2. INVESTIGATING MADELEINE'S DISAPPEARANCE. In this episode we take a temporary departure from issues of neglect to examine some aspects of the investigation into Madeleine's disappearance and the actions and behaviour of those involved including the police, media, and what we refer to as 'Team McCann'.
Investigating the Disappearance of Madeleine
NEWSPAPER REPORTS issued during the December of 2014 informed us that Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, head of the ‘Operation Grange’ team of Scotland Yard detectives working on the Madeleine McCann case, was to retire shortly. Retiring from the police force of course meant retiring from the investigation which, at that time, had cost British tax payers no less than ten million pounds (£10m). We were further informed that Redwood’s replacement at that time was to be a colleague and peer in the form of DCI Nicola Wall.
DCI Wall, like Redwood (or should that be, Deadwood?), was hailed as a consummate police expert and 'supercop' Indeed, since we live in a world where political correctness knows no bounds one might imagine Super Dectective Wall to have been billed as that much smarter, more determined, and more likely to produce results than her disillusioned predecessor – in fact at that stage of the investigation Scotland Yard’s elite were at last learning to be somewhat less vocal about their prospects of success. Little puffed out chests had begun to deflate as the proverbial wind has been taken from the sails of the Metropolitan’s finest battleship. And Redwood? Typically fated to become driftwood, he sailed back into anonymity whilst the new metropolitan beacon of enlightenment, and hammer of the Portuguese judiciary, DCI Wall, took up the challenge of finding the unfindable - Madeleine McCann.
Following on in the hallowed tradition DCI Wall no doubt trotted out the trite police obscurity of making ‘further inquiries’ as she, like her intrepid predecessor, packed for yet another tax payer funded holiday in the Algarve (it’s a hard life but, as they say, someone had to do it). Perhaps like Redwood and his crew Wall’s team also set themselves up in £200 a night 5 star hotels before going to Portugal’s finest nightclubs to follow up those ‘new leads’. Regardless, on they marched, fearlessly identifying new suspects, courageously re-examining old leads, boldly harassing ancient suspects (probably Robert Murat again), etc, - all under the ever watchful (and potentially vengeful) eyes of ‘Team McCann’.
And like the Deadwood Pinkertons they found (yes, you guessed it) …………………………absolutely nothing.
What DCI Wall and her team have done, however, is continue building not the case but the tax payers bill. Endless holidaying in Portugal for countless ‘expert’ British detectives (of course they’re the best, they’re British!) to paw over the same old evidence and more questioning of further (or the same) ‘suspects’ ensured that the ten million pound bill rose rapidly (on the way to 13 million pounds most recently reported). As is typical in these situations this much can be guaranteed – results, none, ever increasing bill, oh yes. Wily old Redwood (all of 49 years old at the time of retirement actually) had jumped ship with some degree of foresight at least because he knew, one might speculate, where this ‘investigation’ was ultimately heading, and glory it wasn’t (and still isn’t).
Ex-DCI Redwood probably worked out that, sooner or later, Team McCann would get frustrated at the inevitable ‘lack of results’. And, when they do, Redwood may well have figured out they’d probably be looking for a fall guy and that he’d surely be Numara Uno on that list. Rather than wait until rabid left-wing liberal rats started gnawing at his tired old bones he skedaddled off into sunny anonymity with a big fat police pension.
Super cop DCI Wall, on the other hand, likely relished the ‘opportunity’ of solving the case, or at least being the one to make ‘significant progress’ where all before her had failed. It is folly to speculate regarding the psychological impetus for such endeavours of course – the ‘investigation’ could just have been dumped on her to be fair. Either way, however, Wall surely failed to understand the magnitude of the task ahead of her. Driving ambition is not necessarily a bad thing. Even so DCI Wall might have paused for a moment to think about just where this glorious assignment would take her (perhaps she did?).
