Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Maddie Mccann case: Press review MAY 2007

May 2007 Press review on Maddie's case where Innocence en danger is quoted
May 11
Portugal: let's all make it worse
Mick Hume: Notebook
When did child abduction become a spectator sport? Who benefits from seeing daily pictures of Madeleine McCann's distraught mother clutching her missing child's toy? And why are many experts and authorities preying on our fears to promote their own agenda?
We have witnessed two different operations around the abduction of the three-year-old girl from an Algarve holiday apartment. There has been the secretive Portuguese investigation, apparently marred by infighting between police organisations. And then there has been the public "who's to blame?" inquiry, where campaigners and pundits vie to use the case as a vehicle for point-scoring and finger-pointing.
Some crusaders blame the Portuguese for not sharing Britain's heightened state of paedophile-phobia. Others question why the British parents dared to leave their children asleep in a locked apartment while having dinner. There are demands for a crackdown on British sex offenders travelling abroad, and global action against international paedophile rings.
It seems as if everybody wants a piece of the action in Portugal. The UK government-backed Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre packed a psychologist and a behavioural analyst off to the Algarve. The Sun newspaper asks us all to "sign our petition to protect UK's kids from paedos", which turns out to be a call for more funding for the flying abuse experts of the CEOP. Meanwhile, a Swiss campaigner suggests that this would not have happened if the Portuguese authorities had only agreed to help to set up her "Innocence in Danger" campaign in Lisbon: "The fact that the girl was kidnapped from her bed shows how bad things are."
The message from all sides is that this unique crime somehow shows innocence is in danger everywhere, and only the army of child protection experts can save it. The effect is to spread anxiety in a way that seems detached from the actual case. What difference, for example, could a British-style sex offenders register make to the unprecedented abduction of a child from a Portuguese holiday camp? Some of those criticising Portugual's laws, which preclude giving the UK media details of the investigation, seem more concerned to turn the McCann family's tragedy into a British public spectacle, an emotional national experience. Everybody from Premiership footballers to a Downing Street spokesman has got involved this week. Such displays might make some feel better over here, but can make little difference to the case over there.
The self-promoting child protection industry's eagerness to seize upon the McCann abduction can only reinforce fears that our children are not safe anywhere from the internet to the Algarve. We are told that this is "every parent's nightmare". But who is helping to give parents those nightmares, warning us "it could be you"? All agree that nothing is more terrible than child abduction. So why make its impact even worse?
May 10
  • The Times
Madeleine 'abducted to order by an international child sex gang'
Thomas Catán and Stewart Tendler
Portuguese police are now working on the assumption that Madeleine McCann was abducted "to order" by an international paedophile network.
Detectives have discarded a range of other possibilities, including the theory that the 3-year-old British girl could have walked out of her Algarve hotel room by herself or was kidnapped for adoption, Portuguese newspapers have reported.
"Everything points to a kidnapping," a person close to the week-old investigation told Correio da Manhã, adding that police were now exclusively investigating the possibility that she had been captured by a child abuse network. Police sources quoted anonymously by several other local newspapers said much the same.
British officers specialising in child abduction cases have flown to the Algarve. One of them, Detective Superintendent Graham Hill, is a veteran of missing child investigations and was one of the senior detectives in the hunt for 13-year-old Milly Dowler, whose body was found in September 2002 in countryside in Hampshire. No one has ever been charged with the murder.
Mr Hill, who has been working for the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, was also a senior investigator in the hunt for Antoni Imiela, the serial rapist jailed in 2004 for attacks including five in Surrey. British detectives have also handed their Portuguese counterparts a list of people on Britain's sex offenders register who have travelled recently to the country.
It would not be the first time that a child taken from Portugal has ended up in the grip of a paedophile ring. In 1998 an 11-year-old boy called Rui Pedro Mendonça vanished while walking home from school in the northern Portuguese town Lousada. Three years later, horrific images of Rui Pedro being sexually abused were uncovered during an international police operation that cracked a global paedophile network. More than 200 paedophiles in 13 countries had exchanged more than 750,000 images of children through a private internet club called Wonderland.
Analysis showed that 1,236 children had been subjected to abuse that officers described as "unimaginable". Officers described weeping as they catalogued the pictures and being haunted for years afterwards.
The Portuguese boy's mother, Filomena Teixera, flew to Switzerland to view the pictures and was apparently able to identify her son. But he has never been found. Investigators fear that he may have been murdered to cover up the abuse.
"When I saw the news about the disappearance of the English girl, I was terrified," Ms Teixera told the 24 Horas newspaper. "I immediately thought of my son, even though the cases are different. And I thought of Madeleine's parents, the anguish they are suffering."
Ms Teixera said that she has had psychiatric treatment for eight hours a day for the past four years, since her father died. She still refuses to believe that her son, who would now be 20, could have died.
"When I stop believing he is alive, I lose all my strength," she said. "My brain doesn't allow me to think he is dead."
Child protection campaigners have alleged that a culture of corruption and complacency in Portugal is allowing such kidnappings to continue unabated. The founder of the Switzerland-based group Innocents in Danger has said that she had tried to set up an office in Portugal but gave up because of the reluctance of the authorities. Homayra Sellier said after Madeleine's disappearance last week that Portugal was a country in which "the corruption has gone so high that there's nothing we can do".
"The fact that the girl [Madeleine] was kidnapped from her bed shows how bad things are."
  • PESQUISA TSF: Luis Villas-Boas acusa pais de negligencia
O psicilogo Luis Villas-Boas acusou de negligencia os pais da menina inglesa desaparecida quinta-feira perto de Lagos e afirmou que o possivel raptor deve ser inglès.
Entretanto, a presidente da associao "Inocencia em Perigo" mostrou-se preocupada com o desfecho deste caso.
O psicilogo Luis Villas-Boas acusou, esta segunda-feira, de irresponsabilidade e negligencia os pais da menina inglesa desaparecida quinta-feira de um complexo turistico da Praia da Luz, perto de Lagos, apesar de compreender a angustia dos pais.
O rapto ocorreu devido ser a distraçao, pouco cuidado ou se calhar excesso de confiança è dos pais, jà que deixar 2 dois bebès gèmeos e uma menina de quatro anos sozinhas em casa nao è propriamente o padrao recomendado aqui ou em qualquer parte do mundo mais do que um minuto, disse o director do Ref�gio Aboim Ascensçao.
Luis Villas-Boas, tambem membro da sociedade nacional britanica para a prevençao da crueldade de crianças, afirmou ainda acreditar que o possivel raptor da menina inglesa nao è portugues, mas sim de nacionalidade brit�nica.
Este tipo de atitude nao portuguesa, atè porque entao temos historia de raptos nem de situaçaoes desta violencia, sendo que os maus-tratos e a negligencia em Portugal reduzem-se normalmente aos familiares.

