...If you think about the millions and millions of British families who go to the Mediterranean each year, really the chances of this happening are in the order of a hundred million to one.Or more than seven times the odds against winning the U.K. national lottery jackpot (1 in 13,983,816). Are the McCanns really that unlucky?
Now to more current affairs. At last, for anyone hoping the McCanns would be brought to book, that wish is on the verge of being granted. A recent facebook statement by the pair explains:
We have pushed back the release of our book to Madeleine's birthday. May 12, 2011. We need as much exposure for the book so we can get Madeleine home.As much exposure as what, may I ask?. 'So that' = 'in order to.' Hence the purpose of book exposure is to 'get Madeleine home.' Put another way, the return of Madeleine McCann is dependent upon the number of people aware of / the number who will have purchased / the number who will have read the McCanns' forthcoming opus. How does that work? How many individuals are required to read the Book of Revelation before its prophecies are enacted? Clarification appears to be in order. Clarence Mitchell (to Stephen Nolan, BBC Radio Five Live, 7.1.2011):
No, it's going to be Kate's story. Kate is writing it. Gerry, of course, is... is helping her but essentially it will be Kate's work. For... virtually from the first day it happened, errr... I was coming under pressure from various publishers, some of them very polite, but very persistent, saying they should write a book, or it should be ghost written. Kate and Gerry always said they didn't want to do that, they didn't feel the time was right, they had far more important things to do in the search for their daughter. They've now decided, and it's largely been driven by the need for funds for the... for the search to continue, that the time is right for the book to be written. Kate has been writing it for some months. She's probably finished about sixty to seventy thousand words and, errm... it's coming out on May 12th which is Madeleine's eighth birthday. It is designed to keep the search for her going. That is the simple reason.Jolly noble of Clarence to withstand pressure from the publishers from 'the first day it happened.' Experience being a great teacher, he doubtless found the subsequent days when it happened rather easier to deal with. Whatever. The official line, via that ubiquitous 'source close to the McCanns' is clearly that the book is being written to raise money (no surprise there then), not as some catalytic precursor to Madeleine's safe return, which would hardly be contingent upon 'Kate's story' in any case. Clarence Mitchell:
Errr... All sorts of enquiries, interview requests, suggestions for features, sightings of possibly Madeleine. All sorts of things. They all have to either be passed on to the private investigators or we take decisions as to how we deal with them.The search for Madeleine must be maintained. But notice how the vigilant are now to be accredited, not with the likelihood of sighting Madeleine, whose feasible presence was previously a given, but the categorical sighting of someone who might be Madeleine. It is a subtle shift in emphasis, but 'possible' is less an attribute of sightings per se than of the object's very existence. There are clearly two principal agents in this investigative process, private investigators and the decision-making 'team.' No other body is included in the rosta. How therefore can Mitchell go on to make the following claim? Clarence Mitchell:
Anything that develops a profile, errr... as high as this case has, does attract all sorts of people. You're quite right. Errm... most of them, the vast majority, are well meaning and if information can be checked out and is credible or potentially credible then it goes through, not only to the British police, it goes through to the Portuguese police, and it goes through to the private investigators to be assessed; prioritised. It's very much a police operation. It's former British policemen that are working on it and then they will act upon it. Now amongst those, of course, there are the occasional slightly more lunatic things that are said.
But currently, errm... it's the... the investigation is a private investigation being led by Dave Edgar, who's a former RUC officer, errr... retired, errr... and he calls in assistance, errr... from his colleague, former colleagues in various police forces, as and when he needs it. Errr... And there is work going on in Britain and in Portugal at different times but, because of the sensitive nature of it, obviously I can't go into any detail, but it's very much ongoing.
Stephen Nolan: "How possible do you think it is though, Clarence... how possible is it that Madeleine is still alive given that level of publicity?"
Clarence Mitchell: "It is still possible that she is alive because there is no evidence to suggest that she isn't and that's the whole basis on which the investigation, the private investigation, continues to this day. In the absence of anything to suggest that she has been harmed or, as you suggest, has been killed, and there is no evidence to suggest that, then not only Kate and Gerry but everybody working with them will continue to keep going until an answer is found."
