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Parents involved in Madeleine McCann’s death, 01 August 2009
 
Parents involved in Madeleine McCann’s death de week (‘The most widely read Netherlands weekly in Spain!’)  
 
By Bart Bakker
01 August 2009
Thanks to Châtelaine for translation
 
Whilst in Benissa, I met with an English fellow journalist who was very much impressed with the latest revelations about the disappearance of the British toddler Madeleine McCann on May 3, 2007 in the Portuguese village of Luz.
 
“How is it possible that the parents, Gerry and Kate, can get away with this?,” he said, incensed, after which we evaluated together all the events once more.
 
We did this with Gonçalo Amaral’s tell-it-all book at hand; as chief inspector he was closely involved in the case in 2007. He was dismissed from the case because the Portuguese policeman had told an English journalist that a tip, which had been sent to the Royal Family, could not be taken seriously; in that the English police should follow the line of the investigation, viz. looking for a corpse, and should no longer consider abduction.
 
The tip was a futility compared to the long-lasting inquiry, but obviously political interests had become so important that Gonçalo Amaral had to be removed from the investigation. Out of spite and disappointment he then wrote the book: “Maddie, The Truth About The Lie”.
 
Impressive
 
As an investigative journalist I can only conclude that it is an impressive story. The chief inspector tells it all and publishes tens of investigation details. How much better can a journalist have it dished up?
 
His conclusions are shocking. A dog, specially trained for cadaver scent, barks loudly at a cupboard in the parents’ bedroom and behind the sofa in the living of the apartment.
 
Another dog found traces of blood in the apartment and in the back seat of the parents’ car. DNA tests then concluded that there was a sixty percent chance that this originated from Maddie McCann. Also, for that matter, the cadaver-scent dog also barked at the parents’ car, mother Kate’s clothes, Maddie’s cuddle toy and the car key.
 
Witnesses
 
My English colleague and I are flabbergasted. Amaral also spills it all regarding the witnesses statements. In the Montemar hotel, where I was staying for the past few weeks, we had ourselves come to the conclusion that the statements of the group of doctors – the McCanns travelled with a number of friends – gave a rather disjointed account of events.
 
There was also the statement of the Smith family who saw a man carrying a child in his arms on the so-called Rua da Escola Premaria. When they saw Gerry McCann on television, as he walked down the airplane stairs, they recognised the father immediately as the man who walked the streets with that child in his arms.
 
Questions
 
Eventually they did interrogate the parents, but at first there were no clear answers to all of those questions. The moment that Gerry and Kate McCann were going to be further questioned about the many unanswered questions regarding their possible involvement, they left for England.
 
Meanwhile a fund has been created where millions were donated to trace Maddie and there was a nearly worldwide call to trace the toddler. According to Amaral, Gerry and Kate McCann have never given a clear answer to the findings of the investigation.
 
At any rate Amaral’s conclusion is that Maddie McCann died on May 3, 2007 in the apartment 5A of the Ocean Club in Portuguese Luz and that an abduction has been staged. Another conclusion is that Gerry and Kate McCann should be suspected of being involved in the hiding of the little corpse.
 
Amaral also mentions that her death could be the result of a tragic accident and that there are many signs, which point to a neglect of care and safety for Maddie.
 
Accused
 
Hats off to Gonçalo Amaral for the courage to bring the investigation results into the open. The family has never pressed charges against him for his candour and within the Portuguese judiciary he is considered to be a hero. The tens of detectives who worked on the investigation eventually had only one thought: rest in peace dear Maddie.

 
Madeleine search has cost police £750,000, 03 August 2009
 
Madeleine search has cost police £750,000 Leicester Mercury  
 
Monday, August 03, 2009, 09:30
 
Two years of investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann has cost the police in Leicestershire almost £750,000.
 
Family spokesman Clarence Mitchell has paid tribute to the support the county force has given them since the youngster went missing on May 3, 2007.
 
He said that while Portuguese police had shelved their investigation, county police continued to work on leads and to support and protect the family.
 
The Policia Judiciaria – Portugal’s CID – led the investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance from the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz.
 
But Leicestershire became involved as the home force of Madeleine and her parents, Kate and Gerry, who live in Rothley.
 
The force’s accounts show that in the last financial year Leicestershire police spent £197,000 on its investigation. This is on top of the £548,000 it spent in 2007/2008.
 
The force has managed to recoup £525,000 from the Home Office. A claim for the remaining £220,134 is with the Government.
 
Mr Mitchell said: “It is a significant amount of money. We have a good, ongoing relationship with Leicestershire police and they keep Kate and Gerry informed of any movements in the case.
 
“But they are at the behest of the Portuguese authorities who are running the case, even though it has been technically shelved by them. Under European law, the Portuguese police must ask them to do things.
 
“Nevertheless, we know Leicestershire continue to maintain a presence and are still working on the case.”
 
Leicestershire police said it could not speak about the investigation, but it is known that costs incurred relate to the setting up and running of an incident room to take calls from around the world.
 
Detectives flew out to assist Portuguese officers with the investigation, while family support officers from Leicestershire helped Mr and Mrs McCann through their ordeal.
 
British officers, led by Detective Superintendent Stuart Prior, will also still be interviewing witnesses in the UK and abroad over possible sightings of Madeleine.
 
Travel, accommodation, food and drink for officers and specialist equipment, for example, will also be included in this cost.
 
Leicestershire police’s finance director Paul Dawkins said: “Every cost can be backed up by invoices and receipts. We have applied the same strict accounting standards to this investigation as we would any other.
 
“But we have never charged anything for officer time, these costs are real costs to the force.”

 
Madeleine hunt cost police £745,000, 03 August 2009
 
Madeleine hunt cost police £745,000 Press Association  
 
UKPA
03 August 2009, 13:00
 
British police have now spent nearly three quarters of a million pounds looking into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, it was revealed.
 
The new figure follows revelations earlier this year that Leicestershire Police’s part in the search for the missing little girl amounted to £548,477 in 2007-08.
 
The force said the costs for 2008-09 put an additional £196,756 on the amount – taking the total to £745,233.
 
Some of the cost has so far been reimbursed by a Home Office grant of £525,069.
 
In February, when original figures were released, the Home Office said if a local police force has to incur extra costs for a Government event, its authority can ask for “special grant support from the Home Secretary.”
 
Despite Portugal’s Policia Judiciaria leading the investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance from Praia da Luz in May 2007, Leicestershire Police became involved as the home force of her parents Kate and Gerry McCann.
 
But despite international publicity since her disappearance, Madeleine has still not been found.
 
Her parents were made formal suspects – “arguidos” – in September 2007 but that status has since been lifted. The couple say they will believe Madeleine is alive until given clear evidence to the contrary, and continue to search for her.
 
The McCanns’ spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, said: “The police keep Kate and Gerry informed as and when appropriate and let them know of any movement on the case and Kate and Gerry are grateful to them. Obviously they have spent a lot of money on helping to find Madeleine and they are grateful to them for that effort.
 
“But Leicestershire Police are still bound by the Portuguese authorities as they are the lead force even though technically the case has been shelved over there, pending any significant developments. Leicestershire do what they can under the circumstances and Kate and Gerry are grateful for being kept in the loop.”

