Asking the questions about what really happened to Madeleine McCann
Dear Prime Minister
re: The need for a full public enquiry into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann
Last October your staff kindly received on your behalf our letter and petition in which we set out in detail the case for holding a full, independent, public, judicial enquiry into all aspects of the reported disappearance of Madeleine McCann on 3 May 2007. A copy of that letter is attached for your information.
We write once again to express our dismay at your decision, at the express request of Dr Gerald and Dr Kate McCann, to allocate up to £3½ million, at a time of public expenditure restraint and cuts, on a review of evidence in the case by Scotland Yard, which we understand, may lead to a joint review of the evidence by a joint British-Portuguese team of detectives. Your decision has already been criticised by many media commentators on a number of grounds, including (a) the strong likelihood that it will take years and get nowhere (b) the involvement of Rupert Murdoch and his newspapers in persuading you to take this decision, and (c) the far-reaching implications your decision has for the principle of the operational independence of British policing.
On the latter point, we would anticipate your response being to state that the decision to undertake this review is the decision of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson. However, it is very clear that the decision is in effect a joint one between yourself, your Home Secretary Theresa May and Sir Paul Stephenson who, it appears, was induced by your promising his force £3½ million in extra funding, which is money which obviously has to be taken from budgets allocated for other purposes.
As before, our fundamental reason for asking you to set up a full public and judicial enquiry is that in our view, and in the view of many others, this would be a far better method of arriving at the truth than the proposed expensive and lengthy review process which you have just authorised, at the request of the McCanns. Everyone wants the truth about this case, which the McCanns’ own spokesman Clarence Mitchell admitted in March last year was ‘a complete mystery’. The question is how best to get at the truth.
The two rival explanations of what really happened to Madeleine McCann
There have always been two basic accounts of what may have happened to Madeleine.
The McCanns claim that in between Dr Gerald McCann, who was dining at the Ocean Club Tapas restaurant 120 yards (1½ minutes’ walk) away, completing a long check on his children at between 9.05pm and 9.10pm on Thursday 3 May 2007 - and their close friend Ms Jane Tanner, partner of Dr Russell O’Brien, claiming to have seen ‘a man carrying a child wearing pyjamas’ at 9.15pm - an unknown abductor took Madeleine from her bed, without leaving any forensic trace whatsoever, and without being seen or heard by anyone except Jane Tanner.
The McCanns further claim that the Portuguese investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance was ‘a shambles’ and that the Portuguese police did not properly look for Madeleine and follow up all possible leads. The McCanns say they seek a review because, as they say, such a review just might ‘reveal that one vital clue’, or ‘provide the key that will unlock this mystery’ or ‘give us a vital missing piece of the jigsaw’, these being some of the phrases used by the McCanns to justify the expense of this review and their ongoing private investigation.
By contrast, a great many people consider that there is more than adequate evidence that Madeleine McCann died in the McCanns’ holiday apartment and that her parents and others have covered up this fact, and arranged to hold a hoax ‘abduction’ of Madeleine on the evening of 3 May 2007, Madeleine having already died before that evening’s events. That, as you will know, is the settled view of the former senior investigator in the case, Dr Goncalo Amaral, and most of his investigation team, along with other senior figures in Portugal. Dr Amaral does not say how Madeleine died, as he does not know, but in the absence of any other specific indications, he advances the view that she may have died as the result of an accident whilst her parents and friends were dining 1½ minutes’ walk away. Another view of what might have caused Madeleine’s death is the possibility that she was over-sedated by the McCanns.
We do not wish to review in this letter all the evidence that suggests that Madeleine did die in the McCanns’ apartment, but clearly the alerts of two of the world’s top sniffer dogs, trained by an internationally recognised British police dog handler, to no fewer than ten sites in the McCanns’ apartment, on their clothes, and in their hired car are significant, and remain so, even in the absence of the kind of corroborative forensic evidence that would lead to the dogs’ alerts being admissible evidence in a court of law. There is also a very large amount of circumstantial evidence suggesting that the McCanns and their friends have not told the truth, consisting of a number of changes of story and significant contradictions between their statements that go well beyond the kind of minor inconsistencies that often occur when witness are supplying statements based on their recollections.
