The disappearance of Madeleine McCann nine years ago is a case like no other. The role played by the media has kept her face on the front pages of the tabloid press .
Police files on the case are available on the internet. The Scotland Yard investigation is ongoing.
This blog is a collection of facts - sourced from witness statements, Portuguese police files, Leveson inquiry papers, interviews, videos, transcripts, newspaper articles and other material in the public domain.
Tuesday, 22 September 2015
THE THIRD TRIP HOME - 12TH - 15TH JULY 2007
Dr. Gerald McCann returned to the UK for the third time on the 12th of July 2007.
This time there were no curious events, such as wallets stolen and returned by a conscience-stricken thief, no lifesaving treatment of a member of the public. Instead there was a standing ovation by the Police Federation for a man who had lost his daughter, having left her alone with her two siblings in a holiday apartment with the back door unlocked for easy access. (The Sun arranged this award apparently).
Gerry’s blog: 12th July 2007:
[..] I came to London today to meet with the British police and will go to the child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre tomorrow to learn more about their role.
As I have said previously we want to work closely with the police and child welfare organisations to help us keep awareness of Madeleines and other childrens’ disappearance high.
(‘other children’ are now added to the workload, a theme extended globally to ‘all children’ during his trip two weeks later to the USA - for the moment the keywords are Europe and ‘all children’).
[..] I was also invited to attend the National Police Federation Annual Bravery Awards tonight.
GERRY IS HONOURED AT POLICE BRAVERY AWARDS FOR A LIFETIME ( 6 WEEKS OR SO) OF SERVICES TO … MISSING KIDS ... JULY 2007
Retracing our steps to mid-July 2007 and we find ourselves standing alongside hundreds of dumbfounded uniformed officers at the Dorchester Hotel, invited from our seats by senior personnel to applaud one Gerald P McCann at the Police Bravery Awards. First we’d had the poignant video of his daughter, then the speech praising both UK Officers and the Polícia Judiciária, now we had the standing ovation. And for what? Just what were we honouring? Gerry’s contribution to ‘what’ exactly? One of the serving South Yorkshire officers receiving an award there that night described it as one of the most surreal events of his life. Sitting at his table was none other than Gerry McCann [..] And he wasn’t just down on the guest-list; Gerry was guest of honour. (1)
Gerry’s Blog 13th July Friday:
Spent a large part of the day at the child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) headquarters in London. [..] The statistics of child abduction in the UK, both attempted and successful cases, are staggering with over 1000 reported cases in 2003/4 [..] worryingly there does not appear to be reliable statistics for many countries in Europe. Clearly a lot of work has to be done to tackle this growing problem. unquote
He spent some considerable time at CEOP’s headquarters and this may have been the occasion when he was given the Scotland Yard manual which the PJ later found on his bedside table.
One wonders if Gerry and Jim Gamble also went through some of the 1800 holiday photos sent to the dedicated website. The photos the PJ never got to see.
Doubtless - with such a heavy schedule - Dr. Gerry forgot to mention another important meeting he attended which must have been on either the 12th or 13th.
Leveson Enquiry 31/1/2012 the Press Complaints Commission
Sir Christopher Meyer: ‘What I said to Gerry McCann when I first saw him was that this is what the PCC can do for you, this is how we can help. If you want damages, if it comes to that, we do not do money. The courts do money, so you’re going to have to make a choice’
Mr. Jay: To be clear about that, when did you say that to Dr. McCann?
Sir Christopher Meyer: In July of 2007.
Mr. Jay: And the circumstances were what? Was it a meeting?
Sir Christopher Meyer: At my house.
Seamlessly the blog moves to the 14th of July without touching on a visit to the PCC . How Kate got herself and the twins to the UK on the 13th and where the devoted pair met up isn’t mentioned, neither is Michael Wright’s one day trip to PdL.
Gerry’s Blog: 14th July 2007 Saturday:
Kate, the twins and myself attended a family baptism today in Yorkshire where we stood as Godparents. [..]
Gerry’s Blog: 15th July 2007 Sunday
Travelled back to Portugal today on an early morning flight. unquote
Back in Portugal, Kate wrote some strange lines in her diary:
12th July 2007: I hate the person who took my Madeleine - the same one who has caused all this trouble, who made us feel worthless and mistrustful and mainly who has frightened my beautiful Madeleine. I will never forgive that person/those people for this. Never.
Today I washed the Cuddle Cat. I was hoping not to have to do it until Madeleine returns, but it was now quite dirty and smelly, unfortunately without the smell of Madeleine on it. XX
It is merely my opinion that Kate tells us a lot more than she thinks she does, even though the initial statement is amended.