Press conference, 06 August 2009

E-fit released of Madeleine McCann suspect

‘Victoria Beckham’ Lookalike – Previous reports/videos start here
 
Police searched for Maddie at a Swedish bathing place, 10 August 2009
 
Police searched for Maddie at a Swedish bathing place expressen.se

Foto: Janne Åkesson och Interpol

Karin Bülow Orrje
Published: 10 August 2009
Translation by Nigel Moore
 
The whole world has been involved in the disappearance of British girl Madeleine McCann. Today the police in Stockholm received information that she may be in this country – but it proved to be a Swedish lookalike.
 
Madeleine McCann’s picture was spread around the world to increase the chances that someone would recognize her. More than two years after her disappearance the girl has not yet been rediscovered, but people cannot be too vigilant. Today the police were called into action after a tip-off that the girl was splashing around in an outdoor bathing lake to the south of Stockholm.
 
Alerted
 
It was a vigilant toddlers father who alerted police after he thought that he had caught a glimpse of the missing British girl Madeleine McCann. Once the police arrived the misunderstanding was quickly cleared up.
 
– It was an Alva or Ylva who was there with her grandmother. The patrol went away without action. So it was not that of Madeleine McCann or her name, said Joakim Caryll – press and information officer at the LCK, Stockholm police.

 
£3m Maddie Fund empty in months, 16 August 2009
 
£3m Maddie Fund empty in months The People
 
EXCLUSIVE
Russell Myers
16 August 2009
 
The £3million fund to find missing Madeleine McCann will run out out of money by the end of the year.
 
Cash flooded in from wellwishers around the world after the angelic youngster vanished in Portugal in May 2007 days before her fourth birthday.
 
But since then, £1million has been spent on private detectives, £123,000 on campaign managers, £100,000 on posters and ads and £110,000 on legal fees and expenses. And public donations to the Find Madeleine Fund – which peaked at £260 an hour – have almost dried up.
 
The shortfall was revealed as leaflets blaming parents Kate and Gerry over Maddie’s disappearance were delivered to every address in the McCanns’ home village of Rothley, Leics.
 
The furious couple have vowed to sue the sick pampleteers.
 
Meanwhile, 41-year-old doctors Gerry and Kate are meeting fundraising experts as they now have less than £250,000 to continue the worldwide hunt for Maddie.
 
A source close to the McCanns said: “It’s a very worrying time. The money will run out by the end of the year and no one knows where the next lot will come from.”
 
Kate and Gerry have vowed never to quit the hunt for their daughter, who vanished while on holiday with her parents and their two year-old twins Sean and Amelie in Praia da Luz.
 
Spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: “Their search will not stop when the money runs out.”
 
*
 
Note: The word ‘pampleteers’ is a mistake made in the original People text, which is reproduced here as published, and should read ‘pamphleteers’.

 
McCanns withdraw complaint against journalists from Tal&Qual, 17 August 2009
 
McCanns withdraw complaint against journalists from Tal&Qual Diário de Notícias

Gerry and Kate McCann

17 August 2009
Thanks to Astro for translation
 
The McCann couple has decided to withdraw the complaint against the Tal & Qual journalists who reported that the police believed that Maddie McCann had been killed by her parents, according to a press release from the Public Ministry in Lagos.
 
The document states that Gerry and Kate McCann declared that they “have no interest in proceeding” with the case, which originated from a criminal complaint that was filed by the couple against Emídio Fernando, the former director of now extinct Tal&Qual, and journalist Ana Catarina Guerreiro.
 
In August 2007, the two journalists signed an article, which was front page news in the paper, according to which the Polícia Judiciária (PJ) believed that it had been the couple that had accidentally killed their daughter.
 
Emídio Fernando told Lusa that he was satisfied over the archiving of the process, although he never even felt relieved, because he had never been worried in the first place.
 
“I was always tranquil, because I never accused anyone. The news said that the PJ didn’t believe in the McCanns’ innocence. What we wrote in the news was that they were going to be heard and that they might become arguidos,” he said.
 
Emídio Fernando stressed that, at the time when he wrote the article, he fully trusted the source and he was “absolutely certain” that the police would fetch the couple, which was confirmed two weeks after the front page news.
 
“I wouldn’t change a comma if it were today. My only failure was to say that the couple would be heard in the week after [the article] and they ended up being heard two weeks later,” he added.
 
Concerning the motives for the McCanns’ withdrawal, Emídio Fernando says that he has no idea whatsoever, but he underlines that at the time, he understood that the couple wished to sue him, he merely found it was strange that they decided to do so one week after the article was published.

 
McCanns announce they are going to sue Tal&Qual, 31 August 2007
 
McCanns announce they are going to sue Tal&Qual – The Background
Tal&Qual front page
Tal&Qual front page
McCanns are furious after reports they killed Madeleine with sedatives Daily Mail

By Sam Greenhill
Last updated at 17:15pm on 25th August 2007

The family of Madeleine McCann were furious after a Portuguese newspaper claimed on its front page that police think she was killed by her parents.

The missing girl’s normally mild-mannered father Gerry could barely contain his anger at the smear, which accused him and his wife Kate of accidentally killing their daughter with an overdose of sedatives.

He also hit out at anonymous police sources behind the whispering campaign being waged against the couple, signalling that their relations with detectives have sunk to a new low.

In a wide-ranging interview with British newspapers including the Daily Mail, Mr McCann also said he is considering going back to his job as a consultant cardiologist but his wife could not yet face returning to her GP work.

The couple, from Rothley, Leicestershire, do not rule out having another child but Mr McCann said they had not considered doing so and stressed that nothing could replace Madeleine.

It is 114 days since she vanished from her bed in the McCanns’ holiday apartment in Praia da Luz while her parents ate tapas with friends in a nearby restaurant.

The McCanns, both 39, have remained in the Algarve with their two- year-old twins Sean and Amelie, clinging to the hope that Madeleine will be found alive.

But in the past three weeks there has been a noticeable shift in the police investigation, with detectives saying they think Madeleine is probably dead. It has led to a tide of wild speculation in the Portuguese media about her fate, and the McCanns have had to endure innuendo implying that they or their friends were somehow involved in her disappearance.

Yesterday, Portuguese newspaper Tal & Qual went one astonishing step further. The weekly tabloid ran a front page picture of Mr and Mrs McCann alongside the headline: “Police believe parents killed Maddie”.

Inside, the paper alleged Madeleine died as a result of an overdose of sedatives given to help her sleep. The McCanns, both doctors, have consistently denied giving their children any such medication.

Tal & Qual – which translates as “The way it is” – claimed Portuguese detectives “are almost absolutely certain that Madeleine was killed by accident by her parents”.

The paper attributed its scoop to an anonymous source close to the investigation and even went on to speculate about the sort of prison sentences someone might get for the crimes of homicide by negligence, and hiding a body.

After learning of the story, Mr McCann was initially speechless, then said: “It’s incredibly hurtful and incredibly untrue.

“Even if somebody could think that, there is just absolutely no evidence pointing in that direction.

“Without anything else, what that implies is that we somehow did it, we did it together, managed to dispose of Madeleine without a car, without anything, that the whole group was involved, that there must have been other people involved … It is just so absurd, it is just not credible.

“But we will come through it. We will not stop and it will move on. My opinion of what has happened has not changed in 16 weeks.

“We know our facts, we know what we did. It does not bear any resemblance to this wild speculation.”