The 48 members of The Madeleine Foundation, our many supporters, and a huge number of others subscribe to the view that the balance of evidence points in the direction of Madeleine having died in the McCanns’ holiday apartment. If that hypothesis is correct, then the McCanns’ motive for wanting a ‘Review’ which would now open up the many files that the Portuguese Police have up to now withheld would be clear: not to find Madeleine, but rather to trawl the files for any other evidence there may be against them, so that they can defend themselves and deal with any such evidence.
You may recall that the Daily Mirror published an article in February 2010 which referred to advice given by Lee Rainbow, described as Britain’s ‘top criminal profiler’, to the Portuguese Police in the McCann case. Part of the Mirror’s report ran:
The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) expert wrote a report to Algarve police chiefs giving advice. Details of the confidential report emerged during the final day of a libel trial involving former Portuguese detective Goncalo Amaral, who led the Maddie investigation. Amaral is trying to overturn a worldwide injunction banning the publication of his book Maddie: The Truth of the Lie. In it he claims Kate and Gerry were involved in Maddie’s death and staged her disappearance. His lawyer, Antonio Cabrita, told the court Rainbow wrote: “It was Madeleine’s father who was the last one to see her alive. The family is a lead that should be followed. The contradictions in Gerald McCann’s statements might lead us to suspect a homicide.”
One commentator has written in the past few days: “For the Scotland Yard Review to now talk to Lee Rainbow would seem to be a logical and very good place for any British detective to now begin. Call in the very top man for a chat and seek his opinion on the way the investigation should proceed. Why? Because that is why Mr Rainbow was paid (by the very Home Office which has complied with the Prime Minister’s bidding and requested (or ordered) the inquiry). Lee Rainbow is recognised as the most skilful and adept adviser the U.K. has in its armoury. There’s more: the use of ‘Behavioral Investigative Advisers’ in serious cases is recommended at all senior detective training courses. Guess who is considered at the very top of the list of advisers? One Lee Rainbow; he wrote the paper. No PR campaign can ever diminish or cloud that fact. His opinion and views have to be faced and dealt with. It could start the ball rolling and, as in all good detective stories, you should begin right at the beginning and don’t stop until the Sherlock announces who-done-it”.
The advantages of a full, public and judicial enquiry
The main question now is whether the ‘Scotland Yard Review’, or a full public and judicial enquiry, would be the better means of establishing the truth about what really happened to Madeleine, and which of the above hypotheses is correct. Even the McCanns, through their spokesman Clarence Mitchell, accept that their claim that Madeleine was abducted is ‘only an assumption, a working hypothesis’. He said this three times in an interview with Radio Humberside on 6 January this year.
A public and judicial enquiry would have these hugely significant advantages.
It could summon witnesses. The witnesses in such a case need to be heard as soon as possible, all other things being equal. Four years have already elapsed. Already a key witness, Mrs Pamela Fenn, has died. She was the woman who lived above the McCanns’ apartment who heard a child (presumed to be Madeleine) crying and sobbing, ‘Daddy, Daddy’, for 75 minutes between 10.30pm and 11.45pm on Tuesday, 1 May. Already over seven further months have elapsed since we delivered our petition to 10 Downing Street calling for you to set up a public enquiry into all aspects of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. There should be no further delay in setting up such an enquiry.
The appearance of witnesses at a public enquiry enables both a judge and the public to make judgments on the actions of those involved in any matter. Given the level of controversy about so many aspects of Madeleine’s disappearance, it is vital that we all have a chance to hear what these witnesses have to say. The witnesses can give their evidence on oath, and be questioned. A public enquiry is essentially a search for the truth; in this respect a public enquiry in this case would resemble the actions of a Coroner’s Court at an inquest, ascertaining the facts, without apportioning blame, that being a role for the criminal courts. Amongst other vital witnesses to such an enquiry would be not only the McCanns and their friends who were together with them in Praia da Luz on that holiday, but also of course the various police officers who investigated the crime and assembled the evidence.
