Tuesday

Madeleine McCann: 50 more facts about the case that the British media are not telling you No. 3 - Operation Grange, 2011 to 2016


What happened to Madeleine McCann?
No. 3 - Operation Grange, 2011 to 2016
50 more facts about the case that the British media are not telling you
PLEASE COPY THIS LEAFLET OR PASS IT TO OTHERS WHEN YOU’VE READ IT – THANK YOU


In this leaflet: Scotland Yard’s Operation Grange under the microscope”


·       Why was Operation Grange set up?

·       The role of Rupert Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks

·       What Operation Grange can and cannot investigate

·       Who is running Operation Grange?

·       Operation Grange: The story to October 2013

·       The Crimewatch McCann Special, 14 October 2013: An analysis

·       The mystery of Operation Grange, two e-fits, and the Smith family

·       The cost of Operation Grange

·       The criticisms of Operation Grange

·       Recent developments up to August 2016


This leaflet is the third in our series of ’50 Facts’ leaflets about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. The first, titled ‘50 Facts about the case that the British media are not telling you’, has been read by tens of thousands and is now on YouTube videos (link at end of leaflet). The second, ‘Meet the McCann Team’, exposed the series of criminals, ex-MI5 officers and assorted controversial detective agencies employed by the McCanns, allegedly to look for Madeleine.  In this leaflet we reveal 50 more facts - this time about one of the most controversial police investigations in British history - Operation Grange, the Met Police’s investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance. We tell you why it was set up,  explain what it can and cannot do, and tell you what it has - and has not - done.



SECTION A.   Why was Operation Grange set up?

   

101. The McCanns were never cleared - In July 2008, the Portuguese Police shelved their investigation into the reported disappearance of Madeleine McCann. The Portuguese Attorney-General ruled that there were two possibilities as to what happened to Madeleine: (1) - that she died in the McCanns’ apartment, and that her parents hid her body to avoid an autopsy, or, (2)- that she may have been abducted. He ruled that there was insufficient evidence to charge anyone. The McCanns’ status as ‘formal suspects’ was ended - but they were not ‘cleared’ as they have claimed. The police said they would consider any ‘new and credible’ evidence of the McCanns’ guilt.


102. Documents made public - At the same time, the Portuguese Police made public some 85% of the police investigation documents in the case. (See: http://www.mccannpjfiles.co.uk/) This would not happen in Britain, but is part of Portugal’s criminal investigation procedures. The documents disclosed by the police suggested Madeleine had died in the McCanns’ apartment and that they had covered up her death by faking an abduction. The evidence included 17 alerts of two British police sniffer dogs - 12 to the odour of a corpse and five to blood or body fluids - found in 12 locations or on items related to the McCanns and their apartment. There was also evidence that the McCanns and their friends had contradicted themselves and changed their stories on many occasions.     


103. The McCanns tried to see all the police files - The McCanns had frequently tried to get their hands on the  Portuguese Police files. They claimed this was because the police files might reveal vital clues as to who had abducted Madeleine. In fact in 2007 they went to the High Court to try to get hold of them. But they lost their case; The court gave them access to just 11 out of the hundreds of documents they wanted to see. They also failed in another court application in 2008 to try to see the files which the Portuguese Police had not released. 


104.  The McCanns’ campaign for a review - In 2009, the McCanns began a long campaign to get a British police force to conduct a ‘review’. They complained that no police force was looking for Madeleine any more. They badgered then Labour Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, who agreed to meet them. He told the McCanns he would explore possibilities. Approaches were made to West Yorkshire and other police forces. Then Alan Johnson commissioned Jim Gamble, the controversial head of CEOP ( the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre)  to carry out a ‘scoping exercise’ about the practicalities of holding a review. Labour lost the General Election in May 2010, and the Conservative MP Theresa May (now Prime Minister) became Home Secretary.


105. A meeting with Theresa May - The McCanns demanded - and got - a meeting with Theresa May, but she refused their request for a review. The McCanns, friends with Jim Gamble, then complained publicly about her refusal. Theresa May decided to reorganise key police services and put CEOP under the control of a new, top-level National Crime Agency. Jim Gamble, who had supported the McCanns from the start, and the McCanns, protested loudly about these plans. Jim Gamble threatened to resign. and then did. Theresa May immediately accepted Gamble’s resignation.



