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An analysis of the Sunday Times article 27 Oct 2013, on the 'SMITHMAN' efits, which relied on Henri Exton as the source  Mm11

An analysis of the Sunday Times article 27 Oct 2013, on the 'SMITHMAN' efits, which relied on Henri Exton as the source  Regist10
The Complete Mystery of Madeleine McCann™
Welcome to 'The Complete Mystery of Madeleine McCann' forum 🌹

Please log in, or register to view all the forums as some of them are 'members only', then settle in and help us get to the truth about what really happened to Madeleine Beth McCann.

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An analysis of the Sunday Times article 27 Oct 2013, on the 'SMITHMAN' efits, which relied on Henri Exton as the source  Mm11

An analysis of the Sunday Times article 27 Oct 2013, on the 'SMITHMAN' efits, which relied on Henri Exton as the source  Regist10

An analysis of the Sunday Times article 27 Oct 2013, on the 'SMITHMAN' efits, which relied on Henri Exton as the source

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An analysis of the Sunday Times article 27 Oct 2013, on the 'SMITHMAN' efits, which relied on Henri Exton as the source  Empty An analysis of the Sunday Times article 27 Oct 2013, on the 'SMITHMAN' efits, which relied on Henri Exton as the source

Post by Jill Havern Sat Apr 27, 2019 4:24 pm

Comments in bold

By TB

On Sunday 27 October 2013, 13 days after the BBC CrimeWatch special on Madeleine McCann, the Sunday Times ran the story analysed below. It was clearly based on evidence supplied to the Sunday Times by Henri Exton, who was employed sometime during 2008 as part of the McCann Team’s so-called ‘private investigation’.

Before we analyse the report in more detail, a number of preliminary points need to be made: 

1.   Henri Exton, the prime source for the story, appears to have been employed by a company called Oakley International. This was formed after Madeleine McCann was reported missing, by Kevin Halligen.

2.   Halligen and Oakley International were recruited for the McCann private investigation by Brian Kennedy, who throughout the past seven years has recruited private detectives, most of them entirely unsuitable or unqualified for the task of searching for a missing child, on behalf of the McCann Team.

3.   Kevin Halligen had for years been close to the British security services. He was also a serial fraudster who spent four years in jail (2009-2013) for serious fraud offences. His word cannot be trusted.

4.   The McCann Team claimed in August 2008 that Oakley International were ‘the big boys’ of international private detection and made many similarly bold claims about it. It was a claim wholly without foundation.

5.   There were reliable reports that Halligen did not pay the men he employed, including Henri Exton. He made false promises that they were going to be paid (see also below).

6.   If so, Exton therefore had a motive for extracting revenge on Halligen and the McCann Team, who had made use of the services of him and his men, but not paid him.

7.   The alleged sighting of a man carrying a child by members of the Smith family has been questioned on numerous grounds. Even on their own admission, none of them saw him properly, in the dark, and said they could not give a proper description of his face or be able to recognise him again if they saw him.   

8.   In summary, we have to be very careful before accepting anything said by Exton as ‘gospel’.  

Madeleine clues hidden for 5 years

THE critical new evidence at the centre of Scotland Yard’s search for Madeleine McCann was kept secret for five years after it was presented to her parents by ex-MI5 investigators.


COMMENT: The term ‘critical new evidence’ refers to two e-fits which were heavily promoted on BBC CrimeWatch, October 2013.

The evidence was in fact taken from an intelligence report produced for Gerry and Kate McCann by a firm of former spies in 2008.


COMMENT: ‘A firm of former spies’ may be a correct description. Haliigen had security service and Ministry of Defence connections, while Exton has been confirmed as the former Head of MI5’s Covert Intelligence Unit. It was recently revealed that a third member of the team, Tim Craig-Harvey, also had defence/security service connections.

It contained crucial E-Fits of a man seen carrying a child on the night of Madeleine’s disappearance, which have only this month become public after he was identified as the prime suspect by Scotland Yard.


COMMENT: The Smiths claimed to have seen a man carrying a child. But there are severe doubts about their accounts.

But the trail was left to go cold for five years because the McCanns and their advisers sidelined the report and threatened to sue its authors if they divulged the contents.


COMMENT: According to Exton, that is. Neither he nor the Sunday Times has supplied any proof of this

The report, seen by the Sunday Times, called for the E-Fits to be released immediately and said "anomalies" in statements by the McCanns and their friends must be resolved.