In this respect it is hard to know why the McCanns and their ‘Tapas 9’ friends would have any objection to a full public and judicial enquiry. They have constantly assured us that they are telling us the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about what happened to Madeleine. Dr Kate McCann’s recent book, ‘madeleine’, also purports to be he truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
The drawbacks of the ‘Scotland Yard Review’
By contrast, the ‘Scotland Yard Review’ that you have personally arranged has a number of apparent flaws and disadvantages, a number of which have been canvassed in the media and not least by members of the Metropolitan Police Authority.
The official Home Office announcement of the Review you have arranged said: “The Home Office today announced that the Metropolitan Police Service will be bringing their expertise to the case regarding the search for Madeleine McCann. A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘The government's primary concern has always been and remains the safe return of Madeleine. Although she disappeared in Portugal, and the Portuguese retain the lead responsibility in the case, law enforcement agencies here have continued to follow up leads and pass information to the Portuguese authorities as appropriate. The Prime Minister and the Home Secretary have today agreed with Sir Paul Stephenson that the Metropolitan Police will bring its particular expertise to this case. Clearly, the detail of what that will entail will be a matter of operational judgment and it would not be appropriate to discuss at this stage’.”
One prominent journalist immediately wrote: “The Prime Minister's decision to intervene in the case of Madeleine McCann could have political repercussions…the decision of Downing Street and the Home Office to effectively direct the Met Police to get involved is causing some unease. Some within Scotland Yard are uncomfortable at the way No.10 got involved - and now politicians are expressing worries too”.
As you will know, Lord Toby Harris of Haringey has raised major questions about how this decision was taken. He told the journalist: “It raises very big questions about political direction of the police. Presumably, if a Police and Crime Commissioner gave such an instruction it would be in contravention of the protocol published this weekby the Government?…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 and are they in effect saying that the Met is the default investigator for every case in the world involving a British citizen? It’s not just a question of direct costs, it’s a question of opportunity costs too. Our detective capacity is limited as it is”.
Lord Harris later wrote on his blog: “I imagine that the senior leadership of the Metropolitan Police are not exactly happy about this. It again embroils their officers in a high-profile investigation, where the chances of success are unclear, and which will divert limited investigative resources away from other matters. This is in response to an open letter in the Sun and is entirely predictable in terms of the ‘pulling power’ of News International on Government policy. The intervention drives a coach and horses through the draft protocol…It is a dangerous precedent for politicians to tell police what to do - and might not be a good use of time and money”.
The same journalist as above wrote: “The Met had been examining the case, but as recently as last week had largely ruled out any chance of making significant progress. The Home Office has agreed to meet the costs of the investigation but it appears only after the Met Police Authority and City Hall made clear it was unlikely to be able to approve the extra spending”.
The journalist then discussed whether you had ‘ordered’ or ‘requested’ this £3.5 million review: “The Prime Minister's official spokesman tried to draw a distinction between a ‘request’ from the Home Secretary and ‘political direction’ from the Home Secretary. ‘It was done, yes, at the request of the Home Secretary, but it has been agreed by the Metropolitan Police Commissioner. It's not direction, it's a request’, he said. ‘The Prime Minister has been very clear that he wants to do everything we can to support the family’.” Asked if the PM was simply following a tabloid agenda in the hope of good headlines, the spokesman said: ‘We are responding to a request from the family in a particularly exceptional case’.”
An article by Sandra Laville in The Guardian highlighted the extraordinary difficulties your proposed ‘Review’ would involve, including Scotland Yard waiting for all the documentation to be supplied by the Portuguese police, translating it, and then also reviewing all the Leicestershire Police documentation. She explained, accurately, that the whole process ‘could take years’.
Lord Harris’s criticisms were echoed by Liberal Democrat peer Lord Bradshaw, Vice-Chairman of Thames Valley Police Authority. He told Channel 4 News: “I am mightily worried about the politicisation of the police force. Although these appear on the face of them to be fairly innocuous orders, it’s a fairly short step from there to telling the police they have got to investigate this rather than that. It becomes a PR exercise. Chief Constables are desperately worried that their operational independence will be compromised”.
