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Media Mayhem - MCCANN MEDIA NONSENSE OF THE DAY - Page 33 Mm11

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Post by Verdi on 17.09.19 22:11

Media Mayhem - MCCANN MEDIA NONSENSE OF THE DAY - Page 33 Scree260

Anguished parents struggle in sea of despair

May 15, 2007 — 10.00am

HOLLOW-CHEEKED and red-eyed, Kate McCann grips her husband's hand tightly as she faces the television cameras. In her other hand she holds Cuddle Cat, her missing daughter Madeleine's favourite toy. "We are remaining positive. We still believe Madeleine will return to us," she says, her fingernails digging ever deeper into the pink, furry cat.

Her face tells a different story. Mrs McCann, a 38-year-old GP, is a woman tormented: a mother whose anguish knows no depths.

It has been 12 days since four-year-old Madeleine was snatched while she slept, tucked between her twin siblings, at her parents' holiday apartment in Portugal.

A lacklustre police investigation has seemingly made little progress in finding her, making the plight of her parents, forced to live out their anguish in public, all the worse.

Since her daughter's kidnap on the night of May 3, Mrs McCann has grown ever more gaunt, her frail frame stooped from her burden of grief. She appears on the verge of collapse.

Throughout the vigil that she and her husband, Gerry, a cardiologist, have endured, she has carried Cuddle Cat constantly. Pinning it to her handbag, twisting it through trembling fingers.

"Kate will be able to smell Madeleine on it," says Susan Healy, her mother. "That is why she cannot put it down."

Tragically for Mrs McCann, there is little else from which she can draw solace. Or hope.

Two streets away, behind the gleaming whitewashed apartment in Praia da Luz, where the McCanns were on a week-long holiday with Madeleine and their two-year-old twins, Amelie and Sean, two silver vans sit parked. Inside, locked in separate steel cages, four Alsatian sniffer dogs growl and bark in the midday heat. There is no sign of their green-uniformed handlers, officers from Portugal's Algarve Search and Rescue Dog team. They are down on the seafront, shopping for T-shirts.

Were it not for their uniforms they, too, might be on vacation. Instead, they are part of a 180-strong police search for the McCanns' daughter. But their shambolic, haphazard modus operandi symbolises the inept and bumbling investigation that represents the Portuguese authorities' efforts to find the toddler.

The police are wildly out of their depth, claiming that the rigidity of Portuguese law prevents them from disclosing any information. Olegario Sousa, their chief inspector, speaks English, but he rarely ventures more than one well-rehearsed speech. To every question he responds: "That is an aspect of the investigation we cannot talk about. It is the law, you know."

The police refuse to confirm reports of suspects, but neither will they deny them. Thus, this emotional and highly charged search for a missing child has become punctuated with endless red herrings and speculation.

Their ineptitude is, perhaps, inevitable: Praia da Luz is not a place one would expect a child kidnap. The village may be in Portugal, six kilometres from Lagos on the Algarve's south-western coast, but it could just as easily be south-east England in the 1950s.

The retired English middle classes have migrated here to re-create an image of a Britain that no longer exists, with its narrow cobbled streets, jammed with whitewashed apartments and quaint tea shops and boutiques. One rarely sees the Portuguese, especially not young people.

The gentle pace and child-friendly reputation of Praia da Luz convinced the McCanns that it was the ideal spot for a holiday.

It was five days into their break, at 10pm on May 3, that the nightmare began and this ordinary family was pitched into a maelstrom. From happy poolside holidaymakers, they have become the central characters in a bewildering, heartbreaking story of danger and despair.

Much has been made of the fact that the McCanns were only metres from their children and could see their apartment from the dinner table of the resort's tapas restaurant. But that is just not so. The McCanns' flat was outside the complex and, crucially, outside its security doors. Only the top of their accommodation could be glimpsed from the restaurant.

To check on the children, they had to leave the complex by the security doors, turn left up a main road, climb the back stairs of their end-of-row flat, go in through the rear french windows, which they had left unlocked, and walk to the front of the apartment where their children slept. That room overlooks a car park and another main road.

Their decision to leave the children alone, one that has astonished the Portuguese community, has been criticised. It is one, too, that Madeleine's devastated parents will be regretting with all their hearts. For Kate McCann's family, many of whom flew out to Portugal after the abduction, that criticism has been hard to bear.

"I have sat at that table, I know how diligent Kate and Gerry were about checking the children," Mrs Healy said. "They knew immediately that Madeleine had been taken, that she hadn't just wandered off. But it was difficult to get that across to the Portuguese police initially."

The McCanns raised the alarm when they found their daughter missing, but, while police responded quickly, they were not convinced she had been kidnapped. They neglected to protect the crime scene, allowing access to cleaners and failing to fingerprint the McCanns, so that their prints could be eliminated, until the following Monday.

As the family waited fearfully for news, they faced the agonising reality of trying to explain to their toddler twins why their big sister was no longer there.

"That was terrible for them," says John McCann, Mr McCann's elder brother, who has also travelled to Portugal to help search for his niece.

"Kate dressed Amelie in her sister's pyjamas and the baby said: 'Maddy's jammies. Where is Maddy?' But she is too young to understand. And how do you explain? All we know is that Madeleine needs her family. She loves us, we love her. It is time for her to come home."

That hope is becoming ever harder to sustain.

While the Portuguese police tried, initially, to play down the sickening prospect that an organised pedophile ring may have taken her, or that she has become another victim of the child-trafficking trade - stolen to order for a childless couple - with every passing day, those fears become more real.

Telegraph, London

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Post by Verdi on 18.09.19 15:54

EU marking Missing Children's Day

John McCann said the family would not stop until Madeleine was found

Media Mayhem - MCCANN MEDIA NONSENSE OF THE DAY - Page 33 _42971293_johnmccann

Parents of children who have disappeared, including those of Madeleine McCann, 4, are marking the EU's Missing Children's Day.

John McCann, Madeleine's uncle, on a visit to UK charity Missing People, urged families in a similar position to remain hopeful.

The key was to realise that there was a channel of support, said Mr McCann.

The charity said that since Madeleine's abduction on 3 May there had been 1,200 reports of missing young people.

Yellow ribbons

The aim of the day, instigated by the European Union, is to support parents like the McCanns.

In the UK, Missing People, previously known as the National Missing Persons Helpline, chose the day to relaunch under its new name and logo.

It also announced what it said was the first UK direct mailing appeal to help find missing children.

And the charity launched an official yellow Missing People ribbon to symbolise support for all missing people.

People have been urged to wear yellow ribbons to mark their support for the McCanns since Madeleine was snatched from their holiday apartment in Praia Da Luz.

Media Mayhem - MCCANN MEDIA NONSENSE OF THE DAY - Page 33 _42970749_pamaddyarch
Madeleine's picture was projected on to Marble Arch in central London

John McCann visited the charity's offices in London to highlight its work and to offer support to other families whose children had disappeared.

He said: "I'm sure that you all can relate to the horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach and the complete turmoil that hits us.

"The initial waves of sickness and mental upset was completely overwhelming. None of us was able to think clearly."

He added: "For all families that are coping with a disappearance, your pain will be like ours and some of them will have carried it for longer than we have.

