Sunday, October 14, 2007

Aerial pictures from Ocean Club

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Friday, October 12, 2007

My opinion about British people

I have a strong admiration for the British people and it’s History. There are three countries that may be considered the “fathers” of all the Rights and Freedoms that we, European people, have: England, with the “Magna Carta”, France, with its ideas of “Liberté, Egalité et Fraternité” and the USA, when representatives of the 13 states wrote: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights (...)”

I lived and worked in London, for some months, in 2005, during a financially difficult period of my life. I shared a flat with two Portuguese and three Brazilians, all immigrants working at cleaning services and in restaurants. I have a son who is studying in the University, in London. I admire the efficiency and the fairness of British society, in dealing with serious problems like racism and xenophobia. When I watch debates in the British Parliament, on TV, I always remember that the place where those debates happen is were modern Parliaments, an essential part of Democracy, were born.

For around 28 years, reading the weekly edition of “The Economist” has been some kind of a ritual, for me. I wish that I could be able to write with that accuracy, mixed with a touch of irony, giving to their readers a clear analysis and explanation of what happens, all over the world. And I don’t believe that a pack of blood-thirsty and howling tabloid journalists, willing to kill – or let someone be killed – to have a story that helps them to keep their jobs, is representative of the British people.

In 1941, my father was drafted to the Army, Infantry Battalion nº 13. As soon as the Portuguese Government gave permission to the Allied Forces to use the Azores Air Base, everybody in Portugal was convinced that, in a few weeks, the Nazi war machine would run over our country. A short-wave radio was a luxury item that few people could afford. There was an officer, at my father's Battalion, that had one. Many times, late at night, a few friends would gather around that radio, to listen to what was called “The Voice of Truth” - BBC radio broadcastings, in Portuguese.

I admire the British people, his achievements, his contribution to the History of Mankind. Great-Britain is one of the great nations of the world and if it wasn’t the decision to “fight on beaches, landing grounds, in fields, in streets and on the hills”, if necessary, and “never surrender (...) until in God's good time the New World with all its power and might, sets forth to the liberation and rescue of the Old”, all Europe – including Portugal – could have been, for a long time, under the darkest of all evil powers that have threatened Humankind, since the beginning of time.

I still believe that British people will never surrender.

Friday, October 5, 2007

The former British cops that helped to destroy the reputation of Portuguese Police

Since Madeleine disappeared, at least five former British policemen – three of them, high ranking officers - played an important role in the regular bashing or Portuguese police, through the British Media. By coincidence, some of them work for or have connections with TV channels or consultancy companies specialized in handling media cases.

One the most violent critics of Portuguese Police, former CID detective Mark Williams-Thomas, is also the owner and managing-director of WT Associates, a company that offers, among many other services, media handling and advice for high profile cases and “design or review organisations media crisis policy”. Since the first week, when Martin Brunt took him to Praia da Luz, he criticised the inept and incompetent Portuguese police. After we filled a complaint with Ofcom and emailed Sky News editor, asking him if the TV channel knew about the business connections of the crime expert that has been a regular voice against Portuguese Police in Sky News, Mr. Mark Williams disappeared from the screen.

But other former policemen, including at least three ex-Scotland Yard commanders, played an important role in building up of the idea that Portuguese Police arrived hours after they were called, didn't sealed off the apartment, didn't take fingerprints, didn't questioned other guest of the resort, and wasn't able to get disposable clothing to their forensic experts – they used the same clothing in different crime scenes or just used no protective clothing at all.

Portugal, safe place for paedophiles

Mike Hames, the ex-commander who set up Scotland Yard's paedophilia unit, author of ‘The Dirty Squad’ and also a media consultant on child abuse, paedophilia, murder and high profile abduction cases, was Martin Brunt's choice to replace Mark Williams-Thomas, when the Sky News Crime Correspondent made a special report about Madeleine's case, last Sunday. But as early as five days after Madeleine disappeared, The Sun found that Portugal was a safe place for paedophiles: “But a Sun investigation has revealed the Med hot-spot does have a history of child sex offences — many by Brit perverts who fled there, believing they’d be more free to carry out their vile activities.”

