McCann case: The House on the Black Rock

The House on the Black Rock

Rocha Negra, in English, translates as ‘Black Rock’.
It’s a title that seems made for a movie. Yet, I have found myself increasingly of the belief that one small property sat atop the Rocha Negra may have initially been used to occult the cadaver of Madeleine McCann.
Why, and how?
This discovery started when I was recounting a couple of well known events in the McCann case: the arrival of Danie Krugel, and Kate McCann’s dream of seeing Madeleine’s body lying on a hill. Both of these things would appear to be related, in a way I was not expecting to find.
For the sake of this article, I will not pass comment on Danie Krugel’s device, or credibility – as I believe he was potentially brought in as either a distraction, or as one who would ‘find’ something at an opportune time. I will go into this further on.
Kate McCann’s ‘dream’ was referred to as a turning point in the case.
“She said she had dreamt that Madeleine was on a hill and that we should search for her there…She gave the impression that she thought she was dead – it was a turning point for us.”
 – Ricardo Paiva
You can read more about it in this Telegraph article:
The location given for this sighting was reported in the press as the Rocha Negra. While we should be careful about taking this as gospel, it’s worth pointing out that this story was never retracted, and the articles with maps are still online and they circle the Rocha Negra. There is never any hint that Kate was imagining a hill ‘outside Praia da Luz’.
This phone call occurred when Gerry was away in America (in fact he seemed oblivious to the call having occurred outside the courtroom, saying cleverly that Kate never had a dream about seeing Maddie ‘buried’) – alone and fragile. Was she perhaps trying to point towards this area for a reason?
Let’s turn momentarily to Danie Krugel. Contact with Krugel is initiated on June 9th, when at 21:48 Gerry calls him for 12 minutes 38 seconds. According to the records in the PJ Files, he had been recommended via email (also from South Africa). It will be over a month before Krugel arrives in Portugal. During this time – and just after he leaves – there are a smattering of contacts between Gerry, Krugel and Susan Puren (an South African investigative journalist). It is later said that whilst in Portugal, the McCanns effectively ignored Krugel, and when they finally met – before Krugel and Puren left – it was a very abrupt meeting in which the South Africans were ‘made to feel like they were meeting Royals’.
This is rather at odds with the fact that it was Gerry who initiated contact. Why initiate contact and request help, only to completely ignore that help until the last possible moment?
Whilst Krugel was on site, Mark Harrison was brought in – but more on that later.
Krugel produced a map, showing the areas he had searched, and which he felt would be worth further investigation.
daniekrugelmapKrugel’s map (the irony of using an out of date historic Google Earth image is not lost on me)
While press reports had it that Krugel had ‘pinpointed an area on the beach’ or ‘believed Maddie was at sea’ confused things, I was told privately that neither of these were in fact true.
Krugel’s triangulation isn’t visible here, though there is an odd photo from the ground with an impossible-to-interpret couple of lines drawn over. With that being the case, out of curiosity I made my own ‘triangulation’, using the ‘blanket area’ pin up towards where it says ‘start of search’. This was the rough result;
ktriangleRough triangulation area (note I used the same historical map Krugel did despite the June 22nd one being more contemporary)
I started to look along the ‘line’ between the top and bottom of the triangle, while also noting that the path Kate described jogging up Rocha Negra via falls in this area (the white path passing the Freud villa/Casa Colina), and that it does not reach as far as the ‘trig point’, otherwise referred to as the ‘obelisk’ near the top of Rocha Negra.
Rocha Negra trig point, aka ‘obelisk’
Immediately I couldn’t help but notice an unfortunately shaped Villa right along the line, whose shape had me mentally labelling it the ‘toilet seat’. Flicking through the historical imagery available, I noticed that it was unchanged in 2007, but by 2011 was being redeveloped, and today is a very attractive modern villa. But aside from metaphors about caterpillars to butterflies, and an odd square structure in the back garden of the new villa (fleetingly I wondered if it was some kind of shrine), nothing really stood out aside from first impressions. Judge for yourself;
Pre-redevelopment, the ‘toilet seat’ villa
Modern villa as present today. Odd square shape only interesting element (not historically extant)
Not finding anything, my mind went back to Kate’s words. She saw a body ‘on the hill’. So far this triangulation only had me looking at the base of Rocha Negra. What if this were expanded to include the summit itself?
I immediately sat up as I came across what I did next.
Sat atop Rocha Negra, beside the Boavista golf course, on May 30th, was an empty and seemingly derelict building. Next to it, on an adjacent lot, was a construction site. I clicked forward – the only other date the area was photographed in 2007 was, fortuitously, 3 weeks later – June 22nd. I was shocked to see that by June 22nd, this property had been demolished, and there was industrial machinery on site.
But, surely, this was coincidental? After all there is a construction site right next to it. I decided to look before and after 2007. The furthest back I could look was September 2004 – and the property stood just as empty then as it did in May 2007. And looking forward, two facts; the adjacent construction was for a separate build, and to call the area redeveloped was an understatement; here now stands the ‘Eagles Eye’, a six bedroom luxury house, let by none other than Ocean Country! This seemed too far outside the realm of coincidence.
Aerial shots of ‘Eagles Eye’ location between 2004 and 2007
Eagles Eye listing:
Next, I cast my mind back and remembered a great blog piece I read in the past about June 9th. I am no longer able to find it, so if any reader could point me to it I would be very appreciative and credit the author. The article had described how on June 9th, nearly all of the McCann family was in Portugal, and that this was likely the day they all ‘said goodbye’. This was the day before Kate and Gerry flew to Morocco, and arrived dressed in black.
McCann movements based on phone pings, June 9th
Some interesting things come out of June 9th. It was the first time the family pinged West of Praia da Luz. Around the return to Luz Gerry is twice called by Mike Keenan of Control Risks Group (they also have a long conversation the following morning). Just after 2100 Gerry calls Father Pacheco. A few minutes later he makes his first contact with Danie Krugel. And according to press reports the next day, he also spoke to press and made some unique statements. Snipped;
“There’s been a lot of emotion in the last 10 days. In the first few weeks when I slipped into dark moments of despair I was finding it quite easy to emotionally switch a light back on, but I’ve been finding it increasingly difficult to do.
“More importantly, I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to be able to grieve and let those emotions out.”
The main countries where appeals might help had been covered, but now it was time for a break, he said.
“We’ll still meet with the Portuguese police as we have done fairly regularly and with the British police,” Mr McCann said. “But it is definitely going to be a period of reflection. We can’t keep doing the same thing week after week, the coverage will dwindle away.
“What we want to be sure of is that what we put our energy into is effective.”
Mrs McCann said speaking in public about the search for her daughter was a useful “distraction, but it’s time to step back from that”.
Mrs McCann said the couple woke every morning hoping it would be the day Madeleine was found.
I do actually feel close to Madeleine here [in Portugal]. She could actually be further away from here than she is from the UK but I feel emotionally close to her here.
“People have told me that I could do the same, if not more, back in the UK, but I can’t face leaving.”
It us odd that Gerry singles out the last 10 days – the media tour – as emotional, rather than the last month and 5 days. As has been noted by statement analyst Peter Hyatt, the focus here is very much on ‘me me me’ and not on Madeleine. The need to ‘grieve’ relates to a bereavement, this is not a word you’d expect to hear from a parent optimistic of finding their child. And Kate explicitly says she feels close to Madeleine in Portugal – a sentiment that she does not drop over the years that follow.
So June 9th Kate says she feels close to Madeleine in Portugal, late July she says she dreamed of her body lying on a nearby hill. June 9th Gerry calls Danie Krugel, late July Krugel has been and gone, after looking at the same area Kate mentioned, finding just a towel, which isn’t mentioned in the files.
Whether these things were related or not isn’t possible to say, but the cluster of events is interesting.
So, during the 3 week period in which the old property at Eagles Eye was demolished, the family potentially ‘said goodbye’, and there were possibly forensic traces left atop Rocha Negra (and/or Arao – I will write about Russell’s trip another time). June 9th falls around 14 days after the Scenic was rented. Gerry described the last ’10’ days being hard. Is this the period Madeleine’s body was moved – before the demolition? Was it reinterred on June 9th, when everyone was West of Praia da Luz for most the day?
It is worth noting that the Hortas do Tabual chapel lies within the triangle. The later visits to the triangle would be explained easily with the idea that the couple (or Kate alone on some days) were visiting the chapel for some peace away from Luz and the eyes of the world. That these pings start in July, and right after Kate’s ‘slip up’ phoning Paiva (literally as soon as Gerry touched back down in portugal in fact), may not be insignificant.
Oh, and right next to the Hortas do Tabual chapel is now a house, but in 2007 was a pretty quiet and slow construction. Just what looks like a white crate was on site;
Hortas do Tabual chapel and construction area
While it isn’t possible to make any conclusions, it is certainly interesting the amount of boxes ticked between Eagles Eye and Casa da Eira – in 2007 at least.
Did I mention that Mark Harrison actually mentioned the property in his report too? This escaped my notice totally until I looked for it;

An inhibiting factor is that since the disappearance of the child an old empty house adjacent to the Trig Point on the Rocha Negra has been demolished and all rubble removed, If she was concealed within this property the search would be unlikely to detect her now.

