The JVS Show phone-in on the Madeleine McCann case
Transcrit par Nigel Moore
News reader : A woman from Hertfordshire who regularly visits the resort where Madeleine McCann went missing is criticising the police for carrying out new searches in Portugal. A series of digs are taking place at three sites in the resort of Praia da Luz, where the young girl disappeared seven years ago. But Sarah, who's been there on holiday three times a year, for thirty years, says it's a poor decision to carry out the search in the holiday season.
Sarah : The Algarve, and Portugal in general, need tourism at the moment. To go out, eight years afterwards, and start digging up sites in Luz? Absolutely mindboggling!
Jonathan Vernon-Smith : ...lots to discuss this morning but first, on this morning's Big Phone-in, Sarah, from Hertfordshire, has been going to Praia da Luz, in Portugal, three times a year, for thirty years, and she says it's time for Kate and Gerry McCann to stop ruining everyone else's lives by continuing to search for their missing daughter.
S : They know they couldn't choose a worse time to go out than the beginning of May. The Algarve, and Portugal in general, need tourism at the moment. To go out, 8 years afterwards, and start digging up sites in Luz? Absolutely mindboggling!
JVS : Madeleine McCann went missing seven years ago, when she was just 3-years-old, in a case that was front page news for years, and has rarely been out of the papers ever since.
Sarah says the dig will make life harder for the businesses already suffering in the difficult Portuguese economic climate and it will have a negative effect on anyone like her planning to holiday in Luz this summer.
Well, I wonder what you make of what Sarah has to say? Perhaps a member of your family has gone missing and you know the pain that the McCanns continue to suffer.
I wonder if you think Sarah is desperately insensitive and you admire the McCanns for doing whatever it takes to find their daughter or I wonder if Sarah is saying exactly what you've felt for a long, long time. This investigation is using police time, a lot of money, and is disrupting the lives of everyone else who lives, works or enjoys the Portuguese resort throughout the year.
Many of you have already been on to the BBC Three Counties Facebook page to have your say this morning. Allie says: 'Would she think the same if it was her daughter that was missing? I think not!' Meanwhile, Michelle has posted: 'If she were a young girl off a council estate they wouldn't be able to look because she would have been locked up and the boys would have been taken into care. Funny how it works when you have friends in two governments.'
But I'll get the rest of your comments very shortly. I'll play you what Sarah has to say and I want to hear your views as always.
Do you think Sarah is being unfair to the McCanns?
JVS : So, on the Big Phone-in today, I want to play you an interview I conducted with a lady from Hertfordshire, that we're calling Sarah. She's been going to the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz three times a year, for thirty years, and she's angry that this year the resort will be overrun with police after the Portuguese police force gave permission to British detectives to come back and dig up areas of Luz they suspect may harbour evidence vital to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
Kate McCann has told the BBC she needs British police to go back to Luz, as she cannot rely on the Portuguese.
KMC : I find the slowness of action in Portugal really hard to take. I find it quite distressing because even though we're seven years down the line, waiting weeks or months, particularly for letters of request to... to go th[rough]... be processed basically and to feed down the chain, and then to come back again, and maybe they have to go back again because it wasn't quite what, you know, was asked or whatever. It is frustrating and I... I suppose I do struggle with the fact that, you know... please work together.
JVS : Kate and Gerry argue that it's important for them to go back to the resort, even if it upsets some locals.
KMC : I do go back. I mean, I haven't been since last April but I do go back for personal reasons. Once or twice a year.
Gerald MC : There's a lot of the... the local community have been incredibly supportive; Portuguese and others, errm... and we made some good friends there.
KMC : It's difficult because we don't want to go back and generate publicity because I know a lot of local people don't like that, or resent that, and whilst we have some really good friends in Praia da Luz, errr... I know some people would like it to go away. Errm... So, when I go to Praia da Luz, I go quietly.
JVS : However, local business people have told the BBC that they are unhappy the McCann investigation is being relaunched this summer. Nancy Thompson runs The Bull hotel and bar in Luz.
JVS : And other locals like this man say they're losing patience with the McCanns.