The term ‘significant progress’ is used above not because it's clear anyone attached to the case said this precisely (although they might have) but because it’s the kind of ambiguous verbiage that creeps into reports and press releases by the relevant authorities when, in fact, they have absolutely nothing useful to say or add at all. This is just something they trot out when, as a matter of fact, they haven’t the foggiest idea what’s happened or where to look. You can see the investigative team’s dilemma of course when you consider that with expensive high-profile 'operations' like this it very often falls upon the senior investigating officer to explain just where and how they spent all that public money. By far the toughest part of the job must be justifying past and future expenses (including all those 5* holidays in the Algarve) when around 13 million pounds has, so far, appeared to achieve the usual ............ absolutely nothing.
Nothing that is, unless you count questioning, yet again, the same old suspects with no obvious good reason to do so. Such was the case as ‘Grange’ detectives once again called in on Robert Murat for yet further questioning.
They trod carefully this time round by ‘requesting his assistance’ in their enquires merely as a witness and not a full blown suspect. Murat naturally agreed which, frankly, is rather surprising given his previous experiences in Portugal as an ‘arguido’ and the usual systematic character assassination that follows in the British tabloid press (well, unless you have high-priced litigation lawyers backing you – as do the McCann's). Murat was ‘questioned’ for over four hours (the last of 11 ‘witnesses’ assisting the British police on this particular working holiday in Portugal) the result of which was, as usual,……… absolutely nothing.
Given the abysmal progress this investigation had not made it’s understandable Redwood decided to dump Operation Grange by retiring and effectively removing himself from the firing line. In fact the move was timely enough for Team McCann to graciously applaud Redwood for the ‘great progress made under his leadership’ (Daily Express, 6th Dec, 2014).
At this juncture however one must surely ask what ‘great progress’ the McCann’s were referring to? Let’s attempt to summarise the (then) ten million pounds worth of results Operation Grange had achieved at that point - it goes a little like this; perpetrator - none, (viable) suspect - none, evidence - none, leads - none, arrests - none, charges - none, Madeleine - none, body - none, a clue - none? And that old chestnut about ‘following up on new leads’? It means much the same as ‘significant progress’ (as above) – i.e. no leads, no evidence, and no idea. Frankly it beggars belief that many of those involved in this case, including the McCann’s, their lawyers, certain (British) politicians, a good few ‘celebrity’ supporters, and the British police themselves, have had the temerity to level accusations of incompetence against the Portuguese police and judicial authorities when the stark, plain, and incontrovertible fact is that, so far, the best-in-the-world British super-police came up with, yes, you’ve guessed it…….absolutely, completely and entirely, nothing.
There was a glimmer of hope for the taxpayer in newspaper reports of 30th October 2015 suggesting that Operation Grunge was finally ‘winding down’. Scotland Yard were to scale down the investigation and reduce personnel working directly on the case from 29 to 4 full time officers. Kate and Gerry McCann were, as ever, magnanimous in ‘accepting’ the inevitable end to this expensive police operation which, according to some newspapers, was to be quite soon – this turned out to be not the case of course. In response the McCann’s ear-marked more of the public’s money (from the ‘find Madeleine fund’, standing at around £750,000 at that time) to employ yet another gaggle of private dicks which, one might hope, will not be as hopeless, hapless, incompetent, or plain flat dishonest as some of the previous con-artists they had tasked with the near impossible. More recently still (November, 2017) the question of continued funding for the Madeleine McCann investigation was again raised in the House of Commons – but still no sign of the taxpayer being spared further pointless expense.
But let’s pull up on the reins for now and try to be a little more charitable. As taxpayers and therefore involuntary contributors to Team McCann’s crusade (to ‘find Madeleine’ is their usual mantra, or at least to discover what happened to her) we all surely have some right to know where and how our money has been spent. However, it’s probably unfair to expect results from any police force, no matter how well trained, funded, and equipped, when the plain truth is sufficient evidence and clues are just not available any more (if they ever were). Moreover, this is not a voluntary police investigation but one initiated, authorised, and directed by certain senior politicians, fuelled by the high-priced ‘Let’s Sue Someone’ lawyers, Carter-Ruck, and a frothing McCann fan club desperately looking to crucify anyone that might raise an eyebrow in the direction of the now holy McCann’s.
