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|Disappearance of Madeleine McCann|
(Left) Madeleine in 2007, aged three, and (right) how she may have looked in 2012, aged nine
|Name||Madeleine Beth McCann|
|Born|| 12 May 2003 |
|Parents||Kate and Gerry McCann|
|Disappeared||3 May 2007 (aged 3)|
5A Rua Dr Agostinho da Silva, Praia da Luz, Portugal
|Distinguishing features||Straight blonde hair; blue-green eyes; right eye has a distinctive spot on the iris; small brown mark on the calf of the left leg|
|Investigating forces||Polícia Judiciária|
London Metropolitan Police/Scotland Yard
|Contact||Operation Grange (Scotland Yard)|
|Disappearance of Madeleine McCann|
(Left) Madeleine in 2007, aged three, and (right) how she may have looked in 2012, aged nine
|Name||Madeleine Beth McCann|
|Born|| 12 May 2003 |
|Parents||Kate and Gerry McCann|
|Disappeared||3 May 2007 (aged 3)|
5A Rua Dr Agostinho da Silva, Praia da Luz, Portugal
|Distinguishing features||Straight blonde hair; blue-green eyes; right eye has a distinctive spot on the iris; small brown mark on the calf of the left leg|
|Investigating forces||Polícia Judiciária|
London Metropolitan Police/Scotland Yard
|Contact||Operation Grange (Scotland Yard)|
Madeleine Beth McCann (born 12 May 2003) disappeared on the evening of Thursday, 3 May 2007, from her bed in an apartment in Praia da Luz, a resort in the Algarve region of Portugal. She was on holiday there from the UK with her parents, twin siblings and a group of family friends and their children. The disappearance became what the Daily Telegraph called "the most heavily reported missing-person case in modern history." Her whereabouts remain unknown.
Madeleine and her younger siblings had been left asleep at 20:30 in the ground-floor apartment while her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, dined with their travelling companions in a restaurant 50 metres (160 ft) away. The parents checked on the children throughout the evening until Madeleine's mother discovered she was missing at 22:00. The Portuguese police seemed at first to accept that it was an abduction, but after misinterpreting a British DNA analysis came to believe that she had died in the apartment, which placed a cloud of suspicion over her parents. The McCanns were declared arguidos (suspects) in September 2007, but were cleared in July 2008 when Portugal's attorney-general closed the case.
The parents continued the investigation using private detectives, but after the intervention of the British Home Secretary in May 2011 Scotland Yard set up a new inquiry, Operation Grange. The Portuguese police reopened their own investigation in October 2013, but there appeared to be little collaboration between the police forces. That month Scotland Yard released e-fit images of men they wanted to trace, including one of a man seen carrying a child toward the beach that night.
The disappearance attracted sustained international interest and in the UK saturation coverage reminiscent of the death of Diana in 1997. The McCanns were subjected to intense scrutiny and false allegations of involvement in their daughter's death, particularly in the tabloid press and on Twitter, which was just a year old when Madeleine went missing. They were awarded damages in 2008 against the Express Group and front-page apologies from the group's newspapers. In 2011 they testified before the Leveson Inquiry into British press misconduct, lending support to those arguing for tighter press regulation in the UK.
|Madeleine's right eye, with its distinctive mark, was highlighted in posters across Europe.|
Madeleine was born in Leicester and lived with her parents and siblings in Rothley, also in Leicestershire. On the advice of the International Family Law Group in London, which flew staff to Portugal to advise the McCanns, she was made a ward of court in England in the summer of 2007. This gives the court statutory powers to act on her behalf, such as applying for access to certain records.
Interpol described Madeleine as having straight blonde hair, blue-green eyes, a small brown mark on the calf of her left leg, and a distinctive dark strip on the iris of her right eye, possibly a coloboma. Against the advice of the Portuguese police, who feared that emphasizing her eye would place her in more danger, close-up shots of her iris appeared in shop windows around Europe, and posters highlighting the word "look" were designed with the first "o" containing the mark. The McCanns released several age-progressed images in 2009 of how Madeleine may have looked at age six – the first was released during an interview with the McCanns by Oprah Winfrey – and Scotland Yard released another in 2012 of her at age nine.
Madeleine's parents are both physicians and practising Roman Catholics. Kate Marie McCann (née Healy, born 1968, Huyton, near Liverpool) attended All Saints School in Anfield, then Notre Dame High School, Everton Valley, graduating in 1992 with a degree in medicine from the University of Dundee. She moved briefly into obstetrics and gynaecology, then anaesthesiology, and finally general practice. Gerald Patrick McCann (born 1968 in Glasgow) attended Holyrood Secondary School. He obtained a BSc in physiology/sports science from the University of Glasgow in 1989, qualifying in medicine in 1992. In 2002 he obtained his MD, a research degree, also from Glasgow. He has been a consultant cardiologist at Glenfield Hospital, Leicester, since 2005. The McCanns met in 1993 in Glasgow and were married in 1998. Madeleine was born in 2003 and the twins, a boy and a girl, two years later.
The couple were on holiday in Praia da Luz with a group of seven friends from the UK and eight children in all, including the McCanns' three. Several of the friends – Russell O'Brien, Matthew Oldfield, and Fiona and David Payne – had studied medicine together at the University of Leicester. The group consisted of O'Brien and his partner Jane Tanner, a marketing manager; Oldfield and his wife Rachael, a recruitment consultant; and the Paynes, who were accompanied by Fiona Payne's mother, Dianne Webster. The nine adults met up most evenings during the holiday at 20:30 in the resort's tapas restaurant, as a result of which the media dubbed the friends the Tapas Seven.
|Ocean Club resort, with the McCanns' block on the right, on the junction of Rua Dr Agostinho da Silva and Rua Dr Francisco Gentil Martins.|
|Apartment 5A on the ground floor and the steps from Rua Dr Francisco Gentil Martins to 5A's patio doors; the Ocean Club is on the left.|
|Children's bedroom, with Madeleine's bed on the left; the window faces Rua Dr Agostinho da Silva.|
The McCanns arrived in Praia da Luz on 28 April 2007 and stayed at 5A Rua Dr Agostinho da Silva, which they had booked for a seven-night break through the British holiday company Mark Warner Ltd. 5A was a two-bedroom apartment on the ground floor of the fifth block of a group of apartments known as Waterside Village. The block lay on the perimeter of Mark Warner's Ocean Club resort and overlooked its pool, tennis courts, tapas restaurant and bar. Many of the privately owned apartments were rented by Mark Warner for its guests; the McCanns' apartment was owned by a retired teacher from Liverpool.
