Sunday

Revealed: Mystery benefactor funding Madeleine's parents is a millionaire double-glazing magnate

The mystery benefactor behind Kate and Gerry McCann's fight back is a double-glazing magnate with a £250million fortune.

Brian Kennedy, who made his money from Everest windows, has pledged to meet all the growing costs of 'Team McCann', the nickname given to the array of legal and media advisers supporting the family.

A senior source close to Mr and Mrs McCann said Mr Kennedy, 47, decided to act after being moved by the plight of the missing girl's parents when they were made formal suspects in her disappearance.

Mr Kennedy is believed to have had no previous contact with the McCanns.

He made his offer shortly after it was made clear the McCanns would not be drawing on the £1million donated to the Find Madeleine Fund to pay for legal fees and media advice.

Read article here

The 3 Arguido's discussion "Double Glazing to Double Dealing" here

Monday

Vernon Coleman: Are Madeleine McCann's Parents Guilty Of Neglect? (And Is This Really The Biggest News Story In Britain?)

Thousands of people go missing every year but the media doesn't usually bother.

However, the disappearance of a three-year-old British girl from her parents' holiday accommodation in Portugal has become a massive news story.

I suspect that the media has persuaded us that the Drs McCanns deserve our sympathy because they are nice middle class parents and Madeleine is a pretty photogenic child. The fact that there are lots of pictures available helps.

Family and friends have used a compliant media to build the story into a variety of mass hysteria matching that which followed Diana's death.

The disappearance of Madeleine McCann has been considered such a good story that British television has consistently led with it as the main news item for weeks. Most newspapers have kept the story on their front page.

But has this really been the most important news story? For example, on May 17th, one of days that the two week old story of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann was considered the most important news item in Britain, here are some of the news stories that were considered less important:

* Gordon Brown was officially announced as Britain's next Prime Minister

* The World Bank met to consider whether or not to get rid of its President Paul Wolfowitz

* The Government announced that it would close a fifth of all Post Offices in the country. (A total of 2,500 villages and communities deprived of their link with the outside world.)

* The Israelis launched air strikes on Palestinians in Gaza

* The British Army and the Government decided that Prince Harry would not serve in Iraq because it was too dangerous for a member of the Royal Family to fight there. (Despite this, Harry decided that he would stay in the army though it was not made clear precisely what he would do.)

* War criminals Tony Blair and George Bush met in the USA to defend their war record. Blair described Bush as a great leader.

* British soldiers continued to fight wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (though without members of the Royal family).


***


When three-year-old Madeleine McCann disappeared she was alone with her younger siblings in a ground floor holiday apartment rented by her parents. They had gone out to dinner.

Let's get this straight.

The Drs McCann didn't have to rush out in an emergency. They could, presumably, have hired a baby sitter. They chose not to. They chose to leave their three very small children in a flat in a foreign country while they went out to have a good time in a restaurant.

What is going on here?

Why haven't the parents been interviewed by social workers?

Is it now legal for British parents to leave their tiny children alone while they go out for fun?

The McCanns left three children alone. The oldest was three-years-old.

The last time I looked, teenage mothers got into trouble if they popped out to the shops to get a pint of milk and a loaf of bread and left their children alone.

Under British law parents can be charged with neglect or abandonment if they leave their children alone if it is unsafe to do so.

It clearly was unsafe to leave these three small children alone. One of them is now missing.

The McCanns chose to go out to have a good time leaving three small children alone in a flat in a foreign country.

These were not impoverished teenagers who didn't know any better. They are thirty-eight-year-old doctors.

What sort of example were they setting?

What sort of example are media commentators who excuse them setting?

Where are the interfering, busy body social workers when they're really needed?

Most media commentators seem to think that the McCanns did nothing wrong. The arguments seem to be that parents must be able to leave their small children alone in the world and that parents are entitled to lead lives without having their children around them all the time.

Huh?

People who become parents take on enormous responsibilities.

Small children are vulnerable. They fall over. They wake up frightened. They see ghosts in shadows. They fall out of bed. They are vulnerable.

Small children are vulnerable.

But society rewards parents in many ways for their decision. And having children is a choice.

If the Drs McCann wanted to have romantic holidays in the Algarve without having their fun evenings spoilt by children they shouldn't have had any children.

(And they could, remember, have hired a baby sitter.)

They chose to have children. And they chose to take them away to Portugal. And they chose to leave them alone while they went out to dinner.

Personally, I'd arrest the pair of them for child neglect.

Whatever happened to Madeleine they must take a huge amount of responsibility.

Personally, I don't think either of them are responsible enough to work as doctors.

Responsible parents don't leave their children alone in a foreign country.

Being a parent is a 24 hour responsibility.




***


The media and the public seem to regard this pair as victims.

But in my view there is only one victim.

Madeleine is the victim.

Whatever has happened to her is clearly awful.

I feel so, so sorry for her.

But the parents?

Sorry, but I just don't think they deserve our sympathy.