JVS : So, it does seem that Sarah from Hertfordshire is not alone when she expresses her irritation at the decision, by Kate and Gerry McCann, to pursue further leads on the disappearance of their daughter seven years ago. But is she being unfair to the McCanns?
Here's what happened when I sat down with Sarah, from Hertfordshire:
JVS : So, here I am in the home of Sarah, from Hertfordshire. Sarah, how long have you been going to Portugal?
S : About thirty years, three times a year.
JVS : And what is it about Portugal that you love? Why is it a... a favourite holiday destination?
S : The whole family have always taken the children out there; the children are welcome in all restaurants, errr... they love children out there. We've always felt totally safe. We had a home in the next bay down from Luz.
JVS : So, this year, you're going there very shortly, and, of course, we know that work has started digging up parts of Praia da Luz. Errm... This has all been instigated by the McCanns, errm... in the search for their daughter Madeleine. How... how do you feel about that?S : The McCanns. Right, now. I feel a lot about this case. First of all... I mean, when they first went out to Luz, maybe seven years ago, they left Madeleine - I believe it was the second night that this happened - by themselves in the Luz apartment. They didn't know Luz. There were babysitters available, which they didn't take advantage of. They went to a restaurant, not on the premises, just off the premises.
I mean, if they had done this in England, and Madeleine had gone missing, they would have had the social services crawling all over them. Would they have done it in England as well? I don't know, but if they didn't do it in England, it... it beggar's belief. Why do you go abroad, to a place you don't know, and then leave them? And you don't do it in your own house? Your own home?
I'm not saying they deserve what they got but you think, at the moment, the money that was given them from people who felt sorry for them. They've gone all the way through that money, flown out to see the Pope, everything like that. Now, I presume, the latest thing with Luz is tax payers are paying for it. They know they couldn't choose a worse time to go out than the beginning of May. The Algarve, and Portugal in general, need tourism at the moment. To go out, eight years afterwards, and start digging up sites in Luz? Absolutely mindboggling!
The British police... I mean, if a couple had been from the continent, came over to one of our beauty spots, left their children, one child went missing and then eight years later turn round and say: 'We don't really like how your police coped with it, so we're bringing our own police over and we're going to dig up your beauty spot!' I mean, it would not be allowed.
JVS : They're obviously distraught because their daughter is still missing and they don't know what's happened to her and they want... they want answers. You as a parent can presumably understand that and the need for them to have some kind of closure on this?
S : Well, first of all, I'd be riddled with guilt over what I'd done, which is perhaps why they're doing this. Also, why is everything... everything they do, is a glare of publicity. We have to hear how she goes to Luz and walks around the streets, errm... 'just looking for clues', as she said. Can't they keep anything private? Nothing is private, everything is on the television. Programmes have been made about it. Didn't they have no discretion of all things? They seem to want to share the limelight with everybody, at all times. I, for one, am absolutely sick to death of it.
The Portuguese are - the experience I've had - are fabulous people. They welcome children into restaurants, they could have taken the children in there. They would have been welcomed. But they decided no to.
Apparently, one of the main roads in Luz is going to be dug up because eight years ago they were digging a pothole and they feel that Madeleine might have got out of bed and fallen into the pothole. So, the road now is being dug up - the main road in Luz. There is no logic whatsoever in what they're doing.
JVS : If they, however, find Madeleine McCann as a result of this dig, then won't it have all been worth it? Won't all of the presumed upheaval for all of the people than run shops and bars, won't it have been worth it? Just to find her so that her family can say goodbye?
S : I think the feeling in the Algarve will not be one of relief. There's a lot of anger; the reputation they brought to Portugal, quite undeservedly. Errm... I think the Portuguese have a very, very different attitude to them. They were amazed they left their children, errm... they have not liked or wanted all the publicity that has gone on. I mean, the Portuguese police are probably the same as the Spanish and the French. They were in Portugal, so therefore the Portuguese police dealt with the case. Yes, we probably are more sophisticated but they weren't in England - they were in Portugal.
JVS : When you see Kate McCann on the television - there was an interview with... with her and Gerry recently.
S : Yes.
JVS : What is your reaction? What do you feel?
S : Just give it a rest. Just stop, please. I mean, all the other cases that have gone on. I do think it's because of their position.