"What I want to do is show that you can remain hopeful. The key part is realising that there is a channel of support and that is where the charity Missing People comes in."

Mr McCann said the family was in it for the long haul and would not stop until Madeleine was found.

Direct mail campaign for missing Carmel
Missing People is appealing for help finding Carmel Fenech, 16

Forget-Me-Not flowers

Media Mayhem - MCCANN MEDIA NONSENSE OF THE DAY - Page 33 _42971355_carmel

He joined Paul Tuohy, chief executive of Missing People, as he re-launched the charity.

"We are re-launching at a peculiarly ironic time - when the level of interest in missing people has perhaps never been higher, when 'missing' as a social issue is on the lips of politicians, radio and TV presenters, newspaper editors, and men, women and young people the length and breadth of the country."

Mr Tuohy also announced a direct mailing appeal for a missing child, which will be delivered to half a million homes on Friday.

It carries an appeal for a girl named Carmel Fenech who was 16 when she disappeared from Crawley, West Sussex, on May 23, 1998.

According to Home Office estimates, 210,000 people are reported missing each year in the UK, around two-thirds of whom are under the age of 18.

The EU Justice Commissioner marked the day with a plea not to forget the McCanns' plight.

Franco Frattini said: "The public support shown throughout Europe to the parents of Madeleine McCann has illustrated European citizens' solidarity with the families of missing children and the importance they attach to ensuring a safe and secure environment for our children."

All EU staff in Brussels were urged to wear forget-me-not (myosotis) flowers in support of the European Federation for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children, the organisers of the event.

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Post by PeterMac on 18.09.19 16:55

210,000 missing every year.
Carmel Fenech went missing in 1998
So in the intervening years over 4.2 million people have just Vanished - into thin air.

The entire population of Birmingham PLUS Manchester - GONE
How can there be a housing crisis ?

Why don't these people EVER tell the truth.
[Oh, sorry. They are Charities and rely on government money]



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Post by CaKeLoveR on 18.09.19 17:22

Nobody would believe that figure, surely.

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Post by Verdi on 18.09.19 21:56

Imagine you are out shopping or in the park, you're distracted for a moment, you look back and your child has disappeared - you panic. After a short while, which seems like days your child is still missing, what do you do - you call the police.

Imagine you go home and her/him indoors isn't there.  No text message, no hand written note - no body!  After a number of hours her/him still isn't where he/she should be - indoors.  What do you do - you call the police.

Within hours the missing person returns.

Common daily occurrences across the nation, all recorded by the police and therefore feature in the nationwide missing people statistics.

The victim knee-jerk reaction is unlikely to be .... oh little Joe has disappeared, let's call a missing persons charity.

There are three kinds of lies: Lies, damned lies and statistics - Benjamin Disraeli


The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made" - Groucho Marx

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Post by Verdi on 19.09.19 12:34

Madeleine McCann: Why Kate McCann questioned if Maddie had been drugged by kidnapper

MADELEINE MCCANN’S mother Kate believes there was a “noticeable moment” on the day her daughter went missing that could prove she had been drugged by her kidnapper.

By Callum Hoare
PUBLISHED: 18:30, Tue, May 14, 2019

Madeleine McCann disappeared from her family apartment inside the Ocean Beach resort of Praia da Luz, Portugal, on May 3, 2007. Her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, discovered she had vanished at roughly 9:30pm – during a routine check on their children while they ate dinner nearby. What followed was arguably one of the most heavily-documented missing-person case in history, with investigators still no closer to knowing what happened 12 years on.

However, her parents have always supported the idea that Madeleine was snatched by a local criminal.

This idea was popularised after it was claimed several other apartments in the holiday complex had been robbed in the weeks leading up to Madeleine’s disappearance.

Kate explained during her 2011 book why this idea passed her mind.

She wrote in 2011: “Had Madeleine been specifically targeted, either for herself or because someone knew that Apartment 5A would be a breeze to raid?

Media Mayhem - MCCANN MEDIA NONSENSE OF THE DAY - Page 33 Apartment-5A-1868949
[It fell so safe... Kate McCann]
[No different from dining in the back garden, really ... Gerry McCann]

“Not only did its corner position allow for easy access and escape, but, unlike many other residences, it had no protective wrought-iron bars at the windows and no security light.”

During the same chapter, Kate went on to identify a moment on the afternoon of her daughter’s disappearance that stands out and could prove this theory.

She adds: “Could Madeleine’s tiredness on that last Thursday afternoon have been caused by some kind of tranquilliser administered earlier in the day, or even the night before?

“It had been noticeable, but then we’d been approaching the end of our break and the children had been extremely active all week.

Media Mayhem - MCCANN MEDIA NONSENSE OF THE DAY - Page 33 There-was-a-worldwide-appeal-to-get-Maddie-home-1868952
[Industrial scale child abuse]

“It might have been, as we thought at the time, the holiday catching up with her.

“Inevitable, though, since we cannot yet know for sure, a little nugget of doubt remains.”

In March, controversial Netflix series “The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann” was released in a bid to learn more about the 12-year case.

However, Kate and Gerry do not see how it will help bring their daughter home.

A statement on behalf of the couple argues that the show could actually hinder police investigations.

It reads: "We did not see – and still do not see – how this programme will help the search for Madeleine and, particularly given there is an active police investigation, it could potentially hinder it.

"Consequently, our views and preferences are not reflected in the programme.

"We will not be making any further statements or giving interviews regarding this programme."


There is a reason for everything said by team McCann, starting 3rd May 2007 and continuing to this very day.

It was repeatedly reported they played no part in the production of the Netflix film.  This statement alone indicates, at least to me, that they were very much involved in the production - just look at the cast!  Even John McCann played a bit part ?

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Post by Blackpied on 19.09.19 23:35

I've said that previously Verdi they were running the show along 
with Clarrie no doubt about it,well said Verdi.

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Post by Verdi on 20.09.19 0:50

So sick am I of being referred back to the Netflix show, at last I've ventured within to see what all the fuss is about.

I didn't get past the first twenty minutes - so mind numbingly boring was it.  It's slow and so far from the truth - nauseating.

During those first minutes, Summers and Swann feature prominently - what do they know other than what they've been told by team McCann.  They are a couple of authors slash journalists - or so they claim, their contribution is worthless.

Then we have Ocean Club guest Jayne Jensen, with nonsense tales of Kate McCann howling into the night with a sound never heard before other than when her own mother died.  She doesn't specify who was doing the howling on that specific occasion.

Along comes Ocean Club holidaymaker Neil Berry (bar buddies I understand) with ripping yarns about the relationship formed between his daughter of four and half years and Madeleine - as thick as thieves he said, following the heroic act of Madeleine jumping in the sea to save her bosom buddies sunhat.

Moving on .... discovery of the open bedroom shutter and window and billowing curtain - yes, after all these years it's still being plugged yawn .

Along with a few atmospheric shots of the Ocean Club to give a haunting sense of occasion and a dramatic narration - I think that's about it so far.

I will continue in bite size pieces as and when I have the stomach so to do.

