MADELEINE MCCANN: THE ROLE OF MICHAEL WRIGHT

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MADELEINE MCCANN: THE ROLE OF MICHAEL WRIGHT

Post  Tony Bennett on Tue Mar 29, 2011 10:26 pm

I have been asked to put this article up here, although it's over two years old and I haven't re-checked it or updated it since it was put up on 3As and was on our former Madeleine Foundation site

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Madeleine McCann: The role of Michael Wright

This article looks at the role of Michael Wright, married to a cousin of Dr Kate McCann, following the ‘disappearance’ of Madeleine McCann.

Background

Michael Wright did not make a formal statement to the Portuguese police until 16th April 2008, nearly a year after Madeleine ‘disappeared’.

Michael Terence Wright, born 8 May 1963, therefore now aged 45, is married to Anne-Marie, who is a cousin of Dr Kate McCann. It is understood that he was military-trained and his occupation is believed to be that of a partner in an I.T. company. He’s also said to be an amateur car enthusiast, particularly
keen on taking cars apart and putting them back together. They have two children, Katie and Patrick, aged 11 and 13.


According to his statement to Portuguese police, he had known Anne-Marie since he was 8 years old when, she and Dr Kate McCann used to holiday on Isle of Man, which is where Michael Wright lived. He had known Dr Gerry McCann since 1997, when he started going out with Kate.

Michael Wright and his wife and the McCanns used to meet up from time to time, mostly at family events, once in 2006 and once in February 2007. Their families were close and stayed together in each others’ houses. Michael Wright and his wife had apparently been planning a holiday in the U.K. for June 2007.

The first visit to Praia da Luz

He states in his statement to the Portuguese police that he received a ’phone call from his wife Anne-Marie’s mother around 11.00am on Thursday 3rd May, the date that Madeleine ‘disappeared’. That call from his wife’s mother, he said, informed him that ‘Madeleine had been taken from her bed’. That confirms that the McCanns were ’phoning round the relatives very early indeed, firmly implanting in them, even within the first hour after Madeleine was reported ‘missing’, the idea that Madeleine had been abducted.

He then says he spoke to Dr Kate McCann the following morning (4th May) between 10.00am and 11.00am in order to ‘arrange getting Dr Kate McCanns’ parents to Portugal’. Dr Kate McCann was apparently saying that she wanted her mother or both of her parents to join her in Praia da Luz.

Michael Wright (though incorrectly referred to in the report as Michael Healy), was quoted in one newspaper on 4th May as follows:

“Madeleine's uncle, Michael Wright, speaking from her grandparents' home in Liverpool, said: “They are all in a hell of a state. Everyone has been up all night. I spoke to Gerry and he wants as much publicity as possible if it helps”.

We know however that during the very early hours of 4th May, Michael Wright had already taken Aunt Nora to Liverpool (she had been staying with him at Skipton), and that Mrs Susan Healy (Dr Kate McCann’s mother) and Nora were already en route to Faro. In fact they had probably arrived there by mid or late morning on 4th May. If Michael Wright spoke to Dr Kate McCann at all at that time (around 10am to 11am on 4th May), it must surely have been simply to tell her that Nora and her mother they were on their way, or even to ask if they had arrived, rather than to ‘arrange getting Dr Kate McCanns’ parents to Portugal’.

Looking at the ’phone records of Dr Gerry and Kate McCann that the Portuguese police have now disclosed, and taking into account the evidence of Dr Kate McCann’s mother, Mrs Susan Healy, it seems that Dr Gerry McCann was the first to make contact with her, in the now-famous ’phone call when he screamed hysterically down the ’phone: ‘There’s been a disaster, there’s been a disaster”. The bemused Susan Healy thought there had been some kind of serious car accident. It looks as though Dr Kate McCann made her telephone call to her mother at around 00.45am on the morning of the 4th. No doubt the pair of them would then have discussed arrangements as to who was to come over to Portugal. And without doubt, the urgent necessity for Michael Wright to come over was discussed. As we shall see, though Dr Gerry McCann mentions his other relatives in his blog, he is curiously silent about the role of Michael Wright, though he was to play a major role over in Praia da Luz between May and September 2007.

So, we have learned that on Friday 4th May, between 10.00 and 11.00am, Michael Wright spoke to Dr Kate McCann, who told him that she wanted her parents to come to Portugal. By then, it appeared that he was already in Liverpool. He went to Portugal on 5th May and stayed to 11th May, staying close by the McCanns in their new Ocean Club apartment (they had had to move from Apartment 5A). Clearly, Michael Wright was important and Dr Gerry McCann wanted him right there by his side - immediately. Throughout - for example when apparently going on a mission to chaperon Kate back to England for the christening/baptism of a friend, he seems to have acted as a ‘trusted lieutenant’.

By this time, Dr Gerry and Dr Kate McCann were then accommodated in the new ‘replacement’ apartment on first floor of ‘Building Four’ - believed to be Apartment 5D, which had been the Paynes’ apartment. Michael Wright is believed to have stayed on the floor above the McCanns. Later, it seems that the McCanns were moved by Mark Warners to another apartment in the Ocean Club complex - plus they were given an entirely separate apartment by Mark Warners so that they could run an office from which to operate their campaign to ‘find Madeleine’.

Soon after Michael Wright went to Portugal, his eldest daughter appeared on the Beebo website, writing about going to babysit her half-sister and brother as her Dad had gone to Portugal. If this was a true posting, it seems that Michael Wright may have three children, not just the two that were christened/baptised in July - see below.

The pizza girl

During this time, on 6th May, Michael Wright says he met a girl from Liverpool. He says he bought a large quantity of pizzas from a ‘pizza shack’ on the beach of Praia da Luz; the girl serving the pizzas was from Liverpool. She apparently told him that her father, known as ‘George B’, had seen a man carrying child during the very early hours of 4th May in the resort, the day after Madeleine ‘went missing’. Michael Wright apparently didn’t know if ‘George’ had been spoken to by authorities.

This possible ‘sighting’ of Madeleine was for some reason never mentioned by the McCanns, although they many times referred to the ever-changing and unreliable claimed sighting by Jane Tanner, and to another, at around 10.00pm on the evening of 3rd May, by a man from Ireland, Martin Smith.