SECTION B.   The role of Rupert Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks


106.  Rupert Murdoch’s connection with the McCanns - Rupert Murdoch owns the Sun, Times, Sunday Times and SKY News. He used to own the News of the World. In 2008, the McCanns’ spokesman Clarence Mitchell stopped working for the McCanns full-time and went part-time. Rupert Murdoch’s son-in-law, Matthew Freud, then offered him a job in his Freud Communications PR company. In 2009, Rupert Murdoch met David Cameron on his yacht in the Mediterranean. Soon after, Murdoch ordered his newspapers to back the Conservatives instead of Labour. Murdoch asked Cameron to give him control of BskyB in exchange for helping him win the General Election ( which he did)..


107. David Cameron appoints McCann spokesman to his staff -  Cameron immediately made Andy Coulson, former editor of Murdoch’s News of the World, his Director of Communications. The two men then chose McCanns’ spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, as Coulson’s Deputy. Coulson had been in a long-term, on-off relationship with Rebekah Brooks, CEO of Murdoch’s News International empire. Murdoch’s newspapers have, over the years, published very large numbers of unlikely stories of alleged ‘sightings’ of Madeleine. Each front page story about Madeleine was estimated to increase readership by tens of thousands.


108. Kate McCann’s book is published - In 2010, Dr Kate McCann decided to write a book. She published it in May 2011 on the 4th anniversary of Madeleine’s reported disappearance. It was serialised in Murdoch’s Sun newspaper for a fee of around £1 million. Still Theresa May refused to set up a police review of the case.


109. Rebekah Brooks becomes involved - At this stage, Murdoch’s CEO, Rebekah Brooks, became involved. According to insiders at No. 10 Downing Street, and as reported on BBC’s Panorama programme at the time, Brooks contacted Cameron and told him that she would ‘run a week of bad headlines about Theresa May’ if he did not agree to a review. Cameron was very friendly with Brooks. They lived near each other in the Cotswolds, and went horse-riding with each other. They went to each other’s parties. Cameron gave way and agreed.


110. Cameron orders a review - The way this was actually presented to the public happened as follows. The McCanns wrote to the Sun. The next day the Sun published the letter and begged the Prime Minister to grant a review. The day after, David Cameron said he would make sure there was a review. He had told Theresa May to set one up. Theresa May said that she had decided to do this all by herself. She then told Sir Paul Stephenson (then the Metropolitan Police Commissioner) to set up a review. In the next few days he did so, calling it ‘Operation Grange’.  It was clear to many observers that these moves had been carefully choreographed well in advance  The review, it was later said, would ‘for the first time’ comprehensively examine files from the Portuguese Police, from Leicestershire Police, and from the controversial Spanish detective agency, Metodo 3, employed by the McCanns from 2007 to 2009. Metodo 3 investigators who worked on the Madeleine McCann case were later arrested for crimes unconnected with Madeleine’s disappearance and after further arrests, the agency was closed down in 2011. 



 SECTION C.   What Operation Grange can and cannot investigate


111.  The review team draws up a ‘remit’ - Every police review or investigation has an official brief, known as its ‘remit’. Seven months after it was set up, senior Met Police officers agreed the review’s remit. It was drawn up by Detective Chief Superintendent (DCS) Hamish Campbell (see Section D). It said: The investigative review is intended to collate, record and analyse what has gone before. It is to examine the case and seek to determine, (as if the abduction occurred in the UK) what additional, new investigative approaches we would take and which can assist the Portuguese authorities in progressing the matter…” The McCanns were delighted with the remit.


112. Only the abduction theory can be investigated  -That remit meant that the 40-odd police who were engaged on the review team could only investigate an abduction. Their job, then, was to find who the abductor was. Yet when the case was shelved in Portugal, the Portuguese Police and Attorney-General said that there were two equally plausible theories:  Madeleine was abducted – or Madeleine had died in her parents’ apartment and the McCanns had hidden her body. Scotland Yard’s review, therefore, went against the Portuguese decision. They said that either theory could be reopened if there was ‘new and credible’ evidence. The decision by D.C.S. Campbell meant that Operation Grange have not been allowed to investigate the parents, or their ‘Tapas 7’ friends.   