The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made" - Groucho Marx

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Post by Verdi on 04.10.19 15:20

The Flash! interview

Kate McCann: My struggle to control 'very difficult' Madeleine Daily Mail 17th September 2007

Kate McCann has revealed that she struggled to control Madeleine McCann after the birth of her and Gerry's twins, it was revealed today.

Missing Madeleine would run around 'screaming...shouting for my attention', the mother-of-three said.

In an interview given to a Portuguese magazine before she was named as a suspect in the case of the four-year-old's disappearance, Kate also said the first six months of Madeleine's life were "very difficult" and that the girl had suffered from colic.

The revelations come as police said they were trawling through Kate's medical records amid suspicions in Portugal that she may have had a history of depression.

The detailed analysis of her medical notes could provide them with significant evidence against the GP, who is a suspect in the case of Madeleine's disappearance.

Speaking about Madeleine's upbringing, Kate, a 39-year-old GP, told Portugal's Flash! magazine: "She cried practically for 18 hours a day. I had to permanently carry her around."

This period explained "the strong bond between mother and daughter", she said.

Although the arrival of the twins Sean and Amelie shook up Madeleine's life, she accepted them very well, said Kate.

"She managed to deal perfectly with this new reality, although she herself at the time was still a baby.

"The worst thing is that she started to demand lots of attention, especially when I was breast-feeding them.

"She would run up and down screaming in the background, shouting for my attention."

Mrs McCann also insisted that she and her husband were "truly responsible parents" and had committed no crime.

Speaking of the night Madeleine disappeared, she said: "I was sure immediately that she didn't walk out of that room. I never doubted that she had been taken by someone.

"I went through a phase of guilt for not knowing what happened to her. I blamed myself for thinking that the place was safe.

"But the certainty that we are truly responsible parents has helped me carry on.

"I know that what happened is not due to the fact of us leaving the children asleep. I know it happened under other circumstances."

Asked about whether she and her husband were responsible for their daughter's disappearance, she said: "It cannot be considered a crime. Someone committed one, but not us."

Portuguese newspapers continued to report today that Mrs McCann will be re-interviewed in the UK this week by British police on behalf of the Algarve authorities.

But a spokeswoman for the McCanns said the couple had to date received no request for new interrogation.

The judge in the case, Pedro Daniel dos Anjos Frias, rejected prosecutors' request to have the McCanns brought back to Portugal for further questioning, the Correio da Manha said.

He insisted that the fresh interviews should be carried out by British police in the UK, according to the paper.

The re-interviewing will only take place when further DNA testing in Birmingham is completed, either tomorrow or Wednesday.

A letter of appeal will be sent to Britain, setting out all the questions Portuguese detectives want to ask the couple, along with the evidence supporting their hypothesis, the Correio da Manha reported.

A source told the paper there was only a "very low" probability that Portuguese officers would be allowed to sit in on the interviews.

A McCann family spokeswoman said today: "We have been in touch with the lawyers to try and get a steer on what is in the Portuguese papers.

"They assure us we have had no request to date for any further questioning, either from the Portuguese police or in the UK."

She could not say whether the McCanns' legal team was expecting the couple to be re-interviewed.

Since Kate and Gerry McCann were named as official suspects last week, there have been suggestions in Portugal that Madeleine was given drugs on the night of her disappearance.

The accusations have been strenuously denied by the couple but have not been ruled out by police. Although the order to seize medical files came from the Portuguese authorities, the background searches are being carried out by Leicestershire police.

A copy of Mrs McCann's diary has also been seized by police, who are now waiting for permission from the judge to seize and dismantle the McCanns' hire car so they can search for "traces of skin".

It has been reported that DNA evidence with a match to Madeleine was found in the Renault Scenic 25 days after their daughter vanished.

Yesterday it emerged the McCanns are trying to knock down potential evidence retrieved after two British sniffer dogs, capable of detecting blood and human remains, were used in the investigation in August.

One of the dogs picked up a "scent of deathî on items ranging from Mrs McCann's clothes to Madeleine's favourite soft toy Cuddle Cat.

Leaked reports from the investigation have suggested that Madeleine's parents could have accidentally killed her and then disposed of her body using the car. Although they do not know the full details of the Portuguese prosecutors' case against them, the McCanns are concerned that it may rest on the dog's reaction.

The couple's legal team has now consulted the lawyers of an American man accused of murdering his estranged wife in a case where "cadaver dog" evidence was central. They want to highlight the judge's dismissal of such evidence in the high-profile Eugene Zapata murder trial in Madison, Wisconsin.

Mr Zapata's estranged wife, flight instructor Jeanette Zapata, was 37 when she vanished in October 1976 after seeing her three children off to school.

Her body has never been found. Detectives suspected Mr Zapata of involvement in her disappearance but did not charge him because of a lack of evidence.

Police decided to conduct new searches using cadaver dogs and Mr Zapata, 68, was charged with firstdegree murder last year after the dogs indicated that they had scented human remains in an underfloor crawl space at the former family home and other properties linked to him.

But the judge ruled that the dogs' ability to detect remains was too unreliable, noting that no remains had actually been found.

[Acknowledgement pamalam of gerrymccannsblogs]

The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made" - Groucho Marx

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Post by Verdi on 04.10.19 15:52

This Telegraph report is a rather revealing bag of pick and mix - or should that be liquorice allsorts..

Madeleine McCann's parents face UK interview

Media Mayhem - MCCANN MEDIA NONSENSE OF THE DAY - Page 33 News-graphics-2007-_645579a
Gerry and Kate McCann will lay out their defence to the Prime Minister

By Caroline Gammell in Praia da Luz

1:30PM BST 17 Sep 2007

Kate and Gerry McCann face being interviewed by British detectives this week after a Portuguese judge rejected a bid to ask them to return to the Algarve, it has emerged.

   McCanns look to US sniffer dog case
   New allegations against McCanns
   In full: The Madeleine McCann case

The development came as Mr McCann prepared to make a direct approach to Prime Minister Gordon Brown to protest the couple’s innocence after they were made formal suspects in the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine.

Mr McCann will lay out the police case against them and go into detail about how they could not have killed the four-year-old.

Much of the alleged evidence against them rests on the "smell of death" – said to be the girl’s corpse – allegedly found by sniffer dogs on Mrs McCann’s clothes, the family’s apartment and a car hired 25 days after Madeleine disappeared.

The couple, from Rothley in Leicestershire, were named arguidos, or formal suspects, 10 days ago and flew back to the UK last weekend.

Although they pledged to return to Portugal if needed, investigating Judge Pedro Daniel dos Anjos Frias has ruled that such a move would not be necessary, according to Portuguese newspaper Correio da Manha.

Turning down a request from Portuguese police, he decided the couple could stay in the UK and a list of questions should be sent to the British authorities.

Mr and Mrs McCann, 39, used their right as arguidos to remain silent when asked more than 40 questions about their daughter’s disappearance on May 3.

The couple’s spokesman said they had not been notified of any request for further interview. But the couple know they remain at the centre of the Portuguese police investigation.

Meanwhile, in a new interview, Mrs McCann revealed how the first six months of Madeleine’s life were "very difficult" as she struggled to cope with her bouts of the child’s colic.

She said in an interview with Portguese magazine Flash that although Madeleine accepted the arrival of twins Sean and Amelie, she grew fiercely jealous of the attention they received.