Para mostrar que este tipo de crimes nao normalmente cometido por portugueses, o psicologo lembrou que, no inicio dos anos 90 em Albufeira, outra menina inglesa foi raptada por um amigo da familia de nacionalidade britanica, que a violou e a estrangulou atè a morte.
O director do Refugio Aboim Ascençao preferiu estas declaraçaoes tambem imprensa inglesa, que o convidaram a comentar o rapto.
Entretanto, a presidente da Inocencia em Perigo, uma organizaçao nao-governamental que nasceu sob o auspicio da UNESCO acompanhando o fenomeno da pedofilia e do trafico de crianças, disse TSF que nao estao optimista quanto ao desfecho deste caso.
Nao gostaria que os pais me ouvissem dizer que nao estou optimista, mas de facto nao estou. No entanto, nao quero que os pais percam a esperança e penso desejo e rezo para estar errada e que encontrem a Madeleine salva, disse Homayra Sellier.
A responsavel da organizaçao "Inocencia em Perigo" desejou ainda "boa sorte"
As autoridades portuguesas e encorajou as pessoas que podem ajudar a investigaçao a falar, sem medo.
Homayra Sellier alertou que para as investigaçaoes terem sucesso muito importante o trabalho conjunto das varias autoridades policiais e de investigadores europeus.

Quero ter esperança no trabalho e na ajuda conjunta de todos os paises no espaço Schengen na investigaçao deste caso, por isso espero que esteja a existir uma colaboraçao da EUROPOL, que tem desenvolvido um bom trabalho, com a INTERPOL e a policia portuguesa, para que o cruzamento de dados possa ser feito rapidamente, disse.
Luis Villas-Boas acusa pais de negligencia O psicologo Luis Villas-Boas acusou de negligencia os pais da menina inglesa desaparecida quinta-feira perto de Lagos e afirmou que o possivel raptor deve ser ingles. Entretanto, a presidente da associado Inocencia em Perigo mostrou-se preocupada com o desfecho deste caso.

