Saturday, January 7, 2012

Madeleine McCann: The role of Michael Wright

Madeleine McCann: The role of Michael Wright
This article looks at the role of Michael Wright, married to a cousin of Dr Kate McCann, following the ‘disappearance’ of Madeleine McCann.


Michael Wright did not make a formal statement to the Portuguese police until 16th April 2008, nearly a year after Madeleine ‘disappeared’.

Michael Terence Wright, born 8 May 1963, therefore now aged 45, is married to Anne-Marie, who is a cousin of Dr Kate McCann. It is understood that he was military-trained and his occupation is believed to be that of a partner in an I.T. company. He’s also said to be an amateur car enthusiast, particularly
keen on taking cars apart and putting them back together. They have two children, Katie and Patrick, aged 11 and 13.

According to his statement to Portuguese police, he had known Anne-Marie since he was 8 years old when, she and Dr Kate McCann used to holiday on Isle of Man, which is where Michael Wright lived. He had known Dr Gerry McCann since 1997, when he started going out with Kate.

Michael Wright and his wife and the McCanns used to meet up from time to time, mostly at family events, once in 2006 and once in February 2007. Their families were close and stayed together in each others’ houses. Michael Wright and his wife had apparently been planning a holiday in the U.K. for June 2007.

The first visit to Praia da Luz

He states in his statement to the Portuguese police that he received a ’phone call from his wife Anne-Marie’s mother around 11.00am on Thursday 3rd May, the date that Madeleine ‘disappeared’. That call from his wife’s mother, he said, informed him that ‘Madeleine had been taken from her bed’. That confirms that the McCanns were ’phoning round the relatives very early indeed, firmly implanting in them, even within the first hour after Madeleine was reported ‘missing’, the idea that Madeleine had been abducted.

He then says he spoke to Dr Kate McCann the following morning (4th May) between 10.00am and 11.00am in order to ‘arrange getting Dr Kate McCanns’ parents to Portugal’. Dr Kate McCann was apparently saying that she wanted her mother or both of her parents to join her in Praia da Luz.

Michael Wright (though incorrectly referred to in the report as Michael Healy), was quoted in one newspaper on 4th May as follows:

“Madeleine's uncle, Michael Wright, speaking from her grandparents' home in Liverpool, said: “They are all in a hell of a state. Everyone has been up all night. I spoke to Gerry and he wants as much publicity as possible if it helps”.

We know however that during the very early hours of 4th May, Michael Wright had already taken Aunt Nora to Liverpool (she had been staying with him at Skipton), and that Mrs Susan Healy (Dr Kate McCann’s mother) and Nora were already en route to Faro. In fact they had probably arrived there by mid or late morning on 4th May. If Michael Wright spoke to Dr Kate McCann at all at that time (around 10am to 11am on 4th May), it must surely have been simply to tell her that Nora and her mother they were on their way, or even to ask if they had arrived, rather than to ‘arrange getting Dr Kate McCanns’ parents to Portugal’.

Looking at the ’phone records of Dr Gerry and Kate McCann that the Portuguese police have now disclosed, and taking into account the evidence of Dr Kate McCann’s mother, Mrs Susan Healy, it seems that Dr Gerry McCann was the first to make contact with her, in the now-famous ’phone call when he screamed hysterically down the ’phone: ‘There’s been a disaster, there’s been a disaster”. The bemused Susan Healy thought there had been some kind of serious car accident. It looks as though Dr Kate McCann made her telephone call to her mother at around 00.45am on the morning of the 4th. No doubt the pair of them would then have discussed arrangements as to who was to come over to Portugal. And without doubt, the urgent necessity for Michael Wright to come over was discussed. As we shall see, though Dr Gerry McCann mentions his other relatives in his blog, he is curiously silent about the role of Michael Wright, though he was to play a major role over in Praia da Luz between May and September 2007.

So, we have learned that on Friday 4th May, between 10.00 and 11.00am, Michael Wright spoke to Dr Kate McCann, who told him that she wanted her parents to come to Portugal. By then, it appeared that he was already in Liverpool. He went to Portugal on 5th May and stayed to 11th May, staying close by the McCanns in their new Ocean Club apartment (they had had to move from Apartment 5A). Clearly, Michael Wright was important and Dr Gerry McCann wanted him right there by his side - immediately. Throughout - for example when apparently going on a mission to chaperon Kate back to England for the christening/baptism of a friend, he seems to have acted as a ‘trusted lieutenant’.