She hates the person who took Maddie, who is the same one who has caused more trouble apart from taking Maddie. Adding as an afterthought that she hates him most for frightening (not taking) Maddie. A further amendment allows for more than one person, but there is a strong sense of one person who made extra trouble for them, who also made them feel worthless - all this quite apart from taking or frightening Madeleine. It can’t be Murat, because he’s been an arguido for two months. So who is it?
The day before Kate is to leave for the UK she washes Cuddlecat again, at the very least a second time as the first time was about five days after 3/5/07. The emotional connection to the toy seems learned, possibly from the press who may have explained the mother/child scent connection to a wider public than they thought. ‘Washed the Cuddlecat’ is a most peculiar distancing phrase.
Despite the fact that she collected Michael Wright from the airport that day and the preparations made for the christening and becoming godparents, there is nothing at all in the diary about this trip or becoming godmother.
Witness statement of Michael Terence Wright 2008.04.16
Thursday, 12 July to Friday, 13 July. I travelled alone and returned with Kate and the twins for them to attend the baptism of my own children. I had spoken previously with Gerry by phone and knew that he was in UK in meetings and he asked me to help Kate and the twins so that they could be there. Kate, Gerry and twins returned to Portugal on 15 July.
However, this episode, which is just a small part of the Rogatory Interview appeared to be of sufficient importance to merit a separate email with just this information: (Had Inspector Paiva requested this information ahead of the translation? the RI was a week earlier.
Processos Volume XVI page 4199
Email from Stuart Prior on 23 April 2008 to Ricardo Manuel Gonçalves Paiva
Synopsis re statement of Michael Terrence WRIGHT 16th April 2008
12th July to 13th July he returned with Kate and the twins to attend the christening of his own children while Gerry was already in the UK. The McCANN'S returned to Portugal on 15th July.(rest of information same as above)
So Michael Wright apparently flew to PdL on Thursday the 12th and out again with Kate and the twins on Friday 13th. On Saturday the 14th the baptism of Michael and Anne-Marie Wright’s two children, a girl and a boy, aged 8 and 10 took place against - as we shall see - all the rules of the RC church. (2)
That weekend, the children and I flew out to the UK and were joined by Gerry in Yorkshire. Michael and Anne-Marie had asked us to stand as godparents to their children. Katie and Patrick had never been baptized as babies, and I think the decision to do this now had perhaps been precipitated by what had happened to us. It had concentrated everyone’s minds on how fragile life is, how it can be wrecked in an instant.
Naturally, we badly wanted to be at the baptism. I had not set foot in the UK since Madeleine’s abduction and although for me this was an emotional journey, it was not the same as ‘going home’. The press, however, were bound to see it that way, and we were worried they would turn up in force and spoil this family occasion.
So with the cooperation of the authorities in both countries, we kept it under the radar, and, thanks to the police, for once we managed to stay one step ahead of our media shadows, much to their annoyance. Instead the church was patrolled by police - Skipton, Michael declared, had never seen so many - a rather more reassuring and less intrusive presence. unquote
‘...we wanted to be at the baptism’ is a very strange remark. As both of them were standing godparent they simply had to be there.
The following information from a Roman Catholic website. in all cases the baptism takes place as part of the three initiation sacraments at the Easter Vigil Mass after at least a year of instruction preceding the baptism, which cannot have taken place in this case. The last two quotes are from a priest. (3)
My sister is a lapsed Catholic who didn't have her kids baptized as infants. She eventually [..] gave consent for the kids to participate in a child's version of the RCIA when her kids were 7 & 9 years old. I was one of the Godparents/Sponsors as I am a Catholic but active.The kids went through the required formation classes and received all 3 initiation sacraments at the Easter Vigil Mass. They were in a class with about 4 or 5 other children ages 7 to 13 years old that most had to have all 3. Only 1 or 2 did not need baptism, they needed Confirmation and First Communion.
My youngest son will turn 10 at the end of the month and he's in RCIC on an alternating schedule with CCD. He'll be baptized, confirmed and make his first Holy Communion at Easter Vigil.
These were answers from a Catholic Priest:
There should be at least a year of pre-catechumenate or inquiry, where he is introduced (according to his learning and grade level) to the basics of the salvation story in the bible, the person of Jesus Christ, the basic beliefs and practices of the Catholic Church, and when he is ready, through the Rite of Acceptance, begin the catechumenate not less than one year before the Easter in which he will be received.
