15 Mar 2009


Home to something evil

What really happened at Haut de la Garenne, the children's home at the centre of the Jersey care scandal last year? Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy report on a building that still houses some very dark secrets

How Jersey's tourism bosses must have lamented the marketing slogan they chose last year: "Small enough to really get to know, yet still big enough to surprise."

It was supposed to mark a campaign to rejuvenate the holiday business.

Instead, it served to highlight a child abuse scandal that erupted on the island.

The story had first trickled out in November 2007, gaining almost no press attention. Following a covert police inquiry into allegations of mistreatment in the island's care homes, police and the NSPCC in London had appealed to former residents to come forward. By January 2008, hundreds were said to have made contact, reporting physical and sexual abuse, mostly at Haut de la Garenne, a grim, Victorian industrial school that had, until the mid-80s, served as Jersey's main children's home. Soon, Jersey was in the grip of one of the largest police child abuse inquiries seen anywhere in Britain.

How would the tiny island and its 88,000 residents hold up? They pride themselves on their traditionalism (the pound note survives here) and an independent spirit that locals refer to as the Jersey Way. The mantra, reflecting a closed community that knows how to look after itself, is credited with transforming the place from a bourgeois bucket-and-spade resort in the 50s into the oyster-shucking tax haven it is today. So potent is the lure of the island's low-tax, non-intrusive regime that the level of wealth required of prospective settlers has risen to stratospheric levels: only those who can pay a residency fee of about £1m and show assets in excess of £20m need apply. The lucky few include racing driver Nigel Mansell, golfer Ian Woosnam, broadcaster Alan Whicker and writer Jack Higgins, as well as hundreds of reclusive tycoons, who have made the island the third richest compact community in the world, after Bermuda and Luxembourg.

And then February 2008 arrived like a fist in the face. All anyone on the outside looking in could talk about was paedophiles. Then Jersey police announced they were investigating murder as well as complaints of physical and sexual abuse: witnesses said they recalled seeing the corpses of children at Haut de la Garenne; others claimed to have found bones buried beneath the foundations.

What made it worse for those on the inside was that the crisis had been started by an outsider, a Northern Irish copper called Lenny Harper, second-in-command of the island's police force, and the antithesis of the Jersey Way. Instead of managing bad news, Harper had teams of forensics specialists excavating for it. Every day, sitting on a granite wall outside the home, Harper regaled the world's press with stories that "something evil" had happened there - Haut de la Garenne had been a virtual charnel house. The first find was a sliver of human skull on 23 February. As the investigation progressed, the supposed tally rose to "six or more" bodies buried beneath the home.

By August last year, Harper had retired, to be replaced by a new policeman from the British mainland. More experienced than Harper, detective superintendent Mick Gradwell was a veteran whose cases included the deaths of 23 Chinese cockle-pickers at Morecambe Bay in 2004.

At his first press conference, on 12 November, Gladwell stunned reporters with his findings: "There were no bodies, no dead children, no credible allegations of murder and no suspects for murder." Only three bone fragments could be definitely said to be human, he said - and they dated from the 14th to 17th centuries. Newspapers ran gleeful headlines: "Lenny Harper lost the plot." By the time we arrived on Jersey in February 2009, a year after the digging had begun, it was as if Harper and his inquiry had never existed.

The Jersey establishment was triumphant. One of the island's most senior social workers expressed a view we were to hear many times: "I'm not saying all the former children's home residents are liars but some have misremembered," he said. "Some have embellished and a small number have been telling porkies to get money." Nothing was wrong with the island. Jersey was off the hook. It was all a cock-up.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Among the thousands of statements that still line the shelves of Harper's old incident room, and in the testimony of former residents and workers at Haut de la Garenne and other institutions across Jersey, many of whom we tracked down and interviewed, harrowing stories are buried.

Over a period of three decades, residents of the care homes made repeated complaints that they were being sexually and physically abused. A series of damning reports was produced, following confidential inquiries into these institutions, most of which went unheeded. Few prosecutions ensued.

It is true to say there were no corpses. However, the testimony provides compelling evidence of a catastrophic failure within Jersey's children's services that ran a regime so punitive, they preferred to lock up problem children en masse than deal with them in their own homes: four times more children, proportionately, are imprisoned in Jersey than in its nearest neighbour, France. And what happened to them once in care was something that Harper's team, had they not been distracted by murder plots, came close to exposing.

Harper clashed with the Jersey Way as soon as he was appointed head of police operations in 2002. A career officer, he had been office-bound for a few years and on Jersey he wanted to get back to real policing. Summing him up, one former Jersey colleague told us that Harper "was a bit of a pit bull" who found himself on a small island where discretion and subtlety were valued above all else. Early attempts at making his mark, including a clear-out of illegally held weapons and a curtailment of the often cosy relationship between local police and businessmen, made him instant enemies. Harper, who now lives in Ayrshire, told us: "I started getting death threats. But I'd been on the streets of Northern Ireland."

His most significant problem was recognising the limits of his power. Jerseymen trace their ancestry back to the medieval Dukedom of Normandy and a feudal culture survives. The island is divided into 12 parishes, each governed by a connétable or head constable, who between them raise a private volunteer police force, the Honorary Constabulary. It might sound like a toytown operation, but these so-called "hobby bobbies" form a network of neighbours, friends and relatives licensed to arrest and charge fellow islanders through powers vested in them by the 500-year-old States Assembly.

The assembly - made up of the connétables, their deputies and 12 elected senators, many of them multimillionaires - is supervised by the bailiff, Jersey's highest officer, who is appointed by the Queen, while the task of upholding the law and keeping the hobby bobbies in check falls to the attorney general. These two key posts are currently held by brothers, Sir Philip and William Bailhache, members of one of the oldest and most powerful families on Jersey. At the bottom of the heap are the 240 officers of the States of Jersey Police, imposed on the island in the 50s but even today requiring attorney general Bailhache's approval to charge anyone with anything more serious than a traffic citation.

It was a system that frustrated newcomer Lenny Harper, until he found an ally inside the attorney general's office. This was a mainlander who similarly mistrusted the Jersey Way and told Harper of a "web of child abusers" who he claimed all knew each other. He also alleged the attorney general's office appeared reluctant to prosecute. When we put this to William Bailhache, he replied that Harper had repeatedly suggested his office was "soft" on child abuse - this is untrue, he says, and so is the suggestion that he was reluctant to prosecute. "I have signed many indictments for people charged with child abuse offences, some of them historic. Several cases have resulted in substantial sentences of imprisonment."

Harper recalls: "I was cautious at first. The allegations reached into many worthy organisations, including the Sea Cadets and the St John Ambulance, and there were whispers about establishment men. One name that kept cropping up was Paul Every, a commanding officer in the island's Sea Cadets." Every had also served as a senior civil servant.

Harper dug around, discovering that Every's name had surfaced in connection with child porn offences during Operation Ore in 1999. In late 2004, Harper applied for a warrant to search the Sea Cadets' HQ. He was refused. Harper then contacted the Jersey Sea Cadets directly: "They completely ignored me and refused to sack Every." When the States Assembly, too, declined to act, and Harper received a message from the attorney general's office that it was reluctant to prosecute, Harper began to suspect a cover-up. He says, "What made things more fraught was that some of my own officers were in the Sea Cadets." (On this case, the attorney general comments: "It is absolutely not the case that I decided not to prosecute Every. It is true that one of my officials wrongly gave Mr Harper that impression.")

Harper pressed on, and in January 2005 had Every arrested and his home computer seized. On it, police recovered a cache of child porn and evidence that Every had scoured the internet for "naked sea cadets". Still unable to persuade the local Sea Cadets to act, Harper wrote in August 2005 to the youth organisation's national HQ in London, and finally Every was removed from his position. The following month, Harper arrested Roger James Picton, another Sea Cadet volunteer; Picton was found guilty of indecent assault on a schoolgirl in February 2006 and Every was convicted of child porn offences that December.

In early 2007, convinced there was a broad network of abusers operating on the island and mindful of Jersey's steadfast refusal to introduce a sex offenders' register, Harper began reviewing statements made by Sea Cadets who had alleged abuse. He discovered that many had been in care, especially in Haut de la Garenne. Calling up their care files, Harper found that a member of Jersey police's family protection team, Brian Carter, had been there before him. Carter was no longer in the force, but finding him on the island was easy. It turned out that in 2004 Carter had noticed an unusually high incidence of suicide among men who had passed through Haut de la Garenne. Reviewing the records of 950 former residents, he discovered that a significant number had complained of sexual and physical abuse, describing similar acts and perpetrators, going back to the 50s. Shockingly, even though supervisors at the homes had dutifully noted the complaints, none had been properly investigated.

Carter had sought out victims and taken statements detailing how they were allegedly beaten and raped by older children and staff, and also by Sea Cadet officers, St John Ambulance volunteers and at least one senator in the States Assembly. In April 2006, Carter handed the dossier to Jersey CID. Nothing happened.

Suspecting that allegations of crimes against hundreds of children were being brushed under the carpet, Carter quit the force in late 2006. Now, Harper alerted Graham Power, head of Jersey's police, to the dossier. Appalled, Power contacted the Association of Chief Police Officers which launched an independent inquiry, currently being handled by South Yorkshire. In September 2007, Power gave Harper the go-ahead to launch a full-scale child abuse investigation, with Carter re-employed as a civilian investigator. Together they set up an incident room at Jersey police headquarters in Rouge Bouillon, St Helier. Detective inspector Alison Fossey, another outsider, originally from Strathclyde, was called in to help sift through the first of 4,000 children's files.

Abuse claims were rife. Haut de la Garenne was at the centre; other child facilities on the island were also implicated, including a secure unit called Les Chenes and a "group home", Blanche Pierre. Harper ordered his men to find and interview as many victims as they could - something that proved difficult because several former care home residents had already spoken to Carter and were disillusioned when nothing came of it.

Fearful that his inquiry would collapse, it was then that Harper went public, making an appeal for witnesses to come forward, with the backing of the NSPCC. "I was summoned to the chief minister's office and given a rollicking," Harper claims. "CM Frank Walker told me, 'Stop calling these people victims. It's not proven yet. You can't say that. Do you realise what you are doing here can bring the government down?' " We tried to contact Walker, but he declined to respond.

A firestorm now swirled across the island. Harper recalls: "The NSPCC opened a helpline and the phones went haywire." Former Haut residents talked of being slammed into walls, punched and slapped. One victim from Les Chenes claimed to have been knocked out by a staff member and told police, "The supervisor put a foot on my chest and stood on me, screaming, 'This is what we do to scum like you!' " Former care home children also detailed sadistic sexual abuse, with residents raping their dorm mates and supervisors doing the same.

Dozens of potential protagonists were thrown up by the new inquiry, the same names having also been identified by victims in the Carter report. One of them, a former Jersey senator, Wilfred Krichefski, who died in 1974, was known as the "Fat Man" among Haut residents who accused him of multiple rapes. Other Haut victims claimed to have been "lent out" to men who took them sailing into international waters before forcing them to have sex - crimes thus committed outside Jersey's jurisdiction. Colin Tilbrook, a former headmaster at Haut de la Garenne in the 60s, was repeatedly named as having roamed the corridors at night with a pillow tucked under his arm with which to stifle the screams of the children he raped. Jersey social services had never investigated Tilbrook, who went on to secure a job in the early 70s on the British mainland. When news of the Jersey investigation became public, Tilbrook's foster daughter, by then in her 30s, came forward to reveal that he had repeatedly raped her when she was a child.

Like Krichefski, Tilbrook was dead, as were others accused, including Jim Thomson, the superintendent of Haut de la Garenne in 1979, who was repeatedly accused of abuse. It was the living that presented Harper's team with the knottiest problems. The list of those who had worked at the homes included the serving education director, Tom McKeon, and his deputy, Mario Lundy. Both were interviewed by police earlier this year; both vigorously deny any wrongdoing.

The inquiry was delivered a blow when, in January 2008, Harper's deputy, DI Alison Fossey, went to the mainland on a strategic command course. Fossey had a law degree and had worked in child protection for most of her career. She was a details person, while Harper had a more scattergun approach. In her absence, the investigation was transformed by lurid claims of bodies and murder. One police report from this time states, "Among the [Haut] victims were a few who said that children had been dragged from their beds at night screaming and had then disappeared." A local builder who had done renovations there in 2003 said he had found what he thought were children's bones and shoes. These items had been disposed of by the Jersey pathologist. Harper remained suspicious. On 5 February 2008, he flew to Oxford to take advice from LGC Forensics, a crime scene service used by forces across the UK.

Two weeks later, an LGC team encamped at Haut de la Garenne. A squad of technicians in white suits pored over the site. Central to it all were two sniffer dogs, Eddie and Keela, which Harper took to describing as his "canine assets". They were veterans deployed in the search for missing Madeleine McCann in Portugal, although the controversy caused there should have served as a warning to Harper. In Portugal, the dogs had crawled over a car used by Gerry and Kate McCann, and sounded the alarm. The Portuguese police then claimed that the McCanns had killed their daughter, when what the dogs had actually picked up on was both parents' legitimate proximity to death, working in hospitals.

At Haut de la Garenne, the dogs made straight for the place where in 2003 the builder said he had found bones. A senior police officer recalled, "They did cartwheels on the spot. And Harper went through the roof." As in Portugal, the dogs had smelled something but could not differentiate between ancient remains and a contemporary murder. But at 2pm on 23 February, caution cast aside, Harper called a press conference, telling reporters police believed that the partial remains of a child were buried there.

Over the following months, £7.5m would be spent sifting 100 tonnes of earth. By the time DI Fossey returned, there were 65 milk teeth, 165 bone fragments and two lime-lined pits dominating the inquiry.