Located on the corner of Rua Dr Agostinho da Silva and Rua Dr Francisco Gentil Martins, 5A was accessible to the public from all sides. Sliding patio doors at the back faced the Ocean Club; the patio doors could be accessed from a short set of steps and a gate on the side of the block leading from Rua Dr Francisco Gentil Martins. The front door of the apartment was situated on Rua Dr Agostinho da Silva, the non-resort side of the block, and led to a walled car park and the street. The three children slept in a bedroom next to the front door. The room had one waist-high window with an exterior shutter, which looked onto a narrow walkway that was separated from the car park by a low wall. The twins slept in travel cots in the middle of the room, while Madeleine was in a single bed on the opposite side of the room from the window.
|Pyjamas similar to Madeleine's, pink-and-white Eeyore pyjamas from Marks and Spencer's.|
Thursday, 3 May, was the penultimate day of the family's holiday. The children spent the morning in the resort's Kids' Club while the parents went for a walk, then the family lunched together at their apartment before heading to the pool. Madeleine's mother took the last known photograph of Madeleine by the pool that afternoon, sitting next to her father and two-year-old sister. The children returned to Kids' Club, and at 18:00 their mother took them back to the apartment while their father went for a tennis lesson. The McCanns put the children to bed around 19:00. Madeleine was left asleep in the single bed next to her pink comfort blanket and a pink soft toy, Cuddle Cat. She was wearing a pair of short-sleeved, pink-and-white Marks and Spencer's Eeyore pyjamas.
The parents left the apartment at 20:30 to dine with their friends in the Ocean Club's open-air tapas restaurant, 50 metres (160 ft) as the crow flies on the other side of the pool, a walk of 30–45 seconds, according to Madeleine's mother. The staff at the tapas restaurant had left a note in a staff message book asking that the same table, which overlooked the apartments, be block-booked for 20:30 for the McCanns and their friends for several evenings during their holiday. The message said the group's children were asleep in the apartments, and the staff book was left at the swimming-pool reception area. Madeleine's mother believes that the abductor may have seen the note.
The McCanns and their friends left the table throughout the evening to check on their children. The McCanns' patio doors could only be locked from the inside, so they had left them closed but unlocked to allow them to enter that way. Madeleine's father carried out the first check on 5A at around 21:05. All was well, except that he recalled having left the children's bedroom door only slightly ajar and now it stood almost wide open; he said he pulled it back to a five-degree position before returning to the restaurant.
One of the McCanns' travelling companions, Jane Tanner, left the restaurant at 21:15 to check on her own daughter. She passed Madeleine's father on Rua Dr Francisco Gentil Martins on his way back to the restaurant from his 21:05 check. He had stopped to chat to a British holidaymaker, Jes Wilkins. Neither man saw Tanner. This became an issue that puzzled the Portuguese police, given how narrow the street was, and led them to accuse Tanner of having invented the sighting.
Tanner noticed a man with a child cross the junction of Rua Dr Francisco Gentil Martins and Rua Dr Agostinho da Silva just ahead of her, heading east away from the Ocean Club. She said he was carrying the child, who was barefoot and wearing light-coloured pink pyjamas with a floral pattern and cuffs on the legs, a description that matched the pyjamas Madeleine had been wearing. She described the man as white, dark-haired, 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m) tall, of southern European or Mediterranean appearance, 35–40 years old, wearing gold or beige trousers and a dark jacket, and said he did not look like a tourist. Tanner told the Portuguese police, but they did not pass the description to the media until 25 May. Madeleine's Fund arranged for a forensic artist to create an image of the man (right), which was released to the public in October 2007.
Although Tanner had not seen the man's face, the sighting became important because it offered investigators a time frame for the abduction. Scotland Yard eventually came to view it as a red herring. In October 2013 they said that a British holidaymaker had been identified as the man Tanner had seen, and that he had been returning to his apartment after picking up his daughter from the Ocean Club night creche. Scotland Yard took photographs of the man wearing the same or similar clothes to the ones he was wearing on the night, and standing in a pose similar to the one Tanner reported. The pyjamas his daughter had been wearing also matched Tanner's report. The detective in charge of Scotland Yard's inquiry said that his officers were "almost certain" that this sighting was not related to the abduction.
The Tanner sighting suggested that Madeleine had been taken around 21:15, but another sighting of a man carrying a child that night was reported to Portuguese police by Martin and Mary Smith, who were on holiday from Ireland. The Smiths saw the man at around 22:00 on Rua da Escola Primária, 500 yards (457 m) from the McCanns' apartment, carrying a young girl and walking in the direction of Rua 25 de Abril and the beach. They described the girl as 3–4 years old, wearing light-coloured pyjamas, with blonde hair and pale skin. They said the man was mid-30s, 5 ft 7 in – 5 ft 9 in (1.75–1.80 m) tall, slim-to-normal build, with short brown hair, wearing cream or beige trousers. They said that he had not looked like a tourist and appeared not to be comfortable carrying the child.
In 2008 private detectives with Oakley International, a company hired by Madeleine's Fund, questioned the consistency of the Tanner report and became more interested in the Smith sighting. Oakley prepared e-fit images (right), one based on Martin's description and the other on Mary's. Madeleine's Fund decided not to release them. This was in part because Martin Smith came to believe that the man he had seen was Gerry McCann – something Scotland Yard ruled out because witnesses placed Gerry in the tapas restaurant at 22:00 – and so releasing the e-fits risked feeding the conspiracy theories about the McCanns, which were at their height in 2008. When Scotland Yard became involved in 2011 and ruled out the Tanner sighting, they came to believe that it was the Smith sighting that gave them the approximate time of Madeleine's kidnap, and in October 2013 they released the Oakley International e-fits to coincide with a BBC Crimewatch reconstruction of the disappearance.
Madeleine's mother had intended to check on the children at 21:30, but Matthew Oldfield, one of the Tapas Seven, offered to do it when he checked on his own children in the apartment next door. He noticed that the McCanns' children's bedroom door was wide open, but after hearing no noise he left their apartment without looking far enough into the room to see whether Madeleine was in bed. He could not recall whether the bedroom window and its exterior shutter were open at that point, as Kate said they were when she discovered Madeleine was missing. Early on in the investigation the Portuguese police accused Oldfield of involvement because he had volunteered to do the check, suggesting to him that he had handed Madeleine to someone through the bedroom window.
Kate made her own check at around 22:00. Scotland Yard said in 2013 that, in their view, Madeleine was taken just moments before this. She recalled entering the apartment through the patio doors at the back, and noticed that the children's bedroom door was wide open. When she tried to close the door it slammed shut as though there was a draught, which is when she found that the bedroom window and its shutter were open. Madeleine's Cuddle Cat and pink blanket were still on the bed, but Madeleine was gone. After briefly searching the apartment Kate ran back towards the restaurant, screaming that someone had taken Madeleine.