Apprehending the abductor (and probable murderer), were it possible, would of course be an excellent result by any measure. A further consequence of this would be putting to bed, once and for all, theories like those proposed by that naughty Portuguese detective Goncalo Amaral (who’s book puts forward a theory suggesting Kate and Gerry McCann were themselves involved in Madeleine’s fate). As things stand this continues to be a quandary and in the face of contrary evidence it may remain forever the case that Team McCann’s abduction theory (which could of course be true) will be challenged by alternatives, whether palatable, tenable, both or neither.
Meanwhile the McCann’s continued to pursue further funding to ‘find Madeleine’ by, mainly, suing anyone that stood still long enough. Dear old Goncalo Amaral, Portugal’s initial lead detective on the Madeleine case, soon became a firm favourite of the McCann’s. Amaral’s book, The Truth of the Lie, rejected the McCann’s account of abduction as false and, in contrast, implicates them as instrumental and complicit in the alleged death of Madeleine, and disposal of her body.
In 2015 the McCann’s managed to convince a Portuguese court to have the book pulled from the shelves and award them substantial damages for libel against his naughtiness the Amaral. The only problem was that the evil Amaral immediately appealed so the big, fat, damages cheque (around £450,000) they were hoping to pocket failed to materialise. The caring sharing Team McCann subsequently had Amaral’s assets frozen, including his personal bank account, in anticipation of thwarting the appeal process for him, by leaving him affectively without access to funds to pay for his appeal and defence (or indeed even enough to eat, thus also starving out Goncalo the Evil One).
However, this mercenary act by team McCann back-fired catastrophically. So convinced were they of their own righteousness they failed entirely to take into account the strength of support there was for Amaral – and not just in Portugal but also back home in the UK. This wasn’t necessarily support for his theory regarding their alleged involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance either. Rather, much of what turned out to be very strong support in both countries hinged on Amaral’s fundamental right to have a theory, an opinion, a view, and to be free to express it, no matter whether it was right or wrong. Many did not care one way or the other regarding Amaral’s theory itself. What Team McCann effectively did, or attempted to do at least, was to deny Amaral the very basic right to freedom of speech and expression, the freedom to think what he wants, and to express his thoughts – and this for many was, and still is, a step too far.
One of Amaral’s supporters subsequently set up a ‘GoFundMe’ internet campaign to raise the estimated £25,000 needed to pay for his appeal. What took many by surprise was that the target was very quickly surpassed. In fact nearly 3,000 people donated with the fund subsequently flying past the £50,000 mark and rising rapidly. So strong was support for Amaral’s right to have a theory, an opinion, that the fund officially closed with more than enough raised for the appeal and large surplus aptly going to a children’s charity. Many supporters were multiple contributors to the campaign fund, some effectively allocating a fixed monthly sum from their income for as long as it took.
Gerry McCann was, so the newspapers reported, ‘exacerbated’ by this outpouring of love and support for the Satanic Amaral. He and Kate clearly thought they were home and dry with the cash all but in their pocket. Frankly one can see how ‘exacerbating’ it is when nearly 3000 ‘trolls’, as some newspapers referred to them, put their money where their mouth was and made a stand for freedom of speech and expression – for this is, at root, what it was. Moreover, the figures account only for the evil ‘trolls’ that actually contributed their filthy cash. The reality is that, contrary to what Team McCann and the supressed, compliant, cowering alt-left media would have us believe, a much larger number of quite bad but not hopelessly evil trolls were in agreement with Amaral’s fundamental right to have an opinion, they just didn’t go that drug-crazed further step of contributing to the fund. Hence, one can only but hazard a guess as to what the real ‘troll’ count might have been but even a fairly conservative estimate may well put this figure in five digits – so much for a few fringe weirdos.