Stephen Nolan: "What's your gut instinct now as to what's happened? Are you comfortable sharing that?"
Clarence Mitchell: "My instinct has been, and remains, that there is a chance that she's alive and that's the basis we're all doing this. We wouldn't... if we thought there was no hope, you know, what would be the point of going on? But, because there is that absence of anything to suggest what's happened, it is just as logical to keep going. That's certainly what keeps Kate and Gerry going. Obviously, as her parents, they will maintain that. But for all of their supporters, people who are trying to help them, myself included, I honestly don't know what happened and therefore I've got to keep going, and as long as they want me to keep helping them then I'm happy to do that."
Peter Levy: "What do they (the McCanns) believe, what do they think is the strongest possibility of... of what happened to little Madeleine?"
Clarence Mitchell: "Kate and Gerry know Mad... know their daughter well enough to know she didn't wander out of the apartment, as has often been speculated. The only assumption they can make is that somebody took her out of the apartment. That is the working hypothesis on which the private investigation is also based. That there is somebody, perhaps one, or just two or three people out there who know what happened and that there was an element of pre-meditation, pre-planning went into it. Possibly because of the location of the apartment; it was on a fairly remote corner of that particular resort. Errm... Children would have been coming and going over months/weeks beforehand and there... it... the private investigation believes there was a degree of pre-meditation and planning, errm... and the very fact that nothing has been found of Madeleine since, not a trace, tends to suggest that she has been taken somewhere else and has been... hopefully, is being looked after, or at least cared for, errr... with someone. Errr... That is... that is the working hypothesis. In some cases, if... if God forbid, she had been harmed, she probably would have been found long ago but she hasn't been and that's why they keep going."
Peter Levy: "So the belief is that she is... she is alive and being looked after, and probably still in Portugal?"
Clarence Mitchell: "As... as Kate and Gerry have always said, until they have the answer as to what has happened and until they are presented with incontrovertible proof that she has been harmed, they will continue to believe - just as logically, without any evidence to the contrary - that she could still just as easily be alive."
Clarence Mitchell: "...To this day there is a very small but highly vocal minority online; the joys of the Internet. The Internet is a wonderful thing but it has its downside, as we all know. There is a very vocal but very small minority of people who believe Kate and Gerry were negligent and to this day they rail and rant against them. They are powerless, they know nothing and it... it's totally irrelevant. But we keep a... a weather eye on what they're saying and if action needs to be taken, in certain cases, then it is."
Stephen Nolan: "Did the campaign cost a lot of money?"
Clarence Mitchell: "...It was all spent in terms of the investigation and running a private investigation in two countries, sometimes in several continents where if things have to be followed up around the world, is a very expensive business. All of that's been spent on various contracts, on various private agencies, errm... since... since it happened."
Stephen Nolan: "And presumably, Clarence, you're on the phone to the editors of those newspapers warning them about legal threats. The lawyers are on the phone. You're on the phone trying to stop them doing this and continuing to do this?"
Peter Levy: "Why did it capture the imagination so much?"
Clarence Mitchell: "Oh, how long's your programme? There are all sorts of reasons but essentially, errm... it... it played into the... every parental nightmare of losing your children whilst on holiday, errr... it raised the whole question of parental responsibility. Kate and Gerry felt they and their friends were mounting a perfectly correct and proper checking system on the... on the... given the... the lack of resources available to them, at the time, but they made a mistake and they... they got it wrong.”
"...there's a very small vocal minority online who... who attack them for being negligent. That is completely misplaced and entirely wrong."
Clarence Mitchell: "...the whole thing was a nonsense but it was driving sales of papers…obviously there were legitimate questions about child safety and, errr... parental responsibility….We would talk to journalists on the ground and we would talk to editors. It made a difference sometimes. Overall, in certain cases, it made not jot... not a jot of difference."
Stephen Nolan: "So, Clarence, what... what needs to happen? Does... does the PCC work, the Press Complaints Commission? Errr... Does there need to be a change of legislation? What needs to happen?"