At around 22:10, according to Kate, Madeleine's father sent Matthew Oldfield to ask the resort's reception desk to call the police, and at 22:30 the resort activated its missing-child search protocol. The resort's manager said that 60 staff and guests searched until 04:30, at first assuming that Madeleine had wandered off. One of them told Channel 4's Dispatches that from one end of Luz to the other, you could hear people shouting her name.
According to Madeleine's mother, two officers from the gendarmerie, the Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR), arrived at the resort at 23:10 from Lagos, a town five miles away. The GNR at first assumed that Madeleine had wandered off, but after briefly searching they alerted the criminal police, the Polícia Judiciária, at midnight. According to the Polícia Judiciária their officers arrived within 10 minutes of that alert.
Two patrol dogs were brought to the resort at 2 am and four search-and-rescue dogs at 8 am. Police officers had their leave cancelled and started working through weekends, organizing searches of local waterways, wells, caves, sewers and ruins.
Despite the obvious efforts of the Portuguese police to find Madeleine, it was widely acknowledged that mistakes had been made. Perhaps the most serious was that the crime scene was not secured. Chief Inspector Olegário de Sousa of the Polícia Judiciária said that around 20 people had entered the apartment before it was closed off. According to Madeleine's mother, an officer placed tape across the doorway of the children's bedroom on the night of the disappearance, but left at 3 am without securing the apartment. The Polícia Judiciária case file, which was released in August 2008, showed that 5A had lain empty for a month after the disappearance, but had been let out to other tourists for two months before being sealed off in August 2007 for more forensic tests.
|Police officer dusts the shutter for fingerprints, without gloves or other protective clothing.|
A similar situation arose outside the apartment. A small crowd gathered by the front door after the disappearance, including next to the children's bedroom window through which an abductor may have entered or left, touching and trampling on potentially important evidence. A police officer dusted the bedroom window's exterior shutter for fingerprints without wearing gloves or other protective clothing. Neither border nor marine police were given descriptions of Madeleine for many hours, and officers did not appear to make extensive door-to-door inquiries. According to Madeleine's mother, roadblocks were first put in place at 10 am the next morning. Police did not request motorway surveillance pictures of vehicles leaving Praia da Luz that night, or of the road between Lagos and Vila Real de Santo António on the Spanish border; the company that monitors the road, Euroscut, said they were not approached for information. It took Interpol five days to issue a global missing-person alert.
There were strained relations between the McCanns and the Polícia Judiciária from early on in the search. Criminal investigations in Portugal are governed by a secrecy clause in the country's penal code, which means there are no official press conferences with updates, and no release of suspects' or witnesses' names. One journalist wrote that this leads to a culture of "leak, not speak," and an inevitable profileration of theories that are hard for others to counter without breaking the law.
A senior officer in the Polícia Judiciária acknowledged in 2010 that the local police had been suspicious of the McCanns from the start, because the couple ignored a request not to talk about the disappearance and turned the inquiry into what the officer called a "media circus." The McCanns' decision to interact with the media resulted in something approaching mass hysteria, according to Owen Jones. Media analyst Nicola Rehling wrote that the "Maddification" of Britain was complete within weeks of the disappearance, similar to its "Dianafication" in 1997.
The PR firm Bell Pottinger, representing Mark Warner Ltd, sent Alex Woolfall to deal with the media for the first ten days, then the British government, under Tony Blair, sent in government press officers. The first was Sheree Dodd, a former Daily Mirror journalist, then Clarence Mitchell, who left the BBC in 2005 to become director of media monitoring for the government's Central Office of Information. When the government withdrew Mitchell, a non-government PR representative, Justine McGuinness, took over until September 2007, then another PR company, Hanover, was briefly involved. Mitchell resigned his government position that month and returned to Portugal, when a benefactor, Brian Kennedy of Everest Windows, stepped in to cover his salary; this was later paid by Madeleine's Fund. As of 2014 Mitchell was still the McCanns' part-time spokesperson.
Photographs of Madeleine quickly became some of the most reproduced images of the decade. She appeared on the cover of People magazine on 28 May 2007, and on 30 May the McCanns' PR team arranged for the couple and a group of journalists to fly to Rome, in a Learjet belonging to British businessman Sir Philip Green, to meet Pope Benedict XVI. Placing Madeleine on the front page of a newspaper in the UK would sell up to 30,000 extra copies; she was on the front page of several British tabloids every day for almost six months, and became one of Sky News's menu options. The Portuguese tabloid Correio da Manhã published 384 articles about her between May 2007 and July 2008. By June 2008 over seven million posts and 3,700 videos were returned in a search for her name on YouTube.
The PR approach set the tone for poor relations between the McCanns and the Polícia Judiciária, who were deeply suspicious of the way their investigation was being dominated, as they saw it, by British media handlers. One officer said: "The British press ... treats Portugal as a place full of incapable, careless incompetents." The bad feeling reached such a height that the Polícia Judiciária officer who coordinated the investigation from May to October 2007, Chief Inspector Gonçalo Amaral, resigned in June 2008 to write a book alleging that Madeleine had died in an accident in the apartment, and that the McCanns had faked the abduction.
The Polícia Judiciária interviewed several witnesses who described men behaving oddly near apartment 5A in the days leading up to the disappearance. Scotland Yard came to believe that these men may have been engaged in reconnaissance for a pre-planned abduction, or were involved in a burglary gone wrong.
One holidaymaker told the Polícia Judiciária that a bedraggled-looking man had rung her doorbell on 20 April 2007 to say in broken English that he was collecting money for an orphanage in nearby Espiche. She described him as 38–45 years old, with a sallow complexion, lank dark hair, a moustache and large teeth. (According to British journalist Danny Collins, itinerants with poorly typed photo ID claiming to be collecting money for children's charities are a common sight in southern Iberia.)
On Thursday, 3 May – the day of the disappearance – between 15:30 and 17:30, two black-haired men (right) visited apartments close to 5A, again ostensibly collecting for orphanages; one was seen in the McCanns' block at 16:00. A black-haired man was seen a week earlier going up the steps to 5A and speaking to someone on the balcony.
At 8 am on Monday, 30 April, a girl whose grandparents used to own 5A saw a blonde-haired man leaning against a wall on a path behind the apartments, and saw him again on 2 May near the car park by the pool, looking at 5A. She described him as Caucasian, mid-30s, "ugly" with spots, and wearing a black leather jacket and sunglasses (below right, left image). A second witness saw a blonde-haired man on 29 April near the apartments, and saw him again on 2 May across the road from 5A. She remembered him because he made her uneasy: she described him as "ugly," with pitted skin and a large nose. That day or the next a third witness saw a man standing by a wall near the car park next to the pool; he was staring at the McCanns' apartment block, where a white van was parked.