Detectives are understood to be keen to re-interview some of the McCanns’ friends who were with them on the night Madeleine went missing.

The McCanns insist they are innocent and are determined to do all they can to prove this - including going to the top of the political food chain.

Mr McCann wants to re-establish contact with Mr Brown, who he spoke to by mobile phone when Madeleine first disappeared.

Parallels were drawn between the two Scottish men, who have both lost daughters - in Mr Brown’s case through illness after she was born prematurely, and the then Chancellor pledged to "do all he could to help".

A source close to the McCanns said: "Gerry is anxious that their view of how strongly they feel their defence is - should it come to that – should be conveyed to the highest level.

"Lines of communication from Gerry and Kate’s side will go out to No 10 and Downing Street is being kept informed of all developments in the case.

"But this is not an adversarial process. It does not and should not damage relations with the Portuguese."

Mr McCann will not meet Mr Brown face to face but it expected to lay out his defence via email or over the phone.

He has also been in close contact with Foreign Secretary David Milliband and spoken to him twice on the phone.

A family friend said: "The McCanns are wholly innocent and know that they can explain every point that the police may wish to put to them.

"There are wholly innocent explanations to things the police may have found and they are confident they can defend themselves."

The McCann’s case has been buoyed by eminent forensic expert Allan Jamieson, who said scientists would not be able to tell if Madeleine had been drugged just from samples of hair and dried blood supposedly found in the hire car.

Speculation reached fever pitch after bodily fluids allegedly belonging to the four-year-old were found in the boot of the family’s hired Renault Scenic.

A report in a French newspaper claimed Madeleine had died from an overdose of sleeping tablets, with toxicology results showing she had consumed a "significant" number of pills.

But Mr Jamieson, director of the Forensic Institute in Edinburgh, said it would not be possible to detect a one-off dose of sedative in a hair sample because it would not have been in the body long enough.

He told ITV1’s Tonight With Trevor McDonald it would be impossible to tell the concentration of a drug from dried blood spots found in the car.

In the revealing new interview with Flash, Kate McCann told how the first six months of Madeleine's life were "very difficult" as she struggled to cope with her baby’s demands.

In order to soothe her daughter’s acute colic, the part-time GP was forced to carry the child in her arms for hours on end, sparking a "strong bond" between them.

"The only thing I’ve ever be certain of in life is I’ve wanted to be a mum."

"The first six months of Madeleine’s life were very difficult because she had lots of colic and cried practically for 18 hours day. I had to permanently carry her around."

Still a toddler at 20 months, Madeleine’s life changed with the arrival of her younger brother and sister.

Mrs McCann said: "She accepted the twins arrival very well. She managed to deal perfectly with this new reality although she herself at the time was still a baby."

The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made" - Groucho Marx

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Post by Verdi on 08.10.19 12:31

Happy in a nanny state

Melinda Libby and her children throw themselves into the activities offered by a Mark Warner holiday in a real village in the Western Algarve.

12:01AM BST 21 Apr 2007

Many years ago when I was a twenty-something, I set off from Britain in a fast car driven by a boyfriend. We were heading for a villa in Portugal owned by the parents of a friend and we left Tooting without tickets, itinerary or the address of the villa; we knew what town it was in but nothing more.

These days, as a forty-something single parent of an 11-year-old girl and a nine-year-old boy, I like to be a bit more organised. But not too organised.

We had tried the everything-on-tap style holiday at Mark Warner's San Agostino resort in Greece, where we were hermetically sealed into an all-inclusive resort in a beautiful coastal location. It offered us comfortable accommodation, agreeable food, a choice of swimming pools, a wide range of activities (particularly tennis and watersports) and excellent childcare.

But, like Mark Warner's other resorts, it was remote and there was little opportunity to get out and explore the surrounding area. One day at San Agostino, I found myself getting exceptionally excited by the tiny chapel on the perimeter of the village and realised that I hankered after a bit of real life, and - more to the point - Greek real life.

So when we heard that Mark Warner, in a departure from its usual format, had taken over some apartments within the Ocean Club in Praia de Luz, a real Portuguese village in the Western Algarve, we were one of the first families to sign up.

The Ocean Club has groups of villas and apartments integrated within the village. This would give us more freedom than in a traditional club-style resort and more chance to absorb the local culture - but there would still be the children's groups and activities that make these holidays so popular with families.

In traditional Mark Warner style, we were helped at Gatwick and greeted by cheerful staff when we reached Faro.

But when, on a dark night, the bus dropped us with our luggage at the door of our beachside apartment, we felt very alone without the usual support structure.

We had a map to show us where to go for breakfast and the location of the welcome meeting - yes, they still offered that - but I had a restless night worrying whether we would find all the facilities that the Ocean Club had to offer.

And with good reason. Map-reading has never been my strong point, but I became anxious when, the following morning, we asked various people the way to the Millennium Restaurant, where breakfast and dinner is served for Mark Warner guests - and no one seemed to know.

We eventually found our way thanks to a chance encounter with a couple from London. Thanks to their sense of direction, we managed to get some breakfast and formed a rewarding friendship for the duration of the holiday. While the trip was mostly agreeable from our point of view, many other Mark Warner regulars begged to differ.

The distances between accommodation, watering holes and activities became a real bugbear for some, particularly those with small children.

Some guests resorted, in desperation, to hiring a car before their holiday was over. For us, the 12-minute uphill walk to dinner each evening was irksome, but the walk back down to the beach after the meal and entertainment was extremely pleasant. It was on one of these walks that Bertie, my nine-year-old, confided that he much preferred being in a real village to a club-style resort.

The other constant moan was the food: old Mark Warner hands became wistful as they talked about chefs at the other resorts who would boil an egg to their specification in front of their eyes. Quite a contrast to the unappetising fried eggs with hard yolks - not to mention dry croissants and tinned fruit - which were provided for breakfast at the Millennium Restaurant.

At other meals, people missed the wide range of fresh salads that they had enjoyed on previous Mark Warner holidays. And although there were some themed nights, and the Portuguese evening included some excellent squid and a cuttlefish stew, International Night was cruelly renamed "leftovers night".

Guests were, though, generally happy with their accommodation - because, although the holidays are sold on a half-board basis, the apartments had facilities for self-catering and were larger than a traditional Mark Warner hotel room.

And the children's activities really made the holiday come into its own. Before we arrived in Portugal, I had laid down the rules with the offspring. "Each day you'll be off to the children's clubs for all the activities," I told them. "Oh no we won't," they trilled.

I was willing to negotiate: as long as they attended for a morning or afternoon session each day, I would be content. As it turned out, they barely missed a session and sometimes they were so exhausted that I had to persuade them not to go.

Bertie was particularly delighted that he had no time at all to read any of the books that I had carefully selected for the holiday. They both enjoyed the watersports and were soon educating me in the names of the different sorts of boats or telling me they had seen dolphins or caught a fish. They swam, played games on the beach and, at the end of each week, performed a show which they had written themselves.

But what really made the clubs such a success for them, and what must be the secret of Mark Warner's popularity, was the dedication of the indefatigable nannies and the sunkissed young men (with names such as Will and Olly) who run the waterfront and tennis activities.