Mr McCann made a blistering attack on anonymous police sources who have been feeding allegations to the Portuguese press, apparently in breach of the country’s strict “secrecy of justice” laws preventing details of investigations being aired publicly.

He said: “I am disappointed that so much information is in the public domain in a country that supposedly has judicial secrecy.

“There have been whispers. There’s either judicial secrecy or there’s not.

“I would be perfectly happy if they said, ‘Right, there is going to be nothing coming out anywhere’, but that hasn’t happened.

“You can’t have it both ways. For Kate and I, it’s an ongoing trauma and that in itself is incredibly hard.

“The wild speculation we have seen recently is detrimental. Ultimately there is an innocent four-year-old girl missing here. Some people do forget that is what this is about.”

Until now, the McCanns have voiced strong support for the investigation, despite private concerns, but have been dismayed at the new direction the police investigation is taking.

The couple have several reasons for believing Madeleine was abducted, including that her favourite Cuddle Cat toy was placed by someone on a high ledge out of her reach and that one of their friends saw a man walking away from the apartment with what looked like a child in his arms.

Tal & Qual stood by its story.

The journalist who wrote it, Catarina Vaz Guerreiro, said: “I can’t reveal my source but I have complete trust in them. I strongly believe the person that told us this information is telling us the truth.”

But Portuguese media commentators said Tal & Qual was a “very bad sensational tabloid” not known for having good police sources.

The story was also dismissed by Portuguese police, who said it had “no authority”.

Today, Mr McCann is due to be a guest speaker at the Edinburgh International Television Festival.


McCanns to launch libel action BBC News video

Steve Kingstone with the McCanns' 7-page defamation complaint
Steve Kingstone with the McCanns’ 7-page defamation complaint
31 August 2007

Madeleine McCann’s parents are to sue a Portuguese newspaper which claimed they killed their daughter.

*

Transcript

By Nigel Moore

Steve Kingstone: This is the front page which prompted the McCanns to call their lawyers. The headline of last Friday’s Tal y Qual: ‘The police believe the parents killed Maddie’. Even though publicly, and repeatedly, the police have said Kate and Gerry McCann are not suspects, the newspaper alleged that the couple had either caused a fatal accident or administered drugs, killing their daughter.

That astonishing allegation is strenuously denied by Kate and Gerry McCann who this morning instructed their Portuguese lawyers to file this 7-page defamation complaint against the journalist who wrote the story and the newspaper’s director. The lawsuit says the article caused ‘humiliation’ and ‘suffering’.

The couple later issued a statement read out by their campaign manager.

Justine McGuinness: The paper claimed we killed our lovely daughter Madeleine. This is without evidence or truth. The past 120 days have been horrific for us, our family and friends. We have tried to ignore some of the more ludicrous speculation, but we simply could not ignore T & Q’s report.

Steve Kingstone: Media speculation has been rife here since the police admitted 3 weeks ago that Madeleine might be dead. That statement was based on new forensic evidence recovered from the family’s holiday apartment, including suspected traces of blood which are still being analysed at a laboratory in Britain.

As the Portuguese police wait for the results, Kate and Gerry McCann continue to believe their daughter is still alive and the clear message to hostile newspapers is: ‘back off’. Steve Kingstone, BBC News, Praia da Luz in Portugal.
 



Transcript of Radio 4 interview with Emilio Fernando, director of Tal&Qal

31 August 2007
Thanks to ReggieDunlop from the3arguidos forum for transcript

BBC:
Lets talk more about that news that the parents of Madeleine McCann have launched a libel action against a Portuguese Newspaper called Tal y Qal. The McCanns called the story ‘deeply hurtful’ and ‘completely untrue’.

Justine McGuinness who speaks for the family read out this statement from the couple.

Justine McGuinness:
“The paper claimed we killed our lovely daughter Madeleine. This is without evidence or truth. The past 120 days have been horrific for us, our family and friends. We have tried to ignore some of the more ludicrous speculation, but we simply could not ignore T & Q’s report. We firmly believe that these sort of unfounded reports distract people from the only thing that matters – finding Madeleine.”

BBC:
Well, Emídio Fernando is director of the newspaper T & Q or Tal y Qal, and is one of two people named in the McCann’s law suit. He’s been speaking to PM. I asked him first whether he was worried about the law suit.

Emídio Fernando:
If you ask about worry, no. I am totally confident about its support for me. I’m completely tranquil with any possible lawsuit. I trust in my sources about that and I would like to tell something because I think the family McCann, or McCann family, are wrong in one way. Maybe because the British newspapers – they are thinking that Tal y Qal, my newspaper, accused them to culpable of having killed their daughter or something. NO. We NEVER accused Mr McCann or Mrs McCann. We just publish one thing. The Portugese police believes. I repeat these words… it’s very important for me: The Portiugese police BELIEVE the Maddie parents killed Maddie by accident. Just that.

BBC:
Isn’t the difficulty that, on the record the police say that’s not the case and the McCanns are not, and never have been, suspects.

EF:
Of course, because they couldn’t to say another thing. Can you imagine if you are in the investigation and… I don’t know. You think one person is suspect and you say “Aaaah yes, he is a suspect” and he can run away, maybe… I don’t know. Well it is not my problem. I trust completely… listen, completely in my sources.

BBC:
Can I ask you about something one of your journalists wrote, which was, quote, that “the hypothesis of the little girl dying from excess of drugs is not to be pushed-aside. It remains plausible that Madeleine received a dose which the parents believed to be inoffensive and which turned out to be fatal.” What’s that based on?

EF:
Hmmm. These beliefs have been the ground of the investigation… is the most important for them. What we published is the ground of that investigation now. And we believe completely in my sources, of course. It’s not only one. And they now – the Portuguese police – believe in that theory. Not in another one about kidnap.

BBC:
In order to prove your case in a court – and this comes back to the question of evidence, doesn’t it? – you are going to have to prove that police sources told you this. You can name your sources, though can you? How can you prove that this is what they told you?

EF:
I can prove they told me that.

BBC:
How?

EF:
And they know.

BBC:
How can they?

EF:
And they know.

BBC:
Forgive me… I’m not hearing from you how, given that this is now a libel action, how you can prove that what you wrote was genuinely something that was told to you by at least one source.

EF:
How can I prove?

BBC:
Yes.

EF:
The problem is not to prove… a-ha, listen again. I prove and my sources said the Portuguese police believes. If you believe in something… if you believe in something, and you can tell that to another person, how can that person can prove that you believe in that?

BBC:
And finally, is it your belief that ultimately your story will be proved to be a true reflection (interrupts), an on the record reflection, of what the Police thinks.

EF:
I don’t know. Errr, listen, they are thinking about that. If they are right or not, if they can prove or not. Them problems are not Police.

BBC:
And did you think, when you wrote it – and when you, as you told us, didn’t check these facts, – what effect it might have on Mr and Mrs McCann.

EF:
I check it… I check it with the Police.

BBC:
Well that was Emídio Fernando.



The parents of Madeleine McCann announce they are going to sue Tal&Qual RTP online
(no longer available online)

The director of Tal&Qual weekly newspaper guaranteed to Lusa that he never accused the McCanns of killing their daughter, clarifying that last week’s headline only transmits what the police believe.

