The McCanns have often made reference to the case of Elizabeth Smart, a 14-year-old girl who was abducted from her home in the US and recovered alive 9 months later.
The article below is a brief, but interesting, overview of the case – particularly in relation to the actions undertaken by Elizabeth’s family in their attempts to find her. It is relevant to compare these with the actions undertaken by the McCanns.
The opening of the article is slightly confusing as it assumes prior knowledge of the case. To clarify, Ed Smart is Elizabeth’s father; Dave and Tom Smart are Ed’s brothers – Elizabeth’s uncles.
The Smart way » How a determined family defied the odds and helped bring Elizabeth home, 01 October 2009
By Linda Fantin Updated: 10/01/2009 09:03:15 AM MDT
This report originally ran June 1, 2003.
Mammoth maps still paper the walls of Dave Smart’s basement office, silent reminders of three stolen seasons and an obsession of even larger proportion. A year ago Thursday his niece Elizabeth vanished from her bedroom in the middle of the night.
During the nine months she was missing, Dave Smart would stare at the maps and beg the color-coded quadrants for clues to her whereabouts.
The drawings didn’t say much then, either.
Julie thought her husband, in searching for Elizabeth, would lose his mind. Everyone did. Everyone except Tom Smart. Of course, at one point, Tom had to be put on sedatives and have the phones removed from his house.
Together, the two brothers quarterbacked their own investigation into the teen’s disappearance, exhausting leads law enforcement ignored and keeping other relatives involved and informed.
Their detective work led to Elizabeth’s eventual rescue and the arrest of her alleged kidnappers. But it is only one example of how the Smarts, propped up by a community-minded church, wealthy friends and the prayers of a nation, refused to play the role of hapless victims.
From the onset, the extended family took control of the search and the story. They kept the focus on finding Elizabeth even as some police and journalists cast suspicion on them and unsavory rumors circulated.
Once Elizabeth resurfaced, the rumors did, too. So the Smarts hired a lawyer to smoke out the leaks and took on the FBI, the Secret Service, the Salt Lake City Police Department, the Utah Department of Public Safety, the National Enquirer and The Salt Lake Tribune.
In the midst of it all, Elizabeth’s father, Ed Smart, leveraged his daughter’s disappearance to speed congressional approval of a nationwide alert system for abducted children.
“They have proven their courage time and time again,” said Randy Dryer, the media attorney hired by the Smarts. “They have laid themselves bare to law enforcement. They have put themselves in the public limelight yet again. And they have always been motivated by what is in the best interests of Elizabeth.” It begins » To say the Smarts took on the world and won suggests they were against the world to begin with. “We didn’t want to be victors,” Tom Smart said. “We just wanted Elizabeth back.”
Their hopes rested on God and a 9-year-old girl.
Nestled in the same bed, among several fluffy pillows, Mary Katherine heard a familiar voice rouse her sister that dark night. Petrified, she pretended to be asleep.
When she went to wake her parents, she was startled to see Elizabeth and the man still in the house, on a landing where the family gathers for evening prayers. The floorboards there give off a loud creak that almost always wakes Ed Smart, but on this night he heard nothing and the soft-spoken intruder forced the girl into the foothills behind their upscale home.
Within hours, volunteers and search dogs scoured the area with little luck, each fruitless effort eventually recorded on the giant maps.
Police told a family friend, Charlotte Hamblin, that dogs tracked Elizabeth’s scent up the hillside along Hamblin’s back fence and to the curb in front of her home. From there, the girl and her abductor could have continued up Tomahawk Drive, or, as Hamblin believes, cut across the street and passed an old lime kiln constructed in Brigham Young’s day.
Today, the shortcut is inaccessible, surrounded by a chain-link fence. But a year ago, it would have provided easy access to the Bonneville Shoreline Trail and Dry Creek Canyon, where Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee, were known to camp. Court documents allege the couple kidnapped Elizabeth to be a plural wife, raped her at least twice and, when the weather here turned cold, took her to Southern California.
Mitchell may have been stalking Elizabeth for months before she vanished, peering at her from a site just behind the Smarts’ home where, Hamblin said, police found a cooler and several cans.
Hamblin and her husband, LDS Bishop David Hamblin, returned to Salt Lake City from a trip to San Francisco as soon as they received word of Elizabeth’s disappearance. During those next several weeks, the couple stayed in close contact with the Smarts and police, carrying five phones between them.
Of course, the crush of attention was nothing compared with the panic the Smart family was feeling. Family sleuths » From the start, police offered little or no help in collecting data from the searches, family members said. Even worse, there was no way to organize it.
“We were getting buried in paperwork,” Dave Smart said.
So Elizabeth’s grandfather, a retired heart surgeon, created spreadsheets to record the bios of every volunteer and to catalog each potential clue they uncovered.
It was nothing, really, for a man who pioneered a computerized cancer registry capable of tracking 800,000 cases a year.
“I raised my children, all of them, on personal computers,” said Charles Smart. “I taught them how to program, how to learn BASIC, even the girls.”
Dave Smart, a software developer, took his father’s program and merged it with the Elizabeth Smart Web site through which volunteers e-mailed tips and organized neighborhood searches. The goal was to create a clearinghouse that allowed the family to cross-reference leads regardless of the source.
Other family members put their expertise to work as well.
But as the weeks dragged on, Tom Smart, a photographer for the Deseret News on an extended leave of absence, and Dave Smart, who is self-employed, picked up the slack.
Cynthia Dumke marveled at how effectively her brother handled the news media.
“We couldn’t even understand him until he was over 3,” she said. “He would talk and I would interpret for him.”
As sleuths go, Tom and Dave Smart were an unlikely pair.
Dave is a faithful Mormon and entrepreneur intent on starting his own company. Tom is a fun-loving adventurer who long ago strayed from the LDS faith. Dave, the youngest, was still in grade school when Tom, the oldest, left home.
“David always admired and envied Tom, but they are not very similar at all,” said their father. “Their value systems are different. Their goals are different, except, of course, in this case.”
The brothers also share a certain stubbornness and determination, not to mention the ability to work for days without sleep.
It’s in the DNA.
“My father was head of surgery at LDS Hospital and chairman of the cancer division of the American College of Surgeons. He would fly to Chicago and work for 48 hours straight, and then fly back and do his job here,” said Dumke, herself a physician and the second youngest of the six Smart siblings.
“He used to work until 2 and 3 in the morning and then turn to me and say, ‘We need to go get a shake.’ Or he would come home and say, ‘Get up. We’re going snowmobiling.’ When you grow up like that, you learn to be flexible.”
And to maintain a sense of humor.
In June, before the search center was relocated to Dave Smart’s basement, he took a call from a woman who suggested the police take a hard look at “the uncle with the goatee who is on TV a lot.”
“I said, ‘Well you know, I think they’ve looked at him pretty seriously but I’d be more than happy to pass that along. And by the way, you’re talking to him.'”
At the time, the National Enquirer had just published a story — which it later admitted was false — using information supplied by two Tribune reporters, that said Tom, Dave and Ed Smart were part of a gay sex ring. Soon after, Tom Smart wrote a check to his neighbor for a horse corral the two shared. On the memo line, he wrote, “Sexual Favors.”
“He just couldn’t resist,” said Dumke, adding that the police didn’t think it was all that funny. Another break-in » By July 24, the family had more to worry about than the tabloids. There was a break-in at the home of Elizabeth’s aunt — the sister of Lois Smart, Elizabeth’s mother — where the teen’s younger brother reportedly was spending the night. Given the similarities to the June 5 incident — the intruder used a chair to reach a window and then cut the screen to get inside — the Smarts saw a connection.
“The next week I put an alarm system in our house and got a dog,” said Dave Smart. “We never thought it was a prank. We thought it meant Elizabeth was alive.”
But police investigators instructed the family to keep quiet, saying they needed time to determine whether the two were linked. According to Dumke, they never even dusted the chair or sill for fingerprints.
By then, however, many investigators on the case believed they already had Elizabeth’s kidnapper in custody, a former convict named Richard Ricci who, like Mitchell, once worked as a handyman at the Smart home.