A number of questions have been raised about this ‘sighting’ of ‘George B’. For example, did ‘George B’ report this ‘sighting’ to the Portuguese police? If so, it should of course be in the police files. If it wasn’t reported, why not? As Michael Wright was advised by the girl of this ‘sighting’, did he run and tell the McCanns? - and did the McCanns then contact the police?

Let us look at this another way. Suppose you're out there helping your close relations Kate and Gerry after the tragic abduction of their daughter. You go down to the beach on Sunday - just three days later - and go and get some pizzas. The girl there tells you that her father saw someone carrying a young girl on the night of 3rd/4th May. So - what do you do? You might, for example: (a) immediately ’phone Kate and Gerry to and tell them of the lead, or (b) contact the Portuguese police immediately, or (c) contact the UK Police immediately, or (d) ask the girl to make contact with the father so you can speak to him? But - no. Apparently Michael Wright does none of these things. He did nothing and apparently only mentions it to the police months later.

Who were Gerry McCann and Michael Wright texting on the beach on 7th May?

According to a Portuguese TV report still available to view at: http://tinyurl.com/25fk38, a press photographer captured pictures of Dr Gerry McCann on the beach at Praia da Luz, in the company of Michael Wright, texting on a mobile ’phone. The photograph was of potential importance because its date and time would identify a particular text message. It appears that the Portuguese police know who the message was sent to, having been able to check Dr McCann’s SMS text messages sent that day. It is thought that the photo was taken on 7th May, though the TV programme was not transmitted until 9th May.

The Telecinco TV programme ‘Esta Pasando’ was sent the images. At first sight, the photos appears normal. They show Dr Gerry McCann, apparently with Michael Wright, on the beach close to the church in Praia da Luz. Dr Gerry McCann is clearly texting on a mobile ’phone.

Michael Wright’s second visit to Praia da Luz: 14th May to 18th May

In his statement to the police, Michael Wright says that his second visit to Portugal was from 14th May to 18th May. He had spent just a couple of full days in England (Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th May). One slight mystery about this visit is whether or not his wife was with him. It appears that she wasn’t.

For on 17th May 2007, the ‘Craven Herald’ reported: “Mrs Wright's husband, Michael, then drove another relative to join Madeleine's grandparents in Liverpool and then went out to Portugal [on 14th May] to help with the search. He is still in the Algarve and is keeping his wife and children informed of developments in the investigation and how the McCann family are bearing up”.

[size=16]Earlier, on Monday 14th May, the Craven Herald had carried the following report:

“Two specialist trauma counsellors from Skipton have flown out to Portugal to help the devastated parents of missing four-year-old Madeleine McCann. Consultants Alan Pike and Martin Alderton from the Centre for Crisis Psychology (CCP), based at Broughton Hall, have been by the side of Gerry and Kate McCann since their daughter Madeleine was abducted…The two experts were appointed by Mark Warner, the company which manages the resort, to assist Mr and Mrs McCann, both 38, on how best to deal with the stress and trauma of their terrible ordeal…

“Mr Pike, who is leading the team, flew over to the resort with Mark Warner managing director, David Hopkins, the day after Madeleine disappeared. Mr Alderton, who has counselled those affected by major disasters across the country, arrived the following day. A spokesman for Mark Warner said: ‘The Centre for Crisis Psychology (CCP) came highly recommended by industry partners and have been known to us for some time. Their experience in dealing with a variety of incidents is second to none’.

“Staff from the Skipton centre also visited Mark Warner's head office in London to offer counselling to employees last Wednesday. A spokesman for the Skipton centre said: ‘We are working with Mark Warner and cannot discuss any information because of commercial confidentiality. We have got two trauma consultants working on the incident. Everyone all over the country has been gripped, it is a very difficult case’. Mr Pike's experience in trauma work includes domestic violence and abuse, child abuse, emergency planning and assessment, and adoption. Since joining CCP in 2004, he has been involved in consulting with companies following road traffic accidents, personal attacks, terrorist bombings, shootings, robberies, drowning and staff bereavement. Mr Alderton provided clinical support following the 2003 Manchester motorway minibus crash in which seven people died”.

That was a very heavy degree of involvement from this Skipton-based group from a very early stage. On 4th May, both Mark Warner’s managing director, David Hopkins, and Alan Pike, flew out to Praia da Luz. An unspecified number of Mark Warners’ staff were ‘counselled’ at Mark Warners HQ. Already, it was clear that this was no ordinary case. The ‘Craven Herald’ added for good measure: “The focus has shifted from a local search for Madeleine to an international child abduction inquiry, amid suggestions she may have been taken out of Portugal”.

From this report we may deduce that, already, Skipton was very close to the nerve centre of the operation to support the McCanns. The company CCP appears to have been deployed in the past by Richard Branson, who of course has strongly and financially back the McCanns, and who also is or was the President of the ‘UK Citizens Arrested Abroad Committee.

It would be surprising indeed if there was not a close connection already between Michael Wright and the Directors of this hugely influential crisis management company, CCP, based, like the Wrights, in Skipton.

On Friday 18th May, the ‘Craven Herald’ reported: “THE distraught Skipton relations of abducted four-year-old Madeleine McCann have urged everyone, especially holidaymakers, to do everything in their power to help bring her home…Mrs Wright said the little girl's abduction had rocked the whole family.

She said she had last seen Madeleine in February when she, her Mum Kate, Dad Gerry and two-year-old twin siblings, Amelie and Sean, came to stay in Skipton from their home in Leicestershire. Mrs Wright said: "We had a lovely time with them, and the children all get on particularly well. Our children, Katie and Patrick, love Madeleine, Sean and Amelie. We went to Aireville Park, went swimming, went to Hesketh Farm Park, and walked along the canal towpath to look at the Rosie and Jim barge. Madeleine is a big Rosie and Jim fan”. The Wright family first heard of Madeleine's disappearance in the early hours of Friday May 4, when Mrs Wright's Mum, Sheila Cowell, called with the news. Mrs Wright's husband, Michael, then drove another relative [Aunt Nora] to join Madeleine's grandparents in Liverpool and then went out to Portugal to help with the search. Mr Wright is still in the Algarve and is keeping his wife and children informed of developments in the investigation and how Mr and Mrs McCann are coping. Mrs Wright said: ‘It's all been very emotional and upsetting. Some days he said they are really focused and coping and getting things done and other days they are devastated’.