Shortly after the announcement of the ‘Scotland Yard Review’ and your involvement in promoting it, your official spokesman was quoted as saying: “The Prime Minister has been clear that he wants to do everything he can to support the family”. If this is the case, and if that is the main remit of Sir Paul Stephenson’s Review, then it would appear that the Scotland Yard detectives engaged on this ‘Review’ would effectively be banned from pursing, as part of their review, any line of enquiry in support of the hypothesis that Madeleine died in the McCanns’ apartment and that the McCanns then arranged to hide and/or dispose of her body. It would therefore not be the independent, ‘start from scratch and consider all the evidence’ review that it is being held out to be.
The McCanns’ appeal to you and your reply were published in the Sun newspaper, clearly by prior agreement. You said in your public letter to Dr Gerald and Dr Kate McCann: “Your ordeal is every parent’s worst nightmare and my heart goes out to you both”. Such an approach strongly suggests that you and the Home Secretary have requested Scotland Yard only to look at the possibility that Madeleine was abducted, not at the other possibility that Madeleine died in her parents’ holiday apartment.
Yet a police source for Scotland Yard said that in conducting reviews…“What we do is painstakingly look at all the evidence, the paperwork, the CCTV, any suspects who came to light and were investigated. Sometimes it takes fresh eyes to see what was always there”. As both Dr Gerald and Dr Kate McCann were suspects in the Portuguese and Leicestershire Police joint investigation that should presumably mean that the Portuguese Police’s suspicions of the McCanns hiding Madeleine’s body must be thoroughly investigated, along with everything else. Yet that would contradict your spokesman’s claims that you have arranged this review ‘to support the family’.
According to a newspaper report: “Cameron’s spokesman denied that he and May had been directing police on an operational matter. ‘It was done at the request of the Home Secretary. It was agreed by Sir Paul Stephenson. That is not a direction’” he said. We suggest, again with due respect, as do many observers, that the distinction between Sir Paul Stephenson ‘agreeing to a request’ by the Home Secretary and yourself to carry out a review, and being ‘directed’ to do so, is minimal and essentially academic. Moreover, it is clearly not a decision he would have reached without you and the Home Secretary promising him £3.5 million, which it is said will ‘cover the cost of man hours, flights to Portugal, hotels, consultation fees from forensic firms and many other expenses’, presumably money taken away from some other Home Office budget or even from some other Department’s budget.
It appears, then, that you and the Home Secretary have interfered with the traditional operational independence of the police and leaned on Sir Paul Stephenson to allocate potentially dozens of detectives to this review (some reports say ‘30’). Quite apart from the public expenditure coming from the taxpayer to fund this review, this means that those detectives, and the ancillary staff supporting them, will be unable to pursue the prevention, detection and prosecution of other forms of crime. In this regard, and of course with due respect, we believe that your arranging of this Review sets a very dangerous and wholly unwelcome precedent of political interference with police operations. Sir Paul Stephenson will be forced to drag these qualified and experienced detectives away from other work they are engaged on or could be engaged on.
Further, Lord Harris and Lord Beaumont are by no means the only public figures so far to have questioned what your decision means in terms of the operational independence of our police force, which has always been regarded as sacrosanct. Another fierce critic is Green Party Metropolitan Police Authority Member, Jenny Jones, who said: “The review is a ludicrous waste of money and will deny other victims of crime the chance of justice, while using up valuable police resources”.
The influence of Rupert Murdoch
We must also raise in particular, as many others have done, the undue influence of Rupert Murdoch in this particular case, as Lord Harris for example has touched on. It is well known that the Sun’s campaign on behalf of Labour in 1996 and 1997 was a major contributory factor to Labour winning the General Election of 1997. Indeed, Rupert Murdoch’s Sun famously boasted: ‘It was the Sun wot won it’. More recently, your own closeness to the Murdoch Empire has been noted. Many observed that the political attitude of the Sun switched from supporting Labour to supporting the Conservatives, after you met with Rupert Murdoch in 2009.