There are a few other disparate reasons to look at Eagles Eye as a possible area of interest, namely;
– The connection to Boavista golf course. There are many links here. There were calls to the golf course from the OC on the day of the 3rd. John Geraghty, who acquired the church keys for the family, is golf captain there. Rothley’s own Danny Spillane played there and gave lessons in the region. Gerry’s phone contact in Burgau, Frank Sharpe, also plays there. And HIS facebook contact, Duane Wessels, also plays there (Wessels stayed at the OC as a guest of the resort until the day before the ‘disappearance’, and is involved in Algarve property). It would take just one of these people to hear about the property and gain access – with them knowing how/why or not.
– The fact the property is now advertised through Ocean Country, the estate agents run by Angus Symington. The Ocean Club was formerly owned by John Garveigh and David Symington. They are/were effectively sister companies in the same resort. There is plenty of phone traffic between them.
– The fact it sits atop the logical jogging route which the parents were known to take heading up Rocha Negra.
– The property lists having a septic tank. There is a clear concavity under the demolished structure on June 22nd. It may have been possible to hide the body beneath ground here before it was moved.
– The fact the property is so close to Casa Colina – I don’t personally believe that anyone at Casa Colina was involved with whatever happened to Madeleine while alive, but jogging past it, and being in contact through the right channels, they could’ve been tipped off by someone there (this is the weakest aspect in fairness)
Condensing this all down into a series of basic events by their date. Each of these probably deserve an individual post each;
  • 7th of May – Russell O’Brien pings outside Praia da Luz, in Aljezur. Pings show he could have pinged Aljezur from much further South than Aljezur – as far down as Arao or Barragem da Bravura
    – Russell calls Gerry late that night, the only night there is phone contact between them (until one call months later)
  • 27th of May – McCanns rent Renault Scenic
  • 30th of May – Aerial photo shows old building still standing on Rocha Negra
  • 6th of June – Netherlands press conference, Gerry catches up with old colleagues at Vumc.
    – Gerry receives a call about information from PJ but ‘dismisses it’
  • 9th of June – Gerald McCann states in an evening phone call that the family are entering a week of grieving and will stop making appearances around Europe.
    – First contact is made with Danie Krugel.
    – Most of the family is in Portugal
    – Pings as far South West as Sagres for the first time, as well as Budens. Calls to Mike Keenan of Control Risks Group and Father Pacheco in this time
  • 10th of June – Morocco trip. Flying by private plane (Phillip Green) they arrive, Summer in North Africa, dressed in black.
  • 13th of June – De Telegraaf letter hits the press, a week after the family have left Netherlands. Searches are carried out in Arao. One sole photo of an ‘Aztec rug’ being removed, and some press reports of Madeleine’s dna being found. Variously referred to as the product of a mentally unstable man, or matching a letter which had tipped off the location of two missing Dutch girls a year earlier.
    – Stam sighting in Amsterdam
    – Gerry makes several calls to his former colleagues in Amsterdam (Beek and Nijveldt)
  • 22nd of June – Aerial photo shows the property atop Rocha Negra has now been demolished. Demolition must have occurred in the period between May 30th and June 22nd – merely 3 weeks
  • 17th of July – Danie Krugel arrives and begins his searches, finding a pink towel atop Rocha Negra
  • 21st of July – Danie Krugel searches end and he returns to South Africa
    – Mark Harrison arrives and begins searches in his identified ‘sectors’ with the aim of finding a body if Madeleine had been murdered (the sole hypothesis his presence was to analyse)
  • 23rd of July – Mark Harrison report is drafted, and laments that a property has been demolished on the Rocha Negra
    – Gerry McCann flies to Washington
  • 26th of July – Gerry returns from Washington, drives straight to the ‘triangle’ area, likely picking Kate up on the way. Visiting the chapel in Hortas do Tabual?

Ben has made a new post addressing corrections and feedback:

Discussion on CMOMM:

Faking it: Tears of a Crime - will you be watching it, Kate and Gerry McCann?

They cried, they lied and they believed they could get away with it. Criminals who tried to play victims.

Don’t miss the brand new series ‘Faking It: Tears of a Crime’, starting Jan 6th at 10pm on Investigation Discovery UK!

Looks as though it will major on Karen Matthews / Michael Donovan, and Mick and Mairead Philpott
which is unsurprising since they were all convicted

So we have one faked abduction etc and an attempt to scam  £50,000, and a search involving 300 officers and costing £3.2m

And one multiple murder of their own children

Both involved TV appeals - which nailed them as the Detectives were able to see they were false

No tears

False Info

Perverting the course of justice

Teddy bears, searches, posters, appeals for money and help,

Matthew relatives even contacted Rothley asking for money,

and the DS in charge said they had been "inspired"  by the McCanns.

I suspect there may be some remarkable parallels, which can be noted and commented on . . .

And for good measure, a couple of chapters from Peter's e-book: "What really happened to Madeleine McCann?"

Chapter 10: Appeals and Pleas

Chapter 11: Crocodile Tears

McCann's Embedded Confessions - Richard D. Hall travels to the USA to interview Peter Hyatt

Posted by Richard D. Hall

Published on Nov 25, 2016
In November 2016 I travelled to the United States to meet and interview Peter Hyatt. Peter is a highly respected expert in statement analysis and in his work he teaches other professionals and assists law enforcement on criminal cases. When we speak, the process of constructing sentences in our mind involves deciding which tense to use, which words to select from our vocabulary and what order to put them in. This mental process all happens in a fraction of a second. If somebody is constructing sentences from their experiential memory, ie, recalling something real that actually happened to them, the process of word selection follows particular patterns and characteristics, which can be easily identified by a trained statement analyst. If however a person is fabricating and being untruthful when they speak, the natural cognitive process of choosing and ordering words is interrupted, because the mind must censor and insert artificial information in a very short time period. This means the language of somebody who is fabricating is characteristically different and can be picked up by a trained analyst like Peter Hyatt. He has analysed in depth an interview that Kate and Gerry McCann gave in 2011 and throughout the entire interview both Kate and Gerry it appears show signs of deception. Not only that, Peter determines from their language what he believes to be what it is they are concealing. The conclusions are shocking.

Conclusions by Statement Analyst, Peter Hyatt, after viewing numerous interviews of Kate and Gerry McCann: 

Links to related topics on CMOMM:

Observations by PeterMac, retired Police Superintendent detective: 
McCanns Embedded Confessions

Replies from Prime Minister, Home Office and Deputy Assistant Commissioner in response to my letter suggesting Operation Grange is not a genuine enquiry

Many years from now, when the truth comes out about Operation Grange, there will be VISIBLE PROOF that those in charge of Operation Grange - and the Prime Minister of the day and her staff - were TOLD about the numerous facts in this letter which show that Operation Grange was a farcical, expensive charade from Day One.

And that they did NOTHING about it.

Here is my letter:

R.I.P Madeleine Beth McCann, aged just 3 years old, betrayed by absolutely everyone from your own parents to the Prime Minister.

FRESH MADDIE SCANDAL Ex-cop who accused McCanns of faking Maddie’s abduction plans second book slamming Brit cops

FRESH MADDIE SCANDAL Ex-cop who accused McCann’s of faking Maddie’s abduction plans second book slamming Brit cops

Goncalo Amaral has almost finished his second book with his first having caused ripples through the missing person's case

4th October 2016, 2:31 pm

A FORMER cop who previously accused Maddie McCann’s parents of faking her abduction is set to release a second controversial book targeting the involvement of British police.

Goncalo Amaral has almost finished his second book, but although it is expected to centre around the 2008 disappearance of Maddie in Algarave, Portugal, it is unclear what details the author will release.

Madeleine McCann has been missing since she was on holiday with her parents in Portugal in 2007

Goncalo Amaral has previously said that Kate and Gerry McCann had faked the abduction.

Kate McCann described the author's first book as 'devastating and distressing'

The 56-year-old author previously wrote The Truth Of The Lie in 2008, which accused her parents Kate and Gerry McCann of faking Maddie’s abduction.

But the couple have previously been left reeling after having their £395,000 libel victory revoked by Lisbon appeal judges who overturned a ban on his book in April.

To add insult to injury, Amaral also is planning to sue the couple for compensation after winning his appeal.

The author made more than £316,000 from his book around the disappearance of Madeleine McCann

Amaral is understood to have earned £316,000 from his book before it was banned.

In the book, Amaral claimed that Madeleine, who was three when she disappeared from the family’s Algarve holiday apartment, had died in the flat and they had faked her abduction to cover up the tragedy.