In a world of depressingly bad service, their energy, enthusiasm and cheerfulness made everything seem possible. The set-up in Praia de Luz was particularly appealing to teenage guests, who could spread their wings and dip in and out of the various activities and hostelries in the village.

While the children were at their clubs, I spent time on the beach or exploring the village: I found the butcher, the baker and a few clothes and gift shops. Later, with a group of Mark Warner guests, I went on a coastal walk to the pretty fishing village of Burgau, with cliff-top views of the craggy Western Algarve coastline and the wide expanse of yellow, sandy beaches.

Some Mark Warner regulars will never be happy in a situation where the environment isn't controlled, even if all the usual facilities - three swimming pools, tennis courts, two restaurants and four bars - are available. They don't want to share a pool with non-Mark Warner guests, nor do they want someone in a green, furry alien costume to appear at dinner, allegedly to entertain children (an experience described as "shocking" by a seasoned traveller with Mark Warner).

But, as far as we were concerned, the venture was a success. After two weeks, I was thoroughly rested and fit. And the children were distraught at leaving Praia de Luz and the nannies they had grown so fond of. Several weeks later, their conversations were still peppered with happy reminiscences of their days spent in the care of Natalie, Becky, Lucy, Chloe and Laura.

Praia basics

A week with Mark Warner (0870 898 8942, ) at the Ocean Club, Praia de Luz costs from £545 per adult, two weeks from £699; child prices vary according to age, but start at £273/£350 for children aged two to 12; those under two are charged £100 a week. This includes flights, transfers, accommodation with breakfast and dinner, childcare for children aged two and over and use of tennis courts and activities such as sailing and windsurfing tuition, canoeing, aerobics and fitness classes
. Diving courses, tennis coaching and tuition for RYA sailing qualifications cost extra, as does the crèche for children under two (from £230 a week).

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Post by Verdi on 08.10.19 12:39

The Algarve: a year after Madeleine McCann

For the moment southern Portugal is synonymous with Madeleine McCann, and fewer people are visiting. Cassandra Jardine reports.
Cassandra Jardine

12:10PM BST 25 Apr 2008

Earlier this April the village of Praia da Luz was almost deserted. The sky was blue, the orange blossom smelt wonderful and the sea was just warm enough for swimming, but once the sun had set and the pavement stallholders had packed up their wares, the silence was eerie. I felt I was alone in the resort, apart from the ghost of one little girl.

Madeleine McCann’s presence was particularly strong on the day I visited. Her poignant little face was all over the newspapers because the Portuguese police had leaked an old interview with her parents, Kate and Gerry. “Mummy, why didn’t you come when I was crying?” screamed the headlines on newspapers, which no one in Luz (pronounced Luge) was buying. Around here, they want to move on but, with the anniversary of her disappearance on May 3 approaching, they can’t.

One of many bizarre aspects of Maddy’s disappearance is that, last year, it appeared to do little harm to tourism in the Algarve. Nights spent by visitors from Britain actually rose by 9 per cent to 1.6 million, for which Ricardo Afonso of the Algarve Promotion Bureau credits an advertising campaign that alerted potential customers to the range of entertainments - cookery and tennis courses, conferencing, spas, as well as golf, sun and sand - available in Portugal’s most southerly region.

“The McCann case didn’t make any difference,” agreed Mary Anne Popoff, president of the Association of Travel Organisers to Portugal. “Most people saw what happened as nothing to do with the Algarve.”

I’m not sure if that picture of touristic unconcern is entirely accurate. For one thing, the vast influx of foreign journalists, who filled hotels for months on end, contributed to visitor numbers.

For another, the abduction of a small girl is not a valid reason for cancelling your holiday, so, for those who had already booked - as, by May, most had - there was no way out.

This year looks rather different. The Algarve should be booming because, compared to other euro-zone countries, Portugal is relatively cheap.

Neverthless, even outside the charming, blighted village of Luz, the place felt empty - and for the brave, of course, that makes for a bargain holiday.

Count me in, I thought, when I was offered the chance to stay in a luxurious villa 20 minutes from Faro airport.

Normally, we could never have afforded the £1,690 price for an Easter week at Quinta Padeiro, a lovingly converted farmhouse with its own pool, large garden and accommodation for 12 people, but I was in luck.

Set in relative rural isolation outside Almancil, only 10 minutes from the seaside, the villa is equipped with every possible safety and amusement feature for children - from badminton court and sandpit to Sky TV - but the owner, Derek Banks, had the misfortune to launch it on the rental market at the beginning of May last year. What should have been a packed booking schedule sprang some leaks and Banks offered to lend it to me.

My children betrayed no anxiety about going to the Algarve; the older girls only thought about a tan, and the nine-year-old knew nothing of the story that has dominated the news for a year.

Other passengers with children on our outward flight were, however, painfully well aware of the connection. As we circled into Faro, in the middle of a 100-mile-long strip of perfect beaches, those in front of and beside me were discussing the case.

“I’d never leave my children unattended,” they said.

Second-home owners were more blasé. Since the 1960s, property prices in the area have boomed on the strength of the British desire for a home in the sun.

Villa complexes such as Vale do Lobo and Quinta do Lago, whose manicured perfection brings to mind Desperate Housewives, have popped up everywhere. In summer they offer one long beach party for teenagers; in spring and autumn, the mild temperatures are ideal for small children.

“It could happen anywhere,” one regular reassured another as we waited at the car hire desk.

Perfect weather soon worked its relaxing magic. When we could be bothered to leave our mini-paradise, we explored the family-oriented attractions of the Algarve and revelled in finding them largely empty.

We had the beaches almost to ourselves. Nor was there a queue for a boat tour of the Ria Formosa Natural Park, where flocks of flamingoes lazily shift as you putter up to them, revealing their pink and black underwings.

Zoomarine, outside Albufeira, attracts up to 6,000 visitors a day in August to watch dolphins and seals cavort, but the head-count was less than a tenth of that on the day we went, so we were able to bag some of the sought-after places for swimming with, and even kissing, dolphins.

“There’s probably nowhere safer on earth now for small children,” said Diogo Rojao, Zoomarine’s marketing manager, who spoke sorrowfully about the McCann case. “The British are our oldest allies; we don’t want them to stay away.”

I bet they don’t. We make up by far the largest component of foreign visitors to the region, way ahead of the Germans and the Spanish. All along the coast, pubs provide English beer and supermarkets sell frozen bacon to make us feel at home.

Everyone speaks English and the Portuguese even seem to like our rowdy children. I soon ceased to be baffled by Richard Gaisford, a GMTV reporter who spent most of last year in the Algarve covering the McCann story.

“I liked it so much I wanted to take my family there,” he had said, listing its beauty spots.

For a week we enjoyed the extra warmth of the welcome we received for being relative rarities. But the one visit my children refused to make with me was to Praia da Luz.

Their nerves were more jangled than they let on, I realised, on the day we visited the old port of Lagos and my 14-year-old insisted on staying behind. After an hour’s argument, I let her stay, but although I locked the front door and the gates, I returned to find that she had spent the entire time cowering in a converted bread oven, petrified by every chance noise.

