks into the local Catholic church, unable, despite her earlier resolve, to face
a single question.'
- Her daughter is still missing. She has promised to leave 'no stone unturned'. Why could she not bring herself to 'face
a single question'?
McCanns' regrets over night Maddy vanished, 10 January 2008
Ryan Parry in Praia da Luz, Portugal
Gerry McCann has told how he blames himself for daughter Madeleine's disappearance and confessed he fears he may never
see her again.
Riddled with guilt, the distraught dad said he wished he'd never gone out for a meal with friends and left the youngster
asleep in their apartment on that fateful night last May.
And his GP wife Kate is convinced a vile predator was stalking the family in the days before four-year-old Madeleine
Gerry poured out his anguish in an interview with Vanity Fair journalist Judy Bachrach. In a series of emotional outbursts,
he also hit back at claims that he and Kate were responsible for their daughter's disappearance.
GERRY BLAMES HIMSELF
Gerry said: "I wish I hadn't gone to the tapas bar. I wish I'd stayed in the apartment that night. I wish I'd stayed
in the room when I checked on her five minutes longer."
During one phone call to his sister Philomena McCann, he sobbed: "It's all my fault, because Kate and I went out to dinner."
Philomena, 43, said: "I have never heard my wee brother so devastated.
"He was wailing on the phone. He was incomprehensible at times.
"My wee brother is not a person who panics. He and Kate are very measured people, usually. That's when I knew how bad
But Gerry still refuses to accept he and Kate acted irresponsibly.
He snapped: "At the time we did it, it was not irresponsible.
"Of course we feel guilty about not having been there and that is just something we have to deal with for the rest of
"You are not asking anything we don't think about on a daily basis. We live this 24 hours a day."
WAS SOMEONE WATCHING?
Family friend Jon Corner told how Kate is certain a paedophile or kidnapper was watching their apartment in Praia da
He said: "In August, I was with Kate in Portugal. She told me 'I wish I could roll back time and go back to the day before
Madeleine was abducted.
'I would slow down time. I would get a really good look around and have a really good think. And I'd think: Where are
you? Who are you? Who is secretly watching my family? Because someone was watching my family very carefully. And taking notes."
Gerry added: "That's a logical conclusion for anyone who knows about what happened to us."
WE'LL NEVER SEE HER AGAIN
Gerry now fears his daughter may be dead. He said: "I know now, probably, the chances of getting Madeleine back are slim.
You know it's difficult. Very difficult. You might never see her again. But still you have hope. Still."
BEING MADE ARGUIDOS
Kate was accused of accidentally killing Madeleine and Gerry of helping to dispose her body. They insist they are innocent.
Gerry's sister Trish Cameron, 47, who was in the villa at the time, recalled the moment detective Ricardo Paiva called
to tell them they were suspects. He asked Kate: "Do you have something to tell us?" She replied: "No. Do you have something
to tell us?" He nodded. "Yes. You are being made arguidos."
Trish said Kate flew into a fury and screamed at the officer: "Do you honestly believe that I would murder my own child?"
The policeman replied: "No."
Gerry was equally angry and asked the detective to leave. He said: "Why shoot the messenger? I felt saying anything more
was not going to change what happened."
GERRY & KATE'S GRIEF
Gerry describes how his world was suddenly "all black, with maybe tiny points of light," in the days after Madeleine
vanished. And he tried to block any thought their little girl was dead out of his mind. He said: "We can't cry our eyes out
every day because that's not helping.
"So after three days I picked myself up...quicker than Kate could.
"Grief washes over you. It's like a big wave, mostly I was able to beat it back."
Gerry also revealed fragile Kate wakes in the night and thinks Madeleine has come home.
He added: "That is true. It's difficult to describe this situation. One month, three months, five months, five and a
Portuguese newspapers launched a hate campaign against the McCanns and police accused them of unspeakable acts.
Gerry screamed: "Kate killed her in frenzy, Madeleine was sedated by us, she fell down the stairs, in which case you
would have thought they'd have found her body. I've heard all that.
What I want to know is, who told them all that?"
He is dismayed at how public opinion seems to have turned against them recently.
He added: "People can support you in your darkest hours, and our darkest hour was of course when Madeleine went missing.
Now it is just bleak."
KATE AND THE COPS
When Kate was told by her lawyer if she confessed to killing Madeleine she would only get a two year jail sentence, she
screamed: "I'm not going to f*****g lie?"
Gerry fears Madeleine's unique right eye could put her in danger.
He said whoever snatched the child now held a recognisable girl and could take her life. But he still believed her distinctive
iris could also help trace her.
He added: "We thought it was possible this could hurt her. Her abductor might do something to her eye. But in marketing
terms it was a good ploy."
Gerry's sister Trish said the McCanns were initially reluctant to leave Praia da Luz.
She said: "They lived in dread that if Madeleine turned up in Portugal and they weren't there, it would be horrible."
Gerry's interview is in the UK February edition of Vanity Fair, out tomorrow.
to Nigel at