Meanwhile the child abuse investigation, which had already identified 160 alleged victims, was, Harper claimed, taking flak. Harper was called to the attorney general's office after his team charged a former Haut warder with indecently assaulting underage girls at the home from 1969 to 1973. William Bailhache demanded that a lawyer appointed by his office be inserted into the inquiry to assess the evidence before any arrest or charges could be preferred - common practice on the mainland, he says.

The police sent the lawyer details of a further five suspects, including a former police officer and two couples. Hearing nothing for two months, Harper went ahead and arrested the 50-year-old former police officer on 12 June last year. The attorney general's lawyer had the man released the next day, citing a lack of evidence. Likewise he vetoed charges being laid against one of the two couples. That left only Jane and Alan Maguire, a couple now living in France, and their case, too, went nowhere.

Bailhache told us: "It would no doubt have been much easier for me personally if I had simply waved prosecutions through. However, had I done so I would have been failing in my duty... Actions on my part which Mr Harper no doubt interpreted as frustrating a prosecution were rather directed at ensuring that any prosecution which was properly brought had the best chance of succeeding."

In the end, Harper charged only two other individuals, both peripheral, one of whom, in a terrible irony, also claims to have been a child victim of abuse at Haut de la Garenne in the 70s.

Once Lenny Harper retired in August 2008, and the murder inquiry was discredited, some island officials were concerned that the investigation into the abuse allegations might collapse, too.

The alarm had been raised in 1979, following the death of a two-year-old at the hands of a foster parent. Two years later, visiting social workers David Lambert and Elizabeth Wilkinson, concerned that none of the proposed improvements had been put in place, launched a full-blown inspection. Their confidential report, taking a broader look at Jersey society, concluded that while the island was reinventing itself as a haunt for jetsetters, there was a neglected group afflicted by a "high incidence of marital breakdown, heavy drinking, alcoholism and psychiatric illness". These problems were exacerbated by a small island mentality that demanded everyone "conform to acceptable public standards".

Children rebelled in small ways: dropping litter, swearing, facing down the police, having parties on the beach. On Jersey, all of these "offences" were, according to Lambert and Wilkinson, often sufficient to get a child into serious trouble. And once children had come to the attention of the police, it was almost inevitable that they would enter Jersey's care home system. Without any provision for children to be bailed, most were incarcerated on remand, placed alongside children taken from their families, often for such reasons as "giving the mother a break". In this rural backwater, one in 10 children had been in care, a ratio far higher than on the mainland.

Once in care, the real problems began, with predatory residents, some with criminal records, bunked with the vulnerable. Cases were almost never reviewed; Lambert and Wilkinson found in one group of 65 children, 36 had remained invisible inside the system for more than 10 years. This was the more likely if parents made little fuss, or even, in some cases, left the island. One of the invisible told us how he had been incarcerated at Haut de la Garenne for being repeatedly sarcastic to the hobby bobbies; he stayed in care for eight years, he says, without ever seeing a trained social worker, during which time he claimed to have been raped by adults and fellow inmates alike.

At the time of Lambert and Wilkinson's visit, Haut was run by superintendent Jim Thomson. Like many then working in the Jersey care system, he had no professional qualifications. Thomson, who would be accused of sexual and physical abuse in Harper's 2008 inquiry, was found by Lambert and Wilkinson to have created a "highly unsatisfactory" environment that focused on corporal punishment for "boys aged 10 to 15", some of them locked in remand cells for days at a time. It was an institution ripe for abusers, especially at night when only one staff member was on duty for 45 children sleeping in four distant wings. Haut was "not suitable for any of the tasks in which it is currently engaged".

Nick (not his real name) was resident at the time. He told us he had been taken, aged 11, to Haut de la Garenne in "a large white van with bars on its windows" after his mother abandoned him in 1975. He said: "The dorm was at the end of a rabbit warren of corridors and consisted of eight hospital-style beds lined up against opposite walls. Most of the boys were in their teens and had been in the home for years." No sooner had he arrived than he was beaten up and his possessions stolen. "At night they would never come to check up on you. The younger boys would be tied down on their beds and raped by the older lads." He survived only because he was a boxer and he was allowed to stay with foster parents at weekends, a time when adults were said to come and prey on the children left behind.

According to the 1981 report, other homes caused concern, too, for their punitive regimes; chief among them was Blanche Pierre with its new house parents, Jane and "Big Al" Maguire. But the extent of the allegations against the Maguires would not be properly investigated for another 18 years. One of their former charges was Dannie Jarman, now 28, who moved into Blanche Pierre when her mother was diagnosed with cancer in 1985, ending up in a hospice. "I wasn't allowed to visit her," Dannie told us. "Two weeks after her funeral, I was told she was dead. I was repeatedly told that our mum hadn't brought us up right and had never wanted me." Other children later levelled accusations about the extremely harsh conditions.

No one would have known about it had Dannie Jarman not got drunk one night in 1998 and thrown a brick through the Maguires' bedroom window. When the Maguires called the police, former residents, including Dannie, were brought in for questioning. After they repeated their allegations of abuse, the police turned around their inquiry and charged the Maguires instead.

The then attorney general, Michael Birt, today the island's deputy bailiff, sought advice from counsel who suggested that while this home "might possibly have been one that was run on a somewhat Dickensian basis, the strict regime applied by the Maguires would have not been regarded as unusual in pre-politically correct times. Indeed it is quite likely members of the jury would have some sympathy for people who in order to instil a sense of discipline in their charges threaten to wash a child's mouth out with soap and water." The counsel suggested: "The evidence is extremely weak." Birt, who declined to comment when we approached him, dropped the charges. Following an internal inquiry, Jane Maguire was subsequently sacked by Jersey social services.

Another inquiry focused on Jersey's elite Victoria College after the head of maths was jailed for four years in April 1999 for indecently assaulting a pupil. In his report, Stephen Sharp, a former chief education officer for Buckinghamshire, criticised senior staff and school governors, who included bailiff Sir Philip Bailhache, for failing to act speedily or adequately. It had taken 15 years for the teacher to be caught and Sharp concluded: "The handling of the complaint was more consistent with protecting a member of staff and the college's reputation than safeguarding the best interests of pupils."

Haut de la Garenne eventually closed in 1986, Blanche Pierre in 2001, but when Kathie Bull, a British child behaviour expert, was called in the following year to inspect the island's children's services, she found the situation had worsened. So many children were now being locked up that the island's institutions operated a "hot-bedding" system to cater for them, which in the case of Les Chenes included children sleeping on a pool table. Discipline was meted out in The Pits, a punishment block consisting of four bare concrete cells. The island's youth justice system was backwards and brutal, Bull concluded, and she made 50 recommendations, including the establishment of a Children's Executive.

Four years later, when Simon Bellwood, a British social worker, was employed to close Les Chenes and move the secure unit to a new, purpose-built site, he was startled to find the old regime still in force: "I met children who spent months at a time, near naked, in bare, concrete punishment blocks." When he made public his concerns in 2007 - following a long-running dispute with some of the old regime who were still in positions of authority - he was sacked; the then health minister, senator Stuart Syvret, who had vocally championed those who alleged they had been abused, was voted out of office for his "intemperate and ill-considered statements in the assembly".

Two years on, Mick Gradwell's team is trying to pick up the pieces of the abuse inquiry. The attorney general has been handed evidential files against key suspects by the police, and says he expects to make his decisions in the next few weeks. Bellwood, Syvret and others are keeping up the pressure on Jersey's States Assembly, and lobbying UK justice minister Jack Straw to call a full, independent inquiry (the subject of a court hearing to be held in London next Tuesday). But, many of the victims of the care homes of Jersey are convinced that nothing can outflank an island establishment that often saw little wrong in what had gone before and is reluctant to embrace the future prescribed by the social work experts.

The guardians of the Jersey Way continue to thrive, such as the sprightly Iris Le Feuvre, elected to the States Assembly for almost 20 years, who as president of the education committee oversaw Haut de la Garenne, Les Chenes and Blanche Pierre during some of their most troubled times. Now retired, the 80-year-old, whose husband Eric was for years a hobby bobby, lives in St Lawrence parish. "Granny's coming," she shouts as an over-excitable Tibetan spaniel barks at the gate, and ushers us into her front room. Le Feuvre, who collected an MBE from Buckingham Palace in 2002, says of Haut de la Garenne: "It's been a terrible business. But mostly I feel for William and Sir Philip Bailhache. They've been through so much."

But what of the victims? She smiles: "Oh, such a fuss has been made. My father always used a belt on me. It did me the world of good."


viv said...

So what is this "big secret" they are embarrassed about, but show no embarassment whatsoever in the women in particular admitting the most terrible child neglect. What could be worse than that? Maybe we should ask CEOP, I suspect they have all the answers..

McCanns 'are hiding a big secret', former police chief claims
Last updated at 14:34 28 October 2007

* Comments (7)
* Add to My Stories

Kate and Gerry McCann are hiding a "big secret" about the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine, according a former police chief claims.

John Stalker, who headed a famous inquiry into whether suspected IRA men were killed by RUC officers, is suspicious of their silence.

Scroll down for more...

Expert analysis: Former police chief John Stalker believes the McCanns are hiding a secret

* McCanns face agonising wait to clear their names

The former Deputy Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police told the Sunday Express: ?My gut instinct is that some big secret is probably being covered up.

?I have watched the investigation into the Madeleine McCann case drag out for six months.

?One thing above all worries me: Why have the McCanns and the seven other members of their group ? the Tapas Nine ? remained so silent?

?Unlike other high-profile cases I have worked on, not one of them has been prepared to break ranks or really come out and support each other.

?After all this time and pressure, I cannot believe that nobody wants to speak.

?I have a real suspicion that we are not being told the whole truth. There is something else there, some issue that members of the party are embarrassed about?

viv said...

On "shameless" tory bloggers, one can just delete it, no need to apologise ! I am certainly no followed of John Redwood of all people, but it seems to me, in this instance he was actually speaking the truth, but unfortunately deleted it, now he is towing the party line, that it is politically correct to claim the McCanns are innocent and hapless parents, shamelessly maligned!

September 13, 2007

John Redwood should show his readers some respect

Mirror - Fury as Vulcan attacks: Tory MP John Redwood launched a vicious attack on the parents of Madeleine McCann yesterday. He said Kate and Gerry were more interested in spinning to the media than finding their daughter. And he asked where was the evidence to back the abduction claim.

Daily Mail - Gerry McCann: 'Kate and I are 100% confident in each other's innocence': Senior Tory John Redwood made an extraordinary intervention in the Madeleine case yesterday. The former cabinet minister said on his blog that Gerry and Kate McCann had fallen victim to the "modern disease of fighting battles through the media instead of people getting on and doing their jobs diligently". He added: "Maybe the McCanns should employ a private detective rather than a spin doctor, to find evidence of the abduction they are sure happened and the trail to her present whereabouts." Last night Mr Redwood said he bore no ill will towards the couple. "I didn't mean to be hurtful. I was trying to be helpful."

Mirror - Vulcan ditches Net slur: John Redwood was forced to back down last night after he launched a vicious attack on the McCann family. Yesterday Mr Redwood removed the offensive passage from his online blog. A spokesman said: "He felt what he was saying was being misrepresented."

Let me absolutely clear about this; I'm making no comment here on what John Redwood has the right to say about the McCanns, legally or morally. I also happily acknowledge that some of this outrage, at the very least the beginnings of it, could well be the of the faux, fabricated, OTT and/or strategic variety, just as it was in the case of two Labour bloggers I'm about to mention.

The point I want to make here is about accountability, respect, and retromoderation.

When Bob Piper was set upon over a repeat of a 'racist' image, he removed the item in question, apologised, and made a note of it on his weblog.

When Tom Watson was copping stick over Sion Simon's video, he removed the item in question, apologised, and made a note of it on his weblog.

And what has John Redwood done when faced with the same level of unwelcome MSM attention?

He has simply deleted the offending post without explanation or notation.

[Note: that post is still live in Google's cache, and will probably remain there for a few days.]

I've seen quite a few Tories posing as bloggers doing this. Some of them are shameless about it. I'm aware of the curious Tory code (often credited to Benjamin Disraeli and far too often adopted by senior politicians of all parties) that one should "never explain, never apologise", but often it goes deeper than that; this bad habit of 'disappearing' information extends into comments... via a series of deceitful machinations and/or outright deletion, information submitted by readers often disappears into the ether, too.

John's a beginner, so I'll patiently explain this to him in case he's not aware:

When you begin a weblog, you also begin a relationship with those who read and interact with it. To simply delete content without explanation shows a complete lack of regard for this relationship and/or respect for those who take part in it.

Just a short note will do, John... when you're ready.


[Note: Of course, there's no mention of any of this on the weblog Tory propaganda machine Iain Dale runs, or on Paul Staines' site. And, yes, I've had to remove a post myself this morning.... I haven't apologised, but after removing the item in question, I did make a note of it on my weblog.]

viv said...

Is this really giving a better deal to children if 150 parents have asked for relevant information about sex offenders in their area but only 10 have been given that information?

It would be good to think Sara and her mum have done something positive to protect other children as opposed to just another political gimmick. I do not have much faith in Jacqui Smith to take positive steps in this regard. I think she is a little too engaged in claiming exhorbitant expenses to cater for her own children.

Paedophile alerts to be extended

Sarah Payne was murdered by a convicted sex offender
A scheme giving parents details about sex offenders who may come into contact with their children is being extended.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said pilot projects in Southampton, Warwickshire, north Cambridgeshire and Stockton had given children a "better deal".

The scheme will be rolled out to the whole of those police force areas.

A campaign to let parents have more information came after the murder of eight-year-old Sarah Payne by convicted sex offender Roy Whiting.

More than 150 parents have made inquiries under the trial scheme which started last September.

Of these, 10 were given relevant information.

There were fears such a system could lead to vigilante attacks against offenders but there have been no cases so far.