JVS : You're obviously supposed to be... you're... you're going to... to the Algarve within the next couple of weeks. You have a... a newspaper cutting here with a... a... an aerial photo of Luz showing where they're planning to... to dig. How is this going to affect your holiday?
S : Well, until we get out there I suppose we don't know but out hotel is next to the McCanns' apartment and Search Area 1 is a huge expanse, it's a real wasteland on the right hand side, errm... which apparently they are going to get diggers in. So, if they decide to dig up this wasteland, I suppose it's going to be very, very noisy out there.
JVS : So, you're literally in this hotel here, next to where they're digging?
S : Yeah. Yes, that's right and this is the main road, going down here; this is one of the most popular restaurants, which is just there; this is the church...
JVS : Is this a restaurant you eat in?
S : Always, yep.
JVS : What's the name of it?
S : The Fortaleza. And here we've got Search Area 3 and Search Area 2 - right by the church; right by the Fortaleza.
JVS : So, this... this restaurant here, the Fortaleza, where... is a good restaurant. Are you likely to be eating there?
S : Oh, absolutely. Yes, it's a fabulous restaurant but I mean apart from all this, I mean, is anybody going to bury Madeleine in Luz? Well, its a very popular resort - I don't think so! I might be wrong but I would say 99% she is not buried in Luz.
JVS : If you're going to be eating in this restaurant which is literally over the road, it looks like, from Search Area 3, it's described here, how do you think that's likely to... to affect the restaurant and your enjoyment of it?
S : Well, it's going to affect the whole of Luz. This is one ... one of the most popular restaurants. It's obviously going to affect the church an awful lot, which is just here as well. Errm... As I've said before, it is not just because it's upsetting my holiday; it isn't. I have been incensed about this for a long, long time and when this came up I just thought: 'Right, I've really got to say something'.
JVS : And if Kate and Gerry McCann were to go to... to Luz, when all of this digging work was taking place, what do you think would be the response from the locals there?
S : Ahh, but they have said they are not going out there while this is taking place and I can quite understand why they're not going out there because they will be met... well, there's a lot of questions to be asked, the Portuguese will be furious.
JVS : What, furious with them?
S : Yes, absolutely. I mean, I mean, the logic, it doesn't make any sense. Why the 1st of May? Uhhh [exclamation of disgust].
JVS : When should they have dug up Luz?
S : Well, out of season for a start, errm... anytime. The 1st of May everywhere in Europe is the start of the tourist... this is where they make their money. All the restaurants are open, and they're starting on the 1st of May, and as I say, Luz, from this picture, you can see it's virtually everywhere and apparently they're going to the beach as well. So, somebody might have dug the beach up.
JVS : If you, on holiday, when you're there, if... if on the off chance you did bump into Kate McCann, walking through the streets, what would you say to her?
S : I honestly wouldn't know but I would certainly say something. I don't know what I'd say... probably almost the likes that I've said on the radio.
JVS : So, you'd be angry with her?
S : Very. Both of them.
[end of interview segment]
JVS : Well, that's Sarah, in Hertfordshire. You've heard what she had to say.
The question is: Do you agree with her or do you think she's being very unfair to the McCanns? Over to you.
JVS : Yes, and this morning, on the Big Phone-in, I'm asking for your response to an interview I... I carried out with a lady called Sarah, from Hertfordshire, who has been going to Praia da Luz, three times a year, for thirty years, and she says it's time for Kate and Gerry McCann to stop ruining everyone else's lives by continuing to search for their missing daughter.
Well, do you think, errr... she makes a lot of sense or do you think she's being very unfair to the McCanns?
Jim Gamble is a former policeman and was head of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre. He was involved in the search for Madeleine from 2007 to 2011. Good morning to you, Jim.
JG : Good morning.
JVS :Morning. So, listening to what Sarah says, she says that, you know, many years have now passed since this very unfortunate incident took place - it's time to move on. Can you understand her sense of frustration with this or do you think it's misplaced?
JG : I think it's misplaced and she's given us a lot of her opinions, so let me just give you my opinion of her call.
