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25 years since the Kegworth/MI air crash - CLARENCE MITCHELL Then and Now

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25 years since the Kegworth/MI air crash - CLARENCE MITCHELL Then and Now

Post by Tony Bennett on 08.01.14 12:40

Today, the BBC reminds us that it is 25 years since an aeroplane crash landed on the M1, with many passengers killed:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leicestershire-25548016 

Clarence Mitchell - frequently dubbed 'The Angel of Death' because of his close association with notorious deaths - was right there, a humble BBC Look North reporter (bit in red below). This Independent biography of Clarence Mitchell (five years ago now) gives us many of his career highlights:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/clarence-mitchell-i-am-a-decent-human-being-if-i-can-help-them-i-will-1634738.html

Clarence Mitchell: 'I am a decent human being. If I can help them, I will'

[PIC: Clarence Mitchell with Kate McCann at a 2007 Berlin press conference - SVEN KAESTNER/AP]

The ex-BBC journalist built a career on professional detachment. Then, he went to work for the McCanns
by Cole Morton Sunday 01 March 2009

The search goes on. "There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever, nothing, to suggest that Madeleine has been harmed, let alone killed," insists Clarence Mitchell, the former television reporter who speaks for the family of the most famous missing girl in the world. Her face is instantly recognisable. There is no longer any need to use her surname, McCann. And yet, nearly two years since she vanished from the Algarve, there is still no trace.

This is hard to say to Mitchell – who began as a dispassionate adviser and then became a close personal friend of her parents – but there seems no evidence to suggest the three-year-old is still living. "Obviously," he says, "as time goes on, Kate and Gerry are finding it harder and harder. But they are still firmly of the view that Madeleine is alive and out there to be found."

For months now they have turned down interviews, preferring to go through the many files handed over by the Portuguese police. There is another reason for their silence, too. "You reach a saturation point," their spokesman admits. "People would say to us, 'Oh, it's tragic, but we've almost had enough of Madeleine.' That was appalling to hear."

In their silence, Clarence Mitchell is re-emerging as a public figure in his own right. On Friday he will speak at the Oxford Union, following in the footsteps of Desmond Tutu, Mother Teresa and Kermit the Frog. Now he is giving his first personal interview since the days when he was a familiar face on the BBC. He is doing it at the West End offices of Freud Communications, which has hired him as a consultant. Dressed as if to broadcast, in a light brown suit and dark blue shirt, he has two BlackBerrys on his desk: one for Kate and Gerry, the other for everyone else.

Lately, he seems to be setting himself up as a public relations guru for families in distress, including that of 16-year-old Jimmy Mizen, who was stabbed to death in south London last year. The trial of Jimmy's alleged killer begins at the Old Bailey a week tomorrow, and Mitchell will be outside, representing the bereaved parents. Once again, he will be on our screens. But despite seeming so familiar, Clarence Mitchell has never really given anything away about himself. Why did he stop reporting and reading the news? What then drove this 46-year-old man to campaign on behalf of the McCanns, a couple he barely knew and who were suspected of murdering their daughter?

"Everything I have seen of them, in all of the pressurised situations, shows me a family who are suffering the loss of their child," he says. "Everything they are doing, behind the scenes, convinces me of that."

So far, so on message for a man who was hired in September 2007 to "salvage their reputations" in the wake of the McCanns being named as arguidos, or suspects, by the Portuguese police. Mitchell had already been with them for a month, as a civil service media expert sent to help the couple to cope with all the attention. But he returned in the pay of a millionaire supporter of the McCanns, leading a publicity campaign "to correct and balance the inaccurate coverage that was coming out and try to get everything back on an even keel ... with a view to helping to get arguido lifted".

It worked, of course: they won £550,000 damages and a front-page apology from the Daily Express, and last summer the police cleared them of all suspicion. But Mitchell could not have known it would turn out that way. "It was," he says, "gut instinct."