Not wanting to stir up nightmares, I went to Luz on my own. Like everyone else, I had a furtive look at the crime scene, noting how close the McCanns’ apartment is to the tapas bar where Kate and Gerry ate on the night Maddy vanished. From its stools you can look straight into the windows of the now shuttered and padlocked apartment. Would I have left my children there, everyone who passes must wonder. I would have done, I concluded, but I might have locked the door.

John Hill, the resort manager for Mark Warner, under whose aegis the McCanns stayed at the Ocean Club, would prefer not to dwell on such matters.

Despite deep discounting and the British Easter holidays, only 20 of Mark Warner’s allocation of 50 apartments were occupied, but Hill claimed it was too soon to predict how full they would be this summer.

“It’s a late-buying market,” he said, showing me the childcare and entertainment facilities for children from four months upwards. Are they installing further security?

“No, we are providing the same facilities as Mark Warner has done for 25 years.” As the father of young children himself he said he feels “terribly sad” for the McCanns. But does he feel nervous? “Never.”

The British families on the almost empty beach agree. “In England everyone is obsessed by the story,” said Catherine Bishard from south London, “but once you are here you just get on with your holiday.”

Nevertheless, neither she nor the Whites, a family from Surrey playing a few yards away, were contemplating leaving their children, even with a babysitter. A year ago they might have done so.

Over time, such fears will recede, as memories of Maddy fade for all except her family, and the Algarve will regain its place in British hearts. On the plane back from Faro, none of the edginess of the journey out was apparent. My children’s only concern was whether we could go back, soon.

On holiday in the Algarve

Catherine and Tom Bishard, from London, with Henry, five and George, three:

“We got a cheap deal on a house here, not realising that it was right next to the resort where the McCanns stayed,” says Catherine, a lawyer, who is sunbathing on the beach at Luz while her architect husband buries their two boys up to their necks in sand. “At the time I thought, 'Oh, thanks,’ – but by now I’ve forgotten about it.

“I’m not one for wrapping children in cotton wool, because children feed on their parents’ fear. But we have taken them with us to restaurants in the evening.”

Amanda and Alex White from Surrey; children James, seven, Michael, five, Thomas, four, and Anna, one:

“We’ve been to the Algarve several times and always loved it,” says Amanda, while her husband, a sales director, holds the sleeping baby and the older children play in the waves.

They are staying on a hilltop resort overlooking Praia da Luz. Is she nervous? “No, you are probably safer here than in London, but I always watch my children wherever I am - especially Thomas, who wanders off. In our resort we are required to pay for two babysitters with four children, so we’ve taken them everywhere with us.”

The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made" - Groucho Marx

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Post by Verdi on 09.10.19 0:38

Clifford 'not happy' with Robert Murat, no longer advising 'arguido' suspect

July 18, 2008 by David Quainton

Max Clifford has written a letter to PRWeek expressing his disappointment in the actions of Robert Murat, the man implicated in the Madeleine McCann disappearance.

Media Mayhem - MCCANN MEDIA NONSENSE OF THE DAY - Page 33 Clifford
Clifford: not happy

Clifford said he was disappointed in Murat using his lawyers' PR agency (The PR Office), when he had previously advised the Briton for free. The PR Office said Murat had 'changed strategy'.

Murat yesterday received a substantial payout, of around £600,000, from the British press which had made various unfounded accusations towards him. As yet, Murat has not been found guilty of any charges related to Madeleine's disappearance.

The PR Office was brought in to handle the Murat case against various British newspapers.

Here Clifford's statement follows in full:

'Last summer, when his arguido status was put in place by the Portuguese authorities, it signalled the start of a character assassination of Robert Murat by sections of the Portuguese and British media. I was approached by Robert's family who claimed that Robert and they were having their lives destroyed by this coverage and desperately sought my help.

I totally sympathised with them and agreed to help them just as I have helped many others when facing the worst excesses of the British media. They made it clear that neither Robert nor themselves could afford to pay me and that it was impossible for Robert to work. Nevertheless, I agreed to do whatever I could to help their plight whilst explaining that because of Robert's arguido status I was unable to officially represent him.

Together with Nicola Phillips from my office, I spent a huge amount of time and effort over many months talking to Robert and his Aunt Sally, often late at night and doing everything possible to help them and stop the unjustifiable media onslaught.

So you can imagine this week how I felt when Robert admitted to me he was paying a PR firm that he had been introduced to by his legal team. Having worked free of charge and in the words of Robert and his Aunt Sally, "been both wonderfully supportive and successful", I was not happy.

In spite of this I am very pleased with what we at MCA did for Robert and his family, as many of the things written about him without so much as a shred of evidence were totally disgusting.

Robert continues to have a huge battle on his hands to clear his name and to get his life back on track and I wish him and his family every success in achieving this.

For now, I'll concentrate my time on my many appreciative paying clients and my continued battle with prostate cancer.'

In response PR Office founder Shimon Cohen said his agency was 'engaged by [Murat's legal team] Simons Muirhead & Burton to provide litigation PR support for yesterday's hearing'.

'The change of circumstances in this case brought about a change of strategy,' he continued. 'Max Clifford Associates was advised by Simons Muirhead & Burton in a timely and appropriate manner that their services were not required this week, during the days leading up to the Statement in Open Court or in the immediate aftermath.'

This was of course before Max Clifford was convicted of indecent assault and sentenced to eight years behind bars.

The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made" - Groucho Marx

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Post by Verdi on 09.10.19 0:52

Robert Murat libel payout hits £600,000

By PAMediapoint - 17th July 2008

Media Mayhem - MCCANN MEDIA NONSENSE OF THE DAY - Page 33 Robert_murat

Madeleine McCann suspect Robert Murat today accepted £600,000 in libel damages over claims that he was involved in her abduction.

Murat, 34, an Algarve-based property consultant, was at London’s High Court to hear his solicitor, Louis Charalambous, tell Mr Justice Eady that it was now acknowledged that the allegations were entirely untrue.

Outside court Murat said: “The newspapers in this case brought about the total and utter destruction of mine and my family’s life and caused immense distress.”

“I am pleased that the publications concerned have today admitted the falsity of all their allegations and I can now start to rebuild my life.

“Today’s statement of full apology in open court means I can emerge from this action vindicated and with the recognition and acknowledgement that what was said against me was wholly untrue.

“I also wish to pay tribute to my legal team at Simons Muirhead & Burton, led by Louis Charalambous.

“It is due to their professionalism, dedication and assistance that I am able to be here today.

“I would also like to thank all those who have personally contacted me to offer their support throughout the last year.”

His law firm described the settlement as a record.

Murat, his friend Michaela Walczuch and IT consultant Sergey Malinka, had all brought proceedings against Associated Newspapers, Express Newspapers, MGN Limited and News Group Newspapers over nearly 100 “seriously defamatory” articles.

Charalambous said: “In particular, the defendants accept that none of the claimants had any involvement whatever in the abduction of Madeleine McCann.

“They accept that none of the claimants has any paedophile tendencies or connection with paedophiles or paedophile websites and that none of them lied to the police or obstructed the investigations.

“They accept that Mr Murat’s actions after the abduction were entirely proper and were motivated by a desire to help find Madeleine McCann.

“He became a volunteer translator for the Portuguese police and did everything he could to assist the investigation.