On the day of the disappearance a fourth witness saw a man walk through a gate leading away from the apartments; she noticed him because he tried to close the gate quietly, with both hands, and looked around as he walked away. At 14:30 that day another witness saw two blonde-haired men on the balcony of 5C, an empty apartment two doors from 5A. At 16:00–17:00 a blonde-haired man was seen near 5A, and at 18:00 the same or another blonde-haired man was seen standing in the stairwell of the McCanns' block. At 23:00, an hour after the disappearance was reported, two blonde-haired men were seen in a nearby street speaking in raised voices; when they realized they had been noticed, they lowered their voices and walked away.
The first person to be given arguido (suspect) status, 12 days after the disappearance, was a local British-Portuguese property consultant, Robert Murat; arguido status gives people additional rights, such as the right to remain silent. Murat lived in his mother's home 150 yards from apartment 5A in the direction the man in the Tanner sighting was walking. He was made an arguido after coming to the attention of a British tabloid journalist when he offered to translate statements for the police; indeed, he was briefly signed up as an official interpreter. Murat said his interest in the case stemmed from his having lost custody of his own three-year-old daughter.
Three members of the Tapas Seven said they had seen Murat near the resort on the evening Madeleine disappeared, which would have been unsurprising given the proximity of his house to 5A, although he and his mother said he had been at home all evening. The house was searched, the pool drained, his cars, computers, phones and video tapes examined, his garden searched using ground radar and sniffer dogs, and two of his associates were questioned. There was nothing to link him to the disappearance and he was cleared on 21 July 2008 when the case closed.
As with the McCanns, Murat found himself at the centre of wild media allegations that continued for months. He told the Cambridge Union in March 2009 that he had felt like a "fox pursued by hounds," and that the case had almost destroyed his life. He and his two associates sued 11 newspapers for libel in relation to 100 articles published by Associated Newspapers, Northern & Shell (Express group), Mirror Group Newspapers and News Group Newspapers (News International). According to The Observer, it was the largest number of separate libel actions brought in the UK by the same person in relation to one issue. Murat was awarded £600,000 in July 2008 and the others $100,000; all three received public apologies. The British Sky Broadcasting Group, which owns Sky News, paid Murat undisclosed damages in a separate libel action in November 2008, and agreed that Sky News should host an apology to him on its website for 12 months.
An early indication for the McCanns that the tide was turning against them publicly came on 6 June 2007, when a German journalist asked them during a press conference in Berlin – where they were publicizing their campaign – whether they were involved in Madeleine's disappearance. On 30 June the first of a series of articles critical of the couple appeared in Sol, a Portuguese weekly. According to Madeleine's mother, the reporters had been given the Tapas Seven's names, which had not been made public, and their mobile numbers, so there appeared to have been a leak from within the investigation.
This and later articles in the Portuguese press – invariably followed up by the British tabloids – made several allegations, based on no evidence, that would engulf the McCanns for years on social media, including that they and the Tapas Seven were "swingers," that there was a "pact of silence" between them regarding what happened the night of the disappearance, and that the McCanns had been sedating their children.
Much was made of apparent inconsistencies within and between the McCanns' and Tapas Seven's statements. That these were attributable to translation problems was apparently not fully considered. The interviews were not taped, but relied on an officer's handwritten notes. The police asked questions in Portuguese, the interviewee replied in English, and an interpreter translated back and forth. The officer then typed up a statement in Portuguese, which was verbally translated into English for the interviewee to sign. The likelihood that misunderstandings would emerge was high.
Among the inconsistencies was whether the McCanns had entered the apartment by the front or back door when checking on the children. According to the Polícia Judiciária case file, Gerry McCann told them during his first interview on 4 May 2007 that they had entered 5A through the locked front door during his 21:05 and her 22:00 checks, and in a second interview on 10 May that he had entered through the unlocked patio doors at the back. There was also an inconsistency regarding whether the front door had been locked that night. He told the Sunday Times that the couple had used the front door during their checks earlier in the week, but it was next to the children's bedroom so they had started using the patio doors instead.
|Madeleine's bedroom window, showing the exterior shutter|
Another issue was whether the exterior shutter over Madeleine's bedroom window could be opened from outside. Kate McCann said that the shutter and window were closed when Madeleine was put to bed, and that both were open when she discovered Madeleine was missing. Her husband told the Polícia Judiciária that, when he was first alerted to the disappearance, he had lowered the shutter, then had gone outside and discovered that it could be raised from the outside. Against this, the police said that the shutter could not be raised from the outside without being forced, but there was no sign of forced entry. According to Danny Collins, the shutter was made of non-ferrous metal slats linked together on a roller blind that was housed in a box at the top of the inside window, controlled by pulling on a strap. He writes that the shutter was gravity-fed; once rolled down, the slats locked in place outside the window and could only be raised using the strap on the inside.
The discrepancy contributed to the view of the Polícia Judiciária that there had been no abduction. Even Kate's shout of "they've taken her," when she discovered Madeleine had gone, was viewed by the police with suspicion, as though she was paving the way for an abduction story. The suspicions developed into the theory that Madeleine had died in the apartment as a result of an accident – perhaps after being accidentally administered an overdose of sedatives – and that her parents had managed to hide her body for a month, before retrieving her and driving her to an unknown place in a car they hired over three weeks after the disappearance.
In July 2007 Mark Harrison, the national search adviser to the British National Policing Improvement Agency arrived in Praia da Luz to help with the ground search, and recommended bringing in Keela and Eddie, two Springer spaniel sniffer dogs from South Yorkshire in the UK. Keela was a crime-scene-investigation (CSI) dog trained to alert her handler, Martin Grime, to traces of human blood. Eddie was an enhanced-victim-recovery dog (EVRD), who alerted to the scent of human cadavers.
The dogs were taken to two beaches, Robert Murat's house and several Ocean Club apartments. Both dogs gave alerts only in apartment 5A, including behind the sofa in the living room, and on and under the veranda in the bedroom Madeleine's parents had used. On 2 August the Polícia Judiciária took several items from the new house the McCanns had rented on Rua das Flores, including four boxes and two suitcases of clothes, and Madeleine's Cuddle Cat; they told the McCanns only that an anomaly had arisen. They also took items related to the post-disappearance period: a diary that Madeleine's mother had started after the disappearance and a friend's Bible she had borrowed, also after the disappearance. A passage the Bible's owner had marked from 2 Samuel, about the death of a child, became another item of interest, and was copied into the police case file along with a Portuguese translation.
