There’s a new suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. It’s a 43-year-old German man. No need to look for him. He’s already in prison.
The story leads the news cycle. The Times says he’s a “paedophile”. The Telegraph says it’s the “biggest breakthrough yet”. It’s “time to nail” him, says the Star. Great news. And it is – until you get the facts… How can you charge a man with a crime with no evidence he committed one – and no evidence any crime took place?
The Mail and Sun both lead with questions. “Did German take Maddie in this van?” wonders the Sun, making the suspect’s nationality a key part of the story. “Have they found man who took Maddie?” asks the Mail.
And one more question: did police working on Operation Grange keep the story from media until coronavirus had been washed from the front pages? Was it done to help their appeal for anyone who saw the man or his van to come forward? If they did, it’s worked. Did they also want to show us that for £11m, the cost of the investigation so far, you get results?
The BBC leads its story by telling us, “He is believed to have been in the area where Madeleine was last seen, when she disappeared in Portugal 13 years ago.” Believed by..? “Someone out there knows a lot more than they’re letting on,” says Det Chief Inspector Mark Cranwell.
So did you see a man with a camper van in Portugal 13 years ago? He has short short blond hair and about 6ft tall with a slim build at the time. German and British police have spoken with him about Madeleine but he’s not confessed.
Time to review the evidence:
The Express says he was known to be in Praia da Luz when Madeleine McCann vanished. He had 30-minute phone conversation with a “mystery caller” the night Madeleine went missing. The day after Madeleine vanished in 2007, the suspect transferred the Jaguar to someone else’s name. The BBC says this is “suspicious”.
On the night of the vanishing, he received a phone call at 7.32pm, which ended at 8.02pm. Madeleine is believed to have disappeared between 9.10pm and 10pm that evening.
The Telegraph says he’s a multiple child sex offender.
The Mail says the suspect was renting a “ramshackle farm building” two miles from Praia da Luz where the McCann family were holidaying.
German police also suggested there “may” have been other people involved who are still at large, says the Mail. As one German officer puts: “There is reason to assume that there are other persons, apart from the suspect, who have concrete knowledge of the course of the crime and maybe also of the place where the body was left.”
It all adds up to a lot of belief, assumption and maybe. Plus ca change.
And you can help find Maddie. Scotland Yard is launching a joint appeal with German and Portuguese police with a £20,000 reward for information that leads to the conviction of the person responsible for Madeleine’s. Remember when the reward was huge and the innocent girl who became the media’s ‘Our Maddie’ was spotted in: Canada,Italy, Sweden, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Majorca,Belgium, Bosnia, France, Australia, Brazil,Wales, Malta, Italy, Germany, Australia, France, India, Dubai, Dorset, USA and New Zealand (taken there by boat).
The last word is with the parents who issue this statement:
“We would like to thank the police forces involved for their continued efforts in the search for Madeleine. All we have ever wanted is to find her, uncover the truth and bring those responsible to justice. We will never give up hope of finding Madeleine alive, but whatever the outcome may be, we need to know as we need to find peace.”
Madeleine McCann is missing.
Posted: 4th, June 2020 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, News Comment | TrackBack | Permalink