Mr Mike Hames was quoted, in the same story, as saying that “Portuguese police should have circulated the sketch they have of a suspect” and he “feared the worst” for Madeleine’s safety, criticising the fact that Portuguese Police didn't made public a sketch of any suspect: “If you have a sketch by a witness, it should be shared with the public. Nine times out of ten it is the public who can solve this. I don’t see the logic of this. It seems to me to be a bit of shambles”.

The most senior of those ex-cops was also the author of an opinion column, on the Mirror, with the a violent attack against the Portuguese Police. Dai Davies, a senior associate of Kingfell Global Crisis, Director and Lead Consultant of Selectamark Consultancy, was responsible for the security of the Royal family and palaces, leading a force of 450 police officers, with an annual budget of £26 million for more than 15 years.

The McCann, innocent people

On a opinion column published on the Mirror, on September 23 (“Police here have given up looking for poor Maddie”), Mr. Dai Davies wrote: “I spent a week in Praia da Luz where Madeleine went missing, "walking the shop floor" as I call it, going over the available evidence and unearthing some startling new information about the case. And in what will surely be another hammer-blow to the McCanns' hopes of finding their little daughter, I've discovered from lengthy talks with my barrister contact that Portuguese investigators have unofficially abandoned the hunt for Madeleine's alleged abductor.”

Showing that he is a strong believer in the innocence of the McCann, Mr. Dai Davies left an advise to PJ detectives: “The police now need to halt their campaign to pin this awful crime on two innocent people and bring in new officers for a complete overhaul with fresh eyes.”

“Mr Davies, a former divisional commander in West London, with child protection experience, has “deliberately” not met with the McCanns”, while at Praia da Luz, according to the Daily Post, “but regularly speaks to their new spokesman Clarence Mitchell.

Flying Squad “reporter”

Ex-Flying Squad Commander John O’Connor is a former British Policeman that came to Praia da Luz to report for several TV Channels. On September 17, the web page of Crimesharetv has the following message: “CSTV is proud to report that the Commander has been to Portugal investigating Madeleine's disappearance and you can catch his daily media reports on GMTV, Sky News and the BBC.” John O'Connor was a policeman for 30 years and he ran “the Flying Squad at New Scotland Yard dealing with all armed robberies in London until retiring with the rank of Commander”, according to Crimesharetv. The page has a link to an interview of John O'Connor with Sky News.

Mr O'Connor gave an interview, on May 17, to The Resident, an English newspaper that introduced him as “a former Scotland Yard commander who is working with the Portuguese authorities investigating Madeleine’s disappearance”. Mr. John O’Connor praised the quality of Portuguese detectives, but stated that “looking in remote places is ineffective.” “Despite this, O’Connor spoke of the high quality detective work in Portugal and believes that they will solve this case. He spoke of the competency and professionalism of the Portuguese police, dismissing any accusations they have faced.”

Later, in the Sky News interview, he told more or less the same: Portuguese cops are nice guys, but they are looking in the wrong places...

Desmond Thomas, former deputy head of Hampshire CID, came forward, around the middle of September, when his expertise was needed. “So far no evidence has emerged in public to suggest that the missing four-year-old is even dead, he told the Daily Star and other British Media. “I think the Portuguese police are struggling. From what we know thus far, if I was bringing the charges I would be nervous about it being successful. In the McCann case, police have no body and no weapon – so it is going to be very difficult.”