113. The review is to ‘help the family’ The very day that Prime Minister David Cameron announced the setting-up of a review, his spokesman told the media: “The purpose of the review is to help the McCann family”.


114.  ‘The parents and their friends are not suspects’ - Moreover, during his review and investigation, Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Andy Redwood (see next section) made this even clearer, by stating: “Neither her parents nor any of the members of the group that were with her [the Tapas 7] are either persons of interest or suspects”.


115. Outcome of the review ‘a secret’ - The Metropolitan Police answered a Freedom of Information Act request about whether the outcome of the review would be published. The Metropolitan Police said ‘No, it will be secret’.



SECTION D.   Who is running Operation Grange?


116.  A review set up at the request of Rebekah Brooks - Operation Grange, as we’ve seen,  was set up by the Prime Minister at the request of Rebekah Brooks, CEO of Murdoch’s News International empire. The Home Secretary, Theresa May, ordered the Met Police Commissioner to set up Operation Grange. This is therefore like no other police investigation - ever.  It is controlled from the top by those at the heart of our political establishment. 


117. Jill Dando blunder cop put in charge - The man put in charge of Operation Grange was DCS Hamish Campbell. He was answerable to Commander Simon Foy. Campbell was a very strange choice, due to his blunders during his investigation of the murder of Jill Dando. Campbell was in charge of that investigation, responsible only to Brian Moore, the Senior Investigating Officer. Moore had been sharply criticised by three Appeal Court judges in the case of another man, clearly ‘fitted up’ for a shooting offence. In that case, judges suggested that on Moore’s instructions, gun residue matching the crime weapon had been placed in the wrongfully convicted man’s pocket.


118.  Why was Campbell chosen? - It was exactly the same forensic evidence that sent Barry Bulsara, better known as Barry George, to prison for 8 years for murdering Jill Dando. Soon after Campbell took over the Dando investigation, he made public statements that her killer was probably ‘a loner’ - yet all the evidence suggested that the killer of Dando was a professional. Later, shotgun residue was ‘found’ in Bulsara’s coat pocket and a jury declared him guilty of murdering Dando. Three Appeal Court judges later freed him. So, we must ask, why was the senior detective, whose main claim to fame was prosecuting the wrong man, put in charge of Operation Grange?

  

119.  38 officers appointed - Campbell’s second-in-command was DCI Andy Redwood. He was within 3 years of retirement. His deputy was Detective Inspector Tim Dobson. They appointed a team of 38 officers, based in Belgravia Police Station, London. The weekly cost of Operation Grange has been about £50,000 a week, including many trips by Operation Grange officers to Portugal. The overall cost up to August 2016 was around £13 million. It is not known if that includes charges to be made by the Portuguese for helping Grange’s officers in their 2014 search (see below).    


120. Wall replaces Redwood - During its 4-year-long investigation, there have been several changes at the top. DCI Andy Redwood was replaced in December 2014 by DCI Nicola Wall. DCS Hamish Campbell left in May 2013. Deputy Assistant Met Police Commissioner Martin Hewitt now appears to be overseeing Operation Grange.



SECTION E.  Operation Grange: The story to October 2013


121. The first 2½ years...two e-fits handed over - Below we list the main events during the first 2½ years of Operation Grange. Early on, just weeks after Operation Grange was set up, the McCanns visited DCI Redwood and handed over two e-fits of a possible suspect, allegedly seen by an Irish family. These two strange e-fits formed the centrepiece of a BBC Crimewatch Special on Madeleine McCann in October 2013 (see Section F).


122.  Files collected from a discredited detective agency - On14 December 2011, the Met very publicly collected  30 boxes of documents from the discredited Barcelona detective agency, Metodo 3. Photographers were tipped off to record the scene for the British mainstream press. It was very unlikely that their material would help any genuine police enquiry. Their boss, Francisco Marco, had publicly lied by claiming, in December 2007, that his men knew where Madeleine was being held and that she would be ‘home by Christmas’. Despite this outrageous boast, ther McCanns’ PR agent announced that the McCanns would continue to employ Metodo 3 and still had complete confidence in them. In February 2008, his top detective, Antonio Gimenez Raso, former inspector in the Catalonian Drugs Squad, was arrested on suspicion of helping a 27-strong gang to steal millions of pounds worth of cocaine from a boat in Barcelona harbour. Antonio Giminez Razo was also caught paying bribes to people in Morocco to falsely claim that they had seen Madeleine there - and then contacting journalists to report the sightings.

