The Strange Case of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and the McCanns 459

I have a confession to make. Back in 2014 I posted that I was going to write something further on the subject of the McCanns. In the end I did not, because I was surprised by the strong emotional reaction I received, from a number of decent people, who were enraged that I might be prepared to write something not to the McCanns’ advantage. But I regret being so pusillanimous, particularly as so much discussion has been suppressed by the extremely aggressive stance taken on threats of libel action on this story.

So in the full knowledge that some decent people will be outraged, here it is.

This week there have been two more developments. The Home Office has announced that it will fund still further the police investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance, on which £10 million has already been spent. Plus the appeals court in Lisbon has overturned the libel verdict against the Portuguese detective Goncalo Amaral, who led the case and formed his own firm convictions at to what happened. The 500,000 euro libel award to the McCanns is now cancelled.

None of these sums of money would matter in the least, and practically nobody would grudge any expense, to have Madeleine McCann alive, safe and happy. There can be nothing worse for a parent than the loss of a child, whatever the circumstances. If the McCanns genuinely do not know what happened, that must be agonising beyond belief. My grandparents had a nineteen year old son, an uncle I never knew, missing in action in World War 2 and the pain never left them, even when his fate was resolved.

And yet, and yet… It is because our children are so precious to us that we treat them as such. I recall an incident on Jamie’s first birthday, which we spent in a hotel in Italy. I was in the room with Jamie. My then wife had gone out to the car. The birthday cake was delivered to reception and had to be paid for. Jamie was fast asleep. I dashed out of the hotel room, down two flights of steps to reception, literally threw the money at them and ran back up the stairs. I was away under two minutes but have never experienced such adrenalin, nor would wish to again. An overwhelming instinct had kicked in telling me I had done wrong in leaving the baby unattended, even so briefly.

I find the McCanns’ behaviour indefensible. There appears to be a disconnect in the public mind in the UK which prevents people from realising just how far the McCanns were from their children. This is a useful graphic just to see the layout, (do not worry about the other info on it).


The McCanns could not actually see their apartment from the tapas bar due to the wall around the pool. To get back there, they had to use the gate and walk around that wall, which made it a 75 yard hike. And the apartment had double doors onto the street on the opposite side of the block from that facing the pool.

I do not see how anybody understanding this geography can consider that it was normal parenting for the McCanns to leave two one year olds and a three year old, alone in the apartment in these circumstances – for hours, and repeatedly several days running. It is something I would absolutely never dream of doing with my own children. If nothing else, had any of the children been crying and in distress – and the chances of that with three tiny children are pretty high – there was no way they could hear them.

The claimed abduction is not the only thing that could have happened. Cholic. Vomiting. Sore nappies. Coughing. Choking. Bad dreams. Overheating. All kinds of thing can distress children. So far as I can judge, it is not that I am weird in my own views, rather it is absolutely accepted in British society that you do not leave 1 year olds without care of an adult. Why are the McCanns an exception?

Which leads me on to the question of why they received such exceptional treatment from British authorities, directed straight from No. 10, to the extent that Blair and Brown eventually gave them a PR representative? I used at one stage to be Resident Clerk in the FCO, a now abolished post effectively of night duty officer. I can tell you from horrible personal experience that the FCO deals with gut-wrenching cases of lost or dead children abroad frequently. I spent one of the most terrible three hours of my life, through to a cold dawn, on the phone with a hysterical bereaved mother desperate to explore any avenue that might give a possibility that the boy who had just drowned in Brazil was misidentified as her son. On average, I am afraid such tragedies get substantially less than 1% of the public resources that were devoted to the McCanns.

I am going to come straight out with this. British diplomatic staff were under direct instruction to support the McCanns far beyond the usual and to put pressure on the Portuguese authorities over the case. I have direct information that more than one of those diplomatic staff found the McCanns less than convincing and their stories inconsistent. Embassy staff were perturbed to be ordered that British authorities were to be present at every contact between the McCanns and Portuguese police.

This again is absolutely not the norm. On a daily basis more British citizens have contact with foreign authorities than the total staff of the FCO. It would be simply impossible to give that level of support to everybody. Plus, against jingoistic presumption, a great many Brits who have contact with foreign police are actually criminals.

The British Ambassador in Portugal, John Buck, had been my direct boss in the FCO. he was Deputy Head of Southern European Department when I was Head of Cyprus Section. He and his staff were concerned by contradictions in the McCann’s story. The Embassy warned, in writing, that being perceived as too close to the McCanns might not prove wise. They demanded the instruction from London be reconfirmed. It was.

I know of people’s misgivings because I was told directly. But material was also leaked to a Belgian newspaper confirming what I have said. It was published by the Express, but like so much other material which is not supportive of the McCanns, it got taken down. Fortunately that last link preserved it. It also shows that the FCO continues to refuse Freedom of Information requests for the material on the interesting grounds that it might damage relations with Portugal.

For the avoidance of doubt, I do not believe there was a high level paedophile ring involved. I make no such argument. Nor do I claim to know what happened to Madeleine McCann. But I do believe that the McCanns were less than exemplary parents. I believe that New Labour’s No.10 saw, in typical Blair fashion, a highly photogenic tragedy which there might be popularity in appearing to work on.