By this time, Dr Gerry and Dr Kate McCann were then accommodated in the new ‘replacement’ apartment on first floor of ‘Building Four’ - believed to be Apartment 5D, which had been the Paynes’ apartment. Michael Wright is believed to have stayed on the floor above the McCanns. Later, it seems that the McCanns were moved by Mark Warners to another apartment in the Ocean Club complex - plus they were given an entirely separate apartment by Mark Warners so that they could run an office from which to operate their campaign to ‘find Madeleine’.

Soon after Michael Wright went to Portugal, his eldest daughter appeared on the Beebo website, writing about going to babysit her half-sister and brother as her Dad had gone to Portugal. If this was a true posting, it seems that Michael Wright may have three children, not just the two that were christened/baptised in July - see below.

The pizza girl

During this time, on 6th May, Michael Wright says he met a girl from Liverpool. He says he bought a large quantity of pizzas from a ‘pizza shack’ on the beach of Praia da Luz; the girl serving the pizzas was from Liverpool. She apparently told him that her father, known as ‘George B’, had seen a man carrying child during the very early hours of 4th May in the resort, the day after Madeleine ‘went missing’. Michael Wright apparently didn’t know if ‘George’ had been spoken to by authorities.

This possible ‘sighting’ of Madeleine was for some reason never mentioned by the McCanns, although they many times referred to the ever-changing and unreliable claimed sighting by Jane Tanner, and to another, at around 10.00pm on the evening of 3rd May, by a man from Ireland, Martin Smith.

A number of questions have been raised about this ‘sighting’ of ‘George B’. For example, did ‘George B’ report this ‘sighting’ to the Portuguese police? If so, it should of course be in the police files. If it wasn’t reported, why not? As Michael Wright was advised by the girl of this ‘sighting’, did he run and tell the McCanns? - and did the McCanns then contact the police?

Let us look at this another way. Suppose you're out there helping your close relations Kate and Gerry after the tragic abduction of their daughter. You go down to the beach on Sunday - just three days later - and go and get some pizzas. The girl there tells you that her father saw someone carrying a young girl on the night of 3rd/4th May. So - what do you do? You might, for example: (a) immediately ’phone Kate and Gerry to and tell them of the lead, or (b) contact the Portuguese police immediately, or (c) contact the UK Police immediately, or (d) ask the girl to make contact with the father so you can speak to him? But - no. Apparently Michael Wright does none of these things. He did nothing and apparently only mentions it to the police months later.

Who were Gerry McCann and Michael Wright texting on the beach on 7th May?

According to a Portuguese TV report still available to view at:, a press photographer captured pictures of Dr Gerry McCann on the beach at Praia da Luz, in the company of Michael Wright, texting on a mobile ’phone. The photograph was of potential importance because its date and time would identify a particular text message. It appears that the Portuguese police know who the message was sent to, having been able to check Dr McCann’s SMS text messages sent that day. It is thought that the photo was taken on 7th May, though the TV programme was not transmitted until 9th May.

The Telecinco TV programme ‘Esta Pasando’ was sent the images. At first sight, the photos appears normal. They show Dr Gerry McCann, apparently with Michael Wright, on the beach close to the church in Praia da Luz. Dr Gerry McCann is clearly texting on a mobile ’phone.

Michael Wright’s second visit to Praia da Luz: 14th May to 18th May

In his statement to the police, Michael Wright says that his second visit to Portugal was from 14th May to 18th May. He had spent just a couple of full days in England (Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th May). One slight mystery about this visit is whether or not his wife was with him. It appears that she wasn’t.

