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 Madeleine McCann: Nancy's Adventures in Graceland



Original Source: All Voices: 03 September 2013
London : United Kingdom | Sep 03, 2013 at 8:43 AM PDT
By Nigel Moore
"Now for the evidence," said the King, "and then the sentence."

"No!" said the Queen," first the sentence, and then the evidence!"

It's amazing what you find down a rabbit hole these days, especially on the Nancy Grace show. The last few weeks have served up two Madeleine McCann 'specials' complete with a Mad Hatter's tea party of self appointed experts, poorly informed dabblers and people who just like the sound of their own voice. All fighting for their slice of the cake.

What is left over, after the unsavoury feast, is a doggy-bag of misinformation, lies and misdirection. As an example of investigative journalism, it ranks alongside SpongeBob SquarePants' front-page scoops for the Krabby Kronicle.

The most important points raised in the shows which will be highlighted and corrected over the following weeks but, to start with, an old chestnut, thought long ago to have been buried under 6 feet of soil:

Chapter 1. Six dead bodies

Mike Walker (National Enquirer): "And as the doctor, as the wife pointed out, she said I handled six dead bodies just days ago, before I came to Portugal for my vacation. That's what I do. I'm a doctor."

Kate McCann was a part-time GP at a small practice in Melton Mowbray, a sleepy town in middle England with a population of 25,500. Leaving aside the fact that it would not have been her job to routinely 'handle dead bodies', 6 dead, under her part-time care, in the days before she left for Portugal, would surely have raised questions as to her professional competence. Indeed, such a scenario, if true, would test the credibility of an Agatha Chrsitie or Ruth Rendell novel.

A quick Google search reveals there were no reported outbreaks of smallpox, bubonic plague or arsenic in the pork pies, so we are left to conclude that the '6 dead bodies' were unceremoniously exhumed purely to counter the indications made by the sniffer dogs.

But why? If there has never been a 'shred of evidence' that Madeleine is dead, as the McCanns have consistently, and persistently, argued, then why did they feel the need to manufacture an alibi for the smell of death found in locations, and on various items, connected to them?

Philomena McCann, Gerry's sister, was the first to pick up the baton, on the day of Gerry McCann's arguido interview:

“He’s going in at 2pm today. But he’s not the main suspect, for some unknown reason there’s something about a sniffer dog sniffing Kate. Suddenly a dog can talk and says she smelled a death. How can that be when a British sniffer dog came out months after Madeline’s case. They’re doctors, if there’s a smell of death on them could that possibly be a patient?”

It's worth noting here that the primary concern of Philomena is to shift the finger of blame away from her brother onto his wife. Blood is thicker than water, after all. It's only once she has irrevocably established that 'the main suspect' is Kate, that she feels comfortable to move onto the dogs indications - those being associated with Kate, of course. She does not reject the dogs alerts as 'ludicrous' and 'impossible' but accepts them and further seeks to provide justification for them.

It was Lori Campbell, writing in the Sunday Mirror, 09 September 2007, who then developed the story further:

'Kate was also told sniffer dogs had discovered the scent of a corpse on her jeans. But she said that could be easily explained because as a locum GP she had been near a dead person before the family's holiday.'

Quite what she was doing 'near' a dead person, in her jeans, without seemingly attending to them, remains a mystery. Maybe she thought she could assess the state of the unfortunate person's health by standing in a different room, much like she claims was the case when she checked on Madeleine ("I did my check about 10.00 'clock and went in through the sliding patio doors and I just stood, actually [in the living room] and I thought, oh, all quiet, and to be honest, I might have been tempted to turn round then...").

But wait, there's more. In another report, in the same issue, by the same author, the number has remarkably grown, as if Ms Campbell had suddenly discovered a cake labelled 'EAT ME':

'Friends have pointed out that GP Kate was present at several deaths before she went away on holiday.'

The idea that Kate attended to 'several deaths', or even just the one, dressed in clothes suited to a Portuguese beach holiday surely stretches the credibility of that argument to snapping point. It appears it wasn't only Eddie, the Enhanced Victim Recovery Dog, that was barking at that time.

It is unsurprising that the claim was quickly dropped after the McCanns fled back to the UK and fell into the arms of a team of high profile and expensive lawyers, and various PR personnel. It has never been repeated since - until being dug up again for the Nancy Grace show.

It seems clear that the McCanns' lawyers realised the McCanns were sheltering in a house of cards and advised them to turn defence into attack. They did so by embarking on a course of action designed to undermine and belittle the capabilities of the sniffer dogs and the credibility of their handler, Martin Grime.

Hence we witnessed the following exchange, in an interview with Sandra Felgueiras for Portuguese TV, 05 November 2009:

Sandra Felgueiras: This is the first time that you give us a big interview, not being arguidos [suspects], since then. So now I feel free to ask you this directly: How can you explain the coincidence of the scent of cadaver found by British and not Portuguese dogs?

Kate McCann: Sandra, maybe you should be asking the judiciary because they've examined all this...

Sandra Felgueiras: But those were not an explanation for that.

Kate McCann: I mean, we are obviously Madeleine's mum and dad and we're desperate for people to help us find Madeleine, which is why we're here today. The majority of people are inherently good and I believe the majority of people in Portugal are inherently good people and we're asking them if they'll help us spread this message to that person or people that knows something.

Sandra Felgueiras: So you don't have any explanation for that?

Gerry McCann: Ask the dogs, Sandra.

Sandra Felgueiras: Ask the dogs? No, Gerry. Now I think, well, I feel free to ask you. Don't you feel free to answer me?

Gerry McCann: I can tell you that we have obviously looked at evidence about cadaver dogs and they are incredibly unreliable.

Sandra Felgueiras: Unreliable?

Gerry McCann: Cadaver dogs, yes. That's what the evidence shows, if they are tested scientifically.

Indeed. So unreliable that they continue to be used as an investigative tool in all major homicide inquiries and missing people cases.

Most recently, Martin Grime testified at the murder trial of D'Andre Lane, who was found guilty of abusing and murdering his two-year-old daughter, Bianca Jones, even though, like Madeleine, her body has never been found.

Mr Grime's cadaver dog 'Morse' detected a scent inside Lane's car (on the child's blanket and on a car seat), in the girl's bedroom and in Lane's home.

"Have the results you've come up with ever been contradicted?" asked Judge Vonda Evans at the trial.

"No," replied Mr Grime.

Nigel Moore is based in Leicester, England, United Kingdom, and is a Stringer for Allvoices.


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