“Mrs Wright said the family was trying to spread the word about Madeleine's abduction as far and wide as possible and urged people to go to the sky.com/news website to print off posters. She said: ‘It would be particularly useful to expand the reach of the publicity to other countries in Europe and North Africa. We are asking people to think of contacts they may have who would be able to display the poster in areas accessed by the public. Prime locations would be banking halls, post offices, ATM locations, large retail outlets such as garages and supermarkets, public transport, trains, buses, taxis etc.’

“She said she had spoken to Mrs McCann on the ’phone on Sunday [13th May]: ‘It was just really difficult and the conversation you don't want to ever have with anybody. She just seemed very numb. I just asked how she was coping and talked to her about the massive support there is. Ever since this happened people have been coming up to me - there's a really strong feeling - and everybody has been saying their thoughts are with them’."

The day before, SKY TV also carried a report mentioning Michael Wright: “The family of Madeleine McCann has called for any ideas on how to find the four year old. Close relative Michael Wright thanked everyone involved in the campaign and hunt for Madeleine. ‘Gerry and Kate are taking strength from the support they are receiving around the world’, said Mr Wright. And he also called for anyone with any ideas on how to help in the search to get in touch via campaign@bringmadeleinehome.com

“The family thanked the continuing support from British and Portuguese media and called on the rest of Europe to join the hunt. Mr Wright also thanked those who have pledged financial support to the Madeleine fund, including sporting celebrities and big businesses. There have been reports that officers are now searching for a red Ford van after a possible sighting of Madeleine in the southern suburbs of the capital Lisbon. It is exactly a fortnight since Madeleine was snatched from her bed in her parents' holiday apartment in the Algarve”.

On 20th May, ‘The Observer’ also filed this report which mentions Michael Wright:

“Operating out of a separate flat in the holiday block, 'Team McCann', an assembly of friends and relatives dedicated to keeping Madeleine's story in the public eye, has begun work on a series of worldwide appeals, as well as reading and answering thousands of letters and emails. Their most ambitious initiative last week was the launch of a website, which has received more than 75 million hits and over 30,000 messages in the past few days. Calum MacRae, a family friend and Director of the firm running the ‘Missing Madeleine’ site, said: 'We've had to take the message facility down because our server was struggling to cope.'

”The one setback has been an internet assault by opportunists who have registered more than 20 money-making websites - advertising everything from mobile phone ringtones to health insurance - with similar spellings to the official campaign site. Visitors who make a small typing error can find themselves redirected to advertising or pornography, an internet practice known as 'typosquatting'. One of Kate's relatives, Michael Wright, provided an insight into the feelings driving the family's determination not to allow Madeleine's case to slip from public view. After thanking the British and Portuguese press for their coverage, he told reporters on Thursday afternoon: 'Kate and Gerry are the leaders of the whole campaign. Their ability to remain positive and focus on what we can do rather than go to the dark places - that they perhaps visited in the early days - is where our focus is, and it drives us all on’.”

Anne-Marie Wright’s first visit to Portugal

Michael Wright’s third visit to Portugal was from 8th June to 13th June. This is referred to as Mrs Anne-Marie Wright’s ‘second visit’ to Portugal. Therefore she must have gone out to Portugal some time between 18th May and 8th June for her ‘first visit’.

Michael Wright’s third visit: 8th to 13th June

Michael Wright went a third time to Portugal from 8th to 13th June, this time with his wife, mainly it seems to look after the McCanns’ twins, Sean and Amelie, while Dr Gerry and Dr Kate McCann travelled to Morocco, allegedly to follow up a rash of ‘sightings’ there.

On 19th June, the ‘Craven Herald’ reported again, this time informing its readers: “Mrs Wright's husband, Michael, went out to Portugal only days after the youngster was snatched, to help support the McCanns. Mrs Wright has since been out to the Algarve twice and on the last occasion [8th to 13th June], she and her husband looked after Madeleine's brother and sister, two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie, while Kate and Gerry, Madeleine's Dad, journeyed to Morocco”.

On 20th June, the ‘Craven Herald’ reported on plans for a fund-raising event, as follows: “Balloon release will keep Madeleine in the headlines: SKIPTON will play its part in keeping alive the campaign to find missing four-year-old Madeleine McCann. Today (20th June) marks 50 days since the little girl was abducted during a family holiday in Praia da Luz in the Algarve, Portugal. At 50 destinations across the world, 50 balloons will be launched bearing labels and pictures of Madeleine in a bid to help find her. One of them is Skipton, where resident Anne-Marie Wright, who is the cousin of Madeleine's mum, Kate, has organised a balloon launch in the town. It will take place at 3.15pm at Water Street School - where Mrs Wright's son, Patrick, is a pupil…Skipton's Birthdays store has donated the balloons”. Mrs Wright has been out to Portugal with her husband to look after Madeleine's brother and sister, two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie, while Kate and Gerry, Madeleine's Dad, journeyed to Morocco. Mrs Wright said: ‘It was nice to be useful and to see the twins was lovely’.

“She said her cousin and her husband were emotionally up and down and tired from all the travelling around…she hoped people would turn up to help set the balloons free and said other primary schools or organisations could organise similar events”.

On 29th June the ‘Craven Herald’ reported on how the fund-raising event in Skipton had gone, as follows: “Balloons launched for Maddie: FIFTY balloons were released over Skipton in a bid to get missing four-year-old Madeleine McCann back to her family safe and well. The balloon launch, at Water Street School on Friday, marked 50 days since the little girl was snatched during a family holiday in Praia Da Luz in the Algarve, Portugal. At destinations around the world, balloons bearing a picture of Madeleine and the Crimestoppers number were released into the sky. Skipton woman Anne-Marie Wright is the cousin of Madeleine's mum, Kate, and organised the event at Water Street, where her son, Patrick, is a pupil. Her daughter, Katie, also read a short prayer. Mrs Wright said there had been a nice, quiet atmosphere at the event. She added: ‘The day was two-fold. We want to keep raising awareness and keep it in the public eye. Then there's the small chance that someone might find the balloon and have information to find Madeleine’. Mrs Wright has been out to Portugal twice since Madeleine went missing”.