Police tagged Ricci as their top suspect a month before the July incident. But Mary Katherine, upon seeing Ricci’s face on television, told her parents he wasn’t the abductor, a detail that was kept secret for six months.
On Aug. 14, the Smart family issued an open letter to the kidnapper, pleading for Elizabeth’s return. Ed Smart said he still believed Ricci was involved, but “there’s someone out there holding her.”
He had no idea how close.
The night before, just blocks from the Smarts’ home, Mitchell, Barzee and Elizabeth showed up at a going-away party for Leah Farrell, a senior headed back to New York University. It wasn’t long before Mitchell got into an argument about religion. The women, wearing white robes and veils, said nothing.
“It was very late at night and we were all in the back yard when these three figures wandered in through the back alley,” Farrell recalled. “They were there for, like, 20 minutes and then they were gone. It was the weirdest thing ever.” Looking for Immanuel » By September, Ricci was dead of a brain hemorrhage and the police had cut off nearly all contact with the Smart family, Dumke said. She said a detective told them the police were 99 percent sure Ricci was the kidnapper and that Elizabeth was dead.
It was around the same time Elizabeth started surfacing, with Mitchell and Barzee, at house parties, health-food stores and restaurant buffets. But it wasn’t until Oct. 19, eight days after the trio boarded a bus for San Diego, that Mary Katherine put a name to the voice she heard that night. It was “Immanuel,” she said, the preachy drifter who pounded nails with her father the previous Thanksgiving.
Sketch artists produced three separate drawings, two based on Elizabeth’s brothers’ recollections and one from her father’s memory, Tom Smart said. But police, not knowing which was accurate, hedged on releasing any of them, fearing it would drive the drifter underground.
“We wanted to get that sketch out. We wanted to tell the story behind the sketch. But we didn’t want to do it without law enforcement,” Dave Smart said. “So we kept reanalyzing, retheorizing, rehashing what we knew about that night, nonstop.”
Investigators, meantime, took the sketches to Salt Lake City area homeless shelters in hopes of finding out more about Immanuel, but they never disseminated them on the computerized crime networks.
“They said he might surface during Thanksgiving. Then it was he might surface during Christmas. Finally, it was like, enough,” Dave Smart said. “Let’s just go out with this information and get the public involved, get the media involved and then we’ll find out.”
What they discovered, of course, is that they should have done so a lot sooner. The sketch triggered a torrent of leads more productive than the Smarts ever imagined.
Within days, Mitchell’s sister came forward with photos, which in turn, were broadcast on the Feb. 15 edition of “America’s Most Wanted.”
An employee at the Deseret News who saw the show told Tom Smart that her husband saw Mitchell camping in the hills behind Elizabeth’s home. Another staffer said she saw Mitchell tearing down the giant Elizabeth poster in the newspaper’s lobby.
Tom Smart’s daughter, Amanda, learned that Mitchell and two veiled women were frequent diners at a midvalley Souper Salad. She also steered her father to a homeless shelter where the manager passed on even more leads.
By March 12, the day Elizabeth and her alleged captors returned to Utah, the Smarts were preparing to go public with all their new information in an all-out campaign to find them.
When Dave Smart first got the news, he was a mere 15 blocks from the Sandy bus stop where the three were picked up.
“I had this rush of emotion right then, but I immediately kicked in and said, ‘OK, what do we need to do? What’s the next step? Do we need to gather the family together? What’s the process?'”
If the Smarts can work it out — and history says they can — the “process” is about to get much easier.
Dave Smart is working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to adopt the Smarts’ databases for public distribution. To help fund the project, Tom Smart is donating all the proceeds from his exclusive photos of Elizabeth’s return.
Bob Walcutt, executive director of the Texas-based Laura Recovery Center — named for a 12-year-old Texas girl who was abducted and murdered in 1997 — said it is not uncommon for relatives of missing children to improve the plight of those thrust into similar situations. That is how most search centers get their start.
But the Smarts are unique in that they took a tough-love approach to powerful institutions they could not afford to alienate. Said Walcutt: “Somewhere there is another family that is going to go through this and say, ‘The Smarts didn’t stand for it and neither will we.'”
Legal News, 02 October 2009
Legal NewsPrivate Eye (this article appears in paper edition)
Issue No: 1246 Date: 2nd October 2009
LAST month a certain institution obtained a high court injunction to prevent a certain newspaper from publishing a certain document. More than that we cannot say; to do so is fraught with danger.
The battle between press freedom and prior restraint dates back at least to the era of John Wilkes. “Wilkes and Liberty!” was the chant of his followers in the 18th century, and a few years ago it seemed that Liberty was finally winning. If a company or individual tried to injunct a newspaper in advance but the newspaper said that it would justify the story in any subsequent libel action, the tendency of judges was to say “publish and be sued”. For a while, pre-emptive high court orders seemed to be going the way of Spangles and the Bay City Rollers.
Not now. Thanks to some aggressive solicitors and timorous judges, prior restraint is now a flourishing industry. If lawyers get a whiff that one of their clients is about to be embarrassed, late in the evening they contact a duty judge – often one who has no experience of libel or media law. And the judge, reached down a phone line while eating his dinner and half-watching Coronation Street, errs on the side of caution. The newspaper may not even be aware of this “hearing without notice”, still less have a chance to argue its case.
But that isn’t all. The new breed of super-injunction is far more oppressive than the traditional court order under which a newspaper or TV channel is (perhaps temporarily) prevented from publishing a particular allegation. It usually includes an order that “the publication of all information relating to these proceedings or of information describing them or the intended claim is expressly prohibited.” (Our italics.) In other words, nobody can report that the order has been granted, or who applied for it. Even the identities of the judge and the newspaper remain secret, and anyone who even hints at them “may be held to be contempt of court and may be imprisoned, fined or have their assets seized”.
So it was last year when Andrew Marr won an injunction to stop the media revealing “private information” about him – and to stop them revealing that he’d stopped them. Marr himself was on record arguing against a judge-made privacy law and calling for a public debate on the subject. Any such debate should include some reference to the effect of super-injunctions; yet Marr’s, like many others these days, was so draconian that one couldn’t mention its existence. Nor were we allowed to know on what grounds it had been given. After a long struggle by Lord Gnome’s lawyers, the order was varied so that we could at least say that he’d obtained it, while not repeating the story he wished to suppress.
Something similar happened last year when another TV presenter won a gagging order stopping publication of the fact that a death threat had been received by the broadcaster for whom he works. Even the facts in the previous sentence could not have been reported under the original terms of the order. It was only after more pushing and shoving by Lord Gnome’s lawyers that this concession was achieved.
The Guardian‘s legal correspondent noted last week that “it is impossible to say just how many of these cases there are”, since no one can report or discuss them – though the Eye learns that one MP hopes to break the conspiracy of silence, under parliamentary privilege, when the Commons reassembles later this month. But it’s clear that they are breeding and sprouting like giant hogweed: “The Guardian, for instance, has been served with at least 12 notices of injunctions that could not be reported so far this year, compared with six in the whole of 2006 and five in 2005.”
To which some readers might say: so what? Are our lives impoverished by not being allowed to know that a broadcaster has had a death threat, or wishes to keep his private life private? But of course it isn’t only bashful celebs who benefit from this clampdown on free expression. Other public figures and corporations have been quick to exploit the opportunity to tick the box marked “no publicity” and thwart media scrutiny of their conduct.
Eye readers will need no reminding of the super-injunction obtained by Messrs Carter-Fuck, on behalf of former Law Society president Michael Napier, to stop us reporting that he’d been officially censured for breaching conflict of interest rules. “Freedom to report the truth is a precious thing both for the liberty of the individual and for the sake of wider society,” the court of appeal said when it found in our favour after a five-month legal tussle. These noble sentiments clearly failed to impress some high court judges who have carried on injuncting like billy-o.
In one recent application for a super-injunction, the QC for the claimants explained to the judge why a newspaper must not only be stopped from publishing its story but also banned from alluding to the gagging order: if it was allowed to report the injunction, it would probably run a piece accusing his clients of trying to muzzle the press.
Which, of course, is precisely what they were doing. The super-injunction was duly granted.