The parents have now taken indefinite leave from their jobs.

(I wonder if they're still getting paid for any NHS work they aren't doing? Just a thought.)

They and their family and friends seem to have become media celebrities. Other celebrities are falling over themselves to get involved.

The parents are alleged to be hiring a professional public relations adviser and two London lawyers. A trust is allegedly being set up to handle the money being raised. Why? What the hell is going on?

Why do they need lawyers and a publicity adviser?

And why do they need a trust?

These aren't impoverished people. They are both doctors.

Their combined annual income is probably the best part of £200,000. Personally, I would not be surprised to see the Drs McCann on Celebrity Big Brother next year.

A cynic might say that at least they won't need to bother getting babysitters for whatever children they might have got left by then.

They could just leave 'em at home alone.

link to article

2nd article by Vernon Coleman "Would you hire the McCann's as babysitters?"

Copyright Vernon Coleman 2007

Madeleine McCann's parents look to US sniffer dog case

By Caroline Gammell in Praia da Luz
Last Updated: 3:02AM BST 17 Sep 2007

[Picture: Gerry and Kate McCann on their way to Sunday Mass for the first time since returning from Portugal]

Kate and Gerry McCann's legal team has contacted American lawyers over a case where key sniffer dog evidence was thrown out of court in the hope that it may help them fight any charges that they were involved in the killing of their daughter.

The couple fear that Portuguese police will rely on the behaviour of cadaver dogs who allegedly detected "the smell of death" on Mrs McCann's clothes.

Detectives in the Algarve are understood to be working on the theory that Mrs McCann accidentally killed four-year-old Madeleine and her husband helped her get rid of the body. The couple have dismissed this as "ludicrous".

The "smell of death" was not only allegedly detected on Mrs McCann's clothes but in the family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz and the Renault Scenic car hired 25 days after Madeleine disappeared, Portuguese sources claimed. A source close to the McCanns' solicitors said the smell on Mrs McCann could be explained by being in contact with corpses while working as a GP.

The couple, from Rothley, Leics, are already preparing their defence in case they are charged with their daughter's death.

Their UK lawyers consulted the legal team of Eugene Zapata, 68, who is accused of murdering his estranged wife Jeanette in 1976.

He was charged with murder last year after dogs indicated that they sniffed human remains in the basement of the former family home in Madison, Wisconsin.

But a judge ruled last month that the evidence was no more reliable than "the flip of a coin" and could not be put before a jury.

"The court papers, giving the legal submissions, are on their way to the McCann team for consideration," said the source close to the McCanns' solicitors.

"At the moment there is no formal allegation against which the McCann team can work.

"But given that we understand the central plank of what the police are alleging involves sniffer dogs, this is important and relevant, and will be raised with the police and brought to the judge's attention."

Senior Portuguese police sources admitted at the weekend that there was "nothing concrete" with which to charge the couple.

article here

Wednesday

Gone Baby Gone delayed due to Madeleine McCann's disappearance

Ben Affleck is apparently considering whether or not to release his film Gone Baby Gone in the UK because of the real life case of the missing, presumed kidnapped, child Madeleine McCann.

Madeleine McCann's parents claim that she was kidnapped from their holiday home while they were having dinner with friends just moments away. Between checks of the house where she was sleeping they claim that she was kidnapped and has never been seen since.

This is similar to the main plot in Ben Affleck's film Gone Baby Gone which he co-adapted and directed, and is why he is considering the delay. Yet should it be held back from UK cinemas because of the real life case?

The story is adapted from a Dennis Lehane novel which tells of the kidnapping of a little girl from her home and how two local private investigators are pulled into the case, turning them against the police and each other and risking their lives for the answers they may not want.

So the core of the story focuses on a kidnapped girl and according to Digital Spy Affleck is considering delaying the film in the UK:

"I'm not up to date on the details and it is not something that has taken off in the United States in the way it has in the UK. It is only when someone said there was this case that was very similar to my film that we looked it up.
We don't want to release the movie if it is going to touch a nerve or inflame anybody's sensitivities."

While I think that the individual case of Madeleine McCann is terrible and very sad, I do find myself wondering about all the other children, and adults, that are kidnapped, beaten, raped, and murdered around the world. Surely every film release hits on someone's sensitivities at any given time.

Should each studio delay the release of each film for each of these cases? I don't think so.

The film is a dramatic work that can be played in cinemas and if people find offence with the subject matter then they can chose not to watch it. It isn't a direct connection or attack on these particular people and this particular case.

In fact, I think that this actually is a commercial matter on the part of the distributors. They can see the potential for either a lack of an audience or an outcry against the film, and either way that hurts ticket sales.

Now I'm not saying that they are blatantly cold hearted, but this is obviously a major factor in deciding to release the film or not.

To the matter in hand of the similarity to this single, well reported case of the kidnapped child, I'm sure we could look at every country of release during the first weekend/week of the film and find similar cases that could upset people's sensitivities - maybe not kidnapping, but cases which could evoke similar feelings - except none are so well reported, if at all.

