WE HELPED THE MCCANNS!
Part 4 of 10
[ Note: These purported messages, from 50 people who helped the McCanns in one way or another are interpretations, based on information in the public domain. Some of them include an element of irony and satire. Where quotations are in inverted commas, these are actual quotes from the people concerned. Otherwise, their statements are not meant to be taken literally, though we believe they reflect realities – MMRG, December 2017 ]
16 DETECTIVE CHIEF SUPERINTENDENT HAMISH CAMPBELL, former Senior Investigation Officer on the Madeleine McCann case
’Evening All! If you look me up on the internet, you’ll find that I was the Investigating Officer in the case of the murder of Jill Dando. It was my work that helped to arrest and charge Barry Bulsara, a.k.a. ‘Barry George’, as her killer. He was found guilty. So I was pleased with my work. Much later, however, Barry Bulsara successfully appealed against his conviction, with the Court of Appeal virtually suggesting he had been ‘framed’ by police officers putting a small amount of firearms residue in one of his coast packets. Oh well! You can’t win ‘em all.
Despite that failure (or because of it, who knows?!), I was given the job of being the Senior Investigating Officer at Scotland Yard in charge of the Madeleine McCann Review, set up in May 2011. A spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron had already told the media that the purpose of the Madeleine McCann Review (which became known as ‘Operation Grange’) was ‘to help the McCann family’. As the S.I.O., it was my job to decide the operational ‘remit’ for the investigation. Normally, a Review means that the case is looked at afresh, with no reasonable line of enquiry excluded. But in this case, the Prime Minister had already told the nation that the Review was ‘to help the family’. So this was the wording for the Review that I can up with:
“The activity, in the first instance, will be that of an ‘investigative review’. This will entail a review of the whole of the investigation(s) which have been conducted in to the circumstances of Madeleine McCann’s disappearance. The investigative review [will] examine the case and seek to determine, (as if the abduction occurred in the UK) what additional, new investigative approaches we would take and which can assist the Portuguese authorities in progressing the matter”.
So, you see, the remit was only to investigate an abduction. If there was any evidence at all that Madeleine might have died in the McCanns’ apartment, and/or that the McCanns or others had hidden her body, the Operation Grange team of 38 officers was told to ignore it, forget about it! Just as David Cameron asked me, I was pleased to ‘help the family’. Postscript. Ex Met Police Detective Chief Inspector Colin Sutton has been blabbing that he was going to be doing my job, heading up the Madeleine McCann review – until someone, who he said was ‘a very senior Met Police Officer indeed, told him ‘not to get involved’ as the review would be corrupt and he would not be able to go ‘wherever the evidence led’. Ignore him! Do you think any of us are corrupt? Seriously?
17 MATT BAGGOTT, Head of the Police Service of Northern Ireland and former Leicestershire Police Chief Constable
’Evening All! When Madeleine was reported missing, I was the Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police. The McCanns lived in Rothley, Leicestershire -on my patch so to speak. I got a call from someone in Whitehall asking me to send three trusty officers from my force over to Praia da Luz immediately. Sorry, but I can’t tell you what other instructions I was given. Off they went, Detective Chief Superintendent Bob Small and two others. Small did a great job of work with Jane Tanner, as you may have read already [above].
I then got a call ordering me to convene a top-level team of representatives from various government departments and the police and security services. It was set up remarkably quickly, it was all arranged by Tuesday 8 May. I first met with them all in my office at Leicestershire Constabulary H.Q, at Enderby, Leicestershire. It was exciting! Heady stuff! By the way, the job of this co-ordinating committee wasn’t to help find ‘Madeleine’. No! It was to manage the media. In conjunction with Clarence Mitchell of course. The two of us had many chats. It was quite new for me to get involved in media manipulation as such a high level
On 5 September 2014 I gave evidence at the Leveson Enquiry into press standards. Lord Leveson was very interested in how beastly the newspapers had been towards the McCanns, and asked me some questions. I made these statements, either in writing or orally:
(1) “On 8 May 2007 Leicestershire Constabulary was asked to co-ordinate the UK response to assist the Portuguese enquiry on behalf of the UK Government and Association of Chief Police Officers. The Gold Strategy set on this date established that it was a Portuguese-led enquiry and that all actions would comply with requirements of Portuguese law including their Judicial Secrecy Act. Due to the unprecedented media interest in the UK, a co-ordination group was set up on behalf of law enforcement agencies and government departments to coordinate the media interaction and ensure that a consistent stance was taken. This co-ordinating group was chaired by the Head of Corporate Communications from Leicestershire Constabulary. That group has continued to meet as required since 2007”, and
(2) “Due to the thirst for information from the media, every individual working in Leicestershire supporting the police investigation signed a confidentiality agreement. Messages were also disseminated to all staff to make them aware that even private conversations with friends could be reported on in the media…the confidentiality agreement…was something that was put together by the Gold Group who were running the enquiry as part of the U.K. effort, not by myself as Chief Constable”.