National scheme

Ms Smith told the News of the World: "Drawing in families and allowing them to take responsibility and share their concerns with the police is a positive way forward.

"In tackling crime you need people to stand alongside police. And in the police areas where the schemes have been operating I would say we are giving children a better deal."

The so-called Megan's Law in the US, which allows the publication of names, addresses and pictures of paedophiles in some states, prompted calls for an equivalent "Sarah's Law" in the UK.

The extension of the UK trial could lead to a national system of alerts.

Sarah Payne's mother Sara, who is the government's 'Victims' Csar', said: "I would say we are giving families a better deal by including them in child protection."

viv said...

In principal this scheme sounds reasonable but it would seem if a sex offender moves in next to you, you will not be told, you would have to be able to prove the man came into direct contact with your children. Clearly, the thing is by the very nature of sex offenders the man may have already come into contact and you may not know, or he may do so in the future, and you are not forewarned or forearmed. There is no easy solution with sex offenders, where to put them when they are released. But can any government say, hand on heart, if they are allowed to go and live near children and those parents do not know of their propensity, that are actually doing everything they can to protect children? Maybe the only answer it to force convicted sex offenders to live in probation supervised hostels where the police/probation can keep tracks on them, keep them away from children and always know where they are, e.g. electronic tracking devices? What comes first, the human rights of sex offenders or defenceless children and their desperate parents? Sex offenders are very common, even in my own small county, as we know there are five serious ones who are convicted, but the vast majority do not get caught!

Sex offender alerts: Five scenarios
Four pilots have begun in England which permit parents, carers or guardians to ask the police if someone has a record for child sex offences. There are many unanswered questions about what the 12-month trial will achieve - so what kinds of scenarios could the scheme cover?

A single mother meets a man who she likes but it worried that she does not know enough about his background to allow him fully into her family's life. She telephones the local police and requests information about the man.

The police would check the background of the man because the request has come from a mother - someone who is directly responsible for a child. Officers would carry out two checks - a priority check within 24 hours followed by a more thorough risk assessment which takes longer because it will delve into someone's history.

If there is a criminal record, the pilot constabularies say they would use special child protection measures, jointly run by police and probation officers, to work out how best to deal with the suspect.

If there is a serious risk, police may also pass on some of this information to the mother - but only if they are convinced that it is necessary and proportionate to protect the children.

If the mother is given the information, she will be asked to keep it confidential - and could face civil or criminal action if she does not.

If the investigation does not find any record of sexual offences, but does find other worrying behaviour, such as a conviction for domestic violence or intelligence of worrying behaviour, the mother may still be given information to help her protect her family.

A couple are concerned that their daughter's new boyfriend is not trustworthy - and they are worried that about their grandchildren.

Like anyone else, the grandparents can already alert the police.

Police stress that irrespective of the four pilots they would always check out the concerns of other family members or friends as part of standard child protection measures.

However, the grandparents are not directly responsible for the welfare of the children and any relevant information which would be released under the scheme would only go to the person with direct responsibility for the children - the mother.

A family are suspicious of a neighbour's intentions towards local children. Police would, as ever, make checks. But they would only release information of concern to parents if the individual has direct access to their children.

In other words, if the family who alert the police have nothing to do with the neighbour, they would not know the outcome of their inquiry - but other parents whose children are more directly involved with the subject may be given information.

Police may have a delicate balancing act to perform if someone is asking about a neighbour, who officers know is an offender, but there is no reason to suggest he poses a risk because he is co-operating with monitoring arrangements.

A family doesn't like the look of the man who lives as Number 24. He's a bit shifty, reclusive and is always rude if spoken to. They ask the police to tell them about the individual's background.

Police are highly unlikely to provide any information because the family has not provided any reasonable suspicion that children are at risk.

The pilot's purpose is to protect children and the family would have to show that the neighbour has some kind of access to their children. One concern over the pilots is that they could be used to settled scores and spread malicious rumours. This block on unwarranted requests for information, and the insistence on confidentiality, is designed to prevent rumours spreading.

A local man has been offering informal football coaching - he doesn't seem to be part of any club, leisure centre or school set-up. A parent is concerned because a rumour is doing the rounds that he is up to no good.

Parents can ask for information because this is clearly direct access to their child. The question is what happens next. If the coach is found to be a risk, the parent would be told but would also be asked to keep that information to themselves.

The full force of multi-agency monitoring arrangements would come into action to stop the man in his tracks. The success of these monitoring arrangements relies greatly on preventing someone going underground. A local witch-hunt or vigilante action increases the risk of someone disappearing from view.

Some child protection experts predict these kinds of scenarios will be the hardest to manage because a parent who has information on the man's record may feel overwhelmingly obliged to alert others, regardless of police warnings.

If the man poses no risk and has simply been a little naive, police may advise him how to avoid any future misunderstandings, such as by ensuring that he can provide an up-to-date criminal record check.

Compiled by Dominic Casciani, BBC Home Affairs team.

viv said...

I know there are a lot more than 5 convicted sex offenders in Warwickshire? What of all the offenders who are convicted for less serious offences like some more minor indecent assault or viewing less serious forms of internet paedophilia. Sex offenders tend to work on a continuum of offending behaviour, increasingly getting more serious. Is it right that perhaps just the five who have already reached that stage are the ones parents get warned about. Sometimes the first time authorities know about a child abuser/killer is when actually does precisely that, but how many other children has he assaulted when moving through his criminal career?

nancy said...

Viv -

The only way to stop sex offenders reoffending is to make sure they stay in prison where they belong.

Paedophiles don't change their spots - it's as natural to them as shoplifting is to shoplifters, drunks to alcohol, or smokers and drug addicts to their habits - the only difference is paedopholes are not just harming themselves but our children. There should be absolutely zero tolerance - one strike and you are off the streets forever!

Cruel to be kind as they say!


viv said...

Hiya Nancy, Sadly I think you are probably right. Prisons are bursting at the seams with people who just do not need to be there because they do not present a serious risk of harm to the public.

I remember when I was a trainee sitting in the Magistrates court and being quite flabbergasted at their decision to return an offender to custody who was on licence. He was a recovering heroin user/shoplifter who was doing well on drug treatment. So what did he do to make the Magistrates just calmly decide this without thinking how ridiculous they were being, he stole a bottle of pop, value about 63 p! It is quite Dickensian how people like that offender are treated, meanwhile he is taking the place and using up the expense of someone who really is a danger and needs to be locked up!

I think we just need to be realistic here, there are sex offender treatment programmes, but I do not think they really treat many of them! In fact it has been found that really devious offenders just learn to say all the right things purely to con their way out of custody.


nancy said...

Hi Viv

You are absolutely right about that; some of the decisions Magistrates and Judges make are beyond the average person's comprehension.

If our jails are so overcrowded the powers that be should use their common sense, although I know many of them are lacking in that, and keep the criminals who are no danger to the public on the outside. There must be other forms of punishment for non violent criminals, like taking away their assets, i.e. cars, houses, bank balances, etc, which many would hate more than going to prison.

Another thing that's always bothered me is why one Judge or Magistrate will give one sentence, while others come to a completely different decision. A lottery without doubt!

Of course, we all know that a lack of common sense is something for which both the UK judicial and political systems are famous for!


Wizard said...

It has long been my view justice depends on which side of the bed the judge gets out of that morning.

hope4truth said...

Morning All

Have been away over the weekend and am recovering...

Justice in this country is a joke.

Did you read about the young man who was filmed putting lettuce up his nose and in his mouth and spitting it back into a container in a fast food place???

He said the lettuce was thrown away (and there as far as I know is no evidence to say it wasnt)...

It ended up on You Tube and a customer threw a chair at him when they recognised him (not sure what happend to them)...

Anyway a really revolting stupid imature silly pathetic daft thing to do with the lettuce and if it ended up in someones food very very wrong (but as far as I know it did not and was thrown out)...

The Judge said he could face jail but in the end gave him 300 hours of community service...

What this guy did was bloody stupid no doubt and he deserved to be sacked for it.

But when a child abuser gets a slap on the wrist as the girl he abused was wearing a short skirt or a mugger get's a £60 fine a Rapist is given a suspended sentence because his Mum told him to clean his room when he was 7 and raised her voice it makes 300 hours community service for what boils down to someone being a prat stupid...

No I would not want to eat anything this guy had made and it may affect trade (although as soon as it was pulled from you tube if he had been sacked would have soon been forgotton) but to gain a criminal record for shoving lettuce up his own nose when so many people get away with everything is so very wrong...

viv said...

Morning Hope, you are bright and early after your refreshing weekend.

If there is one thing that clearly does affect justice in this country it is the royal family.

On channel 4 catch up you can watch a programme called the Princess and the Gangster, John Bindon.


He had some very close and intimate relationships with Margaret including in Mustique and secret visits to Kensington Palace. But apart from the one side of his character which was funny and amusing he was a violent thug. Another upper class lady who was his long time girlfriend explained how she had scars from knife wounds he had inflicted on her.

The one night in a pub one of his mates got knifed but not fatally. He sprang up produced a large dagger and stabbed the man a number of times, killing him. Bindon said he had been approached by security services not to say a word about his relationship with Princess Margaret or else. When he was ultimately put on trial for murder the jury mysteriously acquitted him, even of manslaughter. Even though there was overwhelming evidence against him. This reminds me of how Paul Burrell's trial suddenly got stopped by the intervention of the Queen. If there is anything at all that is likely to come out that is bad about the royals they literally stop justice dead in its tracks.

I am not suggesting there is any link with royals in the Maddie case, just that, on occasions even a really murderous thug can get off, if it will keep him quiet!


viv said...

Oh Lol Hope

I have sussed it now!

Charles and Camilla wanted their own little girl and have adopted her, hence Gerry says he hopes she is being treated like a Princess!

I am surprised someone on 3 As did not think of this one, given his boat was in the area at the time!


nancy said...

Hi everyone -

Not much McCann news at the moment.

Does anyone know why there is no reporting lately on the McCann Files.

I ususally go there first to see what news there is but it seems to have come to a full stop!


viv said...

Hiya Nancy!

I think it has just come to a full stop, and we are just waiting for Gerry to make his next move:-)))

For reasons already outlined I do not think the British Press are going to have much to say, no more than Kate McCann seems to anymore.

In Portugal they have obviously moved on to more current news!

Rest assured if there is anything new to blog about I will post it up so that we can all have our twopennuth. There will be the Select Committee's findings at some stage, which one way or another, I am sure will prove controversial.

In a way it is a good thing because the weather is warming up and I want to get in my garden!

Justice for Maddie!


Di said...

Hi All

Overlooking the sea again, bliss.

Hi Viv

Thanks for reporting on being able to find out if there is a paedophile living in your area etc.,

I fully support this law however, a very good friend of ours went away on holiday a few months back and came home to PAEDO daubed over the front of his house.

Luckily his neighbours were very sympathetic and all helped to repaint the render with him. He reported the incident immediately to the Police who eventually informed him it was a case of mistaken identity, due to a similar name.

He has since moved house as it happened again during the night several days later.

To this day he has absolutely no idea who caused the damage and the police are not interested. This is my main concern, innocent people being targeted.

Di said...

Hi Hope

That story about the lettuce is disgusting but believe me when my son had a part time job in a restaurant, several years ago, his stories put me off eating out for ages. Never send a steak back if it is tough, it will get thrown on the floor and jumped on by many to make it more tender then served up as new. I kid you not.

bath theory said...

Do you think Gerry will be like the Austrian guy and hide behind an A4 blue ring binder in court?

PS Arsenal are back !!!

Wizard said...

Hi All,

It’s very quite – thanks Viv I know we can rely on you to post news as soon as it breaks. Great weather for gardening.

Di – where are you that you can see the sea?

BT -lol

viv said...

Hiya Di, How lovely to be back in Wales again by the sea! I have just been a walk in the woods and come back to put me feet up so it is nice to see a few more posts.

I think that is the problem in the UK, there are so many ignorant people about who just will take the law into their own hands. It must be a terribly difficult decision for authorities to decide how to give out information to protect others. The example you give highlights the dilemma and no totally innocent person deserves to suffer in that way. It must have been terrible to even have to move house because of it and suffer in that way.

Maybe the message needs to be put across just a little stronger that ordinary citizens must NOT take the law into their own hands and a warning what may happen to them if they do!

I know the police can be apathetic and there are clearly no easy answers. If you report your car damaged or phone stolen etc, they assume you just want a crime ref no!

I have sent steak back for being tough and I really hope to god that is not what they did with it

OMG that story about the lettuce, makes me think of Luke's experience at working at The Sandwich Factory, although that was years ago, he still has a morbid dislike of sandwiches!

BT, is that what that awful frizzel guy is doing! I will have to read up on that, sure I got his name wrong:-)))

It is my dream to see Gerry McCann in the Crown Court. Imagine those lovely artist impressions being on the News. I bet he would be wearing a scowl! It is very strange what has been happening in the last few months and it really does make me wonder, particularly with Kate no longer being at his side! I do hope she is getting some sensible advice from somewhere, even her mom would be a good start!

Wiz, dont just rely on me for the news, I rely on you all and you often beat me to it. Niki from Greece often used to break some good stuff but we have not heard from her for a while I hope she is OK. Atardi and Ecolab too!

One thing about the British Police, they do go after really nasty doctors who have committed serious crimes, there are numerous examples!


I am pleased our press are no longer reporting what nice people they are, even if it is only according to the Ludicrous One!

One thing, I did think, what person who was really confident he was in the clear and likely to be believed would need to go before a Select Committee flanked on either side by a press spinner and libel lawyer?

Many are writing how impressive Mosley was and he did not need anyone there to help him did he? But there again what he did pales into insignificance and did not involve harming defenceless little children.


viv said...