For on 17th May 2007, the ‘Craven Herald’ reported: “Mrs Wright's husband, Michael, then drove another relative to join Madeleine's grandparents in Liverpool and then went out to Portugal [on 14th May] to help with the search. He is still in the Algarve and is keeping his wife and children informed of developments in the investigation and how the McCann family are bearing up”.
[size=16]Earlier, on Monday 14th May, the Craven Herald had carried the following report:

“Two specialist trauma counsellors from Skipton have flown out to Portugal to help the devastated parents of missing four-year-old Madeleine McCann. Consultants Alan Pike and Martin Alderton from the Centre for Crisis Psychology (CCP), based at Broughton Hall, have been by the side of Gerry and Kate McCann since their daughter Madeleine was abducted…The two experts were appointed by Mark Warner, the company which manages the resort, to assist Mr and Mrs McCann, both 38, on how best to deal with the stress and trauma of their terrible ordeal…

“Mr Pike, who is leading the team, flew over to the resort with Mark Warner managing director, David Hopkins, the day after Madeleine disappeared. Mr Alderton, who has counselled those affected by major disasters across the country, arrived the following day. A spokesman for Mark Warner said: ‘The Centre for Crisis Psychology (CCP) came highly recommended by industry partners and have been known to us for some time. Their experience in dealing with a variety of incidents is second to none’.

“Staff from the Skipton centre also visited Mark Warner's head office in London to offer counselling to employees last Wednesday. A spokesman for the Skipton centre said: ‘We are working with Mark Warner and cannot discuss any information because of commercial confidentiality. We have got two trauma consultants working on the incident. Everyone all over the country has been gripped, it is a very difficult case’. Mr Pike's experience in trauma work includes domestic violence and abuse, child abuse, emergency planning and assessment, and adoption. Since joining CCP in 2004, he has been involved in consulting with companies following road traffic accidents, personal attacks, terrorist bombings, shootings, robberies, drowning and staff bereavement. Mr Alderton provided clinical support following the 2003 Manchester motorway minibus crash in which seven people died”.

That was a very heavy degree of involvement from this Skipton-based group from a very early stage. On 4th May, both Mark Warner’s managing director, David Hopkins, and Alan Pike, flew out to Praia da Luz. An unspecified number of Mark Warners’ staff were ‘counselled’ at Mark Warners HQ. Already, it was clear that this was no ordinary case. The ‘Craven Herald’ added for good measure: “The focus has shifted from a local search for Madeleine to an international child abduction inquiry, amid suggestions she may have been taken out of Portugal”.

From this report we may deduce that, already, Skipton was very close to the nerve centre of the operation to support the McCanns. The company CCP appears to have been deployed in the past by Richard Branson, who of course has strongly and financially back the McCanns, and who also is or was the President of the ‘UK Citizens Arrested Abroad Committee.

It would be surprising indeed if there was not a close connection already between Michael Wright and the Directors of this hugely influential crisis management company, CCP, based, like the Wrights, in Skipton.

On Friday 18th May, the ‘Craven Herald’ reported: “THE distraught Skipton relations of abducted four-year-old Madeleine McCann have urged everyone, especially holidaymakers, to do everything in their power to help bring her home…Mrs Wright said the little girl's abduction had rocked the whole family.

She said she had last seen Madeleine in February when she, her Mum Kate, Dad Gerry and two-year-old twin siblings, Amelie and Sean, came to stay in Skipton from their home in Leicestershire. Mrs Wright said: "We had a lovely time with them, and the children all get on particularly well. Our children, Katie and Patrick, love Madeleine, Sean and Amelie. We went to Aireville Park, went swimming, went to Hesketh Farm Park, and walked along the canal towpath to look at the Rosie and Jim barge. Madeleine is a big Rosie and Jim fan”. The Wright family first heard of Madeleine's disappearance in the early hours of Friday May 4, when Mrs Wright's Mum, Sheila Cowell, called with the news. Mrs Wright's husband, Michael, then drove another relative [Aunt Nora] to join Madeleine's grandparents in Liverpool and then went out to Portugal to help with the search. Mr Wright is still in the Algarve and is keeping his wife and children informed of developments in the investigation and how Mr and Mrs McCann are coping. Mrs Wright said: ‘It's all been very emotional and upsetting. Some days he said they are really focused and coping and getting things done and other days they are devastated’.

“Mrs Wright said the family was trying to spread the word about Madeleine's abduction as far and wide as possible and urged people to go to the website to print off posters. She said: ‘It would be particularly useful to expand the reach of the publicity to other countries in Europe and North Africa. We are asking people to think of contacts they may have who would be able to display the poster in areas accessed by the public. Prime locations would be banking halls, post offices, ATM locations, large retail outlets such as garages and supermarkets, public transport, trains, buses, taxis etc.’