It was a life-changing moment. Until then, his entire career had been built on remaining calm and uninvolved in the most trying circumstances: reporting for the Hendon and Finchley Times with the local MP, Margaret Thatcher, bursting into the office; broadcasting from the M1 with the wreckage of the Kegworth air disaster strewn in front of him; covering wars in Northern Ireland, Kuwait, Iraq and the Balkans alongside the likes of Kate Adie. "You see a lot of distressing things, whether that's a war zone or a murder scene, but I have always found it relatively easy to be dispassionate."

He needed that skill most when sent on a story in Fulham in 1999. "There was a rumour that Jill Dando had been in some sort of accident. The area was taped off. There were detectives walking up from the house who told us to ring the press bureau. I said, 'Look, I know Jill.' We were friends. She used to called me Clarenzio. They said, 'She's dead, I'm afraid.' It was dreadful." But he still filed reports from the scene. "You just have to get on with it."

He did breakfast TV and the odd Six O'Clock News – "which nobody remembers" – but by the time he left the BBC in 2005, his career had reached a plateau. "I felt I had more to offer." Recruited by the Cabinet Office to run the Media Monitoring Unit, he had a hard first week. "The Monday was the G8 at Gleneagles. I was just about getting my head round the job on Tuesday, then Wednesday we won the Olympics. Thursday was 7/7." When the Foreign Office sent him to assist the McCanns – as he insists it would have helped any family in that situation – he asked difficult questions. "I was assured that from the perspective of the British authorities, this was a rare case of stranger abduction."

They had left their very young children alone in a holiday apartment while they went to a tapas bar. He doesn't duck that, even if the response has been smoothed by repetition. "They made a mistake at the time; they weren't with her when it happened. They will always regret that, God forbid, possibly for the rest of their lives."

In media terms, he says, Madeleine was "a perfect storm: her age, her appearance, the location, the parents..." Columnists wrote about "people like us". Picture editors loved Kate, to an extraordinary degree. "It would be sad if it wasn't laughable: Kate was finding herself in Nuts or whatever lads' magazine's top 10. You think, 'This is ridiculous.' But they can't help how they look."

There's no truth, then, in the report that he tried to get Kate to be photographed in a swimsuit? "Utter bollocks." Gerry suggested it without realising the implications, he says, and was then persuaded otherwise. "A good example of facts being distorted. Completely, 180-degree wrong."

Mitchell had a home in Bath with his wife and children, two girls and a boy who were aged 10, eight and one at the time. Why go back to Portugal? "We had become friends. There was an emotional drive. I felt they had been the victims of a heinous crime and very badly wronged in the way stories had appeared."

There was also his response as a father. "I have never had to analyse it like this before ... but yes, this was every parent's nightmare, my own included." Didn't he miss his own children? "At night, when I had a few hours to myself, you did miss them more acutely, perhaps, than if it had been a job of a different nature."

These days Mitchell gets 40 per cent of his former salary as a retainer from the Find Madeleine Fund. Kate is said by relatives to spend hours with the files at home in Rothley, Leicestershire, while her twins are at nursery. Gerry, devotes evenings to the case, after days as a consultant at Glenfield Hospital.

"Sadly, the files have not revealed any substantial new leads," says Mitchell. "And sadly, they have confirmed a lot of what Kate and Gerry feared: that things haven't been done properly in certain areas, and certain things hadn't been followed up."

The detective agencies they hired are no longer on the case. Have a dozen British former detectives and security service agents been employed instead, as reported? "I can't go into details, because the investigators don't wish me to. The investigation is on a smaller scale, but just as relevant."

There is still a huge amount of material to work through: such as more than 3,000 "psychic tip-offs. Any verifiable fact in them – and some are very detailed – has to be checked".

Meanwhile, his new life involves media training for corporations as well as advising people such as the mother of Scarlett Keeling, who was murdered in Goa, and the Mizens. "I do it pro bono, for free." Why? "Because these people came to me in the direst of situations, with their children dead. I'm not going to say no. Nor am I going to say, 'I'm sorry about your loss. Here's my fee.'" Others would. "It's a non-starter. I am a decent, caring human being. If I can help them, I will."