A child who has reached the age of discretion (generally age 7) is considered an adult, no longer an infant, for the purposes of the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, First Communion). He will participate in the Children's Catechumentate, that is RCIA (Rites of Christian Initiation) with his peers, and be received into the Catholic Church during the Easter Vigil through all of these sacraments, and continue with faith formation throughout his school years, and hopefully as an adult as well. He will prepare for his first confession some time after Easter. unquote
Easter wasn’t in July in 2007. So what on earth is going on here?
The officiating priest at St. Stephens in Skipton was Father Peter Dawbner, Parish priest at St Stephen's RC Church in Skipton, North Yorkshire.
The Wright children appear to have had no time to prepare for their baptism according to the rules. The reason given (how fragile life is) doesn’t convince me that that was enough to bend the stringent rules for baptism of children over the age of 7.
There are measures in place in the RC faith to baptize pretty well anyone in an emergency should such have arisen for the Wright children.
I would imagine that a parish priest would not be able to bend the rules in this manner and a much higher authority would have to be involved.
However, why does Kate write that they really wanted ‘to be’ at the baptism? They had to be there for the thing to take place. If it did.
Even if this christening was organised well before the 3rd of May 2007, even if the required instruction had taken place over the previous year, it appears that such a ceremony is only performed at Easter.
The problem here is clear: are we to believe that the rules for accepting children over the age of 7 into the faith were changed on this occasion? I find it easier to believe that there was no christening at all.
So what did take place on the 14th of July 2007 in St. Stephen’s church in Skipton?
Kate, the twins and myself attended a family baptism today in Yorkshire where we stood as Godparents. At the end of the short service, which was lovely, prayers were said for Madeleine. [..] ..and it was great to see so many family members together.
Gerry’s blog: 15th July 2007
Travelled back to Portugal today on an early morning flight. [..] My mum and sister have also come out for a few days so we managed to see a lot of family this weekend. unquote
A lot of family members together but no further details. A very unusual christening if there was one at all and at the end of it Gerry’s mother and sister travel back to PdL with them.
As for the press - there was no press to speak of some weeks earlier during all of Gerry’s adventures and no photographs - arriving at airport, or anywhere.
So this time there was lots of police, more than Skipton had ever seen before, ever, it seems. Just to keep the press out. Wouldn’t the good people of Skipton have noticed this activity? Would nothing about this unprecedented police protection have filtered into the press anywhere? Apparently not.
The christening was in the press as from the 16th. The Daily Mail ran a short story on the 16th, other papers on the same date or the 17th July.
The Daily Mail: ‘.. Mrs McCann said: "Yesterday was an emotional day. We were reunited with family to celebrate welcoming two children into the Catholic faith.
Gerry and I wanted to be there, to take part and to support our godchildren on one of the most important days of their lives.’ unquote
Again, a strange statement. They were essential to the ceremony, without them it could not take place unless the Wrights had emergency replacement godparents.
A great improvement on the previous visit. Guest of Honour of the police, tour of CEOP and probably an in-depth discussion on the European problem of missing children. The theme is still ‘European’ but can Global be far behind?
Gerry gets a standing ovation from the Police Federation where he was guest of honour.
He forgets to mention anywhere that he went to see Sir Christopher Meyer and got the bad news that they didn’t do money. But the good news that the courts might find a way.
He spent some considerable time at CEOP’s headquarters and this may also have been the occasion when he was given the Scotland Yard manual which the PJ later found on his bedside table.
Gerry and Jim Gamble may also have gone through the 1800 holiday photos sent to the dedicated CEOP website. The photos the PJ never got to see.
He stood godfather (should have been sponsor as well I think) to Michael Wright’s daughter.
This is merely speculation on my part, but during this period it seems Gerry is finally moving up in the world. No rackety planes flying them to an uninterested Morocco, no inconvenient questions from journalists. This time he is the honoured guest, complementing the police on their work. Things are under control and control is what Dr. Gerald seems to want most of all.
Interviews are scheduled and rehearsed, photo opportunities for the press are arranged on family days when the creche is closed and the twins are exhibited (no pixellated faces anywhere) on ‘family’ outings, such as a zoo or a walk through PdL.
Gerry is getting close the the role he wants, but it seems there isn’t one for Kate as yet .
Kate is not so happy . She notes that the journey to the UK is ‘emotional’ without clarifying why. Her diary is gloomy, there is no mention of Michael Wright making a special trip to help her with the twins during the flight to the UK. Her mood here does seem to be sliding towards the dream which led her to phone the PJ whilst Gerry was in the US. The dream Gerry said she never had. As he memorably told the press in Rome: ‘taking control of this... of this smallest decisions helps you cope and think rationally and influence things around you and that, I think, is the most important thing.’