Street of Shame, 02 October 2009
Street of Shame (excerpt)Private Eye (this article appears in paper edition)
Issue No: 1246 Date: 2nd October 2009 WHEN investigator extraordinaire Donal MacIntyre introduced his “weekly roundup of made-up stories” during his BBC Radio Five Live show on the evening of 20 September, why didn’t he turn to the front page of that day’s Sunday Express?
There, he could have read the shrieking headline: “Madeleine: World Exclusive – I KNOW HOW SHE WAS TAKEN” above a story by… Donal MacIntyre!
Portimão: Leonor Cipriano’s lawyer interrupted the birthday party of Gonçalo Amaral
By Paulo Marcelino 05 October 2009 – 00h30 Thanks to Joana Morais for translation
Marcos Aragão Correia, the lawyer who represented Leonor Cipriano in the process in which Gonçalo Amaral was condemned – to a suspended sentence of one year and three months in prison over false deposition – interrupted the former Polícia Judiciária coordinator’s birthday party, at around midnight yesterday, in the company of a PSP patrol, in order to identify the authors of an alleged aggression attempt that would have taken place only minutes earlier, at the restaurant’s door.
Marcos Aragão Correia at that time made an obscene gesture to the guests, who were on the street to make a toast after the fireworks. The lawyer was sitting in a car, with two other occupants, parked in front of the restaurant where the party took place, in Portimão’s riverfront area. A witness – who was identified by the PSP – admitted to having threatened the lawyer after seeing him make the obscene gesture. After the threat, the lawyer, who was driving the vehicle, took off in a hurry with the tyres screeching, and returned, minutes later, accompanied by a PSP patrol.
When Gonçalo Amaral and Paulo Pereira Cristóvão (co-accused acquitted in the case of Leonor Cipriano) approached the PSP agents in the middle of the street, Aragão Correia fled running. The CM attempted to contact him yesterday, but he had his mobile phone disconnected.
‘The English Gag’ is the title of the new book – under review – from Gonçalo Amaral. “It’s an essay on censorship and freedom of expression”, written in ten days after the ban of ‘Maddie – The Truth of the Lie’.
Last Friday, the day he turned 50, the former police pierced his left ear. “It was a request from my wife,” he justified.
FIGURES ON THE PARTY
Paulo Pereira Cristóvão and the lawyer João Grade had dinner. The mayor of Portimão and his deputy attended the toast on the street.
“After dinner, just outside of the restaurant, there was a huge cake, dessert and champagne. The Mayor of Portimão, Manuel da Luz, and a few members of his staff joined the party. At 11.30, there was fireworks, “Happy Birthday” was sung and champagne bottles were popped.
“And then, shortly after the fireworks, a car approached and parked opposite to the restaurant’s entrance, where the party was in full gear. Inside the car, looking ostensibly at the party, there was Marcos Aragão Correia. He made sure that his presence was noticed, then he drove away.
“There were police all over the place (PSP, Public Security Police) because Marcos Aragão Correia had called in the police, stating that he had been aggressed by a few party guests. The whole scene was witnessed by dozens and dozens of people, including the Correio da Manhã reporter and the Mayor. Marcos Aragão Correia had obviously NOT been aggressed, that much was clear, and things were soon clarified with the PSP agents, who left the scene a quarter of an hour later.”
McCanns Pray For Parents Of Missing Girl, 09 October 2009
A New Zealand couple whose two-year-old daughter vanished this week have been offered support by the parents of Madeleine McCann.
Kate and Gerry McCann said their “thoughts and prayers” were with the family of Aisling Symes, who disappeared from an Auckland suburb on Monday evening.
The little girl’s father Allan Symes, who is originally from County Waterford in Ireland, made an emotional plea for her return at a press conference on Thursday.
He said: “These recent days have proven to be the most harrowing of our lives – no sleep, we feel like we’re barely existing, sort of surviving every moment, not knowing where Aisling is.
“Is she near us or has she been moved far away? Is she being treated well – things like, has her nappy been changed? These thoughts churn through us as we huddle close as a family.”
Madeleine was three when she vanished from her family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in May 2007 as her parents dined with friends nearby.
Mr and Mrs McCann, from Rothley, Leicestershire, said in a statement: “Our thoughts and prayers are with Aisling and her family. We wish Aisling’s parents the strength and support they will be needing at this most painful time, and we join them in hoping for Aisling’s safe and speedy return.
“We urge anyone who has any information about Aisling to come forward to the local police as soon as possible and end this family’s suffering.”
Aisling was with her parents as they cleared a relative’s house in the Auckland suburb of Henderson when she went missing at about 5.30pm on Monday.
New Zealand Police described her as tall for her age, and said she was believed to be wearing a green jacket and blue jeans embroidered with flowers.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Aisling and herfamily. We wish Aisling’s parents the strength and support they’ll be needingat this most painful time and we join them in hoping for Aisling’s safe andspeedy return. We urge anyone who has any information about Aisling to comeforward to the local police as soon as possible and end this family’ssuffering.”
Toddler’s body lay in drain for a week while police searched Telegraph
Police in New Zealand have confirmed that a body found in a drain is that of toddler Aisling Symes and believe she was there the entire week they were searching for her.
By Paul Chapman in Wellington Published: 7:00AM BST 13 Oct 2009
Detectives became convinced that two-year-old Aisling had been abducted after she disappeared, in a case that drew comparisons with that of missing British girl Madeleine McCann.
Officers found Aisling’s body on Monday after using a digger and a concrete cutter to access the drain, on a property next door to the house in Auckland from which she disappeared.
Inspector Gary Davey, leading the investigation, said the stormwater drain had been searched four times previously but her body was located 120ft from the nearest manhole and 5ft underground.
Police decided to dig up the drain after their investigations into the supposed abduction led them nowhere and local residents reported a drainage blockage.
Although detectives have not ruled out the possibility of foul play, Inspector Davey said: “I believe it is more likely than not she was there from the start and it is a case of misadventure.”
He said it had been raining on the evening Aisling disappeared and water was sluicing down the drain.
“As we know, all drains face downhill and it would have been impossible for her to turn around if she was crawling.”
He was confident it would have been too late to save Aisling even if police had found her on the first night of their search.
“I am personally deeply saddened by the discovery of Aisling’s body,” he said.
“I truly hoped that we would be able to find her alive and bring her home to her family. Unfortunately that is not to be the case.”
On a Facebook website set up by Aisling’s family while she was missing, her parents Alan and Angela Symes have posted a message saying they were devastated by the discovery but drew some small comfort that her body had been found.
They asked members of the public to pray for them as “this is going to be the hardest time of our lives and we will need all the prayers we can get”.
Sonya Carrington, who previously lived at the rented house where Aisling is thought to have entered the drain through a partly open manhole cover, said her family had moved out because of fears for their own small children.
“The manhole cover would lift off and water would come pouring out in heavy rain,” Mrs Carrington said.
Aisling was with her mother and sister Caitlin, 5, helping clean up her deceased grandparents’ house for sale when she disappeared.
The property is now adorned with flowers, candles and soft toys left by members of the public in condolence for Aisling’s death.
But some neighbours have been scathing about police conduct of the inquiry.
One man said: “They reckon they searched everything twice but she’s right under their noses.”
Meanwhile, state-owned Television New Zealand has been widely criticised for broadcasting an interview with a psychic about Aisling while she was missing.
In response to the interview, Mr Symes, who is from County Waterford, Ireland, said on the Facebook page: “Please do not suggest psychics, the family are a strong Christian family and will not consider this under any circumstances.”
Aisling Symes’ mother has revealed her final words to her daughter at Friday’s funeral were “I’ll see you soon” – in heaven.
Angela Symes was among the pallbearers as hundreds of mourners gathered at Ranui Baptist Church to farewell the toddler.
“I had to, I just had to,” she said yesterday. “I wanted to hold her one last time.”
Angela, her husband Alan and eldest daughter Caitlin remained shellshocked by grief.
In the lounge of their West Auckland home, where flowers flanked the photo of Aisling and cuddly Pooh that had rested on her coffin, they talked of how they would remember their little girl lost.