Yes, but isn't he using this free work to build the kind of reputation that made him attractive to Freud? "Not deliberately so. Honestly." Others have compared the new Clarence Mitchell to a more obviously compassionate Max Clifford, with whom he says he gets on well. "People are entitled to their point of view," he says, as calmly as he says everything, on and off camera. "But I am doing this for what I believe to be honest, genuine, compassionate reasons."

The making of a media expert: From TV to Madeleine, and beyond

1962 Born and educated in north-west London. Tries working in a bank after school but hates it.

1982 Joins Hendon and Finchley Times as a trainee reporter, which brings him into contact with the local MP, Margaret Thatcher. "To see the Prime Minister sweep into the office with Special Branch while you are writing up the latest golden wedding is quite an experience."

1985 Shift work on Sunday Express.

1986 Joins the BBC in Sheffield as a radio reporter, before going on to television in Leeds with Look North.

1989 Breakfast News in London, then "fireman" sent where needed [Fred & Rosemary West, Jill Dando, Soham murders etc.] including extensive war reporting.

1999 Made a BBC News presenter.

2005 Joins Civil Service as director of Downing St Media Monitoring Unit.

May 2007 Sent to Portugal to help with press attention in the McCann case.

September 2007 Quits the Civil Service to become spokesman for McCanns.

2008 Extends help to other families.

 

____________________

 Daily Mail journalist Daniel Bates wrote: “Kate and Gerry McCann have released a new picture of their daughter Madeleine as they prepare to commemorate tomorrow’s third anniversary of her disappearance. The photo shows her when she was three after a raid on the dressing-up box. She has a pink bow in her hair and a gold bead necklace and is wearing blue eyeshadow. It was taken weeks before the fateful family holiday to the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz when Madeleine vanished”

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Re: 25 years since the Kegworth/MI air crash - CLARENCE MITCHELL Then and Now

Post by jeanmonroe on 08.01.14 13:34

There's no truth, then, in the report that he (Mitchell) tried to get Kate to be photographed in a swimsuit?

"Gerry suggested it without realising the implications, he says, and was then persuaded otherwise."
---------------------------------------------------------------------

Now WHY would the distraught father of a missing child even think of getting his devastated wife and mother of a missing child to 'pose' in a swimsuit?

So shortly after his child had been 'abducted'?

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Re: 25 years since the Kegworth/MI air crash - CLARENCE MITCHELL Then and Now

Post by Tony Bennett on 08.01.14 13:46

@jeanmonroe wrote:There's no truth, then, in the report that he (Mitchell) tried to get Kate to be photographed in a swimsuit?

"Gerry suggested it without realising the implications, he says, and was then persuaded otherwise."
---------------------------------------------------------------------

Now WHY would the distraught father of a missing child even think of getting his devastated wife and mother of a missing child to 'pose' in a swimsuit?

So shortly after his child had been 'abducted'?

I'd have to mark down Clarence Mitchell a little bit as a claimed 'PR expert' over this incident.

OK, give him his due, he told Gerry that his idea of Kate posing in a swimsuit was a very, very, very, very bad idea.

But an even greater PR man that Clarence Mitchell (if that were possible) would have made sure that this proposed stunt in appalling taste never reached the press at all.

____________________

 Daily Mail journalist Daniel Bates wrote: “Kate and Gerry McCann have released a new picture of their daughter Madeleine as they prepare to commemorate tomorrow’s third anniversary of her disappearance. The photo shows her when she was three after a raid on the dressing-up box. She has a pink bow in her hair and a gold bead necklace and is wearing blue eyeshadow. It was taken weeks before the fateful family holiday to the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz when Madeleine vanished”

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Re: 25 years since the Kegworth/MI air crash - CLARENCE MITCHELL Then and Now

Post by gbwales on 08.01.14 13:50

"These days Mitchell gets 40 per cent of his former salary as a retainer from the Find Madeleine Fund."


Still on the payroll then. Even if he's trying to be invisible these days.