I think it's spiteful, I think it's small-minded, I think she's a condescending individual that needs to reflect on the hurt that parents feel - not the issues in the margins, but the fact that a child was, you know, has... was... did go missing... is still missing, and that those parents are tortured. This is an unusual case - they're not, you know, twelve to the dozen. This is a case that has perhaps only one other child been missing in these circumstances, over this period of time, in a similar way, and that's Ben Needham.
So, I think she needs... she really needs to look in the mirror, and if I was her this morning, after listening to my interview be broadcast, I wouldn't want to look in the mirror, and, quite frankly, I wouldn't want to meet ordinary mums and dads in the street after what she just said, whether it's in Praia da Luz or where she lives.
JVS : [interrupting] Well, you know Jim...
JG : Her interview was disgusting.
JVS : You know, Jim, she is getting some support as well. There are people contacting the programme already saying 'this... this woman from Hertfordshire has vocalised what I've been thinking all these years'.
JG : Well, do you know what, and maybe there is a... a number of people out there that think that, but they're not the people that I've spoken to over many, many years in this investigation. There are a small group, for example, who go online on a 'hashtag' and they talk about the McCann case in the most vociferous and spiteful way. In fact, you know, if we were able to identify who those individuals were, their comments as such, that you'd prosecute them for harassment. These are the parents of a child who is suspected to have been abducted - we don't know what has happened to her - and to... to pour your bile out against them in the way that she has, in that condescending and aloof manner, with no real experience of... of investigations, or investigative strategies, or why the police do what they do, when they do. It's just despicable.
JVS : Well, let's just run through some of the points she makes and you can obviously respond to them.
So, first of all, she says that Kate and Gerry McCann, they lost their daughter because ultimately they went out for dinner and they left their daughter, and their other two children, in a hotel room, on their own. And they could have taken their children to the restaurant with them but they didn't - they left them in a room, on their own. They did something that they possibly wouldn't have even considered to doing back home in the UK and yet they went to a foreign country and they did just that. And yet, there is a sense that everybody should feel sorry for them. That was the first point that she made.
JG : Well, if you want to concentrate on that error of judgement, at that time, and you think that is the key issue, well... well knock yourself out.
But here's the thing, how many genuine parents out there listened to that interview and thinking: 'There but for the grace of God go I'. I, you know... those parents that sat in the lobby of a hotel, with the baby-listening on - you don't know what's going on there. Those parents that sit at home at night, and have a few drinks while their children are in bed, and have maybe one drink too many.
Lots of parents lose their children momentarily, for lots of reasons. Some people make momentary errors of judgement, you know. Would the McCanns do that again? Of course, they wouldn't. But the bottom line is, if that's where you want to focus your concern [stressed in a mocking away], you know, all these years after this child's gone missing, then... then to be honest, that says more about you. This should be about finding out what happened to Madeleine and seeking an end to this.
JVS : And actually that is very relevant to the latter point that Sarah made in her conversation with me. She makes the point that this investigation has now been going on for seven years, errm... and yet, seven years later, it has been decided at the beginning of the holiday season, in a holiday resort, in a country that is still suffering terribly from an economic recession, it has been decided to go and dig up some fairly major parts of that resort, which will have a... a very detrimental effect on the resort itself and on the businesses there. Do you understand that and she is woman who feels passionately about that particular holiday resort, having been going there for thirty years.
JG : Well, I'm sure she doesn't feel as passionately about the resort as parents do for their children.
If you want to look at: 'Why now?' that's a question perhaps for the Portuguese police. These issues are being addressed because they weren't done at the time. The... the British authorities and the Metropolitan Police, who have brought a real professional focus to bare on this; that... that's not for them. They have... as soon as they've been able to aggregate all of the evidence, look at the issues and identify areas where there should have been perhaps a... a focus at the time. They can't now say: 'Well, we'll tell you what we'll do. We'll tie that in with people's travel arrangements; we'll tie that in with holidays'. I mean, this is about searching for a child who may well have been abducted and who may well have suffered, you know, harm including murder. And I really don't like to speculate about what may, or may not have happened, but had the investigation covered all these bases in the beginning we wouldn't be here now.
