Kind of conjures up that stereotypical image we all have of a mugshot, sorry did not mean to frighten anyone with this pic xx
So Mitchell starts the press ball rolling as the article at the end of this post shows and then we hear Mr Murat and then we hear Gerry is to go before a Commons Select Committee to explain why he chose to use libel law and cash in to the tune of half a million pounds rather than use the simple expedient of complaining to the Press Complaints Commission about British Media coverage of his own and Kate's involvement in Maddie's disappearance. Seems he was not complaining about the Press giving a completely innocent man a right old bashing though, well of course not. Kate even piped up in the Daily Express, well I think Mr Murat has a case to answer. Of course she has piped up about Goncalo Amaral as well. It is OK when the British Press are printing what she wants them to say, but of course when the News of the World printed her diary, she went for another big payoff, breaching her right to privacy I am sure. She has always wanted that, I know. That is why she went on TV in May 2008 to sit there and explain to us why she just decided to leave her kids alone again, after Maddie complained, mummy me and Sean were crying last night, where were you. Never mind Kate, Gerry can explain it all to the Commons Select Committee, just like all those High Court hearings, I know, you just do not want to go, you like your privacy. Of course. Or are they going to make you turn up as well? I hope so!
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2009
Gerry McCann is to give evidence to MPs next week about how the media reported on the disappearance of his daughter Madeleine, his spokesman has said.
Mr McCann has been invited to answer questions from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee on Tuesday.
He will be joined by his spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, and his lawyer Adam Tudor, a partner in libel firm Carter-Ruck.
Their evidence will form part of the committee's inquiry into press standards, privacy and libel.
The MPs are expected to ask Mr McCann, why he and his wife Kate, chose to sue a number of British newspapers for defamation instead of going through regulatory body the Press Complaints Commission.
In March last year, Express Newspapers agreed to pay the couple £550,000 in libel damages over false allegations that they were responsible for Madeleine's death.
On the same day the committee will also hear evidence from motorsport boss Max Mosley, who last year won £60,000 in privacy damages against the News of the World over a story claiming he took part in a "sick Nazi orgy".
Robert Murat, the first person to be named an "arguido" or formal suspect in Madeleine's disappearance, is taking part in a debate about the tabloid press at Cambridge University.
His arguido status was lifted last July when the Portuguese authorities shelved their investigation into the case.
Mr Mitchell will address the Oxford Union later about whether media coverage helped or hindered the search for the missing little girl.
Madeleine was nearly four when she disappeared from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, southern Portugal, on May 3, 2007 while her parents dined with friends nearby.
Despite a massive police operation and huge publicity worldwide, she has not been found.
Murat addresses Cambridge Union
|Page last updated at 20:43 GMT, Thursday, 5 March 2009|
A man who won damages from newspapers after being named a suspect in the Madeleine McCann case has said his life has been scarred by the tabloid press.
Robert Murat, who previously lived in Hockering, Norfolk, was a suspect, or arguido, under Portuguese law before being cleared of any involvement.
In a Cambridge Union debate, Mr Murat said his "life will be scarred forever" due to "lies" printed in the tabloids.
The debate is on whether tabloid newspapers do more harm than good.
Three-year-old Madeleine disappeared while her family was on holiday in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in May 2007.
Mr Murat, who is in his mid-30s, proposed the motion, "This house believes tabloids do more harm than good" during the debate at the Cambridge Union Society.
'Pack of hounds'
"There was never a shred of evidence that I was in any way involved despite eight months of lurid headlines," said Mr Murat.
"But could the acres of newsprint devoted to publishing inaccurate and hurtful stories about me have been put to better use in finding Madeleine?
"I have dwelt on that a lot, agonised about it and the fact is we'll never know."
He said he felt like "a fox being pursued by a pack of hounds", and added: "Often I felt like I was somewhere between a Kafka novel and the Will Smith movie Enemy Of The State."