And I believe there is a genuine danger that the high profile support from the top of the British government might have put some psychological pressure on the Portuguese investigators and prosecuting officers in their determinations.

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459 thoughts on “The Strange Case of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and the McCanns

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  • John Spencer-Davis

    I am wondering if the McCanns had a baby monitor in the room and on their person. Do you know?

      • John Spencer-Davis

        That’s really, really bizarre. My wife and I left our children alone in a hotel room sleeping while we were in the dining room downstairs, but we had a baby monitor on the table and switched on. And we weren’t far away.

        • craig Post author

          Precisely John. The media treatment of the case has overwhelmingly overlooked this couple’s bizarre and reprehensible behaviour – and remember it is still bizarre and reprehensible even if you believe their version. Other scenarios are very much worse.

          • Rob Royston

            It is widely argued, among those who claim that there was no abduction, that the “bad parenting” was a diversion to make the abduction claims more believable.

        • jemand

          It’s not bizarre, dickhead. Not all parents have baby monitors. And not all parents need to put their children under 24-7 surveillance.

          • Alex Waugh

            They do when the kids are only one year old. Are you kidding me? I never let mine out of my sight at that age unless they were with a trusted adult.

    • Moo

      No they did not have a monitor . The Payne’s had a long range one which they say was taken with them each night.
      It seems highly likely that the checking rota was a fantasy to promote the abduction scenario. No neglect = no abduction. Given one adult was missing every night from the Tapas bar it seems more likely that the children were never left alone.

      Add that to fact that one of the small babies was sick, is it really believable that a group of doctors would leave a vomiting baby alone?

  • Robert Kerr


    My first post on your excellent blog.

    For what it’s worth, my observation on this.

    Both Parents are doctors and as such have a duty of care to their patients and their hippocratic oath contains a “do no harm” statement.

    Why is it acceptable for these doctors to have less care to their children than their patients?

  • Kenny

    I’m tending towards Michael Shrimpton’s claim that she was indeed taken by a paedophile ring and was murdered a year later – sad really especially if, according to MS, the British had a chance of rescue – ah well

    • Sid

      Times flies.
      But no. The cadaver dog alerted to blood stains under tiles. Although the DNA that was recovered as a result was not proven 100% to be that belonging to Madeleine, it was certainly 100% proven to be McCann DNA.
      Of course, the cadaver dog might have alerted to McCann DNA because someone in the family other than Madeleine bled & died in Apt 5A but Madeleine is the only member of the family missing.
      Cadaver dog + Blood recovered + McCann DNA = DEAD KID. Sad to say.

  • David

    Thanks Craig, finally someone with the balls to say what most us already think. If they had done that in the uk. ie gone to the pub and left the children alone and unattended, then had something bad happened, they would have been arrested and charged with neglect and or abuse. Any parent who thinks leaving a child unattended under any circumstances without any observation is no parent at all.

    As your article states, most parents enter an instinctive panic mode when they leave their young children for even a minute. I remember losing mine in a shopping centre once for about 3 minutes….. it felt like 30 years !

    We will never know what happened to that poor little girl, but what we do know is that is was an easily avoided tragedy.

    • Moo

      Many have been saying it for nine years!
      As I stated above, neglect was more than likely just an excuse.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Very interesting. Can you give a little more detail as to the nature of the consular assistance tendered? I’m aware that Clarence Mitchell and, earlier, Sheree Dodd, were seconded to deal with the media, and that a diplomatic official had to accompany the McCanns during the Portuguese investigation. The link mentions ‘ a huge team’ of diplomats, though. Elsewhere, it’s fairly clear that an ongoing media shitstorm had started, and was being maintained by local tabloids and the Daily Express, before the FCO was involved, with Mitchell being deputed to damp this down, not stir it up. That’s the official line, anyway.

    I agree, Blair is prone to jumping onto any populist bandwagon which will support his weight. This week ITV kindly allowed him to leech on the Queen’s 90th birthday royalfest (although she herself probably loathes him). I’ll need to do some searching to see what he did in 2007 which required a PR plaster…

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Silly me. He was just on the verge of jumping ship and leaving the Sedgefield voters with a bye-election, wasn’t he? Incidentally, he was setting up the Windrush conglomerate shortly before he went. There’s your reason.

      • glenn_uk

        Blair had a habit of jumping on the bandwagon, where high profile murders or disappearances were involved. Remember that Josie Russell, who’s mother and sister were murdered by some freak? Blair was all over that, and the bereaved father seemed positively delighted at all the publicity.

          • Paul Barbara

            I hope that wasn’t a dig at Princess Di. A good instructive read is @Hoiw They Murdered Princess Diana’ by John Morgan (he wrote about ten books on her death; he’s almost certainly the best informed write on the subject. Sadly he hasn’t got long to go.

        • DtP

          He kind of made his name on the back of the James Bulger case if you can remember that far back.

          • Habbabkuk (respect the blog owner!)

            A case in which – dare I say it – CCTV surveillance played an important rôle in finding out what happened and in apprehending the two culprits.