Found it thanks BT, one thing is for sure Gerry can no longer use the press as his defensive wall, he seems to be just be getting the aggression in first! Typical!

Josef Fritzl trial: the blue ringbinder

The folder the accused uses to hide his face from the cameras is 'not a prop provided by the court'

* Helen Pidd
* guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 17 March 2009 15.47 GMT
* Article history

Josef Fritzl hides his face again

Josef Fritzl hiding as he waits for his trial to continue in Austria. Photograph: Reuters

It has become the abiding image of the Josef Fritzl trial: the blue ringbinder folder the accused has used to hide his face from the cameras when he enters court.

Under Austrian law, defendants are permitted to take their own legal documents into the courtroom, and the blue ringbinder, made by office supply manufacturer Esselte, contains his personal legal papers.

Erich Huber-Günsthofer, the deputy head of the prison where Fritzl has been held since his arrest last April, has stressed that the folder was not provided by the courts as a prop, and Fritzl was legally entitled to carry it in whatever way he felt fit.

Close-up shots of papers contained within the folder show what appears to be a compensation claim from one of his daughters, Monika, who was born in the cellar in 1994. According to media reports, it referred to the cost of her mental health treatment — €63,672 (£59,000).

After the first day of the trial, Fritzl's lawyer Rudolf Mayer explained why his client used the ringbinder. "He was simply embarrassed," he said.

In response, Austria's Heute newspaper ran a headline saying: "25 years too late: Now he's ashamed".

The Austrian psychiatrist Reinhard Haller had a different explanation for the binder. "The disguise is deeply symbolic. The folder is like a wall, similar to those involved in his crimes," he said.

viv said...

This story of how Gerry McCann has even used these two stories to suggest that Madeleine may be a similar captive, being repeatedly raped, is just too repulsive for words. The man is totally sick!

Fritzl case proves long-term missing can re-emerge, say McCanns

* Haroon Siddique and Sadie Gray
* guardian.co.uk, Thursday 1 May 2008 16.44 BST
* Article history

Madeleine McCann on the day she disappeared

Madeleine McCann. Photograph: PA

The parents of Madeleine McCann today insisted they still believe their daughter is alive, and said the case of Josef Fritzl had shown them that even people missing for decades could re-emerge.

Kate and Gerry McCann were speaking as they began a new media campaign in the run-up to the first anniversary of their daughter's disappearance.

The couple had taken hope from the case of Elisabeth Fritzl, the Austrian woman whose father locked her in a cellar beneath his house for 24 years, and fathered seven children with her, said Gerry McCann.

McCann referred to Natascha Kampusch, the Austrian teenager found alive eight years after she was kidnapped by paedophile Wolfgang Priklopil.

"The last thing we would possibly ever want is for Madeleine to become a statistic, a missing child who because of her young age may grow up in another environment and never be recovered," he told Sky News.

He also attacked the "industry" which has sprung up around their plight since Madeleine disappeared from their apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on May 3.

"What happened over the last year was never sustainable and it led to a lot of rumour, myth, innuendo," he said. "There is too much of an industry surrounding it and not enough facts to sustain it."

Earlier the couple said during an interview with GMTV that it was possible only one piece of information might be all it takes to help find the missing four-year-old.

Gerry McCann said their ordeal since May 3 had been "almost unbearable", but that they had been helped through by their young twins, Sean and Amelie.

The McCanns said any parent would understand what they were going through and that they would "go to the ends of the earth" to find Madeleine.

"We're Madeleine's parents — if we're not there for her, who is?" Kate McCann told GMTV.

Her husband said there were nights when he thought "I don't want to wake up tomorrow", but added that they believed a lot could still be done.

"That person [the abductor] is still out there and will probably do this again," he said.

The McCanns responded to criticism that they should not have left Madeleine and her siblings alone while they dined with friends in a nearby tapas bar.

"Everybody parents in a different way … there's no right or wrong, it's just different," Kate McCann said.

"There's been an evil crime committed here, a hideous crime ... it's just so important to concentrate on that. We've got to live with ourselves for that misjudgment, but really the focus should be on that person who's out there."

She said she and her husband, who have not yet decided what to do to mark Saturday's anniversary, would never give up in the search for their daughter.

viv said...

How on earth could any parent "take hope" from the case of Elizabeth Frizl locked up and repeatedly raped by her own father for 24 years?

Gerry, not Kate, referring to both of those terrible cases.

Kate says some people just "parent" differently, that is something of an understatement!

In the Frizl case:

"Yesterday, Fritzl was questioned by the judge about his early years. He told the court he had had a miserable childhood with a mother who had not wanted him, and a father who was barely visible in his life. He said his mother had forbidden him to have any friends and had beaten him until he was 12, when he threatened to hit her back."

Unfortunately, he may well be telling the truth about this because some children who are treated as badly as this develop serious personality disorders and become abusers themselves. I have to wonder what made Gerry, John and Philomena like they are? And perhaps Kate too?

Wizard said...

I would have thought most people who find themselves in court are embarrassed if only because they have been found out. For 24 years he kept his daughter imprisoned, raped her 3000 times and did not speak to her for nearly a decade.

It never fails to amaze me how people like Fritzl think they can get away with it. I notice his wife has refused to give evidence in court – I am sure she was aware of what was going on so I suppose to be cross examined by the prosecution would be self incriminating. She really should be up in the dock with him she is a absolute disgrace.

No sentence passed on this man will be long enough imo.

viv said...

Hi Wiz

I think that is fair comment, how on earth could she not have known? It makes you wonder why the Austrian authorities have not prosecuted her also. I suppose it also kind of links in to what I have suggested about Kate, culpable but utterly controlled. What sort of husband must this man have been.

Another we have mentioned is Primrose Shipman. It seems quite impossible to me to imagine that your husband was killing so many people and it never even occurred to you. Just the sheer filth in their house that the police found suggests there was something terribly wrong with her also. Perhaps the women in these situations do get some sympathy?

viv said...

I have read that Frizl faces a minimum of 15 years which would seem an unreasonably light sentence but I expect he will get a lot more because there are a number of charges. Life should mean life for him and no doubt it will particularly given he is 73. I just cannot imagine how his poor daughter can ever be anything like normal again after what she has endured. Clearly the wife could have saved her from that.

There is something bizarre about women who allow such a situation to continue and do not do what they ought to have done, but it happens so many times. It is like their option to have free choice and a mind of their own is totally overriden by the person who is controlling them to such a degree. This does explain why many women are just too afraid to leave a violent man. He tells her you ever try to do that and I will kill you. Two women every week are killed in the UK by such men, almost always when they try to leave, because the man is losing the control he needs to have. They have very good reason to be in fear.

Wizard said...

One of the charges against Fritzel is “Coercion, maximum penalty five year, relating to the threats made against Elisabeth and her children should they attempt to escape. He pleads partially guilty.” Partially guilty sounds a bit like a woman being a little bit pregnant.

Di said...

Hi Viv

I listened to Jeremy Vine today regarding the Fritzl case. The gist was, why do lawyers take on cases where they know the client is obviously guilty. It was extremely interesting. Most lawyers feel obliged to take on guilty clients if they are trained in the area being dealt with. The fact that they turn a blind eye as to whether they regard their client guilty or innocent, is because every person is entitled to representation and their day in court for a fair trial.

I do agree with the law the way it stands. However, I would not like to be in any lawyers shoes who gets a client off the hook knowing they are guilty of a most dreadful crime.

How do they sleep at night, I know I could not.

Di said...

Off to watch tv, I will try and look back in, if not see you all tomorrow enjoy your evening.

Di said...


Sorry I missed your question, we are not far from Anglesey.

nancy said...

I think the Fritzl case is one of the most sickening I have ever come across. Fred West and his evil wife probably just pip him to the post!

That poor daughter - she must have been absolutely terrified and completely under the influence of her evil father not to have attempted to escape.

Again where were the authorities all those years?

Elizabeth's mother says she still has her pride left which is mind boggling. Just how she can say that when she must have known about the suffering of Elizabeth. She was obviously terrified of the evil monster too.

For the McCann's to say they draw hope from that case is breathtaking. How would anyone who had lost a child want to compare their own child's plight with that of Fritzl's daughter and still have hope?

What a bizarre thing to say, but then they are bizarre parents!

Night all!


viv said...

Hi Wiz

I guess the coercion is the sort of thing I was talking about. The terror this man must have instilled in his daughter and he children if they ever tried to escape.

Lawyers will sometimes draft a specific way that a client is prepared to admit the charge where the facts they are admitting to are not actually quite as bad as they really are, in an attempt to mitigate sentence. It does seem very artificial to me and I do not think it should be allowed!

Di, I think it is very difficult to be a criminal lawyer and sleep at night if you have any concern for victims, or indeed concern for offenders accepting responsibility for what they did and wanting them to try and change and be less of a danger to the public in the future when they are released, because most do get released at some stage. Shipman, West, Frizl etc are clearly the exception rather than the norm.

Whilst solicitors are allowed to pick and choose their clients, barristers are not. They operate the old cab rank rule which means you can only turn down a case if it would professionally embarrass you i.e. you do not have the requisite skills, knowledge or experience to properly deal with it. I am sure it takes a particular kind of person to represent murderers, rapists, child abusers etc. In Frizl case I do not think it is that he is pleading not guilty to any of the charges and his lawyer looks worried and upset to me. Many times a barrister on such a case is not trying to say they are innocent, they are merely trying to mitigate the sentence. But when you are representing someone so utterly vile as Fritzl it is clearly a thankless task and not likely to earn the lawyer many friends. In a way I think he is a brave man to take the job on, because I am sure there was no great queue for the job!

But many criminal QCs in UK love a dodgy case where the accused is probably guilty but the evidence is capable of challenge, as in Barry George. I think a lot of them do get a real kick out of winning such a case because it is so difficult. But personally, I would be so concerned about letting him back on the streets and the chance he may stalk and assault another woman. I know it cannot really be conclusively said that he is guilty but I think he is! Stalkers are very dangerous people fuelled by obsessions.

Hiya Nancy

I think that is the answer as to why women behave in this way, just sheer terror and years of being ground down so they cannot think of any way to escape or have the inclination to do so. I think it even happened to Kate McCann.

viv said...

Sometimes the best a barrister can do is just admit there is nothing he can say in mitigation, what an horrific case and of course he said he would help find her and he lied and lied..


Double killer gets life

Sharon's body was discovered stuffed in a cupboard at her home

A man who murdered his girlfriend in a frenzied attack with a pair of scissors and then shook and battered her two-year-old daughter to death has been given two life sentences.

The BBC's Sarah Brindle: "The murders shocked the Kensington community"
Thomas John Park probably stabbed young mother Sharon Lester after she discovered he had sexually abused her daughter Jade, the jury at Liverpool Crown Court was told.

[ image: Two-year-old Jade: Dumped in a bin-liner]
Two-year-old Jade: Dumped in a bin-liner
Park then wrapped the body of Jade, who was wearing just a pyjama top, in a bin bag he found in the kitchen and dumped it on waste ground, where it lay for a week.

Mr Justice Owen jailed 25-year-old Park for life for each murder, and sentenced him to three years, to run concurrently, for having indecently assaulted Jade.

He also said Park would go on the sex offenders' register indefinitely.

100 stab wounds

During the six-day trial the jury had heard that Park inflicted more than 100 stab wounds on 22-year-old Miss Lester, his girlfriend of just a few weeks.

Jade died after being shaken and battered around the head.

Mr Tim Holroyd QC, prosecuting, had told Park: "You indecently assaulted Jade didn't you? Sharon either caught you at it or heard about it. Sharon did not provoke you - she found you out.

"You did not kill her because you lost your self-control, you did it to finish her off and silence her. And whether you thought Jade could identify you, you killed her as well."

Stephen Riordan QC, defending, told the court that there was nothing he could say in mitigation.

But, he pointed out to the judge, Park was only 25, and had no previous convictions.

Park, an unemployed joiner of Jubilee Drive, Kensington, Liverpool, had denied murdering Miss Lester and Jade in December last year, and denied indecently assaulting Jade.

But he had admitted the manslaughter of Miss Lester on the grounds of provocation.

The jury of four men and eight women took just one hour to find Park guilty of all the charges.

'Justice' for family

Park, standing in the dock with his head bowed, showed no emotion as the verdicts were delivered.

Three women jurors sobbed as the verdicts were delivered, and members of Miss Lester's family shouted at Park from the public gallery.

Miss Lester's younger brother, Robert, said after the hearing: "I feel justice has been done. The family will never get over this, especially my mother, Dorothy. We will all live with this for the rest of our lives.

"It came out in court the type of person he is and we hope he rots in jail."

Detective Superintendent Russ Walsh said: "For any family to lose one member is terrible, to lose two generations in one fell swoop is horrendous.

"There was no need whatsoever for Jade to die. She posed no threat to anyone. The family have acted with dignity throughout and I would like to thank the investigating team for an excellent job."

Horrific discovery

The jury had heard how Park told a number of differing stories about how the pair died in the early hours of Sunday 13 December in Ling Street, Kensington, Liverpool.

Sharon's mother, Dorothy, called at the house a week after the killings, letting herself in.

She found the house in a state, and called on neighbour Suzanne Moran, who discovered Miss Lester's body in a cupboard beneath the stairs. Jade was nowhere to be seen.

Police launched an immediate search for Jade and for Park, who was found drunk a pub late that night.

Park told detectives he had not seen Miss Lester or her daughter since the previous Saturday, a position he maintained through several interviews.

He told officers he "would not dream" of hurting Jade and would help them find her.

But the next day he agreed to lead detectives to the youngster's body.

A post mortem examination showed that Jade died from several brutal punches or kicks to the head in a "sustained and deliberate attack", and had been sexually abused.

The jury had heard that Park repeatedly returned to the house in the week after the murders and took a number of things - including a ring he took from Miss Lester's body - which he then sold.

viv said...