Mr Murat said that after Madeleine disappeared, he, like other locals, felt a natural urge to help.
He said since he was fluent in English and Portuguese he "pitched in" by helping police translate British witnesses' statements.
He became a suspect after "one particular tabloid journalist" approached police to convince them that he was "acting suspiciously".
Tony Bennett says, March 2009, the McCanns backer and payer of Mitchells salary (up to Sept 08 when the Fund started to pay it) "remains a mystery" and yet the serious press, see below, have been consistently telling us, since September 2007, there is no mystery at all, it is Mr Brian Kennedy pictured above entertaining Mitchell and Gerry McCann. Did Mr Kennedy get at you to Mr Bennett or do you just lack the ability to get your facts straight? Still, I suppose whilst everyone is bashing Clarence Mitchell and not quite getting their facts straight, Kate and Gerry will be pretty happy. Could even be said it is Mitchell's job to protect them. Oh what complicated webs some people weave and even have people lapping it up, apparently...note Mr Mitchell does not say he is getting £28,000 p.a. in the Independent either, (article also below) Mr Bennett has real trouble with quoting facts, for some reason.
Who has been paying Clarence Mitchell’s salary whilst he has been working for the McCanns?
This remains a mystery. We know that up to September 2007, the British government paid his salary. He left the government that month. Since then, the McCanns and Mitchell have said on the record that the ‘Helping to Find Madeleine Fund’ has not paid any part of his salary. They say that he was paid by ‘an anonymous backer’. But Clarence Mitchell won’t say who that backer is, nor why that backer is giving him so much support. [UPDATE: In an article in the Independent on Sunday, 1 March 2009, Mitchell has contradicted previous claims that his salary was being paid by an anonymous backer. He now says he gets a retainer of £28,000 a year from the Helping to Find Madeleine Fund, donations to which were given to ‘help find Madeleine’, not pay the salaries of PR professionals].
And now for the reality....somehow I prefer The Telegraph etc to Mr Tony Bennett.
Madeleine McCann millionaire donor named
By Caroline Gammell in
Last Updated: BST 24 Sep 2007
The multi-millionaire behind Kate and Gerry McCann’s bid to clear their names has been revealed as Brian Kennedy, a double-glazing magnate who started life as a window cleaner.
Mr Kennedy has offered to pay for lawyer Ed Smethurst, who works inhouse for the businessman, as well as the McCann’s official spokesman, Clarence Mitchell.
The McCanns, both 39, are official suspects in their four-year-old daughter’s disappearance and were questioned at length by Portuguese detectives before flying back to the
They said they would go as far as selling their house in Rothley, Leicestershire, to fight claims they might have killed their daughter and would not touch the fund set up to find Madeleine.
But support has come in the form of multi-million pound backers.
Last week, Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson put forward £100,000 to kick start their legal fund.
Mr Kennedy said “In light of the quite literally incredible accusations against Gerry and Kate McCann, which are clearly exacerbating their emotional torture, I felt compelled to offer, along with other like-minded businessmen, financial support and the full logistical support of the
Latium Group, which includes the Wilmslow-based business dealing in plastics, glass processing, kitchens and home improvements, is owned by Mr Kennedy.
The owner of Sale Sharks rugby club is worth an estimated £250 million and involved in a number of businesses with an annual turnover of £500 million.
He bought the Everest double glazing business in 1999 for £47 million and then sold his stake in the company for £63 million in 2003.
The father of five was brought up a Jehovah’s witness and divides his time between his house in Congleton in
His support has boosted the McCann’s legal team.
They have employed top lawyers in both
McCann family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said today: "Everyone who has so generously donated money to help find Madeleine can be assured that every penny has been accounted for and has been, entirely appropriately, spent one way or another on the search for Madeleine.
"The accounts have been independently audited and are entirely transparent."
Mr Mitchell's salary was previously paid by the McCanns' millionaire benefactor, Cheshire-based entrepreneur Brian Kennedy.