  • glenn_uk

    If nothing else, the fact that the McCanns have enriched themselves as a result of this crime is highly distasteful.

    It is very odd that their parenting skills have not been open to serious question. If I had left my kids alone, and gone with my wife to the local boozer (100 yards away) and come home to find them missing or dead, Inspector Knacker would have some very serious questions for me.

    • jemand

      What the fuck would an expose on someone’s “parenting skills” offer in the search of a missing child? Perhaps the McCanns are also guilty of illegal parking. Want frontpage coverage of that too?

      If you want to stick your beak into the sad and sordid world of negligent parenting, leave your middle-class suburb and visit a council estate for a pokaround. But perhaps you don’t care, so you needn’t bother.

      • Jo

        I’m sorry, just how stupid are you Jemand?

        The lack of parenting skills is absolutely relevant in the case because THAT is how Maddy went missing. Understand? She and her siblings were left alone in an unlocked apartment.

        Nothing to do with parking tickets!

        • glenn

          Not wishing to speak for Jemand, but may I answer for him: He is very stupid indeed. But in this case, slippery would be more to the point.

          Notice how he goes nowhere near the actual point – which I’d illustrated in regard to parenting skills (in this case, leaving infants to their own devices) – and pretends instead it might have been some tangential issue which had absolutely zero to do with child welfare.

          This is why I didn’t bother replying to the bastard originally – he’s a phony, a slippery liar, and a proven racist.

  • Manda

    I am very glad indeed that you have commented, especially your experiences and with your knowledge.

  • tony_0pmoc

    I could never make much sense of the Madeline McCann story, but I never thought the parents killed her, or she simply died, and they covered the death up.

    However, tragic things happen to children on a fairly regular basis. In fact the statistics are quite horrifying. Something close to 10% of all children run away from home or disappear before the age of 16. A significant number are never seen again. Yet there has never been anything like the extent of the Media Coverage as in this particular case.

    This case had a traumatic effect on an extremely large number of people, and still does. This is entirely due to the enormous media coverage of it.

    Whilst it is entirely possible that she was simply kidnapped, the entire story has had a massive psychological effect to induce fear in the population, and actually change behaviour.

    The story, has been used as a very effective psychological operation.

    Over the last 20 years governments, have become much more authoritarian. They control populations by fear and propaganda.

    I am not now totally convinced that the McCanns and their “friends” are not in fact actors working for the Government. I believe it is possible that Madeline McCann, never actually existed.

    I am now totally convinced that those really in charge of Government can Fake almost anything for propaganda purposes.

    By all means continue thinking I am nuts. I have never seen anyone else produce this theory in this case, and I am not saying that I believe it, just that I consider it a possibility.

    I personally found the Soham case far more traumatic, as I had kids of similar age at the same time. I now don’t believe that we were told the truth in that case either, though in that case I am convinced the children were murdered.


    • Rob Royston

      I don’t think you are nuts, my thoughts differ a little from yours but not a lot. I believe she did exist and travelled to Portugal. I agree that a lot of the people in the resort that week were government or other linked agency actors and I believe that Madeleine was to be abducted in some politically inspired scam. Whether she was abducted or if something happened to her before this was possible is beyond my understanding but the British Secret Services were active on the ground according to the Portuguese Police.
      Look up Dewi Lennard, or Kikoratton on Twitter. He has done a lot of work on the creche records and the phone records, and especially his claims that Madeleine was substituted at crèche from day one.

    • Dr Roy Baines Gordon

      Check out the Sandy Hook videos on YT if you wish to see “strange” especially one of the “fathers” giggling before he goes on camera, then turns on the sadness and grief

      • Phil the ex frog

        Inappropriate sniggers are as common as muck in people under stress, such as someone grieving for their child about to go on TV.

        I’m going to guess you’re not a proper doctor.

    • BettyBoop

      You could be right. Now it is the law to microchip dogs, children will be next. Children become adults and hey presto the government has us all by the bollocks!

      • jemand

        You can expect to find bloodied chips discarded in forests and childrens corpses found years later.

    • Moo

      I do not think you are nuts.

      You are not the first person to posit that theory. Let’s not forget the fragrant Kate is now Ambassador for the charity Missing People, little known before her involvement. It is well known that she pumps out misinformation such as ludicrous statistics suggesting a child goes missing in the UK every few seconds !?

      Now she wants us all registered for an alert as soon as a child is reported missing. If this charity (which spends millions on salaries whilst seemingly only posting on a website) is to be texting on every report, by its own stats the nation’s phones will be pinging 24/7.

      Experts in child recovery? No. Masters of fear mongering? Certainly. Not forgetting everyone’s favourite child protection (abuse) ‘expert’ Mr Gamble, who also had his team out in Portugal immediately.

      Perhaps little Madeleine’s disappearance was meant to frighten parents sufficiently to induce us all to have our kids microchipped?

      • Angela

        Rob and Moo. There may well be some truth in your theory BUT if that were the case then we would expect a much more coherent story and crime scene. Instead of the inconsistencies we witness in their alibi’s and the bodged `fake’ abduction scene.