On 6 August they took the Renault Scenic the couple had hired 24 days after Madeleine went missing. Keela and Eddie were placed in a room with the clothes and other items, and taken to an underground public car park where the McCanns' car was parked alongside others, including Robert Murat's. Eddie, the cadaver dog, gave an alert outside the McCanns' car and inside the boot (trunk). One or both dogs gave alerts at Cuddle Cat, Kate McCann's clothes and the Bible. According to the Sunday Times, it seems apparent from a video released by the Ministério Público that the handler was directing the dogs to particular spots inside the apartment and to the McCanns' car. The McCanns' lawyer said that, if there was indeed a smell of corpses on Kate's clothes, it might have been caused by her contact with the deceased as a family doctor.
Material, including hair and other fibres, was collected from the areas in the apartment and car that Keela and Eddie had reacted to, and was sent to the Forensic Science Service (FSS) in Birmingham for DNA profiling, arriving around 8 August 2007. The FSS used a technique known as low copy number (LCN) DNA analysis, which they had developed in 1999. LCN DNA is used when only a few cells are available; the test is controversial because it is more sensitive than other techniques, and more vulnerable to contamination and misinterpretation.
On 3 September John Lowe of the FSS emailed Detective Superintendent Stuart Prior of the Leicestershire police – Prior was acting as a liaison between the British and Portuguese police – to say that a sample from the boot of the car contained 15 out of 19 of Madeleine's DNA components. Lowe wrote that the result was "too complex for meaningful interpretation":
A complex LCN [low copy number] DNA result which appeared to have originated from at least three people was obtained from cellular material recovered from the luggage compartment section ... Within the DNA profile of Madeleine McCann there are 20 DNA components represented by 19 peaks on a chart. ... Of these 19 components 15 are present within the result from this item; there are 37 components in total. There are 37 components because there are at least 3 contributors; but there could be up to five contributors. In my opinion therefore this result is too complex for meaningful interpretation/inclusion.
At this point, according to the Sunday Times, the Polícia Judiciária "abandoned the abduction theory." The FSS email was translated into Portuguese on 4 September. The next day, according to Madeleine's mother, the Polícia Judiciária proposed that, if she were to admit that Madeleine had died in an accident in the apartment and she had hidden the body, she might only serve a two-year sentence; her husband would not be charged and would be free to leave. Both parents were given arguido status on 7 September. They were interviewed that day and were advised by their lawyer not to answer questions; Gerry decided to answer them but Kate declined.
Journalists in Portugal were told that the DNA evidence was a "100 percent match." The Polícia Judiciária told Gerry that Madeleine's DNA had been found in the boot (trunk) of the car and behind the sofa in the apartment. British tabloid headlines included "Corpse in McCann Car" (London Evening Standard) and "Brit Lab Bombshell: Car DNA is 100% Maddie's" (Sun), while another reported that "a clump of Maddie's hair" had been found in the car. Jerry Lawton, a reporter with the Daily Star, a British tabloid, told the Leveson Inquiry in March 2012 that the leaks had come directly from the Portuguese police, and caused a "sea change" in the way the case was viewed by the media. Matt Baggott, who when Madeleine disappeared was chief constable of Leicestershire police – the police force that coordinated the British input – told the inquiry that he and his officers knew that the DNA evidence was being wrongly interpreted, but because the Portuguese were in charge of the inquiry, he made a decision not to correct reporters who were being briefed that the McCanns were involved. His force's priority, he said, was to maintain a good relationship with the Polícia Judiciária with a view to finding out what had happened to Madeleine.
Despite their arguido status, the McCanns were allowed to leave Portugal and arrived back in England on 9 September 2007. The following day Tavares de Almeida, head of the Polícia Judiciária in Portimao, signed a police report concluding that Madeleine had died in apartment 5A as a result of an accident, and that the McCanns had concealed the body and faked an abduction. On 11 September the 10-volume case file was passed to a judge, Pedro Miguel dos Anjos Frias, who authorized the seizure of Madeleine's mother's diary and her father's laptop. The McCanns had taken both items back to England, although the police had retained a copy of the diary.
On 24 September Control Risks, a British security company, took hair samples from the McCann twins at their parents' request. (An anonymous donor paid for Control Risks' services.) The McCanns were concerned that the abductor might have given the children sedatives; the twins had slept through the commotion in apartment 5A after Madeleine was reported missing, which had concerned the parents, but despite requests the Portuguese police had not taken samples. Control Risks took a sample from Kate McCann too, to rebut allegations that she was on medication of any kind. No trace of drugs was found.
In October Gonçalo Amaral, the inquiry's coordinator in Portugal, was removed from his post after telling a newspaper that the British police only pursued leads that were helpful to the McCanns. He was replaced by Paulo Rebelo, deputy national director of the Polícia Judiciária. The team of detectives was expanded and a case review began. On 29 November four members of the Portuguese investigation – including Francisco Corte-Real, vice-president of Portugal's forensic crime service – were briefed at Leicestershire police headquarters by the Forensic Science Service.
The Polícia Judiciária also investigated links to known paedophiles. One man who came to their attention in 2007 was Urs Hans von Aesch (11 November 1940 – 31 July 2007), a Swiss man living at the time of Madeleine's disappearance in Benimantell, near Benidorm, Spain. He was implicated in the abduction and murder in Switzerland on 31 July 2007 – three months after Madeleine went missing – of five-year-old Ylenia Lenhard. The day after Ylenia disappeared, Von Aesch was found dead from a gunshot wound in a wood in Oberbüren, St. Gallen, apparently a suicide, 15 miles (24 km) from where she was last seen. He is believed to have killed himself hours after she was taken. In July 2013 police in St. Gallen confirmed that Scotland Yard had made inquiries there about von Aesch.
The Tapas Seven were interviewed by Leicestershire police in England in April 2008, with the Polícia Judiciária, including Paulo Rebelo, in attendance. The Polícia Judiciária planned the following month to hold a reconstruction in Praia da Luz, using the McCanns and Tapas Seven rather than actors, but it was cancelled when the Tapas Seven declined to participate. The poor relationship between the McCanns and the Portuguese police was evident again in April when, on the day the couple were at the European Parliament in Brussels to promote a monitoring system for missing children, transcripts of their interviews with the Polícia Judiciária were leaked to Spanish television. The national director of the Polícia Judiciária, Alípio Ribeiro, resigned not long after this, citing media pressure from the investigation; he had publicly said the police had been hasty in naming the McCanns as suspects.
A judgment from the Evora Supreme Court of Justice in Portimao was released on 29 May and revealed that Portuguese prosecutors were examining several charges, including abandonment of a child, abduction, homicide and concealment of a corpse. Two months later, on 21 July 2008, the Portuguese Attorney General announced that there was no evidence to link the McCanns or Robert Murat to the disappearance, that the case was closed, and that the arguido status of all three had been lifted. On 4 August Ministério Público released 11,233 pages of the case file to the media on CD-ROM.