How strange Mr Straw, I am sure it just means all our servicemen dying..full details of which they want to hush up, but wait until ..(!)

March 18, 2009
Final say for judges on private inquests
Frances Gibb, Legal Editor

A plan that would allow some sensitive inquests to be held in private is to be watered down after strong opposition from MPs, lawyers and civil libertarians.

Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, announced yesterday that he had tabled amendments to the Coroners and Justice Bill that would see the law allowing private inquests “significantly tightened” and the final decision given to a High Court judge.

The changes come after Mr Straw admitted when publishing the Bill in January that he was “not particularly comfortable” with the plan, which would apply to cases involving sensitive information that had implications for national security.

Yesterday he told MPs: “I am this afternoon tabling amendments fundamentally to recast these proposals.”
Related Links

* Straw under fire over 'secret' inquests Bill

* Uproar at plan to hold inquests in secret

He said that the criteria by which a minister could certify that the inquest should proceed without a jury would be “significantly tightened”. Approval by a minister would trigger consideration by a High Court judge sitting as coroner — a recommendation made by Lord Pannick, the human rights lawyer and crossbench peer, writing in The Times.

Mr Straw said: “It will then be for the judge, and not for the Secretary of State, to decide.”

viv said...

Now hang on a minute what do defences for murder have to do with this, (link stuck right in the middle of this article) is this The Times playing little tricks again, offering us a cryptic clue? It certainly would be a terrible blow for justice and civil liberties the nasty little toad, even relatives to be excluded, what a %$^$%$%

If I was a real conspiracy theorist I could have a field day here!


Jack Straw revives controversial plans to hold inquests in secret

By James Slack
Last updated at 1:52 AM on 14th January 2009

Jack Straw will bring back plans to hold some inquests in secret

Jack Straw will bring back plans to hold some inquests in secret

Jack Straw will today bring back controversial plans to hold some inquests in secret.

The proposal was dumped by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith last year, after defeat in the House of Lords.

But Justice Secretary Mr Straw will today unveil a new attempt to introduce the measure, as part of the Coroners and Justice Bill.

Ministers would be allowed to remove juries, relatives and the public from hearings in the interests of 'national security'.

Critics say it could have been applied to inquests on 'friendly-fire' military casualties or cases similar to the death of weapons expert Dr David Kelly, or Jean Charles de Menezes, shot by police after being mistaken for a suicide bomber.

Ministers say it is intended to stop sensitive information, such as details of phone-taps, becoming known.

They argue that it will be used in only a very small number of cases.

But when it was proposed as part of last year's Counter-Terrorism Bill, the Coroners' Society condemned the measure as a disgrace, saying the system could be abused to draw a veil over politically inconvenient cases.


* Jealousy no defence for killer husbands, but abused wives can escape a murder charge

Pressure group Inquest said the proposals would give unprecedented powers to the Secretary of State.

The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights also attacked the proposals, as did the Tories and Liberal Democrats, who are likely to once again voice strong concerns.

LibDem spokesman David Howarth said: 'To allow inquests to be held in secret, with coroners hand-picked by the Government, would be another nail in the coffin of civil liberties.'

viv said...

Right on Sister Harriet!!

Jealousy no defence for killer husbands, but abused wives can escape a murder charge

By James Slack and Steve Doughty
Last updated at 7:54 AM on 14th January 2009

* Comments (39)
* Add to My Stories

Freed: Sara Thornton

Freed: Sara Thornton

Husbands who kill cheating wives in a so-called crime of passion will no longer be able to claim they were provoked, ministers will say today.

Stripping husbands of the right to claim that infidelity was the spur for their actions means they will face a charge of murder, rather than manslaughter.

But women who kill abusive partners in cold blood could escape a murder conviction if they prove they feared more violence.

The most sweeping changes to murder laws in 50 years are part of the Government's controversial Coroners and Justice Bill, to be published today.

Women who kill violent partners will be punished for the lesser offence of manslaughter, sparing them a mandatory life sentence. They must establish only that they were responding to a 'slow burn' of abuse.
Enlarge Graphic

The change sweeps aside the existing requirement in any defence of provocation that they killed on the spur of the moment after a 'sudden' loss of control.

But, in cases where a husband kills, the existing 'partial defence' of provocation if a wife was having an affair is scrapped altogether. The move means that the law will no longer recognise adultery as a 'serious wrong'.

Currently, men can escape a murder conviction because a provocation plea allows them to be tried instead for manslaughter.

Ministers say the law needs reform because it allows men to 'get away with murder'.

Harriet Harman, the minister for women, said: 'For centuries the law has allowed men to escape a murder charge in domestic homicide cases by blaming the victim.

'Ending the provocation defence in cases of "infidelity" is an important law change and will end the culture of excuses.'

Provocation will be scrapped as a defence altogether, and be replaced with two partial defences - that a person feared they could be the victim of serious violence, or could prove they had been 'seriously wronged' by the victim's actions.

The fear of further serious violence offers specific protection to women victims of domestic attacks. They will be able to claim they were responding to a 'slow burn' of abuse.

Equally controversial is allowing a person to claim they killed because they had been 'seriously wronged' by a person's actions or insults.


* Jack Straw revives controversial plans to hold inquests in secret

Beneficiaries of this change may include those who strike out after long and bitter disputes with neighbours, or victims of a serious crime - such as rape - who are taunted at a later date by the attacker.

Instead of receiving a mandatory life sentence for murder, they too could escape with a manslaughter conviction.

But the 'seriously wronged' clause is expected to make a special exemption for infidelity.

Ministers have said sexual 'jealousy' should no longer be used as a defence under any circumstances.

Erin Pizzey, the women's rights campaigner, has attacked the plans. She said: 'I'm appalled by it, because I think "thou shalt not kill" has been with us since the time of Moses.

'It's so important that we don't in any way upset the concept that to kill another human being is the most terrible thing you can do.'

The new murder rules follow a report from the Government's legal advisers, the Law Commission, which paid deep attention to the claims of feminists that women who kill violent husbands or boyfriends are too harshly treated.

But Robert Whelan of the Civitas think-tank said: 'The Government is making some people more equal than others before the law. It seems some lives are worth more than others.'

Researcher and author on families and the law, Patricia Morgan said: 'They are differentiating between victims. They are saying some groups have excuses because they fall into a different category.'

Mrs Morgan added: 'It seems that women have excuses and men don't.'

viv said...

I believe it was this awful case that stirred Harriet, as it did me at the time and I too thought it was a law for men that they can suddenly in a moment of rage claim they were provoked and get away with manslaughter but a woman who has suffered terrible domestic violence and has a slow burn of rage until she finally retaliates gets a murder rap. This was not fair, but Sara Thornton was actually a nutter IMO, known to be just as much of a violent drunk as her hubby. I do not think they should have let her out!

Unfortunately however, the court did not actually hold that Kiranjit was provoked, instead preferring to call her mad to order her release, but at least she got out. Now I think Harriet is getting the law change she has wanted for years. Women still deserve to be punished, the law cannot condone taking the life of another, but not with a life sentence.

(from website of Southall Black Sisters who supported her)

Kiranjit Ahluwalia (1990-1992)
The One Year Rule campaign (current)
Zoora Shah (current)
The Forced Marriage campaign (current)

Kiranjit Ahluwalia

printable page
This was our first case in which we supported and campaigned on behalf of a battered woman who had killed her husband. (click on image to view full campaign poster)

Kiranjit Ahluwalia, an Asian woman, set fire to her husband Deepak in May 1989 after suffering his brutality for 10 years. She was charged with murder and imprisoned for life.Her tariff was 12 years. It was at the request of her probation officer that we initially got involved. At the time, she had been advised by the legal team who represented her at trial that there were no grounds for appeal. Initially we provided ancillary support - helping to transfer the custody of her two children from her mother-in-law to her sister.

We felt strongly that a miscarriage of justice had occurred. We sought the assistance of a lawyer, Rohit Sanghvi, who without the benefit of legal aid, agreed to support us through the arduous process of assessing whether there were any grounds for appeal. We embarked on a lengthy exercise of getting a detailed statement from her which we hoped would provide the fresh evidence on the basis of which we could lodge an appeal. Rohit Sanghvi also felt that the trial judge may have misdirected the jury on a section of the law. We were given leave to appeal in September 1991 on the basis of the misdirection ground. At the appeal in July 1992 which was presided over by the then Lord Chief Justice, Taylor, the defence argued both provocation and diminished responsibility, both partial defences to murder. Although the Appeal Court judges rejected provocation, they made a significant concession in the way in which provocation had been traditionally interpreted. They accepted the notion of cumulative provocation, which was an important plank in the defence of most battered women, and also accepted that the period of time which lapsed between an act of provocation and the defendant's response was not necessarily a cooling down period but could be seen as a boiling over period. However, Kiranjit won her appeal on the grounds of diminished responsibility. In the course of our investigation we had discovered a psychiatric report that had been commissioned by her original team but had not been produced at her trial. The report clearly stated that she had suffered from endogenous depression at the material time. A retrial was ordered. However, the Crown commissioned its own psychiatric reports and decided to accept her plea on the basis of diminished responsibility. Kiranjit Ahluwalia was released in September 1992, three years and three months after she had first entered prison to scenes of jubilation from the large number of supporters who had gathered outside the court.

Alongside the legal campaign, we had mobilised public opinion in our own communities and in the wider community through public meetings, pickets, demos and media coverage. Kiranjit became a household name. For us, it was also a high point of feminist activity in the nineties. This case received support from unexpected quarters within the community and did much to raise awareness of domestic violence and to understand the plight of women trapped in such situations.

'PROVOKED: The story of Kiranjit Ahluwalia' is now available as a book from Southall Black Sisters. It was previously published under the title 'Circle of Light', and has recently been made into a film.

viv said...

From the Guardian "McCanns convinced Madeleine still alive" June 2007 as they release balloons on her 50 day missing anniversary event. Recently proclaimed by Clarence Mitchell to be such a naff thing to do. How curious Gerry wanted a wider debate on child abuse and how to prevent it. Well just for starters Gerry, how about not insisting to your wife it is OK to leave crying little kids home alone, because actually that is child abuse. Without even mentioning your mate David Payne. "We and other families face in similar situations", well do not get worrying about what the real victim is facing, if you as you claim you take hope from the fact she may be held captive and being raped. There is only one thing this git should face! Oh and where is this campaign about "wider child abuse issues". Did he feel this was no longer "politically correct". Better just start on the press who in this article he was really praising. Shame it all went wrong, Gerry! Oh and he wanted to cash in and do a song as well, I never read that one before, leave no stone unturned in grabbing the cash, but that all stopped as well. Somehow I just hope, he is going to get what is coming to him without having to listen to one more word of his sickening tripe and smirking sneers.


On his blog, Mr McCann wrote that the campaign to find Madeleine would be widened to include broader child abuse issues.

"We are very keen to see more debate on issues that we and other families in similar situations have to face," he said. "Child abuse is a taboo subject still in many countries, and we must encourage responsible debate around how child abuse can be prevented."

The McCanns also said they were considering releasing a cover version of Bryan Adams' hit song (Everything I Do) I Do It For You to raise money for their campaign.

"That song best reflects how Kate and I feel emotionally, and how determined we are to continue searching for Madeleine," he told Sky News.

Wizard said...

Good Morning,

It’s just being reported (BBC1) that Fritzel has now changed his plea to guilty on all charges.

viv said...

Hi Wiz and thanks for that.

It was obvious he was going to be found guilty on the remaining two anyway! All he did was annoyed the judges a bit more!

I am sure his daughter was probably not told anyway, hopefully, to have caused her any more distress. They are being cared for away from the press in a psychi unit I think.

Let us hope he gets about 50 years!


nancy said...

Wizard - Viv

Not that I believe in judgement without trial, but this ogre is so obviously guilty, and he's admitted it, it's a shame there has to be a trial which will of course line the lawyers' pockets while draining valuable tax money that could be used to help vulnerable children who are being abused and ill treated in Austria right now, as sure as eggs is eggs!

nancy said...

Viv -

I'm sure that Jack Straw and many who have unsavoury skeletons in the cupboard, including a few of those in the government, would love to be able to keep highly emotive information that shows some of them up for what they are away from the public eye!

In other words he wants to do something similar to GM and CM - stifle information.

Gerry McCann had the gall to say at that McCann friendly meeting the other day:

"All of us would expect in our walks of life, in the jobs that we do, that when you get something so badly wrong, so often, with potentially serious consequences, someone should be held to account"

Pot, kettle, black.....

PS. I can't stand Harriet Harman but she is right there for a change!


viv said...

Hiya Nancy

I think it is a form of justice for this case to receive judicial consideration in court and then for an appropriate sentence to be pronounced.

Unfortunately the human rights of Frizl himself meant that his lawyer was allowed to cross examine the witnesses which for his daughter and son must have caused greater trauma. Although video link was used as we do in the UK. They obviously were not required to face Frizl again.

In certain civil proceedings in the UK, a litigant can apply for summary judgment without any trial. E.g. when someone has absolutely no defence to owing money etc.

But, in a criminal case, the accused is always entitled to a trial. The Austrians have circumvented the trial process to just a few days, whereas in the UK this case would probably have gone on for weeks. So, I think, they have balanced the fact this man was caught with his own children as his prisoners red handed and his human rights to have a trial.

I just hope his lawyer and Frizl himself can take comfort in the fact they caused even greater trauma by seeking to deny the murder of the twin baby and enslavement.

Sometimes it can be very hard to understand why the law should consider the rights of people who behaved in such an atrocious way, but I suppose the alternative is to go back to the dark old days when people were just tortured and executed without any semblance of a fair trial. I think that would be a retrograde step. But it cannot be denied that the trial process itself is another trauma the victims have to endure. Although it can also be said it means they can be certain they have achieved justice and that can be a very powerful thing in the healing process, once they can put that trial behind them and no the person who has tortured them is paying the price for that.