It’s also worth noting at this juncture that many mainstream journalists and not just Team McCann jumped on the proverbial bandwagon in quickly dismissing the Gofundme contributors as internet ‘trolls’. On this account a question surely arises, how they get from general dissent (regarding Team McCann’s party line) to the conclusion that all these people are, by default, ‘trolls’? Without going into detail, at least at this juncture, it does appear that the merest fact that one might have disagreed with the McCann’s account of the events of 3rd May 2007 is enough to warrant such a label, and the accompanying vilification to follow. Such was the fate of Brenda Leyland who had the audacity to vent her contrary views on social media, the tragic consequences of which became well enough known1.
Returning to the Operation Grunge ‘investigation’, however, one would think that, by now they would, at last, be winding down - as had previously been claimed. Well, not so it seems. Now well past the 10-year anniversary of the ‘abduction’ of Madeleine the Metropolitan police are still at it. The Daily Mail (27th November 2017) enthusiastically reported that Scotland Yard had pawed over more than 40,000 documents relating to the case. Fantastic! And this had led to …… absolutely nothing, as usual. They had also taken some 1,338 statements (no, not all from Robert Murat but from who exactly one might be inclined to ask?). Still, this was surely sterling work was it not? Except it resulted in………completely and entirely nothing of course. But they also collected no less than 1027 exhibits. Super-duper! But exhibits of what exactly? Oh yes, that’ll be next to nothing perhaps?
The frightened, fawning, Daily Mail doesn’t stop there either. In its homage to the Met’s finest they note that “more than 60 people of interest” have been ‘probed’ and 650 sex offenders were ‘considered’. Probed, with what precisely? Considered for what exactly? Lastly the wimpering Mail pointed out that there have apparently been 8,685 sightings of Madeleine worldwide – no doubt, and an awful lot more of Elvis, so what? What's pertinent here is that for all their posturing, spouting, and self-aggrandising Scotland Yard have produced absolutely nothing worthwhile at all, not a sauasage, not a bean. But the cost keeps mounting.
The very likely truth is that no one involved will pull the plug on this now farcical Keystone Kop ‘investigation’ for fear of a backlash from the nastier elements of Team McCann. So for Scotland Yard, here’s a prediction and lesson you won’t listen to or learn. So, pull your stern little serious ‘we know best, we’re the professionals’ faces and listen carefully - I’ll try and make this child-like simple for you:
Madeleine McCann will almost certainly never be found because, very probably (that is, very, very, nearly for certain) she is dead – and she probably died within the first 48 hours post discovery of her disappearance (as some of you know). And if this is true then almost all trace of her will be long gone, as will even a hint of evidence leading to her killer(s). The killer or killers, whoever he, she, or they, are have successfully covered all trace of their connection to Madeleine’s disappearance and probable death. Moreover’ they have done this very successfully for more than 10 years despite massive efforts by both the Portuguese and British police – including some of the best experts available one might assume.
The perpetrator has beaten you squarely and this remains true even if they have a moment of conscience and decide to own up. You have lost, you are beaten, because, unlike the movies, bad guys don’t always get caught, they don’t always get found out, they don't always get their comeuppance.
We are told almost daily that police forces up and down the country have limited resources, limited manpower, limited funding. Yet you insist on cowering to demands from Team McCann, even though you know what is stated above is probably true. This is not to say that the investigation should be closed and Madeleine forgotten, of course not, not at all. But in the interests of common sense and fair play you should not be allocating more time or resources to this matter than to any of the other missing/murdered/abducted child case you have on file. All are equally urgent, all are equally entitled a share of what available resources there are – some more than the McCann case since the prospects for solving many are greater than for a 10-year old case anyway.
1 Benda Leyland was ‘door-stepped’ by Sky news’ Martin Brunt regarding her ‘trolling’ activities online. Brunt, an odious little rat-faced creature, revelled in confronting and exposing this poor woman as an evil troll. Leyland’s ‘crime was to disagree on social media with the holy McCann’s proclamations regarding their abduction theory, and to suggest they were neglectful – for which Brunt hounded her. Unable to cope with the persecution she later committed suicide.