And the fact of the matter is, it is an unusual case because it crosses territorial boundaries and therefore there are tensions and sensitivities which means it takes quite a long time to negotiate and it's taken a long time to negotiate to get to the position where you have this positive relationship between the Metropolitan Police and the Portuguese police. Nothing would be happening there without the agreement of the Portuguese, so they obviously recognise the investigative value of this search. I believe it should have been done at the time - for whatever reason, it wasn't.
And if a child had gone missing, you know, in Bournemouth or Brighton, or a UK town in the same circumstances, and... and a case review had been carried out years later and areas had been identified that could have been more thoroughly explored, I have no doubt that in the UK we would be doing that and that...
JVS : [interrupting] So, we would allow...
JG : ...not many people in Brighton and Bournemouth would be complaining.
JVS : [interrupting] So, we would allow foreign police to... to come over from another country and to start, for example, digging up parts of Brighton, during the summer season?
JG : We would partner with... if you're saying a Portuguese family had come over, their child had been, you know, abducted, or a suspected abduction of that child in that area; they'd gone missing. The initial inquiry had led, you know, to... to no... no one being arrested, no one being held to account for this. The fact is that there's still a suspect at large and... and the police from Portugal came and said: 'Look, we've looked at this, we have these clues'. Of course local police would partner with them. It's not about another police force going into someone else's territory. The Portuguese police are leading this, partnered by the Metropolitan Police. If it was in the UK, local UK police would lead, partnered by the Portuguese.
This... that interview was all about the pettiness involved in this. It was all about, you know... to be quite honest, nonsense. I... I am quite disturbed having listened to that, that anyone would go on the air and.. and say some of the things that lady said.
JVS : Ok
JG : Even more disturbed that you would broadcast it.
JVS : Okay, well Jim, thank you very much indeed for having your say. That's Jim Gamble who's a former policeman and was head of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre. He was involved in the search for Madeleine from 2007 to 2011.
Do you agree with what he has to say? Do you think Sarah is being most unfair to the McCanns? Are you appalled at some of the things she had to say? Lots of response coming through on this.
I'm asking: 'Do you think Sarah is being unfair to the McCanns?'
Sarah, from Hertfordshire, she's been going to Praia da Luz three times a year, for thirty years. She says it's time for Kate and Gerry to stop ruining everyone else's lives by continuing to search for their missing daughter.
Madeleine McCann went missing seven years ago, when she was just 3-years-old, in a case that was front page news for years and has rarely been out of the papers ever since.
Well, last week the hunt for Maddie began again as the Portuguese police gave permission for British detectives to dig up sites around the town, including on the beach itself, looking for clues.
Well, as you may well have heard, if you'd listened to my interview with Sarah, she's furious.
But do you think she's... she's being reasonable? Or very unfair to the McCanns?
JVS : ...but first, back to this morning's Big-Phone in. Errm... We're discussing the fact that British detectives have returned to Portugal to continue the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Sarah, from Hertfordshire, has been going to Praia da Luz three times a year, for thirty years and she says it's time for Kate and Gerry to stop ruining everyone else's lives by continuing to search for their missing daughter.
Madeleine McCann went missing 7 years ago, when she was just 3-years-old, in a case that was front page news for years and has rarely been out of the papers ever since.
Last week the hunt for Maddie began again as the Portuguese police gave permission for British detectives to dig up sites around the town, including on the beach itself, looking for clues.
Sarah says the dig will make life harder for the businesses already suffering in the difficult Portuguese economic climate and it will have a negative effect on anyone planning, like her, to holiday in Luz this summer. Well, if you missed my interview with Sarah, at the start of today's show, here's just a little flavour of what she has to say:
S : They know they couldn't choose a worse time to go out than the beginning of May. The Algarve, and Portugal in general, need tourism at the moment. To go out, eight years afterwards, and start digging up sites in Luz? Absolutely mindboggling!
The British police... I mean, if a couple had been from France, England, Spain, any, errm... not England, from the continent, came over to one of our beauty spots, left their children, one child went missing and then eight years later turn round and say: 'We don't really like how your police coped with it, so we're bringing our own police over and we're going to dig up your beauty spot!' I mean, it would not be allowed.