        The McCann’s know full well what happened to their daughter and its disgusting that then then went on to rinse the public emotionally and financially, as well as virtually destroying the one mans life who was doing his job in trying to find Maddie. When the McCanns went public in the MASSIVE way they did, reaching out to all of us, we took that child into our hearts `WE’ therefore are grateful to Mr Amaral in his quest to find the answers that Madeleine’s `parents’ have bent over backwards in preventing us from knowing.

        It’s also a massive insult and slap in the face that Kate McCann should be an Ambassador for missing children, akin to electing Myra Hindley as an advocate for Child line…!

  • Kenzie

    To actually put into words what many have thought/are thinking, took some courage. Well done, Craig.

  • Habbabkuk (respect the blog owner!)


    Nit sure why you suddenly raise this but your post is excellent . I especially agree with what you say about the duties of parents and that a child of that age should never be left alone.

    A couple of questions:

    1/. What, in summary (if it’s possible to summarise) were the “inconsistencies” in the McCanns’ story?

    2/. Are you ascribing the British authorities unusual level of support to the McCanns solely to Mr Blair’s hunger for a popular cause? If you are, then why – with Blair long gone – does this support seem to continue? I should have thought that it would have been quietly dropped and the whole matter quietly forgotten (even the Appeal Court’s decision wouldn’t have been news for more than a day on some inside page).


    • craig Post author

      1) I took it to mean they gave inconsistent versions of events on the night and the condition of the apartment. I don’t think I was told in great detail.

      2) I think it is just that government is like a juggernaut. Once the course is set, it takes an effort to change.

      • Habbabkuk (respect the blog owner!)

        Thank you, Craig. Re the “juggernaut” – but still rolling more than 10 years afterwards?

        • Ba'al Zevul

          I have celebrated the resurrection of Habbabreak by making Paul Barbara its first prisoner. I may make Trowbridge the second. You’re free for now, Habba.

          • Habbabkuk (flush out fakes)

            I deeply resent not being the first victim of the new Habbabreak, Baal.

            Just kidding 🙂

      • jemand

        Craig, do you know for a fact that innocent people give perfectly consistent stories despite the many possible reasons for inconsistencies such as – being mistaken, having a poor memory, assimilating someone else’s recollection or opinion, false memories, wrong assumptions, misperceptions, inattention, fear of being falsely accused, poor choice of words, conflicting values, stupidity, confusion, stress, DISTRESS?

        No. I’m guessing you don’t know how many times innocent witnesses fuck up their accounts of events leading to confounding inconsistencies.

        • Moo

          Looks like Jemand is on the Mcpayroll.
          Sure these two simple minded people got confused as to how they entered the apartment and it was just coincidence their accounts changed when they became aware that police knew they were lying.
          Ditto the ‘jemmied’ shutters story transmitted to what seemed, every McCann/Healy family & friend. Easy mistake to make thinking a window & metal blind had been forced open, especially when one has ‘checked, opened & closed said blind ( interfering with ‘evidence’ at same time).
          And I’m sure all ‘distressed& confused’ parents have such trouble with memory that they can hardly organise a meeting with business & extradition lawyers & a barrister within 4 days of losing a child in order to set up a Ltd company and trademark their missing loved one’s physical defect.

          Those poor Mccanns. And to compound it all the cadaver dog decides to false alert to only their locations and belongings.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford aka The Biscuit

    Britain has always treated Iberia as its satrap, as the handling of Madeleine McCann’s disappearance demonstrated, whether she was kidnapped, died from parent neglect or was murdered.

    These kinds of problems occur every day, but only London would spend millions of pounds on it if it occurred in Portugal or Spain.

  • fred

    No I won’t.

    What the fuck is the matter with you bastards. Anybody who has a different point of view gets harassed and intimidated. You turn this blog into a cess pit with your personal attacks and demonisation of those who don’t agree with your nationalist dogmas. Yours is the politics of hate.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Lighten up, Fred. Your uniform, frequently expressed and glowering detestation of the SNP and its association with selected evils is obviously* not the poilitics of hate…but it invites the odd needle.

      * I jest

      • fred

        Fuck off.

        It was an unprovoked personal attack against me, thuggery and bullying is nothing to lighten up about.

    • fedup (Snitchsmeller Pursuivant)

      Fred if you call this harassment and intimidation, you must have lead a very cloistered life as you were being brought up by your grandparents!! LOL

      BTW Fred lay off the hate it is not evening yet.

      ROFL could not help it, hence the interjection.

      Also your point about the coos is taken note of, after a few more people chimed in, the poor creatures probably were just being curious, and the smell of the crisps and sandwiches must have got their attention. They were not commando coos.

      • fred

        “Fred if you call this harassment and intimidation, you must have lead a very cloistered life as you were being brought up by your grandparents!! LOL”

        Yes that is what I call it because that is what it is.

        You adopt the usual defence of the bully that it’s only a bit of fun, it isn’t fun for the victim.

        I don’t launch unprovoked personal attacks on other posters and I don’t see why I shouldn’t be able to comment here without being subjected to personal abuse and intimidation.