The most tenacious and persistent

Mark Williams-Thomas, ex-CID offcier and managing-director of WT Associates was, with no doubt, the former British policeman that produced the largest amount of attaccks against Portuguese Police, with the help of Sky News and Martin Brunt:

“Mr Williams-Thomas believes that because of the huge doubts over the convictions, whoever abducted Joana is more than likely to be behind Madeleine's disappearance. Joana vanished in Figueira (...) He said he could not understand why the police are pursuing their "ludicrous" investigation into the McCanns, when such a strong line of inquiry remains open.”

“For much of the time we have heard or seen little police action (...) Whatever the outcome of this inquiry, the Portuguese legal system is in urgent need of review.”

“But crime expert Mark Williams-Thomas said "that apartment should have been sealed off and a thorough forensic examination taken place in the days and weeks after she went missing.” He added that he had been on the scene in Praia da Luz in the week after the abduction and noticed many flaws in the way the search was being carried out. The former police detective said shutters should have been taken away, a fingertip search of the area carried out and interviews done with people who had been using the local shop.”

“The inner cordon was very close to the apartment, within 30 yards. I would have put the inner cordon 100 yards away. There are limitations to that because there's a shop nearby and there are apartments so some of the cordon might be less than that. But it should have been at least 50 yards (...) I didn't see any house-to-house inquiries being done which is vital because, again, they are the people living and staying in these apartments.”

But at this stage it will be important for them to take stock and even ask for an external review. They need to take experts from outside the investigation, possibly from Britain or America, to undertake the review. This isn't about apportioning blame or criticism in relation to the investigation. It's about looking at possible lines of inquiry with a fresh pair of eyes. In a British investigation this would normally take place at 28 days, with an external force or another body reviewing the investigation.

Former police detective Mark Williams-Thomas told Sky News Online this week that Portuguese police had made errors in the investigation.

Paulo Reis & Duarte Levy

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Who’s afraid of the McCann?

From left to right: Portuguese Prime-Minister, Mr. José Sócrates, Chairman of the Supreme Magistrates Council, Judge Noronha do Nascimento, head of the Public Prosecutor's Service, Mr. Pinto Monteiro and director of Policia Judiciária, Mr. Alípio Ribeiro

Clarence Mitchell, a former spin-doctor from British Government, is a liar. Nothing new, because this is an essential characteristic for somebody who has this kind of job. The most recent lie was published today. Mr. Clarence Mitchell told the Mirror “Kate and Gerry have consistently said they are willing to co-operate with Portuguese authorities and will continue to do so, regardless of who is in charge of the hunt for Madeleine."

The “debutant” - as Richard Branson called him - Portuguese lawyer Pinto de Abreu said exactly the opposite. So, one of them is a liar. I believe Mr. Pinto de Abreu told the truth, when he revealed that Kate McCann refused to answer several times, when questioned by Police. I don't believe Mr. Clarence Mitchell, because his job has been – and still is – not to tell the truth, but to try to create the idea that truth is what better serves the interest of his bosses, whoever they are.

But the most interesting statement of Mr. Clarence Mitchell, the once powerful head of Media Monitoring Unit, was on GMTV: “What (the McCann) want now is whoever takes over to refocus the inquiry onto finding Madeleine.”

Meaning, what the McCann want is that Portuguese Police forgets the evidence collected by a British Police special team, working with the two most valuable and efficient sniffer dogs of all police forces in UK – Keela and Eddie – at Praia da Luz.

What the McCann want, according to Clarence Mitchell, is that Portuguese Police start to pretend that it is a strong possibility that Madeleine McCann is alive – a theory that goes against the results of the analysis of the samples collected by the British Police special team at Praia da Luz - analysis done at Forensic Science Service, in Birmingham.

But Clarence Mitchell is doing his job. That's what is paid for, by the several British millionaires that are the financial supporters of the McCann. What I don't understand is why the answer for the challenges and threats coming from the McCann has been the silence, coming from the Portuguese Prime-Minister, Mr. José Sócrates, from the Chairman of the Supreme Magistrates Council, Judge Noronha do Nascimento, from the head of the Public Prosecutor's Service, Mr. Pinto Monteiro and from the director of Policia Judiciária, Mr. Alípio Ribeiro (pictured above...)

