Thursday 24 October 2013



We posted "some things are now settled".

Gosh, they don't keep Kate & Gerry in the loop anymore, do they? If I knew it why didn't they and their little helpers? The Interrupted Investigation isn't interrupted anymore, folks. Job done.

See you on the Bureau.

Wednesday 23 October 2013

The Man Who Sold His Soul

Whatever happens in the end Kate & Gerry McCann have unarguably been at the centre of something truly dreadful, perhaps, for we don’t yet know, worse than dreadful.

The face of Kate McCann, either without make-up, as she chose to appear before Leveson, or slathered with it, as on Crimewatch, speaks eloquently of that truth. Their suffering, which has a lot further to go, was not something they consciously chose. They are like a couple struggling in a grey, turbulent sea.

And the same goes for the families of the pair for whom there has been no relief or resolution after six years: their clan loyalty and instinctive distrust of the police which the Bureau has highlighted at times has, given the context, a certain admirable, if troubling, quality about it.

The word evil is used cautiously these days. But I remember watching the dogs’ video for the first time. The almost deserted and brutally lit concrete car park and the line of empty vehicles, at once suggestive of a dozen post-mortem gangland news photos, was lowering enough. But then the strange and almost wordless ritual of a forensically-overalled handler,  his two dogs and their echoing barks as they worked their way through the cars suddenly brought home the reality in a way that the hysterical media stories never had. I was watching a search for the concealed traces of a child’s corpse. A sense of evil is the only way I can describe what I fleetingly experienced, not with regard to the McCanns, but to the transport by somebody of a near-infant out of a night-time apartment and her almost certain death. There were no winners, no happy endings, no soap opera plots here. Just evil.

That anyone not already trapped in this nightmare by blood and kinship would actually choose to invite themselves into it seems hard to conceive. Even those whose work forces them into proximity with violent death – emergency service people and hardened police investigators – find themselves shaken and troubled when the victim is a young child and are not ashamed to admit it.

But among all the various parties who have been drawn into the case one figure stands out clear of all others, clear even of opportunistic criminals like Halligen who was only too happy to get away from the case once he’d made his money. One who has not just involved himself but for six years has actually thrived mightily on it like a repulsive fattened bluebottle supping on dead and rotten meat. That person is Clarence Mitchell.

About whom I’ll have more to say.

The Man Who Sold His Soul - Preface


Some things are now settled

The case is now moving, in jerky steps, towards its climax and it’s time to start looking beyond the next couple of months.

When it emerged in February that the McCanns wanted out of the libel case it was clear that something crucial had occurred and things would never be the same again. Amaral’s book was a lethal challenge: either you fight and refute me or you are tacitly accepting what I claim and the public will slowly but surely accept it.

They had to sue. And to try and settle four years later, whatever the reasons, was tantamount to surrender, to accepting the irrefutability of Amaral’s case. The astonishingly weak Lisbon evidence so far, together with the appeal court judgement, has confirmed that irrefutability. Scotland Yard's official statements  indicate that the central claim – that "the search" was damaged by the actions of others including Mr Amaral – now appears in a very different light: the private "search", it transpires, was  based almost completely on erroneous eye-witness evidence and killing  it off earlier would have been a public service.  The likelihood is that Amaral will now win, either soon or at appeal.

In June we discovered just how far the quite separate track of the Yard investigation had progressed when it emerged that the UK Crown Prosecution Service had been in discussions about the case in Portugal. As the Bureau then wrote, you don’t send senior CPS people to discuss “persons of interest” or possible “suspects”: those are matters for the investigators. UK prosecutors deal with prosecutions. Clearly there was a prosecutable case against someone that was being appraised.

The Bureau said the evidence suggested who those subjects must be. The Yard denied it. We withdrew the claim and closed the Bureau in the light of the denial.

Times change

The days of “keeping the case in the public eye” or “campaigning for the conclusion of the interrupted investigation” are, as far as I'm concerned, over, both because of those 100 000 hits a day on Nigel Moore's database and because of the progress of the investigation.

There is no need to try and convince the public about the McCann case anymore since, after six years, they are now finding out for themselves. And there is no need to keep pointing out the significant evidence since the police themselves are now starting to do so. It is a matter of unimportance whether people agree with this blog and the writer’s views or not: debate has been overtaken by facts.