  

123.  A new pic of what Madeleine might look like - On 25 April 2012, DCI Andy Redwood unveiled an ‘age-progressed’ picture of Madeleine as she might look aged  9 or 10. It was done by a forensic artist in close collaboration with Kate McCann. At the same time, Redwood said: “We genuinely believe there is a possibility Madeleine is alive. Evidence to support that view stems from the forensic view of the timeline. There were opportunities for Madeleine to have been taken as part of a criminal act”. Some 18 months later (see below), DCI Redwood would announce that he had shifted the time frame when Madeleine was abducted from 9.10- 9.15pm to 9.10-10.00pm. So he cleverly widened the time frame for Madeleine’s alleged abduction from 5 minutes to 50.


124. Police following 195 lines of enquiry - It was at this time that DCI Redwood began a practice of blinding the public with endless statistics. He spoke of his ‘team of 35’. He had made 7 visits to Portugal. He was pursuing 195 lines of enquiry. His team was ‘analysing every single scrap of paper’. TV journalists were very impressed.


125. DCI Redwood talks to an Irishman, Martin Smith - Sometime during 2012, DCI Redwood met a Mr Martin Smith from Drogheda, Ireland. He and several other members of his family had claimed they had seen a man carrying a child through the streets of Praia da Luz at about 10.00pm the night Madeleine was reported missing. There are numerous good reasons (see Section G) for believing that the Smiths fabricated their claimed  sighting. The Smiths had been working closely with members of the McCann Team since December 2007.  Redwood met Smith again in 2013 as the Met and the BBC planned their Crimewatch Special on Madeleine.


126. A ‘soothing couple’ sought - On 13 May 2013, the Express reported that Operation Grange were trying to trace a middle-aged couple who ‘soothed’ Madeleine on the night she was reported missing. There was no reference to this anywhere in the Portuguese Police files. The Express relied on ‘a source’ for this unlikely claim.


127. The review becomes an investigation - In July 2013, over two years after the review was set up, the Met Police announced that Operation Grange had now become a formal ‘investigation’. The Met also announced it had set up an office in Faro, Portugal, staffed by a team of six detectives.  But British Police have no jurisdiction in Portugal - and they later said that they were merely ‘assisting’ the Portuguese investigation. 


128. A blizzard of new statistics - On 4 October 2013, just 10 days before the BBC Crimewatch McCann Special, the British mainstream press was filled with a blizzard of new statistics supplied by DCI Redwood. He told the media that he and his detectives had decided to call for ‘tens of thousands’ of mobile ’phone records from 30 countries to be examined. In addition, he boasted that Operation Grange had:

·        identified 41 ‘persons of interest’ from 5 countries (previously it was 38), of whom 15 were ‘UK nationals’

·        ‘processed’ 21,614 of the 39,148 documents from the various police and private investigations, and

·        completed 2,123 of a total of 4,920 ‘actions’ which had been identified as being necessary.


129. ‘Peeling back layers from an onion’ - On this occasion DCI Redwood made one of his many memorable and bizarre statements about his investigation: “We are working backwards from the moment Madeleine went missing to understand what happened to her. It's like peeling back the layers from an onion”. 



SECTION F.  The Crimewatch McCann Special, 14 October 2013: An analysis


130. 7 million people watch Crimewatch - On 14 October 2013, at 9pm, the BBC screened a much-publicised ‘Crimewatch Special’ on Madeleine McCann. The BBC and the Met conceded that they had worked on this for at least six months, probably longer. The BBC said the programme, which included a reconstruction of the events of 3 May 2007 (the day Madeleine was reported missing), cost them over £1 million. Audience figures suggested that  7 million people watched it. It had been hugely hyped in the mainstream press, with extravagant promises of ‘dramatic revelations’ and ‘imminent arrests’. The programme identified a new chief suspect, a man said to have been seen by an Irish family, the Smiths, around 10pm the night Madeleine was reported missing (see next section).