Are they afraid of the McCann? Are they afraid of who is behind the McCann? I can't believe they are. I can't accept they are. But I can't understand why they have been so silent, month after month of an amazing campaign of slur, slander, calumny, defamation and insult to all the institutions those persons represent: our Nation, our Judicial system, our Courts, our Public Prosecutor's Office and our Police.

I never heard a word of Mr. Alípio Ribeiro defending one of his men, Criminal Coordinator Gonçalo Amaral. He never had the courage to come forward and say that he trusted the man who was in the spotlight, the nº 1 target of British tabloid's journalists (*), people that behave like a pack of hyenas and have to lick each other for mutual reconnaissance, in order to avoid episodes of cannibalism.

When you are in command and you don't take care of your men, you risk to lose the battle. Because your men don't trust you. If you want to lead, you have to be the first to move forward and face the enemy. If you do that, your men will fight and die for you. But even if you stay in the comfort and cosiness of your command post, at the top of your ivory tower, while your men are struggling in the trenches, you can be sure they will do their job. They have a mission and a duty, and that's more important than the man that, by accident, happens to be their commander. A man that never had his shoes in the mud, never smelled a rotten body, never heard the noise of bullets passing by.

But when those men finish their job, they will come for you. They will ask you where you have been, when they needed you. Why you left them alone. They will demand answers. Hope you have a good one. You will need it. You and all the others that have been in such a comfortable silence, until now, as if you have nothing to do with what is going on at Praia da Luz.

Paulo Reis

(*) Mr. Grant Hodgson, from the Mirror, is a man that considers himself a journalist – an obvious mistake. He calls me with regularity, like many other British journalists – and I wouldn’t mention their names, as most of them are good professionals. And we just talk, between journalists, about the last gossips, information, recente news and so on.

Some of them ask me for help in clarifying aspects of the Portuguese legal system, others want more details about news that were published in the Portuguese Press. A few of them proposed me money in exchange for information and other usual unethical procedures, quite common among British tabloid journalists. Brendan de Beer, who works for a English language publication in Algarve, once called me asking who where my sources in the Police...

Last time Mr. Hodgson called me, he asked my opinion about the picture of Madeleine, in Morocco. I reminded him of the many sightings in Malta and I told him that everybody should be careful with those sightings. I gave him an example: the president of Portuguese Detectives Union told, during a TV program, on September 11, that Polícia Judiciária had to investigate and send teams to 252 different places where aleged sightings of Madeleine have been reported, only in Portugal, between May 3 and September 11. “Amazing” - he said.

And what did this "journalist" wrote, next day? He wrote this piece of fake, misleading and manipulated information: “The Sunday Mirror has discovered that 252 possible tip-offs about the four-year-old have been reported to Amaral, any one of which might just lead to her being traced. But the vast majority have not even been checked.

Sky News special report about Madeleine's case

The special report of Sky News about Madeleine's case promised to “separate fact from fiction”. But what it showed was that Sky News archives are badly organized and Mr. Martin Brunt is better creating fiction than reporting facts. Because important facts and steps of the investigation were completely ignored by Mr. Martin Brunt, with the obvious complicity of his editors (nothing new, as it has been done before...)

Mr. Martin Brunt brought a new crime expert. It seems that Mr. Mark William-Thomas went missing in action, after we published a story revealing that he was also the owner and managing-director of WT Associates, a PR company specialized in child protection, media handling and advice for high profile cases. By the way, I'm still waiting for the answer of Sky News Editor to an email I sent, asking if he was aware of the business connections of Mr. Mark Williams-Thomas, as Sky News never gave this information to its viewers.

But what did Mr. Martin Brunt forget, while “separating facts from fiction”, in his special report about Madeleine's investigation?