It is known that Mrs Wright went out for the visit of 8th to 13th June 2007, but it is not known when the other visit was.

Michael Wright and the Renault Scenic

On 27th May, the day before Dr Gerry McCann and Dr Kate McCann travelled to Rome to receive a blessing from the Pope, Michael Wright became a joint named driver of the notorious Renault Scenic, in which Eddie the cadaver sniffer dog detected the ‘smell of death’ - human cadaverine - in the well of the car, where what was almost certainly a sample of Madeleine’s blood was also found.

There is some confusion about who were the ‘named drivers’ of the car. One report said it was the two McCanns plus Michael Wright. Another report said that Sandy Cameron, husband of Trish Cameron, was also a ‘named driver’, and that Dr Kate McCann was not. She is certainly on record as having driven the Renault Scenic, and we may safely assume therefore that she was a named driver.

A coincidence, which the Portuguese police checked out, was that another Michael Wright hired the Renault Scenic just two weeks earlier (from 8th to 15th May), together with another man named Brown. The Portuguese police traced both these men to Milton Keynes and decided that they had nothing to do with the McCann family. They both apparently lived in the same street in Milton Keynes. ‘Our’ Michael Wright was born in 1963, making him 44 years old in 2007. The ‘other’, Milton Keynes, Michael Wright, was born in 1936, making him 71 last year. He was not interviewed by the Portuguese police. But the records do show that the car was paid for by credit card at the time of collection, 8th May, and returned on 15th May. This may not have any significance, but the General Medical Council (GMC) register has registered doctors whose names, initials, registration dates and ages would all fit the details of the hirers of the car, plus those other names qualified at the same place. Whether the other Michael Wright and Brown are those same doctors as are on the GMC register has not yet been checked.

The car milometer reading on 27 May, the date the car was hired, was 3114
km. By the time the car milometer was read again on 23 September, the reading was 14443, meaning that in those four months or so, 11,332 km had been clocked up - just under 7,000 miles. [The milometer readings for intermediate dates were merely notional; for the record, these were: 03 Jun - 3864; 3 Jul - 5864; 2 Aug - 5865; 1 Sep - 5866]. The mileage per day was around 60 miles; around 420 a week.


It might be possible to check how and when the car was used by checking the credit card records of the McCanns and the others who were driving the Renault Scenic. But the British Home Office blocked the Portuguese police from having access to the McCanns’ credit card records - or anyone else’s - citing, no doubt, the right to privacy, the Data Protection Act and the Human Rights Act.


CONTINUED IN PART TWO


Last edited by Tony Bennett on Wed Mar 30, 2011 8:47 am; edited 3 times in total

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PART TWO

Post  Tony Bennett on Tue Mar 29, 2011 10:27 pm

The mystery over the ‘christening weekend’

On Sunday 15th July, Michael Wright’s two children, Patrick and Katie, were christened - or ‘baptised’ – at Skipton. It is known that Dr Gerry McCann and Dr Kate McCann attended, flying into England on different days. What is not 100% certain is whether Michael Wright attended his own daughter’s christening.

By way of background, the Wrights are Roman Catholics. Nearly always, practising Roman Catholics baptise, or ‘christen’, their children, at a young age. It is a key Roman Catholic sacrament and is thought by Roman Catholics to assure eternal salvation. It is not the same as ‘conformation’. This occurs when children receive a period of training in the essentials of the faith, and then attend a ceremony to confirm their adherence to the faith. It is common practice in Roman Catholicism, in the Church of England, and in the Jewish religion, where the ceremony is known as a ‘barmitzvah’. Christening children at the age of 12 and 10 (the ages of Patrick and Katie) is unusual. Most recently it has become a common practice for parents of unchristened children to adopt to help ensure that their children are given a better chance of attending a good Roman Catholic secondary school.

Let us look at the official synopsis of Michael Wright’s statement to the Portuguese police. The translation says: “12th to 13th July, he returned with Kate and the twins to attend the christening of his own children while Gerry was already in the U.K. The McCanns returned to Portugal on 15th July”.

On the face of this statement, Michael Wright flew from England on 12th July to Praia da Luz to ‘collect’ Dr Kate McCann, and then returned back from Praia da Luz to Skipton the following day, together with Dr Kate McCann, for the family christening. Ostensibly, he then remained in England. Dr Gerry McCann had already returned to England ahead - see below.

Let us begin looking at the events of this weekend by staring with the ‘reconstruction’ event that took place on Wednesday 11 July in Praia da Luz, where Goncalo Amaral’s team of detectives arranged a face-to-face meeting between suspect Robert Murat and the three friends of the McCanns who claim to have seen him acting suspiciously outside the Ocean Club the night that Madeleine ‘disappeared’. The ‘Daily Mirror’ reported it like this: “The extraordinary face-to-face meeting on July 11 was organised by officers trying to discover who is telling the truth in the 85-day long case in which [Robert Murat is the only formal suspect” http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/topstories ... -19528076

Dr Gerry McCann mentions this reconstruction event in his ‘Daily Blog’ for 11 July. Here it is in full (note, Dr McCann’s typing errors have been left just as they appear in the original):

“This morning got off to a bad start when we were called, even before the twins were awake, by a reputable press agency saying that a body had been found and asking if it was true. It is very disappointing that this person did not check out the source of this rumour before contacting our representatives. Such calls and rumours are distressing even though we know if it does not come through an official source not to place much emphasis on it.
The Portuguese police interviewed three of our friends again today, to clarify points in their initial statements. As most of you will know, there is a lot of misleading information being published, both in the press and on the internet, about the events leading up to Madeleine's disappearance and the criminal investigation. We would like to give more information, especially about inaccurate and hurtful reports, but cannot for fear of prejudicing any subsequent court proceedings. The Portuguese police have made it clear to us that all witnesses should not divulge or discuss
the information they have provided. Kate and I are, of course not party to all of the information coming into the inquiry for sound operational reasons. Similarly a lot of people have asked to learn more about Madeleines likes and dislikes. This is information which we have been advised not to distribute publicly because of the risk of it being used in potential extortion attempts. The arrests recently in The Netherlands and Spain show that such information could be used negatively in the wrong hands”.