31 August 2009
Thanks to Astro for translation

The parents of Madeleine McCann have announced today, through BBC News, that they are going to sue Tal&Qual after this paper reported on news that indicate that the Policia Judiciaria (PJ) believed the couple killed Maddie accidentally.

“I keep the story, I won’t change a comma”, director Emidio Fernando told Lusa, clarifying that the newspaper “never accused anyone, just says what the police believes”.

Saying he is “absolutely tranquil” concerning a possible lawsuit, the weekly’s director said the McCanns’ intentions are “based on the articles that were published in English newspapers, which say that Tal&Qual accuses the family of a crime”.

“If we published the story, it’s because we are certain of it”, Emidio Fernando said, adding that “what the newspaper assumes is that the police believe” the possibility that the parents killed the English girl accidentally.

“I trust our sources and please note that I say sources in plural, because they are more than three”, the director said, who guarantees that the weekly he directs “never wrote anything that has not been confirmed, since this process [of Maddie’s disappearance] started”.

Although they have not received any notification about a possible defamation lawsuit that the McCanns have announced to be filing, the complaint is, according to BBC News, against the newspaper and the director.



Gerry’s Blog, Day 120, 31 August 2007

Those of who you that read the blog regularly know how difficult it has been for us not to respond to many of the slurs against our behaviour leading up to Madeleines disappearance. We have consistently stated that we will not put new information into the public domain that might jeopardise the investigation and in fact, we are constrained by Portuguese Law as witnesses from doing so.

There has been some wild speculation reported in the press about what may have happened to Madeleine. Most of the innuendo regarding Kate and me has died down in light of the statements from the official Portuguese Police spokesperson. However last Friday, a Portuguese newspaper published a front-page headline ‘PJ believes that the parents killed Maddie’. We firmly believe that the report was speculative, defamatory and published despite official statements to the contrary.

As well as damaging our personal and professional reputations, such allegations smear the investigation, the campaign to find Madeleine and cause great offence and anxiety to all our family. This is why, after careful consideration, we have issued a writ against the newspaper for defamation. Our focus has, and always will be, on doing our best to help find Madeleine. This lurid allegation is so serious and wide of the mark that we feel it cannot go unchallenged.

The legal expenses for the proceedings will not be paid from Madeleines fund.

 
McCanns drop libel case against Portuguese tabloid, 20 August 2009
 
McCanns drop libel case against Portuguese tabloid Irish Examiner

By Tom Worden
Thursday, August 20, 2009

GERRY and Kate McCann have dropped a libel case against the Portuguese newspaper which first linked them to the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine.

The couple were suing weekly tabloid Tal & Qual over an August 2007 article headlined “Police believe the parents killed Maddie”.

The front page story caused a sensation around the world, as it was the first suggestion detectives were treating the McCanns as suspects.

This week the McCanns withdrew their defamation action after being advised the paper had a strong defence under Portuguese law.

It could argue the story was published in good faith, as senior police officers did at the time believe the McCanns may have been implicated.

A source close to the couple confirmed the defamation action against the newspaper and two journalists had been dropped.

The source said the McCanns want to concentrate instead on their €1.16 million case against Goncalo Amaral, the disgraced former head of the Madeleine investigation.

This story appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Thursday, August 20, 2009

 
McCanns drop libel case against Portuguese newspaper, 20 August 2009
 
McCanns drop libel case against Portuguese newspaper Telegraph

Gerry and Kate McCann have dropped a libel case against the Portuguese newspaper which first linked them to the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine.

By Murray Wardrop
Published: 7:00AM BST 20 Aug 2009

The couple were suing weekly the tabloid Tal & Qual over an article in August 2007 headlined “Police believe the parents killed Maddie”.

The front page story caused a sensation around the world, as it was the first suggestion that detectives were treating the McCanns as suspects.

This week the couple, from Rothley, Leics, withdrew their defamation action after being advised that the newspaper had a strong defence under Portuguese law.

It could argue the story was published in good faith because senior police officers did at the time believe the McCanns may have been implicated in the case.

A source close to the couple confirmed that the defamation action against the newspaper and two journalists had been dropped.

The source said the McCanns want to concentrate instead on their £1 million case against Goncalo Amaral, the former head of the Madeleine investigation.

They also suspect Amaral may have been behind the story in Tal & Qual, which has since folded.

The source said: “The libel action against Tal & Qual has been dropped for a number of reasons. Firstly, the newspaper went bust some time ago.

“Secondly Tal & Qual could probably have mounted a defence, as they were reporting what a certain police officer believed at the time.

“Kate and Gerry have been advised it is much better to go for the source of the story.

“When the story first came out it was a huge shock for Kate and Gerry and they did not believe it was true.”

The Tal & Qual article was published three months after Madeleine went missing during a family holiday in Praia da Luz, on the Algarve.

It claimed that detectives believed the parents had either caused a fatal accident or had given drugs to their daughter.

Lawyers representing the McCanns filed a writ against the newspaper, its editor Emidio Fernando, and reporter Catarina Vaz Guerreiro.

But two weeks later the couple, both doctors, were sensationally named as “arguidos” or formal suspects in the case.

Deluded chief investigator Goncalo Amaral wrongly believed they had covered up their three-year-old daughter´s death, even though there was no evidence to support his theory.

He was later taken off the case, which was eventually archived and remains unsolved.

In July 2008 the McCanns were cleared of any wrongdoing in a formal report by Portugal´s Attorney General Jose Pinto Monteiro.

They have always believed their daughter was abducted.

Mr Fernando said: “I had total faith in the source and was certain the police were looking at the couple.

“It’s not a victory, because I never saw this as a war. I was, as I am today, totally calm about what I wrote.”

Gerry and Kate McCann´s spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: “This is a matter for Kate and Gerry´s lawyers in consultation with Kate and Gerry, of course.”

Amaral, 49, went on to make more than £1 million by writing a book repeating his outlandish claims.

The McCanns are suing him for at least £1 million for defamation and for breaching their human rights.

They have employed one of Portugal´s leading libel lawyers, Isabel Duarte, in a case expected to be heard in Lisbon next summer.

If they win they will use the money to continue the search for Madeleine, who would now be six.

The Find Madeleine Fund, set up to finance the couple’s worldwide search for their daughter, is expected to run out of money by the end of the year, it was reported this week.

The McCanns also plan to sue the group behind a leaflet blaming them for Madeleine´s disappearance.

The couple were “deeply upset” by the fliers, produced by a group called the “Madeleine Foundation”, which has accused them of neglect.

The leaflets were received by 10,000 people in the McCann’s home village of Rothley.

The 3 Arguidos forum – official statement

By jjp
20 August 2009

The current situation with 3As is as follows: Co-admin, jjp, has resigned from the forum because he was unable to agree with the direction it was taking and for personal health reasons.

Currently, Photon, the other co-admin is on holiday.

Currently, Beowulf is, for personal reasons, able to manage only the technical side of the forum and not the day-to-day issues.

One global moderator has resigned from the forum completely due to the issues and a number of others have asked for their accounts to be de-activated till the problems are resolved. These others will re-consider their positions when the issues are resolved.

No other, available moderator felt able to take on the considerable burden of administration of the forum.

Though no representation has been made with regard to the Bennett/Butler campaign and its potential legal implications for the 3As forum, a number of posters and others (some with verified legal qualifications) have expressed strong feelings that there may be a threat to the forum. Without any current admin and with a limited moderation team (due to holidays and other personal issues) it was felt that the safety of the forum should be the priority.   The forum remains secure – no data has been removed – it is simply not accessible at the moment due to being disabled.