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Re: 25 years since the Kegworth/MI air crash - CLARENCE MITCHELL Then and Now

Post by Tony Bennett on 08.01.14 14:32

@gbwales wrote:"These days Mitchell gets 40 per cent of his former salary as a retainer from the Find Madeleine Fund."

Still on the payroll then. Even if he's trying to be invisible these days.

When he first started working part-time for the McCanns, his former salary was said to be £75,000 per year, but I suspect it was a bit more than that.

40% of £75,000 a year is £30,000 p.a.

I assume that every single one of the Directors of the private, family-controlled company, Madeleine's Fund, must have sincerely, hand-on-heart, believed that the continuing expenditure of £600 every single week on Clarence Mitchell would really, definitely, help to find Madeleine alive, somehwere or other

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 Daily Mail journalist Daniel Bates wrote: “Kate and Gerry McCann have released a new picture of their daughter Madeleine as they prepare to commemorate tomorrow’s third anniversary of her disappearance. The photo shows her when she was three after a raid on the dressing-up box. She has a pink bow in her hair and a gold bead necklace and is wearing blue eyeshadow. It was taken weeks before the fateful family holiday to the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz when Madeleine vanished”

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Re: 25 years since the Kegworth/MI air crash - CLARENCE MITCHELL Then and Now

Post by Guest on 08.01.14 14:42

@jeanmonroe wrote:There's no truth, then, in the report that he (Mitchell) tried to get Kate to be photographed in a swimsuit?

"Gerry suggested it without realising the implications, he says, and was then persuaded otherwise."
---------------------------------------------------------------------

Now WHY would the distraught father of a missing child even think of getting his devastated wife and mother of a missing child to 'pose' in a swimsuit?

So shortly after his child had been 'abducted'?


$$$$$ ?
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Re: 25 years since the Kegworth/MI air crash - CLARENCE MITCHELL Then and Now

Post by Guest on 08.01.14 14:46

@Tony Bennett wrote:
@jeanmonroe wrote:There's no truth, then, in the report that he (Mitchell) tried to get Kate to be photographed in a swimsuit?

"Gerry suggested it without realising the implications, he says, and was then persuaded otherwise."
---------------------------------------------------------------------

Now WHY would the distraught father of a missing child even think of getting his devastated wife and mother of a missing child to 'pose' in a swimsuit?

So shortly after his child had been 'abducted'?

I'd have to mark down Clarence Mitchell a little bit as a claimed 'PR expert' over this incident.

OK, give him his due, he told Gerry that his idea of Kate posing in a swimsuit was a very, very, very, very bad idea.

But an even greater PR man that Clarence Mitchell (if that were possible) would have made sure that this proposed stunt in appalling taste never reached the press at all.

Agreed; he could not have put his client in a worse spotlight, a more venal and greedy one. Horribly so, come to think of it.
But now, with the CW Reconstruct, we had the buxom KH stand-in sit down on the edge of the pool where The Last Picture was taken, in a black swimsuit; so in the end, the client did prevail, in a way
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Re: 25 years since the Kegworth/MI air crash - CLARENCE MITCHELL Then and Now

Post by jeanmonroe on 08.01.14 14:49

40% of £75,000 a year is £30,000 p.a.
------------------------------------------

That's an awful lot of 'cake sale' donations and handicapped kiddies extremely hard 'earned' donations and OAP's donations, all donated, to a 'fund', for the sole purpose' of 'searching for Madeleine'

Hope he mentions how much he has 'personally benefited' from the 'fund' when he is on the 'stump' at election time.

How he has personally pocketed a share of the donations which could and should of ONLY be used to fund 'the search'

On September 20th, 2007,
Clarence Mitchell was interviewed on Radio Live in New Zealand.

Near the end of the interview Clarence says this: "I’d stress as well that the money that people have donated from around the world is only being spent on that campaign and Kate and Gerry’s legal costs and media management in the shape of me that’s all coming from the financial benefactors who are contributing quite separately so that anybody who has given money to help find Madeleine need have no fear that their money is being spent on lawyers fees or anything like that"

So Mr Mitchell, please tell us again how you are NOT getting 'paid' £30,000 per annum, from the "Find Madeleine Fund."