A source close to the McCanns said the report was considered “hypercritical of the people involved” and “would have been completely distracting” if made public.

[Pic:   The new prime suspect was first singled out by detectives in 2008. Their findings were suppressed. Insight reports]


The team of hand-picked former MI5 agents


COMMENT: If that is correct, then both Kevin Halligen and Tim Craig-Harvey were former MI5 agents

had been hired by Kate and Gerry McCann to chase a much-needed breakthrough in the search for their missing daughter Madeleine.

It was the spring of 2008, 10 months after the three-year-old had disappeared from the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz, and the McCanns were beginning to despair over the handling of the local police investigation. They were relying on the new team to bring fresh hope.

But within months the relationship had soured.


COMMENT: As noted above, this could well be because Exton wasn’t paid.

A report produced by the investigators was deemed “hypercritical” of the McCanns and their friends, and the authors were threatened with legal action if it was made public.

COMMENT: So Exton says.

Its contents remained secret until Scotland Yard detectives conducting a fresh review of the case contacted the authors and asked for a copy.

They found that it contained new evidence about a key suspect seen carrying a child away from the McCanns’ holiday apartment on the night Madeleine disappeared.


COMMENT: Claimed to have been seen.

This sighting is now considered the main lead in the investigation and E-Fits of the suspect, taken from the report, were the centrepiece of a Crimewatch appeal that attracted more than 2,400 calls from the public this month.


COMMENT: And 6.7 million viewers.

One of the investigators


COMMENT: Henri Exton

whose work was sidelined said last week he was “utterly stunned” when he watched the programme and saw the evidence his team had passed to the McCanns five years ago presented as a breakthrough.

COMMENT: From this article and other sources, it seems likely that these two efits were indeed produced by Exton and colleagues in the spring or summer of 2008.

The team of investigators from the security firm Oakley International were hired by the McCanns’ Find Madeleine fund, which bankrolled private investigations into the girl’s disappearance. They were led by Henri Exton, MI5’s former undercover operations chief.

Their report, seen by The Sunday Times, focused on a sighting by an Irish family of a man carrying a child at about 10pm on May 3, 2007, when Madeleine went missing.


COMMENT: Claimed sighting.

An earlier sighting by one of the McCanns’ friends was dismissed as less credible after “serious inconsistencies” were found in her evidence. The report also raised questions about “anomalies” in the statements given by the McCanns and their friends.

Exton confirmed last week that the fund had silenced his investigators for years after they handed over their controversial findings. He said: “A letter came from their lawyers binding us to the confidentiality of the report.”


COMMENT: But the Sunday Times didn’t produce evidence of this alleged letter nor of any other correspondence surrounding it.

He claimed the legal threat had prevented him from handing over the report to Scotland Yard’s fresh investigation, until detectives had obtained written permission from the fund. A source close to the fund said the report was considered “hypercritical of the people involved” and “would have been completely distracting” if it became public.

Oakley’s six-month investigation included placing undercover agents inside the Ocean Club where the family stayed, lie detector tests, covert surveillance and a forensic re-examination of all existing evidence.


COMMENT:  Hmmm. So they say.

It was immediately clear that two sightings of vital importance had been reported to the police. Two men were seen carrying children near the apartments between 9pm, when Madeleine was last seen by Gerry, and 10pm, when Kate discovered her missing.


COMMENT: There is a great deal of evidence  that both ‘sightings’ were fabrications.

The first man was seen at 9.15pm by Jane Tanner, a friend of the McCanns, who had been dining with them at the tapas bar in the resort. She saw a man carrying a girl just yards from the apartment as she went to check on her children.

The second sighting was by Martin Smith and his family from Ireland, who saw a man carrying a child near the apartment just before 10pm.


COMMENT: Claimed sighting.

The earlier Tanner sighting had always been treated as the most significant, but the Oakley team controversially poured cold water on her account.

Instead, they focused on the Smith sighting, travelling to Ireland to interview the family and produce E-Fits of the man they saw.


COMMENT: It is not clear whether Exton alone or Exton with others travelled to Ireland.

Their report said the Smiths were “helpful and sincere” and concluded: “The Smith sighting is credible evidence of a sighting of Maddie and more credible than Jane Tanner’s sighting”. The evidence had been “neglected for too long” and an “overemphasis placed on Tanner”.

The new focus shifted the believed timeline of the abduction back by 45 minutes. The report, delivered to the McCanns in November 2008, recommended that the revised timeline should be the basis for future investigations and that the Smith E-Fits should be released without delay.