 
US ‘Maddy’ turns up 18 years after her abduction, 28 August 2009
 

US ‘Maddy’ turns up 18 years after her abduction Irish Independent

Jaycee Dugard

By Chris Ayres in Los Angeles
Friday August 28 2009

The blonde, blue-eyed girl was 11 years old when she was abducted from outside her home near Lake Tahoe, California. After almost two decades, the only hope that her parents had left was that her body would one day be found.

Last night, that same girl, Jaycee Lee Dugard, was being reunited with her family as a 29-year-old woman after walking into a police station and revealing her identity.

After interviews and DNA tests it is thought that Ms Dugard’s story has been confirmed, bringing an extraordinary end to a missing person case that in 1991 attracted the same kind of media frenzy that the disappearance of Madeleine McCann generated two years ago. Two suspects have been taken into custody.

“After 18 years, you do give up hope — this is a miracle,” Carl Probyn (60), the girl’s stepfather, said. Police and the FBI were searching the neighbourhood of a 58-year-old convicted rapist and registered sex offender yesterday, apparently in connection with the abduction.

Mr Probyn was standing in his driveway on June 10, 1991, when he saw a grey car pull up beside the bus stop where his stepdaughter was waiting on her way to school.

Then someone reached out, grabbed her and sped off. On the FBI’s “wanted” poster the suspects were described as a man and a woman.

There were several witness, but in spite of a large search operation Jaycee could not be found and no arrests were made. The police never gave up: as recently as 2002, a former priest’s home was raided in connection with the crime. No evidence was found.

The Probyns’ marriage suffered after Jaycee’s abduction and they eventually separated. Mr Probyn now lives in Orange County while the girl’s mother, Terry, lives in a Los Angeles suburb. The couple have another daughter, Shayna, who is 19.

Alive

Mr Probyn said he received a telephone call from his daughter at about 4pm on Wednesday.

“Mum has something to say to you,” she said. “Are you sitting down?” Then his wife came on the line and said, through tears: “They found Jaycee. She’s alive.”

According to Mr Probyn, his wife was told the news by an FBI agent who called her at work. At first she thought that it was a prank call. Then the agent put Jaycee on the phone.

“My wife talked with her and is convinced she is Jaycee,” Mr Probyn said.

Because Mr Probyn was the last person to see Jaycee before her disappearance, he immediately fell under police suspicion during the investigation.

He took four lie-detector tests and remained a suspect in the case for nearly two decades.

Although he has yet to speak to his stepdaughter, Mr Probyn said that from what his wife told him, “she is doing okay”.

“I don’t know if a cult took her, or if a couple who didn’t have kids took her,” he said. (© The Times, London)



Abused by U.S. Fritzl
Daily Mirror

By Anton Antonowicz
28/08/2009

Kidnap girl forced to have two children after being seized by sex fiend

Kidnapped Jaycee Lee Dugard was forced to have two children by the pervert who grabbed her off the streets 18 years ago.

Jaycee was kept prisoner in a shed by convicted rapist Phillip Garrido and his wife Nancy after they abducted the 11-year-old as she walked to a bus stop.

Police say she was abused and forced to have sex with Garrido, 58. She had her first daughter by him when she was aged 14.

A second daughter was born four years later. The two girls are now aged 15 and 11.

Garrido’s vile secret finally began to unravel when he was spotted on a University of California campus handing out pamphlets – accompanied by Jaycee’s two daughters.

A security guard thought his behaviour towards the girls was suspicious and confronted him. Checks on his background showed he had a 1971 conviction for rape and kidnap.

He was ordered to attend a meeting with a probation officer and turned up with Nancy, a young woman he called Allissa and the girls.

El Dorado Under Sheriff Fred Kollar said: “Ultimately the female named Allissa was identified as Jaycee.

“And from what he said he fathered both of those children with Jaycee.”

A search of Garrido’s house in Antioch, California, revealed a hidden compound including two sheds within his back yard.

Jaycee, now 29, and her two daughters are believed to have lived in the sheds, which were 6ft high and 10ft square. Neither of the girls has even been to school or been seen by a doctor.

Kollar said: “They were kept in complete isolation.”

He said Jaycee seemed in good health but added: “Living in a backyard for 18 years takes its toll.”

The case has chilling echoes of the story of Austrian monster Josef Fritzl, who fathered seven children on his daughter after keeping her in a cellar for 24 years.

Garrido’s compound was hidden behind a tree-lined fence and its entrance was obscured by piles of rubbish bins, general debris and a tarpaulin. It could not be seen from neighbouring houses.

Kollar said: “There is a rudimentary outhouse and a rudimentary shower, as if you were camping.”

A vehicle discovered at the Garrido house matches the description of the vehicle involved in Jaycee’s disappearance. She was forced into a car by two people as she walked to a bus stop one morning in 1991 before her stepfather Carl Probyn could react.

A stunned Carl told last night how his 19-year-old daughter Shawna had phoned to break the amazing news that Jaycee was alive.

She told him: “Mum has something to say to you. Are you sitting down?” Estranged wife Terry then came on the line and sobbed: “They found Jaycee. She’s alive.”

Jaycee, who was last night in a hotel with her daughters, has spoken to her mum Terry but has not yet seen her.

Garrido was last night being held on suspicion of kidnap, rape and lewd acts with a minor.

His wife Nancy, 55, was held on suspicion of conspiracy and kidnap.

Phillip Garrido Overjoyed Carl said: “To have this happen, where we get her back alive, where she remembers things from the past and to have people in custody is a triple win.”

Carl, who initially came under suspicion, added: “I had given up hope. But she sounds like she’s OK. She’s had a conversation with my wife and remembers things.”

Carl was in the garage of his home in South Lake Tahoe, California in June 1991, when he heard her scream and saw a stranger forcing her into a car. He chased in vain on his bicycle, then returned to ask neighbours to call police. Within a year, 1.2 million posters of her were put up around the US and there were several false sightings.

An e-fit was issued showing what she would look like at 25. Two people were held but later freed. Terry also staged yearly vigils as she hoped for some good news.

It finally came in a call from an FBI agent which Terry at first feared was a hoax.

Law officials said they were astonished that Jaycee turned up safe and well. Local chief assistant district attorney Bill Clark said: “It’s a pretty spectacular story to find someone like that – someone we assumed was dead.”

Clarence Mitchell, spokesman for Kate and Gerry McCann, said it gave hope that one day daughter Madeleine, snatched in Portugal in 2007, could be found safe and well.

He said: “They are extremely pleased. It strengthens their determination never to stop looking for Madeleine.”

Austrian Josef Fritzl fathered seven children with his daughter who he kept locked in a cellar for 24 years. Fritzl and his wife adopted three of the youngsters. Three others, aged five to 19, lived with their mother underground. Another died. He was jailed for life for rape, incest and murder.


Kidnap girl found alive after 18 years The Sun
Encouraged ... the McCanns
Encouraged … the McCanns
From DAVID WILLETTS in Los Angeles and ANTONELLA LAZZERI
Published: Today (28 August 2009)

(…)

Last night a spokesman for Maddie’s parents Kate and Gerry McCann, of Rothley, Leics, said they are “drawing strength” from the case.