But it is understood that he has been receiving a monthly retainer from the Madeleine Fund since September last year.
Edgeley Park millionaire brings Maddie’s dad to Stockport
HEARTBREAK dad Gerry McCann took time out from the frantic search for his missing daughter Madeleine to watch Sale Sharks beat Harlequins at
Mr McCann and his legal adviser Clarence Mitchell were guests of Sharks’ millionaire owner Brian Kennedy.
Mr Kennedy, a previous owner of
The youngster’s disappearance in
It has been widely reported that the McCann family’s spokesman Clarence Mitchell’s £75,000 salary, is being paid by Mr Kennedy and further help is being given by his lawyer Ed Smethurst.
Mr Kennedy told the Stockport Express yesterday: "Gerry McCann came out (to the match) for a couple of hours to help clear his mind. I wouldn’t want this to compromise our campaign to find Madeleine. I remain absolutely committed to the campaign to find Madeleine and my support goes on."
BERLIN PRESS CONFERENCE 2007 KATE, CUDDLECAT AND CLARENCE POSE FOR THE CAMERAS... IT IS ALL DECENT, HONEST STUFF..(not sure where they put Gerry on this occasion)
Now down to just 40% of his original fee for trying to persuade us what great parents the McCanns are, it would seem Clarence is now on a mission, to rescue his own reputation from the personal savaging he has inflicted upon it.Out of the goodness of his heart, he tells us, he now helps others and does not even ask for a fee. Then why is he still charging his beloved McCanns what my maths tell me would be about £30,000 per annum? Could that be because this couple have a massive fund so they can pay for his services and perhaps are in more dire need of him than any other. Did Goa mum engage on quite such a massive campaign to tell us what a super mom she is? Well hardly!
Did Clarence Mitchell demonstrate "professional detachment" when he told us "we will fight to protect our commercial interests". Sorry Clarence but I, for one, am not persuaded you do this just because you wish to help people, I think your commercial interests in Team McCann and peculiar sense of how you will earn a living, speak too loudly to convince us of that.
Fired up by his paymaster Gerry McCann he gives us the same party political broadcast:
"There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever, nothing, to suggest that Madeleine has been harmed, let alone killed".
Could he be speaking about the same little girl, not quite four, who disappeared without trace, almost two years ago? The same little girl whose parents were investigated for her murder or being involved in her kidnapping? Well yes, how perverse. If you want us to believe you are such a nice person, Clarence, maybe you could accept that a little girl who has been away from her family for almost two years, a family who left her to cry alone, they say in an unlocked apartment, a family who say she was taken by a gang of paedophiles, a family who left her alone with dangerous medicines which could clearly have killed her, has, by the very fact of her disappearance, let alone what the police or her family suggest, quite obviously suffered just about the most serious harm any little child could suffer, whether she is dead or alive.
I would like to know why Clarence suddenly feels this overwhelming need to repair his own reputation. Could it be that he realises the game is up for Team McCann. Oh dear Clarence, does that mean you will no longer even get your £30,000 per annum? Well you reap what you sow. I suppose asking the BBC or the government if they would have you back would probably be a bit of a waste of time? HUmmmmm, I guess so...I think I just have to agree with this newspaper article, perhaps the better and more honest way to put things, rather than the Clarence Mitchell or Gerry McCann way is pretty simple, there is no evidence she is still living, Very sad, but very true. I never did get persuaded by all that reverse psychology crap.
Clarence Mitchell:'I am a decent human being. If I can help them, I will'
The ex-BBC journalist built a career on professional detachment. Then, he went to work for the McCanns
Sunday, 1 March 2009
The search goes on. "There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever, nothing, to suggest that Madeleine has been harmed, let alone killed," insists Clarence Mitchell, the former television reporter who speaks for the family of the most famous missing girl in the world. Her face is instantly recognisable. There is no longer any need to use her surname, McCann. And yet, nearly two years since she vanished from the Algarve, there is still no trace.
