Friday, October 10, 2014

Coincidences? You decide.

I really should get back to the McCann case evidence. Still much to say about DNA, Dogs, slamming doors & whooshing curtains etc Yet I feel compelled to comment on recent events once again.

The Dossier

Many people who have an interest in the McCann case knew that tweets, posts & personal information about anonymous posters on facebook & twitter was being collected in a systematic an organised way. The people doing the collecting & collating made no secret of what they were doing. There was also little doubt that at some point at least some of the information gathered, along with tweets & FB posts deemed to be "hateful" or "threatening" would end up in the hands of the police. Though many seemed to think it would only be used to name and shame on FB or Twitter as had been done by both sides many times before.

The Book by Summers and Swan

This book came as much more of a surprise at least to me. Books of this sort often do come as something of a surprise so there is nothing very unusual about that. The authors did make some effort earlier in the year to contact a few so called "anti" McCann who post on forums, FB & twitter for comment. I have little idea what was said to these people, but it is clear that they did not widely publicise the fact that they had been contacted or that there was a book being written. Thus the book came to most peoples attention towards that end of August only when the pre-publication promotion began. There were notable exceptions to this surprised reaction to the books publication. Some, perhaps most, of the pro McCann lobby seemed to be expecting the announcement and showed little or no surprise. They also seemed to have a good idea that the book would be supportive of the McCann's abduction story.

It seems obvious to me now that the books main aims were twofold:

1. To promote the idea that there was real evidence that an abductor, or at least several people who could have been abductors, were at large in Praia da Luz in spring 2007. While at the same time dismissing, out of hand & with hardly any valid argument or discussion, all evidence that might incriminate the McCanns.

2. To make the readers aware of the online activity by people who question the abduction theory and think that the McCanns were involved in some way in their daughters disappearance. Such people were labelled as "haters"and many details given, often about the worst among them, in an effort to discredit all who post or tweet.

Of these it is possible that the main objective was the second. All the other information about the case was already in the public domain. There was very little if anything new in terms of facts, and certainly no new ideas or leads. However the so called "hate campaign", which is not a campaign at all, has not been widely reported. Only a few isolated incidents such as the silly London marathon "anyone got a gun?" post on facebook have been reported. It seems quite possible that the book was written, at least in part, with the intention of spreading the message that the McCanns were the subject of a "hate campaign" to as wide an audience as possible. Of course the seemingly very low book sales mean this objective wasn't achieved.

We now know, through a freedom of information request, that the authors tried to coordinate the publication of the book with the end of the Operation Grange investigation. The police refused a request for information about the end of Operation Grange

The Times lawsuit.

This was announced at the beginning of August 2014. The offending article had appeared in October 2013 soon after the CrimeWatch program. The Times had published an apology/correction soon after the original article was published. I don't know exactly when the lawsuit was filed, but it appears to have been in July or August with the resulting out of court settlement being made soon after the Summers and Swan book was published. 

The Damages Trial 

The trial in Portugal in which the McCanns are seeking damages from Goncalo Amaral and others had been hearing evidence in June and was due to conclude with the Judges verdict in September.


Are these coincidences?

The book publication, lawsuit settlement and dossier all occur within a few weeks of each other.

The book publication, lawsuit and dossier all occur soon after Operation Grange completes digs and interviews in Portugal.

The book, lawsuit and dossier all occur at the same time as the judge in the damages trial was due to give a verdict.

Which of the explanations below seems more likely?

1. It is possible that the book publisher thought Sept 11th was a good time to release the book entirely independently & without knowledge of the dossier or the lawsuit. Perhaps thinking that the trial verdict would be at that time and chose not to postpone when it became known the trial verdict would be delayed. 

2. It is possible that the McCanns & their lawyers decided to sue The Times entirely independently & without having any influence over the book publication date or the dossier release. The long delay between the offending article and the lawsuit being due to?......I'm sure there must be a reason,but I can't think of one.

3. It is possible that those who compiled the dossier handed it to..... well we aren't sure who they handed it to, but never mind.....without having any influence over the book publication date or the timing of the lawsuit settlement. Presumably the dossier just happened to be completed at the beginning of September.

4. It is possible that the McCanns or people acting on their behalf could have exercised control over the timing of all three of these events in an effort to get maximum impact at the same time that a verdict was due in the damages trial in Portugal. 


While I was writing the above Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe spoke in an interview and said that the  the dossier was handed to the police by the McCanns. He may have made a mistake about this, but if he is correct it supports the suggestion that the McCanns might have coordinated these events.

Monday, October 6, 2014

That Dossier

Now that I have had a little time to reflect on the shocking news about Brenda Leyland that I first heard late last night & read and listen to some of the reports, comments & spin today I have collected my thoughts. Here they are:

1. No one is in a position to say whether Brenda's tweets were illegal as this has not been tested in court.

2. Everyone has the right to express their opinion as long as doing so falls within the law.

3. The dossier was compiled by persons who wish to remain anonymous to the wider world. They had every right to compile their dossier & if they believed they had unearthed illegal activity to pass it on to the police.

