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Lessons Learned

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Lessons Learned

Post by TrollAng on 08.10.11 17:17

I know it's a bit premature to sum up the lessons learned but it's already more than 4 years since the story broke and there are no guarantees right now that there will ever be a conclusion. Kate says in her book:

Page 116:
"The only other such case we knew of was that of Ben Needham, who had been snatched sixteen years earlier from a Greek island at the age of twenty-one months, and who still hasn't been found. The world has changed dramatically since then, particularly in terms of communications. In 1991 the internet and mobile phones had been in their infancy, and there were no twenty-four-hour news channels to be fuelled. The fact that Gerry and I were both doctors seemed to make the story more newsworthy, as, no doubt did the fact that Madeleine is such a beautiful girl."

It's pretty difficult to separate the McCann's media courtship with the media courtship of the McCann's, almost as difficult to separate Madeleine's disappearance from any reference to the parents. Hot on the heels we had the disappearance of Shannon Matthews which bore a startling resemblance to Madeleine's case. I believe that there are 2 important factors in these cases.

1. When a child disappears it's not unusual that parents & family members will be considered as suspect. I think that Kate is right in this instance, there are now 24 hour news channels to be fuelled not to mention our desire to suddenly know everything about a situation. There are a lot of risks that go with that, parents taking advantage of their 15 minutes of fame and becoming instant celebrities on the back of their missing loved one. Family making money in exchange for a good story. Family unable to get a fair trial risking prosecution by the media or a case been thrown out because of media intrusion. I don't believe that the public will react any more favourably whether the family are interviewed or a press statement is issued on the family's behalf. I don't believe that the public will react more favourably if they consider a child to be "prettier" than or in more need the next. I think that for all these reasons the media should be banned from approaching or interviewing the family of a missing child and that all statements should be issued by a neutral body whose interest it is to protect the child and the family.

2. The very thought of a missing child brings out the best in the majority of people. We can only look at the people of Praia de Luz and how they searched well into the night and for many days. The waves of support and sympathy for the family despite the inconsistent stories, wanting to believe and doing anything that they could do help. For most who weren't in the location the only thing people could think of was to pray and offer money. I don't believe that money should be offered to a family where a child is missing. Again we don't have any proof that the family isn't involved. I genuinely don't believe that money received is of any great comfort. But I think if people do insist on sending donations, these should be sent to a central fund that can be used to help all kidnap victims and their families where absolutely necessary and on an equal basis. I believe that the fund should disclose detailed accounts on a periodic basis.

I think if these two measures were in place the McCann case would be very different.


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O trollang, if only!

Post by tigger on 08.10.11 17:55

Your two points are excellent, why not suggest this to the Home Secretary?
You quote from the bewk, ( I like to call it Mein Kampf) as Kate writing:
were both doctors seemed to make the story more newsworthy, as, no doubt did the fact that Madeleine is such a beautiful girl."

This is an outright lie, and yet another part of the marketing ploy.
1. The poster girl looks nothing like Maddie and never has looked like her. It is heavily photoshopped, even at 2.5 she didn't look like that as e.g. the video of her in the fairy suit shows.
2. In any photographs of her early life, up to about 2.5 yrs. (we seem to have very little past that age until we hit nearly 4 yrs) she certainly doesn't look 'beautiful' but she looks not entirely well, in photographs almost like a mild Downs' baby.
She had a droop in her right eye and her face as well a little, in nearly all photos, the heavy bags under her eyes are really not a normal feature.
Her ears seemed rather big for such a little girl, they stuck out a bit, but were usually hidden under her hair.
According to family: she could throw a tantrum, she was a screamer, she was very difficult.
According to reports I cannot verify, : her speech was not well developed for her age (we haven't heard her being so articulate as Gerry tells us). In videos she barely seems to interact with the twins. There appear to be few if any! photographs of her with other children.
From all the material, I see a lonely little toddler. In many photographs she looks very insecure, e.g. the Everton one. (not the super blond one, I don't think that's her).
I think it is meaningful that she was due to go to school that year. I have my reasons for thinking her parents didn't particularly want her to go.

Please, please don't think I'm doing Maddie down. I'd be first in line to care for her, she was a lovely little girl, but not the stunning elfin beauty she was made.
That was part of the marketing ploy, and by golly, it worked.


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Re: Lessons Learned

Post by Lemain on 08.10.11 19:01

@TrollAng wrote: I don't believe that money should be offered to a family where a child is missing. Again we don't have any proof that the family isn't involved. I genuinely don't believe that money received is of any great comfort. But I think if people do insist on sending donations, these should be sent to a central fund that can be used to help all kidnap victims and their families where absolutely necessary and on an equal basis. I believe that the fund should disclose detailed accounts on a periodic basis.

I think if these two measures were in place the McCann case would be very different.

I genuinely don't think we want or need a law telling people to whom they can send money! On the other hand, there are perfectly good existing laws about fraud. If -- and I stress 'if' -- any of the Trustees of the Madeleine company were aware that the money was being obtained fraudulently then even though it is a limited company the 'veil of incorporation' can be lifted and the individuals tried for fraud.

If -- and again I stress 'if' -- the image(s) used in the material published (posters, etc.) have been altered to the extent that they do not look reasonably like Madeleine, then that might be considered fraud since it would be impossible for anyone to find her. Taking a ludicrous extreme to make the point, suppose Madeleine's pictures were all of a large-boned Afro-Caribbean girl then to procure money from the public would, I think, be fraudulent.

Any donor to the fund would, I think, have a case in law to take action against a fraudulent donation campaign. So it would be open for any of us here to send them a fiver (and be sure to get a receipt) then make a case against them, in court. Don't involve me, though. Legal fees WILL be high unless someone here is a tame lawyer.

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Re: Lessons Learned

Post by TrollAng on 08.10.11 20:01

Tigger, thanks. I agree, the poster picture looks heavily altered and unlike Madeleine, it's very hard to understand why that picture would have been chosen. I don't believe that we have morphed into a society where even a picture of a missing child needs to be altered to attract interest. Nobody would recognise the Madeleine from the other pictures as ever being the same as the poster one. You are right, it was a clear marketing strategy but then I wonder if the McCann couple went on to market themselves too.

I ask myself often if the pictures are all in fact Madeleine because the child seems very different in some. I think my favourite one is Madeleine on the pink bike, it looks like a very natural photo and I like to think that she pinched Amelie's new bike & took for a test run.

Lemain, I accept your point and understand that there are laws about fraud but if this is the case why is nobody challenging them or taking any kind of action to make a case? You say you wouldn't get involved because of legal costs, what makes you think that anyone else is different? If there was a law preventing private donations this would both protect the child and the donor then this situation would never be allowed to happen. I don't believe that it's right to turn the "grieving parents" into millionaires where they can promote their child above any other missing child and terminate a police enquiry into their missing daughter by conducting their own investigation. This investigation (if it ever existed) will never be balanced or impartial because the McCann's only consider one possibility. If the fund or media circus weren't in place the parents would have had no choice but to continue with the police investigation and perhaps there would be more answers now than questions.

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