Looking back, perhaps I and others should have seen the longer-term implications of pointing the finger at the only known subjects of investigation and the CPS so quickly: it did the investigation no good. On reflection it is clear that had the Yard not explicitly denied the Bureau claims then a mad witch-hunt like that of September 2007 might have followed, helping nobody and raising the question of whether a fair trial could ever take place. That’s why we’re happy to accept the statements of Scotland Yard, defer to their expertise and say a little less about certain things than we used to. My apologies to Mr Redwood and his team for the more colourful criticisms.

In the light of events the Bureau is expected to re-open in the relatively near future.


Monday 21 October 2013



fairy story giant

Meanwhile a libel trial rolls on in Lisbon. BBC/Scotland Yard's Crimewatch and the official statement  by Mr Redwood that the "abductor" seen by Jane Tanner is no longer a person of interest, by virtue of being non-existent, haven't protected the parents or harmfully overshadowed the trial at all. On the contrary they have helped enormously to bolster Mr Amaral's case.

First, the evidence  of Mr Flores in court (it'll be in the transcript)  that the McCann version was perceived by the police as a childish  "fairy tale" has been given  further, and probably decisive, strength  now that its key character, the Fairy Tale Abductor Giant, has been slain.

Secondly, the "search". In the literal sense of a physical search for Madeleine – prodding the ground, searching deserted buildings, looking for CCTV evidence, searching, it was, of course,  all over within days, or at most weeks,  of the disappearance and has never been resumed.

Insofar as the word  is being used to describe something quite different and non-literal, an attempt, for instance,  to track down, or find traces of, an abductor, complete with more and more detailed descriptions of  him, the entire effort is now revealed as a complete black-comedy nonsense, a gaffe  on such a scale that the world has still not taken it in.

Quite simply, the pictures which Mr Mitchell and his collaborators  have been showing at media conferences for several years either have no known connection with the child  or, more importantly, are purely imaginary, elaborations of a person we know never existed, the Fairy Giant.


Friendly? Who knows? Big? Very

Some Evidence

Now, the importance of the non-existent abductor to the entire McCann and friends' story, or fairy story. How great is it? At the risk of boring the internet skimmer let's be serious for a moment and attempt to put it in measurable terms. 

The 2007 BBC Panorama programme remains the most complete exposition of the McCann's version of events, with contributions from the parents and Jane Tanner among others. While the programme quoted some doubts about the pair, chiefly Portuguese,  we know from the co-ordinating lawyer Smethurst's comments that it was made expressly to convince the public of  the parents' innocence. As he said, that was why he and his clients  co-operated with the BBC. Good old slutty  Beeb again, always ready to lie on his/her back for a good butch guy with a tale to tell, but never mind.

The transcript of the programme  runs to some 9 000 words. The events between 6.30 and 10 PM on May 3, described by the McCanns and Jane Tanner speaking directly, or having their versions expressed  indirectly by narrator Bilton,  take up just  1450 words, that is about 3/4 pages of a paperback book. The remainder of the programme concerns the investigation and other extraneous matters, not May 3 itself.

What is  simply astonishing is that of these 1450 definitive words from the McCanns on what happened on the most crucial evening of their lives  1000  of them, almost three of the four pages, are not about the McCann's experiences at all but Jane Tanner's abductor! This imaginary figure, swollen now to a rampant giant, has completely taken over the disappearance.  Without the Fairy-Tale Giant the story  shrinks to virtual nothingness, about one padded-out paperback page. The whole McCann  tale of May 3 is of  a meal,  an open window and some raised shutters – plus a  Big Giant. 

Kate McCann's "Madeleine" shows the same pattern, although four years later she is much more careful and this time she initially separates McCann experiences from the Tanner episode. Perhaps that is why her description of everything that happened to her and her husband between 8.30 and 10PM runs to only 750  words, two and a half pages or so out of a 360 page, 275 000 word book. And that is with a great deal of "colour" and padding. Why such a critical night in their lives should be padded out at all is an open question: without it, there is less than two thirds of a page of history, about as much as they devoted to a meal with Clement Freud. 

But that, of course, is without the big, unfriendly Giant. In her over-heated description of the next few days Kate McCann makes up for his initial absence by carefully incorporating  the Jane Tanner sighting in chunks, thus adding it back into the history of May 3 in the same way as Panorama did. It adds one and a half pages to the "narrative" – the Giant, the purely imaginary contribution  is making up over half the entire story of  8.30 to 10PM on May 3!

So much for boring statistics. Anyone  with a serious interest in the case can't ignore them but will they bore the casual reader? Terrify the Tweeter?