You also appointed ex-Murdoch man Andy Coulson, former Editor of the News of the World, to be your Director of Communications. And in March 2010 you appointed the McCanns’ chief public relations adviser, Clarence Mitchell, to be No. 2 to Andy Coulson in your General Election team. Andy Coulson was recently forced to resign as your Director of Communications because of his apparent association with the illegal ’phone tapping carried out by many of his staff, full details of which are yet to be revealed.
Along with allegations of ’phone tapping by Murdoch’s News of the World, there have been repeated and credible suggestions that senior Police Officers from the Met regularly supplied the News of the World and other media with confidential police information, contrary to their terms of contract. The close relationship between top Met Officers and the Murdoch Empire was exemplified by former top officer Andy Hayman moving to work for Murdoch almost immediately on leaving the Met.
Returning to Clarence Mitchell, it is clear that he has a close relationship with Murdoch and his newspapers. It is clearly relevant that in October 2008, when he began working for the McCanns on a part-time instead of a full-time basis, that he was immediately employed by Murdoch’s son-in-law, Matthew Freud, at Freud Communications. His ability to work both as Head of the 40-strong Labour government’s Media Monitoring Unit and then be employed by yourself suggests he is a person of major influence in top government circles. There remain major question marks as to why former Prime Minister Tony Blair considered it essential to despatch the Head of the government’s Media Monitoring Unit (Mitchell) to Portugal and of course about Gordon Brown’s interventions in the case.
Another indication of Mitchell’s close relationship with Murdoch is the number of times he has co-operated with both the Sun and the News of the World in promoting ‘exclusive’ stories about the McCanns in those newspapers. These stories have often been lacking in any serious evidential basis and were just media sensationalism.
I provide just one example: the Sun article of 1 September 2010. The basis of this was the claim that a notorious British paedophile, Raymond Hewlett, on his death-bed in a German hospital, had written a letter to his son, Wayne Hewlett, who hated him and from whom he had been estranged for over two decades. The letter had apparently been delivered by a ‘mystery man’, according to the Sun, and was said by Wayne Hewlett to contain an account of how his father had been drinking with a gypsy gang leader who was supposed to have admitted taking Madeleine McCann and arranging for her, for money, to be placed with a wealthy North African family. To cap it all, Wayne Hewlett said he had burnt the letter before going to the Sun with his story. The Sun’s promotion, with Clarence Mitchell’s help, of this clearly ridiculous story, casts doubt on the role of both the Sun and Clarence Mitchell in their promotion of such stories.
Added to the above, it is clear that the demands for this ‘Scotland Yard Review’ have been very much promoted by the Sun who published the McCanns’ letter to you and your reply simultaneously last Thursday.
Further, there was a disturbing article published in The Independent on 23 February this year by Cahal Milmo and Martin Hickman. Amongst other concerns, they noted that:
“Sir Paul Stephenson, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, dined privately with senior executives at the News of the World seven times over a four-year period, during which the force turned down calls for the heavily criticised investigation into phone hacking to be reopened. Following a demand that it disclosed its contacts with Rupert Murdoch's News International, Scotland Yard revealed that senior officers met News of the World editors 13 times between 2006 and 2010 in the aftermath of the arrest of a reporter for phone hacking. Almost half of the meetings were between Sir Paul, now Britain's most senior police officer, and an executive at the News of the World, Deputy Editor Neil Wallis. The Met…failed to investigate the full extent of the scandal. Dee Doocey, a Liberal Democrat Member of the Metropolitan Police Authority, branded the contacts ‘extraordinary’…She said: ‘Imagine the outcry there would be if the Commissioner was seen dining with a member of the public who was the subject of a police investigation’.”