Clarence Mitchell: "Well, we... we tried to resort to the PCC, at times, and they were very helpful in terms of logistical things, like keeping photographers away from the McCann's home. There were photographers camped outside their house, at the end of their drive, for six months. We even had paparazzi photographers, who normally do celebrity jobs in... in Los Angeles, turning up looking for them. And, you know, we had to patiently explain the McCanns were not celebrities, they didn't warrant this sort of intrusion and these photographers needed to be moved. Now the PCC were fantastic in that case, they were really helpful. But in terms of making the news desks and the editors in certain papers sit up and really listen, I'm afraid we had to, reluctantly, pick up the rather large hammer of defamation action and say, 'You will apologise, you will settle this, errr... on our terms, or we will go further'. And thankfully, after a lot of discussion - the Express group being the best example - finally agreed with us. Errm... But it was a reluctant action. You know, it shouldn't have got to that stage. But it wasn't of our making."
Early Doors – 25.01.2011
"They had put the kids to bed at 7pm and checked on them every half an hour as they had dinner nearby with the rest of the party. Gerry said the window was open, the shutters broken and the door, which had been locked, hanging open."
"Kate went back at 10pm to check. The front door was lying open, the window had been tampered with, the shutters had been jemmied open and Maddie was missing."
"He (Gerry) said, 'Maddie's been abducted, she's been abducted'. Nothing else was touched in the apartment, no valuables taken, no passports."
"She just blurted out that Madeleine had been abducted. She told me, 'They have broken the shutter on the window and taken my little girl.'
"They had left the apartment locked while they were having their meal, but when they went back the last time they saw the damage.
"First they saw one of the window shutters had been forced, and then they saw the door was open and the bed was empty - and Madeleine was gone."
Matthew devrait avoir vu ce que Kate a vu, puisqu'il n'a touché à rien (si ce n'est fait glisser la porte-fenêtre dans un sens, puis dans l'autre).
'at 9.05 pm, the deponent entered the club (sic), using his key, the door being locked.'
'At around 9.30 pm, his friend MATT … went into the deponent's apartment, going in through a sliding glass door at the side of the building, which was always unlocked.'
'KATE ……went into the apartment through the door using her key.'
'The side door that opens into the living room….was never locked, was closed.'
'Reads, confirms, ratifies and signs.'
'She went into the apartment by the side door, which was closed, but unlocked.'
'Reads, confirms, ratifies and signs.'
(Sunday) 'They left the house through the main door, that he was sure he locked, and the back door was also closed and locked.'
'Dinner ended at around 23h00.... On that day (Sunday), only the deponent and his wife entered the apartment. He is sure that they always entered through the front door, not knowing if they locked it upon leaving.'
(Wednesday) 'Apart from the deponent and his wife, he thinks that DAVID PAYNE also went to his apartment to check that his children were well, not having reported to him any abnormal situation with the children. On this day, the deponent and KATE had already left the back door closed, but not locked, to allow entrance by their group colleagues to check on the children. He clarifies that the main door was always closed but not necessarily locked with the key.'
(Thursday) 'He walked the normal route up to the back door, which being open he only had to slide.'
'Three to four minutes later MATHEW returned… having entered through the back door, given that he did not have the key and it was usual for them to enter in that way.'
'22h03, he again alerted KATE that it was time to check the children. She immediately made her way to the apartment by the usual path, having entered through the back door.'
'Reads, confirms, ratifies and signs.'
'They left through the balcony door, which they left closed but not locked. Main door was closed but not locked. She thinks it could be opened from the inside but not from the outside.'
'GERRY was the first one to check on the children, this was decided on the spot, at around 9-9:05 p.m. He got up from the table and entered the apartment through the balcony door.'
'At 9:30 p.m. ...MATTHEW...said he could check on her children...After less than ten minutes MATTHEW returned...she assumed he had checked on her children, entering through the balcony door which was closed but not locked.'
'At 10 p.m. she got up from the table, as it was her turn after having been replaced by MATT. She entered the apartment by the balcony door which was closed, but as already said, not locked.'
Reads, confirms, ratifies and signs, as do the interpreter and the defence lawyer.
A Payne in the Glass – 30.01.2011