Days after the case closed, excerpts from Kate McCann's diary, which had been taken by thePolícia Judiciária in August 2007 for the sniffer dogs, were published without her permission by a Portuguese tabloid, Correio da Manhã, translated from English to Portuguese. This happened despite a Portuguese judge's ruling in June 2008 that the seizure had been a privacy violation and that any copies must be destroyed. On 14 September one of the News International tabloids in the UK, the News of the World, also published the extracts, again without permission and now translated poorly back into English.
Three days after the case closed in July 2008, a book by Gonçalo Amaral, coordinator of the Portuguese investigation from May to October 2007, was published by Guerra & Paz in Portugal and elsewhere in Europe. Maddie, a Verdade da Mentira ("Maddie, the Truth of a Lie"), which had sold 180,000 copies by November 2008, alleged that Madeleine had died accidentally in apartment 5A and that the McCanns had invented the abduction scenario.
Amaral was head of the regional Polícia Judiciária in Portimão at the time of the disappearance, and was himself an arguido in another case he had coordinated. A month after Madeleine went missing he and four other officers were charged with offences related to their investigation into the disappearance of Joana Cipriano, an eight-year-old Portuguese girl who vanished in September 2004 from Figueira, seven miles (11 km) from Praia da Luz. Her body was never found and no murder weapon was ever identified. The girl's mother, Leonor Cipriano, launched a local campaign to find her daughter, but was soon arrested and accused of having killed her. The mother and her brother, João Cipriano, were convicted of murder after confessing to the killing. The mother tried to retract her confession, saying she had been beaten by police; the police accounted for bruising on her face and body by saying she had thrown herself down some stairs in the police station. Amaral was not present when the beating allegedly took place, but was accused of having covered up for others. He was convicted of perjury in May 2009 for having falsified documents in the case and received an 18-month suspended sentence.
The McCanns had little or no contact with Amaral during the Madeleine inquiry; Madeleine's mother wrote that she had barely heard his name, had not met him, and that her husband had met him just once. After telling a Portuguese newspaper, Diário de Notícias, in October 2007 that the British police were only pursuing leads helpful to the McCanns, Amaral was removed from the case and transferred to another position in Faro. He resigned from the police force in June 2008, shortly before his book was published.
The McCanns sued for libel in June 2009, and in September that year a Portuguese judge issued an injunction against further publication or sales of the book, banned Amaral from repeating his claims, and passed the copyright of the book and an accompanying documentary film to the McCanns' lawyer. Amaral responded to the ban by publishing a second book, A Mordaça Inglesa ("The English Gag"). The Court of Appeal in Lisbon overturned the publication ban in October 2010, stating that it violated Amaral's freedom of expression. The libel case continued, with the McCanns seeking €1.2 million in damages from Amaral, his publishers Guerra & Paz, filmmakers VC Filmes, and TVI, a Portuguese television station that aired the film in April 2009. The McCanns sought but failed to reach an out-of-court settlement in January 2013. Amaral then sought unsuccessfully to have the trial held in camera. The trial opened in September 2013 in Lisbon, and is ongoing as of January 2014.
On 16 May 2007 the family set up a limited company to finance the search, Madeleine's Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned, known in the media as "Team McCann." Appeals were solicited from public figures, including footballers Cristiano Ronaldo and David Beckham, and for months video appeals were screened at football matches across Britain. Over £2.6 million was raised, with donations from J.K. Rowling and Richard Branson, and a reward of £1.5 million from the News of the World. The Fund was criticized for making two of the McCanns' mortgage payments early on when they were unable to work.
Madeleine's Fund hired several firms of private investigators. Shortly after the disappearance, an anonymous benefactor offered to pay for the services of a British security company, Control Risks, which arrived in Portugal at the end of May 2007. As with the media attention, the arrival of private detectives caused friction with the Portuguese police. Kennedy also hired a Spanish agency, Método 3, for six months for £50,000 a month; the company had 35 investigators on the case in Europe and Morocco, and Kennedy went to Morocco himself to look into one sighting. According to Mark Hollingsworth in the London Evening Standard, the investigators had little or no experience of detective work, they were too aggressive with witnesses, the relationship between Metodo 3 and the Portuguese police was poor, and the active involvement of Kennedy and his son was apparently not helpful.
Other private initiatives included a Portuguese lawyer financing the search of a reservoir near Praia da Luz in February 2008, and an attempt in May 2009, by private detectives working for the McCanns, to question British paedophile Raymond Hewlett; he denied involvement, declined to speak to them and died of cancer in Germany in December that year. Dave Edgar, a retired detective working for the McCanns, released an e-fit in August 2009 of a woman said to have asked two British men in Barcelona, Spain, shortly after the disappearance, whether they were there to deliver her new daughter. A South African property developer, Stephen Birch, said in 2012 that ground radar scans showed there were bones beneath the driveway of a house in Praia da Luz. In addition, there were thousands of reported sightings of Madeleine that the McCanns and their detectives were anxious to follow up.
In March 2008 Madeleine's Fund hired Oakley International, a Washington, D.C.-registered detective agency, for over £500,000 for six months. The contract was signed with Red Defence International, a security company in London. Oakley and Red Defence were owned by Kevin Halligen, an Irish businessman who was arrested in the UK in November 2009 in connection with an unrelated fraud allegation. It was Oakley International that produced the e-fits of the Smith sighting of the man carrying a child toward the beach on the night of the disappearance. The e-fits were not made public until five years later, when Scotland Yard released them to coincide with an October 2013 reconstruction of the disappearance broadcast by the BBC's Crimewatch. The delay in releasing them led to significant criticism of the McCanns, and was apparently caused by a breakdown in the couple's relationship with Oakley.
Oakley sent a five-man team to Portugal in 2008, where they engaged in undercover operations within the Ocean Club and among paedophile rings and Roma communities. The company's surveillance operations were led by Henri Exton, a former British police officer who had worked undercover for M15, Britain's domestic intelligence service. Exton questioned the significance of the Tanner sighting of a man carrying a child at 21:15 near the Ocean Club, and focused instead on the sighting at 22:00 by Martin and Mary Smith, 500 yards (457 m) from apartment 5A.