The book was released just three days after Gerry, 48, and Kate, from Leicester, were told their status as arguidos or formal suspects had been lifted on July 21, 2008.

During court proceedings, Kate McCann, 48, described Amaral’s first book as “devastating and distressing”

According to a source, the ex-police chief has been getting help from friends and well-wishers to survive as all of his property is “tied up” legally during the civil action with the McCanns.

Now the author’s second book is almost finished will focus on the Metropolitan Police’s investigation into the missing girl.

It is not yet known to what detail Amaral plans to go into when seemingly speaking about the Met in his second book.

Scotland Yard’s £12m Operation Grange inquiry, prompted by a personal request from David Cameron five years ago and funded by the Home Office, is said to be under pressure as police face budget cuts in other areas.

It is unknown what details Amaral plans to release in his latest book

Maddie went missing on May 3 2007 from her bed in a holiday apartment in the Praia da Luz resort, her younger twin siblings were also in the house but were not taken.

At the time of the abduction, Gerry and Kate were with friends dining at a restaurant around 160ft away, checking the children throughout the evening.

Her disappearance took the world by storm and it has been called the most heavily reported missing-person case in modern history.

The backgrounds and histories of agencies and individuals who were employed by the McCanns and the Directors of the ‘Find Madeleine Fund’ in their ‘Search for Madeleine’

The McCanns and the Directors of the ‘Find Madeleine Fund’ in their ‘Search for Madeleine’

Below are listed the main agencies and individuals employed by the McCann Team, in the approximate order in which they were appointed. The details given are by no means a complete record of these matters, which clearly illustrate the unsuitability of all of them to search for a missing child:

1 Brian Kennedy
2 Gary Hagland
3 Metodo 3
4 Francisco Marco
5 Antonio Gimenez Raso
6 Julian Peribanez
7 Marcos Aragao Correia
8 Oakley International
9 Kevin Halligen
10 Henri Exton
11 Tim Craig-Harvey
13 Former Detective Inspector Dave Edgar
14 Former Detective Sergeant Arthur Cowley
15 Melissa Little

Brian Kennedy

Brian Kennedy has been the acknowledged head of the McCanns’ private investigations since September 2007, possibly even before then. He must take personal responsibility therefore for the appointment of all the other 14 agencies and individuals listed above.

I refer now to an article by Mark Hollingsworth in the Evening Standard in August 2009, which discusses the McCanns’ private investigation. Here is part of it, quote:

“Kennedy hired Metodo 3, an agency based in Barcelona, on a six-month contract and paid it an estimated £50,000 a month. Metodo 3 was hired because of Spain’s ‘language and cultural connection’ with Portugal. ‘If we’d had big-booted Brits or, heaven forbid, Americans, we would have had doors slammed in our faces’ said Clarence Mitchell, spokesperson for the McCann’s at the time. ‘And it’s quite likely that we could have been charged with hindering the investigation as technically it’s illegal in Portugal to undertake a secondary investigation.

The agency had 35 investigators working on the case in Britain, France, Spain, Portugal and Morocco. A hotline was set up for the public to report sightings and suspicions, and the search focussed on Morocco. But the investigation was dogged by over-confidence and braggadocio. ‘We know who took Madeleine and hope she will be home by Christmas,’ boasted Metodo 3’s flamboyant boss Francisco Marco. But no Madeleine materialised and their contract was not renewed.

Until now, few details have emerged about the private investigation during those crucial early months, but an investigation by the Evening Standard shows that key mistakes were made, which in turn made later enquiries far more challenging.

The Evening Standard has spoken to several sources close to the private investigations that took place in the first year and discovered that:

* The involvement of Brian Kennedy and his son Patrick in the operation was counter-productive, notably when they were questioned by the local police for acting suspiciously while attempting a 24-hour ‘stake out’.

* The relationship between Metodo 3 and the Portuguese police had completely broken down.

* Key witnesses were questioned far too aggressively, so much so that some of them later refused to talk to the police.

* Many of the investigators had little experience of the required painstaking forensic detective work”.

These were very serious allegations. The most serious by far was the claim that Brian Kennedy’s men had intimidated potential witnesses into silence.

I must also refer to what at the time was a secret meeting held on 13 November 2007 between Brian Kennedy and the first and chief suspect at the time, Robert Murat. This was a highly irregular meeting between the man investigating Madeleine’s disappearance for the McCanns (Brian Kennedy) and the original suspect in the case (Robert Murat). Present at the meeting, held in the Portugal home of Robert Murat’s aunt and uncle, Ralph and Sally Eveleigh, were: Kennedy and the McCanns’ co-ordinating Solicitor (and since 2009 a Director of the Find Madeleine Fund), Edward Smethurst, and Robert Murat, his mother, aunt and uncle and Murat’s lawyer, Francisco Pagarete. It was therefore a meeting between top legal representatives of the three main suspects in the case. When, a fortnight later, news of the meeting was leaked to the Portuguese press, Kennedy claimed he had met Murat simply ‘to offer him a job looking for Madeleine’. These facts suggest that Operation Grange should have investigated what the real reason was for this meeting.

Gary Hagland

He was employed by Cheshire businessman Brian Kennedy, who led the series of private investigations conducted by the McCanns and the Directors of the McCanns’ ‘Find Madeleine Fund’. He worked for him, according to statements of his that I have seen, from around September 2007 to March/April 2008, and was based in a house bought by Brian Kennedy for the investigation in Knutsford, Cheshire. He had no qualifications or experience in looking for missing children. His only qualification appears to be in money laundering legislation. An article was written by him in 1993, published in the Journal of Financial Regulation and Compliance. Accompanying this abstract is a brief description of the author, Gary Hagland, which states: ““Gary Hagland, AMSI MIMgt, entered the fledgling area of compliance in 1985 after leaving the Royal Hong Kong Police where he had served in criminal intelligence for some six years”. In addition, Hagland has written a book, under the pen name ‘Mason Horsburgh’, titled ‘UFO: A Saucer full of Secrets’, in which he describes encounters with aliens and flying saucers, including a rapid trip around the planets to beyond Saturn and back. He is also on record, in writing, as having deep reservations about the work he was employed to do for the McCanns, and claims that he was fired by Brian Kennedy after he told him face-to-face that his investigation was ‘heading in the wrong direction’. He has written an as-yet-unpublished book about his experiences working for the McCanns.

Metodo 3

Metodo 3 was the Barcelona-based private detective agency used by the McCanns as their lead investigators from September 2007 to April 2008. Despite obvious problems surrounding this firm of detectives, the McCann Team continued to use them until at least March 2009. The firm had an extremely poor reputation in Barcelona. Journalist Christine Twomey from The Times interviewed its Director and a colleague in early 2008 and also came away with a strong impression that Metodo 3 was very far from being the reputable agency that the McCanns claimed it to be. Metodo 3 had previously been investigated by Spanish police over persistent allegations that they were involved in systematic illegal telephone tapping, and several of its staff were questioned by police. The firm was later involved in another scandal over government contracts for ‘research’ work. But, instead, they produced useless, bogus reports. In 2014 the firm eventually went out of business when they were again found to have been conducting illegal telephone recordings of conversations between major Catalonian politicians.

Francisco Marco

Marco was the Director of Metodo 3 at the time of Madeleine’s disappearance and remained so until the recent closure of Metodo 3. In the run-up to Christmas 2007, Marco lied on several occasions, making these wild and untrue claims which were widely reported in the British press: ‘Madeleine is alive’, ‘We know where she is’, and ‘Our men are closing in on the kidnappers’. This led to dramatic headlines in the British press: ‘Maddie will be home by Christmas’. Despite this succession of outright lies, the McCanns continued to employ his services for at least another 15 months. In 2013 he was at the centre of an operation to illegally record conversations of top politicians in a Barcelona restaurant. He was arrested and charged.

Antonio Gimenez Raso

Antonio Gimenez Raso was one of Metodo 3’s leading investigators on the Madeleine McCann case, from September 2007 to 17 February 2008. On that date he was arrested and remanded in custody on very serious drugs charges. It was alleged that, back in 2004, when he was working as a Drugs and Trafficking Inspector for the Catalonian Regional Police, he had supplied information about a stash of 25 kilos of cocaine, worth millions of pounds, on a boat in Barcelona harbour, enabling a criminal gang to steal it. This gang was later described by a Barcelona judge as ‘a 27-strong vicious gang that practised exceptional violence’. Headlines in the British, Spanish and Portuguese press on 18 February 2008 stated unequivocally that Gimenez Raso was ‘One of the investigators employed by the McCanns’, a fact that has since been confirmed. Yet the McCanns’ spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, issued an immediate, flat denial, claiming: ‘Gimenez Raso is not one of our men’. After four years in custody, Gimenez Raso was found ‘Not Guilty’ because of insufficient proof that he had supplied information to the gang, but, in acquitting him, the judge told him that the evidence had revealed that “You became much too close to the members of this gang”. It was also revealed that in late 2004 Gimenez Raso had ‘left’ his senior post in the police’s Drugs and Trafficking Department, though whether he was sacked or simply resigned is unclear (see also below under Marcos Aragao Correia).