“She teased me right from the moment she woke up to the moment she slept,” said Angela.
“I’d be changing her nappy before we went to the supermarket and she’d be like ‘hee hee hee’, undoing her nappy, which I’d just done up, just to have me go ‘arghhhh’.”
Alan said he found mornings and evenings the hardest.
“Especially when we get up. We are so used to having our two girls running around, especially Aisling. She was my alarm clock, she would always come and wake me up.”
Five-year-old sister Caitlin said she missed “lots of things” about her sister. “I miss her smiles – she used to smile a lot – and all the hugs.”
The search for Aisling, whose body was found on Monday in a stormwater drain metres from where she disappeared, touched millions of people around the world.
There has been criticism of Waitakere City Council for failing to respond swiftly to complaints the drain’s manhole cover was unsecured.
But Angela and Alan, supported yesterday by Alan’s sister Aithne Potts, said they did not blame the organisation.
“It’s a difficult one because we realise … people had made complaints in the past and it needed to be resolved,” said Alan. “But I think [Waitakere Mayor] Bob Harvey is really feeling the pain. I mean clearly he is feeling awful about it but at the end of the day it is hard to say who is particularly responsible.
“It’s like when there is a road accident and someone dies so they do something with that road. Now they are aware of that drainpipe, you would hope they do something about that so nothing like this happens again.”
The family reiterated their thanks to everyone who had sent messages of support, including the parents of Madeleine McCann, the British toddler who disappeared two years ago.
Aithne also revealed they had been contacted by the grandfather of Amber-Lee Cruickshank and mother of Kirsa Jensen, two of only nine Kiwi kids to disappear without trace in the last 60 years.
She dismissed criticism the McCanns had been “patronising” by contacting them.
“Any suggestion that they contacted us for any other motive other than to be supportive is utter rubbish. They are parents who I would just hate to think two years on to still be wondering and our hearts go out to them.”
Alan said he felt a “horrible emptiness” for the families of other children who had disappeared.
His wife said the discovery of Aisling – Irish for dream or vision – had brought closure, but also unimaginable pain.
“I know Aisling is in the arms of the Lord and I know that it’s the happiest, best place for her but my arms feel incredibly empty without her. There is a big part of me that has been ripped out.”
Angela said Aisling’s service was “uplifting, beautiful” and “a great memorial”.
She said inquiry chief Gary Davey had been “brilliant” and thought he was shocked when she hugged him at the funeral.
“The police went over and beyond the call of duty. They were all touched, they were all in tears.
“They wanted as much as we did to find that somebody had taken her home for some bizarre reason and that she was going to come back to us.” Despite the agonising wait, the family never lost hope.
“You just got so mentally exhausted you couldn’t think,” said Angela. “My greatest fear was that someone was hurting her somehow, but thankfully that didn’t happen.”
They are likely to have a debrief with the police next week. Meanwhile they are taking things “hour by hour, day by day”.
“Tomorrow is too much to sort out at the moment,” said Angela. “We can’t make plans at the moment and it seems kind of wrong to make plans.”
They thanked everyone who attended a memorial balloon release near their home, and offered “heartfelt” thanks to “the whole of New Zealand”.
The family received so many flowers they had to send some to the police station, some to a resthome and some to Swanson cemetery, where three family church members are buried.
“Nothing can ever take away the grief or the processes Alan and Angela have to work through,” said Aithne.
“Knowing that so many people are shedding tears for her and feeling that pain as well doesn’t lighten the load, but we feel the grief is a shared thing and we are not alone with it.”
McCanns: Find girl in Swedish photo, 10 October 2009
By ANTONELLA LAZZERI Published: Today (10 October 2009)
DETECTIVES were last night desperately hunting a girl who was photographed in Sweden – after computer-matching showed she could be missing Madeleine McCann.
The girl, who was pictured at a car show, bears a strong resemblance to Maddie, who would now be six.
Her jawline is identical and her eyes are the same colour as Maddie’s.
After the snap appeared on a website, Swedish police were inundated with calls from the public saying how much it looked like Maddie.
They also received a spate of calls from visitors who believed they had seen Maddie at the car show.
Face-mapping technology used by British police identified the girl as a possible match, and Maddie’s parents Kate and Gerry have now asked for an urgent investigation.
Maddie – snatched from her family’s holiday villa on Portugal’s Algarve coast in May 2007 – has a distinctive mark in her right eye.
But the photo of the girl in Sweden is not clear enough to show if she has the same characteristic.
The girl was with a man and a woman at the car show, held in Sweden’s capital Stockholm in August.
The man was Swedish but the girl spoke perfect English.
The woman remained silent, and the snapper said both adults refused to be photographed.
Kate and Gerry, both 41, of Rothley, Leics, have seen the photo and believe it should be investigated.
A source close to the couple said: “They feel it bears a resemblance to what Maddie would look like now.
“They can’t be certain but feel it can’t be dismissed. It should be looked into.
“The girl does look quite like Madeleine, especially around her jaw.
“It is enough of a similarity for the investigators to look into it further.”
The couple’s official spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: “Kate and Gerry and their investigators are aware of the picture and are liaising with the relevant authorities. “The investigation team are looking into it.”
Swedish police are now liaising with British cops and the private detectives hunting Maddie.
The photographer failed to note the girl’s name, and Swedish police have so far been unable to find her. The photo is not the first time the search for Maddie has been linked to Sweden.
The Sun told in August how a Victoria Beckham lookalike asked a man at a marina in Barcelona, Spain: “Are you here to deliver my new daughter?”
One of the yachts linked to the woman came from Sweden.
The luxury cruiser was one of six recorded as having left the Algarve port of Portimao the morning after Maddie vanished.
All the other boats have been traced and eliminated from the investigation.
But all efforts to find the Swedish yacht have failed.
An investigator revealed: “It has apparently vanished without trace.
“The captain told port authorities he was going to the Algarve port of Albufeira, but the boat never arrived and has not been found since.”
Detectives hunting the Posh Spice lookalike, who spoke with an Australian accent, believe it is possible that Maddie was whisked away from Portugal by boat.
Gerry McCann this week spoke at an international legal conference in Madrid, where he told delegates: “We will never give up hope, we will never give up searching for Madeleine.”
McCanns: Find girl in Swedish photo The Sun (paper edition)
The Sun, 10 October 2009
The Swedish girl’s right eye clearly shows no marking
Madeleine’s eyes from the same article
Parents: We do not believe it is Madeleine Expressen
By Johanna Reimers Published: 10 October 2009 Translation by Nigel Moore
Kate and Gerry McCann do not think that it is Madeleine in the picture from the car show in Sweden.
– “We’ve looked at the picture and even though she bears a certain resemblance to Madeleine we do not believe that it is her. She looks too old and her eye does not have the visible mark that Madeleine’s eye does,” said Clarence Mitchell, spokesperson for Kate and Gerry McCann.
The Sun today published a picture of a girl taken at a car show in Sweden, which is said to be the police’s hottest track in the hunt for Madeleine.
The information has also been widely reported across other Swedish media.
But when the Express asked for a comment from the McCann family, spokesman Clarence Mitchell said:
– “We do not believe that it is Madeleine in the picture.”
The spokesman clarifies:
– “To be certain we’ll look into the picture; it has gone to the investigators and they are working to safely determine who the child is – but we’ve looked at the picture and even though she bears a certain resemblance to Madeleine we do not believe that it is her. She looks too old and her eye does not have the visible mark that Madeleine’s eye does.”
The family’s spokesperson denies the information about an “urgent investigation” and that “she looks like our daughter.”
– “We have never said that and there is no urgent investigation in view of the image.”
But you investigate everything that comes in?
– “Yes, of course. We would fail if we did not. And we can not categorically say that “it is not her” because she will have changed in appearance over the past two and a half years. But we do not believe, especially the McCanns themselves, that it is their daughter.”
What does it mean anyway to get the focus on the image in Sweden?
– “It does no harm. We are not trying to accuse an innocent child or family of being involved.”
– “The picture was taken, as I understand it, by a professional photographer at a car show in August. If it had been Madeleine, I hope that we would have been told about it much earlier than now.”