[Pic: "The report questioned 'anomalies' in the McCanns' statements"]

The potential abductor seen by the Smiths is now the prime suspect in Scotland Yard’s investigation, after detectives established that the man seen earlier by Tanner was almost certainly a father carrying his child home from a nearby night creche. The Smith E-Fits were the centrepiece of the Crimewatch appeal.

[Pic: Investigators had E-Fits five years ago]


One of the Oakley investigators said last week: “I was absolutely stunned when I watched the programme…It most certainly wasn’t a new timeline and it certainly isn’t a new revelation. It is absolute nonsense to suggest either of those things…And those E-Fits you saw on Crimewatch are ours,” he said.


COMMENT: It is accepted that Exton, with or without others, produced them.

The detailed images of the face of the man seen by the Smith family were never released by the McCanns.


COMMENT: This is the critical sentence in the whole report. How could the Smiths conceivably have produced ‘detailed images’ when:

a) they only saw him for a few seconds

b) it was dark

c) the street lighting was very poor

d) none of them saw his face as it was hidden by the child they said he was carrying

e) each one of the three Smiths admitted that they would not be able to identify the man if they saw him again

f) it is suggested that they were only asked to produce efits in 2008, a year or so after the event.

It is therefore unclear what the provenance of those efit images is. Maybe they were generated not from any description of the Smiths but by some other means.  

But an artist’s impression of the man seen earlier by Tanner was widely promoted, even though the face had to be left blank because she had only seen him fleetingly and from a distance.

Various others images of lone men spotted hanging around the resort at other times were also released.

Nor were the Smith E-Fits included in Kate McCann’s 2011 book, Madeleine, which contained a whole section on eight “key sightings” and identified those of the Smiths and Tanner as most “crucial”.


COMMENT: However, there were three pages in Kate’s book devoted to a detailed comparison of the ‘striking similarities’ between the man Jane Tanner said she saw and the man the Smiths said they saw.

Descriptions of all seven other sightings were accompanied by an E-Fit or artist’s impression. The Smiths’ were the only exception. So why was such a “crucial” piece of evidence kept under lock and key?

The relationship between the fund and Oakley was already souring by the time the report was submitted - and its findings could only have made matters worse.

As well as questioning parts of the McCanns’ evidence, it contained sensitive information about Madeleine’s sleeping patterns and raised the highly sensitive possibility that she could have died in an accident after leaving the apartment herself from one of two unsecured doors.

There was also an uncomfortable complication with Smith’s account. He had originally told the police that he had “recognised something” about the way Gerry McCann carried one of his children which reminded him of the man he had seen in Praia da Luz.

Smith has since stressed that he does not believe the man he saw was Gerry, and Scotland Yard do not consider this a possibility.


COMMENT: His basis for identifying Gerry McCann in the first place wholly lacked credibility.

Last week the McCanns were told officially by the Portuguese authorities that they are not suspects.

The McCanns were also understandably wary of Oakley after allegations that the chairman, Kevin Halligen, failed to pass on money paid by the fund to Exton’s team.


COMMENT: Exactly. Exton has the clearest possible motive for exacting revenge on the McCann Team. He probably wasn’t paid for his work.

Halligen denies this. He was later convicted of fraud in an unrelated case in the US.

The McCann fund source said the Oakley report was passed on to new private investigators after the contract ended, but that the firm’s work was considered “contaminated” by the financial dispute.

He said the fund wanted to continue to pursue information about the man seen by Tanner, and it would have been too expensive to investigate both sightings in full - so the Smith E-Fits were not publicised. It was also considered necessary to threaten legal action against the authors.

“[The report] was hypercritical of the people involved…It just wouldn’t be conducive to the investigation to have that report publicly declared because…the newspapers would have been all over it. And it would have been completely distracting,” said the source.

A statement released by the Find Madeleine Fund said that “all information privately gathered during the search for Madeleine has been fully acted upon where necessary” and had been passed to Scotland Yard.

It continued: “Throughout the investigation, the Find Madeleine fund’s sole priority has been, and remains, to find Madeleine and bring her home as swiftly as possible.”

Insight: Heidi Blake and Jonathan Calvert

-------------


Original thread: https://jillhavern.forumotion.net/t9984-an-analysis-of-the-sunday-times-article-27-oct-2013-on-the-smithman-efits-which-relied-on-henri-exton-as-the-source

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