Gimenez Raso was also central to persistent allegations that members of the McCann Team and British journalists were offering money to people in Morocco in exchange for stories claiming that they might have had a ‘sighting’ of girls who looked like Madeleine McCann. According to one media report: “Antonio Gimenez Raso had travelled to Morocco and, whilst he was there, was able - somehow - to find a number of witnesses who claimed to have seen Madeleine. It was around the time of Gimenez’s trip to Morocco that the Moroccan government took the unusual step of expelling a man who had been visiting hotels and garages in various parts of Morocco offering people money if they could claim to have seen a girl looking like Madeleine.

At the Leveson enquiry, David Pilditch, lead journalist for the Daily Express covering the Madeleine McCann case, admitted on oath paying at least one witness money in return for claims of a ‘sighting’. Additionally, Sunday Express reporter James Murray and Express photographer Mike Gunnill were accurately reported to have “driven from Portugal to the southern Spanish port of Tarifa, across to Tangiers, then boarded the train to Marrakech via Casablanca”. There, they had “visited contacts at locations in Marrakech”. Gimenez Raso was known to have been in the area at that time. In addition, Paulo Reis from the GazetaDigital site reported that “The Moroccan authorities expelled a British citizen a few days ago, after he contacted staff from a gas station near the city of Marrakesh. A source from ‘Sureté Nacionale’, Moroccan security and intelligence services, confirmed that the British citizen offered a large amount of money to several employees, in exchange for specific statements about a sighting concerning a blonde girl. The British Embassy in Morocco, contacted by SOS Madeleine, refused to comment. The possibility of having private detectives working in their country was referred, by the same source, as “an offence and a violation of national sovereignty”. These are matters that should be fully investigated, given that there were indeed numerous claimed ‘sightings’ of Madeleine in Morocco, none of which were true.

Julian Peribanez

Julian Peribanez was another employee of Metodo 3 who worked on the Madeleine McCann case. He can be seen in a video uploaded to YouTube walking alongside Cheshire businessman Brian Kennedy, whilst trying to hide his face from the cameras. He was still working for Metodo 3 in 2013 when the scandal of the illegal recordings of politicians in a Barcelona restaurant was exposed. Arrested, he soon admitted his guilt and gave evidence against his boss Francisco Marco to the police on how the illegal recordings operation had been carried out. In 2014, Julian Peribanez wrote a book on his experiences with Metodo 3 in which he gave chapter and verse on a host of illegal activities, scams and frauds carried out by the firm over many years, including in the case of Madeleine McCann. Members of my forum obtained a copy of his book and paid for the translation of the chapter he wrote on the Madeleine McCann case into English. It can be read on my website, here:

It has already had nearly 8,000 views on my forum. Peribanez makes the following statements about Metodo 3.

1 Initially Metodo 3 worked closely with Brian Kennedy and money-laundering expert Gary Hagland, who Peribanez met at least twice.

2 He and a Metodo 3 colleague, Antonio Tamarit, worked in close contact with the British government-backed security firm, Control Risks Group.

3 There was a meeting in Manchester in early 2008 between Brian Kennedy and Marita Fernandes, the mother of the head of Metodo 3 (Francisco Marco) and José Luis Marco Llavina, her nephew, who was Metodo 3’s accountant.

4 Tamarit says of these two: “[Neither] had carried out any investigative work for many years…they made a fortune by means of deception and dishonest trickery…Metodo 3 was swindling [Madeleine’s Fund, with] inflated expenses, invented items, false invoices, etc.”

5 Specific information is given: “Francisco Marco…obtained some El Corte Inglés travel invoices and subsequently falsified them by changing the details”.

Peribanez adds that the claims made by Metodo 3 that they had either 20, or even 40, people working on the Madeleine McCann investigation were outright lies. He says there were only ever three. He adds that Francisco’s claims of having ‘a bank of multilingual telephonists to staff the telephone hotline’ were also ‘bogus’.

Marcos Aragao Correia

Marcos Correia was a lawyer from the island of Madeira who played a very significant role in supporting the McCanns, although the McCanns never conceded this fact. We do, however, have multiple evidences from Correia himself that he was directly instructed in his activities at all times by Brian Kennedy, on behalf of the McCanns. He was engaged by them on two main tasks. One was to act as the lawyer representing convicted murderess Leonor Cipriano in a criminal complaint by her against Goncalo Amaral, the co-ordinator of the Madeleine McCann investigation until 2 October 2007. The other was to search the Arade Dam for Madeleine’s bones.

Leonor Cipriano and her brother were convicted in 2005 of murdering Ms Cipriano’s 8-year-old daughter, Joana, having originally reported her missing. The murder was especially brutal and each received 16-year jail sentences. In unusual circumstances, Marcos Correia visited Ms Cipriano in Odemira Women’s Prison on 8 April 2008 and replaced her existing lawyer. Mr Correia then pursued, on behalf of the McCanns, a legal action by Ms Cipriano against Mr Amaral and four other detectives, accusing them of having tortured her into making a false confession. The charges of torture were dismissed but, in a decision which baffled legal experts, Amaral was found guilty of ‘filing a false report’ and handed a suspended prison sentence.

Still more controversially, Correia worked with Metodo 3 to plan searches for Madeleine’s bones on the Arade Dam, Portugal. As he has personally testified, he met Metodo 3 detectives - Director Francisco Marco and another, probably Antonio Gimenez Raso (see above) - at the Arade Dam on 10 December 2007. Both men had been instructed to meet each other by Brian Kennedy, on behalf of the McCanns. It was a remarkable and expensive meeting. Correia would have had to travel over 600 miles from Madeira, and another 600 back, for the meeting and Marco and Gimenez Raso would have travelled a similar distance from their base in Barcelona.

Just seven weeks after this unusual meeting, British and Portuguese newspapers reported dramatic news that a ‘Good Samaritan’, namely Marcos Correia, had begun a gruesome, week-long search for Madeleine’s bones. He claimed he was doing this out of the goodness of his heart, and his own pocket, because he had received intelligence from Portugal’s criminal underworld that her body had been thrown into a lake. He claimed he had worked out which lake it was. He undertook a further week-long search five weeks later, in early March 2008. Nothing of interest was found, but, significantly, he handed his findings not to the Portuguese police, as he should have done, but to Metodo 3 investigators.

Statements made by and on behalf of the McCanns suggested that they had known nothing of these planned searches of the dam. But it was clear that they must have done, having put their private investigations into the hands of Brian Kennedy, who in turn employed Correia and the Metodo 3 investigators, who held that significant meeting at the Arade Dam on 10 December 2007.

Only after the two week-long searches did some significant facts emerge about Marcos Correia. First, he admitted, eventually, that he had been paid by Brian Kennedy both to prosecute the Madeleine McCann investigator, Goncalo Amaral, in the criminal courts, and to carry out the two bogus searches of the Arade Dam. It also emerged that he had given two entirely different versions of how he came to take an interest in the Madeleine McCann case.

His initial claim was that underworld sources had told him that Madeleine had been abducted by a paedophile gang, raped, killed and then her body thrown into ‘a murky lake’. He said he had then used ‘visions’ and maps to locate where the gang probably threw the body. He later admitted that this was a complete fabrication, and proceeded to give another version of how his interest in Madeleine McCann had arisen. This time, he said that on Saturday 5 May, just two days after Madeleine had been reported missing, he had been to his first-ever Spiritualist church meeting, on the island of Madeira where he lived.

On returning home, he said, he had had a vision of a big, powerful man strangling a young blonde girl. Soon afterwards, he claimed, he had heard about the reported disappearance of Madeleine McCann, connected this with his vision, and decided to offer his help to the police and the McCanns. Sometime later, he admitted that this story, too, was a total fabrication.

Later still, interviewed by a Portuguese journalist about his boasts about being a medium and a visionary, he made this claim (quote): “Metodo 3 submitted me to a test in order to prove beyond all doubt whether or not my mediumistic abilities and my accounts were credible. They were fed up with following false leads. The fact is that the test gave totally positive results, according to what was confirmed to me personally by the Director of Método 3 in Barcelona himself. Following my mediumistic abilities passing Metodo 3’s stringent tests, Metodo 3 offered full support to my research”.