He forget to mention what was the reason of a “dramatic twist” in the case, after “the apartment was re-examined”. Mr. Martin Brunt refers the “dramatic twist, so far” and then jumps immediately to the moment when “Kate McCann was ordered in for questioning” at the PJ headquarters in Portimão. Gerry McCann was next and both were named formal suspects.

Why did it happened, that “dramatic twist”? Why did Mr. Marin Brunt forget to explain the reasons for this “dramatic twist”? This second question only can be answered by Mr. Martin Brunt – and I believe Sky News viewers would like very much to know his explanation.

What we can do, with the help of British Press, is to answer the first question, remind Mr. Brunt of the reasons for that “dramatic twist” and about many other facts that he manipulated, distorted and omitted in his special “report”:

The sniffer dog who found the body of murdered Ulsterwoman Attracta Harron has been flown to Portugal in the hunt for the body of Madeleine McCann, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal. Specially-trained English springer spaniel Eddie and his companion Keela were taken to Praia de Luz complex in the Algarve several days ago as the search for the missing four-year-old intensified. The police dogs, which are trained to sniff out minute traces of blood, were drafted in after the focus of the investigation again turned on the apartment where the McCann family were staying when Madeleine disappeared 97 days ago.

A pair of elite police sniffer dogs attached to an English police force has been helping Portuguese police in their hunt for missing four-year-old Madeleine McCann, it has emerged. The specially-trained English springer spaniels Eddie and Keela were reportedly flown to Praia da Luz in the Algarve last week to take part in the investigation.

The spaniel can sniff out blood in clothes after they have been washed repeatedly in biological washing powder, and can detect microscopic amounts on weapons that have been scrubbed and washed. When faced with a “clean” crime scene, Mr Ellis and PC Martin Grimes, Keela’s other handler, will first send in Frankie, a border collie, and Eddie, another springer spaniel, to pick up any general scent. Then they wheel in the big gun. “We take Keela in and she will find the minutest traces of blood,” Mr Ellis said. “It’s not like looking for a needle in a haystack any more. The other two dogs will find the haystack and Keela will find the needle.”

Keela, a 16-month-old springer spaniel, has become such an asset to South Yorkshire Police that she now earns more than the chief constable. Her sense of smell, so keen that she can sniff traces of blood on weapons that have been scrubbed after attacks, has her so much in demand by forces up and down the country that she is hired out at £530 a day, plus expenses. Thought to be the only one of her kind, the crime scenes dog earns nearly £200,000 a year. Her daily rate, ten times that of ordinary police dogs, puts her on more than the chief constable, Meredydd Hughes, who picks up £129,963.”

A South Yorkshire police spokesman said: "The dogs are the only two in Britain who are capable of finding human blood in small quantities. "They are trained to seek buried remains and are put to search on areas which look disturbed, such as broken branches, rubble or turned over earth." At the end of last year, the FBI sought the dogs' help in a ten-year-old murder investigation in the United States.

The sniffer dog that helped detectives jail evil killer Trevor Hamilton has just returned from assisting the FBI with a murder probe in America. Six-year-old English springer spaniel Eddie’s career took off internationally shortly after he returned to Ulster for a third time to help in the hunt for missing Arlene Arkinson. Eddie helped police nail Hamilton after the victim-recovery dog found blood from Attracta Harron (63) on a mat from Hamilton’s burnt-out Hyundai car.

Sunday Telegraph
Madeleine McCann's parents flying back to UK
By David Harrison and Caroline Gammell in Praia da Luz and Andrew Alderson
Last Updated: 1:55am BST 10/09/2007
John Barrett, a former Scotland Yard dog handler, also indicated that the trained dogs used in an attempt to detect a "death smell" on Mrs McCann's Bible and clothes were brought in too long after Madeleine vanished. The crucial scent lasts for no longer than a month, he said.