“She said she had spoken to Mrs McCann on the ’phone on Sunday [13th May]: ‘It was just really difficult and the conversation you don't want to ever have with anybody. She just seemed very numb. I just asked how she was coping and talked to her about the massive support there is. Ever since this happened people have been coming up to me - there's a really strong feeling - and everybody has been saying their thoughts are with them’."

The day before, SKY TV also carried a report mentioning Michael Wright: “The family of Madeleine McCann has called for any ideas on how to find the four year old. Close relative Michael Wright thanked everyone involved in the campaign and hunt for Madeleine. ‘Gerry and Kate are taking strength from the support they are receiving around the world’, said Mr Wright. And he also called for anyone with any ideas on how to help in the search to get in touch via

“The family thanked the continuing support from British and Portuguese media and called on the rest of Europe to join the hunt. Mr Wright also thanked those who have pledged financial support to the Madeleine fund, including sporting celebrities and big businesses. There have been reports that officers are now searching for a red Ford van after a possible sighting of Madeleine in the southern suburbs of the capital Lisbon. It is exactly a fortnight since Madeleine was snatched from her bed in her parents' holiday apartment in the Algarve”.

On 20th May, ‘The Observer’ also filed this report which mentions Michael Wright:

“Operating out of a separate flat in the holiday block, 'Team McCann', an assembly of friends and relatives dedicated to keeping Madeleine's story in the public eye, has begun work on a series of worldwide appeals, as well as reading and answering thousands of letters and emails. Their most ambitious initiative last week was the launch of a website, which has received more than 75 million hits and over 30,000 messages in the past few days. Calum MacRae, a family friend and Director of the firm running the ‘Missing Madeleine’ site, said: 'We've had to take the message facility down because our server was struggling to cope.'

”The one setback has been an internet assault by opportunists who have registered more than 20 money-making websites - advertising everything from mobile phone ringtones to health insurance - with similar spellings to the official campaign site. Visitors who make a small typing error can find themselves redirected to advertising or pornography, an internet practice known as 'typosquatting'. One of Kate's relatives, Michael Wright, provided an insight into the feelings driving the family's determination not to allow Madeleine's case to slip from public view. After thanking the British and Portuguese press for their coverage, he told reporters on Thursday afternoon: 'Kate and Gerry are the leaders of the whole campaign. Their ability to remain positive and focus on what we can do rather than go to the dark places - that they perhaps visited in the early days - is where our focus is, and it drives us all on’.”

Anne-Marie Wright’s first visit to Portugal

Michael Wright’s third visit to Portugal was from 8th June to 13th June. This is referred to as Mrs Anne-Marie Wright’s ‘second visit’ to Portugal. Therefore she must have gone out to Portugal some time between 18th May and 8th June for her ‘first visit’.

Michael Wright’s third visit: 8th to 13th June

Michael Wright went a third time to Portugal from 8th to 13th June, this time with his wife, mainly it seems to look after the McCanns’ twins, Sean and Amelie, while Dr Gerry and Dr Kate McCann travelled to Morocco, allegedly to follow up a rash of ‘sightings’ there.

On 19th June, the ‘Craven Herald’ reported again, this time informing its readers: “Mrs Wright's husband, Michael, went out to Portugal only days after the youngster was snatched, to help support the McCanns. Mrs Wright has since been out to the Algarve twice and on the last occasion [8th to 13th June], she and her husband looked after Madeleine's brother and sister, two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie, while Kate and Gerry, Madeleine's Dad, journeyed to Morocco”.