Oakley International

In April 2008, the McCanns replaced Metodo 3 as their lead investigators by a firm called Oakley International. This news was revealed around four months later, in August, when sources close to the McCanns claimed that Oakley International were ‘the big boys of international private detection’, based in the United States. On 13 August 2008, the Daily Mail reported: “Kate and Gerry McCann have hired a team of crack U.S detectives to lead the hunt for their missing daughter Madeleine, it has emerged. The unnamed US firm is said to have been offered a £500,000 six-month contract by the Find Madeleine Fund to help spearhead the search. A friend of the McCanns said: 'The hunt for Madeleine is becoming more and more international and it was felt that a truly international firm was now needed to lead the inquiry. These really are the big boys. They are absolutely the best, but they are extremely secretive and cloak-and-dagger about what they do. Since their appointment, Metodo has very much taken a back seat and they are now concentrating primarily in Portugal and Spain and across the Straits of Gibraltar…' The American agency is pretty much handling everything else.' The secretive firm is said to employ ex-FBI, CIA and U.S special forces, according to the Daily Mirror.

These claims, however, were completely false - see below.

Kevin Halligen

Kevin Halligen, an Irishman born in Dublin, but who had followed a career in England for many years, specialising in his knowledge of lithium batteries, was the founder of Oakley International. On investigation, this company turned out to be merely a one-man-band company, registered by Halligen. Significantly, it had been registered in June 2007, only after Madeleine had been reported missing. It was nothing like ‘the big boys of international private detection’ claimed by McCann sources. It was, in effect, a bogus sole trader company in which Halligen employed a couple of his cronies.

In October 2009, after Kevin Halligen had gone on the run from police, who wanted him in connection with an alleged serious fraud committed in the United States. He was eventually arrested by British police after being found holed up with his girlfriend, Shirin Trachiotis, in the £700-a-night Bank Hotel, Oxford. He was taken immediately to Belmarsh top security prison. There, he spent three years fighting what was, ultimately, an unsuccessful legal battle to avoid extradition to the U.S.

In the U.S. he was convicted of a fraud totalling around $1.5 million and was handed a four-year jail sentence.

Prior to his arrest, Halligen’s shocking activities whilst working for the McCanns had been revealed in a highly illuminating article by Mark Hollingsworth in the Evening Standard in August 2009. This article noted that the original contract with Kevin Halligen might have been with Kevin Halligen’s company ‘Red Defence International’, but the media reported that it was Oakley International with whom the contract was made. Because of the secrecy surrounding the McCann case, it is impossible to know which, if either, is true. I will quote directly from Mark Hollingsworth’s article:


Kevin Halligen [was] a smooth-talking Irishman who claimed to have worked for covert British government intelligence agency GCHQ Halligen [and his friend Henri Exton] were for hire for a fee of £100,000 per month plus expenses”.

“Halligen…has been described as a ‘Walter Mitty figure’. He used false names to collect prospective clients at airports in order to preserve secrecy, and he called himself ‘Kevin’ or ‘Richard’ or ‘Patrick’ at different times to describe himself to business contacts…He is obsessed by surveillance gadgets and even installed a covert camera to spy on his own employees. He claimed to have worked for GCHQ, but in fact he was employed by the Atomic Energy Authority as head of defence systems in the field of new information technology…”

“Halligen has a degree in electronics [and] worked on the fringes of the intelligence community...After leaving the AEA, Halligen set up Red Defence International Ltd as an international security and political risk company, advising clients on the risks involved in investing and doing business in unstable, war-torn and corrupt countries…In 2006, he struck gold when hired by Trafigura, the Dutch commodities trading company. Executives were imprisoned in the Ivory Coast after toxic waste was dumped in landfills near its biggest city Abidjan. Trafigura was blamed and hired Red Defence International at vast expense to help with the negotiations to release its executives. A Falcon business jet was rented for several months during the operation and it was Halligen’s first taste of the good life. The case only ended when Trafigura paid $197 million to the government of the Ivory Coast to secure the release of the prisoners. Halligen made a fortune from Trafigura and was suddenly flying everywhere first-class, staying at the Lansborough and Stafford hotels in London and The Willard hotel in Washington DC for months at a time. In 2007 he set up Oakley International Group and registered at the offices of the prestigious law firm Patton Boggs, in Washington DC, as an international security company. He was now strutting the stage as a self-proclaimed international spy expert and joined the Special Forces Club in Knightsbridge, where he met Exton”. “During the Madeleine investigation, Halligen spent vast amounts of time in the HeyJo bar in the basement of the Abracadabra Club near his Jermyn Street office. Armed with a clutch of unregistered mobile phones and a Blackberry, the bar was in effect his office. ‘He was there virtually the whole day,’ a former colleague told the Evening Standard: ‘He had an amazing tolerance for alcohol…When not imbibing in St James’s, Halligen was in the United States, trying to drum up investors for Oakley International. On 15 August 2008, at the height of the McCann investigation crisis, he persuaded Andre Hollis, a former US Drug enforcement agency official, to write out an $80,000 cheque to Oakley in return for a ten per cent share-holding. The money was then transferred into the private accounts of Halligen and his girlfriend Shirin Trachiotis to finance a holiday in Italy, according to Hollis. In a $6 million lawsuit filed in Fairfax County, Virginia, Hollis alleges that Halligen ‘received monies for Oakley’s services rendered and deposited the same into his personal accounts’ and ‘repeatedly and systematically depleted funds from Oakley’s bank accounts for inappropriate personal expenses’. Hollis was not the only victim. Mark Aspinall, a respected lawyer who worked closely with Halligen, invested £500,000 in Oakley and lost the lot. Earlier this year he filed a lawsuit in Washington DC against Halligen claiming $1.4 million in damages. The finances of Oakley International are in chaos and numerous employees, specialist consultants and contractors have not been paid. Some of them now face financial ruin”.

“…by mid-August 2008, Kennedy and Gerry McCann were increasingly concerned by an absence of details of how the money was being spent. At one meeting, Halligen was asked how many men constituted a surveillance team and he produced a piece of paper on which he wrote ‘between one and ten’. But he then refused to say how many were working and how much they were being paid…Halligen was charging very high rates and expenses….eyebrows were raised when all the money was paid to Oakley International, solely owned and managed by Halligen. One invoice, seen by the Evening Standard, shows that for ‘accrued expenses to May 5, 2008’ (just one month into the contract), Oakley charged $74,155. The ‘point of contact’ was Halligen who provided a UK mobile telephone number”.

“The contract [with Brian Kennedy] was terminated by the end of September 2008, after £500,000, plus expenses, had been spent. Halligen has gone into hiding, leaving a trail of debt and numerous former business associates and creditors looking for him. He was last seen in January of this year in Rome, drinking and spending prodigiously at the Hilton Cavalieri and Excelsior hotels…"

Henri Exton

As can be seen above, Exton is or was an associate of Kevin Halligen. It appears that Halligen employed him on his ill-fated Madeleine McCann investigation. Mark Hollingsworth wrote this about him in the 2009 Evening Standard article quoted above:

“Exton had been an undercover officer for the Manchester police. A maverick…figure, he successfully infiltrated gangs of football hooligans in the 1980s…In 1991 he was seconded to work on MI5 undercover operations against drug dealers, gangsters and terrorists…But in November 2002, the stress appeared to have overcome his judgment when he was arrested for shoplifting. While working on an MI5 surveillance, Exton was caught leaving a tax-free shopping area at Manchester airport with a bottle of perfume he had not paid for. The police were called and he was given the option of the offence being dealt with under caution or to face prosecution. He chose a police caution and so in effect admitted his guilt”.

In the BBC Crimewatch McCann special shown on 14 October 2013, two e-fits of different-looking men were shown to viewers, who were told by the Head of Operation Grange, Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, that the man represented by these two very different e-fits was ‘the centre of our focus’. It was said that these two e-fits were drawn up by two members of the family of Martin Smith, from Drogheda, Ireland. However, there are major doubts about the reliability of the sighting claimed by the family. The e-fits were produced by Exton in the spring of 2008 and shown to the McCanns. The McCanns say that ‘by October 2009’ they had shown these e-fits to Leicestershire Police and the Portuguese police, yet nothing was done about them until the Crimewatch show of October in 2014. Undoubtedly there is a great mystery about Exton’s role in producing those two puzzling e-fits.

Tim Craig-Harvey

Tim Craig-Harvey was another close associate of Kevin Halligen; both had close connections with government security services. Little was known about his role in the Madeleine McCann case until he appeared in a Channel 5 film about the case in early 2014. Research since then has revealed that Tim Craig-Harvey was involved in the formation and running of a number of companies associated with Kevin Halligen. Both had close associates in common. Given what we now know about Kevin Halligen’s history and modus operandi, there must clearly also be major question marks about precisely why Craig-Harvey got involved in the Madeleine McCann case.


In March 2009, shortly before a Channel 4 documentary made by Mentorn Media about the reported disappearance of Madeleine McCann, shown in May that year, stories began to appear in the print and TV media about a new company said to have been engaged by the McCann Team to find Madeleine. The press referred to it as ‘Alpha Investigations Group’. A number of reports suggested the following: (a) that it was a well-established and reputable detective agency and (b) that the ‘head’ of this agency was either retired Detective Inspector Dave Edgar, or him and a colleague, retired Detective Sergeant Arthur Cowley. Neither was true.