The Oakley team travelled to Ireland and produced e-fits based on the Smiths' description. This was a sensitive issue, because in September 2007 – four months after the disappearance – Martin Smith had watched television footage of the McCanns arriving back in the UK from Portugal, and as Madeleine's father descended the steps of the aircraft carrying one of the twins, Smith believed he recognized him as the man he had seen with the child at 22:00 on the streets of Praia da Luz. This was demonstrably false – something that Smith came to accept – because at 22:00 numerous witnesses placed Gerry McCann in the tapas restaurant. Nevertheless, at the time of the Oakley investigation in 2008, the publication of the Smith e-fit, which bears some resemblance to Gerry, would have fed the conspiracy theories about the McCanns' involvement.
Exton submitted his report to Madeleine's Fund in November 2008, recommending the release of the e-fits and the revised timeline, but the relationship between the Fund and the company had soured, and the Fund's lawyers warned Exton that the report and its e-fits had to remain confidential. According to Hollingsworth, the disagreement centred on the company's fees and expenses. Another reason the relationship was strained was that the report contained criticism of the McCanns and their friends, as well as what the Sunday Times in the UK called "sensitive information about Madeleine's sleeping patterns." It also raised the possibility that Madeleine had died in an accident after leaving the apartment herself through its unlocked doors.
The Fund passed the Smith e-fits to the Portuguese and Leicestershire police – according to the Sunday Times the police had received them by October 2009 – but did not release them to the public. A spokesperson told the Sunday Times that the Oakley report had been "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." Instead the Fund focused on the Tanner sighting, even though Tanner had not seen the man's face. Kate McCann did not include the Smith e-fits with the other images of suspects in her book, Madeleine (2011), even though she suggested that both the Tanner and Smith sightings were crucial.
The Fund gave the Oakley report to the next team of investigators it hired, but the new team regarded it as "contaminated" because of the dispute between the McCanns and Oakley, and the e-fits remained unpublished. When Scotland Yard became involved in 2011, they came to regard the Tanner sighting as a false lead. They obtained a copy of the Oakley report in August 2011 and released the Smith e-fits in October 2013 to coincide with the Crimewatch reconstruction. The BBC did not say that the e-fits were new, but until the Sunday Times published the background two weeks after Crimewatch aired, there was no indication that Madeleine's Fund had had them for five years. David Elstein, chair of the board of openDemocracy, criticized the McCanns for having withheld the images and the BBC for having misled the public.
The McCanns' campaign to find Madeleine turned a harsh spotlight on their lives, one that became increasingly intrusive as familiarity bred contempt. Nicola Rehling wrote that the disappearance had all the ingredients the media could latch onto: a whodunnit involving a white, middle-class family caught up in a nightmare of evil abroad. While the News of the World offered a £1.5 million reward for Madeleine, another News International tabloid, The Sun, offered just £20,000 for information about Shannon Matthews, who had gone missing in February 2008 from a West Yorkshire council estate and whose mother had seven children by five men.
A few weeks after the disappearance, the couple's middle-class status, at first protective, became a weapon against them, and they were transformed from heroes to villains. They were harshly criticized for having left their children alone in the apartment despite the availability of Ocean Club babysitters and an evening crèche. Seventeen thousand people signed an online petition in June 2007 asking Leicestershire Social Services to investigate; the argument ran that a working-class couple might have faced child-abandonment charges, but a group of doctors on a posh holiday had been let off the hook. Novelist Anne Enright wrote that parents distancing themselves from the McCanns became a "potent form of magic," one that kept their own children safe.
|Front page headlines in the Daily Express, a British tabloid, between 31 July and 24 August 2007.|
The McCanns testified in November 2011 as core participants before the Leveson Inquiry into press standards in the UK. The inquiry heard that the editor of the Daily Express, in particular, had become "obsessed" with the McCanns; Lord Justice Leveson said the newspaper had published "complete piffle" about the couple, while Roy Greenslade called the Express articles "a sustained campaign of vitriol." The British tabloids regularly cited Portuguese newspapers, which in turn referred to unnamed sources. "Maddie 'Sold' By Hard-Up McCanns," ran one headline in the Daily Star.
Kate McCann – or "Hot Lips Healy," as one tabloid called her after digging up an old university nickname – came in for particular attention, considered too attractive, too thin, too well-dressed, too intense, too controlled and not mumsy enough, according to media analyst Caroline Bainbridge. Several tabloids criticized her for not crying in public, despite her obvious distress; the Portuguese tabloid Correio da Manhã complained that she had not "shed a single tear" and called her "cynical and strange," at the same time relying on Portuguese police sources to portray her as hysterical and out of control. Kate told the Leveson Inquiry that photographers would lurk near the couple's home and bang on her car as she left with the twins to obtain a startled expression for a photograph.
Kate's situation reflected that of Lindy Chamberlain, mother of Azaria Chamberlain, the baby who was killed by a dingo in Australia in 1980. Lindy spent three years in prison for a murder that had not occurred after the public judged her too unemotional in her responses; there was even a similar (false) story in both cases about a supposedly relevant Bible passage the mothers had highlighted. Goc wrote that Kate joined a long list of women the media sought to transform into Medea figures – mothers judged dangerous after the disappearance or death of a child – including Chamberlain, Sally Clark (1964–2007), Trupti Patel, Angela Cannings and Donna Anthony.
Rehling saw the treatment of Madeleine's disappearance as paradigmatic because of the extent to which social media shaped the narrative. Twitter was one year old when she went missing. According to Eilis O'Hanlon, the case "could almost stand as a metaphor for the rise of social media as the predominant mode of public discourse" with its "poisonous fantasies" about the McCanns. The attacks on the couple reportedly included threats on a discussion forum to kidnap one of their twins, and when Scotland Yard and Crimewatch staged their reconstruction in 2013, there was talk on social-networking sites of phoning in with false information to sabotage the appeal.
The McCanns responded to the allegations of involvement by bringing libel actions against several newspapers. The Daily Express, Daily Star and its sister Sunday papers published front-page apologies in March 2008 and agreed to pay £550,000 in damages, money that was donated to Madeleine's Fund. The Tapas Seven were awarded £375,000 against the Express Group, also donated to Madeleine's Fund, along with a published apology in the Daily Express. One man in the UK, who continued to spread the claims on social media and leafleted the McCanns' village, was given a three-month suspended sentence in February 2013.
At the request of Alan Johnson, British Home Secretary from June 2009 to May 2010, the Home Office began discussions with the Association of Chief Police Officers in early 2010 about setting up a new investigation. In May 2011, under Home Secretary Theresa May, Scotland Yard launched an investigative review called Operation Grange, consisting of a team of 29 detectives and eight civilians led by Commander Simon Foy. Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood of Scotland Yard's Homicide and Serious Crime Command is the senior investigating officer, reporting to Detective Chief Superintendent Hamish Campbell.