He added: “They will never give up looking for their daughter.”


‘They slept in my arms every night’: Sick boasts of kidnapper who held Jaycee Dugard for 18 years and fathered her two children Daily Mail

By DAVID GARDNER and NICOLA BODEN
Last updated at 11:15 AM on 28th August 2009

(…)

Jaycee’s discovery brings fresh hope for the parents of Madeleine McCann, as proof that missing children do sometimes turn up safe years later.

Kate and Gerry McCann have refused to give up searching for daughter, who vanished from their holiday apartment in Portugal in May 2007, days before her fourth birthday.

A spokesman said last night: ‘Kate and Gerry always draw great strength from any child being found alive no matter how long after the event of them going missing.

‘This will come as extremely encouraging news to them and I know they will be very interested in learning more details.

‘Without commenting on the specifics of this young lady’s case, I know they will wish her well and hope her case is resolved as quickly and effectively as possible.’
 
(…)


Madeleine McCann’s parents inspired by Jaycee Lee Dugard case Telegraph

The parents of Madeleine McCann said today that the reappearance of child kidnap victim Jaycee Lee Dugard 18 years after she disappeared “only makes us more determined” to find their daughter.

Published: 1118AM BST 28 Aug 2009

Jaycee Lee Dugard was abducted at the age of 11 from her home in California in 1991 but has now been reunited with her mother after walking into a police station with her alleged captor and the two children he fathered by her.

Kate and Gerry McCann said: “Once again this shows that children can sometimes disappear off the radar only to be found years later alive.

“It emphasises that we should never assume that someone is not alive without any evidence to support this. We should never give up

“This case only makes us more determined to find Madeleine. She is out there somewhere and somebody knows where.”

Miss Dugard, now aged 29, was reunited with her mother on Thursday after revealing during an interview with her kidnapper’s parole officer that she was the victim of one of California’s oldest unsolved crimes. It was her first known appearance in public since her abduction.

She disappeared when a man and a woman pulled her kicking and screaming into a car at a school bus stop just yards from her home in South Lake Tahoe.

Madeleine went missing without trace from a Portuguese hotel on May 3rd 2003. Despite spending millions of pounds in a continuing hunt her parents are no closer to finding out what happened.

 
New hope on Maddy and Ben, 29 August 2009
 
New hope on Maddy and Ben Daily Mirror

By Rod Chaytor
29/08/2009

MISSING

Jaycee’s return has given a boost to the parents of missing British children Madeleine McCann and Ben Needham.

Madeleine vanished just before her fourth birthday in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in 2007.

Ben was almost two when he disappeared a month after kidnap victim Jaycee during a holiday on Kos in 1991.

Yesterday Kate and Gerry McCann relaunched the hunt for their daughter and said the discovery of Jaycee after 18 years “makes us more determined to find our little girl”. The couple, of Rothley, Leics, said in a statement: “Once again this shows that children can disappear off the radar only to be found alive years later.

“It emphasises we should never assume someone is not alive without any evidence. We should never give up. Madeleine is out there somewhere and somebody knows where.”

Their spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, added: “Jaycee’s case underlines statistics which say the younger a child is when she is taken, the more likely she is to be cared for and kept alive over an extended period.”

A us missing children’s centre which produced an ageprogress picture of Jaycee four years ago, showing how she could look aged 25, also gave the McCanns a picture of Madeleine as she might look now. Ben’s mother Kerry Grist-Needham yesterday said she hopes that Jaycee’s discovery will inspire people to start looking for him again.

Kerry, 37, from Sheffield, said: “Ben was my first thought when I heard about Jaycee.

“Every day I think about what he looks like, and I know that when I see him now he’ll be grown up.

“He’s out there somewhere and just like Jaycee he can still be found, even after 18 years.”


Hope for Madeleine Daily Mirror Opinion

29/08/2009

The discovery of Jaycee Lee Dugard 18 years after she was kidnapped, aged just 11, is an ultimately inspiring tale of hope triumphing over adversity.

Questions must be answered about how police and neighbours did not find her while she was living with her abductor.

But the message of Jaycee’s discovery is the family and friends of missing persons should never give up believing that they too can celebrate a miracle.

Kate and Gerry McCann have been through hell since daughter Madeleine vanished more than two years ago on holiday in Portugal.

The couple have pursued leads that appeared promising before cruelly fizzling out.

Yet the McCanns have never given up hope, impressing supporters with a determination to overcome despair and continue the international hunt for their little girl.

The case of Jaycee inevitably invites comparisons and will give Kate and Gerry fresh strength to maintain the search. We pray they will one day be reunited with their daughter.

 
Editorial: New hope for finding Madeleine, 29 August 2009
 
Editorial: New hope for finding Madeleine Taranaki Daily News Online

Last updated 05:00 29/08/2009

The bizarre and engrossing saga behind the apparent rediscovery of kidnapped woman Jaycee Dugard is one of those stories destined to go around the world.

Grabbed as an 11-year-old from a bus stop in South Lake Tahoe, California, 18 years ago, it appears Jaycee has spent the great majority of her life in sheds, tents and outbuildings isolated from the rest of the world by her evil abductors.

The world will be keen to pick over the latest sordid details of the latest sordid case, but also to celebrate with Jaycee and her family the return of the little girl they thought they would never see again.

Great and momentous news as this is, nowhere will it be felt more keenly and studied more carefully than in the small British home of Kate and Gerry McCann.

It is 2 1/2 years since their sweet, blonde four-year-old daughter Madeleine disappeared while on a family holiday in Portugal, and the case remains a global movement unlike anything ever seen before.

But like all great news stories, there is a time when interest fades, the public grows weary and the cameras move on. Journalists stop ringing and knocking on the door; the news cycle turns over and the world moves on.

Possibly that is because the public and the media that feeds them come to terms with the perceived realisation that the person is dead, leaving the family to deal with either their denial over their loved one’s demise or a determination to press on for either some closure or a joyous discovery.

No doubt most people now believe Madeleine is dead; that she was killed quickly after her abduction or some time later, when the fury of public feedback and scrutiny reached such a global fever pitch that it forced her abductor’s hand.

But this latest stunning development in another high-profile abduction case and the 2006 discovery of Austrian teenager Natascha Kampusch after eight years held captive, not only give the McCanns renewed hope to push on with their global search for Madeleine but also provides another insight into what inspires these base instincts in such troubled minds.

No doubt it will revive interest in the McCanns’ campaign and give them and their supporters valuable impetus and energy.

Maybe, just like Jaycee Dugard and Natascha Kampusch, little Madeleine McCann is still out there, still alive and dreaming of the day when she too will be reunited with her family.

Let’s hope that is the case and it will not be 18 years before she is found and returned home.

 
The McCann files, 29 August 2009
 
The McCann files ES magazine (London Evening Standard – paper edition only)
(Note: This article has already been removed from the online version of ES magazine and replaced by the message: ‘Content has been suppressed for editorial and/or legal reasons’)

By Mark Hollingsworth 
Issue: Friday 28 August 2009

Disillusioned with the Portuguese police, Gerry and Kate McCann turned to private detectives to find their missing daughter. Instead the efforts of the private eyes served only to scare off witnesses, waste funds and raise false hopes. Mark Hollingsworth investigates the investigators.