May 7
  • The Guardian
Missing girl: mother asks for prayers
Steven Morris and Dale Fuchs in Praia da Luz, Portugal
The international child protection group Innocence in Danger claimed that corruption and indifference among the Portuguese authorities hampers the country's investigation of paedophiles and child traffickers. Homayra Sellier, founder of the group, said she had tried to set up an office in Portugal but gave up because of pressure from the authorities. "I stopped it because I thought I couldn't fight against a country where the people do not want to know the truth," she said.
Balding man seen dragging blonde girl towards marina
David Brown in Praia da Luz
Portuguese police investigating the abduction of Madeleine McCann are hunting for a balding man who is believed to have been seen dragging a girl to a marina in a town close to where she disappeared.
Detectives have not identified the man but have said that he is a suspect in the kidnapping of Madeleine from a holiday apartment on the Algarve on Thursday night.
Detectives have found evidence showing that the British girl was abducted, but have few clues as to who took her or where she is being held.
A police artist's impression of a balding man who was seen with a blonde girl similar to Madeleine shows just the back of his head. He is described as being white, 5ft 11in and is understood to have been wearing white trousers.
The man is believed to have been seen dragging the girl on a road leading to a marina in the town of Lagos, about 5 miles (8km) from Praia da Luz. Another witness is reported to have seen a girl struggling in the back of a car on a road leading from Praia da Luz.
However, it emerged yesterday that the border crossing into Spain, about 90 minutes' drive away, had not been informed of Madeleine's disappearance for at least ten hours.

The girl's relatives in Britain have complained that the Portuguese police have been uncommunicative and said that they had "played down" the kidnapping. However, Mr and Mrs McCann thanked the police on Saturday night. Mr McCann said: "We would like to thank everyone here in Portugal, the UK and elsewhere for all your support."

The founder of an international child protection group claimed yesterday that corruption and indifference among the Portuguese authorities hampered the country's investigation of paedophiles and child traffickers. Homayra Sellier, of Innocence in Danger, which was launched in 1999 on Unesco's initiative, speculated that Madeleine was taken either by an individual with mental health problems or by an organised child-trafficking gang.
"These people are criminals – somebody who did what they did with Madeleine is beyond being a paedophile," she said.