Who cares? They're ready for a judge. That's what  matters.

Sunday 20 October 2013

Mr Redwood’s new rules

Less than a week and all terribly changed! Scotland Yard’s new findings have altered the case for ever. Twitter subscribers please note,  Mr Redwood has made the “no evidence of abduction” tweet obsolete.

His investigation means there is a new conclusion: There is evidence of abduction – all of it false.



Dr David Payne & his typed & submitted  false evidence of the abductor



May 4 False evidence to police: That it seemed to him that the shutters of the bedroom window were open without knowing if the window was also open.

May 10 False evidence to police: Consequently, he is convinced that at the time of the second check the shutters were more open than on the first check.

April 2008 Retraction of false evidence to Leicester police: I definitely didn’t see the shutters up, the curtains were definitely not disturbed.

Mathew Oldfield and his false evidence of  abductor intrusion

mitchell again

Clarence Mitchell with false evidence of abduction in left hand

Here’s the updated abduction evidence in full


McCann family – forced apartment door. False, refuted by eyewitness and forensic evidence.

McCann family – damaged shutters. False, refuted by police forensics.

Kate McCann alone – open shutters. Uncorroborated by passers-by or forensics.

Kate McCann alone – open window. Uncorroborated by passers-by. No forensic corroboration.

Jane Tanner – abductor seen moving away from apartment. False/mistaken, sighting eliminated by UK police.

David Payne & others – further description of abductor, in writing. False, claimed abductor eliminated by UK police.

Mathew Oldfield – open shutters. False. Claim withdrawn under Leicester police questioning.

Clarence Mitchell – abductor sighting. “When Gerry had told Clarence about Jane Tanner’s sighting he was astounded that this still hadn’t been made public. We decided we would really push the PJ to release this critical piece of information in the hope of identifying this man and child.” False. Abductor never existed.

The Smith sighting, due to its distance from the apartment, could not be treated as direct abduction evidence in the same way as the Tanner phantom, who was only yards away from the apartment. Just what its status is we will no doubt find out from Scotland Yard.

Quite a list of lies, evasions, inventions and fantasy, isn't it?

The usual prizes for Twitter refutation of any of the above facts.

Without Jane


Well, Scotland Yard’s latest findings make the scenario rather different. Without Jane Tanner's "abductor" who the Yard have stated didn't exist, wouldn't the reporting have had to go something like this?


Sky news reports that a couple in the Algarve say their three year old daughter has "disappeared” from their holiday apartment. They say  they were “not in their apartment” at the moment the child went missing.

Police are searching the area.

Madeleine Latest

A British couple have claimed their three year old child “vanished” from their holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal last Thursday. The mother has told the media how she returned alone from a restaurant to find an intruder had broken into the child’s bedroom and abducted her.

Police are refusing to comment on the claims.


Yesterday her family gave further details of the break-in, adding that the door had been “jemmied open” and the metal shutters damaged by an intruder.

But experts are baffled. There have been no reports of suspicious activity at the time of the disappearance.

And the resort manager, Mr Hill, has called the McCann version into question by saying that there was no evidence of a break-in anywhere in the resort. Both door and shutters, he said, were completely undamaged. No finger prints apart from the mother’s were on the bedroom window.

Police are questioning the couple and their friends in Portimao.


bar wrong

The bar where the parents "drank and argued"

According to neighbours the child had been heard crying for a lengthy period one or two nights before the "break in" .

Others now say that the McCanns were "rowing” in a bar late on the night before the disappearance with Dr McCann suddenly leaving on his own. “Kate's eyes were those of a woman scorned”, said a waiter.

Another person in the bar, an attractive fitness instructor, denied that she had caused “family tension” between the couple.

On May 3 Kate McCann  again returned home "without her husband".

Shock evidence in Portuguese disappearance

English holidaymakers have told police Madeleine’s father was seen “hanging around” by the back door of the apartment at about 9.15, just before the child disappeared.

Mr Jeremy Wilcox, an English tourist, saw Dr McCann walking away from the back door in the ill-lit street alongside the apartment block. The gate was hanging open. The pair had a brief conversation before Mr Wilkins, a world-famous documentary maker with a child of his own, left.

Further confusion has arisen from Dr McCann's claims that "he left the back door open" that evening, even though the children were  alone while the parents ate at a nearby restaurant.

Madeleine McCann was not seen again after 9.15 on Thursday.