It was billed as a ‘significant development’ in the exhaustive search for Madeleine McCann. At a recent dramatic press conference in London, the lead private investigator David Edgar, a retired Cheshire detective inspector, brandished an E-FIT image of an Australian woman, described her as ‘a bit of a Victoria Beckham lookalike’, and appealed for help in tracing her. The woman was seen ‘looking agitated’ outside a restaurant in Barcelona three days after Madeleine’s disappearance. ‘It is a strong lead’, said Edgar, wearing a pin-stripe suit in front of a bank of cameras and microphones. ‘Madeleine could have been in Barcelona by that point. The fact the conversation took place near the marina could be significant.’

But within days reporters discovered that the private detectives had failed to make the most basic enquiries before announcing their potential breakthrough. Members of Edgar’s team who visited Barcelona had failed to speak to anyone working at the restaurant near where the agitated woman was seen that night, neglected to ask if the mystery woman had been filmed on CCTV cameras and knew nothing about the arrival of an Australian luxury yacht just after Madeleine vanished.

The apparent flaws in this latest development were another salutary lesson for Kate and Gerry McCann, who have relied on private investigators after the Portuguese police spent more time falsely suspecting the parents than searching for their daughter. For their relations with private detectives have been frustrating, unhappy and controversial ever since their daughter’s disappearance in May 2007.

The search has been overseen by the millionaire business Brian Kennedy, 49, who set up Madeleine’s Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned, which aimed ‘to procure that Madeleine’s abduction is thoroughly investigated’. A straight-talking, tough, burly self-made entrepreneur and rugby fanatic, he grew up in a council flat near Tynecastle in Scotland and was brought up as a Jehovah’s Witness. He started his working life as a window cleaner and by 2007 had acquired a £350 million fortune from double-glazing and home-improvement ventures. Kennedy was outraged by the police insinuations against the McCanns and, though a stranger, worked tirelessly on their behalf. ‘His motivation was sincere,’ said someone who worked closely with him. ‘He was appalled by the Portuguese police, but he also had visions of flying in by helicopter to rescue Madeleine.’

Kennedy commissioned private detectives to conduct an investigation parallel to the one run by the Portuguese police. But his choice showed how dangerous it is when powerful and wealthy businessmen try to play detective. In September 2007, he hired Metodo 3, an agency based in Barcelona, on a six-month contract and paid it an estimated £50,000 a month. Metodo 3 was hired because of Spain’s ‘language and cultural connection’ with Portugal. ‘If we’d had big-booted Brits or, heaven forbid, Americans, we would have had doors slammed in our faces’ said Clarence Mitchell, spokesperson for the McCann’s at the time. ‘And it’s quite likely that we could have been charged with hindering the investigation as technically it’s illegal in Portugal to undertake a secondary investigation.’

The agency had 35 investigators working on the case in Britain, France, Spain, Portugal and Morocco. A hotline was set up for the public to report sightings and suspicions, and the search focussed on Morocco. But the investigation was dogged by over-confidence and braggadocio. ‘We know who took Madeleine and hope she will be home by Christmas,’ boasted Metodo 3’s flamboyant boss Francisco Marco. But no Madeleine materialised and their contract was not renewed.

Until now, few details have emerged about the private investigation during those crucial early months, but an investigation by ES shows that key mistakes were made, which in turn made later enquiries far more challenging.

ES has spoken to several sources close to the private investigations that took place in the first year and discovered that:

* The involvement of Brian Kennedy and his son Patrick in the operation was counter-productive, notably when they were questioned by the local police for acting suspiciously while attempting a 24-hour ‘stake out’.

* The relationship between Metodo 3 and the Portuguese police had completely broken down.

* Key witnesses were questioned far too aggressively, so much so that some of them later refused to talk to the police

* Many of the investigators had little experience of the required painstaking forensic detective work.

By April 2008, nearing the first anniversary of the disappearance, Kennedy and the McCanns were desperate. And so when Henri Exton, a former undercover police officer who worked on M15 operations, and Kevin Halligen, a smooth-talking Irishman who claimed to have worked for covert British government intelligence agency GCHQ, walked through the door, their timing was perfect. Their sales pitch was classic James Bond spook-talk: everything had to be ‘top secret’ and ‘on a need to know basis’. The operation would involve 24-hour alert systems, undercover units, satellite imagery and round-the-clock surveillance teams that would fly in at short notice. This sounded very exiting but, as one source close to the investigation told ES, it was also very expensive and ultimately unsuccessful. ‘The real job at hand was old-fashioned, tedious, forensic police work rather than these boy’s own, glory boy antics,’ he said.

But Kennedy was impressed by the license-to-spy presentation and Exton and Halligen were hire for a fee of £100,000 per month plus expenses. Ostensibly, the contract was with Halligen’s UK security company, Red Defence International Ltd, and an office was set up in Jermyn Street, in St James’s. Only a tiny group of employees did the painstaking investigative work of dealing with thousands of emails and phone calls. Instead, resources were channelled into undercover operations in paedophile rings and among gypsies throughout Europe, encouraged by Kennedy. A five-man surveillance team was dispatched in Portugal, overseen by the experienced Exton, for six weeks.

Born in Belgium in 1951, Exton had been a highly effective undercover officer for the Manchester police. A maverick and dynamic figure, he successfully infiltrated gangs of football hooligans in the 1980’s. While not popular among his colleagues, in 1991 he was seconded to work on MI5 undercover operations against drug dealers, gangsters and terrorists, and was later awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for ‘outstanding bravery’. By all accounts, the charismatic Exton was a dedicated officer. But in November 2002, the stress appeared to have overcome his judgement when he was arrested for shoplifting.

While working on an MI5 surveillance, Exton was caught leaving a tax-free shopping area at Manchester airport with a bottle of perfume he had not paid for. The police were called and he was given the option of the offence being dealt with under caution or to face prosecution. He chose a police caution and so in effect admitted his guilt. Exton was sacked, but was furious about the way he had been treated and threatened to sue MI5. He later set up his own consulting company and moved to Bury in Lancashire.

While Exton, however flawed, was the genuine article as an investigator, Halligen was a very different character. Born in Dublin in 1961, he has been described as a ‘Walter Mitty figure’. He used false names to collect prospective clients at airports in order to preserve secrecy, and he called himself ‘Kevin’ or ‘Richard’ or ‘Patrick’ at different times to describe himself to business contacts. There appears to be no reason for all this subterfuge except that he thought this was what agents did. A conspiracy theorist and lover of the secret world, he is obsessed by surveillance gadgets and even installed a covert camera to spy on his own employees. He claimed to have worked for GCHQ, but in fact he was employed by the Atomic Energy Authority (AEA) as head of defence systems in the rather less glamorous field of new information technology, researching the use of ‘special batteries’. He told former colleagues and potential girlfriends that he used to work for MI5, MI6 and the CIA. He also claimed that he was nearly kidnapped by the IRA, was involved in the first Gulf War and had been a freefall parachutist.

Very little of this is true. What is true is that Halligen has a degree in electronics, worked on the fringes of the intelligence community while at AEA and does understand government communications. He could also be an astonishingly persuasive, engaging and charming individual. Strikingly self-confident and articulate, he could be generous and clubbable. ‘He was very good company but only when it suited him,’ says one friend. ‘He kept people in compartments.’