JVS : Well, do you think Sarah is being unfair to the McCanns? Lots of your calls and your texts coming through and I will get to them very shortly but first let's hear from someone who lives and works in Praia da Luz. Nancy Thompson runs The Bull pub in Praia da Luz. Hello there, Nancy.
NT : Hello there.
NT : Yes, it's errr... mmm... it's very upsetting, you know. It upsets the village again, it upsets the people that live there and, of course, the holiday makers. Errr... It's just a bit of a circus when they all come to town. Very sad.
JVS : Do you understand why it's taking place though, Nancy? I mean, do you feel tremendous sympathy for Kate and Gerry McCann?
NT : Errr... Of course, you feel sympathy for them; it's their child. Look, in... in the end... but, errr... what I don't get here, is why it has taken them seven years. The hole was there seven years ago. What do they think? The Portuguese workmen have come along to fill the holes in, errr... it was in the main street, the main one, errm... and haven't looked in the hole and said: 'Oh, I think there's the body of a child in here'?
JVS : Well, the McCanns feel the Portuguese authorities and the Portuguese police have let them down. They feel as if they haven't done what they needed to do at the time, in terms of gathering information, gathering evidence that may well have... have led them to what had happened to their daughter. Can... can you accept that?
NT : Errr... No, I think they did what they could at the time. They were all out, they were all searching. Errr... I remember the night, the actual night it happened. It was a very quiet night, errm... you know, and if someone had taken that girl away, I believe... Look, don't get me wrong, the Portuguese are fantastic people but they're well, well nosey [laughs].
JVS : So, can I... can I just ask, as someone who runs a business in Praia da Luz, do you feel that the disappearance of Madeleine McCann... has it had a very bad affect on... on tourism and business there?
NT : Well, who can say, you know. Look, this is a place... people come here year after year, after year. That's the kind of, errr.... place Praia da Luz is. I've known children born and, you know, 20-years-old now, and some with their own children, still coming here. Errr... But how do we know what effect it's had on new tourism, you know. People might look at it and say: 'Oh, I don't think we'll go there because it's full of, errr... paedophiles and... and... and abductors, and.. no, let's go to Greece or somewhere instead'. We don't know that.
JVS : So, from what you heard of Sarah, and the comments that she made, as someone who has been, as you describe, she's a typical Praia da Luz holidaymaker - she comes there every single year, for thirty years, three times a year - and she really is... she's had enough of it. She says the time has come for Kate and Gerry McCann to accept what has happened and to move on and to stop affecting Praia da Luz in this way. Do you... do you agree with her?
NT : I do, I do agree with that, actually, you know. Errm... Every year we have this anniversary now. Errr... The McCanns don't come to the anniversary - we have to put up with it all. Errr... So, it is. It's disturbing.
JVS : What do you say, 'have to'... why do you say you 'have to put up with it all'? What do you mean?
NT : Well, the press in the streets and photographing and walking round interviewing, errr... errr... and... and... lord knows what's going to happen when they start digging the place up. I hesitate to think.
JVS : Nancy, thank you so much. That's Nancy Thompson who runs The Bull pub in Praia da Luz.
Tony is in Stevenage. Good morning to you, Tony. What do you think of Sarah's comments? Do you think she's being unfair to the McCanns or do you agree with her?
T : I agree with her. I've been round the world three times with my family and they never left my sight. We went out for a meal - we went out as a family. They [the McCanns] went out with a family meal but they left them in a room and walked off. Another couple in Stevenage who did that and they've had their children taken into care. Social Services took the children away from the, errr... the parents.
JVS : Isn't there though... aren't there... aren't there thousands of parents listening to this programme now, thousands of perhaps middle class parents, who have done exactly the same thing? You're on holiday, you're relaxed, you're lulled into a false sense of security. You think that, you know, it's okay that you're going back to check on the children on a regular basis. Isn't it a case of 'there but for the grace of God go I'?
T : Well, I wouldn't do it. Errm... In a foreign country you don't know what the rules and regulations are so if they all... if you go as a family, as a family holiday, you should go as a family - not go in the room, they go to sleep, and then you go to have fun or have a meal or whatever, then come back and find out one of them is missing.
JVS : If ultimately though...
T : It's totally wrong.