– “But this stuff happens all the time for us – tips, pictures, people who have seen her. Unfortunately, most go nowhere, but everything must be checked out.”
Tips from the public
What do you think Kate and Gerry would say to people who may have information about the picture or the girl?
– “As I said, we do not think it’s Madeleine but if someone in Sweden knows anything about this child they should contact the authorities. As I understand it, the Swedish police have already been contacted by people who were at the car show who thought they had seen Madeleine – all mysteries or confusion surrounding this need to be resolved, as much for her family’s sake as for Kate and Gerry.”
Madeleine Exclusive: All three children drugged, 11 October 2009
The kidnapper of Madeleine McCann drugged her and her twin brother and sister so they would all be quiet while she was snatched.
A duplicate key may also have been used to gain entrance to the holiday apartment where the children were sleeping, say investigators.
It means the monster is still a threat to children living or holidaying on Portugal’s Algarve and must be caught urgently as he is highly likely to reoffend.
Former police detectives David Edgar and Arthur Cowley have spent months re-analysing every shred of evidence.
They are convinced the abductor went to the family’s apartment on May 3 2007 fully prepared with sufficient drugs, probably chloroform, to knock out all three children.
The fact that Sean and Amelie, then just 18 months old, failed to wake when the alarm was raised, nor even as they were taken to another apartment in the cold night air, has persuaded the detectives that they, too, must have been drugged.
Had the twins been tested for drugs immediately, any medication used could have been established, making it easier to identify the kidnapper, but vital time was lost.
Chloroform can be made easily and other sedatives, such as the horse tranquilliser ketamine, are commonly in circulation in the criminal underworld.
Even now, however, experts say there may be forensic clues on clothing or bedding which could yield a breakthrough.
The Sunday Express can further reveal that the McCanns’ private detectives are working on a solid theory about exactly how Madeleine was abducted.
Just as television investigator Donal MacIntyre suggested in this paper three weeks ago, they believe there was a dry run prior to the kidnap that fateful night at apartment 5a of the Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz.
While checking the layout of the apartment the night before, the kidnapper probably woke Sean, who in turn woke Madeleine. In the morning she had told Kate and Gerry she was frightened.
The fact that the children woke up is thought to have persuaded the kidnapper to use knock-out drugs when he returned the next night to take Madeleine, three.
On the question of the duplicate key, holidaymakers often left front door keys under the doormats during the day.
A theory emerging is that the kidnapper had a duplicate key to apartment 5a, which could have been used on the night to enter by the front door.
Mr Edgar and Mr Cowley do not believe Madeleine was taken through an open window as it would have been awkward, time consuming and there were no forensic clues left behind.
It is far more likely, they say, that he simply walked out of the front door with her in his arms. It had been thought that the front door was double locked, making it impossible to open from the inside, but this doubt falls away if there was a duplicate key.
The theory suggests the kidnapper had been targeting the apartment for a long time and had a detailed knowledge of the lock system.
With the front door unlocked, it is easy to simply pull a latch across to open it from the inside.
Another possibility is that the front door was not double-locked when Kate and Gerry left through the unlocked patio doors to join their seven friends at the resort’s tapas bar some 30 metres from their apartment.
Meanwhile it emerged yesterday that the parents of a two-year-old girl who has gone missing in New Zealand are being supported by the McCanns.
Aisling Symes vanished from a relative’s house in an Auckland suburb on Monday.
Her mother Angela had been close by, standing beside a washing machine.
There have been reports that the girl was later seen with a woman of Asian appearance.
Detectives believe she was abducted. Despite repeated appeals for help their searches have so far drawn a blank.
Kate and Gerry McCann said their “thoughts and prayers” were with the family.
The little girl’s father, Allan Symes, who is originally from County Waterford in Ireland, made an emotional plea for her return, saying: “These recent days have proven to be the most harrowing of our lives; no sleep and we feel like we’re barely existing, just surviving every moment, not knowing where Aisling is.”
It has also emerged that police in Sweden are trying to find a girl said to bear a resemblance to Madeleine after a photograph was posted on a website.
However, she does not appear to have the distinctive mark Madeleine has in her right eye.
Now Scotland Yard must step in Sunday Express (paper edition only)
SUNDAY EXPRESS COMMENTARY
IT IS both a scandal and a crying shame that almost two and a half years after Madeleine McCann went missing the forces of law and order have failed to solve the mystery, bring her kidnapper to justice and find her.
Portuguese detectives working closely with Leicestershire Police and with limited support from Scotland Yard have amassed bulging case files but precious little hard evidence or, more importantly, any suspects.
The Portuguese investigation has effectively been shelved, with senior officers saying it will only be reopened if they receive credible new information.
So now finding Madeleine has become the responsibility of two retired middle-ranking police detectives working as private investigators for Kate and Gerry McCann.
While David Edgar and Arthur Cowley have done a solid, credible job so far, Home Secretary Alan Johnson should now ask Scotland Yard to set up a cold case review team to follow through on the pair’s fresh leads and work closely with their Portuguese counterparts.
For there is still so much work to be done. As a matter of urgency all forensic material, including Madeleine’s blanket and bedding, must be re-examined as the culprit must have left a trace of a knock out drug.
Scotland Yard must demand spy satellite images of the resort as the kidnapper is probably on film casing the apartment in the days, weeks and months before the kidnap. There must also be a proper, systematic search of all the scrubland in and around Praia da Luz as it is likely the kidnapper hid in the undergrowth for several hours after the kidnap and almost certainly left clues behind.
Mr Edgar is believed to be looking at five or so “persons of interest” but he has limited resources. That is why Scotland Yard must restore public confidence by taking over the investigation.
The public has a right to expect its government will spend whatever it takes to capture the most heinous of criminals, child abductors.
MADELEINE McCann’s kidnapper drugged her and her brother and sister to keep them all quiet, investigators now believe.
Her abductor may also have used a duplicate key to gain entrance to the apartment where the children were all sleeping.
The new developments mean the monster poses a huge threat to children living or holidaying on Portugal’s Algarve.
Former police detectives David Edgar and Arthur Cowley have spent months analysing every shred of evidence available.
They have built up a comprehensive picture of how the abduction took place.
The pair have also spoken at length to parents Kate and Gerry McCann.
And they are working on the theory that the kidnapper went prepared with enough drugs, probably chloroform, to knock out the three youngsters.
The fact Sean and Amelie, then 18-months-old, failed to wake after the alarm was raised – even when they were taken to another apartment – has persuaded them they must have been drugged too.
Chloroform is easily made and there are other sedatives in circulation in the criminal underworld.
More high-profile disappearances, 12 October 2009
More high-profile disappearances Daily Express (paper edition)
Monday October 12 2009
IN May 2007 three-year-old MADELEINE McCANN was snatched from her bed as she lay between her sleeping brother and sister. Parents Kate and Gerry were dining at a tapas bar with friends just yards from their holiday villa in Praia da Luz, Portugal, when Madeleine disappeared. The search switched to Australia recently, with investigators admitting they were following up “viable leads”.
Note: This short, misleading and inaccurate piece appeared as a side-panel to an article about the disappearance of Claudia Lawrence; of whom a fresh appeal for information will be made this coming Friday, on the seven-month anniversary of her disappearance. Detective Superintendent Ray Galloway, who is leading the investigation, says it is “entirely likely” that Claudia has been killed.
People in payout over Madeleine Fund libel, 16 October 2009
A public relations expert who helped in the search for Madeleine McCann accepted a donation to charity today over a claim that she overcharged the fund set up to find the missing child.
Justine McGuinness brought libel proceedings in London’s High Court over an October 2007 article in The People.
Her solicitor, Amber Melville-Brown, told Mr Justice Eady that McGuinness was the communications strategist for the Find Madeleine Fund from June to September 2007.
The newspaper story alleged that she had charged the fund £20,000 in excess of her agreed fee and that, following a discussion with Gerry McCann in the summer of 2007, she was forced to part company with the fund.
Melville-Brown said: “In fact, Ms McGuinness did not overcharge the fund and indeed bore many of the necessary expenses herself. Neither was she forced to resign.
