Dr Christian Ludke - Criminal Psychologist
By Uta Keseling
7 September 2007, 18:11
Translation by Nigel Moore
The forensic psychologist Dr. Christian Lüdke leads a company in Essen which supports the victims of robberies, kidnappings, accidents or disasters. He spoke with WELT ONLINE about the possible motives of the McCann couple in the tragic case of the abduction of Madeleine.
WELT ONLINE: You have warned, since early on, that the behaviour of Gerry and Kate McCann indicates their involvement in the crime. What has made you feel that way?
Christian Lüdke: I have, in recent years, cared for many parents who lost their children due to acts of violence. Most of them were under severe shock, feeling helpless, desperate and withdrawn. Many also quarralled. They blamed themselves hugely for not having looked after their child adequately.
WELT ONLINE: It was different with the McCanns?
Lüdke: They live very differently. In public, they are harmonious. Already, after only a few days they went jogging, as if that was a normal thing to do, always appearing together. These parents took matters into their own hands instead of leaving matters in the hands of the police. They distanced themselves from their two other children by going on a European tour, that to me is very strange.
WELT ONLINE: Maybe it was an accident?
Lüdke: No. In such a case, after the first shock, they would have trusted the police. Both parents are doctors, in case of an accident they would have tried to get help. It is even more unrealistic that of all people two doctors would leave 3 children alone in a strange environment, even more at night. I have many doctors as patients. As professionals they know all that can happen to children, and as parents they are overly protective.
WELT ONLINE: What could have been the motive to cause their own daughter's disappearance?
Lüdke: There are parents who have little or no emotional bond with a child. Often such a child is considered a burden that must be dealt with in a brutal or perverted way. The best known is Münchhausen Syndrome by Proxy: The mother tortures the child until it is almost dead and then calls for the police because she herself has a great desire to receive attention.
WELT ONLINE: Do you think it is possible that Madeleine's parents have killed Madeleine and together hidden her?
Lüdke: I believe both parents know what happened.
WELT ONLINE: It means, the McCanns planned the death of their daughter?
Lüdke: Yes, it is possible that they planned this a long time ago, they must at least have played it through in their minds many times and they must have spoken about it together. Otherwise they would now be contradicting each other.
WELT ONLINE: When parents are guilty of killing their child, do they block this fact out of their minds?
Lüdke: Unlikely. Both have clear consciousness, give interviews, travel. It is easier for them to lie than to speak the truth. One can probably exclude a psychosis. Many things point toward a mental disorder. The children of the McCanns were conceived artificially; that can lead to problems in parenthood. Maybe there were self esteem issues that were not openly addressed. Maybe the child had to die due to a problem that had lasted many years.
WELT ONLINE: But the McCanns seem perfect and loving parents.
Lüdke: That public image can be due to a guilt mechanism, like doing a media campaign, to distract attention away from the real problem.
WELT ONLINE: Why do they not go back to Great Britain?
Lüdke: That also speaks against them. When someone loses a child they want to be with their loved ones in a secure environment. By continuing to stay at that resort, where something terrible happened, the worse that can happen to a parent - that is, to lose a child - indicates a survival instinct. As in a mental cinema, these pictures would be constantly running over again. That the McCanns do not return home, where they would have memories of the beautiful times spent with their child, can be seen as an evasive action, in order to avoid having to deal with what they have done.
WELT ONLINE: The world thinks it is impossible that these parents can be guilty.
Lüdke: The media have possibly been taken in by the McCanns. They very quickly attended only after them, instead of around the child. The parents were accompanied like the Beckhams. In his Internet diary, the father writes almost daily about that and other irrelevant/banal things, the shirt he was wearing, what the weather is like. No father in despair could do this. Statistically 70 percent of all the violence against children is caused by the parents, family members or friends. That has unfortunately, to a large extent, not been looked into. The Portuguese police were attacked unfairly when they tried to refer in that direction.
WELT ONLINE: They have already expressed suspicions about the parents, when hardly anyone wanted to know about it. Have you been criticized for it?
Lüdke: Yes, very severely. There were open letters, a campaign on the Internet with professional associations. And I have done no more than look at the whole thing as an outsider.
About Criminal Psychologist Dr. Christian Ludke:
1. Staatsexamen (Sek. II) in Erziehungswissenschaft, kath. Theologie und Sport Promotion zum Doktor der Philosophie in der Facherkombination Erziehungswissenschaft, Soziologie und Sportmedizin
1989: New York / USA, Arbeit mit schwer erziehbaren Kindern- und Jugendlichen
1991-1999: Psychologische Ausbildung von Spezialeinheiten (SEK, MEK und VG) bei der Fortbildungsstelle Spezialeinheiten der Polizei in NRW
1999-2001: Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter der Universit ln / Lehrstuhl Klinische Psychologie und Psychotherapie
2001-2007: Geschhrer der HumanProtect Consulting GmbH
Psychologische Akutintervention und Rehabilitation nach (Bank-)Ãllen, Geiselnahmen, Unfllen, Katastrophen und anderen belastenden Ereignissen
A few other professional people who have opinions about the McCanns:
Dr Paulo Sargento
Dr. Francisco Moita Flores
Pinto da Costa - Forensice Medicine Expert
Michael Shrimpton - National security lawyer/barrister