Now I'm not being cold hearted, I'm looking at the bigger picture, the overall view, and looking past the media headlines. This subject is going to touch a lot of people for reasons perhaps the filmmakers don't want, and not necessarily about the kidnapping of a child, but that's the collision between real life and film sometimes. Especially when film mirrors real life.

There also has to be a consideration of commercial issues behind the film's release because there are people's jobs behind the film, and I don't mean the big players receiving huge returns.

So should they release the film or not? Should films be held back because of one widely reported case of kidnapping and wait until the media turns quiet and perhaps doesn't report another?

Filmstalker
Movie delay supported by Affleck

Sunday

Gerry McCann remains confident there is no evidence to link him and Kate with Madeleine's murder. Murder? I thought you said she'd been abducted?

Madeleine's father Gerry McCann has spoken of his, and his wife Kate's, desperation to get back to the UK for the sake of their twins, Sean and Amelie.

He said: "It's not that we're running away. If there are two people in the world that can't run away it's us.

"The trouble is I don't know how long all this is going to take. It's four months already. Everything is slow. It's just the culture. Kate's not too bad, though. In fact, she's pretty resilient.

"But when we were trying to decide whether to return to Britain that's when this smearing started in the papers. And Kate just thought, 'They want us out!'

Gerry McCann gets into the hire car before setting off for the airport to leave Portugal

"I said, 'Kate, there's no point in staying if it's counter-productive.'

"She realised that was right but the thought of returning home brought back all the emotions of pain almost as bad as the first few days after Maddie vanished.

"That sense of loss and the thought of never seeing her again.

"Kate gets that more than I do. It's still intermittent grief and pain."

Gerry that what they had thought was their "worst nightmare" is now just getting "worse and worse." "It's such a vulnerable position. It's appalling. We've never had to say it until now...but we did not kill our daughter. I never believed it would come to this.

The McCanns deny being involved in their daughter Madeleine's disappearance

"But when the paranoia sinks in, you're under severe pressure and things are going down a certain line, then it does look bad.

"In a system that you don't know and you don't really trust it's incredibly frightening."

Although Gerry remains confident there is no evidence to link him and Kate with Madeleine's "murder", he admitted the latest twist of events had left him with "anxieties".

"I don't need to tell you how things don't stack up," he said.

"I know 100 per cent Kate could NOT have done anything. I know that's true from what I did that night.

"And in terms of what Kate knows about me, I was away from her for just ten minutes."

"As I said, I was away from the table for ten minutes," he said.

"Six minutes of that was spent speaking to another guest I met as I came out from checking on Madeleine.

"All of this can come out. And it doesn't stack up."

Speaking in an interview with the News of the World, Gerry also confessed he is frustrated they are not allowed to use any of the £800,000 Madeleine Fund to pay their mounting legal bills.

"It seems like a disaster that we've got this huge donated fund and now we're not allowed to use it for legal costs because we're under suspicion," said Gerry.

"We'd have to be patient but ultimately we'll have the opportunity to have all of the evidence examined and discover the whole picture about what happened.

"And that's what's sustaining me. At least now we've got a clearer view of what we're up against whereas what we had before was smear and innuendo.

"We know what we have to fight now. The problem is we DO have a fight, but before I wasn't quite sure. "You get paranoid when there's a political shift.

"Because of the amount of pressure there's been on the Policia Judiciaria, and all the criticism, you always wonder how far they'll go.

"Now I've seen what they've got I'm actually clearer in my mind why they've shifted and treated us so differently.

"I'm still concerned with their perception of the evidence, but that's for us to sort out with legal support."

Discussion at The 3 Arguido's here
article here

Saturday

"I have a terrible nagging doubt the McCanns might be involved"




Almost four months have passed since I first began to investigate the harrowing case of a beautiful little girl who appeared to have vanished into thin air, shortly after being tucked up in bed by her parents on holiday in Portugal.

Like a great many people in Britain, and millions more around the world, I have since become fascinated, almost to the point of obsession, with the Madeleine McCann mystery.

I have travelled repeatedly to the Algarve to interview potential witnesses and suspects; retraced the abductor's possible escape routes and explored all manner of theories.

And I end most days by reading the strangely breezy and matter-of-fact web-log kept by Madeleine's surgeon father, Gerry.

My curiosity has been heightened at least partly because those haunting last photographs of a beautiful, carefree child playing in the sunshine resemble so many treasured pictures in my own family album.

As a father of four, I can also identify with the dilemma that apparently confronted Gerry and Kate McCann on that fateful May evening in Praia da Luz. How do you enjoy an evening out with friends on holiday, and keep your toddler safe?

Yet something else has kept me utterly absorbed in Madeleine's case, and it is certainly not the McCanns' moth-to-a-flame courtship of the media (their latest interview, with Paris Match, is due to be published imminently).

Read the article here