Who was on this Co-ordinating Committee remains top secret. A member of the public tried to find out, by means of a Freedom of Information Act request, the identities of the government departments and agencies, and if possible the names of the individuals, who sat on this ‘Co-ordinating Committee’. The request was refused. Some people say it was a high-powered committee charged with using every possible means to make sure that the abduction story stuck. Well, I’m not going to disclose whether it was or not!
I will however disclose that I arranged for Gerry McCann to have an hour-long tour of my force’s ‘Madeleine McCann incident room’ on Monday 21 May, where we showed him our array of equipment and gizmos we were using to investigate what had happened to Madeleine. As the Daily Express reported on 23 May: “Dr McCann revealed he visited the Leicester-based police incident room during his trip home”. It was an absolute pleasure for me to arrange this tour for Gerry. He was well chuffed with all that we were doing for him!
Months later, and after the McCanns were made formal suspects, I did the McCanns a massive favour by making the unprecedented decision to link our website to the McCanns’ fund-raising website, which in turn directed any members of the public who might have information not to Leicestershire Police, nor to the Portuguese police, but to the McCanns’ own very dubious private investigators, Metodo 3, via the McCanns’ website. Their controversial boss, Francisco Marco, had made the bold but false claim in December that he knew where Madeleine was, his men were closing in on her, and she would be home before Christmas. I think it is the first time in world history that any police force in the world has helped a suspect in this way - getting people to report direct to the suspect, not the police, and into the bargain helping them raise money via their website. Yay! I’m really proud of my unique achievement!
I did one other great favour for the McCanns – or rather for their friend Dr David Payne. When friends of the McCanns and the Paynes, Drs Arul and Katharina Gaspar (both G.P.s) made a serious allegation that Payne had used sexualised gestures and words about Madeleine, well, that made it seem as if both men might be sexually attracted to infants. So I ordered my officers to sit on the report until Portuguese detective Goncalo Amaral was out of the way. Amaral was removed from the Madeleine McCann case on 2 October 2007 (five months after Madeleine was reported missing). Two weeks later, when it was safe to do so, I allowed a junior officer to fax the Gaspars’ statement to the Portuguese police.
The government were most grateful for my help. I duly applied for the top police job of Head of the Police Service of Northern Ireland – and got it! I was well pleased.
18 DETECTIVE SUPERINTENDENT STUART PRIOR, formerly of Leicestershire Police
‘Evening All. My boss was D.C.S. Bob Small [see above]. I was given some very important jobs to do in the Madeleine McCann case.
One of the biggest was to take part in a ridiculous publicity stunt on behalf of the McCanns. They wanted to carry on promoting the abduction theory and one way they did this was to keep on coming up with load of new dark and mysterious suspects or, as they tended to call them, ‘persons of interest’. One of these was said to be a scraggy-haired man with a moustache who had been going door-to-door collecting for a children’s charity round about the time that the McCanns were on holiday in Praia da Luz. He became known as ‘George Harrison Man’ because his face looked a bit more like George Harrison, the former Beatle. The sketch was drawn up by Melissa Little, who was employed by Brian Kennedy, the Cheshire businessman who ran the McCanns’ private investigation.