7 May
  • The Independant<wbr></wbr>/article2519036.ece
Portugal prays for missing toddler as police investigation comes under attack
By Andy McSmith
Portugese worshippers in the holiday village of Praia da Luz rallied yesterday in an emotional show of support for the English couple whose infant daughter is missing.
Prayers were held for three-year-old Madeleine McCann during a Mother's Day service in the local church, with her parents Kate and Gerry McCann, who are Roman Catholics, in the congregation.
But there were recriminations in the Portugese media over the police's handling of the investigation in the first few hours after Madeleine's disappearance.
The Portugese daily Diario de Noticias claimed that border police were not told that a child had been kidnapped until about midday on Friday, more than 12 hours after Madeleine was reported missing.
As a member of the EU, Portugal has no border controls with Spain, and motorists can cross from one country to the other unchecked. The newspaper claimed that proper procedure would have been for Portugal's Judicial Police - the local equivalent of CID - to have tipped off the Borders and Aliens Service as soon as they knew that a child had been kidnapped.
Another paper, Correio de Manha, said the main border crossing from the Portuguese Algarve to Spain had no special controls in place until Saturday afternoon.
But the Portugese police believe that Madeleine is being held close to where she was kidnapped, and that she is alive. About 150 officers were continuing the search for her yesterday.
In the village church, the priest, Father Jose Manuel Pachedo, announced in English that there would be a prayer for Madeleine, and her family. Mrs McCann, who was in tears, was presented with a bunch of roses, marking Mother's Day, by an altar girl.
At the end of the service, attended by the British ambasador to Portugal, John Buck, a line of elderly women approached the McCanns to hug and kiss them. The couple were soon surrounded by a crowd of 30 well-wishers, many in tears.
In the UK, the distraught parents were criticised in internet chat rooms for allowing their children to be out of their sight. They were having dinner in a tapas bar 50 yards away when Madeleine disappeared, but were going back every half hour to check the apartment where their three children were sleeping.
Somebloggers taking part in discussions threads on the internet since the news broke have claimed that as well-paid professionals the couple should have known better than to leave the children unsupervised. Mr McCann is a consultant cardiologist at Glenfield Hospital, Leicester, where his wife is a GP.
They were vigorously defended yesterday by the head of the company that runs the resort where Madeleine was abducted. David Hopkins, managing director of Mark Warner, told BBC Radio 4's The World This Weekend: "The McCanns have done nothing that I'm sure many parents wouldn't have done in the same instance, which is whilst keeping a very close eye on their children who are not far away, go out and enjoy a meal on a holiday in a very safe environment."
Madeleine, from Rothley, Leicestershire, who will be four on Saturday, was snatched from her bed in a ground floor apartment. She was sharing a room with her two-year-old twin brother and sister. Her father checked the room at 9.30pm, and saw all three children asleep. When their mother checked half an hour later, the older girl was missing, and a window had been forced
Police said that witnesses saw a man with a girl who may have been Madeleine, and that they have an artists' impression of a suspect.
Portugese authorities were accused by an international child protection group yesterday of allowing high level corruption to impede investigations of paedophiles and child traffickers. Homayra Sellier, who founded Innocence in Danger, under Unesco auspices, in 1999, said that in Portugal "the corruption has gone so high that there's nothing we can do".
She said that her group, based in Switzerland, had tried to set up an office in Portugal between 2002 and 2004. "I stopped it because I thought I couldn't fight against a country where the people do not want to know the truth," she added.
Mothers' Day in Portugal, and a family pleads: Pray for our missing Madeleine
THE parents of a three-year-old British girl abducted from a holiday beach resort in Portugal spoke yesterday of their hope that their missing daughter would be found safe.
Gerry and Kate McCann talked publicly after they attended a Portuguese church, to join prayers being said across the country for the safe return of Madeleine.
The couple took part in a Mothers' Day service in the Praia da Luz holiday resort in the Algarve where their daughter disappeared from their villa apartment on Thursday night.
Mr McCann, 38, said of the Catholic mass: "From today's service, the thing we are going to take from this is strength and courage and hope. We continue to hope for the best possible outcome from this for us and for Madeleine."
A tearful Mrs McCann, 38, clutching Madeleine's favourite pink teddy bear, which she has carried with her since her child's disappearance, said: "Gerry and I would just like to express our sincere gratitude and thanks to everybody, but particularly the local community here, who have offered so much support. We couldn't have asked for more. I just wanted to say thank you. Please continue to pray for Madeleine."
Mr McCann, a cardiologist, originally from Glasgow, and his wife, also a doctor, were dining in a tapas bar 50 yards away with friends, taking turns to check every half hour on Madeleine and her younger brother and sister, twins Sean and Amelia.
Madeleine was taken from the ground-floor apartment at the Mark Warner Ocean Club holiday village between 9:30pm and 10pm. Mrs McCann found that the outside shutter and window to Madeleine's room had been opened and her daughter was missing shortly before 10pm local time.
Detectives searching for Madeleine have said they are convinced the child is still alive, that they know the "prime suspect" and that she is being held close to the resort. Police also said they had an artist's impression of the suspect, which they were not releasing for fear of endangering Madeleine's life.
In the first official briefing on the case on Saturday, Guilhermino Encarnacão, director of the judicial police in the Faro region, said officers were working on the assumption Madeleine was being held between two to three miles from the resort. He said police had taken about 30 calls from potential witnesses and had created an artist's impression of a suspect. Some witnesses reported a black saloon car spotted at a supermarket 50 yards from the holiday village.
However, police sniffer dogs lost Madeleine's scent at the supermarket and CCTV cameras did not pick up images of her or her abductor.
There are fears that Madeleine may have been targeted by a paedophile. Police say the artist's impression has not been released in case the man panics and endangers the child.
Paul Luckman, owner and publisher of the Portugal News, aimed at English-speaking expats and holidaymakers, said of the detectives leading the hunt: "They have a level of local information you would probably describe as extraordinary. So when they say this, I think it is highly likely they have very, very firm information. They don't want to get it wrong in front of the world's press."
Yesterday, an intensive search was under way, involving hundreds of police officers and volunteers searching the holiday village and surrounding countryside. Officers on horseback were sent to search vast areas of shrubland surrounding the estate.
On Thursday night, the McCanns, from Rothley, Leicestershire, had immediately insisted their daughter had been abducted because there was evidence of a forced entry into the bedroom where she had been sleeping. The couple had told relatives they feared they were being watched in the hours leading up to the kidnapping.
Portuguese police initially treated her disappearance as a missing- person case, but on Saturday they confirmed they believed Madeleine had been kidnapped.
Last night, the founder of the Switzerland-based group Innocence in Danger - launched in 1999 by UNESCO to counter child abuse and trafficking - criticised Portugal's record on bringing child abusers to justice. Homayra Sellier said: "The fact that the girl was kidnapped from her bed shows how bad things are."
Portuguese newspapers reported yesterday that there had been poor co-ordination between police forces and the Foreigners and Frontiers Service, which is charged with controlling the country's borders.
However, police said on Saturday they believed Madeleine was still in Portugal. All airports, in Portugal and Spain, had been alerted and borders were under surveillance, they said. British police officers have also travelled to the Algarve to help.
Mr McCann's sister Philomena criticised the Portuguese police for initially "playing down" their response to the disappearance.
Speaking from her home in Glasgow, she said: "He [Mr McCann] thinks it's just too little, too late.
"It was hours before the local police turned up and we're talking two bobbies who totally downplayed the incident, and said Maddie had maybe just wandered off."