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Re: 25 years since the Kegworth/MI air crash - CLARENCE MITCHELL Then and Now

Post by Tony Bennett on 08.01.14 14:52

@jeanmonroe wrote:40% of £75,000 a year is £30,000 p.a.
------------------------------------------

That's an awful lot of 'cake sale' donations and handicapped kiddies extremely hard 'earned' donations and OAP's donations, all donated, to a 'fund', for the sole purpose' of 'searching for Madeleine'

Hope he mentions how much he has 'personally benefited' from the 'fund' when he is on the 'stump' at election time.

I think the electors of Brighton Pavilion are going to receive some interesting information about Clarence Mitchell in the run-up to May 2015

____________________

 Daily Mail journalist Daniel Bates wrote: “Kate and Gerry McCann have released a new picture of their daughter Madeleine as they prepare to commemorate tomorrow’s third anniversary of her disappearance. The photo shows her when she was three after a raid on the dressing-up box. She has a pink bow in her hair and a gold bead necklace and is wearing blue eyeshadow. It was taken weeks before the fateful family holiday to the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz when Madeleine vanished”

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Kegworth - The True Story

Post by PeterMac on 08.01.14 14:57

Ch Supt Chris Fox was Acting ACC that weekend, and was enjoying a long very hot bath
The phone rang in the hall and his wife answered.
She shouted up the stairs
"It's Eddie Curtis for you":
"Ask him what he wants"
He says there's a plane down on the motorway"
"Tell him to f*** of and ask him what he really wants."

"He says I am to tell you NO DUFF - NO DUFF. There's a plane on the motorway".

Chris says the bathwater went suddenly very cold.

And yes, it was on the edge of my patch, where the A 453 meets the M1, and where Notts Leicester and Derby come together,
which was brilliant since we could use three sets of hospitals after triage.

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Re: 25 years since the Kegworth/MI air crash - CLARENCE MITCHELL Then and Now

Post by tigger on 08.01.14 21:05

From the first post:

1989 Breakfast News in London, then "fireman" sent where needed [Fred & Rosemary West, Jill Dando, Soham murders etc.] including extensive war reporting.

1999 Made a BBC News presenter.

2005 Joins Civil Service as director of Downing St Media Monitoring Unit.
Unquote

Iirc he was sacked from the BBC for falling asleep during a broadcast (behind the scenes I believe, but he missed his cue)
Seems to me that the BBC used it to get rid of him.

As for his earlier war reporting - where was that? I thought Jon Snow et al did the first Gulf War?

It's quite a jump to MMU and iirc the Trafigura scandal in which he mediated to release hostages proved him to have feet of clay.
Imo he got the MMU job because of the fall-out of Trafigura, quite a lot of influential people had a hand in that debacle.

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Re: 25 years since the Kegworth/MI air crash - CLARENCE MITCHELL Then and Now

Post by Guest on 08.01.14 22:19

@Tony Bennett wrote:

I think the electors of Brighton Pavilion are going to receive some interesting information about Clarence Mitchell in the run-up to May 2015

 affraid 

Is that the political equivalent of a coded bomb warning?

 clapping 



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Re: 25 years since the Kegworth/MI air crash - CLARENCE MITCHELL Then and Now

Post by sonic72 on 09.01.14 3:26

"In their silence, Clarence Mitchell is re-emerging as a public figure in his own right. On Friday he will speak at the Oxford Union, following in the footsteps of Desmond Tutu, Mother Teresa and Kermit the Frog. Now he is giving his first personal interview since the days when he was a familiar face on the BBC. He is doing it at the West End offices of Freud Communications, which has hired him as a consultant. Dressed as if to broadcast, in a light brown suit and dark blue shirt, he has two BlackBerrys on his desk: one for Kate and Gerry, the other for everyone else."

I'll leave the part in bold to everyone's imagination....

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