Their report continued: “The closeness of the relationship between Scotland Yard and the News of the World has been repeatedly raised by critics of the original police inquiry into the activities of private investigator Glenn Mulcaire and royal editor Clive Goodman…Despite the discovery by detectives of 4,332 names, 2,978 mobile phone numbers and 91 PIN codes at Mulcaire's home, no-one was interviewed at the News of the World beyond Goodman…The Met said there was nothing unusual in senior officers dining with editors, but declined to detail meetings with other titles over the same period which would reveal if contact with the Sunday tabloid was unusually frequent. The meetings began with a dinner between Sir Paul and Mr Wallis in September 2006…They became more frequent in 2008 and 2009 with eight private dinners and social engagements, including an invitation for Sir Paul to attend the News Corporation summer party two years ago. Sir Paul also attended a private dinner that month with Mr Wallis, who was appointed Andy Coulson's deputy in 2003.
The Independent report continued: “In July 2009, John Yates, now Deputy Commissioner, refused to re-open the criminal investigation into hacking despite revelations by The Guardian that ‘thousands’ of mobile phones may been targeted and that more than £1m had been paid to settle cases out of court. Four months later, Mr Yates had dinner with the News of the World’s editor, Colin Myler. Ms Doocey said: ‘I find it quite extraordinary that when allegations about illegal phone hacking were still unresolved the Commissioner thought it was appropriate to be regularly dining with the News of the World and News Corporation’.”
The Guardian pointed out that the number of meetings between Sir Paul Stephenson and the News of the World editors did not include many other social contacts, for example, “After the Annual Bravery Awards…ten days after the Yard had elected not to reopen its inquiry into the phone hacking, Stephenson and Yates dined with Rebekah Brooks, former editor of the News of the World and the then editor of the Sun, which sponsored the awards.” Reference was also made to ‘many othermeetings and lunches shared between senior Met officers and former News of the World personnel who worked for the paper during the phone hacking investigation”.
Journalists have continued to cast doubt on the actions of the Met’s chief officers in relation to the ’phone hacking scandal, for example:
“There is now intense scrutiny of the police’s limited original investigation into the hacking affair, with claims of a cover-up. Although the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is reviewing all the evidence and will hold talks with Scotland Yard this week, there are demands for this investigation to be handed to a different police force or to the Inspectorate of Constabulary. Paul Farrelly, Labour member of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, said: “They cannot be judge and jury in their own actions. In the past, the CPS has just done a cut-and-paste of the Met Police’s press releases on this matter. We must inject some independence into the review of how the Met Police shut it down and the CPS decisions on that.”
There were further criticisms of your meeting with Rupert Murdoch’s son James at a time when Rupert Murdoch’s bid for complete ownership of BSkyB was being discussed, with continuing debate about the closeness of your relationship to Rupert Murdoch and his media outlets including his newspaper editors. Questions being asked included:
· Did James Murdoch authorise the payment of £700,000 to Gordon Taylor, the head of the footballers' union, after his phone was hacked? And if so, why?
· Why did News International pay private investigator Glenn Mulcaire £80,000, and also pay its former royal editor Clive Goodman, after they were both convicted of illegally intercepting phone messages and jailed?
· How many people have received payments from the News of the World, or its parent companies, after threatening to reveal evidence of its journalists' involvement in illegal phone hacking?
· Did James Murdoch or Rebekah Brooks discuss the proposed News Corporation purchase of BSkyB with David Cameron during their dinner together at her house over Christmas?
· Was Andy Coulson, or any other more senior News International executive, aware of Glenn Mulcaire's £2,000-a-week payment? What services did they suppose Mulcaire was providing for that pay?
On 15 February this year, The Guardian wrote: “A high court judge, Mr Justice Vos, has criticised the Metropolitan Police for failing to adequately investigate allegations of ’phone hacking by the News of the World’. He said: “The Metropolitan Police had not done an appropriate job in analysing phone-hacking...information in their possession. They didn't disclose highly relevant information. Scotland Yard had failed to fully comply with court orders requiring it to produce copies of Mulcaire’s notes relating to the two men”.