“Ms Walczuch was never suspected or accused of any involvement in the abduction of Madeleine McCann. Mr Malinka was not guilty of any sexual misconduct and has no criminal convictions.”

All three had their their legal costs paid for.

The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made" - Groucho Marx

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Post by Verdi on 09.10.19 1:16

Sky News pays damages to Robert Murat over video

By PAMediapoint - 14th November 2008

Robert Murat today accepted substantial undisclosed libel damages over an allegation that there were strong grounds for believing that he was guilty of abducting Madeleine McCann.

Murat was not at London’s High Court for the settlement of his action against British Sky Broadcasting.

His solicitor Louis Charalambous told Mr Justice Eady that an article and video on the Sky News website claimed that in the early days after Madeleine’s disappearance from Praia da Luz, Portugal, in May 2007, Murat’s behaviour was reminiscent of child murderer Ian Huntley.

The article, which was published until April this year, and the video, which was accessible until this September, also suggested that Murat had deliberately tried to mislead journalists by pretending to be acting in an official capacity for the police.

Victoria Shore, counsel for BSkyB, which is also paying Murat’s costs, made an unreserved apology for publishing the false allegations, and the distress caused.

Charalambous told the judge that the allegations were entirely untrue and it was accepted that Mr Murat had no involvement whatever in the abduction of Madeleine.

“The defendant accepts that Mr Murat did not act like a child murderer nor did he try to mislead or lie to any journalists.

“It acknowledges that Mr Murat’s actions after the abduction were entirely proper and were motivated by a desire to help find Madeleine McCann.”

He said that Sky’s apology would appear on its website for 12 months.

Shore said that it very much regretted the distress caused by the publications.

Outside court, Charalambous said that the settlement represented the final stage of Murat’s claims against those sections of the British media “which defamed him so terribly”.

“He has been entirely successful and vindicated. He could never have brought any of these claims without the use of conditional fee agreements which gave him access to justice.

“It was particularly important to him to nail this particular lie – that he acted in some way reminiscent to the Soham murderer Ian Huntley when, in fact, he was working flat out to help try to find Madeleine.”

In July, Murat received a record settlement of £600,000 over “seriously defamatory” allegations in nearly 100 articles connecting him with the abduction.

So a pattern emerges.

Clarence Mitchell is seconded to Portugal, arriving with Gerry McCann three weeks after Madeleine's reported disappearance, to control the media mayhem.  Although returning to the UK to resume his position as the government's director of the Media Monitoring Unit, there is strong evidence he continued to support the McCanns and control media coverage of the case, between his return to the UK and resigning from the position with the government, to take up full-time employment for the McCanns. As their personal friend and advisor and PR/media consultant.

Following a string of negative reports about the McCanns, the Express Group and the Rupert Murdoch Group, agree to substantial out of court settlements for publishing defamatory reports.

Robert Murat is made arguido.  Much like the McCanns, negative reports about him are published by the UK press resulting in substantial out of court settlements.

Coincidence or design?  Personally, I believe the media was manipulated, sorry monitored by ....  shhhh  you know who .... to purposely mislead and to financially benefit the defendants.  I use the word with reservations.

The threesome were certainly very active during the years 2007 and 2008 - and handsomely rewarded for their efforts.

The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made" - Groucho Marx

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Post by Verdi on 13.10.19 2:07

Madeleine: Tapas Two 'want to change story'

Media Mayhem - MCCANN MEDIA NONSENSE OF THE DAY - Page 33 News-graphics-2007-_648624a
The McCanns deny involvement in their daughter's diappearance

By Fiona Govan in Praia da Luz

6:12PM GMT 07 Nov 2007

Two of the friends that dined with Kate and Gerry McCann on the night Madeleine disappeared have told Portuguese police that they want to change their stories, it has been claimed.

Lawyers acting for the pair are said to have contacted Portuguese detectives leading the enquiry to say their clients are willing to be re-interviewed so they can "correct" their original statements.

The Spanish daily El Mundo reported that the two members of the so-called Tapas Nine - the name given to the McCanns and the seven friends who dined with them on May 3 at their Algarve holiday complex - have asked for their identities to be kept secret.

"Lawyers of two of the friends of the McCanns that dined with them on the night of May 3 in the tapas restaurant have contacted police recently and said their clients are willing to be requestioned so they can 'correct' details of their original statements," said the El Mundo report.

"These two members of the group have asked for their identities to be kept secret."

The seven holidaying with the McCanns at the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz are Jane Tanner, 37, her partner Dr Russell O'Brien, 36, Dr Matthew Oldfield, 37, his wife Rachael, 36, David Payne, 41, his wife Fiona, 34, and her mother Dianne Webster, 61.

This weekend it was reported that four of them fear they are about to be named formal suspects by Portuguese police.

Mr O'Brien and Ms Tanner, Mr Oldfield and Dr Payne are all said to have consulted their own lawyers in anticipation of being made official arguidos because of apparent inconsistencies in key statements made immediately after Madeleine vanished.

Strict Portuguese secrecy laws have prevented the McCanns and the friends they were holidaying with from speaking publicly about the series of events the night Madeleine disappeared.

But several apparent contradictions have emerged in the six months since the four-year-old went missing, including the timings of events and how much alcohol was consumed on the night.

Clarence Mitchell, the McCanns' spokesman, denied that any of the friends had officially approached the Portuguese police through their lawyers but said that they were happy to be reinterviewed by police if it resolved any apparent inconsistencies and hastened the McCanns being cleared.

"Contrary to a report in the Spanish press, and after consultation amongst Gerry and Kate McCann's friends, I can deny that any approach has been made by their lawyers asking to amend or change the witness statement of any of them," he said.

"Kate and Gerry's friends, who were with them on May 3, have consistently told the truth and remain happy, indeed they are keen, to be reinterviewed by the police if necessary to clarify any inconsistencies in the statements that the police may think they have identified.

"The friends believe that if such interviews or reinterviews take place it can only lead to Gerry and Kate being eliminated from the inquiry swiftly."

The McCanns were declared arguidos by Portuguese detectives in September the day before they finally flew back to the UK after four months in Portugal.

They deny any involvement in their daughter's disappearance and insist she may still be alive.

The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made" - Groucho Marx

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Post by Milo on 13.10.19 4:03

Are all three couples (apart from the McCanns) still together (i.e. married /partnered)?

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Post by Verdi Today at 1:08

I couldn’t make love to Gerry

9th May 2011, 11:00 pm
Updated: 5th April 2016, 12:05 am

YESTERDAY, in the latest extract from Kate McCann’s book, she told how she was
horrified when Portuguese police offered her a ‘deal’ if she confessed to
hiding daughter Madeleine’s body.
It followed the abduction of the three-year-old from an apartment complex in
Praia da Luz, Portugal, in May 2007. Kate, 43, and husband Gerry, 42, both
doctors from Rothley, Leics, had been holidaying there with friends and
their twins Sean and Amelie.
In this extract, edited and abridged by ANTONELLA LAZZERI and OLIVER HARVEY,
Kate tells of her struggle to even try to enjoy life again in the following
months, and her fears about her relationship with Gerry:

Madeleine was taken from us, my sexual desire plummeted to zero.