4. They also had the right to pass their dossier to  and to those who run social media platforms such as twitter and facebook if they believed they had uncovered contraventions of the terms & conditions of those platforms.

4. The dossier compilers DID NOT have the right to give, or worse still sell (I do not know whether it was sold I am simply saying that it would be even worse if it had been sold), the dossier to any media outlet.

5. Any media outlet receiving such a dossier DID NOT have the right to publish the name or any other personal details of anyone named in the dossier.

6. The media did have the right to run a story describing in general terms what was in the dossier and to say that it was in the hands of the police & CPS who were considering whether any laws had been broken and whether anyone should be charged.

7. By publishing the name & image of someone named in the dossier and by calling them a troll & member of a hate campaign the media in general, & SkyNews in particular, contributed enormously to the circumstances that caused Brenda Leyland to kill herself.

8. I am now surprised that I find myself in partial agreement with the "Hacked Off" campaign and G McCann. The media in the UK need to be subject to greater control. Though I disagree about how such control should be achieved.

9.  I expect "Hacked Off" & G McCann to publicly condemn the actions of the media with respect to Brenda Leyland in particular and the dossier in general. If they do not they will be revealed as the hypocrites that some people think they are.

10. The people who compiled the dossier should publish, anonymously if they wish, details of exactly to whom they gave the dossier, when this was done and whether any money changed hands. Once again failure to do so will reveal them to be hypocrites.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

RIP Brenda Leyland

RIP Brenda Leyland aka @sweepyface. My thoughts are with your family & friends.

I don't agree with some of the things you posted & tweeted, but I have seen nothing you posted or tweeted that merited the treatment you received at the hands of the media and the real internet trolls, harassers & stalkers.

I hope that in time some good will come from your untimely death,

A message to all who post opinion on the internet.

PLEASE PLEASE, think about the possible consequences of your posts before you publish them.

Friday, October 3, 2014


Before I return to analysis of evidence in McCann case I thought I would write a short post inspired by the recent internet troll saga in the McCann case.


First let me make my position crystal clear:

No one should feel it is their right to ridicule, insult, harass or make untrue or unprovable accusations about anyone, either on the internet, in newspapers on TV/radio or anywhere else. Freedom of speech is a right that carries with it responsibilities. No one should abuse this right.

There is absolutely no doubt that, for want of a better phrase, "internet trolls" comment on the McCann case. These people "infect" social media & the internet in general with inappropriate and occasionally highly offensive material. Trolls on both sides of the debate engage in these tactics. Anyone reading #mccann on twitter can quickly see the daily attempts by trolls on both sides to provoke, insult and attack the other.

Trolls who claim to support the McCann's clearly attempt to provoke more and more outrageous comments from their opponents. Once they succeed they then re-post these comments in a forlorn attempt to claim the moral high ground. These McCann supporting trolls also cherry pick items from the evidence and claim it "proves" their point while at the same time ignoring evidence that suggests the opposite. They insult anyone who questions their opinion, sometimes disgracefully invoking mental health issues. They present strawman arguments (effectively lying) in an effort to discredit their opponents position. They are rude, intolerant, aggressive and spiteful. Most claim to do this to support the McCann family, but how can their actions do anything of the sort? Pouring petrol on a fire doesn't put it out. If the McCann's are aware of their actions, it is hard to imagine they are not, they must surely be appalled by what they see.

Trolls, some of whom claim to support Madeleine, by claim that the evidence proves her parents are guilty of some crime (anything from negligence to murder) are equally shameful. For example there are large numbers of photoshopped images circulating. Some are obviously photoshopped and meant in jest (albeit often in very poor taste), but others are circulated as if they are genuine and can create an entirely false impression. Cherry picked items of evidence, often inaccurately quoted, are posted along with claims that this proves the McCann's guilt. Suggestions that there may be innocent explanations for these are ignored or ridiculed. They frequently accuse the McCann parents of various criminal acts, none of which can be proved & occasionally one will make an outrageous threat to harm the McCann family in some way. To claim that these actions are in any way supporting a missing child is ridiculous and offensive.

Facebook groups, Blogs and forums are similarly infected by these trolls. In my opinion none of the trolls has a genuine interest in any of the following:

1. Finding out what happened to Madeleine McCann.
2. Supporting the McCann family over the loss of their daughter.
3. Finding Madeleine.

So I make this appeal to the trolls on both sides. STOP! If you write a tweet or post which only has as it's only purpose insulting, provoking or accusing someone else don't post it.

If you want to why not START, engaging in a proper discussion and analysis of the evidence. Accept your own shortcomings & the shortcomings of others and try to improve the overall level of understanding about this case and perhaps others. DON'T be taken in by propaganda from either side. READ the PJfiles & RESEARCH other relevant information, such as interviews, press articles and background information using all means available to you.
Above all KEEP AN OPEN MIND & be receptive to different opinions and ideas.