7 May
  • THE IRISH EXAMINER<wbr></wbr>/irishexaminer/pages/story<wbr></wbr>.aspx-qqqg=world-qqqm=world<wbr></wbr>-qqqa=world-qqqid=32135-qqqx=1<wbr></wbr>.asp
Distraught parents pray for return of daughter
By Catherine Shanahan and Sam Marsden
WHAT Kate McCann wanted most for Mother's Day was the safe return of her child.
During an emotional service yesterday as Portugal marked the holiday, the 39-year-old mother-of-three knelt and wept for Madeleine, who is missing since last Thursday.
In a tiny 16th-century church in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz, Kate and Gerry McCann were joined by family members, including Madeleine's Irish grandmother Ellen McCann, who is originally from Burtonport, Co Donegal. Prayers were offered for the little girl whom police believe was abducted.
During the service, Kate was presented with a bunch of five roses by 14-year-old altar girl Emily Seromenho, whose mother is English.
Father Jose Manuel Pacheco spoke briefly in English, saying: "We are here like all Sundays and today we have a very big intention, we want to be with this family, the family of Madeleine.

"We are with you, the parish is with you."
Mrs McCann, a GP in Leicester, carried a small pink, stuffed kitten which she has carried every time she has been seen in public since Madeleine's disappearance. As the service began she knelt silently holding the soft toy, kissing its head repeatedly.
Madeleine went missing from her family's rented holiday apartment in the Algarve village of Praia Da Luz on Thursday night while her parents were eating dinner less than a minute's walk away.
The couple had been making regular trips back to the apartment from a tapas restaurant opposite to check on Madeleine and their twins Sean and Amelie.

Initial reports suggested there had been a break-in but the resort administrators have claimed the parents left the French windows unlocked for access when checking their children.
Yesterday, a spokesperson for Mark Warner, the tour operator who runs the resort, said the family had spent a quiet day together.
Alex Woolsall said: "They went to church and today they are having a quiet time with the twins and the three family liaison officers who flew over from the UK."
He said many of the 90 families staying at the Mark Warner resort had joined in the search.
He said only one family had asked to be flown home since the abduction, but the tour operators were happy to accommodate anyone who wished to change travel plans.
He said the McCanns would remain at Praia da Luz indefinitely, until they received news of their daughter.
When asked if security had been stepped up at the resort since Madeleine's disappearance, Mr Woolsall said it was not the usual type of compound-like holiday-resort, "with CCTV and a big wall" but was more like a "Cornish fishing village" where people could rent villages and apartments.
He said there was a huge police presence, however, since the abduction.
Mr Woolsall said the company had flown out two specially-trained counsellors following the abduction, as well as their British director of operations and the managing director.
"And the Mark Warner incident team is looking after staff and family," he said.
He said the police had released no new information.
Detectives in the Algarve confirmed they are investigating if Madeleine was abducted for sexual abuse.
Officers have a prime suspect but are not releasing any details for fear of endangering her life.

Meanwhile, the founder of the Switzerland-based group Innocence in Danger yesterday criticised Portugal's record on bringing child abusers to justice;
Homayra Sellier categorised it as a country where "the corruption has gone so high that there's nothing we can do".
She said: "The fact that the girl (Madeleine) was kidnapped from her bed shows how bad things are."

Gerry McCann, a consultant cardiologist, appealed over the weekend for help. A colleague of Madeleine's mother has
offered a £100,000 (€147,000) reward.