131. A biased reconstruction - The programme included a reconstruction of the evening Madeleine was reported missing. It was based entirely on the McCanns’ account of events. Hence it was not neutral. It failed, for example, to mention any of the following: (a) the McCanns’ changes of story about their apartment being broken into by an abductor (b) their changes of story about which doors they used to access their apartment that night(c) whether or not they locked all their doors (d) the 20 contradictions about an alleged visit by Dr David Payne to the McCanns’ apartment at around 6.30pm the evening Madeleine was reported missing and (e) similar contradictions about whether or not Madeleine had had ‘high tea’ with her parents and a creche ‘nanny’ at about 5.30pm that evening.


132. A suspicious find - For 6 years, the McCanns and the British police had asked the public to identify a man that the McCanns’ friend Jane Tanner claimed to have seen carrying a child at around 9.15pm the night Madeleine was reported missing. There were numerous indications that this so-called ‘sighting’ was fabricated. Yet on the Crimewatch programme, DCI Redwood claimed that a man had now come forward - after 6 years - to say that he was the man seen by Jane Tanner. There were several reasons for doubting Redwood’s word, including:

a)  The man was not named; only a blurry ‘photograph’ of the man was shown,

b)  He was claimed to have been wearing clothes on holiday uncannily similar to those described by Jane Tanner,

c)  Had he really kept these items of clothing, including his child’s pyjamas, for a whole six years?

d)  He was said to have put his child in the ‘night creche’ at the Ocean Club, but there was no explanation as to where the child’s mother was, why he was carrying the child instead of using one of the buggies available at the Ocean Club, nor why she was uncovered, dressed only in pyjamas, at 9.15pm on a cold early May night (13 deg C),

e)  If he was walking in the direction claimed by Jane Tanner, then he was clearly not using the shortest way back from the night crèche to his home/apartment, as a map of the route he is supposed to have used, makes clear.  



SECTION G.  The mystery of Operation Grange, two e-fits, and the Smith family


133  Doubts about the e-fits - At the heart of the BBC Crimewatch Special were two e-fits of a man - said to have been seen carrying a child on the night Madeleine was reported missing - by members of the Smiths family, from Drogheda, who were in Praia da Luz at the time. There are several  reasons for doubting the authenticity of these e-fits:

 a) The BBC Crimewatch team used a clever, but evasive, form of words, saying that the e-fits were produced by ‘two of the witnesses’. Why did they not simply say ‘by two members of an Irish family’?

 b) The two e-fits are of very different-looking men. The shape of their faces, the style of hair, the size of their chins, the length of their noses and several other features differ. It is highly unusual for the police to show two quite different faces of suspects when they really want the public’s help to trace someone.

c) The Smiths admitted they did not get a clear sight of the man they say that they saw. It was dark, there was only ‘weak’ street lighting, they only saw him for a few seconds, and didn’t see his face properly because his head was down and the child was said to be covering his face. In addition, all the three Smith family members - Martin Smith, his son and his daughter - who made statements said they would never be able to recognise him again.

 d) The Smiths did not report their sighting until 13 days after it - despite the international media storm.    

 e)  If the e-fits were drawn up by the Smiths (which is doubtful), they were not drawn up until at least a year after they say they saw the man - by which time any  recollections they might have had of the man would have faded

 f) The e-fits were drawn up on the instructions of men employed by the McCanns.

 g) The man who drew up the e-fits was Henri Exton, formerly the Head of MI5’s Covert Intelligence Unit, and later employed for several months by the McCanns. He was sacked by MI5 after being caught stealing a bottle of perfume from Manchester Airport. That raises questions about whether his word on this matter can be trusted.

 h) The e-fits were given to the McCanns in summer, 2008. They say they delivered these to Leicestershire Police and the Portuguese Police ‘by October 2009’, but don’t say why they didn’t do this before.  Neither police force took any action about them. The McCanns handed the e-fits to Operation Grange in spring,  2011. Yet they were not used by Operation Grange until the BBC programme in October 2013. DCI Redwood said on Crimewatch that these two e-fits were now ‘the centre of our focus’. Why had they been kept under wraps by everyone for 5½ years?   