“As initially agreed with the fund, she left in September 2007 to meet other pre-arranged commitments.”
Given McGuinness’s commitments to providing support and assistance to the McCanns and the fund, and in order that her hard work and professional integrity should not be questioned, she felt she had no option but to bring proceedings to ensure that the true position was recognised and that the false allegations were not republished.”
Melville-Brown said MGN Limited had accepted that the allegations were incorrect and apologised.
It agreed to make a donation to an undisclosed charity of Ms McGuinness’s choice.
MGN’s solicitor, Holly Mason, apologised for the distress and embarrassment caused.
Withers advises as McCann family PR adviser wins defamation case Legal Week
Author: Emma Sadowski 16 Oct 2009 | 13:25
Withers has won a High Court defamation battle for client Justine McGuinness, a former PR adviser of Gerry and Kate McCann, parents of Madeleine McCann.
McGuinness was represented by Withers counsel Amber Melville-Brown in her case against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), after allegations were made in a front-page article in The People claiming that that McGuinness overcharged expenses from the ‘Find Madeleine Fund’ and was forced to resign.
An apology from MGN was read this morning (16 October) in the High Court, with the publishing group accepting that the allegations were false and stating that it will not repeat defamatory content.
The group has also agreed to make a donation to McGuinness’s charity of choice.
Withers instructed barrister David Sherborne of 5 Raymond Buildings as counsel. MGN turned to Davenport Lyons, with intellectual property (IP) partner Kevin Bays advising.
Commenting on the outcome, Melville-Brown said: “My client brought these proceedings because her previously unblemished character had been sullied by untrue allegations that went to the heart of her professionalism and integrity. I am delighted that the record has been set straight and that her good reputation has now been restored.
“The public is entitled to know, indeed demands to know, the truth, and the press fulfils a vital role in servicing our need for news. But Fleet Street must guard against rubbishing reputations in the process through the inaccurate and sensational reporting of emotive stories.”
HOME Secretary Alan Johnson is prepared to ask US spy chiefs for satellite images which may show the face of Madeleine McCann’s kidnapper, following intervention by the Sunday Express.
Hope of new progress came after it emerged Leicestershire Police never made a formal request to the Home Office for views of Praia da Luz on Portugal’s Algarve at the time the little girl vanished in May 2007.
The quality of pictures taken by satellites in space is now so good they can reputedly identify the colour of someone’s eyes.
Last night a senior source with the Portuguese police said: “We know US spy satellites regularly sweep over Portugal looking at military installations and government facilities.
“So we thought they might actually have images of Praia da Luz on the day of the kidnapping and the preceding days.
“We hoped spy images may have captured the kidnapper watching the apartment prior to the event or even on the day itself. Obviously, having a picture would have speeded up the apprehension of the offender.”
Google Earth view from where Madeleine was snatched
Yet more than two years after Madeleine was snatched no help has been forthcoming, despite early requests from senior Portuguese detectives.
The Portuguese source explained: “This was fully discussed with Leicestershire Police and officials with the British Government.
“We were confident of getting progress because of Gordon Brown’s interest in the case and this apparent special relationship between Britain and the United States.
“Your ambassador to Portugal even visited our officers soon after the kidnap.
“The bad news for us is that we got nowhere with this avenue of inquiry, which was both frustrating and infuriating.”
For, despite all the talk, nothing appears to have been done officially with the British government and the formal requests were never made.
Last night a spokesman for Mr Johnson said extensive checks within the security intelligence community had failed to discover any formal request ever having come to them through Leicestershire Police from Portugal.
However, he said that if a request were now made Mr Johnson would see whether he could offer any assistance in trying to persuade the Americans to become co-operative.
The issue appears so sensitive that Prime Minister Mr Brown may have to speak directly to US President Barack Obama in order to achieve co-operation.
The Sunday Express sought explanations for the extraordinary situation from the US government’s ultra- secretive National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
The agency’s lawyers are now considering a Freedom of Information request from the Sunday Express.
A spokesman for the agency said: “NGA does not provide imagery to private citizens or private companies. For reasons of national security we do not discuss specifics about what images we have or our capabilities.”
Private investigators working for parents Kate and Gerry McCann, who live in Rothley, Leicestershire, have also tried to access US satellite images, but with no success.
Let Our Spies find Madeleine McCann, 19 September 2007
Let Our Spies find Madeleine McCann The Times (paper edition) c/oKid Shield
(Extract from The Times Letters to the Editor dated September 19 2007)
The failure to find any trace of Madeleine McCann rightly troubles millions of us, in the UK and in continental Europe. No one can now doubt the urgent need to have hard, fact-based evidence to replace the rumour and innuendo so far being pushed.
One important, but apparently unused, means of securing it could be the UK’s intelligence community, in particular a little-known agency, JARIC, the Joint Air Reconnaissance Intelligence Centre, based at RAF Brampton.
JARIC is a world leader in analysing CCTV, aerial and satellite imagery, collected from all over the world.
It should be ordered both to overfly the target area of Praia da Luz immediately and collect any aerial imagery of it that can be found, dating back to May 2, 2007 (the day before Madeleine went missing), as well as any images that may be extant.
It should also be instructed to examine any satellite images of the target zone for the period after May 2. It is perfectly possible that the European Commission’s satellites which track fishing boats may also be able to shed light on Madeleine’s fate. JARIC will quickly tell us.
JARIC cannot task itself; it must receive its instructions from the Prime Minister or from the Ministry of Defence. They should instruct JARIC and its other colleagues in the British intelligence community to intervene at once.
PROFESSOR ANTHONY GLEES Director, Brunel University Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies
The Polícia Judiciária believes that the key to the Maddie case lies with images of the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz, on the night of the 3rd of May 2007, taken from Space
By Henrique Machado 19 October 2009 Thanks to Astro for translation
The images from North American satellites are the hope that is left to find out what happened on the night of the 3rd of May 2007, in Praia da Luz, Lagos. They have the capacity for it, enough resolution to reveal who took Maddie live or dead out of that apartment – and the Judiciária knows it. The investigation equated asking for international cooperation at that level, Correio da Manhã has established, but the military and secret character of the use of that technology rendered the request inviable. Now, it’s the British government who will formally request the images from the United States.
The formal request for cooperation is to be submitted to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency by Alan Johnson, the British Home Secretary. This information is advanced by the ‘Sunday Express’, which cites the reaction from a spokesperson for the North American Agency. “NGA does not provide imagery to private citizens or private companies. For reasons of national security we do not discuss specifics about what images we have or our capabilities.” But the relationship between both countries may make the difference – and the newspaper advances that England is going to do everything that it can, on the diplomatic field.
Meanwhile, Correio da Manhã knows that this matter was discussed several times at the highest levels within the PJ’s investigation, in Portimão. The satellites have predefined routes, they receive directives depending on the interest zones – but the Portuguese investigators knew that the United States have military interests in the North of Africa, and the Algarve is a potential passage area.
The PJ even went as far as to investigate the possibility of European satellites, which are public, having relevant information – but only the North Americans will have the capacity of going back to the night of the crime, and to clearly reveal who walked around in Praia da Luz, carrying the four year old child. Nonetheless, the information request never moved forward: it was understood that the United States would never place secret information and military interests at stake, to solve the Maddie case. Doubts about the McCann couple
The practical use of the satellite images in the Maddie case would be in the sense of obtaining pictures that reveal who took the child out of the apartment at the Ocean Club on the night of the 3rd of May 2007, and where she was taken. Dead or alive. The PJ considered trying to use this means at different stages of the investigation – namely at the end, when it was left without evidence. Satellite images could also clear the doubts about the McCann couple. Direct Speech: General Loureiro dos Santos, former CEME “I believe that the USA will help” Correio da Manhã – Is it possible that the United States captured images of Praia da Luz on the 3rd of May 2007?
– Most of the satellites are geostationary, they are fixed from the Earth’s point of view. They act permanently over military or economical interest areas, for example. In terms of that area of the Algarve, it’s possible, but only the USA may answer that. – Are the images recorded, and do they have enough quality to identify a person?
