Monday

NHS doctors Kate and Gerry McCann and the politics of disappearing: A glossary of characters

Reproduced from 'Blackwatch' blog: a mind-boggling glossary of characters connected to the McCann case

In the author's own words:


"Although by no means exhaustive, the following list marks my own attempt to identify the broad range of interest groups and supporters loyal to the McCann lobby. It also offers something of a glossary on topics and issues discussed on the site so far. The list does not include figures like Brian Kennedy or Robert Murat, enough of whom has already been made of elsewhere. The input of Tony Blair, who was the first to dispatch Mitchell and Dodd in May 2007, and Brown, who recalled the pair in July 2007, also goes unchecked. Whilst their influence can pretty well be assumed, it is not exactly clear what part they played or the scope of their contributions.

Again, I must reiterate, this site offers no explanation for Madeleine's disappearence, only for the fierce press, PR and lobbying activity that erupted in its wake.

Morocco and Belgium have accounted for more sightings of Madeleine than all other regions put together. In fact, there are alleged to have been over a hundred in each. The McCanns are also reported to have spent the greater part of the Find Madeleine Fund chasing up leads in these countries. There has to be some explanation for their sustained interests in this region, even if that interest in purely arbitrary; a response to either the excutive fictions of the press, the lively imaginations of the public or on intelligence of various merit.

This list will be added to on an ongoing basis."

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Thank you, Blackwatch, for all the excellent research you've put into your blog. Scary stuff.

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The full article can be read here: The McCann Lobby: Who's Outside The Box? A Glossary of Characters

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Here's a few reasons to read the entire article:


Michael Linnett - a retired accountant - Linnett made to 120th place on the Sunday Times Rich List in 2001 through his marriage to wife Freddie, who inherited a significant stake in Leicester's Charles Street Buildings in 1991. Profits fell by £10m in 1999m but the company still has net assets of £223.3m, the Sunday Times reports, and the Linnetts have £40m of family assets to shelter them from the whims of the property market. Freedie Linnett (a former secretary) was once the second richest woman in Britain after the Queen. Educated by nuns in a convent, Linnett learned shorthand and typing before joining her Irish uncles property firm in Leicestershire (the Murphys of Ireland). Recent accounts reveal the business to have made a profit of almost £32.3m and its net assets had risen to £264m. Between 1995 and 2001, Linnett and the Murphy family received dividends of £47m. Now estimated to be worth £450 million.

Peter Hubner - 64, former hospital consultant (Cardiology and Anaesthetics). Hon. Secretary of the British Cardiovascular Prevention Society (1988-1992). Lives in Kirby Muxloe, Leicestershire. Went to Saint Benedicts School in Ealing. Graduated in medicine in Middlesex. Seems to have a private practice at Kirby Muxloe.

Brian Kennedy - Madeleine's Great Uncle - A retired head teacher. Lives in the McCanns' home village of Rothley. Likely to be the same Brian Kennedy who is the creator/coordinator of Leicestershire County Council Environment and Heritage Services.

John McCann - Gerry's brother and Madeleine's Uncle: 48-year old John McCann, is a medical representative for AstraZeneca, an International Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company ( sells pharmaceuticals to treat disorders in the cardiac and vascular, neurological and psychiatric, respiratory areas) HQ is in London. Sales in 2003 totalled $18.8 billion, with a profit before tax of $4.2 billion. The products licensed by AstraZeneca have special relevance to Gerry McCann's work in Cardiology. Unlikely to welcome such adverse publicity. Attended St. Mungo's Secondary School (the McCann girls attended Holyrood Grammar School)

Philip Tomlinson - 76, a lawyer and former HM Coroner for Leicester North. Family links to Leicester County Council (going back years). Being a coroner he is likely to have connections within Leicester Police Authority (when a sudden, unexpected death occurs a police will be asked to attend with a number of responsibilities and duties that will need to be carried out. Any Police Officer assigned to a case will also act on behalf of the Coroner as a Coroner's Officer during the investigation). Lives in the Woodgate area, Loughborough, Leicestershire.