      • fred

        Look another one, like all bullies they form gangs.

        I had not commented on this thread or the previous two when I was subjected to this barrage of personal abuse.

  • eddie-g

    Don’t blame you at all for the stance you’ve taken writing about the McCann story.

    But there can surely be little argument that their leaving their young children unattended how they did is not something in their favour. My kids are 7 and 5, and even now we’d never dream of leaving them like the McCanns left theirs.

    That’s one problematic part of their story. Another one is to have managed to have some of the local police effectively turn on them is quite extraordinary. When it comes to missing children, police are typically very sympathetic to the parents. So whatever the McCanns said or did to not just become suspects, but to be accused of what they were by certain senior police, was no small thing.

    It’s a tragic story, still, but one that becomes stranger over time.

    • craig Post author


      Yes, you make an important point about the local police. The British diplomats involved also had rather similar feelings about them.

      • Trowbridge H. Ford aka The Biscuit

        Why wouldn’t the local police look upon ex-pat Brits with a suspicious eye when so many of them are on the run, have hidden resources in Portugal, and are engaged in criminal activity?

        The UK ex-pats around Caldas da Rainha all thought that I was on the run too when I was a permanent resident there.

      • Herbie

        Surely the local police were annoyed that they’d brought negative attention to the locale and its officers when they were accused of not investigating things properly.

        There’s been a long tradition of British media pointing out how crap foreign cops are when compared with our own finest and best.

        I don’t understand what benefit there is to Blair.

          • Herbie

            I’m well aware that Blair is a cnut, but what benefit was there to him in making a big deal about this case.

            I don’t see the advantage.

            The Diana thing is different. It was important there to maintain the status of the monarchy and its central role in state stability.

            They were looking goners for a while.

          • Ba\'al Zevul

            Blair’s a media whore. If he can’t get in the papers blairing his own forgettable insights into ISIS, Europe, private education, or how he’s bringing ‘peace’ to Palestine, he’ll get on TV and have a little blair about royalty. Or governance, doesn’t matter what. There may well be no particular issue he wants to bury. I think in this case, it was calculated, however. He knew the market roof was about to fall in – face it, he must have known – he was going to drop Gordon in it (at Gordon’s own insistence, ironically); he was going to let down his constituents halfway through a term, and when McCann broke, he was already setting up his loadsamoney scheme. Couldn’t be seen on the wrong side of that one, and had to be seen.

      • eddie-g

        I wasn’t aware that British diplomats held concerns, but it’s long been clear that Portuguese police did, and I don’t think they can be dismissed out of hand.

        Somewhat related, my mother got very involved in a missing children case years ago – see link below – spent a lot of time working with investigators (she started a campaign, and any potential lead she got she forwarded to detectives), and she’s not fully convinced by the McCanns. But I will say too she is not inclined to criticise them, they’ve lost a child and the pain must be unbearable.

  • DrNobby

    I may be wrongly remembering this, but didn’t the complex where the McCanns stayed offer nannying/babysitting service, which they used for a couple of nights but then cancelled?

    • craig Post author

      There was a babysitting service which they did not use. I do not believe they had used it previously, but am open to correction.

      • Anne Clarke

        They didn’t want to use the baby sitting service as they thought that the children would be unfamiliar with the sitters. They seemed to forget that they were the same girls who worked in the day time creche. There was also a night creche. To me this sounds as if they were determined to push the ‘neglect’ idea.

      • MBC

        I also recollect reading that they had never used that babysitting service. But I also recollect that there were older children with them in the apartment or apartment complex belonging to another couple, and that both couples took it in turns to look in on all the children every twenty minutes.

        Like you I have always thought this was bad parenting, because as you said, it’s not just children waking up crying that you have to check. They could choke or wander off, stick their fingers in electric sockets, anything.

      • Tracy

        Hi guys, informative blog, thanks. On the childcare, there was a night creche where you take your kids then pick them up later. As it was out of season there was no baby listening service. One of the mccanns friends had a baby monitor, all the rest left their kids in apartment every night and did “regular checks”.

  • Paul Barbara

    Craig doesn’t believe a high-profile paedophile ring was involved in this case. But the fact is, extremely high-level paedophile rings are a reality, right up to government, Royalty, justice, police and ‘security services’ levels.
    Watch ‘Why Johnny Can’t Come Home’ by Noreen Gosch:
    (she also wrote a book with the same tittle; Noreen is Johnny’s mother; and there is a lot of info on ‘The Johnny Gosch Foundation’:
    Also see Cathy O’Brien’s books/videos, and check out the Marc Dutroux case and the Kincora boys’ home abuse case (where British ‘Security Services’ intentionally let the abuse continue for three years, till someone blew the whistle. They were gathering evidence to blackmail Northern Ireland politicos and militia gangs into compliance).
    There’s quite a lot on the Mc Cann case here: ‘Maddy McCann’s Portugal abduction’:

    • craig Post author


      Paedophile rings do indeed exist but it does not follow that one was involved in this case.

      • Habbabkuk (respect the blog owner!)

        Exactly. Barbara has seized the opportunity to talk about other paedophile affairs. He doesn’t miss a trick.