We also reproduce for interest some recent comments on the Spoked On-Line blog:
“Cameron’s Maddie venture undoubtedly confirms how powerful is the PR impulse in his government. On the very day that Kate and Gerry McCann wrote an open letter to his government on the front page of the Sun (12 May), in which they implored him to devote more resources to finding out what happened to Madeleine in Portugal in 2007, Cameron got his Home Secretary, Theresa May, to write to Scotland Yard asking its officers to ‘do more’…this is a government easily swayed by the vagaries of PR and image promotion. Cameron seems to have instantly seen in the McCanns’ letter, not a moment of potential awkwardness that might require behind-the-scenes diplomacy with the family, but a shining opportunity to advertise his alleged skills of political leadership and commitment to British citizens…This flags up the allegedly awesome power of Murdoch and/or the McCanns…”
A Guardian writer made this comment during the past few days: “David Cameron has surrendered to a newspaper belonging to News International, whose vast array of illegal hacking activities is already tying up some of our most diligent detectives”.
Is the Metropolitan Police the right Police Authority to carry out this Review?
In addition to all the above concerns, there are further matters that highlight the unsuitability of the Metropolitan Police to carry out this ‘Review’.
It would appear that the ‘Review’ into the Madeleine McCann case is to be under the overall leadership of Simon Foy, Head of Homicide and Serious Crime Command, with Detective Chief Superintendent Hamish Campbell as the Senior Investigating Officer and Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood as the lead Investigating Officer. One report said: “Britain’s top cold case cop is to lead the hunt for missing Midland girl Madeleine McCann. Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood of the Metropolitan Police is the sleuth who inspired Waking The Dead TV detective Peter Boyd, played by actor Trevor Eve”. The Sunday Mirror however clarified this, stating that Redwood was only in charge of ‘the day-to-day investigations’ and was not in overall charge.
In an article by Justin Penrose in the Sunday Mirror, 15 May this year, headed: ‘Madeleine McCann: Detective in charge of search for missing girl led investigation into Jill Dando's murder’, we were informed that: “The detective now in charge of the hunt for Madeleine McCann is the man who led the probe into the death of TV presenter Jill Dando. Chief Superintendent Hamish Campbell was head of the team that won the conviction of Barry George - later quashed on appeal…”
Can it be right to leave this Review into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in the hands of the man who was in charge of one of the most incompetent investigations of recent years in the U.K., leading to the wrongful conviction of an innocent man, huge wasted public costs on an investigation that got the wrong man, and resulted in hefty compensation paid in respect of the wrongful conviction and imprisonment of Barry Bulsara? His record strongly suggests that he is just about the last man who should be entrusted with such a task.
As an example of the kinds of opinions about the case circulating close to the Metropolitan Police, we would respectfully ask you to note the opinions of Dai Davies, former Metropolitan Police Detective Superintendent, as set out in the Sunday Mirror on 23 September 2007. He wrote, inter alia:
“In my 38 years of police and private security work all over the world I've never known anything like the disappearance of Madeleine McCann…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…I've discovered from lengthy talks with my barrister contact that Portuguese investigators have unofficially abandoned the hunt for Madeleine's alleged abductor. There is now NO detective work being carried out by Portuguese police to link anyone other than the McCanns to Maddie's disappearance. Officially, they say they're continuing the search for an abductor. But their policy is now to only respond to sightings reported to them by Europol and Interpol...They remain convinced of the guilt of Madeleine’s parents…even as their "house of cards" case collapses around them…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…”
As it happens, Mr Davies makes a number of inaccurate statements about the Portuguese Police in his article, but the essential question to be asked is whether officers with that sort of mindset could ever robustly and without fear or favour investigate the hypothesis that Madeleine died in her parents’ holiday apartment. If you have told the public via the Sun newspaper that the officers’ role is ‘to support the family’, can anyone realistically expect them to pursue the evidence against the McCanns?
Moreover, there has been a long and very unfortunate history of corruption and cover-ups in the Metropolitan Police. The book ‘Untouchables: Dirty Cops, Bent Justice and Racism in Scotland Yard’, by Michael Gillard and Laurie Flynn, reviewed a catalogue of corrupt activity in the Met, as did Graeme McLagan’s earlier book: ‘Bent Coppers’.