JVS : ...and I'm quite sure the McCanns, if they could... if they could wind back time, I'm sure they would never, ever have left their three children on their own in that room. I'm sure they would agree that, you know, in hindsight - and hindsight can be a wonderful thing - they wouldn't do it. However, does that mean that because they made a mistake, or may have made a mistake at the very beginning, does that mean that they shouldn't have the right to still keep trying to find answers, and keep trying to have those questions answered in Portugal?
T : Well, personally, I think they should have the rest of their children taken away and they are barred to go to that country now, because it's ruining the, errm..
.JVS : Well, that seems very strong. Many people would say that is a very cruel thing to say, Tony.
T : Well, that... that's my view. We went round the world three times and we never left our children, ever.
JVS : Okay. Thank you, very much indeed.
Or do you also agree with what Sarah said today, that ultimately you think every time you now see the latest news on the McCanns you are getting to the point where you think: 'It is time to move on, it is having an effect on too many people'?
Alan is in Potter's Bar.
JVS : Morning. What would you like to say, Alan?
JVS : This happened in Portugal and therefore when something happens in Portugal you have to accept that the Portuguese have the police that they have. Now, they may not be as good as our police but they were in Portugal on holiday.
A : Jonathan, just to finish a minute. There's... we now have... unfortunately, we're part of Europe - which I don't want to be part of - but we now have agreements with the Portuguese, errr... or with the European, errr... police forces. So, there is a... a link between the different groups. Plus, the fact... let's go back to beyond this, this sort of case. How about the Yorkshire, errr... bodies on the Yorkshire Moors - the children that were killed there by, errr... Lynn, errr... Myra Linley and, errr...
JVS : Myra Hindley, yeah.
JVS : But it's not... it's not really comparing like-for-like. Wouldn't a better example be that a Portuguese child with her...
A : Yes... [makes noises to interrupt]
A : No, I think the British... I think the British police and people would still be, errr... keen to find that child. Anybody would. Any child that goes missing, you know, you only have to look at different things going on around the world where these girls have been kidnapped. Anybody that's been taken, more importantly a child, you don't give up until you really know that something's either happened to that child; she's either died or has been kidnapped and you can find her. You don't give up, and it doesn't matter where the police are... where you are in the world, you hope that your police, or the country you've come from, would do a good job. But I think we're fairly fortunate to have a good police force.
JVS : We are. Alan, thank you very much.
Errr... Carol in Bedford says : 'I kind of half agree with Sarah. This is all happening eight years too late and another six months wouldn't have made any difference. Yes, do the dig, but not in high season.'
Sharon says : 'Jonathan, I completely agree with Sarah.'
Tracey, however, says : 'They made a grave mistake that night and they've paid a very high price. A guilt-ridden price for what they have to live with. I feel very sorry for them and I would not give up ever.'
Mark says : 'Every parent makes mistakes bringing their children up. I personally wouldn't leave my kids as the McCanns did but plenty of other people have and do. The vast majority suffer no consequences but the McCanns suffered the worst possible outcome and I can only feel empathy towards them. What I am sure about is that if a similar tragedy happened to me, I would search to the end of the earth for my child and use every avenue available. I'm also sure opinions like Sarah's wouldn't, and don't, make a jot of difference.'
Anne says : 'Oh, for God's sake! I can't believe this woman. How senseless. Regardless of how it happened, Kate and Gerry McCann have lost their daughter. They've lost a piece of their lives. Does she have no sympathy at all? Does she not have a caring heart? Has she nothing better to moan about? If anything ever happened to my son, I would search and search until my last breath. I'm utterly disgusted with this woman, JVS, and you shouldn't even bother to give her airtime. A waste of time. She can go on holiday somewhere else if she doesn't like it, but someone has done something and I hope to God they are found. Wouldn't it be a miracle if little Madeleine was found safe and sound,' says Anne. Thank you.
JVS : Morning. What would you like to say, Emma?
ET : I'm absolutely, errm... so angry with Sarah. I mean, I haven't got children but if anything happened, or if I know somebody, I would make sure that that would be on my mind all the time and I would really wanted to search for my child.
JVS : Even eight years later? When for eight years there have been investigations that have all unfortunately not been fruitful?