  • Gerald


    Have you watched the series of documentaries made by Richard D Hall over at They are downloadable from
    He seems to have a particular beef with main stream media but does cover the inconsistencies in the McCann’s stories as well as those of their supporting witnesses; together with why the Portuguese police went from supporting them to suspecting them.

  • YouKnowMyName

    The McCann case recalls to me the (similar?) tragedy of a celeb losing his 4-1/2 year old son Conor . Details .

    Strangely, NO British ambassadorial staff were immediately involved, just the NYPD.

    The celeb isn’t the nicest guy, but he did donate mucho dinero to charity after the loss, in various ways.

    So in many respects, his story is completely unlike the McCann one, (which we still hope will have a happy ending with at the worst some ‘underground’ Austrian rescue or just a hopefully still to be found Kos ‘Ben’ slave) – but then we see this ‘capture’ meme throughout human history – and when I lived in Abha, Asir near the Yemeni border, it was (still!) fairly common for raiding parties from either side to pop-over and grab a handful of girls from the nearby state. Sort-of like an early prototype version of Tinder, but without much choice available to one of the parties.

  • fedup (Snitchsmeller Pursuivant)

    On the subject of the high profile and high powdered perverts, these have the world as their oyster and can get any sort of flesh from anywhere in the world to indulge in their sick fantasies/predilections/fetishes with their minuscule little tadgers that only will be not laughed at by an inexperienced and innocent victim.

    In fact there are huge numbers of children missing from among the current waves of refugees, some estimating the missing children to number around 70,000 in Europe alone.

    So to find the huge efforts for one abductions by the said perverts is a bit of a thin concept. That is unless someone can allude to “Satanists” and their weird practices requiring unique characteristics such as her eye etc. but still that is bit of a far fetched concept. However the more pressing matter is to find parents too busy enjoying themselves, in the tapas bar, yards away from their children. As anyone with a young pet knows, you can never leave a young pet alone, never mind the notion of leaving infants alone and three of them at that too!

    Furthermore, the said practice appears to be a routine that would invariably be studied by any evil doer taking notes of. Hence the fact that there could have been an evildoer lurking in the shadows is a probability, however that still does not absolve the parent from deciding to leave their infant offspring and go to some meal. Whereupon they could have ordered their meal and consume it next to their sleeping infants, enjoying every little breath these took in their sleep. The puzzling fact is though, how come only one infant was abducted? Why not all three of them?

    I really sympathise with the parents and find it strange that they acquiesced to be used by that slime ball bLiar for his own diversionary stories that the Murdoch rags were busy spewing. I understand their desperation but still where did they leave their commons sense?

  • Vronsky

    A great deal needs examined here. How and why were the McCanns, ostensibly quite ordinary people, awarded such unprecedented access to popes and prime ministers? Children disappear every day, and their parents are as horribly damaged as the McCanns. But they have no access to such dizzying levels of high power – for them it is a private tragedy. What wheels were turning that made this case so different?

    • Habbabkuk (respect the blog owner!)

      Do you yourself have any explanation or theory, Vronsky?

        • glenn_uk

          Missing Little White Girl, photogenic to boot, from well-to-do parents who were both extremely comfortable in front of the camera, rather litigatious, foreigners to rag on… what’s not to like?

  • Alan

    “So in the full knowledge that some decent people will be outraged, here it is.”

    As a parent, I agree with you, and furthermore, the way I see it only people with guilty consciences of their own, i.e. bad parents can possibly be outraged at what you are saying.

  • Republicofscotland

    What I found rather bizarre, was that according to reports, Kate McCann refused to answer 48 questions posed to her by the Portuguese police.

    One could say she didn’t want answer questions until legal representation arrived, but as a parent, a innocent parent that is, wouldn’t you answer all the questions, right away, in order to hurry up the investigation. In my opinion, Kate McCann’s obfuscating, possibly to hide her lack of good parenting, could’ve hindered the investigation.

    According to this site, underlying the whole of the case is the alleged sighting, by Jane Tanner, of a man carrying a child away from the McCanns’ apartment on the evening of May 3rd.

    As you rightly mentioned Craig the McCann’s did appear to receive special treatment fro the British government. Some newspapers at the time reported that, it was down to, not wanting to damage good trade relations with Portugal.

    I for one am not so sure, that’s the real reason for the McCann’s five star treatment.

  • RobG

    An interesting and provocative post, Craig.

    But you only hinted at the major falling-out between the Portuguese police and British police who are/were investigating the case…

    This animosity has severely hampered finding out what really happened.

    Ironically, as I’m sure Craig is aware, Portugal’s closest ally has always been England. The Anglo-Portuguese Alliance (‘Aliança Luso-Britânica’), ratified in 1386, is the oldest alliance in the world that is still in force.

    • Alan

      “An interesting and provocative post, Craig”

      Let’s put it another way, suppose you had a million quid, would you leave it lying on the bed, unattended, in your hotel room while you went for a meal in a restaurant down the street?

      NO! Of course you wouldn’t! You would at least ask for it to be put in the safe!

      So why the hell would any sane parent do that with their child?