This is hard to say to Mitchell – who began as a dispassionate adviser and then became a close personal friend of her parents – but there seems no evidence to suggest the three-year-old is still living. "Obviously," he says, "as time goes on, Kate and Gerry are finding it harder and harder. But they are still firmly of the view that Madeleine is alive and out there to be found."
For months now they have turned down interviews, preferring to go through the many files handed over by the Portuguese police. There is another reason for their silence, too. "You reach a saturation point," their spokesman admits. "People would say to us, 'Oh, it's tragic, but we've almost had enough of Madeleine.' That was appalling to hear."
In their silence, Clarence Mitchell is re-emerging as a public figure in his own right. On Friday he will speak at the Oxford Union, following in the footsteps of Desmond Tutu, Mother Teresa and Kermit the Frog. Now he is giving his first personal interview since the days when he was a familiar face on the BBC. He is doing it at the West End offices of Freud Communications, which has hired him as a consultant. Dressed as if to broadcast, in a light brown suit and dark blue shirt, he has two BlackBerrys on his desk: one for Kate and Gerry, the other for everyone else.
Lately, he seems to be setting himself up as a public relations guru for families in distress, including that of 16-year-old Jimmy Mizen, who was stabbed to death in south London last year. The trial of Jimmy's alleged killer begins at the Old Bailey a week tomorrow, and Mitchell will be outside, representing the bereaved parents. Once again, he will be on our screens. But despite seeming so familiar, Clarence Mitchell has never really given anything away about himself. Why did he stop reporting and reading the news? What then drove this 46-year-old man to campaign on behalf of the McCanns, a couple he barely knew and who were suspected of murdering their daughter?
"Everything I have seen of them, in all of the pressurised situations, shows me a family who are suffering the loss of their child," he says. "Everything they are doing, behind the scenes, convinces me of that."
So far, so on message for a man who was hired in September 2007 to "salvage their reputations" in the wake of the McCanns being named as arguidos, or suspects, by the Portuguese police. Mitchell had already been with them for a month, as a civil service media expert sent to help the couple to cope with all the attention. But he returned in the pay of a millionaire supporter of the McCanns, leading a publicity campaign "to correct and balance the inaccurate coverage that was coming out and try to get everything back on an even keel ... with a view to helping to get arguido lifted".
It worked, of course: they won £550,000 damages and a front-page apology from the Daily Express, and last summer the police cleared them of all suspicion. But Mitchell could not have known it would turn out that way. "It was," he says, "gut instinct."
It was a life-changing moment. Until then, his entire career had been built on remaining calm and uninvolved in the most trying circumstances: reporting for the Hendon and Finchley Times with the local MP, Margaret Thatcher, bursting into the office; broadcasting from the M1 with the wreckage of the Kegworth air disaster strewn in front of him; covering wars in Northern Ireland, Kuwait, Iraq and the Balkans alongside the likes of Kate Adie. "You see a lot of distressing things, whether that's a war zone or a murder scene, but I have always found it relatively easy to be dispassionate."
He needed that skill most when sent on a story in Fulham in 1999. "There was a rumour that Jill Dando had been in some sort of accident. The area was taped off. There were detectives walking up from the house who told us to ring the press bureau. I said, 'Look, I know Jill.' We were friends. She used to called me Clarenzio. They said, 'She's dead, I'm afraid.' It was dreadful." But he still filed reports from the scene. "You just have to get on with it."
He did breakfast TV and the odd Six O'Clock News – "which nobody remembers" – but by the time he left the BBC in 2005, his career had reached a plateau. "I felt I had more to offer." Recruited by the Cabinet Office to run the Media Monitoring Unit, he had a hard first week. "The Monday was the G8 at Gleneagles. I was just about getting my head round the job on Tuesday, then Wednesday we won the Olympics. Thursday was 7/7." When the Foreign Office sent him to assist the McCanns – as he insists it would have helped any family in that situation – he asked difficult questions. "I was assured that from the perspective of the British authorities, this was a rare case of stranger abduction."