In UK I am sure this man would just get a sentence that said life, means life, not out on parole in 12 years or whatever. I would imagine Austria will do something similar or give him such a sentence that inevitably means he will die in prison, where he belongs, in a cell just like he did with his own children, although of course not tortured and kept in filthy conditions with no normal comforts or means of ever escaping from a cell just 6' high.

The only thing we can say about this case is that it just shows how utterly depraved some human beings can be.


nancy said...

Viv -

'Everything I do'

I wonder who was going to do the cover version - surely not Clarence!!

What about "If I was a rich man"!

You couldn't make it up could you!

I wonder just how much they have really made from their attempts to leave no stone unturned!

Madeleine deserved so much more but she has just been used as a meal ticket (for so many) at the end of the day!



viv said...

Hi Nancy

I think what Jack Straw is proposing makes a mockery of transparent and accountable justice and particularly for the victims family to attend an inquest and to know the facts of how their loved one died.

One of the excuses given for this is to preserve our relationships with other countries. I think it should be made clear to other countries that sometimes the need for proper justice, where the public can see justice has been done outweighs those considerations. We should not be beholden to the US for example in continuing to try and cover or excuse the behaviour of Tony Blair in waging an unlawful and terrible war against Iraq where countless thousands of innocent Iraq's died and for those who survived still continue to suffer the sacking of their own country.

It also raises the spectre this process could be used in Madeleine's case if there was evidence that she was dead. I am pleased the Lords and other MPs continue to stand against this. If there are difficult issues raised in an Inquest that would damage a criminal trial it can just be adjourned until after the criminal case, when inevitably it is found the criminal case itself was more than satisfactory in explaining matters and then there is no need for an Inquest.

nancy said...

Viv -

I hope Fritzl rots in prison and never sees the light of day again and that his life is made as unbearable as his daughter's was by the other inmates.

Of course it was right he had to go and stand before that Court and see just what the lawyers and the public think of his inhuman behaviour. I hope he felt shame when his dastardly deeds were read out but I don't somehow think he did.

As you so rightly say, there are some really depraved people in this world, but nine times out of ten they get their come uppance in the end thankfully! The wheel turns as they say.

He said he was abused by his Mother and that may well have been true, but whereas some people would learn a lesson from that and make sure they didn't make others suffer as they did, others just go on to perpetuate the crime unfortunately.

I can't imagine the suffering of his daughter throughout those years - it just doesn't bear thinking about.


viv said...

Hiya Nancy

It is clear isn't it that Gerry used every sickening tool in his box, to turn Madeleine into a Diana figure and get the cash tills ringing.

The song more honestly would have been Everything I do, I do for me and sod Madeleine!

Harriet Harman does not always come across as such a noble creature but in regognising how badly women are abused and how we need a law that understands this, she just has to be commended. Also in supporting the Southall Black Sisters. How black and Asian women are treated is a different issue to how white westernised women are treated and does need special understanding of the cultural issues of opression that are used in that often the whole family turn against the woman and it is considered dishonourable to speak out against the most terrible abuse.

Sometimes we do need to positively discriminate in favour of one group so that their special needs are catered for.

But Harriet Harman is not just supporting the Southall Black Sisters, she is supporting all women and recognising domestic abuse cuts across all races and levels of society and that is almost invariably the women who is being abused by the man.

viv said...

Hiya Nancy

You make a good point that many children who have been physically, emotionally and sexually abused as children, do not grow up to be psychopathic abusers themselves. They grow up to be some of the best examples of human beings who have deep empathy and understanding for the suffering of others.

Just why some grow up to be like Frizl I just do not think we yet understand.


viv said...

Wiz, do you think this is a murder case, or a very sad suicide? I hope they locate this mystery man to find out.

Bodies Of Woman And Girl Found In Lake

1:51pm UK, Wednesday March 18, 2009

Police have found the bodies of a woman and a young girl in a lake in Gloucestershire


The bodies - found at the back of a house near Cirencester - have yet to be formally identified.

Officers had been searching for Jude Richmond and her disabled nine-year-old daughter Millie Whitehead-Richmond.

They were last seen at their house in South Cerney, near Cirencester, at 6.30pm on Sunday.

Police believe Mrs Richmond, 41, who runs a floristry business with clients who include royalty and celebrities, was vulnerable and possibly depressed.

In a TV appeal, her former partner Neil Whitehead, 54, from London, said he thought Mrs Richmond may have gone to a secluded place.

He said he was worried that she had not taken any of Millie's walking aids.

He described his daughter Millie as a "very engaging character" who is "funny and has a fantastic relationship with her mum".

He said he saw Millie two weekends a month and said he understood Mrs Richmond was having issues with her marriage.

But when he spoke to her the day before she went missing, she was "calm and sensible".

Police have carried out searches along Mrs Richmond's favourite walks and specialist divers were investigating a nearby lake.

A mystery man was seen with Mrs Richmond and Millie on Sunday with his arms around her affectionately.

He is white, in his 40s, around 6ft tall, of large build and with broad shoulders with dark blond spiky hair.

bath theory said...

But Gerry likes blue tennis bags to put things in so why not a blue ring binder to hide things behind, dark things, very dark things probably

Di said...

Hi All


Beautiful day here today, everyone we met had a smile on their face it lifts the spirits.

Thank you for the articles last night regardng the Barristers etc., very interesting reading.

Have you seen this topic on 3A's regarding TB's book


I wonder if this will be taken further.

Wizard said...

Hi Viv,

Well we are told that Mrs Kingston was vulnerable and depressed with problems within her marriage. Her husband was away in Australia so she was on her own with her disabled daughter. The bodies have been found in a lake at the back of her home. I would have thought this not ideal for a suicide bid but I suppose it depends how big the lake is and how desperate the person. I think it is probably suicide but the mother was last seen on Sunday with the arms of 40 year old man around her who subsequently has not come forward. So I suppose we will have to wait for the post-mortem to be sure.

Very sad which ever way you look at it.

Wizard said...

If Mrs Kingston did kill herself and her daughter I find it strange. At the time of a suicide the person is not in their right mind so logical behaviour cannot be expected. By virtue of the depression that causes the suicidal act the individual is very self-absorbed and cannot see the larger picture, but I can never understand parents who attempt suicide and take their children with them. Presumably because they believe it is better for the child to die than be in the care of others. I still find this very strange but I suppose that is because I always think even in bad times things will eventually get better.

Di said...

Hi Wizard

Your last paragraph- even in bad times things will eventually get better.

That is something I have always told my children. Whenever a door closes a window will always open.

I will admit, sometimes you have to search very hard for that open window, but it is always there. Perhaps it is not visible at first because it is not the window you are looking for.

Eventally you will be able to see the window as an opportunity to greater things, you just have to open your mind.

I am a great believer in this.

Off to watch Corrie.

Wizard said...

Hi Nancy & Viv,

It’s interesting that abused children do not normally grow up to be abusers themselves like Fritzel. I suspect it’s not just the fact that they have been abused that turns them into an abuser – it’s some extra dimension in their personality combined with their experience of abuse which triggers off the behaviour. Low self esteem and the power of control over others comes to mind.

Wizard said...

Very wise words Di and something we should all remember.

viv said...

Hiya Di

I am glad you found the articles interesting. Sometimes it is difficult to know whether what I find interesting actually interests other people!

I have read the 3 As thread about the continuing conduct of TB and to be completely frank I think it is an unmitigated disaster in terms of Justice for Maddie.

He is focussing purely on the findings of Eddie and Keela rather than far more damning evidence in the case against Kate, Gerry and others, to continue to insist that Madeleine died in that apt and we should remember her in some way, acknowledge that she is dead. He also focussed on the theories of Goncalo Amaral.

The Portuguese Attorney General was not able to place any credence on any of this to suggest that Madeleine definitely died. We only have one third of the PJ evidence and British Authorities will not release their findings at all, and tell us there is very much an ongoing investigation where they wish to learn what exactly what happened to Madeleine. Goncalo Amaral was removed from the investigation and we were told Rebelo was conducting a root and branch review and going back to the kidnapping theory. Mrs Justice Hogg announced that she still hoped Madeleine could be found. She had access to all the highly confidential police investigations that had been carried out.

I find it very odd to say the least that at a time when Gerry McCann is himself targeting MPs looking for sympathy, TB is also targetting them and speaking only of a discredited theory rather than highlighting some very damning evidence against the McCanns to demonstrate their involvement in her disappearance. In my opinion, what he is going to achieve is more sympathy for Kate and Gerry in that they are the target of vigilantes with a pretty vivid imagination and who simply cannot accept what senior legal personnel have said.

Why do these people not think of the hue and cry in Jersey with Eddie and Keela brought in. This positive reporting there were childrens' bodies being found. Again, that is simply not true, the reality is that scores of children were sexually and physically abused but there is no more evidence there of any dead children than there was in PDL.

viv said...

Hiya Wiz

What almost invariably comes out in abusers, whether they be wife beaters, child abusers, murderers or often a combination of the three is that they need to have power and control over people.

Again, almost invariably when you look back into their childhood, it seems that need to have control is a form of protection that they are never going to let go of. It stems from when they were vulnerable little children who were being abused and controlled by some adult abuser. Their coping mechanism is to learn to switch off normal human emotions and feelings of love towards others, something they never actually learned and determine that when they are adults themselves they will be the controller, never again will they be controlled. They had so much misery being controlled as children that the only way they can feel pleasure as adults is when they are manipulating and controlling and seeing others suffer, rather than themselves.

viv said...

Hi Wiz, I agree it is also to do with low self-esteem because when they were little they never had that feeling of being loved and wanted, the feeling that a child in a normal home is given. To their parents they are an object of abuse, something to take their frustrations out on, someone who they can say I wish you had never been born etc.

I think this does explain why being in control and having all the trappings of control and admiration are so important. The need for fame, wealth, public adulation etc and being in a job where they can control others. As my sister sat there and said the other night, even though she is a teacher herself, typical professions chosen are teacher, doctor, policeman, nurse, or aspiring to managerial rank and then making other peoples lives a misery at work! The look on Shoesmith's face kind of says it all, I think!

Gerry just completely fits the m.o. and not all of his siblings are like him, I do not think, just two of them and maybe they are not quite so bad! The two he chose to repeatedly phone, he knew they understand him.


viv said...

Dr Heidi Kastner, Forensic Psychiatrist to Frizl gives a fascinating interview to Jeremy Paxman, explaining that Frizl is not mad, he is a very disturbed personality stemming from childhood abuse by his mother, and finally he had to confront the reality of how his daughter viewed the relationship he imposed upon her.

Gerry speaks of this case and Kampusch and states he takes comfort from such cases in holding a belief that Madeleine may still be alive and can be recovered. But then he also talks of there being absolutely no evidence that she has come to any harm. This IMO is an example of extremely distorted thinking and just like Frizl, one who simply will not face the reality of what he has inflicted on his own daughter.

AT 21.33


viv said...

Jeremy Paxman terrifies the BBC High Command, the British Public love him. He thinks Alistair Campbell's remarks are CRAP and he frequently asks himself the question:

"why is this lying bastard lying to me?"

Am I one of his fans? Yes, of course!

Fascinating insight:


Wizard said...

Morning All,

A interesting article from Joana Morais this morning - well the gauntlet has been thrown down will Gerry pick it up - I doubt it.

19 March 2009
Texan’s Million Dollar Challenge to father of Missing British Girl, Madeleine McCann

The McCann Million Dollar Challenge

Austin, TX - Texan businessman, Tom Franks, has offered to donate a million dollars towards the Find Madeleine Fund, a company set up by the parents of missing British girl Madeleine McCann.

Austin, TX - Texan businessman, Tom Franks, has offered to donate a million dollars towards the Find Madeleine Fund, a company set up by the parents of missing British girl Madeleine McCann. Madeleine was three-years-old when she disappeared from her vacation apartment in Praia- da-Luz, Portugal in May 2007.

Tom Franks, who shares his time between Texas and L.A., said, “I will give the parents a million dollars if they can answer just one question. I will need to see evidence, either forensic evidence, witness evidence or strong circumstantial evidence that shows the man they want us to believe took their child probably did. If they publish compelling evidence that a man seen by a tourist before they arrived in Portugal, was "Madeleine‘s probable abductor," as they claim on their website, I will gladly give them a million dollars to help find that man.”
Franks explained why he had decided to make his offer to Mr.and Mrs, Mccann. "Justice has to be seen to take place for an innocent child. We must defend and protect children, even if it is difficult for others." He added that he "could not understand why they want us to believe a particular man took their child, when there has never been any evidence released that suggests that is the case and when the man has never been suspected by the police. It is important that when a child goes missing those responsible for that child tell the truth so that justice can prevail. I am happy to give the McCanns a million dollars to track down this man, if there really is credible evidence that he probably abducted Madeleine."

Franks' million dollar offer can be seen at: http://mccannmilliondollarchallenge.webs.com

The Pledge

My million dollar challenge to Gerry McCann

A reminder of some facts:

1/ A woman called Gail Cooper was on vacation in Portugal before you even arrived there. She says she saw a man collecting money for charity. Does that make him a child abductor? No. She says she saw a man on the beach when it was raining. Does that make him a child abductor? No. She says the man gave her the "creeps" because of the way he looked. Does that make him a child abductor? No. It means she might need to get out more, but no reason to believe he had anything to do with Madeleine.

2/ One of your vacation chums, Jane Tanner, states she did not see the face of the man she conveniently claims she saw, so I am not going to have you tell me she saw the same man Gail Cooper saw. She plainly would not know if it was the same man, if she had seen the face.

3/ On your website you display two pictures of the man your pal conveniently claims she saw and two pictures of the other man Mrs. Cooper says she saw.