In fact, subsequent analysis by Madeleine McCann researchers unearthed these facts:

1 Dave Edgar was appointed independently by Brian Kennedy
2 So was Arthur Cowley
3 There was and never had been any company called ‘Alpha Investigations Group’, and
4 Instead, a bogus company, ALPHAIG, had been set up to give the false impression that there really was a company called Alpha Investigations Group.

The researchers also unearthed the following facts:

A Only after Edgar and Cowley had been working for the McCann Team for months did the head of the McCann Team’s private investigation, Brian Kennedy, set up a one-man-band company, ALPHAIG, in the name of Arthur Cowley, the sole Director. That occurred on 10 June 2009.

B One of Kennedy’s friends and business associates, Andrew Dickman, two days later, also registered an internet domain in the name of ALPHAIG - but it was never used.

C ALPHAIG never traded.

D Only one set of accounts was ever produced and it showed no evidence of any business being done.

E The registered office was Cowley’s home - a hilltop cottage 1,000 feet up on Halkyn Mountain in north Wales.

F It was never the base for any detective agency.

G ALPHAIG never had a website.

H ALPHAIG never had any offices.

I ALPHAIG never advertised.

J ALPHAIG ceased to exist in 2011.

Sometime after it ceased to exist, Arthur Cowley spoke to a journalist and told him that he held ‘secrets’ about the Madeleine McCann case that he was not prepared to disclose and would ‘take to my grave’.

It appears, therefore, that ALPHAIG was only registered as a company to give a wholly misleading impression to the media and the public. ALPHAIG was a dummy company. Neither Dave Edgar nor Arthur Cowley was employed by, or running, a company called Alpha Investigations Group, nor had they been running any detective agency at all, let alone a well-established one.

The media were deceived. Brian Kennedy appears to have been responsible for this misleading impression being given. He personally appointed Dave Edgar. He appointed Arthur Cowley as well. One of Brian Kennedy’s long-time friends and contacts registered a domain name for ALPHAIG.

Former Detective Inspector Dave Edgar

In his August 2009 article for the Evening Standard, Mark Hollingsworth wrote this about a press conference organised by the McCanns’ spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, and Dave Edgar, earlier that month:

“It was billed as a ‘significant development’ in the exhaustive search for Madeleine McCann. At a recent dramatic press conference in London, the lead private investigator David Edgar, a retired Cheshire detective inspector, brandished an e-fit image of an Australian woman, described her as ‘a bit of a Victoria Beckham lookalike’, and appealed for help in tracing her. The woman was seen ‘looking agitated’ outside a restaurant in Barcelona three days after Madeleine’s disappearance. ‘It is a strong lead’, said Edgar, wearing a pin-stripe suit in front of a bank of cameras and microphones. ‘Madeleine could have been in Barcelona by that point. The fact the conversation took place near the marina could be significant'."

But, within days, reporters discovered that the private detectives had failed to make the most basic enquiries before announcing their potential breakthrough. Members of Edgar’s team who visited Barcelona had failed to speak to anyone working at the restaurant near where the agitated woman was seen that night, neglected to ask if the mystery woman had been filmed on CCTV cameras and knew nothing about the arrival of an Australian luxury yacht just after Madeleine vanished”.

Little is known about the career of Dave Edgar, except that he worked in Northern Ireland for a substantial period, One thing about the press conference that Mark Hollingsworth failed to mention was that during it, Edgar claimed that the McCanns’ friend Jane Tanner, who maintained that she had seen a man carrying a child at about 9.15pm on the evening Madeleine was reported missing, might actually have seen a woman, not a man. This seemed to fit in with the narrative about a woman seen on Barcelona docks that Clarence Mitchell and Dave Edgar were trying to convey to the media. But it made a nonsense of the detailed description she had given on 4 May 2007 (the day after Madeleine was reported missing) of a man.

He also made strange pronouncements about what he thought had happened to Madeleine, often based on a range of media stories. To give one example, in September 2009 he developed the strongly-held belief, published in at least two newspapers, that Madeleine was being held alive in an underground lair within a few miles of Praia da Luz. There was absolutely no evidence of this. Despite this ‘firm’ belief of Edgar’s, the McCann Team did nothing to follow up this apparently sincerely-held conviction. It appeared that the only basis for this hypothesis was that the media had reported a few weeks before on the case of Jaycee Lee Dugard, an 11-year-old girl who was abducted in 1991 but was found alive 18 years later, in the summer of 2009. Edgar’s claim that he believed Madeleine was being hidden in a lair on the Algarve coast was fairly obviously for media consumption - to capitalise, as it were, on the publicity surrounding Jaycee Lee Dugard - and was never a genuine line of enquiry.

Former Detective Sergeant Arthur Cowley

I have covered his limited role in the McCann Team’s private investigation above. I have indicated that the evidence suggests that he was not running a company called ALPHAIG, but merely agreed with his employer, Brian Kennedy’s plan to make it look as though he and Dave Edgar were running along-established business called Alpha Investigations Group.

Melissa Little

Melissa Little was not, strictly speaking, one of the McCann Team’s investigators. She was hailed by the McCann Team as an ‘F.B.I.--trained forensic artist’, which sounded highly impressive. Her main role in the private Madeleine McCann investigation was to produce two sketches of alleged suspects. One of them, of the man supposedly seen by Jane Tanner at 9.15pm on the night Madeleine was reported missing, was produced on 25 October 2007 - nearly six months after Madeleine had been reported missing. There was no obvious reason why the McCann Team took so long to release this sketch. It was of very little, if any, value, so long after the event. Moreover, Jane Tanner’s description has changed over time in significant respects. Moreover, Jane Tanner said she had not seen any of the man’s face.

Brian Kennedy, some weeks later, asked Melissa Little to produce another sketch for him. This time it was of a moustachoied man, with long, straggly hair, said by the McCann Team to be a suspect. It was based on a sighting by a Ms Gail Cooper of a suspicious-looking charity collector she had seen in Praia da Luz. The McCann Team publicised this sketch, with the help of Leicestershire Police and the News of the World, on 20 January 2008. The man became known by many who saw the sketch as ‘George Harrison man’ or ‘Monsterman’. The sketch was based on reports of this man submitted privately to the McCann Team and not to the Portuguese police. One of the curious features of this second drawing by Melissa Little is that it bore a passing resemblance to the earlier one she had drawn based upon Jane Tanner’s claims. Jane Tanner even made a statement that she was ‘60% to 80% sure’ that the person she had seen and ‘Monsterman’ were one and the same.

This wholly lacked credibility as she admitted that she had seen no part of the face of the man she said she had seen.

Paulo Reis, a Portuguese researcher into the Madeleine McCann case, made some important observations, on the ‘GazetaDigital’ website, on Melissa Little’s two sketches. He referred to a Powerpoint demonstration produced by the McCanns and sent to the Portuguese police and Leicestershire Police in advance of the news report in the News of the World.

He noted these points:

1 Although Jane Tanner had not seen the face of the man she claimed to have seen on 3 May, and Gail Cooper had clearly seen, full face, possibly more than once, the man she identified, Melissa Little was somehow able (after spending hours with both witnesses) to state “There are many similarities between Miss Tanner’s man and Gail’s”

2 Gerry McCann stated in his Powerpoint presentation to Leicestershire Police: “Miss Tanner spent a full day with Melissa Little, a qualified Police Sketch Artist since 1986, to compile this likeness of the suspect”

3 Miss [Jane] Tanner believes that there is an 80% likelihood that this is the same man she saw carrying away the child, believed to be Madeleine.

The News of the World developed this story still further. They wrote: “The sketch by qualified police artist Melissa Little bears an uncanny resemblance to an earlier picture, based on Miss Tanner's story”. Paulo Reis added this comment to his article: “This is unsurprising given both selections had - using considerable artistic licence - been made by the same artist, Melissa Little, and paid for by Mr Kennedy to assist the McCanns”.

Paulo Reis hinted strongly that Melissa Little may not have been independent, but in effect had colluded with Brian Kennedy and the McCann Team to suggest to the British public that the two images were of the same man. To achieve this, Melissa Little also sketched a drawing of how Monsterman might have looked carrying a child. As no-one had actually seen him doing so, this was most certainly the use of artistic licence, at best, and arguably dishonest.

Two footnotes need to be added.

First, the man identified as ‘Monsterman’ by Melissa Little’s sketch was soon identified by the Portuguese police and firmly ruled out of any connection to Madeleine’s disappearance.