They had left their very young children alone in a holiday apartment while they went to a tapas bar. He doesn't duck that, even if the response has been smoothed by repetition. "They made a mistake at the time; they weren't with her when it happened. They will always regret that, God forbid, possibly for the rest of their lives."
In media terms, he says, Madeleine was "a perfect storm: her age, her appearance, the location, the parents..." Columnists wrote about "people like us". Picture editors loved Kate, to an extraordinary degree. "It would be sad if it wasn't laughable: Kate was finding herself in Nuts or whatever lads' magazine's top 10. You think, 'This is ridiculous.' But they can't help how they look."
There's no truth, then, in the report that he tried to get Kate to be photographed in a swimsuit? "Utter bollocks." Gerry suggested it without realising the implications, he says, and was then persuaded otherwise. "A good example of facts being distorted. Completely, 180-degree wrong."
Mitchell had a home in Bath with his wife and children, two girls and a boy who were aged 10, eight and one at the time. Why go back to Portugal? "We had become friends. There was an emotional drive. I felt they had been the victims of a heinous crime and very badly wronged in the way stories had appeared."
There was also his response as a father. "I have never had to analyse it like this before ... but yes, this was every parent's nightmare, my own included." Didn't he miss his own children? "At night, when I had a few hours to myself, you did miss them more acutely, perhaps, than if it had been a job of a different nature."
These days Mitchell gets 40 per cent of his former salary as a retainer from the Find Madeleine Fund. Kate is said by relatives to spend hours with the files at home in Rothley, Leicestershire, while her twins are at nursery. Gerry, devotes evenings to the case, after days as a consultant at Glenfield Hospital.
"Sadly, the files have not revealed any substantial new leads," says Mitchell. "And sadly, they have confirmed a lot of what Kate and Gerry feared: that things haven't been done properly in certain areas, and certain things hadn't been followed up." The detective agencies they hired are no longer on the case. Have a dozen British former detectives and security service agents been employed instead, as reported? "I can't go into details, because the investigators don't wish me to. The investigation is on a smaller scale, but just as relevant."
There is still a huge amount of material to work through: such as more than 3,000 "psychic tip-offs. Any verifiable fact in them – and some are very detailed – has to be checked".
Meanwhile, his new life involves media training for corporations as well as advising people such as the mother of Scarlett Keeling, who was murdered in Goa, and the Mizens. "I do it pro bono, for free." Why? "Because these people came to me in the direst of situations, with their children dead. I'm not going to say no. Nor am I going to say, 'I'm sorry about your loss. Here's my fee.'" Others would. "It's a non-starter. I am a decent, caring human being. If I can help them, I will."
Yes, but isn't he using this free work to build the kind of reputation that made him attractive to Freud? "Not deliberately so. Honestly." Others have compared the new Clarence Mitchell to a more obviously compassionate Max Clifford, with whom he says he gets on well. "People are entitled to their point of view," he says, as calmly as he says everything, on and off camera. "But I am doing this for what I believe to be honest, genuine, compassionate reasons."
The making of a media expert
From TV to Madeleine, and beyond
1962 Born and educated in north-west London. Tries working in a bank after school but hates it.
1982 Joins Hendon and Finchley Times as a trainee reporter, which brings him into contact with the local MP, Margaret Thatcher. "To see the Prime Minister sweep into the office with Special Branch while you are writing up the latest golden wedding is quite an experience."
1985 Shift work on Sunday Express.
1986 Joins the BBC in Sheffield as a radio reporter, before going on to television in Leeds with Look North.
1989 Breakfast News in London, then "fireman" sent where needed, including extensive war reporting.
1999 Made a BBC News presenter.
2005 Joins Civil Service as director of Downing St Media Monitoring Unit.
May 2007 Sent to Portugal to help with press attention in the McCann case.
september 2007 Quits the Civil Service to become spokesman for McCanns.
2008 Extends help to other families.