134.  Strange actions of the Smith family - The actions of the Smiths in this matter are baffling. For example:

* The Smiths only reported their sighting the day after Robert Murat was made the first suspect in Madeleine’s disappearance. Martin Smith admitted he knew Murat for two years already and told the police that the only thing he could be sure of was that the man whom he said he had seen was not Robert Murat.

* Martin Smith made evasive statements about how well he knew Murat, firstly saying that he’d only met him twice, but later admitting that he’d seen him ‘several times’ over a ‘period of two years’.

* In September 2007, 4 months after his alleged sighting of the man, Martin Smith told the Irish Police he thought the man could be Gerry McCann. He said he’d seen Gerry McCann on a TV news bulletin, carrying his son Sean down the steps of a plane, and said ‘the way he carried his son reminded me of the man I’d seen in Praia da Luz’. But Gerry McCann was merely carrying Sean on his left shoulder, as nearly all right-handed men do with a tired or sleeping child. Later Martin Smith changed his mind and now agrees that Madeleine was abducted by a stranger.

* Once again, Martin Smith did not report his claim about the man looking like Gerry McCann immediately. It took him 11 days after seeing the broadcast to make the ’phone call to the Irish Police.

* In his police statement he gave the age of the man he said he’d seen as ‘about 40’, then changed  it to ’35 to 40’. But he changed this again to ’34 to 35’ when the McCanns added his claims to their website in early 2009

      


SECTION H.  The cost of Operation Grange


135. An open chequebook  - Operation Grange has given out information from time to time on its overall cost, sometimes in response to Freedom of Information Act questions. At the date of publishing this leaflet (August 2016), the cost was estimated at around £13 million - averaging over £6,500 a day, or £50,000 a week. 



SECTION I. The criticisms of Operation Grange


136. Lord Harris’s criticism - The decision to set up Operation Grange in the first place, and the decision to give it an unlimited budget and unlimited time were critcised at the outset. Labour’s Lord Toby Harris was on the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) when Operation Grange was first announced. He said: “What we are looking at is a case where the Met has no direct responsibility. There is clearly an issue about the resources being used. It's not just a question of direct costs - it's a question of opportunity costs too”. Later, the Daily Telegraph ran a headline: ‘David Cameron is accused of meddling in the Madeleine McCann investigation’. It included further strong comments from Lord Harris, who said, correctly: “The Prime Minister has driven a coach and horses through operational independence and had forced the Metropolitan Police to work outside its jurisdiction”. (See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/madeleinemccann/8513574/David-Cameron-is-accused-of-meddling-over-Madeleine-McCann.html)


137. Liberal Democrat and Green Party criticisms - The Green Party member of the Authority, Jennie Jones, also commented: “As a member of the MPA, I have to look at how resources are responsibly used. There are many serious crimes in London, and it is the job of the Met Police to investigate crimes on a fair and impartial basis. Tying up vast amounts of police time and resources on one case does not instil confidence that each crime will be investigated on its own merits. For example, the forensic service unit has been closed. Many will wonder what the Prime Minister's motives were, and whether he understands how difficult policing is in this economic climate. I believe that the Prime Minister was wrong to allocate Met Police resources to [the Madeleine McCann] investigation. He appears to have been swayed by the Sun newspaper, and it is wholly wrong to capitalise in this way and try to win popular support for what is fundamentally a Portuguese investigation”. Liberal Democrat peer Lord Bradshaw added: “The decision is a PR exercise. Chief Constables are desperately worried that their operational independence will be compromised”.
 


SECTION J.  Recent developments


138. Man who died in 2010 tractor accident becomes lead suspect - In early November 2013, just three weeks after the BBC Crimewatch programme, stories surfaced in the British mainstream press that the Portuguese Police’s main suspect was Euclides Monteiro, a 40-year-old black African from the Cape Verde Islands, who was said to have killed Madeleine. However, he had died in tractor accident in 2010. His widow was furious at suggestions he might have been involved in Madeleine’s abduction or death. This suspect, of course, looked nothing like the two e-fits of ‘Smithman’ and nothing like the 4 white men whom Redwood had earlier (on the BBC Crimewatch Special) claimed had been hanging around near the McCanns’ apartment the week before Madeleine was reported missing.