The Times
September 17, 2007
Kate and Gerry McCann send to US for help against evidence of sniffer dogs
Steve Bird and David Brown in Praia da Luz
The parents of Madeleine McCann have contacted the lawyers of a man charged with murder who successfully challenged sniffer dog evidence. His lawyers claimed it was unreliable and persuaded a judge in the US to throw out prosecution claims that the dogs had detected the smell of a corpse. Kate and Gerry McCann hope that the case could help them to prove their own innocence.

Daily Telegraph
By Paul Harris and Sam Greenhill
September 18, 2007 12:00am
SERIOUS doubts were yesterday being cast on a crucial part of the police case against Kate and Gerry McCann. Portuguese police began to suspect the couple after a sniffer dog trained to detect "the scent of death" reacted strongly to their hire car and Madeleine's Cuddle Cat toy (...)However similar evidence has been dismissed as unreliable in a US murder trial where experts found the dogs had a poor record (...) It was a decision to bring over a sniffer dog from South Yorkshire several weeks ago which persuaded Portuguese police the McCanns may have been involved in their daughter's death. During police interviews the couple were shown videos of the animal "going crazy" when it approached their Renault hire car.

Blood samples from the Portuguese apartment where Madeleine McCann was on holiday with her family will reach a British laboratory today for analysis. The samples, which are understood to have been found in the apartment by a team of sniffer dogs (Keela and Eddie) operated by police from Leicestershire, will be examined by scientists from the Forensic Science Service, based in Birmingham, the Guardian understands. Police from Leicestershire, where the McCann family live, are leading the UK contingent of officers in Portugal helping detectives (...) But reports from Portugal suggest Leicestershire officers used specialised equipment and their own sniffer dogs to re-examine the two-bedroomed apartment at the Mark Warner holiday complex.”

The material was only collected at the end of July and early August in a review of the investigation carried out by Portuguese detectives with the help of British police and two sniffer dogs. Many of the samples are very small, containing just a few cells, while others are of poor quality because of damage by cleaning or simply the passing of time. A full report of the findings will not be ready for weeks, but many results have already been passed to the Portuguese authorities.

A British sniffer dog picked up the scent of a dead body in the apartment and samples, including suspected traces of blood, have been recovered from the scene. The UK's Forensic Science Service has spent the past month analysing them.

Daily Mail
Madeleine: Sniffer dogs 'found scent of death' on one of the McCanns' friends
Last updated at 09:29am on 26th September 2007
Friends of the McCanns faced fresh allegations yesterday after it was claimed that sniffer dogs had found the "scent of death" on one of them. The same police dog which reacted to Mrs McCann's clothes - first causing suspicion to fall on her - was alleged to have smelled "death" on one of the friends who had dinner with the couple the night Madeleine vanished. Police sources briefed a Portuguese newspaper that two police dogs from South Yorkshire, trained to detect corpses, human remains and microscopic traces of blood, had reacted to some items of clothing. Family spokesman Clarence Mitchell denied categorically that any such procedure had happened.

The McCanns’ efforts to fight police leaks about scientific evidence said to prove that they had some hand in their daughter’s death saw the couple criticised yesterday by the English organisation analysing samples seized from the scene of Madeleine’s disappearance and the family hire car. The Forensic Science Service is frustrated that DNA examinations they have carried out for the Portuguese police were being rubbished by the publicity campaign launched by the McCanns.

Other details about what happened in the first hours after Madeleine disappeared

Police helicopters flew over Praia de la Luz yesterday as the hunt intensified for Madeleine McCann, who went missing from her bedroom in the apartment on Thursday night. Teams of officers used sniffer dogs to scour the resort, in the south-west of Portugal, where Gerald McCann, a cardiac surgeon, and his wife Kate, had taken their three young children - Madeleine and her younger brother and sister, who are twins - for a week-long holiday.

John Hill, the Ocean Club manager, said the alarm was raised by the family between 10pm and 10.15pm: “The staff, many guests and the best part of the village started looking right away, a total of 40 to 65 people. The police were called and started taking details from the family and then took the decision to escalate the search.