      What is provocative about that?

      • RobG

        Alan, I found it provocative in the sense that barely any relatively high profile people (such as Craig) have raised the issue of why very young children were left on their own; and we’re not talking about ‘Benefits Streets scroungers’ here, we’re talking about middle class professionals (doctors, in fact).

        It’s a very strange case, and I don’t pretend to have any answers to it.

      • Hils

        Well put – I would imagine most people wouldn’t dream of leaving a million quid lying around even if safely tucked away in some hidey hole in the apartment. The niggling thought of possible burglary & theft would certainly be enough to put anyone off their meal and I doubt very much if the patio doors would be purposely left unlocked!!! Madeleine was 3+yrs and the twins were almost 2yrs old and as any mother knows, an age where they are perfectly capable of climbing out of a baby cot, it’s a miracle that all 3 tots didn’t wander out onto the road and get killed. It’s bad enough leaving 3 tiny children home alone but in an UNLOCKED apartment…

  • Geoffrey

    Very good post Craig,I used to live in Lisbon,and have stayed in Luz at the resort where Maddie went missing on several occasions. I always had a feeling that there was something not right about the McCann case. I know it caused resentment in Portugal at the enormous resources used to find her,compared to other missing children in Portugal, and the many insinuations of Portuguese police incompetence by the British.
    There was a suggestion by the Portuguese at the time that the McCanns may have used a mild sedative on their children whilst they went out and something went wrong.
    I suppose the Portuguese had to appease the Blair/Brown government as British tourists and the inward investment of British expats is one of their main exports.

    • Trowbridge H. Ford aka The Biscuit

      Must say that I thought all sales of property involving British ex-pats were dodgy on both ends, even my purchase of a villa outside Caldas.

      The thing that intrigued me the most, though, was a British cargo pilot during WWII who stopped regularly in Portugal on route to and from North Africa, and refused to discuss it at a most late date in any regard.

      Began to think that he was having some backdoor dealings withe the Salazar government. Wonder if it had something to do with Jews seeking sanctuary in Britain.

      • Habbabkuk (respect the blog owner!)

        I’ll say it before anyone else does, along the lines of “you read it here first!) : Lisbon during the war was a hotspot for agents of all nationalities and none.

        Perhaps something to do with Portugal being neutral?

        Re the transport pilot : if you look carefully at the map of wartime Europe – and then of the entire western hemisphere – you will understand why Lisbon was a relatively safe staging post for transport of every kind.

        Circulez, rien à voir!

    • Habbabkuk (respect the blog owner!)

      “There was a suggestion by the Portuguese at the time that the McCanns may have used a mild sedative on their children whilst they went out and something went wrong.”

      Which of course raises the question of how they would have disposed of the child’s body, doesn’t it – and why no body was ever found despite what I imagine would have been intensive searches.

      I must say in general that I find such speculations by non-expert examiners distasteful, less than useless and not in the spirit of Craig’s post.

      Heaven preserve us from them and from the weaving of even more bizarre theories, eg,

      “I am not now totally convinced that the McCanns and their “friends” are not in fact actors working for the Government. I believe it is possible that Madeline McCann, never actually existed.” (Tony OpMoc)


      “I believe that Madeleine was to be abducted in some politically inspired scam.” (Rob Royston)?

      • Geoffrey

        I should have continued that the Portuguese police thought that a mild sedative had been used on the children,,which presumably as both parents were GP’s would have been easy enough, and something went wrong and Mr McCann disposed of the body. in the back of his car.
        I imagine they had a lot to lose,.

        • From the Wild Wood

          The twins are reported to have slept soundly through the commotion of the initial search of their bedroom by all the staff of the resort and the police etc.

  • Habbabkuk (respect the blog owner!)

    I would be the last one to defend bad parenting in general or in this particular case.

    Assuming that this was an abduction, the parents obviously made a very, very bad mistake in leaving their daughter unattended. But bad mistakes are what people – all sorts of people – occasionally make.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Before anyone else points it out…even David Cameron left his sprog in a pub once…

      • Alan

        “even David Cameron left his sprog in a pub once…”

        David Cameron also forgot his Dad had all that money in an offshore account. David Cameron is so forgetful, that one wonders how he ever manages to cope with the stresses of government.

    • Dartangan

      Habbabkuk, respectably – a mistake is putting salt in your coffee instead of sugar. The parents of Madeleine McCann deliberately and unilaterally decided to leave their very young children home alone in an unlocked apartment over the course of the best part of a week. That was a conscious decision on their part.

  • Node

    Last time Craig mentioned this subject, someone posted a link to an interview Dr Katherine Zacharias Gaspar made to Leicestershire Police on 16 May 2007. She stated that she and her husband had gone on a previous holiday with the McCanns and another couple, the Paynes. According to her statement to the police, during that holiday she formed the impression that Dave Payne had paedophile tendencies. :

    “I remember thinking whether he would look at my daughter and other little girls in a different way than I or others do. I imagined that he had perhaps visited internet sites related to little children. In a word, I thought that he could be interested in child pornography on the web. During our holiday in Majorca, each parent would bath the children in turn. I was keen to stay near the bathroom if Dave was bathing the children. I remember I said to Savio to be careful and to be close by if Dave was helping to bathe the children and my daughter in particular. I did this [stay hear the bathroom if Dave was bathing the children] quite obviously because hearing what he said had troubled me and I didn’t trust him bathing ‘A’ [our first child]”

    When Dr Gasper learned that Dave Payne was with the McCanns when Madeiene went missing, she went to Leicester police and told them her suspicions.