In an article by Hassan Mahamdallie a few years ago, titled ‘Metropolitan Police: a Long History of Corruption, Racism and Criminality’, he began: “The Morris inquiry is the latest in a series of investigations that should have exposed endemic…corruption in the Metropolitan Police…murders, armed robberies, drug dealing… pocketing millions in ‘dirty money’, high level cover-ups and the activities of the freemasons…”
During the Stephen Lawrence enquiry, for example, the authors said that: “During the Macpherson inquiry into Stephen’s murder, the Lawrence’s solicitors battled to make the links between corruption and racism. But they were blocked by the Met Police who were desperate to keep separate the question of police corruption in south-east London and the Lawrence murder. One Flying Squad officer who had investigated links between the Brinks Mat gang and police was prevented from giving evidence at the Lawrence inquiry. He said that this was done because “there are links between south east London criminal families and policemen, senior policemen, that go way back…and the Yard couldn’t afford for any of this to come out during the Lawrence inquiry”.
In recent years the conduct of senior Met Police Officers has been questioned in cases like the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes and the unlawful killing of Gary Tomlinson at the recent G20 demonstration. In each case, senior Metropolitan Police Officers, including the former Met Police Commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, tried to cover their tracks and obscure what really happened. One other case amongst many has caused concern, namely the murder of Daniel Morgan in 1987. It took six Met Police enquiries before any headway was made, and that was only because Daniel Morgan’s family absolutely insisted that no Police Officer who was a Freemason could have anything to do with this sixth investigation, to which the Met reluctantly agreed. At last, this sixth enquiry produced charges against three men, two of them former Police Officers, but the Met’s conduct in the pre-trial stages ensured that the judges had no alternative but to halt the trial.
At the original Inquest into Daniel Morgan’s death, a Mr Kevin Lennon, an accountant, who knew both Daniel Morgan and his business partner, Jonathan Rees, said that Rees had planned to murder Rees, telling him: “My mates at Catford nick are going to arrange it. Those police officers are friends of mine and will either murder Danny themselves or will arrange it”. Justice has not yet been done in that case.
From the foregoing we strongly suggest that the Met Police is wholly unsuited to carry out this highly controversial ‘Review’.
In the light of all of the above, we make these requests:
(1) That you call off the ‘Scotland Yard Review’
(2) That you set up a full, public and judicial inquiry, with a remit similar to that of an Inquest, and with the power to summon witnesses and require their attendance. The remit should be a full and fearless search for the truth about when and in what circumstances Madeleine disappeared, the truth about the activities of Brian Kennedy, his alleged intimidation of witnesses (please see our previous letters and his conduct of the McCanns’ private investigations, how the Find Madeleine Fund has dealt with funds received, most of them from the public, and how that money has been spent, the role of the government and in particular Clarence Mitchell and his role in producing spurious ‘sightings’ of Madeleine and arranging an array of (to date) no fewer than 18 assorted suspects and ‘persons of interest’, and all other matters relating in any way to Madeleine’s disappearance.
(3) That if you and the Home Secretary still consider that there should be a ‘Review’, that you find another Chief Constable who would agree to carry it out, not the met Police
(4) That you and Theresa May make it crystal clear to both the reviewing team and to the public that this ‘Review’, if it is to proceed, will be able to pursue the hypothesis that Madeleine McCann died in her parents’ holiday apartment and that the McCanns conspired to hide her body.
Finally, we have these Freedom of Information Act questions to which we would appreciate having answers within the next 20 working days:
1. Please specify on what dates you or your staff, in connection with the Madeleine McCann case, have either met, or had e-mail or telephone communication with all the following:
a) Dr Gerald McCann
b) Dr Kate McCann
c) Clarence Mitchell
d) any other adviser to the McCanns
e) Sir Paul Stephenson
f) any other officers of the Metropolitan Police
g) any members of the family of Rupert Murdoch
h) any staff of the Sun
i) any staff of the News of the World.
2. On what date did you agree with the Home Secretary and Sir Paul Stephenson that the Met Police (Scotland Yard) should carry out a review of the case costing £3.5 million?
3. On what date did you agree with the Editor of the Sun that they would simultaneously publish your letter in reply to the letter from Dr Gerald McCann?
Thank you again for receiving our petition in October and we look forward to hearing from you.
For the Committee of The Madeleine Foundation