You clearly want all of us to think the man Mrs. Cooper saw is the same as the one your vacation pal claims she saw and you want us to believe he is "Madeleine's probable abductor."

My Challenge

I challenge you to produce compelling evidence that shows Mrs. Cooper's man probably abducted Madeleine. I need either forensic evidence, very strong circumstantial evidence or witness evidence. I don't think you have evidence to prove that Mrs. Cooper's man probably abducted your daughter. You also have no evidence the man your vacation buddy conveniently claims she saw probably abducted Madeleine.

I think it is something you invented and you knowingly had a lie published on your website. Don't pretend you are unaware it is on your website. What parent with a lost child would not look at their own website designed to find their child? I think you are a liar. A controlling man like yourself would know fully well what is on your website.

If I am wrong and you can provide the forensic, strong circumstantial or witness evidence to substantiate your claim that the man probably abducted Madeleine, I will donate $1,000,000 to your fund. You can use that to pay your mortgage in full and take another vacation. Hopefully you will come back this time with as many children and you leave with.

You can either accept my challenge and publish the evidence on your website or decline my challenge and remove your lies from your website. The choice is yours, but the longer your lies remain on your website the more people will become aware you are a liar.

If you cannot accept my challenge, others will ask why not. Others will ask why you have lied. Why have you pretended to the public a man probably abducted Madeleine when you have no evidence to support that claim?

Others will know you are a liar. Others will wonder why you lied. I can only think of one reason why you would lie, because you want to create a smokescreen, a diversion from what really happened.

You are collecting money from the public on your website based on the claim that Mrs. Cooper's man probably abducted Madeleine. If you cannot substantiate that claim and it transpires you have lied, you had better pay every cent back to those you have taken money from, because that would make you both a thief and a liar.

Tom Franks 03/18//09

nancy said...

Hiya Wizard -

Thanks for posting that offer from Tom Franks - he certainly has a point don't you think?

In other words, put up, or shut up!

I can't see them taking him up on it somehow though - they know he's got them sussed and they haven't a hope in hell of picking up that million dollars!


nancy said...

Hello Di,

Thanks for the link to the 3A's article.

I can see the logic of what Viv is saying but I also have to confess that I go along with those who think TB is trying, in his own way, to get justice for Madeleine by bringing the obvious lies and cover up into the public domain and especially to those who only see the McCanns with rose coloured spectacles.

At the end of the day, he is in the position of trying to get the truth out there which is more than we can do on here, as hard as we try.

I cannot understand why the authorities are still allowing the Madeleine Fund to exist where it is obviously fraudulent and those running it doing absolutely nothing to find Madeleine with all the money they are raking in.

Just what are those so called top class private detectives actually doing. Let's face it we haven't had a 'sighting' since they took over, so they can't be expending that much time and energy!

Why didn't Gerry McCann say exactly what they are doing to find Madeleine when he was in the public eye last week? All he said was they are working incredibly hard behind the scenes! Doing what exactly?


nancy said...

Viv -

I agree - Jeremy Paxman is so watchable. He makes some of those obviously lying b......s cringe, just like he did GM!

I love his expressions when some of the obviously brain challenged students on University Challenge score lower than many would at the local comprehensive!


Di said...

Hi All


I do find the articles very interesting, especially regarding the law.

As regards to TB I am not sure what to think. I am very concerned though, that you think his actions could jeopardize any trial. That would be a truly tragic outcome for justice for Maddie.

What I don't understand though, is TB has given the McCanns and Carter Ruck every chance to contact him to say his book is packed with untruths, a threatening letter would have been enough, but nothing, why?

Di said...

Hi Wizard

That is a great challenge from Tom Franks, even if it is a bluff it does not matter, he makes a very good point. I think his money is safe though.

Di said...

Hi Nancy

I think the fact that a BBC local news sation commented on the 60 reasons book is incredible. One thing for sure the people watching will be intrigued enough to want to see a copy. I think it was Newperson on 3A's who has just received her copy said, she was amazed about how much information was actually in the book, she sounded rather impressed. I am just worried about Viv's concerns about a fair trial.

Gorgeous day here again today, I do hope you are all enjoying the sunshine.

Di said...

Hi Viv

Just a thought probably stupid. If LP are still investigating the McCann's and Tapas could they not contact TB and ask him to pull back, or does tht sort of thing not happen.

viv said...


Thanks very much for the million dollar challegenge from Tom Franks which I really enjoyed reading and is exactly the sort of publicity that will seriously embarrass Kate and Gerry and make the public sit up and take notice again.

Legal advice to prime suspects in such a case would always be just completely ignore it. If you engage in any sort of way you are legitimating the claims that are made.

Mr Franks is far cleverer than Tony Bennett and far more honest too. At no stage does he bother to suggest the McCanns actually killed Madeleine, he goes for the correct approach establishing that they are liars.

I think any intelligent person would have to look at this situation and agree that there are many other things the McCanns could have done with Madeleine other than kill her and dispose of her in the bizarre way that was originally suggested before Goncalo got taken off the case.

What the McCanns are after is the battle for public opinion and sympathy. It is in their interests to play along with people who just want to pursue a discredited theory. Then they can say look how they persecute us with this rubbish and MPs would obviously have to agree.

What TB is putting into the public domain is not the facts of this case at all. He is putting out his own judgmental opinion of where the supposed evidence takes him that no rational solicitor could ever do. He is being sensational, rather than analytical. Intelligent people are going to look at that 60 reasons book, compare it with what they know, and dismiss it as a load of rubbish. This has the effect of making it more likely the McCanns are the ones who are talking common sense. He is completely diverting people from what the McCanns really did and I am sure that suits Gerry just fine.

We should remember that in the Lubbock case which TB also seriously interfered in, at the end of the day, there was no justice.

The main comfort I take from all of this is that the real evidence in this case is under wraps and that although TB may have the effect of convincing the public he is no more than a vigilante who is harassing the McCanns, he does not actually have the raw material to seriously impede justice. What he is doing is getting MPs and the public to either accept a false view of reality or worse still play into Gerry McCanns hands. In the case of educated MPs I very much doubt they are going to accept what he says. What they are far more likely to do, is either not comment, or state that they do not believe the McCanns. They will certainly not state that they believe what Tony Bennett is saying, they killed Madeleine etc.

viv said...

Di, I think the Police would strenuously avoid giving TB any sort of feedback at all, because they know that if they did, he would publish it on 3 As, to the press etc.

However, if they feel he is seriously interfering in justice or harassing the McCanns etc, they may well decide to arrest him.


Wizard said...

Hi Viv,

I was just reading that Fritzl was found guilty of all charges today but won’t spend a day in prison. He will spend the rest of his days in a psychiatric facility – not prison. I thought yesterday the psychiatrist said he was not mad.

Do you think this is why he changed his plea to guilty of all charges – he plea bargained?

viv said...

Hi Wiz

In UK being committed to Broadmoor for life can actually be a lot worse than prison.

It may be he would wish to give the impression he did such terrible things because he is mad, rather than bad.

In UK we do now attempt to treat people with dangerous personality disorder. It is all bit academic with him really. Certainly prior to that they were just sent to prison on the basis they were not mad, knew what they were doing and suffer from an untreatable personality disorder.

It does seem a bit of a blow to justice that he should get treatment rather than punishment. Particularly given the nature of his terrible crimes and his age/ fact he can never be released, i.e. what is the point of giving him treatment?

Psychiatrists obviously have sympathy for someone like him because they can attribute a cause as to why he behaved like that.

If Gerry is left to parent the twins, what is to say he will not produce a couple of facsimiles?

Di said...

Hi Viv

Good point about TB, he would publish it.

Wizard said...

“If Gerry is left to parent the twins, what is to say he will not produce a couple of facsimiles?”

A chilling thought Viv.

nancy said...

Viv and Di -

Let's be completely honest about this. If TB's views had never been seen or heard there would still be an outcry of unfair trial by the McCanns if they were ever charged.

He is not the only one to have put into print his views about what happened to Madeleine after all. Many of us on the WWW have been doing just that for almost two years now.

I'm sure the McCanns and their pals, as well as millions of others, read all the opinions to the media when posts were allowed on there, and I'm also sure they would not fail to mention that in any trial, as they along with CM have done already.

The McCann's scored an own goal as far as publicity is concerned when leaping onto the world wide media bandwagon and I would think any jury would challenge them on any suggestion of an unfair trial after their gargantuan attempt at fame and money for the fraudulent Fund.

I don't know TB from Adam but after seeing him sitting behind GM and CM and that fatcat lawyer, and how extremely uncomfortable the three of them looked, I'm sorry, but I'm not going to say it didn't make my day!


viv said...

Hiya all

Wiz, yet it is a chilling thought and as we know the cycle of abuse just passes from one generation to another. I do not think I can remember one single domestic violence offender who did not admit he had those attitudes towards women because he had seen his own father verbally and physically abusing his own mother. This seems to particularly affect male children. I really hope that there is sufficient evidence ultimately for the CPS to decide that they can press charges because the alternative is little Sean and Amelie will be brought up in the most terrible home atmosphere that is definitely going to have a serious adverse affect on them. Particularly when they get older and start to learn the truth about their own parents.

I just cannot really imagine what the atmosphere in that home must be like for them. But I have a picture of Kate being constantly upset, poring over police files and wondering when they will be arrested/grieving for Madeleine and Gerry reacting to all of this with aggressive and loud unpleasantness where very typically he can only think of himself because he has a total lack of empathy for what he is doing to other people around him.

There seems to be just as much of a battle to create a media circus by TB as there was by Gerry McCann. It is almost like he is doing the job for him so that Gerry can pretend this is no longer what he wants. But I suspect what he really wants is not just comments on blogs which are not taken much notice of but adverse comments in the press, among MPs etc which would definitely enable him to cry unfair trial. In short I would trust TB about as far as I could throw him.

At the end of the day regardless of how good the evidence may be the CPS do take decisions not to prosecute if they can see that a fair trial is no longer possible. IN short it would just be a waste of taxpayer's money. This would not only be a terrible blow for Justice for Maddie but for the twins also and all other abused little children who do benefit every single time we lock up another child abuser.


Wizard said...

Morning Viv,

Just a thought regarding the CPS and the McCanns and whether there can be a fair trial.

We have seen for many, many months now the sycophantic drivel that has been printed in the British press about the McCanns which paints them in a saintly light. The media have portrayed them recently as victims, in this country anyway. Adverse publicity prior to a defendant’s appearance in court might well influence a jury, even if they didn’t admit to it, but conversely positive publicity would have the same effect. Arguably the Portuguese press haven’t portrayed the McCanns in the same light as the British press but if the case were brought to court in Portugal it would be viewed by 3 judges (I believe?) who would be testing the reliability of the evidence and the strength of the prosecution to prove their case in law. So would TB et al’s efforts be detrimental to a fair trial or would it be balancing the argument?

I mentioned sometime ago in the case of Michael Jackson, a few years back, the adverse world wide reporting frenzy prior to the case coming to court – I would have thought a trial would have been impossible because of it - but it went ahead and he was proved not guilty. The publicity I think affected him professionally but it did not stop a trial – the verdict came about because the prosecution failed to prove their case.

I think if a case could be argued for fraud, which occurred in British jurisdiction, it has to be proved that MBM’s parents were involved and they knew she was dead. So the two things are linked and if you can’t prove the parents know what happened to their daughter you can’t prove fraud - I would have thought anyway.

nancy said...

Hi Wizard,

I know this has been said lots of times before, but it's obvious that the McCanns are never going to admit that Maddie is dead because if they do their fraudulent fund will dry up. The public aren't going to give money for a lost cause!

The McCanns are being very clever in maintaining that their is no proof that their daughter is not alive and well.

Even putting aside the money consideration, they know if it was proved that Maddie had died there would have to be a reopening of the investigation which is obviously what they are trying to avoid because it would show them up as liars and fraudsters who have covered up a fatal accident.

So continuing to convince everyone Maddie is still alive is exactly what they want.

Have a nice day!


viv said...

Hi Wiz

You make some good points other than I would say it is not TB's job to "balance the argument". The clear issue in UK law is that the evidence itself should not be played out in the mainstream media. I think since October 2007 our press have done what we were told by Mr Tudor LP had asked them to do and cool it. I think most of the comments I have read have actually been pretty neutral. They no longer suggest that Madeleine was abducted, they say "disappeared" and they no longer try to suggest the McCanns were "cleared", merely that they were released from their arguido status etc. This is not bad reporting it is just stating the facts.

There has been a sufficient distance in time from what was clearly some very adverse reporting in UK press against the McCanns and clearly stating evidence against them, e.g. Mrs Fenn. If you are talking about balancing the exercise so there could be a fair trial I suppose the same could be said about the Select Committee where they seem to be taking a rather incredibly Pro-McCann stance. Particularly the tory twit with his blog comments which I see he is getting a right bashing for on the 3 As. But we can probably say this is cross party because the strongest Pro comment came from the female, Scottish Labour woman.."I dont know how they could live with themselves".

It is not possible to compare what goes on in America with what happens here because they do have a very free press who are allowed to report on criminal investigations, pre-trial issues etc which our own press are not. I would also say was it Justice that Michael Jackson and OJ Simpson both got acquitted? There was the clearest of evidence against both of them including civil suits finding them guilty. No grown man sleeps with little boys and then pays them millions of dollars to shut up unless he is a paedophile! If that is an example of American justice, I do not want it here!