Now let us turn to his blog entry for the following day:

“It is ten weeks since Madeleine was abducted and every day has been incredibly hard for our family. No child should be separated from their family in such circumstances. The overwhelming messages of support, thoughts and prayers really help us stay strong. Somebody, somewhere knows where Madeleine is and it may take a single phone call for her to be found. We will not give up searching for her. I came to London today to meet with the British police and will go to the Child Exploitaion and Online Protection Centre tomorrow to learn more about their role. As I have said previously we want to work closely with the police and child welfare organisations to help us keep awareness of Madeleines and other childrens disappearance high.

I was also invited to attend the National Police Federation Annual Bravery awards tonight. The work of the police is often taken for granted until you really need them. It was a humbling experience to see and meet so many officers who have shown such outstanding bravery in the line of duty and protecting us all. It was a fantastic opportunity to thank officers from all over the country who have been involved with the investigation to find Madeleine. The vast majority of those that I managed to speak to are, like us, very optimistic that we will find Madeleine safe and well”.

So Dr Gerry McCann travelled on his own to England, and met ‘British police’ for a purpose which he does not tell us about, though a later report in the ‘Daily Telegraph’ said he had visited ‘British police connected with the investigation’. Nor does he say who these ‘British police’ were. Now we come to his blog for Friday 13th July:

“Spent a large part of the day at the Child Exploitation and Online Protecetion (CEOP) headquarters in London. The work they are doing in the prevention and detection of child exploitation is fantastic and I have no doubt they are world leaders in many aspects of their work. The statistics of child abduction in the UK, both attempted and sucessful cases, are stagggering with over 1000 reported cases in 2003/4 and the figures show a year on year increase. The scale of the problem is much larger than Kate and I ever imagined and worryingly there does not appear to be reliable statistics for many countries in Europe. Clearly a lot of work has to be done to tackle this growing problem.
Kate and I believe that someone, somewhere knows something about Madleines abduction. The events of recent weeks and the high profile of Madeleine reassure us that when the key piece of information comes in, to any law enforcement agency, it will be treated seriously and fed into the inquiry quickly and actioned”.


Now for Dr Gerry McCann’s blog for the day of the christening (Friday 14th July):

“Kate, the twins and myself attended a family baptism today in Yorkshire where we stood as Godparents. At the end of the short service, which was lovely, prayers were said for Madeleine. It is the first time Kate has been to the UK since Madeleine disappeared but we wanted to support our family [sic] the same way they have supported us over the last ten weeks and it was great to see so many family members together. We have also taken a huge amount of strength from our faith and of course the messages of support and prayers for Madeleine from people of all faiths around the world”.

The following day - Sunday - he wrote:

“Travelled back to Portugal today on an early morning flight. It was heartening to see various posters of Madeleine up at all the check-in desks especially with the busy holiday season underway. The flight itself was quiet for Kate and I as the twins fell asleep shortly after take-off. My mum and sister have also come out to for a few days so we managed to see a lot of family this weekend”.

The ‘Craven Herald’s report on the ‘christening weekend’ confirmed: “The cardiologist also met with child abduction experts at the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre [CEOP] in London”.

Quite why Dr Gerry McCann should have travelled to England a day ahead of his wife is unclear. On Friday 13th July, he was a guest at a major police annual dinner, that of the Police Federation, held in London, and presumably spent the night in London before travelling up to meet his wife the following morning - Saturday - the morning of the actual christening.

Michael Wright is quite clear that he flew out to Portugal on Thursday 12th July, apparently solely with the intention of accompanying Dr Kate McCann and the twins the following day. He also says in his statement to the police: “I was aware of the hiring of the Renault Espace [he means ‘Scenic’]; I was collected from the airport by Kate in it on 12th July and drove the vehicle regularly in August and September”. No doubt an accompanying male was very important for a mother travelling on her own with twins and luggage. All the more reason why it is hard to explaining why Dr Gerry McCann went ahead on his own the day previous.


There has been a suggestion discussed on some Madeleine McCann forums that Michael Wright may not have returned to England on 13th July but stayed in Portugal.

It is said by some forum members that if Michael Wright did indeed stay in Portugal that weekend, he would have had a very good opportunity to collect Madeleine’s body from its original site after her ‘disappearance’ to what would no doubt become Madeleine’s final resting place. It is suggested that Michael Wright might have worked alone, or may have had help from another member of the McCanns’ family and group of friends. It is suggested that Michael Wright could easily have been driving the Renault Scenic around Portugal away from the glare of cameramen and nosey journalists. They would all have been hanging around Praia da Luz, waiting for the return of the McCanns.

But if we accept that Michael Wright did indeed travel back with Dr Kate McCann on Friday 13th, having met her at the airport the previous day, then all such speculation is futile.

For the record, the visit of the McCanns to the christening was described by the ‘Daily Telegraph’ in the following terms:

“The mother of missing Madeleine McCann made an emotional journey back to Britain at the weekend for the first time since her daughter was abducted in Portugal on May 3. Kate McCann, 38, of Rothley, Leics, has repeatedly said that she did not want to return home without the missing four-year-old, but made the trip back to attend a family christening. Yesterday on her return to Portugal, where the family are now based, she described the visit as ‘heart-breaking’ but important. ‘Saturday was an emotional day’, she said. Mrs McCann travelled to England with her two-year-old twins, Sean and Amelie, and was re-united with her husband Gerry, 39, who was in London meeting police involved in the investigation”.

Meanwhile the ‘Craven Herald’ on Friday 20th July offered the following account of the christening:

“THE parents of missing Madeleine McCann made a short trip to Skipton at the weekend. Kate and Gerry McCann attended the baptism of two of their godchildren on Saturday. Mr McCann had flown to Britain last Thursday [12th] to attend meetings with UK police officers and speak at the Police Federation's annual dinner. The cardiologist also met with child abduction experts at the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre in London. Mrs McCann travelled to North Yorkshire from Faro on Friday.

“The baptism of her godson, Patrick, and her husband's goddaughter, Katie, was at St Stephen's Church. They are the children of Kate's cousin, Anne-Marie Wright, who lives in Skipton. Mrs McCann said: ‘It was an emotional day. We were reunited with family to celebrate welcoming two children into the Catholic faith. Gerry and I wanted to be there, to take part and to support our godchildren on one of the most important days of their lives. But I am sure every mother in the world will understand that it was heart-breaking for me to be with our family, yet not be with Madeleine. Gerry and I have returned to Portugal to continue the search for our daughter Madeleine’.