There’s a good article about this publicity stunt here: http://gerrymccan-abuseofpower-humanrights.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/monsterman-how-kate-and-gerry-mccann.html
But let me summarise what happened.
The McCanns and their investigators somehow got in touch with a lady called Gail Cooper. She came up with the story of seeing a suspicious-looking scraggy-haired man. Melissa Little then drew a sketch of him. He was then identified by the McCanns’ investigators as a man who had been collecting on behalf of a local charity, the Roscoe Foundation. On Sunday, 13 January 2008, Brian Kennedy visited Albert Schuurmans of the Roscoe Foundation in Portugal. Three days after this, I got an email direct from Gerry McCann. (By the way, he had been a formal suspect in the case for over 4 months by then, but that didn’t bother us up in Leicestershire! No! We’d already been told the McCanns were innocent).
Gerry sent me an attached PowerPoint presentation (Folio 3966-8 in the Portuguese police files, by the way), with a covering note saying: ‘As discussed’. (You see, by then I’d been having lots of chats with him about all sorts of things. We’d been on first name terms for ages: it was ‘Gerry’ and ‘Stu’).
Just an hour later I forwarded the presentation to Ricardo Paiva of the Portuguese police, asking for instructions and stating, among other things: “The PowerPoint attached was completed by the McCanns, but the statements were all taken by the U.K. police…This is urgent…we need to decide prior to the Gail Cooper artist’s impression appearing in the U.K. press”. I finished off my e-mail to Paiva: “I will need to get back to the McCanns as he has asked to be updated. They are very excited about this potential lead”. You see, the McCanns were running this. They were basically telling me what to do. Leicestershire Police were basically obeying their instructions. I didn’t mind! I do as I am told to do!
Gerry McCann’s ‘Powerpoint’ slides attempted to highlight the alleged similarity between Jane Tanner’s claimed sighting on 3 May and the ‘Monster Man/George Harrison Man’ of Gail Cooper.
Gerry also wrote this: “Tanner spent a full day with Melissa Little, a qualified Police Sketch Artist since 1986, to compile this likeness of the suspect. Melissa met Gail Cooper in a separate session. After spending hours with both witnesses, Melissa Little states: “There are many similarities between Miss Tanner’s man and Gail’s. Tanner believes that there is an 80% likelihood that this is the same man she saw carrying away the child, believed to be Madeleine”.
Jane Tanner, on 13 May 2007, 10 days after Madeleine was reported missing, had said she was sure that Robert Murat was the man she had seen. Now she was saying that the man she saw looked like a scraggy George Harrison! – even though she had never seen the man’s face! I knew it was absurd. I knew she was making it up. But, as I say, I was ‘under orders’ – the ‘Nuremburg defence!.
Gerry was in effect telling us: “Forget about Tanner saying it was Murat that she’d seen. It wasn’t. Tanner now says the man looks something like these three sketches”.
On 17 January 2008, Detective Constable 4168 of the Leicestershire Police interviewed Gail Cooper and e-mailed the Operational Task Force. He noted at the time that Mrs Cooper was trying to explain why the News of the World, in a recent article, had added to and embellished her police statements, by saying: “It never crossed my mind” that they would do so. The Officer also reported that Gail Cooper had “mentioned a man called Brian Kennedy who was working for the McCanns and...had sent an artist down to do a sketch of the man she saw at the villa” (Police Files: Folio 4005).
The next day, I emailed Ricardo Paiva of the Portuguese police and said: “I am told that the artist’s impression by Gail Cooper is likely to hit the press over the weekend and I will update you on the effects of this next week, although we are not involved in this in any way at all”.
I really don’t know why I ever wrote that! We were up to our necks in plotting this story for the McCanns and the News of the World.!
On Sunday 20 January 2008, the News of the World published their dramatic story, with a front page sketch of ‘George Harrison Man’ and their striking conclusion: “The sketch by qualified police artist Melissa Little bears an uncanny resemblance to an earlier picture, based on Miss Tanner's story”.
‘Monsterman’ was now the No. 1 suspect! Job done!
This man was later identified and ruled out of any connection to Madeleine’s disappearance. But the press never reported that. By that time, the McCann Term had produced other possible suspects.