JVS : Even though... even though it's still eight years, it's still their child. It doesn't matter of how the circumstances was where the children were left. At the end of the day, errm... they should have the right to be able to find their daughter.
JVS : But why now? That was the other main point that Sarah was making. Why, at the beginning of the holiday season, in a country that is still terribly damaged by the economic recession, why go to a holiday resort and start digging up that holiday resort? Just when all the holidaymakers are starting to arrive.
JVS : If the Portugal police actually, errm... did their job properly because there were things that actually they missed out and that. And also like the potholes and that, that they're saying there was a pothole - why didn't they search for the pothole first? But they were in Portugal; they weren't in England.
NT : Yes, but the Portubal [sic] police should have done more to help Madeleine, to actually find her and I don't think they did. And that's why the British police have actually looked at these areas that prob... possibly the Portubal [sic] police haven't done.
JVS : Okay, Emma. Thank you, very much for making your point.
Do you think Sarah is being unfair to the McCanns? Or is there body... anybody else who thinks: 'Yes, absolutely. Sarah has simply said what I've been thinking all these years'. -
JVS : Yes, and this morning, on the Big Phone-in, I'm asking: 'Do you think Sarah is being unfair to the McCanns?'
Sarah, from Hertfordshire, has been going to Praia da Luz in Portugal three times a year, for thirty years, and she says it's time for Kate and Gerry McCann to stop ruining everyone else's lives by continuing to search for their missing daughter.
Maureen is in Stevenage. Good morning to you, Maureen.
JVS : [interrupting] But to be fair to her, she said this is not just about the fact that she's going on holiday there. She's... because she goes on holiday there, she knows the resort, she knows the people very well and it is for the people that... that live and work in Praia da Luz that she thinks this has gone on too long now.
JVS : Yes, she is a mother.
JVS : Why start digging up a holiday resort at the beginning of May?
JVS : Why didn't they say: 'Well, we are going to dig up Praia da Luz but we recognise that this is a holiday resort, where obviously thousands of people live and work, and for whom their livelihood is dependant on the tourism industry. So, for those people, an extra six months will not make much difference in the grand scheme of things to the McCanns, but to those people who live there it will make a big difference. So, we will wait until the end of the holiday season before we start digging up'?
VS : But isn't it easy for you to say that because you don't live there and you're not affected by... by the constant media glare.
JVS : How can you say that?
JVS : How can you... if you... if you were running a restaurant or a bar and you have waited for months now for the summer season to start - for you to start making money in order to pay your bills and to keep your business going, and suddenly, at the beginning of May, the diggers arrive and they're digging up massive sections of the resort where you are... are trying to run your business. How can you say, sitting in Stevenage, that it really wouldn't bother you.
JVS : Maureen, thank you very much.
Margaret : Oh, hello. I do agree with a lot of Sarah, what she said, but I have a different view as well. I do feel that the McCanns... it's all been about their feelings - what they want to do - and their children come second to that. They have two other children. What effect is all this having on their two other children? They are doing this because they feel so guilty. They have always put theirselves first - what they want - from leaving the children in that apartment. What if there had been a fire? Honestly, I think they should start thinking about what effect this is all having on their other two children.
JVS : But are you suggesting, in a round about way, that it's time for them to move on?
VS : Well, I'm sure that they hope that she's still alive, Margaret.
Marg. : No, I would not. I would not because when you read in the paper what these paedophile rings are like, you're better...
JVS : [interrupting] But we have no idea what happened to her and that's the whole point. They want answers.
Marg. : It's so frightening and scary but I do think they should be paying more attention to the two children they have got. What effect is this having on them? Because all they're doing is massaging their own guilt feelings. That is just my view. I think they should be putting all their energy into their two children that they've got now.
JVS : Margaret, thank you very much for your call. I'm sure that everyone hopes that Madeleine is still alive and that the police do eventually do find her safe and well. And it's interesting, so many people texting and contacting me on Facebook and on the programme. Sarah seems to have caused an awful lot of debate. Ahh, you can keep your calls coming through, and your texts, and your emails as always. I'll be very interested to hear your thoughts.
Have you seen the video of the cat saving the toddler from a dog attack? Oh, my word... [continues into news bulletin]