139. False claims of ‘imminent arrests‘ - On 29 January 2014, the British mainstream press reported that four Operation Grange detectives had flown to Portugal ‘to arrest three suspects’. Newspapers reported that ‘mobile phone evidence has revealed that the suspects repeatedly called each other in the hours after Madeleine was reported missing’. Operation Grange officers met with Luís Mota Carmo, Co-ordinator of the Portuguese Police investigation. It was claimed that he ‘heads up a team of six Faro detectives who have been carrying out work on behalf of Scotland Yard’. Eventually seven ‘persons of interest’ were interviewed on a voluntary basis. The article was inaccurate. No-one was arrested. On 24 April 2014, the Daily Star promised ‘new arrests within weeks’. This didn’t happen. Many other press reports also promised ‘imminent arrests’


140. ‘Five British flat-owners wanted for questioning’ - On 19 April 2014, the Daily Mirror front-page story told its readers that Grange officers wanted to question ‘5 British holiday flat-owners’, said to have been in their flats  at the time Madeleine was reported missing. The newspaper alleged that all 5 were ‘refusing to co-operate’. This was one of many stories probably leaked by Operation Grange to the press. Nothing has come of this. 


141. The search for a smelly, pot-bellied intruder’ - On 23 April 2014, Operation Grange updated their appeals for information. They were now focusing on a 'smelly, pot-bellied' intruder (now known as ‘smelly bin-man’).  They had had ‘500 calls’ and claimed to have heard of a 'new sexual assault’- on a 10-year-old British girl - which allegedly took place in Praia da Luz in 2005. This case had not previously been reported to police.. Grange officers also claimed to have information about ‘18 break-ins’, of which ‘9 involved sexual assaults on British girls aged 6 to 12’. These were said to have taken place at various locations along the Algarve: 3 in Praia da Luz, 9 in Albufeira, 5 in Carvoeiro, and one in Vilamoura. Martin Hewitt, the Met’s Deputy Assistant Commissioner, said that suspect was ‘tanned, with dark hair, spoke English slowly with a foreign accent, had a pot belly, was sometimes bare-chested, may have worn a burgundy-coloured top with a white circle on the back, tended to smell badly and carried out his attacks around dawn, suggesting he might be doing early morning rubbish collections’. The Portuguese Police never confirmed these claims.          


142. A lack of police co-operation

On the same day (23 April), news emerged that the Portuguese Police had refused Operation Grange’s request to set up a ‘joint investigation team’ This confirmed earlier reports that suggested a complete lack of co-operation between the two police forces. One report said they were ‘at war’.

 
143. ‘Police closing in on a man with a burgundy top’ - On 28 April 2014, the Daily Express reported that former Scotland Yard detective Peter Bleksley had been to the Algarve and discovered that the burgundy-coloured top, said to be worn by ‘smelly bin-man’, was ‘a rare design produced by beer company Super Bock, given away free to loyal customers’. He claimed that police could trace who was given one. Again, nothing came of this, although some time later, the Daily Star, sister paper to the Express, made the sensational - but, once again, false - claim that ‘Police are closing in on the prime suspect in Madeleine McCann's disappearance’.


144. A search in Portugal with helicopters, sniffer dogs and pickaxes -

On 6 May 2014 the British mainstream press announced that the Portuguese Police had given permission for a team from Operation Grange to carry out search operations in Praia da Luz. Later that month, a large team of Met Police officers and support staff conducted, over a period of weeks, in conjunction with some Portuguese Police officers, two highly publicised searches of two areas of waste ground in Praia da Luz. Journalists and camera crews from around the world sent back reports, pictures and live broadcasts. During these searches, which lasted two weeks, the world witnessed the following:


· Met Police, Portuguese Police and Portuguese military officers flying in a top Portuguese military helicopter, a Mark III Alouette, over various patches of waste ground in Praia da Luz


· Met Police officers using sniffer dogs from Wales - they were said to be using four of them


· Met Police support staff using spades, pock-axes, shovels and augers to dig out parts of the search areas


· Met Police support staff placing bones and soil samples in plastic bags, for later forensic analysis.


After the second week-long search, in June, DCI Redwood reported that during these searches they had found a few rabbit bones, but nothing else of interest. As far as we know today, this search was waste of time and money.