– They are, depending on the interest that the area has at that time of the year. I presume that the images are of great quality. – Do you believe that the USA accept to cooperate in the investigation?
– I do, as long as making those images available, assuming the surveillance of a certain area, does not compromise the USA’s strategic interests. Details Legal discussion | If there are satellite images, their use would imply a legal discussion – this would be an unedited means of evidence in Portugal. They would have to be validated by an instruction judge. Brown and Obama | The ‘Sunday Express’ advances that Gordon Brown’s commitment may lead him to personally intercede with Obama. Most evolved country | The USA are the world’s most evolved country, in terms of satellites.
UK Government’s response to e-petition, 19 October 2009
“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to order a review into the role of British police in relation to the Portuguese inquiry into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.”
Details of Petition:
“Almost two years after Madeleine McCann vanished, there has been no trace of her and no-one has yet been brought to justice, even though it is certain that at least one very serious criminal offence has been committed. We ask the Prime Minister to order a review into the role played by British police in this investigation, with a view to establishing the best way to bring this investigation to a successful conclusion.”
Read the Government’s response
Thank you for your e-petition entitled “Order a review into the role of British police in relation to the Portuguese inquiry into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.”
Madeleine McCann went missing in Praia de Luz, Portugal, on 3 May 2007. As Madeleine went missing in Portugal, the investigation is being led by the Portuguese authorities, who retain primacy in the investigation.
The British police involvement in the investigation of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, led by Leicestershire Constabulary, continues. The Police have put considerable effort into the investigation and any new lines of enquiry will be investigated and communicated to the Portuguese authorities.
Information received in the UK that can be investigated in the UK is investigated by the Leicestershire Major Crime Team and evidence forwarded to the Portuguese in accordance with normal international protocols. Any information received in the UK that needs to be investigated abroad is forwarded to the Portuguese so that they can assess the information and either conduct inquiries in Portugal or direct other international inquiries through Interpol. Any requests for further investigation in the UK by the Portuguese will be expedited and evidence provided to them in accordance with normal international protocols.
The Government does not believe that a review into the role of British police in relation to the Portuguese inquiry into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann would serve a useful purpose.
We continue to hope that Madeleine will be found safe and well.
Dr Martin Roberts 19 October 2009
“…any new lines of enquiry will be investigated and communicated to the Portuguese authorities.”
– Investigation and communication in respect of some of the old lines would be a benefit, don’t you think?
“Any requests for further investigation in the UK by the Portuguese will be expedited and evidence provided to them in accordance with normal international protocols.”
– Perhaps someone should suggest to the Portuguese authorities who are “leading the investigation and who retain primacy” that they re-submit requests for bank details and medical records. They might get somewhere now.
“The Government does not believe that a review into the role of British police in relation to the Portuguese inquiry into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann would serve a useful purpose.”
– Useful government purpose that is.
Gonçalo Amaral to appear on French TV, 19 October 2009
“It’s our job to address all points of view, such as in “The Maddie case,” our broadcast on October 21st,” the journalist Sidonie Bonnec explains, about “Criminal Investigations,” on W9. “Two years after the little girl’s disappearance, there are many differences of opinion. With us in the studio will be Gonçalo Amaral, former Portuguese police officer. This is special, because he doesn’t have the right to talk about the case in his own country. We will show his original documentary asserting the parents’ guilt. With Paul Lefèvre, we will then confront him with the other theory by means of a news report.”
21/10/2009 at 20H35 on W9 Duration: 120min. Genre: Docu-info – Society Presenter: Sidonie Bonnec and Paul Lefèvre.
“Criminal inquiries” proposes to offer an update on the disappearance, on the 3rd of May 2007, of little Maddie McCann. In short: “The forbidden inquiry”. Gonçalo Amaral, the Portugese policeman, remains convinced of the guilt of the parents. – “The thesis of the parents”. Gerry and Kate think their daughter is still alive.
Note: W9 is a free channel of the TNT. TNT (Télévision Numérique Terrestre) is the national digital terrestrial service for France.
Satellites were deviated on the night of the crime, 20 October 2009
Maddie: Justification given by entities contacted by the PJ
By João Mira Godinho/Paulo Marcelino 20 October 2009 – 00h30 Thanks to Astro for translation
The satellite images of Praia da Luz, on the night of the 3rd of May 2007, were one of the PJ’s first concerns when the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann started. Nonetheless, at that time, the North American authorities informed that they did not exist because the satellites had been deviated that night.
‘It was said that the two geostationary satellites [which could have images of Praia da Luz] were rotated towards the Gulf of Cadiz, where a navy exercise was taking place’, Gonçalo Amaral, the former PJ coordinator who led the case investigation, explains to Correio da Manhã.
‘It was a very serious possibility for learning who the abductor was, and more’, says Gonçalo Amaral, adding that the Judiciária wanted the images from the moment of the disappearance, but also ‘those of the hours and even days that preceded it’.
Confronted with the information that the satellites had been deviated, the PJ ended up making no formal request. ‘I have doubts that anyone else tried to access those images’, says the former PJ coordinator, questioning the reason why ‘the McCann couple, that says it is powerful, never tried to obtain the images in order to solve the mysterious disappearance’.
Contacted by Correio da Manhã yesterday, Clarence Mitchell, Kate and Gerry McCann’s spokesperson, justified that ‘the images that existed two years ago were useless’. He states that ‘if there were images, the abductor would have been caught a long time ago’ and denies any recent request from the British authorities to obtain the registers.
‘As far as we know, no diplomatic effort in that sense is being made’, the McCanns’ spokesperson asserted.
The British authorities yesterday denied that they were making any diplomatic contact in order to obtain the North American satellites’ registers. Details Murat sues | Robert Murat has taken the witness that pointed him out for sexually devious acts, in the Maddie process, to court. Investigation | Clarence says that the hired private detectives continue to follow ‘strong leads’.
Everton launch campaign for Missing Madeleine, 20 October 2009
Everton launch campaign for Missing Madeleine TheSportsCampus Arjun Wadhwa Tuesday, 20 October 2009 14:37 (appeared online 10:35)
Everton Football Club has launched an international awareness campaign to refocus attention on the two-year search for missing Madeleine McCann.
The move to re-energise the campaign to find the youngster is being made as the English Premier League Club heads to Portugal for their Europa League group match with Benfica at Lisbon’s famous Stadium of Light on Thursday night.
Madeleine went missing in the Portuguese resort of Praia de Luz in 2007 and since then huge international efforts have been made to locate the young Evertonian’s whereabouts.
One of the first images released by Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry, in the wake of their daughter’s disappearance 29 months ago showed the then four-year old proudly wearing an Everton shirt.
To raise awareness of the ongoing search for Madeleine, Everton has commissioned a specially-designed T-shirt featuring the message, ‘We’re Still Looking For You’ which is to be given to every supporter who has purchased a ticket for Thursday’s match.
A total of 6,000 shirts have been produced by the Club – 3,000 bearing the logo in English and 3,000 bearing a message in Portuguese.
Everton Chairman Bill Kenwright said: “I will never, ever forget that image of a beautiful, smiling child in an Everton shirt. I believe that I was one of the first people outside the family to see it and it moved me greatly. In truth, like everyone else, I have felt nothing but deep sadness and mounting frustration as the search for Maddie has continued. However, I continue to be inspired by the dignity and the faith which Kate and Gerry have displayed throughout their dreadful ordeal.
“This is just our way of reminding people – not just in the UK and Portugal but across the globe – that this child is still out there somewhere. If we can, perhaps, jog someone’s memory or breath a little fresh life into the hunt for her then it will have been worth it. I know our supporters will wear these t-shirts with pride on Thursday night,” he added.
Everton Manager David Moyes added: “My heart went out to Madeleine’s family when this awful tragedy occurred – and it still does. It is absolutely vital that the hunt for this lovely, little girl continues. People do sometimes forget that football managers and footballers are also Dads – family comes first. Everyone connected with Everton Football Club simply wishes to see Madeleine reunited with her family.”
By RHODRI PHILLIPS Published: Today (20 October 2009) EVERTON footballers are backing an international campaign to “re-energise” the search for missing Madeleine McCann.