Nigel Ragg, head of marketing at Mark Warner Holidays, defended the police operation. “It was felt by our staff that the police reacted quickly. The search was escalated throughout the evening,” he said.

Police were conducting checks at airports and more than 150 officers were searching the area. Hundreds of tourists, British ex-pats and local Portuguese were also helping with the search.

Police search well organized
“A HUGE hunt was going on last night for three-year-old Maddy McCann, feared snatched from her holiday flat (...) Sky News weather presenter Jo Wheeler (*) said local police had been giving out maps and telling people where to look. She said: 'It's very well organised."
(*) A guest at Ocean resort...

Border airport authorities already allerted, Spanish police contacted
“Resort manager John Hill said around 60 staff and guests had searched until 4.30am yesterday as police contacted border authorities, neighbouring Spanish officers and airports. "There are a criminal investigator and around 20 officers here but unfortunately there's still no information. If I was in the McCanns' situation, I'd be frustrated as hell. If there were 100 police here I'd want more."

Apartment sealed, fingerprints taken
“Officers sealed off the five-storey holiday block with crime scene tape and fingerprinted the shutters and window sill outside Maddy's room. A patio to the rear of the block, believed to be attached to the family's two-bedroom apartment, was also sealed off.”

Philomena McCan: Police did “very litlle”
Speaking from her home in Glasgow, Philomena McCann, Madeleine’s aunt, said: “The local policeman was doing very little. The area was not cordoned off for hours and hours. Kate and Gerry [were] frustrated at the lack of activity. [The police] tried to downplay the enormity of it and said Madeleine had perhaps wandered off. That is the most ridiculous suggestion.”

Shutters smashed, Kate told to Jon Corner, the twins godfather
“Close family friend Jon Corner, of Liverpool, told that "Kate said the shutters of the room were smashed. Madeleine was missing. It looks as though someone had gone straight past the twins to get to her. Kate was incredibly upset. I've spoken to her since, and she's still completely devastated.”

Mark Warner management denies shutters smashed
“Mark Warner management denied there were signs of forced entry at the flat claiming instead that roller shutters had been slid up and the bedroom window opened.”

“(...) Brian Healy, Madeleine's maternal grandfather, told the Guardian his son-in-law had phoned him shortly after returning to the apartment from a nearby restaurant to find Madeleine had disappeared. "Gerry told me when they went back the shutters to the room were broken, they were jemmied up and she was gone," said Mr Healy. "She'd been taken from the chalet. The door was open."

Mark Warner, the holiday firm which runs the luxury resort, claimed last night there was no sign of a break in at the ground floor apartment overlooking the sea.”

McCann lawyer denies offer of a plea bargain
“Police were still questioning Gerry McCann when, already, his sister Philomena was telling Sky they had offered Kate McCann a reduced two-year sentence if she admitted to killing her daughter accidentally, hiding the body and then secretly disposing of it weeks later. On this occasion the police officers were right to be angry. Like many things said about the McCann affair over the past days and months, the story was wrong. There was no offer of a plea bargain. It had all been "a misunderstanding", the McCann lawyer, Carlos Pinto de Abreu, explained the following day.”

Paulo Reis & Duarte Levy

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Portuguese Foreign Minister: “As a matter of principle, there are no exclusions in the summit between EU and Africa”

The Portuguese Foreign Minister, Mr. Luís Amado, said today that there will be “no exclusions” in the summit EU-Africa. Speaking to journalists after the conference “Lisbon Energy Forum”, Mr. Amado said that “as a matter of principle, there are no exclusions in the summit between European Union and Africa.”

Asked about the presence of Mr. Robert Mugabe, from Zimbabwe, Mr. Luís Amado replied that the Portuguese Government, which holds the European Union Presidency, “is still working” on the details of the meeting: “In the last days, there were no new developments. We are working on it, from the points of view of Europe and Africa”.