After leaving the AEA, Halligen set up Red Defence International Ltd as an international security and political risk company, advising clients on the risks involved in investing and doing business in unstable, war-torn and corrupt countries. He worked closely with political risk companies and was a persuasive advocate of IT security. In 2006, he struck gold when hired by Trafigura, the Dutch commodities trading company. Executives were imprisoned in the Ivory Coast after toxic waste was dumped in landfills near its biggest city Abidjan. Trafigura was blamed and hired Red Defence International at vast expense to help with the negotiations to release its executives. A Falcon business jet was rented for several months during the operation and it was Halligen’s first taste of the good life. The case only ended when Trafigura paid $197 million to the government of the Ivory Coast to secure the release of the prisoners.

Halligen made a fortune from Trafigura and was suddenly flying everywhere first-class, staying at the Lansborough and Stafford hotels in London and The Willard hotel in Washington DC for months at a time. In 2007 he set up Oakley International Group and registered at the offices of the prestigious law firm Patton Boggs, in Washington DC, as an international security company. He was now strutting the stage as a self-proclaimed international spy expert and joined the Special Forces Club in Knightsbridge, where he met Exton.

During the Madeleine investigation, Halligen spent vast amounts of time in the HeyJo bar in the basement of the Abracadabra Club near his Jermyn Street office. Armed with a clutch of unregistered mobile phones and a Blackberry, the bar was in effect his office. ‘He was there virtually the whole day,’ a former colleague told ES. ‘He had an amazing tolerance for alcohol and a prodigious memory and so occasionally he would have amazing bursts of intelligence, lucidity and insights. They were very rare but they did happen.’

When not imbibing in St James’s, Halligen was in the United States, trying to drum up investors for Oakley International. On 15 August 2008, at the height of the McCann investigation crisis, he persuaded Andre Hollis, a former US Drug enforcement agency official, to write out an $80,000 cheque to Oakley in return for a ten per cent share-holding. The money was then transferred into the private accounts of Halligen and his girlfriend Shirin Trachiotis to finance a holiday in Italy, according to Hollis. In a $6 million lawsuit filed in Fairfax County, Virginia, Hollis alleges that Halligen ‘received monies for Oakley’s services rendered and deposited the same into his personal accounts’ and ‘repeatedly and systematically depleted funds from Oakley’s bank accounts for inappropriate personal expenses’.

Hollis was not the only victim. Mark Aspinall, a respected lawyer who worked closely with Halligen, invested £500,000 in Oakley and lost the lot. Earlier this year he filed a lawsuit in Washington DC against Halligen claiming $1.4 million in damages. The finances of Oakley International are in chaos and numerous employees, specialist consultants and contractors have not been paid. Some of them now face financial ruin.

Meanwhile, Exton was running the surveillance teams in Portugal and often paying his operatives upfront, so would occasionally be out-of-pocket because Halligen had not transferred funds. Exton genuinely believed that progress was being made and substantial and credible reports on child trafficking were submitted. But by mid-August 2008, Kennedy and Gerry McCann were increasingly concerned by an absence of details of how the money was being spent. At one meeting, Halligen was asked how many men constituted a surveillance team and he produced a piece of paper on which he wrote ‘between one and ten’. But he then refused to say how many were working and how much they were being paid.

While Kennedy and Gerry McCann accepted that the mission was extremely difficult and some secrecy was necessary, Halligen was charging very high rates and expenses. And eyebrows were raised when all the money was paid to Oakley International, solely owned and managed by Halligen. One invoice, seen by ES, shows that for ‘accrued expenses to May 5, 2008’ (just one month into the contract), Oakley charged $74,155. The ‘point of contact’ was Halligen who provided a UK mobile telephone number.

While Kennedy was ready to accept Halligen at face value, Gerry McCann – sharp, focused and intelligent – was more sceptical. The contract with Oakley International and Halligen was terminated by the end of September 2008, after £500,000-plus expenses had been spent.

For the McCanns it was a bitter experience, Exton has returned to Cheshire and, like so many people, is owed money by Halligen. As for Halligen, he has gone into hiding, leaving a trail of debt and numerous former business associates and creditors looking for him. He was last seen in January of this year in Rome, drinking and spending prodigiously at the Hilton Cavalieri and Excelsior hotels. He is now believed by private investigators, who have been searching for him to serve papers on behalf of creditors, to be in the UK and watching his back. Meanwhile, in the eye of the storm, the McCanns continue the search for their lost daughter.

Bishop Ellis Catholic Primary School website, 31 August 2009

Bishop Ellis Catholic Primary School
Click image above to go to Bishop Ellis Catholic Primary School website

 
Kate pain as twins join Maddie school, 31 August 2009
 
Kate pain as twins join Maddie school The Sun

By ANTONELLA LAZZERI
Published: Today (31 August 2009)

KATE McCann will this week watch twins Sean and Amelie start at the “big” school where missing sister Madeleine should already be a pupil.

The kiddies, now four, are said to be “very excited” about their first day in primary class.

But the moment she takes them through the front gates will be tinged with unbearable sadness for Kate.

For Maddie was due to start there four months after she vanished on a Portuguese holiday just days before her fourth birthday in May, 2007.

School chiefs kept an empty desk, coat peg and locker for her that year – and still keep a candle burning in the hope she will one day be returned.

GP Kate, 41, is expected to drop off Sean and Amelie with husband Gerry, also 41, if he can get time off from his job as a cardiac specialist.

Amelie will be wearing the same uniform – a red gingham dress – her sister should have worn for her first day at Bishop Ellis Roman Catholic Primary in Thurmaston, Leics.

A source close to the McCanns said: “For any family, children starting at big school is a momentous occasion – but for Kate and Gerry it will also be an emotional one too, with Madeleine never far from their thoughts.”

A family pal said: “Kate and Gerry are really excited about the twins starting school. But it’s yet another milestone without their beloved daughter.

“They miss her as much as ever and it will feel strange that the twins are going to the school Madeleine sadly has never had the chance to start.”

The twins will be driven the five miles to school from their family home in Rothley.

Kate’s uncle Brian Kennedy is a school governor and his wife Janet was a teacher there.


Maddy twins off to school Daily Mirror

By Rod Chaytor
31/08/2009

The twin brother and sister of missing Madeleine McCann will start school this week.

Sean and Amelie, now four, are due to enroll at the primary where their sister should also be a pupil. Madeleine had already been accepted at the school and was meant to start lessons four months after she was taken.

Now two years on, parents Kate and Gerry will take their twins for their first day at Bishop Ellis Roman Catholic Primary in Thurmaston, Leics, on Thursday.

It will be a proud day for the mum and dad, but overshadowed by the tragedy of losing their elder daughter. Sean and Amelie will sit in the classroom where Madeleine would have sat.

The seat she was meant to occupy has symbolically been left empty for her. A candle also still burns in her memory in the entrance hall.

A message on the school’s website says: “We are sorry that we are not yet able to welcome Madeleine to our school as we had hoped to.

“Our thoughts and prayers remain very much with the McCanns as we continue to pray with them for Madeleine.”

A poster shows a picture of Madeleine as she was aged three, when she disappeared, and an “age-progressed” image of how she would look now.

A family friend said:”Kate and Gerry are excited about the twins starting school.

But it is yet another milestone without their daughter. “It will feel strange the twins going to the school Madeleine never had the chance to start.”

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