    Here is the transcript :

    • jemand

      So someone had thoughts, imaginings and suspicions – but no observations that support those ‘suspicions’

      You know, idiots like you put innocent people behind bars.

  • dewi lennard (@kikoratton)

    Very timely comments, sir, but also very mild. Too mild! Merely an opportunity for Labour’s PR staff to curry favour by aligning themselves with a highly dubious (misleading or mendacious) couple? If so, it got out of hand, with visits to the Vatican, to the European Parliament, allowing Kate McCann to become Ambassador for Missing People, etc etc. Not to mention the continuing waste of Met Police time (more than 10 million pounds) on ridiculous stunts. From a little harmless PR to the scam of the century, which requires rather more attention. And how about Gerry McCann’s falsification of the creche attendance records, which I have documented on twitter?

  • Susan pikk

    Thank you Craig for having the courage to say what most people think, my personal opinion is that Madeleine died through an accident and it was covered up by her parents as they could not risk an autopsy because of what would be discovered. The McCanns are definitely being protected by people in power however I think there is a change in the air and I hope the truth will come out. Everyone should read the police statements and see for themselves the inconsistencies, lies and the refusal to answer simple questions. Once again Craig thank you for your courage and may I respectfully suggest you watch your back.

  • Mark Golding

    A strange case indeed and £10 million sterling is an alarming spend, unnatural and indeed synthetic; fabricated evidence and a fabricated contrivance to close gaps in the euchromatic regions of human chromosome 22 that amplifying, sequencing and mapping fall short of cutting the mustard.

    That is all I can say without unleashing a serious dispute around medical ethics and strange men in white coats appearing in my world.

  • Johnstone

    The FO and UK secret services may have tried cover up what happened to the poor little girl but DOGS don’t lie!

    • craig Post author

      Indeed, I decided to refrain from discussing the cadaver dog and anything that might be speculative, but the case is indeed very disturbing.

      • Ba'al Zevul

        Wise of you. A report this week said that the drug sniffer dogs at Manchester Airport wer 95% effective at detecting sausages and cheese in luggage.

      • Vronsky

        Cadaver dogs have extremely high success rates. You would need to produce some very persuasive argument for ignoring them, beyond the trivial observation that nobody, not even a clever dog, is right all the time. Given the documented performance of these animals, do you think it would have been reasonable for the Portuguese police to ignore them? Do the math, as the yanks say.

        • Clivejw

          “Cadaver dogs have extremely high success rates.”

          No, they don’t. They are an investigative tool whose findings are meaningless without forensic evidence. There are no recognized standards of monitoring, training, and accreditation, so statistics on their supposed accuracy are guesswork. The Haut de la Garenne case should make us extremeley cautious about trusting the “evidence” of sniffer dogs. In that case, forensic tests conclusively refuted the sensational claims that had been made in the press.

          The Shannon Matthews case was another high profile inquiry in which the use of sniffer dogs was deemed to have hindered rather than helped the investigation.

      • jemand

        Yes, the HIRE CAR had traces of cadaver odour. I guess we can ignore BZ’s 5% false positive – oh, and let’s ignore the possibility that the HIRE CAR, hired out to many many people, might have once had a deceased person, human body parts or contaminated materials in it thereby leaving a scent so vague that only a specially trained dog can find it. Not very scientifically sceptical, you lot.

  • David Claxton

    Thank you for carrying this message. The speed at which the McCanns went on the attack against the Portuguese police was worrying. There were 6 adults and I understand that a waiter had contradicted their assertions about going to check on the children, who went with whom, when and for how long. The distance from the restaurant to the room was far longer in time than suggest & of course the diners had no view of the entrance to the block. These were professional folk who could easily have afforded (10/15 euros) for a nanny for the evening. There’s been too much obfuscation.

    • Kerry Wells

      The McCanns had to agree to confessing neglect (but only a little bit like being in your backgarden type, but checking very regularly) because no neglect = no abduction.
      Their family and friends in Britain were on the media the following morning saying the shutters in the locked apartment were jemmied, the window was forced and Madeleine was taken which later had to be changed to leaving the apartment open and all the pathetic talk of interior doors being opened a little way, 40 degree angles etc because, of course, the shutters and windows were found to be untouched and no forensics found.
      The British blood and cadaver dogs signalled only in the McCann’s apartment on clothing and floor tiles and on their hire car and nowhere else.
      When questioned by Portuguese TV journalist Sandra Felgueiras as to how he could explain the dog’s findings Gerry McCann answered with a smirk “ask the dogs Sandra” and that the dogs wereincredibly unreliable. The video is available online.
      One of these dogs now works with the FBI in USA.

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