Second, Jane Tanner had taken part in an identity parade on 13 May 2007, 10 days after Madeleine’s reported disappearance. One of those paraded before her, viewed from inside a police van with a two-way mirror, was Robert Murat.. Jane Tanner told the police that she was adamant that Robert Murat was the abductor she had seen just 10 days earlier. Murat was made a formal suspect two days later, partly on the strength of Tanner’s strong conviction that he was the man she had seen. However, Murat looked nothing like either the man she had described as having seen on 3 May, nor did he look anything like ‘Monsterman’. How was it possible for Jane Tanner, who had never seen the man’s face in the first place, to first of all say it was Robert Murat, and then to say it was ‘80% likely’ that he was Gail Cooper’s ‘Monsterman’?

Evidence of the direct involvement of MI5, MI6 and other branches of government security services in the Madeleine McCann case

Evidence of the direct involvement of MI5, MI6 and other branches of government security services in the Madeleine McCann case

This is an attempt to put together a short summary of what is known about the direct involvement of MI5, MI6 and other branches of government security services in the Madeleine McCann case. It is made following press reports this week about Goncalo Amaral’s recent references to the continuing involvement of MI5 in the Madeleine McCann case. It is not meant to be comprehensive, it is just at this stage a series of notes about the involvement of the British security services in the case. I hope others will add to them.

It does not cover other forms of government assistance to the McCanns which we know includes:

The heavy early involvement of the British ambassador and consul in Portugal

The appointment of Clarence Mitchell, then head of the government’s 40-strong Media Monitoring Unit, to manage the reputation of the McCanns and control publicity on the case from the first month right up until today

The involvement of CEOP in seeking photographs direct from the public and then, through Jim Gamble, actively assisting the McCann campaign on several occasions

Intervention with the Border Agency, allowing the McCanns to avoid going through customs control

The personal intervention of Gordon Brown in the case, first as Chancellor of the Exchequer and then as Prime Minister

Meetings by successive Home Secretaries with the McCanns

Directing the Metropolitan Police to set up Operation Grange.

MI5, MI6 and security services involvement in the Madeleine McCann case: A summary

1. Goncalo Amaral, in his book, ‘The Truth About A Lie’, refers to the active involvement of staff from MI5 in his investigation

2. In an article about the case as recently as 29 June 2014, Goncalo Amaral again spoke of MI5 involvement:
He said: “People will eventually learn what really happened when MI5 opens the case files. Don’t forget that the British secret services followed the case right from the beginning. I don’t know if that information will be made available, but if it’s like the United States, it takes years to have access to confidential information”.

3. In his book, ‘The Truth About A Lie’, Amaral makes these observations: “Two days later, English colleagues begin to arrive…Bob Small, an officer from the Leicestershire police, and one of his colleagues meet us to take stock of the situation…We insist on knowing what our English counterparts have come to Portugal to do…Then two more police officers arrive who are assigned to psychological support and communication with the family. Little by little, the number of English police officers grows exponentially. We place at their disposal a room next to our crisis unit, Task Portugal. These are specialists from various police services, including Scotland Yard. Special surveillance teams as well as information and telecommunications technicians turn up with their laptops and various high-tech equipment… Members of the British agency the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre [who had arrived in Portugal], take a close interest in Murat and work to develop his psychological profile…”

4. Amaral also states that Martin Grime, when he travelled back from taking his cadaver dogs Eddie and Keela to Portugal, was met by an MI5 officer who asked him questions (July 2007)

5. Control Risks Group (CRG), a risks and corporate security firm with very close links to the government, sent senior staff to Portugal to advise the McCanns and talk to the Portuguese Police on their behalf. Kate McCann refers to them in her book ‘madeleine’ as ‘primed to help’ (p. 125). CRG were also responsible for sending in another adviser to the McCanns, a man who, when the McCanns asked who he was, said ‘call me Hugh’ and declined to give his name. Kate McCann describes him as ‘a former intelligence officer, now a kidnap negotiator and counselor. ‘Hugh’ said that an ‘anonymous private donor’ was willing to fund the McCanns’ application to make Madeleine a Ward of Court

6. On 14 September 2007 there was a high-powered meeting at Kingsley Napley in London: present were the McCanns, Brian Kennedy, his lawyer and senior Freemason Edward Smethurt, Solicitor Angus McBride (who drove up to Rothley to collect the McCanns), top Solicitor Michael Caplan QC (an expert in extradition proccedings) and at least two members of staff of security company Control Risks Group

7. Gary Hgland, a private investigator chosen personally by Cheshire businessman to assist on the Madeleine McCann case, mentioned, in a chapter of his so-far-unpublished book, meeting with an old friend of his ‘on the Moroccan desk of MI6’ in connection with the McCann Team’s intention to mount a publicity drive in Morocco

8. A Special Branch officer met the McCanns at the airport on their hurried return from Portugal on 9 September and personally drove them to Rothley (‘madeleine’ by Dr Kate McCann, p. 259)

9. Henri Exton, one of the staff employed by Kevin Halligen and Oakley International, is known to have been the former Head of Covert Intelligence at MI5 – until he was dismissed from MI5 after a shoplifting offence. He was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal and the O.B.E. for extensive work in covert security matters for the Ministry of Defence. A blogger about the Madeleine case, known as ‘Blackwatch’, who had inside knowledge of the workings of the British security services, once wrote: “This is no middle grade security services player; he was - as is on the record - formerly the Head of MI5’s Covert Intelligence Section – and you don’t get much higher than that”.

10. Earlier this year, the Sunday Times published an article which said this about evidence compiled by Kevin Halligen, Henri Exton and Oakley International: “The evidence was in fact taken from an intelligence report produced for Gerry and Kate McCann by a firm of former spies in 2008. It contained crucial E-Fits of a man seen carrying a child on the night of Madeleine’s disappearance, which have only this month become public after he was identified as the prime suspect by Scotland Yard. A team of hand-picked former MI5 agents had been hired by the McCanns to chase a much-needed breakthrough in the search for their missing daughter Madeleine”.

11. Kevin Halligen, the disgraced criminal employed by the McCanns for 4 months at a cost of around £700,000, had extensive connections with the security services. For example, on 30 July 2004 Tim Craig-Harvey, Natasha Duval and Halligen set up Red Defence Ltd; all had connections with British government security services.

Brenda Leyland remembered - two years after men from SKY News, owned by the world’s most powerful media mogul, Rupert Murdoch, hounded her to death

By Tony Bennett

Brenda Leyland remembered - two years after men from SKY News, owned by the world’s most powerful media mogul, Rupert Murdoch, hounded her to death  

It was probably two years ago tonight (3 October) that Brenda Leyland sadly ended her life. Lest we forget, here are a few observations in respectful remembrance. 

This was surely a case of a vulnerable woman, living alone, abused and overpowered by the all-conquering mainstream media. SKY News hounded her to her death, for had she not been mercilessly exposed in regular broadcasts by SKY, every 15 minutes, for most of the afternoon and evening of Wednesday, 1 October, of her being door-stepped, she would surely still be with us.

But who else was responsible for triggering her death? Quite a few people, as it turns out. There was someone – we don’t yet know who – who decided to collate a dossier of nasty anti-McCann tweeters. Then there were those who contributed to this dossier, presumably by copying-and-pasting Facebook messages and tweets and the like. Then someone else, again we don’t know who, was responsible for handing over that dossier to the Metropolitan Police. By the way Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metroplitan Police Commissioner, put it on a radio ’phone-in, it may have been handled to him personally. 

And what happened after that? Did that dossier disclose any criminal offences? It appears that it did not. There were no threats of any kind. Later, the Met quietly conceded that none of the tweets - from anyone – amounted in law to a crime.

And so the next question we must ask is: How did SKY News get to hear about this dossier? How did they know that Scotland Yard were looking at it? Who told them?

On Tuesday 30 September, Martin Brunt door-stepped Brenda Leyland – took her completely by surprise. 

Moreover, as we know from the video record, he said: “Are you aware that your tweets are contained in a dossier that has been passed to Scotland Yard?” The implication was very clear: You are being investigated, not just by the local police, but by Scotland Yard, on suspicion of committing a criminal offence. It would put real fear into anyone. And was probably calculated to do so.   

Later that afternoon, he had a further chat with her. We don’t know what was said in that conversation. But we do have Martin Brunt’s admission that she had already (after her lunch date with a friend) been contemplating suicide.

One must assume that Brunt reported this to his producers and editor. What possessed them to go ahead? Well, it would be good telly for their viewers. It also may have been aired in the way it was because very important public figures, like Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe and Gerry McCann, were demanding action. It does look like several powerful people collaborated behind the scenes to bring about this public humiliation of Brenda Leyland.

And indeed the very next day (2 October) Gerry McCann spoke to the media, and on 3 October – on the evening of which Brenda Leyland probably took her life – we read this in the mainstream press:

The father of Madeleine McCann has called for an example to be made of “vile” internet trolls who have been targeting the family.

Gerry McCann said he had grave concerns about letting his nine-year-old twins use the internet after receiving threats of violence and kidnapping.

The comments, in an interview with the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, came after it emerged that police were looking at a dossier of abuse posted on Twitter, Facebook and chat forums.

