Tony Bennett, exclusive interview with 'O Crime'
ARTICLE FOR ‘O CRIME’ BY TONY BENNETT
In my book: “What Really Happened to Madeleine McCann?” - which last week was sent to all the U.K.’s 646 Members of Parliament, thanks to donations from the general public - I gave 60 separate reasons which suggest that Madeleine was not abducted. Many people have contacted me to thank me for writing the book. Some of them have told me what, in their opinion, are the strongest reasons. I’m going to pick out the five reasons which most convince people that Madeleine was not abducted.
I start with the evidence of two of the highly trained spaniels who were brought to Portugal to see if they could detect the presence of a corpse in the McCanns’ apartment or the Renault Scenic car they hired. These dogs were trained by Mr Martin Grime, an experienced dog handler whose services are in demand from many countries and not just in the U.K. The male dog, Eddie, was trained only to bark when he smelled the scent of a human corpse. The female dog, Keela, was trained to detect blood.
I will focus on what Eddie detected. His handler says that on 200 previous occasions, Eddie had never once given a ‘false alert’. That is, when he barked, he was 100% correct in locating where a corpse had been lying. If he barked anywhere in Praia da Luz, we can therefore be sure that he was alerting to a corpse.
So, where did he bark? First, in four places at the McCanns’ apartment - their living room, the McCanns’ bedroom, the veranda, and in the garden.
Second, on two of Dr Kate McCann’s clothes. Third, on a red T-shirt belonging to Madeleine or her brother Sean. Fourth, on the pink soft toy, ‘Cuddle Cat’, and fifth, inside the Renault Scenic and on its key. Keela, of course, also found blood at some of these locations.
Eddie was taken to many other houses and apartments in Praia da Luz, and to many other cars. He only barked in the McCanns’ apartment and at the car the McCanns hired. No other corpse had been in the McCanns’ apartment or in their car. It’s very sad to have to say it, but that corpse could only have been that of Madeleine McCann.
Now let us move on to consider how the McCanns reacted when they first heard the reports of the dogs’ findings. Did they try to find out who might have been dead in their apartment or their car? No, they immediately began a campaign to discredit these highly trained, successful dogs. As I demonstrate in ‘Reason 3’ in my book, they came up with a series of claims to try and make it look as though Eddie and Keela had been ‘mistaken’.
First, Dr Kate McCann’s family spokesman claimed the ‘smell of death’ may have been found on her clothes because she had been in close proximity with six corpses in the two weeks before flying out to Praia da Luz. But she only worked 1½ days a week, and even if she had been called to six deaths in two weeks (which the McCanns have never substantiated), the smell of death would never have been transferred to her clothes. Doctors rarely even touch a dead body with their hands, certainly not with their clothes.
Then Dr Kate McCann claimed that the smell of death was found on ‘Cuddle Cat’ because she sometimes took the soft toy to work. Even if we believe her, does she seriously expect us to believe that the toy itself was in contact with one or more corpses?
The McCanns then said that body fluids found in their car could be caused by dirty nappies - and the smell of a corpse caused by ‘rotting meat’. But cadaver dogs like Eddie can tell the difference between the smell of a corpse and rotting meat. When it was suggested that Madeleine’s blood might have been found underneath the tiles in the living room of Apartment 5A, the McCanns explained this by saying that Madeleine had grazed her knee when climbing up the steps to the plane on the flight to Portugal. It is wholly improbable, however, that a graze on the knee could cause enough loss of blood to seep under the ceramic tiles in the McCanns’ apartment.
In addition, the McCanns and their advisers searched high and low for any evidence that courts had discredited the evidence of cadaver dogs. They eventually found just two - one in Ireland and one in the U.S.
‘Reason 7’ in my book refers to the sheer impossibility of the abduction happening as the McCanns and their friends claimed. According to them, the abductor must have entered the flat after Dr Gerald McCann did his check on the children at 9.10pm on 3rd May - but before he was (allegedly) seen by the McCanns’ friend Jane Tanner at 9.15pm walking away from the apartments.
He would then have had to enter the apartment by the unlocked patio door without being seen by anyone, found Madeleine in the dark, pick her up without waking her or the twins, opened the window and the noisy shutters without leaving any fingerprints, climbed through the window (carrying Madeleine with him) - again without being seen by anyone - and then tried to close the shutters, using controls operated from the inside, while still having Madeleine in his arms, or having laid her down on the patio. In addition, he must have accomplished all this without leaving any forensic trace whatsoever and without being seen or heard by anybody. Most people who have read my book do not accept that this is possible.
For many people, the fact that Dr Kate McCann was asked 48 questions by the Portuguese police on 7th September 2007 and refused to answer any of them was very significant. No-one can understand why a genuinely grieving mother who believed her child had been abducted would refuse to answer questions and give the police every possible assistance.
Finally, I turn to ‘Reason 29’ in my book, which many people, especially women, have told me is very important for them - namely, the body language of the McCanns. Now, I know this would not count as evidence in a court case, but in assessing evidence given inside a court-room, judges and juries often rely on visual clues from those giving evidence to help them decide whether they are telling the truth or not. And do we not use this ability to read body language all the time? - for example, to decide if our wife or husband is telling the truth, to assess if people are interested in what we are saying to them, and so on?
These are some of the things that people observed about the McCanns: looking remarkably cheerful so soon after Madeleine had gone missing, avoiding eye contact with interviewers, turning their heads away from the interviewer when difficult subjects were raised, smirking at inappropriate moments, never showing any real signs of distress, and body and facial gestures not matching their verbal statements.
These five reasons alone have convinced many that the McCanns are not telling us the truth - and that Madeleine was not abducted. But there are 55 more reasons in my book.
Article written exclusively for ‘O Crime’ 25 March 2009.
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