Conflict of Evidence in Child Disappearance


What Jane Tanner  saw – artists' impression

M/S Jane Tanner, an English tourist, has now come forward to say that she too saw Dr Gerry McCann on the otherwise deserted street behind his holiday apartment.

She said, “I walked past him and Mr Wilkins as I was on my way to my own apartment to deal with my sick child.”

Asked if she’d seen the “jemmied open” shutters up as she passed the front of the apartment, M/S Tanner said, “No. Nobody did.”

Dr McCann is now refusing to comment but a family friend  said, “If she was on that street Gerry would have seen her, like he saw Mr Wilcox. He didn’t. She wasn’t.”

The child’s mother is believed to be under sedation and unable to take part in the latest round of police questioning.

Mr Wilcocks has been eliminated from police inquiries.

Algarve mystery may soon be solved - police.

It is now understood that at the time Kate McCann claims she found their holiday apartment broken into a middle-aged man was seen carrying a child through ill-lit back streets towards the sea edge where a low but turbulent tide was running. Police divers have been operating off the beach for two days now.

Dr Gerry McCann, 40, is from Rothley in Leicestershire

Three witnesses have described the man seen with the child, who they described as “apparently unconscious”. One of them has claimed to recognise him.

A police  source said “we expect to make arrests soon.” Asked about rumours that the man was identified as British doctor on holiday in the area, the police refused to comment.

The international media who flooded into Praia da Luz ten days ago have begun to leave, it was reported today.


Saturday 19 October 2013

Revelation moments


One of the problems for critics of the T9 narrative is Jane Tanner. Why would someone who didn’t know the McCanns well and who, as she told Leicester police, found the mere idea of “swinging” with Garry McCann rather revolting, invent evidence to get a couple out of trouble?

An answer means leaving facts behind and loading presumption on presumption such as Tanner’s personal guilt in a group conspiracy until the small pile of known fact is buried under a dizzying heap of theory.

There have always been some critics, however, who thought that JT did see something.

It’s the something that's crucial; and here we have to go from the facts to a little bit of speculation ourselves. Judged on what we know she is in many ways an engaging and honest person but the general picture she presents, taking in statements, Leicester testimony and media comments, is of someone of a very nervous disposition  with an intermittent distrust of her own perceptions – a human being, in other words, rather than the invented soap opera public characters of people like Gerry and Kate McCann.

Now, given the poor lighting at 9.13 or so and the extreme emotional roller-coaster that the T7 were to undergo isn’t the likelihood that  she did see a figure, probably with a child? How accurately she remembered it is another matter.

Her report of the incident stressed that she didn’t think she’d seen anyone suspicious. She told nobody of it until after the alarm was raised because she’d merely noted someone with a child. Only when the uproar began did she mention its possible relevance and ask openly if she should tell the police about it.

How far she compromised herself over the  weekend by allowing others to flesh out her sighting into something much more definite and substantial – and useful – than the original, how far she gave way to seeing things through others' eyes is as yet unknown but can be established by police inquiry.

Anyone who studies the Leicester interviews and, in particular, the surveillance van incident, sees what  troubled perception she has: at times she seems to be arguing with herself over what she sees. 

When she was asked to take part in the Portuguese van observation episode, again at spooky, ill-lit night time, she became so freaked-out that she thought she was going to be “disappeared"  by strangers! I myself have accused her of being clever in the way she avoided giving a straight answer to LP about the van identification; another interpretation is that she does not always  trust herself to know the truth.

The attempt to pin her as an active conspirator in creating group evidence, however,  requires too much speculation, too many unknowns  – what was her motive? When did she meet others to discuss false evidence that night? Would she have had the nerve? Why didn’t she add more “abductor-like” detail. Just where did the conspirators meet? How many of them?

But on the other reading, everything becomes immeasurably simpler, with suggestive documentary evidence sitting under our noses of how, when and where the false abduction evidence was evolved: we know of the sticker books, the named individuals writing on them (all male), the door fairy-tale, the Oldfield evasions and  the work over the weekend which resulted in the final mendacious timeline printed out under the direction of David Payne. And now we have Mr Redwood’s statement to bring everything together: the fact that the abductor never existed.

That was my (minor) revelatory moment. When a case suddenly starts to look much simpler instead of more complicated, as it has done since Redwood made his statement, then a turning point has been reached. And there only remains one “possible abductor sighting with child” anywhere in the world unexplained.

We shall see.