McCann, whose daughter Madeleine went missing in Praia da Luz in Portugal in 2007, said he and his wife Kate did not read such material because it was too upsetting.

He also blamed the press for inciting trolls, renewing his calls for the new industry-backed regulator IPSO to be scrapped and
replaced by an official body established by royal charter. 


And so it was that – as far as we have been told - Brenda Leyland bought some helium canisters, apparently off the internet – and gassed herself to death. 

Some think she might have been killed by the state, I don’t personally think so. Surely no-one would be quite so wicked as to do that?

All the same, the inquest into her death was a very muted, short affair. A police officer said he’d been called to the Marriott Hotel – less than a mile from Leicestershire Police headquarters at Enderby – and found her dead, with helium canisters on the floor and her laptop showing that she’d consulted ‘suicide sites’. 

One might think that the Coroner, under such circumstances, would have questioned the SKY News team intently and said something about that in her summing-up. But no, nothing at all. One of Europes’s most powerful media organisations had been allowed to (a) doorstep her – when she had not committed any crime, (b) show an interview of her repeatedly – may be up to over 30 times, and (c) proceed with doing so only after Brenda has said she was feeling suicidal. 

That was cruelty. It was oppression. It was the exercise of naked power over a depressed, suicidal, single woman. 

The media, who rarely criticise each other, barely reported her death or the inquest. OFCOM, the TV media watchdog, did nothing. No MP spoke up in the House of Commons about the conduct of SKY News.       

This is how the Guardian – correctly – headlined their report on the inquest:     

Woman killed herself after being doorstepped over McCann trolling

Sky News offers condolences to family of Brenda Leyland, who was found dead in a Leicester hotel two days after channel broadcast footage of her

Martin Brunt is important enough to have his own Wikipedia entry. It records this:

"In October 2014, Brunt was the journalist involved in revealing the identity of Brenda Leyland, who had posted comments concerning the McCann investigation on social media. Following the revelation and a report to Leicestershire Police, Brunt and a camera crew confronted Leyland at her home. Following the confrontation Leyland was later found dead in a hotel, leading to calls on social media for Brunt to be sacked".
We might note in passing that Brunt had two very strange conversations, recorded by the Portuguese Police, with Robert Murat. In one of them, he offered Murat legal help from SKY News's legal department .That was curious conduct to say the very least. Later, he said on SKY News that DNA samples of body fluids from the McCanns' holiday apartment in Praia da Luz were a '100% match' with Madeleine's DNA. 

A couple of media journalists were brave enough at least to begin questioning what had taken place in the lead-up to Brenda's suicide.

An article by Claire Hardaker in the Guardian said this: 

Was Brenda Leyland really a troll? 

Accused of trolling the McCanns, Leyland didn’t conform to our stereotyped idea of a troll – but those stereotypes quickly fail. 

[PIC[ ‘The McCanns have faced a barrage of online abuse, including threats of violence, murder and abduction of their other children.’ Photograph: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP 

One of those individuals was Brenda Leyland. A well-spoken, middle-class, 63-year-old mother of two, who lived in a picturesque village. Leyland regularly took to Twitter to draw attention to what she felt was an appalling miscarriage of justice. Last week, she found herself revealed to the nation by a television news team who exposed her as a “troll”. But was she really a troll?

The first problem is the use of the word. It has become a by-word for everything from minor disagreements through to annoying incivility through to criminal behaviour such as death threats. When we think of trolls, the stereotype is of angry, unemployed, disenfranchised young men who exist in a miserable, hermit-like darkness that is void of compassion or loving relationships – young men like John Nimmo, for instance, who was jailed for sending abusive messages to feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez. 

We assume stupidity, alcohol abuse, and social issues. We like to think that they must be so obviously damaged that we would spot them in the street. However, when we look at cases that have resulted in convictions, the stereotype quickly fails: Peter Nunn was a 33-year-old father; Isabella Sorley was a 23-year-old university graduate; Frank Zimmerman was 60. 

Even if we could create a troll stereotype from these cases, about the only common theme is that those who get caught are likely to be less than savvy about keeping themselves unfindable online.

Alternatively, they may be so impassioned about a “cause” that they cannot see how their behaviour has escalated out of control. Both convictions and the data show that stereotypes mislead us dangerously because they encourage us to focus only on those who fit the bill, when in reality, the genteel elderly man who moved to let you sit next to him on the train could be sending vile rape threats to his employer via his smartphone. Those who troll can be any age, any gender, anyone at all, and so it begins to look as though the label would fit Leyland too.

The second problem is that the word “troll” has become shorthand for describing any behaviour online that may cause offence. It conjures up strong feelings of repulsion and disgust, and doubtless some watching a bewildered Leyland trying to escape the TV news team last week will have felt a grim satisfaction, and thought to themselves: “She shouldn’t dish out what she can’t take.”

But what was she actually dishing out? Looking over the 5,000-plus tweets from her @ sweepyface account, there is clearly a fixation – even an unsettling obsession - with the McCanns. She describes them as neglectful parents, objects to their ongoing media appearances, and complains that they are profiting from their daughter’s disappearance. And when people challenge her, she calls them unpleasant names, disputes their evidence and blocks them. In short, her conduct would aggravate some and deeply offend others – but much the same could be said of select comedians, journalists and celebrities who can reach millions. Leyland’s account had a mere 182 followers by the time it suddenly vanished. The crucial question is: did she incite others to harm the McCanns? Or threaten to abduct the McCanns’ other children? Or pose any clear menace?

On Twitter at least it doesn’t seem so. She regularly tweeted the Metropolitan police and Crimewatch, demanding they do more. She would highlight what she felt were untruths in the stories of major press outlets such as the Daily Mail. She railed at media outlets such as LBC for not airing what she felt was the other side of the story. And at the same time, she ensconced herself within a small network of other Twitter users who supported her, agreed with her, and perhaps gave her a sense of identity and importance as a figurehead campaigning for what she believed was justice for Madeleine.

Ultimately, individuals who troll or become obsessed with conspiracy theories can be driven by many factors – boredom, loneliness, a need for validation – and we cannot discount the possibility of mental health problems. At times, their behaviour may border on loathsome, but a news team with a high-profile journalist at the helm is not the way to bring about justice.

I will finish with a reminder of an assortment of Brenda’s final tweets: 

516694464455528448|Mon Sep 29 21:02:14 +0000 2014|#mccann  Just noticed @ skymartinbrunt  is following me, why Martin won't you investigate some of these facts and show neutrality?

516686111918530561|Mon Sep 29 20:29:03 +0000 2014|#mccann  Block function is used against Shills, however this Tierney business has huge relevance to the investigation

516612962053013504|Mon Sep 29 15:38:23 +0000 2014|@ anotherviv @ xklamation  #mccann  I agree, all we are bound together in, is to find justice for Madeleine, not to mud sling

516663733024985088|Mon Sep 29 19:00:07 +0000 2014|#mccann "Men in suits want me to stop " but not until I have told every body about their presence

516510225466392576|Mon Sep 29 08:50:08 +0000 2014|#mccann  I recall the glee with which they outed poor guy they thought was me, imagine how shocked he must have been

500166020162945024|Fri Aug 15 06:24:06 +0000 2014|#mccann  We see Isabelle & Richard Hall, prepared to use real names, not once will any Shill dare to go public

516680065917403136|Mon Sep 29 20:05:01 +0000 2014|Amy Tierney  1)  Has more of a relationship with #mccann s than witness should, appears 2 have been rewarded for testimony, tweets @ work

516355932910288897|Sun Sep 28 22:37:02 +0000 2014|@ veniviedivici @ BigPhiIIyStyle @ basilandmanuel #mccann  No doubt about it in my mind Winters and Goose [Summers & Swan] are up to necks in this

516344768306368512|Sun Sep 28 21:52:40 +0000 2014|@PORTUGALONLINE  #mccann  Coincidence that a fat temp nannying suddenly lands a top job after dealings with Gerry ? NO NO NO.

516340933018013696|Sun Sep 28 21:37:26 +0000 2014|@ PORTUGALONLINE @ siamesey @ RothleyPillow #mccann  So she goes from nobody nanny to Govt worker, so she has been hushed up, stinks

515948487226445824|Sat Sep 27 19:37:59 +0000 2014|@ Nigel_Farage @ MarkReckless  Well done  Mark, a brave move and the right one [joiing UKIP].  The existing 2 major parties are a spent force.

515400503640227841|Fri Sep 26 07:20:30 +0000 2014|@ TeddyShepherd @ ThomasBadenRies #mccann  A clumsy attempt by them at a "sting operation" edited to show "haters" as Bigots and worse

What if it turns out that Brenda Leyland was right to question the McCanns?

Posted on the CMOMM forum:

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

Prime Minister introduces Prime Suspect to Royalty

Prime Minister introduces Prime Suspect to Royalty

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