Is Clarence Mitchell edging away from Kate and Gerry McCann?

An analysis by Tony Bennett, Secretary of the Madeleine Foundation

From days after Madeleine McCann was reported missing on 3 May 2007, the McCanns and their chief public relations officer, Clarence Mitchell, appear to have been joined at the hip.

Are there however signs that there is a process of separation going on?

Back on 6 January this year, Mitchell told listeners to BBC Radio Humberside that the claim that Madeleine had been abducted was 'only' an assumption, or 'working hypothesis'. He didn't use these words once, he used them on three separate occasions. That is proof that his choice of words was no accident. And it ran wholly counter to the McCanns' claim that they 'knew instantly' that Madeleine had been abducted - and that the public must accept it as a fact, a point that their lawyers Carter-Ruck rammed down the throats of anyone who would disagree with them.

Then, on 18 February, following one of the most absurd Madeleine 'sighting' story ever - "Maddie may be in U.S. says Angolan-born bouncer-cum-basketball player-cum-'amateur sleuth'" - Clarence Mitchell appeared on SKY NEWS to tell SKY's viewers - quote:

"I am sceptical of the claims...We should stress a note of caution here. These are claims that have been made to Spanish police, we understand...this information has to be investigated to establish if there is any truth or not”.

The fact that Mitchell can seemingly move effortlessly between top jobs in both the Labour government and then in the Conservatives' election campaign, and in between getting a job with Rupert Murdoch's son-in-law, has reinforced suggestions by some that he is paid by or close to the top of MI5, and in that capacity knows all there is to know about anybody who is anybody, which would indeed make him one of the most powerful people in the U.K.

If he is indeed close to the top of MI5, is it possible that the establishment right at the top has realised that one day, sooner or later, those involved in backing the McCanns will be come tainted by association? Are they 'reading the runes' - seeing perhaps that there is plenty of evidence that doubts over the McCanns' abduction claims are not going to go away? Do these people now see an upbeat Goncalo Amaral who is going to press ahead with his book sales, has a new book out, is not going to go away and realise that his book 'The Truth About A Lie' is one day going to go on sale in the U.K.?

The recent Sunday Express story also hints at a falling away of the hitherto 'closed ranks' of the British media regarding Madeleine McCann.

Analysing the Express story, it draws public attention to Goncalo Amaral's new book and even mentions his successful overturning of the ban on his first book. It goes on to say that Kate 'has been warned' to be careful about what she says about Goncalo Amaral.

It states that he 'resigned' from the PJ (not the usual 'sacked'), and that he's a successful author and appears on TV in Portugal. It politely mentions his wife by name, and her regard for his dedicated work.

This is a remarkable change of tone for the Express, painting Goncalo Amaral as someone who is successful, someone who is listened to, respected - whereas, by contrast, Dr Kate is merely someone who has been 'warned to watch her step', as it were.

This seems to mark a sea change, a reversal of projected status.

Did Clarence Mitchell have any say in approving this article? The change of emphasis in the air seems palpable.

If the McCanns' book bombs, as is now widely forecast, that could lead to more and more doubts being expressed about whether Madeleine's abduction might, after all, turn out to have been one gigantic hoax.

More about this is posted on our Madeleine McCann Research and Analysis forum

Comment from our resident former police superintendent:

"I wonder about Mitchell's legal position if the McCanns were ever to be shown to have made up the whole story. He has never, or rarely, used the usual solicitors' get out by prefacing what he said with "The MCCanns want me to say X Y Z" or "have authorised me to say" or "My clients position is such and such", or "On my instructions ..."
He has stated things as fact. As if he knew the full story, and was merely letting the world know those bits which he chose.
Indeed it is also clear that on some occasions he may have commented without having had time to speak in detail to the McCanns, simply acting on their presumed behalf.
It would be salutory to see him brought low, and I don't think backtracking at this stage is going to help him, any more than resigning as a Trustee of the 'Fund' is going to help those who so negligently handed out millions of publicly donated money to dodgy detectives and overt fraudsters all those years ago.
Perhaps a full and frank admission might mitigate."

PeterMac's Free e-book: What really happened to Madeleine McCann?

Gonçalo Amaral's 'Maddie: Truth of the Lie

Richard D. Hall: 'When Madeleine Died?'

Richard D. Hall: 'When Madeleine Died?'
Please click on image to view all three Madeleine films

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Prime Minister introduces Prime Suspect to Royalty