The report added: “Two classmates from Carleton School have raised nearly £100 to help in the search for Madeleine McCann. Madison Hoyles and Hannah Eastham, both eight, held a stall selling buns, sweets and chocolate after school on Tuesday. The girls sold everything in 30 minutes and raised £99. It was Madison and Hannah's idea to raise money for missing Madeleine and their mums helped them organise the stall. Other parents baked cakes and buns for the girls to sell”.

Questions have been raised about when the baptism of the two children was arranged; some have suggested that it might have been arranged after Madeleine went ‘missing’, and perhaps for a purpose. There is however no evidence in the public domain as to when the baptism was arranged.

The McCanns in the villa - July onwards

The McCanns moved into their new villa outside Praia da Luz on Sunday 1 July 2007, staying there until 10 September when they rushed back to England just after being made ‘arguido’ and ‘arguida’. So when Dr Kate McCann collected Michael Wright from the airport on 12 July, presumably she took Michael Wright back with her to the villa, before flying to England the following day.

Despite claims that the villa was provided free of charge by a supporter, in fact, the McCanns were billed for €6000.00 for the period of 1 July to 31 August 2007 and then a further €1000.00 for the period 1 to 10 September. They had had to move because 1 July was the start of the Portuguese ‘high season’.

Altogether, then, €7000.00 - or over £5,000. The monthly rental was therefore nearly £2,500 - or £600 a week. The bill was made out direct to Dr Gerry and Dr Kate McCann, asking for full payment by bank transfer. No deposit was required.

When the Portuguese police went to the villa during July, they made some surprising finds, notably books on crimes and murders, plus confidential procedure manuals produced by the Child Exploitation and Online Ptotection Centre. During his time at the villa, Dr Gerry McCann also researched the ability of cadaver dogs - looking, it seems, for every weakness in their ability, searching for every possible reference to their evidence being unreliable.

‘Rubbish to the dumps’

Michael Wright mentions in the synopsis of his statement that he and the McCanns used a number of refuse sites for disposing of household rubbish. He mentions two rubbish disposal areas on the estate of the villa itself, first by the main entrance and other at the top of the hill. Outside the villa, he mentions other public rubbish disposal sites: a site on Cemetery Road, a site on a road above the Mark Warners complex, and a further site between the villa and the church. These visits to so many rubbish dump sites - five in all - seem odd given that we know there were several large disposal bins in Praia da Luz which they could have used.

Michael Wright and Dr Gerry McCann also claimed to have been taking garden rubbish regularly to the dumps. Quite what ‘gardening’ would have to be done in a rented Mediterranean villa, when you have the twins to look after and are running an intense, global campaign to ‘find Madeleine’, is unclear.

The unpleasant smell in the Renault Scenic

We looked at a few facts about the hire of the Renault Scenic above. Now we look at the following extract from Michael Wright’s synopsis: “On a number of occasions he [Michael Wright] noticed an unpleasant smell in the vehicle that he put down to the twins used nappies which had been discarded with the general waste. He was not aware of any spillages in the vehicle or anyone cleaning it”.

Given these statements, it is more than passing interest that a neighbour of the McCanns observed that ‘the back door of the Renault Scenic was left open all night long’ - presumably to get rid of the smell? It is hardly likely that the McCanns would have left ‘rotting meat’ and ‘dirty nappies’ in the back of the car for long enough for the smell to remain. Smells like that would be washed away with a good clean. The smell of human cadaverine, however, once it attaches to an item, can linger for years.

It is interesting that he uses the term ‘unpleasant smell’. As a mature adult, he would surely know what kind of smells resulted from ‘rotting meat’ and ‘dirty nappies’. But he doesn’t say the car smelt of either of these. He talks about an ‘unpleasant smell’ - and one that clearly lingered a long time, being noticed ‘on several occasions’. Incidentally though Michael Wright claims that he was not aware of the car ever being cleaned, there is evidence that another relative, Sandy Cameron, was seen cleaning it on several occasions. Clearly it was a most unusual smell. Could it have been the ‘smell of death’ detected by Eddie, the cadaver dog?

Quite why dirty nappies should smell that much is a puzzle anyway, assuming that the McCanns do whatever other parents do, namely, fold the nappies up and put them away in a sealable polythene bag ready for disposal.

It may reasonably asked why Michael Wright would mention the unpleasant smell at all. There are perhaps two reasons why he did so. Either he never knew that Madeleine’s body may have been transported in the Scenic, i.e. it was all done entirely without his knowledge, and he just honestly volunteered to the Portuguese police that there was a funny smell in the car, or he may have been actively helping the McCanns with the disposal of Madeleine’s body (or known about it and been involved in the subsequent cover-up) by putting up a false reason for the smell in the car - or, shall we say, a reason why Eddie the cadaver dog might ‘alert’ to a smell in that car.

One blogger wrote the following about the ‘smell of death’: “For anyone who has never smelt it, the smell of a decaying body can never be mistaken. It cannot and will never be mistaken for anything else. It is a sweet, sickly, gas like smell, nothing remotely like butchered rotting meat or dirty nappies. Anyone who has ever successfully used rodent poison under their floor will (a few days later) have had a taste of what a decaying whole body smells of. Once smelt, never forgotten”.

One suggestion made is that Dr Gerry McCann and Michael Wright may have deliberately placed dirty nappies and rotten meat in the car to modify and cover the cadaver scent.

Another possibility is simply that during the voluntary questioning of him, the British detective asked him if he noticed an unpleasant smell, agreed that he had done, and simply did his best by putting forward an explanation as to what might have been the cause of the bad smell.

The explanation for so many trips to the rubbish dump centred around garden waste. But as we saw above, the idea that the McCanns were able to find time for gardening seems unlikely, as of course was the necessity for Dr Kate McCann to wash the holiday curtains. What other holidaymakers need to wash their holiday curtains?

