Tuesday

Kate and Gerry McCann's scam detective agency is investigated




Arthur Cowley’s remote mountainside cottage on Halkyn Mountain, Flintshire, Wales: clearly not the HQ of a thriving detective agency,‘Alpha Investigations Group’ [photo: Tony Bennett]

The Madeleine Foundation’s recent article: ‘Leading the Hunt for Maddie: Dave Edgar, the Cheshire Detective’ (3), covers in more detail the deception by the McCann Team over a company described as ‘Alpha Investigations Group’, and I refer readers to that article.

It was on 2 May 2009 that the public were first informed of the appointment of retired detectives Dave Edgar and Arthur Cowley to the McCann investigation team. Indications suggest that Edgar was quietly taken on by Brian Kennedy in November 2008, with Cowley added on weeks or perhaps months later. Crucially, both were to appear in a much-hyped documentary, featuring a so-called ‘reconstruction’ of events in Praia da Luz on 3 May 2007, the day Madeleine was reported missing. The documentary was made by Mentorn Films and was transmitted on 7 May 2007 by Channel 4. It was widely ridiculed as a ‘mockumentary’, since the programme contained no analysis but merely recycled the McCann Team’s version of events.

For example, it claimed that the person allegedly seen by Jane Tanner carrying a child at 9.15pm that evening was one and the same as a man seen by Martin Smith, and members of his family, carrying a child in a different part of Praia da Luz 40 minutes later. The idea that an abductor might have been walking around Praia da Luz carrying an abducted child in his arms was risible. The Channel 4 documentary also claimed that in each incident, the child was being carried ‘in exactly the same manner’. This was patently untrue. Jane Tanner claimed that the child she saw being carried was held by the man’s two arms. By contrast, Martin Smith explicitly said that Madeleine was being carried on the man’s shoulder. That was just one of a number of errors in this attempt by Channel 4 to imprint the McCann Team’s version of events on the public mind.

Returning to the subject of the two ex-Cheshire detectives, the publicity around them in May 2009 claimed that they worked for a well-established private investigation agency, allegedly called ‘Alpha Investigations Group’. It was suggested that Edgar, a retired Detective Inspector, and Cowley, a retired Detective Sergeant, ‘headed up’ this group. The McCann Team needed to ‘big up’ their new detectives.

This was all a deliberate deception, in which a close aide of Brian Kennedy played a part. There never was any detective agency called ‘Alpha Investigations Group’. Instead, what happened was that on 10 June 2009, over a month after all the press reports about the mythical ‘Alpha Investigations Group’, Arthur Cowley registered, in his sole name, a company called ‘ALPHAIG’, Company No. 06929397. Its registered office was: ‘Treetops’, Pant-y-Gof, HALKYN, Flintshire, CH8 8DH.

There was no mention of Dave Edgar being involved with the company. The company has no internet presence, doesn’t advertise in any way, employs no-one, and its accounts, submitted in 2010 to Companies House, show minimal assets and no evidence of trading. To put it bluntly, it is a sham company, and it seems beyond doubt that it was explicitly created to deceive the media and, in turn, the public. Added weight to this suggestion is provided by the revelation that on 12 January 2009, the domain name ‘alphaig.co.uk’ was registered by Andrew Dickman, who is inextricably associated with Brian Kennedy’s own company, the Latium Group. Dickman’s very close business relationship with Brian Kennedy was covered in an article in the Manchester Evening News on 21 May 2007, which informed its readers about a boost for the Kennedy-owned property business, Patrick Properties, named after his son Patrick. The company, said the article, was ‘established in 2002 by Mr Kennedy and managing director Andrew Dickman…’
Why did a right-hand man of Kennedy (Andrew Dickman) register the domain name ‘ALPHAIG’? Why did this happen over a month after the McCann Team was falsely claiming there was an ‘Alpha Investigations group’? Why did Arthur Cowley register a sham company, ‘ALPHAIG’? I suggest that these were deliberate actions, designed to deceive the public into thinking that their willing and kind donations to the Find Madeleine Fund were being spent wisely on an effective and successful private detective agency. This claim was, however, false.