The review, which had cost £4.7m by August 2013, was financed by a government contingency fund at the request of Prime Minister David Cameron, reportedly after News International persuaded the government to get the British police involved. DCI Redwood said he rejected the "conspiracy theories" about the parents and was focusing on "a criminal act by a stranger." The team began the work of translating tens of thousands of documents from the Portuguese inquiry, and in April 2012 released an updated age-progressed image of Madeleine. Redwood said they believed she may still be alive.
In July 2013 the British Crown Prosecution Service sent a formal request for assistance to Portugal, and DCI Redwood announced that Operation Grange had become a criminal inquiry. British detectives said they wanted to trace 12 manual workers who were at the Ocean Club resort when Madeleine disappeared, including six British cleaners in a white van who were offering their services to British expats. Officers also made inquiries about two convicted paedophiles in jail in Scotland since 2010 for murder; the men were running a window-cleaning service in the Canary Islands when Madeleine went missing, and one of them was said to resemble one of the e-fits released by Scotland Yard. Urs Hans von Aesch, a deceased Swiss man implicated in the murder in July 2007 of five-year-old Ylenia Lenhard, was also a focus of the inquiry.
In October 2013 Scotland Yard and the BBC's Crimewatch broadcast a reconstruction of the disappearance, in a programme shown in the UK, the Netherlands and Germany. They released several e-fits, including the Oakley International e-fit of the man the Smiths saw that night, as well as e-fits of black- and blonde-haired men seen near the McCanns' apartment on and around the day of the disappearance. One theory is that Madeleine disturbed a burglary. There had been a fourfold increase in burglaries in the area between January 2007 and the disappearance in May, including two incidents in the McCanns' block in the three weeks before the disappearance, during which intruders entered through apartment windows.
Days after Crimewatch aired, Portugal's attorney general reopened the Portuguese investigation, citing new evidence. According to the Portuguese tabloid Correio da Manhã, the new evidence was based on mobile-phone tracking techniques, which reportedly showed that a former Ocean Club restaurant worker's phone had been used near the resort on the evening of the disappearance. Originally from Cape Verde, West Africa, the man died in 2009 in a tractor accident after being fired from the Ocean Club in 2006 for theft; the suspicion is that he was breaking into apartments to finance a drug habit. In January 2014 the British Crown Prosecution Service sent a second request for assistance to Portugal, and British officers met the Polícia Judiciária there. The request followed an analysis of mobile phone data, which reportedly showed that three people connected to burglaries in the area had made a high number of calls to each other around the time of the disappearance.
|Burgundy top worn by a man police want to trace|
Scotland Yard issued another appeal in March 2014 for information about a male intruder who had entered mostly holiday homes, occupied by British families, in 12 incidents in the Western Algarve, two in Praia da Luz, between 2004 and 2010. On four occasions he sexually assaulted five white girls, aged 7–10, in their beds. He spoke English with a foreign accent, his speech was slow and perhaps slurred, and he had short, dark unkempt hair, tanned skin, and in the view of three victims a distinctive smell. On two occasions he wore a long-sleeved, burgundy top, perhaps with a white circle on the back.
Kate McCann wrote about these incidents in her book, Madeleine, in 2011; she alleged that the Portuguese police had not investigated them thoroughly and that they came to light in connection with Madeleine's disappearance only because the parents of the children repeated the information to police in the UK. The day after the appeal, Portuguese police told reporters that the intruder was believed to be the Ocean Club ex-employee from Cape Verde who died in the tractor accident in 2009. There seemed to be disagreement between the police forces as to whether the man was black or, as Scotland Yard said, had "dark (as in tanned) skin".
"Then the blood dog was called in and directed to the area where the other dog had alerted. Eventually this dog alerted in the same place – behind the sofa in the lounge, which is where the trace of blood was supposedly found.
"The cars were lined up, not in a controlled environment, but in the underground public car park opposite Portimao police station. Again the dog was led quickly from one car to the next until he reached a Renault with 'Find Madeleine' stickers all over it. The dog sniffed and moved on to the next car, but was called back. The dog was taken around the McCanns' car for about a minute, as opposed to the few seconds devoted to the other cars. Then the dog went rigid, an 'alert', and the doors and the boot were opened. It was this that led to the recovery of some body fluids that the PJ suspected would contain traces of Madeleine's DNA, and which led to the supposed revelation that her body must have been carried in the car."
"It's a huge hazard to a police inquiry to have an erroneous fact about an investigation out in the public domain. Because all of a sudden, when you're relying on public appeals, people are being swayed by something that is completely wrong. ...
"I don't understand why Leicestershire police, on this occasion, didn't – even if it was unreportable – give the guidance that this is not right, this is not how we've interpreted those test results, the leak is wrong. The leak was very specific. ... Portuguese reporters were shown extracts of police files, hence the detail in some the leaks ...
"It was wrong, or it was misinterpreted, entirely innocently, presumably by the Portuguese police, trying their best to solve a difficult case. Leicestershire are in a difficult position, as you've described, because they're a force in a different country handling – it isn't their jurisdiction, but when you realise, and you can see the steamrolling effect that that fact is having, particularly on the McCanns, Gerry and Kate, I just wondered why Leicestershire police chose not to correct.
"... Every time you rang Leicestershire police on that inquiry – and it was a lot, from every media organisation – you were told: "It's a Portuguese police inquiry. You'll have to contact the Portuguese police."
"It was, the attorney general found, largely due to a catastrophic misinterpretation of the evidence collected by these officers that the Portuguese team came to suspect the McCanns in the disappearance. A blinkered investigation, prejudicial police leaks and a rash of misjudged headlines followed.
"Last month, Matt Baggott, at the time chief constable of Leicestershire, admitted to the Leveson inquiry that he had known the Portuguese officers, then heavily briefing reporters that the McCanns were guilty, were wrong on crucial DNA evidence.
"He could have corrected reporters' errors, even behind the scenes, he admitted, but had judged it better not to."
"Baggott said there were both legal and professional reasons for this. Portuguese secrecy laws made it 'utterly wrong to have somehow, in an off-the-record way, have breached what was a very clear legal requirement upon the Portuguese themselves', he told Lord Justice Leveson.
"He also said the Leicestershire force's priority was to maintain a positive relationship with the Portuguese police, with a view to 'eventually ... resolving what happened to that poor child'."
Another strand of the inquiry is a burglary gone wrong:
Redwood: "We have noticed that there was between January and the time Madeleine went missing a fourfold increase in the number of burglaries that were taking place in the vicinity." Reporter: "In the three weeks prior to her disappearance, two incidents took place in the very block where Madeleine slept. In both, windows were used to gain access." Redwood: "Possibly there is a scenario where Madeleine could have possibly disturbed somebody trying to commit a burglary." Reporter: "To date, nobody has been caught for these crimes."