The final two visits in August and September

On 22 August Michael Wright flew out again to Praia da Luz, this time apparently to replace the Cameron family who had been helping Dr Gerry and Dr Kate McCann before then. He stayed until 1 September, when amongst other things he booked a large removal firm in Lagos for the McCanns, apparently using his own name. Michael Wright, according to his statement, says he arranged the removal before 1 September. That raises a very important issue. The McCanns maintained that they did not decide to return to England until they were both made ‘arguidos’ on 7th September. Why, then, had Michael Wright already ordered the removal van some two weeks before, at the end of August?

He then flew out once again on 7 September, apparently to help in cleaning the villa and arranging for Dr Gerry and Dr Kate McCann to return to England. The Camerons were already there, though, helping with the cleaning. And quite why such a large removal van proved necessary to take all the McCanns’ many belongings back to England is uncertain. The McCanns said at the time that they had to hire a removal van because they ‘had accumulated hundreds of letters from well-wishers and the twins had been sent loads of toys’. There also seemed to be a huge number of clothes that Dr Kate McCann was wearing, as she seemed to have at least one different outfit for every day of the holiday.

It is known that from 7th to 9th September Michael Wright helped to clean the villa where the McCanns were staying, ahead of the McCanns returning hastily to England on 10th September.

The Camerons and Eileen McCann had already left the previous day, 9 September.

Michael Wright speaks in his statement of how he helped the McCanns with their campaigning. He describes them both as ‘distraught’, explaining how they ‘crumbled and sobbed’ when not in official meetings or media conferences. He explained that he drove the Renault Scenic ‘regularly’ in August and September, using it for shopping, and for the removal of garden and other rubbish to the recycling area of Praia da Luz. Sometimes he drove the twins to the beach, he says, sometimes to the Kids’ Club, or when he was doing ‘runs to and from the airport’. At other times, he was the passenger while Dr Gerry McCann or Sandy Cameron drove the Scenic, which, confusingly, he called the ‘Espace’ in his statement.

When the McCanns returned to England on 10th September, one of the questions they faced was why they had left Portugal after vowing to stay in Portugal until Madeleine was found. This was one of the issues tackled in an article in the ‘Craven Herald’ on Friday 14th September; the McCanns were at pains to say they would return to Portugal if asked. Anne-Marie Wright was quoted in the ‘Craven Herald’. The article ran:

A SKIPTON relative of Kate and Gerry McCann has said the couple had nothing to do with their daughter's disappearance. Portuguese police have named Mr and Mrs McCann as official suspects after the disappearance of four-year-old Madeleine from an Algarve holiday resort in May...Kate's cousin, Skipton resident Anne-Marie Wright, said they were determined to clear their names if it came to it. She said: ‘They are innocent and had nothing to do with her disappearance’. Mrs Wright, whose husband Michael has spent time in Portugal helping with the search for Madeleine, said the situation was ‘heartbreaking…It's absolutely awful. It's the feeling of: can this be happening to our family?' We can't believe it's real. It's unbelievable’.” She said: "They will have the support of family and friends more available to them [by deciding to return to England]. They have said that if police want them to go back to Portugal they will co-operate and clear their names’."

Christmas with the Wrights in Skipton

It was Skipton where the McCanns went for Christmas 2007, according to a detailed report in the ‘Craven Herald’ on 28 December, headed ‘Relatives provide Christmas comfort for Maddy’s parents’:

“Kate and Gerry McCann were comforted by relatives in Skipton as they spent a heartbreaking first Christmas without their daughter, Madeleine. The couple…stayed with Kate's cousin, Anne-Marie Wright. After arriving in the town on Christmas Eve, they tried to give their two other children, twins Amelie and Sean, as normal a Christmas as possible…The two-year-olds also had Mrs Wright's children, Katie and Patrick, to play with during their break from their home in Leicestershire. The McCanns attended Christmas Day Mass with Mrs Wright and her husband Michael at St Stephen's Church, where Father Peter Dawber led a prayer for Madeleine's safe return. Kate returned to the church for mass again on Boxing Day. She wore a badge featuring a picture of her missing daughter and the caption: ‘Look into my eyes! Help find Madeleine’. Mrs Wright said: “They are a delightful family and Kate and Gerry are kind, caring, devoted parents. It makes you wonder why something as horrible as this can happen to such good people. Everyone in our family desperately wants Madeleine back with her Mum, Dad, brother and sister”. Kate released a message to the media in the hope her daughter would hear it over the Christmas period. In the recording, Kate said: ‘Madeleine, it's Mummy and Daddy here. Just know how much we love you, Madeleine. We all miss you so much. Sean and Amelie talk about you all the time every day. Our only Christmas wish is for you to be back with us again and we're hoping and praying that that will happen’.”

In this context, it is of interest to know that at around Christmas-time, Australian blogger who operates the ‘I On Global Trends’ website, stated that he had received many abusive e-mails from an ISP address [e-mail address] in Skipton? Similar abusive messages were received around the same time on the ‘Daily Mirror’s Madeleine McCann forum. One forum member painted a vivid picture of them all sitting round the Christmas tree in Skipton, furiously tapping out vile posts on their laptops.

Mike Hitchen said at the time: “It has been rather an interesting night. Earlier in the evening someone tried to hijack the Shout Box, by posting under the names of regular users, including myself. To give you an idea of how inexperienced these people are, they failed to realise that not only do I track ISP addresses, but when I post, I am specially marked as administrator. Hard to believe that someone posting from an ISP address that was traced to just north of Skipton, could possibly be someone posting from Sydney. Ah well, an abuse report has gone of to the both the Shout Box host, and to the offenders’ ISP.

Out to Portugal for the One Year Anniversary

Michael Wright went out to Praia da Luz for the one year ‘memorial service’ to Madeleine. Dr Gerry McCanns’ brother, John McCann, his sister Trish Cameron, and her husband Sandy Cameron also attended the service. A number of other relatives, all of whom live in Dr McCann’s home city of Glasgow, also travelled to Praia da Luz on behalf of Madeleine's parents to attend an evening service in the Algarve village's church of Our Lady of Light (
]http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7381542.stm).


Summary

On the face of it, many people would suggest that what we have here is no more than a close relative of the McCanns doing all that he practically could to help his relatives who were in acute distress.

He spent part or all of 34 days in Praia da Luz between 5th May and 1st September included. His wife went out there twice. He actively helped with the campaigning and helped out with family matters like taking the children to the beach.