145. DCI Redwood resigns -  On 5 December 2014 it was reported that DCI Redwood had resigned. As many top police officers pointed out, no senior police officer would resign if there was a reasonable prospect in view of a person or persons being charged with the offence he was investigating.  DCI Nicola Wall replaced him.


146. The smelly bin-man might have broken in ‘28 times’ - On 2 May 2015, the Daily Telegraph reported that writers Summers and Swan had written an update to their book ‘Looking for Madeleine’. The book included a sensational new ‘revelation’ that there were now 10 more reports of a burglar/child molestor/intruder along the Algarve coast, making the total number of alleged break-ins 28, not 18. It appeared, once again in their careers, that Summers and Swan had been given privileged information by official sources, to cover up the truth, rather than to reveal it. This confidential privileged information was probably provided to Summers and Swan with the deliberate intent of helping sales of their book, which promoted the idea that an intruder might have abducted and murdered Madeleine. Summers and Swan wrote that ‘a source’ had told them:  The offences are not all the same. Some involve not little children but teenagers or young women…But there are similarities. We’re seeing a sort of consistent theme. Perhaps there is a burglar, a thief, who’s also got a weakness for this sort of thing. We don’t know. We’re not saying all these offences are definitely linked, but there’s potential here. If we dig down into those incidents and find out who’s responsible, if we find that a single person is responsible for a number, if not all, of the events…Who knows, that same person may have been responsible for Madeleine McCann’s disappearance”. This news came well over a year after Operation Grange had suggested that ‘smelly bin-man’ had committed several break-ins with a sexual motive. The Telegraph suggested the police were no nearer finding out if all these reported incidents were the same man and, if so, who it was.  Over a year later, there is no indication that Summers and Swans’ theories were correct.


147. Operation Grange team cut to 4 officers - On 28 October 2015, the Met announced that the team of officers  working on Operation Grange had been cut from 29 to 4, adding: “The vast majority of our work into Madeleine's disappearance has been completed”. In addition: “No conclusion has been reached, but we are following a small number of focused lines of inquiry”. The McCanns said: “We are reassured that the investigation to find Madeleine has been significantly progressed and the Met has a much clearer picture of the events in Praia da Luz leading up to Madeleine's abduction in 2007. Given that the review phase of the investigation is essentially completed, we fully understand the reasons why the team is being reduced”. Their PR spokesman, Mitchell, said “The investigation into her disappearance is not drawing to a close. Kate and Gerry are far from disillusioned. This is no way the end of Operation Grange. If anything it will now continue on a newly-focused, smaller yes, but focused basis that will hopefully lead to Madeleine being found somewhere in the near future”. The Met’s Assistant Commissioner, Mark Rowley, said: "The Met was asked to take on this exceptional case as one of national interest. We were happy to bring our expertise to bear only on the basis that it would not detract from the policing of London; and the Home Office have additionally funded the investigation above normal grants to the Met. That will continue at the reduced level”.


148. More statistics from the Met - The following statistical details were also given by the Met in October:: 1,338 statements taken; 1,027 exhibits collected; 60 persons of interest investigated; 8,685 potential sightings considered; 560 lines of inquiry identified, and 30 requests made to other countries asking for work to be carried out.




149. Operation Grange extended for a ‘final’ 6 months - On 3 April 2016, the then Home Secretary Theresa May announced that she had allocated a further £94,592 to Operation Grange ‘until October’. This was said to be for ‘a further 6 months’ work. The Daily Mirror, commenting on the report, said: “When the money runs out, the Yard will then be poised to ditch the five-year inquiry which has yet to unearth any new clues”.


150. McCanns’ friend, the late Sir Clement Freud, investigated by Operation Grange - Just as Operation Grange was coming to a close, there was a spate of media reports that the late Sir Clement Freud, who twice (at least) entertained the McCanns in his Praia da Luz villa, was a serial paedophile, having abused or raped girls as young as 10 years old. Acting surprised by this news, Operation Grange said they would ‘look into’ the close relationship between Clement Freud and the McCanns.


_______________________________________________________

Published by The Madeleine McCann Research Group - 1 August 2016   SEE:  http://jillhavern.forumotion.net/

>> The work of the Madeleine McCann Research Group features on the ‘Complete Mystery of Madeleine McCann’