The British Prime-Minister, Mr. Gordon Brown, threatened to boycott the summit, if Robert Mubage is present. "I applaud the prime minister of Portugal for what he is trying to do to build stronger relations between Europe and Africa. This is a summit that is necessary for Africa's sake. But of course it would be totally inappropriate for me to be there if President Mugabe [is]”, Gordon Brown told BBC, on September 20.

The BBC's Europe editor, Mark Mardell, said diplomats were being "very active in trying to find a compromise" that could involve Zimbabwe being represented not by Robert Mugabe, but by another Government member.

This possible compromise “threw a lifeline to the Portuguese, who hold the EU presidency and are desperately looking for a diplomatic solution to avoid cancelling the meeting”, according to The Times. Mr Brown’s spokesman, quoted by The Times, said that if Robert Mugabe didn't attend the summit, and Zimbabwe was represented by other Government member, this “would be a different circumstance.”

Monday, October 1, 2007

“An army of media” followed the McCann ih their trip to Huelva

KATE and Gerry McCann were stunned at the latest police claim about missing Madeleine — that they buried her during a “missing two hours” while putting up posters in Spain, according to The Sun: On August 3, the couple drove from the fateful Algarve resort of Praia da Luz across the border to the Spanish town of Huelva to put up posters.

With them were Gerry’s brother John and a cameraman hired to take footage for the website in Spain, the couple were followed around by an army of media.

Despite this, police are focusing on what they claim was a “missing two hours”. They are investigating the possibility Gerry and Kate either buried the body then — or returned to the site of a grave they made earlier.

On the road to Huelva Spain (The Sun)

It is the latest in a string of controversial theories by the Portuguese — many of which have been discredited. To bolster their latest idea — leaked to one of the country’s newspapers — police say it was: SUSPICIOUS the trip was postponed from the day before — because Gerry had intestinal problems.

“STRANGE” that the couple, from Rothley, Leics, chose to visit Spain on a national holiday when shops were shut.MYSTERIOUS that the McCanns racked up “unjustified mileage” in their Renault Scenic — hired 25 days after Maddie disappeared. Police are awaiting further tests on the car — in which they claim to have already found DNA linked to Maddie.

Leaflets: distribution began at 1pm (The Sun)

They are said to have met with Spanish counterparts to study CCTV showing the motor travelling in “places without reason.” Clarence Mitchell, spokesman for the McCanns, insisted: “The trip to Huelva was organised on behalf of the Find Madeleine campaign.”

A source close to the McCanns said that Kate and Gerry had a “new determination” to find Maddie. Yesterday the couple left their home in Rothley to take their two-year-old twins to nursery. Gerry told supporters: “It’s just over two weeks since we returned home.

The news in that time is we have not been charged with any offences regarding Madeleine’s disappearance.”Meanwhile Kate’s mum spoke of the toll the ordeal is taking on her daughter.Susan Healy, 61, said: “Like any mum I worry for her. She’s lost a few pounds but that’s only to be expected because of the constant levels of stress.“She’s coping from day to day and remaining strong.”

The couple's spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, told Daily Mail “that Mr and Mrs McCann, both 39-year-old doctors from Rothley, Leicestershire, have a full account of their visit to Huelva. He said the couple were never alone during the trip and were always in the company of PR adviser Jon Corner and a cameraman.”

According to Clarence Mitchell, “there is even a video of the trip on the website YouTube, showing the McCanns handing out leaflets as part of their drive to find their daughter. Mr Mitchell said: "Kate and Gerry stopped several times to distribute leaflets and they had the car boot open all the time."They transported all the campaign material in it. If there had been a body in there, people would have seen." Spanish authorities said yesterday they have not been asked to investigate the Huelva trip.

Spokesman Manuel Bago insisted: "There is no investigation involving Madeleine's parents in the province of Huelva (...)"