I do not agree that for fraud to be proved it has to be demonstrated they knew Madeleine was dead although that would obviously suffice! It has to be proved that they dishonestly intended to deceive, that they were obtaining money by a deception. So if they handed her over to someone else or it was a deliberate hoax that would clearly also prove fraud. In short they most clearly were involved in her disappearance in some way or another and then went on to ask for money to find her, masses of money. That is a very serious fraud, I would say to the tune of at least £3M and they clearly intended that figure to be far higher than that. At least Gerry did, but the actions of Goncalo Amaral put paid to that, which is something we can thank him for. It cannot be right to cashin on a child you were involved in deliberately getting rid of! It is repugnant, that is one of the things I have always found the most repulsive and why I have always looked at Gerry McCann because it so obviously all comes from him.

Nancy, I do not think it is at all clever for Gerry to maintain in one instant that Maddie may be a captive being repeatedly sexually abused and then in another maintain she is alive and well. That only serves to give those advising the police some pretty serious ammunition against him as to just what a sick and distorted man they are dealing with. The police analyse suspects to see if they have the capacity to do what they are suspected of. Gerry has demonstrated many times over, he most certainly does.

An honest parent would make no such protestations at this stage that their child is alive and well. They would simply say not knowing what has happened to their child is pure agony.


Di said...

Hi All


I have to agree, we were all discussing the McCanns having a fair trial way before TB intervened, to be honest I had forgotten about that.

It is very interesting here in Wales, everyone we know says sedation and I mean everyone, workmen and all. I have put other theories to them but no, they still say sedation and guilty.

nancy said...

Viv -

As you so rightly say, any normal parent whose child had gone missing would say it is agonising not knowing exactly has happened to her or where she might be, if they are still alive etc.

The McCanns have never said anything like that but just maintained she is still alive and out there with some nice abductor and they must continue looking because there is no evidence she is dead, which is just prolonging the agony for themselves and their families if you ask me.

After almost two years they should give it a rest, leave things to the police in both countries, and try to give the twins as normal a life as possible - after all they were not the ones who decided to abandon Maddie night after night.

But on Maddie's 6th birthday in May they'll be on the front pages again trying to gain more sympathy (and money) of course.


Di said...

I think Zuni from 3As's has a very valid question.

I also think TB's response is worth thinking about.

Wizard said...

“But on Maddie's 6th birthday in May they'll be on the front pages again trying to gain more sympathy (and money) of course.”

Yes Nancy and blaming everyone else but themselves for their daughter’s disappearance!

Di said...

Sorry forgot to post

zuni wrote:
An American said this and it is true for UK too: As a nation and a world for the past ten years, we’ve watched reality replaced by fantasy, delusion, and deceit spun wildly out of control, affecting our foreign policy, our economy, and the news that’s supposed to report on both. ________z

And that is precisely why so many people have swallowed uncritically the McCanns' claim that Madeleine McCann was abducted. We are collectively becoming unable to separate fact from fiction, truth from lie, straight talk from deception. Media manipulation on a number of fronts is far more powerful than we realise.

Di said...

Hi Wizard

I cannot disagree with that.

nancy said...

Di -

I'm not surprised that most people go along with the sedation theory. That was what I've thought for a long time, bearing in mind that Kate was testing the twins on that same night to see if they were still breathing.

The only way an abductor could have taken Maddie is if they'd left the door unlocked all evening and nobody had been to check on those children, which goes against everything the waiters in the tapas bar said, so there was no abductor - at least not one who had to break in to the apartment if you get my drift!!


nancy said...

Wizard -

I think I'll hibernate that week because I just can't stand seeing their superficial pompous faces - and Clarence Mitchell just makes me want to vomit!


Wizard said...

Hi Di,
I agree. Spinning a story is a bit like advertising a product - tell people often enough that product X is good and people will believe it, even though they say advertising has no affect on them.
Team McCanns’ spin has an easy sales pitch - their daughter was the victim of a stranger abduction and they had nothing to do with – they are also victims of the impact of the abductor. They have been allowed to put this ad across for free in the press and people do actually come to believe it because they haven’t the time or the interest to research it properly.

Di said...

Hi Nancy

I go back to Gerrys first comment, the doors were locked and I believe they were. I cannot believe any parent would ever leave three siblings alone in an unlocked apartment, therefore I go along with the locked door theory.

Di said...

Hi Wizard

You are right, an ad to the wider public for free, the wider agenda perhaps!

Wizard said...

Hi Di, your 19.00 post - its parenting á la McCann – the English way or so we are told.

Di said...

Hi Wizard

Don't go there, the English way, that made me and many other people I know sooooo mad.

No, we don't leave our treasured possessions available for all and sundry to just walk in and take. Or should I have said for all and swarthy.

Wizard said...

Anna Raccoon has an interesting take on ‘Rent a quote’ and the professional mourners today.

viv said...

Hiya all

I too think it is more likely the patio doors were kept locked. Other witnesses have said it was not possible to open them from the outside, they always used the front door with their key. There was a security shutter that came down over the outside of the window. If you are leaving that up and the door unlocked you are obviously inviting intruders in and that would not take any working out at all.

Initially what the McCanns were saying was the doors were locked and the abductor got in by jemmying the shutter and window. He was desperate to get the story out into the press immediately and made a big mistake. If he had thought it through he would not have immediately said that about jemmying, he would have said the abductor just walked through the door that they left open, but he didn't. He was immediately telling foolish lies.

There is only one abductor that could just easily walk in and out of that apartment and take Madeleine. The one with they key, and no need to worry about leaving any forensic trace, Gerry McCann.

I read about the problems on 3 As with Boony finally showing her true colours. What sort of Justice for Maddie blog has a bunch of administrators creating socks to agree with themselves and other socks to troll other posters? The sort of blog that is not a Pro Maddie blog has to be the answer. Why would normal people do this, or insist that you have to agree with TB, if they want it to be a place "where the truth freely flows".

I had not been in any doubt for a long time that BB was an asbolute Pro-McCann and a thoroughly nasty piece of work too!


Di said...

Hi Viv

I don't know whether you are reading this link on 3A's.

It is worth a read. So was there government interference?


Off for a while.

Di said...

Hi Viv

Just read your post about BB I have not read about this, so sad if this is the case.

viv said...

Hiya Di, there was a post from Bren a few nights back where she was apologising to the members for doing this. It seems that Bonny exposed that practice and she and a number of other posters have now left. I have had the feeling for some time that there is something terribly wrong on 3 As and all is not what it seems. I have been mercilessly trolled on there when trying to post, not just by Bonny but by Bren too and a number of others. Many of my posts just mysteriously disappeared, sometimes entire threads did including the one that Stevo, myself and I think it was Honeybear were posting on about the very real possibility of Madeleine being the victim of sexual abuse. Bonny seriously trolled us on that, then Bren appeared and then WHOOSH! I do think there is an agenda of pushing the death theory on no evidence just to make anti McCanns look stupid and I have thought that for a long time. The other thing that is pushed on no evidence is government interference in this case. It is true that Gerry used contacts to get a few telephone conversations and some sympathy in the early stages from GB. It is also true I am sure that GB and Socrates have discussed this case because it clearly does raise important political issues of two member states protecting important relationships and fully co-operating with each other on a very difficult and complex criminal case where it would seem the lead officer was stuck in a rut and far more talkative than he should have been.

I have always pointed out that of course Portugal had to take the lead in the initial investigation of the case because the crime happened in Portugal. But, when it comes to continuing that investigation and actually bringing these people to justice it would just have to be British authorities that did so. British authorities also found there were some serious leaks in the Portuguese inquiry and major pieces of evidence against the McCanns and theories as to what they may have done were getting into our national press. This is clearly against our legal practice and militates against the possibility, so far as we are concerned of there being a fair trial in the UK. The Mcs never could have been put on trial in Portugal because the investigation became so difficult for them, involving British people in Britain and also because they simply did not have jurisdiction to deal with the fraud. The fraud I am quite sure is a major part of the offence and at least one of the motivating factors behind its inception. It simply is not possible for the Portuguese to bring this case on and not refer to it, hence it is impossible for it to happen there. But this has clearly upset a lot of people. The secrecy is partially there I believe to try and prevent further damage to relationships between the two States which certainly is a political issue.

There were particularly significant parts of the evidence being held back from Portugal whilst Amaral was still in charge. I think there were two reasons for that. When it is involves fraud and quite possibly sex offending by British subjects we want to investigate that and we want to bring them to justice in a British Court. The other issue is that apart from it could not be used by the Portuguese due to lack of jurisdiction, it had the great possibility of it being leaked. Either as part of the normal disclosure process which ultimately happened when Portugal shelved the case or by the actions of those who were deliberately leaking information.

Not only do we conduct such investigations in complete secrecy so as not to forewarn and forearm those who are being investigated, where there is a chance of a child being recovered alive, it is absolutely vital that offenders are not aware of what the police are doing, because they could literally lose Madeleine by doing that.

In relation to the information below. John Buck resigned his post or was sacked I am not sure. Maybe he was passing information from the Portuguese Police directly to the McCanns that he clearly should not have been doing. But this notice also says some information was passed on and some was not. That sounds perfectly proper. The McCanns were obviously criminal suspects from the outset but neither the Portuguese or British Police wanted them to know that. So there was probably an attempt to present an air of co-operation and telling them what was happening to find Madeleine, when in fact what they were really doing apart from looking at Madeleine was bugging them and looking directly at them.

If people do not understand how this all works, I think it is very easy for them to just assume there is an establishment cover-up. But the idea of that is quite ridiculous. Can anyone seriously imagine GB protecting a couple of child abusers? Such an educated and god fearing man who loves the labour party? He would know it had the potential to not just finish him but the labour party as well. I often wonder whether some of these people TB etc are not just possibly on the side of Kate and Gerry, but may well be on the side of right wingers who want to cause the government harm. There have been many such right wing plots to discredit the government, notably Harold Wilson. That is a far more believable "conspiracy theory" than any notion at all that serious child abusers would just deliberately be allowed to get away with!

As the post below also confirms, the FOI Act simply cannot be used to get out into the public domain confidential details of any ongoing and serious police investigation. The public interest in protecting justice would always outweigh the public's right to know. If an when there are charges we will know, but I continue to have fears that justice has and is being deliberately thwarter on a hitherto unseen and massive scale.


Reference: FS50188322
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (Section 50) Decision Notice 3 March 2009 Public Authority: Foreign and Commonwealth Office Address: King Charles Street London SW1A 2AH


In October 2007 the complainant asked the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for information concerning communications between the then Ambassador to Portugal John Buck and the Portuguese police on the subject of the disappearance of the child Madeleine McCann. FCO released some information straight away but also withheld some. Since that time FCO have released most, but not all, of the relevant information held. The Commissioner decided that for the withheld information, FCO had complied with section 1(1)(a) of the Act. For the information which FCO initially withheld but released following his intervention, the Commissioner decided that FCO had breached section 1(1)(b) of the Act and had also breached section 17(1) by failing to provide the information within the specified time limit. The Commissioner upheld FCO’s decision to withhold some information under the section 27(1)(a) exemption. He also decided that the public interest in maintaining the section 27(1)(a) exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosing that information. As regards application of section 40 of the Act, the Commissioner decided that relevant personal information had been withheld correctly under the exemptions in sections 40(2) and (3) of the Act. The Commissioner’s Role 1. The Commissioner’s duty is to decide whether a request for information made to a public authority has been dealt with in accordance with the requirements of Part 1 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the “Act”). This Notice sets out his decision. 1

viv said...

Perhaps I would just add Di that there are all sorts of protocols that say we will fully co-operate with another member state in the investigation of serious crime. It is also the duty of the FO to assist our own nationals when in trouble abroad. The FO is always the one who will deal with such liaison on crime when it is involves another country. On Joan Morais there are a lot of emails between John Buck and the FO that will not be disclosed. I find this perfectly proper in that he was keeping us informed of developments in the case and what was happening to the McCanns. This was hardly an issue we were just going to take no notice of! It would have been considered a very serious matter for a group of British doctors to be involved in the disappearance of one of their own children and all the other attendance criminal conduct. Of course our government were concerned and involved!

On another note, I like this quote from Joana Morais today, just a good job we did not hold our breath waiting for Gerry and Kate to tell us all about it on Oprah! Oh the dreams and schemes that came to nought, poor Gerry. I believe that it was made plain that if they appeared on Oprah, they either had to be officially declared innocent, which of course they were not, or, they had to consent to an unscripted interview. It just goes to show the continuing sh!t that Gerry knows they are in:-))) Finally I would just say what a stupid rag, The People, I recall how Rosie used to like to repeatedly quote verbatim huge swathes from it, adopting it as her own prose, until I pointed out to everyone the source of all that crap he/she was spewing forth:-)))

March 20, 2009
Quote of the Day - Looking back on the Madeleine Case

"Madeleine McCann's parents will savage bungling Portuguese cops in a tell-all interview with chat queen Oprah Winfrey when they are cleared as suspects tomorrow.

For 317 days fuming Kate and Gerry have been gagged by their status as arguidos.

But at noon tomorrow a judge will formally lift the cloud of suspicion - as exclusively revealed in The People in April.

And the McCanns will finally be free to speak about the investigation into three-year-old Maddie's disappearance."

Nick Dorman, in 'The People', 20.07.2008

viv said...

Professor Moriarty on 3 As telling it his way again, and very well put...the Berber woman who they terrified was the model of a loving and caring mum wasn't she! I would just add the parents of Mari Luz to this list, as the vultures M3 descended on them in their terrible grief to score a few highly overpaid points off them for the McScums x

Still, the Berber atrocities perpetrated by this malevolent and malicious couple, that cre*tin Mitchell on their behalf, and that gang of thugs in Mediocre3, must rank as among the most disgusting PR stunts of the new century.

They actually hounded and badgered a Berber woman who was carrying her own child in the safest place possible - on her back - every where she went.

A model of maternal care. A tribute to true family values as opposed to the utilitarian property-owning parenting of the McFcks. They hounded that family, t the extent that that mother believed the McCanns wanted to steal her child from her to replace their own.

What rancid, disgusting scum they are.