On 20th June, the ‘Craven Herald’ reported on plans for a fund-raising event, as follows: “Balloon release will keep Madeleine in the headlines: SKIPTON will play its part in keeping alive the campaign to find missing four-year-old Madeleine McCann. Today (20th June) marks 50 days since the little girl was abducted during a family holiday in Praia da Luz in the Algarve, Portugal. At 50 destinations across the world, 50 balloons will be launched bearing labels and pictures of Madeleine in a bid to help find her. One of them is Skipton, where resident Anne-Marie Wright, who is the cousin of Madeleine's mum, Kate, has organised a balloon launch in the town. It will take place at 3.15pm at Water Street School - where Mrs Wright's son, Patrick, is a pupil…Skipton's Birthdays store has donated the balloons”. Mrs Wright has been out to Portugal with her husband to look after Madeleine's brother and sister, two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie, while Kate and Gerry, Madeleine's Dad, journeyed to Morocco. Mrs Wright said: ‘It was nice to be useful and to see the twins was lovely’.

“She said her cousin and her husband were emotionally up and down and tired from all the travelling around…she hoped people would turn up to help set the balloons free and said other primary schools or organisations could organise similar events”.

On 29th June the ‘Craven Herald’ reported on how the fund-raising event in Skipton had gone, as follows: “Balloons launched for Maddie: FIFTY balloons were released over Skipton in a bid to get missing four-year-old Madeleine McCann back to her family safe and well. The balloon launch, at Water Street School on Friday, marked 50 days since the little girl was snatched during a family holiday in Praia Da Luz in the Algarve, Portugal. At destinations around the world, balloons bearing a picture of Madeleine and the Crimestoppers number were released into the sky. Skipton woman Anne-Marie Wright is the cousin of Madeleine's mum, Kate, and organised the event at Water Street, where her son, Patrick, is a pupil. Her daughter, Katie, also read a short prayer. Mrs Wright said there had been a nice, quiet atmosphere at the event. She added: ‘The day was two-fold. We want to keep raising awareness and keep it in the public eye. Then there's the small chance that someone might find the balloon and have information to find Madeleine’. Mrs Wright has been out to Portugal twice since Madeleine went missing”.

It is known that Mrs Wright went out for the visit of 8th to 13th June 2007, but it is not known when the other visit was.

Michael Wright and the Renault Scenic

On 27th May, the day before Dr Gerry McCann and Dr Kate McCann travelled to Rome to receive a blessing from the Pope, Michael Wright became a joint named driver of the notorious Renault Scenic, in which Eddie the cadaver sniffer dog detected the ‘smell of death’ - human cadaverine - in the well of the car, where what was almost certainly a sample of Madeleine’s blood was also found.

There is some confusion about who were the ‘named drivers’ of the car. One report said it was the two McCanns plus Michael Wright. Another report said that Sandy Cameron, husband of Trish Cameron, was also a ‘named driver’, and that Dr Kate McCann was not. She is certainly on record as having driven the Renault Scenic, and we may safely assume therefore that she was a named driver.

A coincidence, which the Portuguese police checked out, was that another Michael Wright hired the Renault Scenic just two weeks earlier (from 8th to 15th May), together with another man named Brown. The Portuguese police traced both these men to Milton Keynes and decided that they had nothing to do with the McCann family. They both apparently lived in the same street in Milton Keynes. ‘Our’ Michael Wright was born in 1963, making him 44 years old in 2007. The ‘other’, Milton Keynes, Michael Wright, was born in 1936, making him 71 last year. He was not interviewed by the Portuguese police. But the records do show that the car was paid for by credit card at the time of collection, 8th May, and returned on 15th May. This may not have any significance, but the General Medical Council (GMC) register has registered doctors whose names, initials, registration dates and ages would all fit the details of the hirers of the car, plus those other names qualified at the same place. Whether the other Michael Wright and Brown are those same doctors as are on the GMC register has not yet been checked.

The car milometer reading on 27 May, the date the car was hired, was 3114
km. By the time the car milometer was read again on 23 September, the reading was 14443, meaning that in those four months or so, 11,332 km had been clocked up - just under 7,000 miles. [The milometer readings for intermediate dates were merely notional; for the record, these were: 03 Jun - 3864; 3 Jul - 5864; 2 Aug - 5865; 1 Sep - 5866]. The mileage per day was around 60 miles; around 420 a week.

It might be possible to check how and when the car was used by checking the credit card records of the McCanns and the others who were driving the Renault Scenic. But the British Home Office blocked the Portuguese police from having access to the McCanns’ credit card records - or anyone else’s - citing, no doubt, the right to privacy, the Data Protection Act and the Human Rights Act.


Source : Jill Havern Forum