Madeleine Foundation Media Statement released by the Committee Friday 2 July, 8.30pm
‘NO TRUTH’ IN ALLEGATIONS OF FRAUD WITHIN THE MADELEINE FOUNDATION
Eight months after Essex Police began their investigation, police admit there was nothing in the allegations
On 4 November last year, Ms Butler, former Chairman of The Madeleine Foundation, a group founded to study the disappearance of Madeleine McCann and campaign on child welfare issues, was expelled from membership after she made a series of untrue and hostile statements about our work. Later that day, she visited Kent Police alleging that our Secretary Tony Bennett had committed serious fraud against The Madeleine Foundation. She was interviewed by Sgt. Ryder who dismissed her allegations as ‘malicious’.
Ms Butler then contacted Essex Police who, on a date as yet unknown, but on or before 10 November 2009, decided to mount an investigation, led initially by Detective Constable Kirsten Chissell. On 7 and 8 November respectively, the ‘Sun’ and the ‘People’ published Ms Butler’s claims with considerable prominence, enlarging them to include a claim that Tony had pocketed £90,000 in funds intended for the McCanns’ Fund to find Madeleine. The Press Complaints Commission is currently considering a complaint regarding the content of those two articles.
Yesterday, nearly eight months after they began their investigation, Essex Police announced that they had insufficient evidence of any fraud or deception whatsoever within The Madeleine Foundation and were therefore ending their investigation. This is a verbatim transcript of the voice message from Trevor Roe, Detective Chief Inspector, 9.03pm, 1 July 2010:
Good evening Mr Bennett, it’s just gone 9 o’clock on Thursday evening in the obviously… in the evening as I’ve just said. Erm, sorry, I’m on nights, erm, as Commander for Essex, so I’m just trying to give you a call because the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service] advice has come back and I’ll give you a message on the ’phone, but I’ll obviously talk to you in more detail during the day when I get back to day duties.
Erm, on both matters, the CPS have decided that there was insufficient evidence on which to consider the allegations of harassment against Miss Butler and insufficient evidence to consider there has been any fraud or deception regarding…in respect of the two - the two cheques that have been alleged to be fraud by yourself. That does now bring the criminal matters to a close. That’s the message I’m, erm, I’ll write you a letter setting out the findings and…Then I hope to speak to you in the next few days. ’Bye now.
Ms Butler in October 2010 began a campaign of the most vitriolic and malicious abuse of Tony Bennett for months, including dozens of entirely false and libellous claims. He asked the police to investigate those. Ms Butler was interviewed about these allegations at Harlow Police Station in March. The police has decided there is insufficient evidence to prosecute her for harassment.
Delays in the police investigation
It was always Tony’s case that there was never a shred of evidence against him. He maintains that these allegations should never have been investigated, still less take eight months to resolve. The only allegation appeared to be around two cheques. Tony provided receipts for those on 11 November last year, within less than a day of being asked for them. Because of major queries about Essex police actions in this matter, the Chief Executive of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, Jane Furniss, began an I.P.C.C. enquiry into the matter in March. That investigation is ongoing.
Involvement of CPS Headquarters in the case
Recently, Tony was told by D.I. Roe that his decision-making in the case was being curtailed by a special unit within C.P.S. headquarters to which all matters relating in any way to the Madeleine McCann case had to be referred. To us, that illustrates that the eight-month investigation into Tony which has produced no evidence of fraud or deception may have been politically motivated and orchestrated at a high level.
The current work of The Madeleine Foundation
On 7 November, the ‘Sun’ ended its article about The Madeleine Foundation with these words: “A source close to Gerry and Kate McCann said: ‘This foundation is now in meltdown. They can't wait to see the end of it’.” Contrary to the belief and hopes of the McCanns, the Foundation continues its work despite the temporary problems caused by Ms Butler’s behaviour*. During the past few months, we have published many in-depth analyses of the case on our website: www.madeleinefoundation.org.uk We have also published a further book on the case: ‘The Madeleine McCann Case Files’, Volume 1’. Since that article we have successfully held three conferences to discuss what really happened to Madeleine.
Later this month we are holding a Goncalo Amaral Awareness Day to help raise money for Mr Amaral’s defence fund. Mr Amaral was removed from the investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance on 2 October 2007. He is now embroiled in three separate court actions against him. Two cases, based mainly on the evidence of Leonor Cipriano, now serving a lengthy jail sentence for murdering her own daughter, and her former partner Leandro da Silva, allege that he covered up the beating of prisoners. The third is the McCanns’ claim against him for £1 million damages. The downloadable leaflet we have published in his defence is availabe on our website.
Tony said today: “Clearly it’s been an ordeal and D.I. Roe’s message was relief. I am glad the I.P.C.C. is investigating why it took Essex Police 8 months to make this statement. I’m especially grateful to the many within and outside The Madeleine Foundation who never believed a word of Ms Butler’s allegations in the first place”.
CONTACTS: 01279 635789 Mobile 07835 716537
[* NOTE: Ms Butler is claiming that she is currently walking 1,000 miles from Barcelona to Praia da Luz to raise funds for McMillan Cancer Relief, and to draw attention to Madeleine’s disappearance. She has so far raised £290.00 via the JustGiving site. However, evidence suggests that she is not actually doing this walk, although she is claiming through contacts that she is. We have no connection with her now whatsoever].
Word from Tony Bennett
Message from Debbie Butler: "Please support my walk as Gerry Mccann has not even acknowledged Macmillan cancer on his website and a lot of sponsorshop money went to his own company - detracting money from Macmillan - this is a good cause and we need to replace the money for Macmillan . thank you x. please donate to Macmillan Cancer support - this money needs replacing as Gerry Mccann chose to keep his own sponsor moey for his own private limited company - many people are disgusted by this. I will walk with my head held high - and will complete it - Gerry when will you do the same ??????????????" http://deborahbutler.websitetoolbox.com/