The team is highlighting the cause as it travels to Portugal — where the youngster vanished two years ago while on a family holiday in Praia de Luz.
Madeleine was just three when she disappeared in May 2007.
One of the pictures issued by Maddie’s parents Kate and Gerry to help with the initial search featured the then three-year-old in an Everton top.
Premier League club Everton face Portuguese side Benfica on Thursday in a Europa League match and have commissioned 6,000 t-shirts they want fans to wear bearing the message “We’re Still Looking For You”.
Everton chairman Bill Kenwright said: “I will never, ever forget that image of a beautiful, smiling child in an Everton shirt.
“I believe that I was one of the first people outside the family to see it and it moved me greatly. In truth, like everyone else, I have felt nothing but deep sadness and mounting frustration as the search for Maddie has continued.
“However, I continue to be inspired by the dignity and the faith which Kate and Gerry have displayed throughout their dreadful ordeal.
“This is just our way of reminding people – not just in the UK and Portugal but across the globe – that this child is still out there somewhere.
“If we can, perhaps, jog someone’s memory or breathe a little fresh life into the hunt for her then it will have been worth it.
“I know our supporters will wear these t-shirts with pride on Thursday night.”
Club manager David Moyes also backed the poster campaign.
He added: “My heart went out to Madeleine’s family when this awful tragedy occurred – and it still does.
“It is absolutely vital that the hunt for this lovely little girl continues.
“People do sometimes forget that football managers and footballers are also dads — family comes first.
“Everyone connected with Everton Football Club simply wishes to see Madeleine reunited with her family.”
Travellers to Lisbon wishing to show their support can collect a t-shirt from Goodison Park today and tomorrow and from Liverpool Airport by showing a match ticket or travel documents.
An international campaign has been launched to “re-energise” the search for missing Madeleine McCann.
Everton Football Club have highlighted the cause as the team travels to Portugal – where the youngster vanished two years ago while on a family holiday in Praia de Luz.
The Premier League side face Benfica on Thursday in a Europa League match and have commissioned 6,000 T-shirts they want fans to wear bearing the message “We’re Still Looking For You”.
Three thousand shirts bear the message in English with the other half in Portuguese.
One of the first images released by Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry, in the wake of their daughter’s disappearance 29 months ago showed the then four-year-old proudly wearing an Everton shirt.
Everton chairman Bill Kenwright said: “This is just our way of reminding people – not just in the UK and Portugal but across the globe – that this child is still out there somewhere. If we can, perhaps, jog someone’s memory or breathe a little fresh life into the hunt for her then it will have been worth it.”
Club manager David Moyes added: “It is absolutely vital that the hunt for this lovely little girl continues. People do sometimes forget that football managers and footballers are also dads – family comes first.”
Clarence Mitchell, speaking on behalf of the McCanns, said: “Everton have been fantastically supportive of the search for Madeleine and have done everything they can to keep awareness of Madeleine very high.
“Kate and Gerry are especially grateful to them for this renewed push around the Benfica game.
“It is vitally important that people in Portugal are kept fully informed and fully aware that the search continues and the answer could still lie in Portugal itself.”
The Blues captain has backed the campaign that will see over five thousand supporters wear t-shirts with the schoolgirl’s picture on during the Benfica game in Portugal.
“It is massively important Everton do this as we don’t want the publicity to fade” explained Neville.
“It’s a great way for us to spread the message again and to remind people we haven’t found Madeleine yet. Returning to Portugal gives us a chance to help because until we find Madeleine we can’t give up on her.”
Madeleine disappeared in May 2007 from the resort Praira da Luz while on holiday with her Liverpool-born mother Kate and dad Gerry.
The Everton skipper remembered his emotions when the image of the child wearing her kit emerged.
“I think everyone remembers seeing that photograph of Madeleine in her Everton shirt. She looked a beautiful little girl in her Blue kit.
“It hit a nerve with everyone here at the Club because we all have children. You wouldn’t want this to happen to your own family and that’s why Everton are still massively behind the campaign to find her.
“When anything happens to a child it is devastating so hopefully our t-shirts can jog someone’s memory. We now just hope and pray we can get some good news soon.”
Staff at Goodison will also be showing their support and are being encouraged to wear the t-shirt to work on Thursday.
Head of Public Relations at the Club Ian Ross said “We wanted to ensure that those staff members who couldn’t make it to Portugal because of work commitments didn’t miss out.
“We really would like as many staff as is possible to wear their shirts to work on Thursday.”
Pictured: Staff at Everton Football Club with the Madeleine McCann t-shirts to be worn by fans in Portugal.
Madeleine McCann’s parents are hoping football can keep the search for their missing daughter alive, as her favourite team travel to Portugal.
It has been 29 months since Madeleine disappeared from her family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in southern Portugal. Gerry and Kate McCann released an image of Madeleine wearing an Everton shirt shortly afterwards.
That picture has been reproduced on 6,000 t-shirts, distributed to Everton fans ahead of their game with Benfica in Lisbon on Thursday night.
Everton club chairman Bill Kenwright, a friend of the McCann’s, says the t-shirts are a way of reminding a worldwide audience that the search for Madeleine continues.
This is a heartfelt note to say a very big thank you to all at Everton Football Club and all of their fantastic supporters. To see so many fans wearing a Madeleine t-shirt was an incredibly uplifting (and emotional!) sight – such invaluable support and an amazing show of solidarity.
Regardless of tonight’s result against Benfica, you have made one family very proud and have made a special and significant impact on the search for a very precious little girl.
On behalf of Madeleine and all of her family, thank you so much. We are very proud to be Blue!
I don’t know why, but I’m still finding it impossible to get a straight answer about Madeleine McCann from Leicestershire police.
I called to ask about Madeleine and almost before I’d asked the question was being given the old brush off: “It’s a Portuguese investigation, not ours.”
The Portuguese authorities closed their investigation in July last year. The press officer said she hadn’t heard or read about that.
Apparently, the Leicstershire force still passes on any potential leads to the dynamic Portuguese police who established precisely nothing about Madeleine’s disappearance during their 15-month inquiry.
I gave it 24 hours and called back. This time I was told that all the Leicestershire cops involved in the Madeleine case were on half-term holiday. So push off.
She didn’t actually say that, but it felt like she had.
Still, onwards and upwards. The last time I asked a Leicestershire press officer about Madeleine she got hysterical.
I hope that privately, at least, Madeleine’s home force shows a bit more care and thought towards her family.
Paulo Marcelino/Octávio Lopes 22 October 2009 – 01h03 Thanks to Joana Morais for translation
The campaign for Madeleine McCann that the Everton team wanted to undertake today at the Luz Stadium, in the match against Benfica, was restricted by UEFA.
The governing body of European football banned the use of commemorative t-shirts by the English players and the passage of the girl’s picture onto the screens of the stadium. It is because of this decision that the campaign will be limited to the stands, where the fans of the English club can wear t-shirts saying: “We’re still looking for you.”
Six thousand t-shirts were made, half written in Portuguese and the other half in English.
Maddie vanished in Praia da Luz, Algarve, in May 2007. The process of investigation was closed without proven conclusions.
The parents defend the thesis of abduction and one of the first pictures of their daughter released to the media shows Maddie wearing an Everton shirt.
London denies Madeleine satellite search, 23 October 2009
The UK Home Office has this week denied reports that London had requested satellite images from Washington for the day of the disappearance of missing British toddler Madeleine McCann.
Reports over the weekend suggested that talks with London and Washington had resulted in American secret services agreeing to hand over satellite images of Praia da Luz of the day that Madeleine went missing.
After the Sunday Express had run the story on its front page over the weekend, the Correio da Manhã gave similar coverage to the story on Monday.
However, it was later confirmed that no satellite images existed of Praia da Luz on May 3rd, 2007, as available ones were all pointed to a NATO exercise off the coast of Cadiz.
Former lead investigator into the case, Gonçalo Amaral confirmed Portuguese police had filed a request for these images more than two years ago, but were told none were available.
Mail-order Maddie ‘was snatched by crime lord’, 25 October 2009