Doug Skehan - Clinical Director and LNR Cardiac Network Clinical Lead at Glenfield Hospital. Dr. Doug Skehan is a cardiologist at University Hospitals of Leicester and his wife, Mrs. Marcelle Skehan (also known as Dr. Morris), is a general practitioner (GP) in a Coalville practice. Qualified in Leicester. Keen marathon runner and charity fundraiser. Also carries out cardiac scans for new Leicester City signings during medicals (The Blue Army). The Labour Government invested over £17m in new heart facilities at Leicester's Glenfield Hospital in 2003 (in 2003 the government invested £93m pounds in heart treatment facilities across England). Has 4 children.
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Justice and Criminal Prosecution Figures:

Leicestershire Police Authority. One of the Find Madeleine Fund Directors is Philip Tomlinson (76) - former County Coroner for Rutland and North Leicestershire and now solicitor. In Britain a coroner is someone who is responsible for investigating deaths, particularly those that happen under 'unusual circumstances'. Well established connections with Leicestershire Police Authority. The Coroner works with the Police to determine the cause of death. In this respect they have a judicial function.

Stuart Prior - Police Superintendent from Leicestershire Police Authority who lead the British side of the investigation.
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PR and Media Relations:

Clarence Mitchell - Former BBC Crime Reporter and Head of the UK Government's 'Media Monitoring Unit' (Central Office of Information). Seconded to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's 'Consular Assistance Group for period of 25 days in May 2007 to provide assistance with the media for the McCanns.

Howell James - Former Head of Communications for the UK Government. Appointed by Tony Blair in 2004. Resigned in June 2008. It was James who personally requested Mitchell's presence in Praia da Luz. Very close friend of Peter Mandelson - a fierce opponent of Gordon Brown.

Sheree Dodd - Passionate Blairite and former Director of Communications at the Department of Trade and Industry. Dispatched by Blair to Portugal prior to Mitchell as 'media advisor' to the McCanns. Dismissed by Gordon Brown in June 2007. Returned to represent the McCanns in June 2007 on a temporary basis. Her expenses were this time met by the McCanns.

Alex Woolfall - Specialist in crisis management at Bell Pottinger. One of the first people to act as media adviser to the McCanns on behalf of their client, Mark Warner Resorts. Ex-Labour Party staff at Bell Pottinger include Cathy McGlynn (an adviser to Jack Cunningham when he was Agriculture Secretary), Amanda Clow (Tony Blair's office prior to the 1997 election), Amanda Francis (a former adviser to Mo Mowlam), Jav Chavda (a former researcher for the 'Rapid Rebuttal Unit') and Nick Williams.

Justine McGuiness - Liberal Democrat MP for Dorset West and professional Lobbyist. Media Advisor to the McCanns at the time of their arrest in September 2007. Famous for spearheading a campaign that eventually won the release of Daisy Angus, the Dorset teenager jailed in India on a drugs trafficking charge.

Freud Communications - It was announced in August that, Clarence Mitchell, Kate and Gerry McCann's spokesman, had joined PR and marketing agency Freud Communications as a consultant specialising in crisis and issues management, media training and scenario planning. The company’s founder is Matthew Freud, celebrated Labour supporter and unofficial PR consultant to Tony Blair. Freud was responsible for organising the 1998 Labour Party Conference. At that time the former ‘enfant terrible’ of London society was boyfriend of Elisabeth Murdoch, daughter of the world’s foremost media magnate, Rupert Murdoch. see also: Clarence Mitchell, Freud Communications and Tony Blair

Elisabeth Murdoch Freud - Matthew Freud and Elisabeth Murdoch Freud are now regarded as the United Kingdom's best connected 'power couples'. Elisabeth Murdoch is also a close friend of Peter Mandelson.

Julia Hobsbawm - daughter of Marxist Historian, Eric Hobsbawm and fierce Blairite. A close friend and former business partner of Sarah Brown, Hobsbawm appeared on BBC News 24 criticizing the Press and Portugal's treatment of the McCanns: "It is time this country asked questions of the Portuguese police and Portugal itself, else we won’t go on there on holiday any more", she said. She was wrongly introduced on the programme as 'Head of Media Monitoring and Analysis' for the UK Government. Founder of 'Editorial Intelligence' a Mew Media PR company intended to bridge the gap between the two sparring worlds of public relations and journalism. The company puts companies and interest groups in touch with the most powerful figures of the online and offline worlds of opinion (a highly potent lobbying tool)
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Private Investigators & Risk Assessment

Oakley International - McCann Private Investigators stake out paedophile network in Belgium (costing £500,000 of funds). Alleged to be staffed by former members of Mi5, the CIA and FBI.Metodo 3 - repeated investigations in Morocco (costing over £500,000). Members are alleged to have spied on Government Officials.

Control Risks Group - Not 'private investigators' as alleged by the press but a highly respected risk assessment company, allegedly consisting of ex-SAS and former intelligence personnel. The group was hired by the McCanns in late May 2007 to investigate sightings of Madeleine in Morocco.