If the christening/baptism had been arranged before Madeleine ‘disappeared’ on 3rd May, and assuming that we are right in thinking that Michael Wright flew out on 12 July to accompany Dr Kate McCann and the twins back to England to attend that event, there is nothing sinister or which requires further explanation about that event.

Points for concern include:

a) the swiftness of his departure to Praia da Luz

b) why he apparently took no action over the report of ‘George B’ seeing a man with a child early on the morning of 4th May

c) what he and Dr Gerry McCann were doing texting people on the beach on 7th May

d) the connection (if any) between him and the crisis management/counselling company, CCP, that was despatched immediately to Praia da Luz

e) why there seemed to have been so much rubbish disposal during his time there

f) whether he was aware of the true cause of the ‘unpleasant smell’ in the car.


[A report prepared by Tony Bennett, 21 November 2008]

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Re: MADELEINE MCCANN: THE ROLE OF MICHAEL WRIGHT

Post  Magichands on Sat May 21, 2011 10:22 pm

Evening Tony,

I've just had a quick glance through your above post and a few issues caught my eye.



"Michael Wright and the Renault Scenic

On 27th May, the day before Dr Gerry McCann and Dr Kate McCann travelled to Rome to receive a blessing from the Pope, Michael Wright became a joint named driver of the notorious Renault Scenic, in which Eddie the cadaver sniffer dog detected the ‘smell of death’ - human cadaverine - in the well of the car, where what was almost certainly a sample of Madeleine’s blood was also found.


There is some confusion about who were the ‘named drivers’ of the car. One report said it was the two McCanns plus Michael Wright. Another report said that Sandy Cameron, husband of Trish Cameron, was also a ‘named driver’, and that Dr Kate McCann was not. She is certainly on record as having driven the Renault Scenic, and we may safely assume therefore that she was a named driver."


Michael Wright Rogatory Interview - 16th April 2008

"When I was in Portugal on 12 July I was picked up by Kate who was driving the Renault Espace".

however if we are to believe that there was only the ONE car, which I don't, then Kate was driving it without being named on the rental agreement.

RENAULT GRAND SCENIC
59 DA 27 1.5 DCI 7L/S1
2938 to 2940 - Fax to car rental agency 12 September 2007

Processo 11 Pages 2902 to 2937

p2907 27/5-03/6 MW is additional driver
p2910 03/6-03/7 MW is additional driver
p2913 03/7-02/8 Additional driver (blank)
p2914 02/8-01/9 Additional driver (blank)
p2917 01/9-24/9 MW is additional driver



http://www.gerrymccannsblogs.co.uk/PJ/RENTAL_CONTRACTS-1.htm


I can find no record of Sandy Cameron as an additional driver on the Scenic and its not mentioned within his rog however Linda McQueen clearly states that she was in a car driven by Sandy but it was NOT the Scenic which she travelled in frequently.

Linda McQueen Rog:

"During 2007 I travelled to Portugal on 3 separate occasions: from 12 - 19 May; 26 - 29 June; and 19 - 26 August.

During the first week that I was in Portugal Kate and Gerry were transported [driven] by representatives of Mark Warner. Sandy Cameron was also there and possessed a hire car, but it was not the Renault Scenic that Gerry and Kate rented during the third week that I stayed with them in Portugal.
In the second week that I was there, I travelled [to Portugal] with Nicky Gill. We stayed with the Trish and Sandy in the apartment close to Kate and Gerry. On this occasion Gerry drove a hire car but I do not remember if it was the previous car of Sandy or the Renault scenic.

In the third week I travelled [to Portugal] with my husband, Mark, our daughter Ellie and the priest Paul Seddon. Ellie and I stayed in the Villa that Kate and Gerry had rented, Paul and Mark stayed in an apartment in the immediate vicinity. During this period both Kate and Gerry drove the Renault Scenic and I travelled frequently in that vehicle."

To add the confusion,

Sandy Cameron states in his rog that;

"On the 27th of May of 2007, Gerry was handed a rental vehicle in the Mark Warner tourist complex; a Renault Scenic with plate number 59-DA-27. I met with the representative of the car rental agency at Gerry’s request, and as such, my name was also on the rental contract so that I could also drive the vehicle; to drive the children and to go shopping. These were things that Gerry was too occupied to carry out himself. I was the habitual drive of the vehicle and used it daily."

Yet I don't see him listed on the rental agreements ?

http://www.gerrymccannsblogs.co.uk/PJ/RENTAL_CONTRACTS-1.htm


In addition to the above, we then have Michael Wright stating that he was reluctant to be an additional driver until 22nd August however the rental agreements clearly indicated he was an additional driver between these dates and bizzarely NOT solely when he claimed.

Processo 11 Pages 2902 to 2937

p2907 27/5-03/6 MW is additional driver
p2910 03/6-03/7 MW is additional driver
p2913 03/7-02/8 Additional driver (blank)
p2914 02/8-01/9 Additional driver (blank)
p2917 01/9-24/9 MW is additional driver


Michael Wright rog;

"At the time I travelled with Anne-Marie on 8 June, Kate and Gerry had rented a vehicle. It had seven seats, I thought it to be a Renault Espace. Gerry suggested that I be added to the insured driver's list so that I could drive it while they were in Morocco, but I thought that to be unnecessary as they would only be gone for a few days. When I was in Portugal on 12 July I was picked up by Kate who was driving the Renault Espace.

It was on our trip to Portugal on 22 August that Gerry suggested that I was added to the contract as an additional driver and I accepted. Gerry and I went to Lagos and I was included in the contract as additional driver.

I drove the car regularly in August and September, doing the shopping at the supermarket, taking the house and garden rubbish to the recycling area in PdL and also taking the twins to creche and to the beach, and trips to the airport. I was also a passenger in the car at various times, mainly in June and July when Gerry or Sandy drove. "



Based on the above, it appears that not only are there large descrepancies regarding Michael Wright dates of when he was an additional driver of the Renault Scenic but also Kate McCann supposedly driving the Scenic without being named on the rental agreements. To add to this, there is enough evidence in my opinion to suggest there was indeed a second car, Renault Espace, in use however I'm not convinced this car was a hire car.



















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