Our sex life is not something I would normally be inclined to share and yet it
is such an integral part of most marriages that it doesn’t feel right not to
acknowledge this.

I’m sure other couples who have been through traumatic experiences will have
suffered similarly and perhaps it will reassure them to know that they are
not alone.

To those fortunate enough not to have encountered such heartache, I hope it
gives an insight into just how deep the wounds go.

Apart from our general state of shock and distress, and the fact that I
couldn’t concentrate on anything but Madeleine, there were two continuing
reasons for this, I believe.

The first was my inability to permit myself any pleasure, whether it was
reading a book or making love with my husband.

The second stemmed from the revulsion stirred up by my fear that Madeleine had
suffered the worst fate we could imagine: falling into the hands of a

Media Mayhem - MCCANN MEDIA NONSENSE OF THE DAY - Page 33 1307327.main_image

Tortured as I was by these nauseating images, it’s probably not surprising
that even the thought of sex repulsed me.

I worried about Gerry and me. I worried that if I couldn’t get our sex life
back on track our whole relationship would break down.

I know there is more to a relationship than sex, but it is still an important

It was vital that we stayed together and stayed strong for our family. Gerry
was incredibly understanding and supportive.

He never made me feel guilty, he never pushed me and he never got sulky. In
fact, sometimes he would apologise to me. Invariably, he would put a big,
reassuring arm around me and tell me that he loved me and not to worry.

I was determined not to be beaten by this, not simply to capitulate and accept
it as just one of the unfortunate side-effects of this tragedy.

Gerry and I talked about it a little, but mostly I analysed the problem
privately in my head.

I also discussed it with psychologist Alan Pike who assured me that, like my
ability to relax or enjoy a meal, it would gradually return.

Deep down, though, I knew there were only two solutions: bringing Madeleine
back or conquering my mental block.

Since the first was not within my control, it was up to me to try to train my
mind and my thought processes.

I look back now and wonder how on earth Gerry and I have made it this far.

If it weren’t for the solid relationship between us, I’m not sure we would
have done.

The statistics show that most marriages subjected to such traumatic
experiences break down. It would be a lie to claim that everything has been
plain sailing.

No relationship, however strong, can emerge unscathed from what is probably
the most painful and terrifying ordeal any parent could suffer.

Inevitably, we sometimes reach certain stages, or go through phases, at
different times and find different ways of coping with our anguish. Gerry
was functioning much sooner than I was.

I felt a tinge of resentment that he was managing to operate and I wasn’t;
sometimes I found it almost offensive, as if somehow he wasn’t grieving

On other days I would feel I was a failure for not being capable of doing as
much for Madeleine as he was. It was equally difficult for Gerry. He needed
my help and support and I was so consumed by my own grief that I simply
couldn’t give anything.

When I finally reached the next rung of the ‘coping ladder’, I could see that
my husband’s ability to drag himself up from the hell into which we’d been
catapulted was a godsend.

Without it, the campaign to find Madeleine would never have got going in the
way it did. Gerry has tried, quite successfully, to compartmentalize his
life, his thoughts and his focus. I have no doubt this ensures a more
efficient and less stressful existence, but I can’t do it. Madeleine is
there in my head all the time.

This doesn’t make me a more loving or caring parent. I think it’s just that
fathers and mothers are different; that carrying and bringing a child into
the world possibly creates a uniquely visceral connection.

The awful sense of Madeleine’s fear I once experienced every waking hour has,
however, eased a little. What remains is a lasting awareness of the terror
she would’ve felt in the disorientating moment she first opened her eyes to
find herself with a stranger. I cannot imagine this will ever fade

It was a long time before I was able to allow myself to take any real pleasure
in anything.

I couldn’t watch television, read a book, listen to music or follow the
football, as I might have done to relax in my old life. I couldn’t go to the
cinema or out for a meal. I couldn’t browse in shops.

Madeleine was in my thoughts when I woke up in the morning and as I battled to
fall asleep at night.

I couldn’t even sit down unless it was for a purpose, to eat or to work at the
computer. How could I possibly take pleasure in anything without my

It was partly the feeling that I had to be doing something to help Madeleine
every moment of every day, partly that so much of what I used to love
reminded me of the life we should still have been leading and now made me

Sometimes the most innocuous and unexpected triggers can set me off: the smell
of newly mown grass, or a song I associate with happier days. The hymn On
Eagle’s Wings, which Gerry and I chose for our wedding, gets me every time.

It was over two years before I could bring myself to play music again. In the
end it was the thought of how unfair it would be to deny Sean and Amelie,
who loved singing, that got me over that hurdle.

Gerry, meanwhile, was able to switch off from time to time and I’m sure that
was a great help to him. I felt guilty for his sake that I couldn’t do the

He was desperate to share his moments of relaxation with me, to have his old
Kate back, even if only briefly. He would suggest doing something nice — and
I would cry.

Despite his inner strength, determination and capability, Gerry has his own
down days, of course.

He’s been such a rock through so many long and testing times that when he
crumbles, it is all the more concerning.

There’s something particularly distressing about seeing a strong man reduced
to a heap, crying like a baby.

At times it has taken Gerry everything he’s got to fight for his own survival
and there’s just been nothing left to give me.

Occasionally, when I’ve been as low as it’s possible to be, or afraid I was
losing control completely, I’ve longed for a chance to talk it through, or
even just to feel Gerry’s arm around my shoulder, but he simply hasn’t had
the strength.

He knows or fears that if he allows himself to be sucked into my despair, he
might be brought crashing down, too.

It sounds selfish and it feels selfish, too. But our lives remain precarious
and sometimes it is all you can do to keep your own head above water, let
alone anyone else’s.

We also know it is essential that we somehow make time for each other if we
are to keep communicating, avoid growing apart and escape becoming another
marital breakdown statistic.

I took a cognitive approach to getting our sexual relationship back on track,
concentrating hard on what Gerry means to me, as a husband and as a friend;
on the love we have for each other and the three beautiful children we
created together. It seems to have worked.

If my mind ever starts to wander down dark alleys, I fight against that,
focusing on what I have that is good and important.

And I tell myself that I cannot, and will not, allow this evil person to
destroy anything else in our life.

© Kate McCann 2011. Extracted from MADELEINE by Kate McCann, to be
published by Bantam Press on 12 May priced at £20. Edited and abridged by

Readers can buy the book for the special price of £18.00 including free UK
and Ireland p&p. To order call 01206 255 800 and quote the reference

Olive Oyl - The Daily Tablet [circa. May 2007-October 2019]

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Post by ROSA Today at 1:41

They must be so sick of each other by now but the lie keeps them together.

For Paulo Sargento, the thesis that Gonçalo Amaral revealed at first hand to "SP" that the blanket could have been used in a funeral ceremony at the Luz chapel "is very interesting".
And he adds: "In reality, when the McCanns went to Oprah's Show, the blanket was mentioned. At a given moment, when Oprah tells Kate that she heard her mention a blanket several times, Kate argued that a mother who misses a child always wants to know if she is comfortable, if she is warm, and added, referring to Maddie, that sometimes she asked herself if the person who had taken her would cover her up with her little blanket (but the blanket was on the bed after Maddie, supposedly, disappeared!!!).

Posts : 1364
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