Finally, NEVER forget that at the heart of this case is a missing girl who was almost 4 years old when she vanished & would be 11 now. She is more important than your petty point scoring and childish insults and games. Her disappearance remains an as yet unsolved mystery. At the time of publishing this blog anyone who claims different is a liar.


Not everyone who comments on the McCann case online is a troll. There are people, who do seem to have a genuine interest in The McCann case. They fall into several categories

1. Those with a genuine interest in finding out what happened to Madeleine.

Some think the balance of evidence supports the abduction hypothesis, some think that it supports anything but the abduction hypothesis, some are genuinely undecided, but all seem to share a genuine interest in the mystery and choose to spend their leisure time discussing the evidence and various hypotheses to explain Madeleine's disappearance.

2. Those who campaign for missing people & children.

Usually these people believe that Madeleine was abducted, or take the view that it is better to believe this unless it is proven otherwise.

3. Those who are concerned about paedophilia and government cover-ups in the UK & who think the McCann case is an example of one or both.

Often referred to as "conspiraloons" such people are very important in a democracy. Usually they are completely mis-guided, but every now and again they shed light on something that really needs to be uncovered. Unfortunately they can be over zealous in their words and actions which gives more fuel for the McCann supporter trolls to throw on the flames.

4. Those with a casual interest in the case.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

All is clear now. So I'm back.

So now I know what the advice was all about.

I don't think my blog contained any threats or abuse aimed at Kate & Gerry McCann. Quite the opposite in fact. I have pointed out ways in which the existing evidence might be used to help clear them of any suspicion.

Today's papers and SkyNews broadcasts make it clear that such suspicion does exist. It exists for one very simple reason. The case of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann remains a mystery. No one can even state with 100% confidence what crime occurred. In fact it is still not 100% clear when the crime occurred. So, I have decided to re-open my blog.

The detailed S&S book review may have to go on hold. Others have done a better job of reviewing the book than I was doing anyway. I have finished reading the book now and almost wish I hadn't bothered. It really isn't a very good book. My criticisms of the early chapters apply equally to the later ones. I was hoping to find some revelatory section that would prove to me that Madeleine was abducted. There was no such section. If there is demand I may return to the detailed review.

I remain mystified. The evidence in the public domain casts some doubt on the McCann version of events, but does not disprove those accounts. I will continue to post about aspects of the case that I think are important because they are open to further investigation & hopefully progress.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


To clarify. I have been advised & persuaded that a blog under my real name is not advisable.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The hire car sampling.

This will be a shorter post and I hope quite easy to follow.

In the last post I showed how the existing DNA profile from the car sample could be used along with DNA profiles from McCann family & friends + a others to enhance our understanding of who might have contributed to the DNA profile and thus how likely it is that Maddy was one of those people.

Now I would like to consider what else should have been done in 2007 as soon as the DNA profile was known.

The whole of the carpet from the car boot should have been retained and sealed as evidence. It should have been cut into many (at least 100) small pieces in a grid like fashion ad each piece subjected to DNA extraction and LCN DNA analysis.

In addition random samples should have been taken from all interior areas of the car, seats, carpets, swabs from door handles, windows, floor (e.g.under car boot carpet) etc. Perhaps a further 100 samples. These should also have been subjected to LCN DNA analysis.

What would this sampling & testing reveal?

Had this been done several things might have been revealed including:-

1. Was it possible to get DNA profiles from any other parts of the vehicle?

2. Were the 15 (or more or less) Maddy markers present anywhere else in the vehicle?

3. Were there parts of the vehicle that gave single person DNA profiles? (I am aware of the Gerry McCann profile from the key fob I'm talking about the car itself.

4. Were the 15 Maddy markers present in other pieces of carpet from the boot? 

5. Were the 22 other markers from the car boot present in any other samples?

6. Were there samples that included markers not found among the 37 in the car boot sample?

7. Was there an area of the car boot carpet that gave significantly poor or zero DNA results?

What might any or these results indicate or prove?

1. If yes then these profiles might be used to show how the 15 Maddy markers could have come together in the single sample from the boot. 
2. If yes then the pattern of profiles seen would show whether the 15 Maddy markers were present in only one or a few areas of the car or were widespread. If they were present only in one area that would indicate her body could have been placed in the boot at some point. If widespread the chances are that these markers are coming from the DNA of others.

3. Any single person profiles would identify people who had definitely been in the vehicle (or their DNA transferred there. Clearly a single person profile that matched Maddy's would be significant, but others could also be used in a subtraction analysis on other samples.

4. If yes this would identify an area (or areas) that had Maddy's markers. The size and shape of any such areas would be very informative. e.g. a few drips spread out, a single small area consistent with a pool of liquid soaking into the carpet, a ring with a blank area in the center consistent with cleaning of a spill or leak etc

5. The presence of these other 22 markers in other samples, especially any single ID samples would permit subtraction analysis on the boot sample

6. This would show whether the car boot sample contained all the markers present in the car or not. Creating a complete picture of the amount of DNA contamination in the car.

7. This would indicate an area that had been specifically cleaned shortly before the car was seized as evidence.

Why weren't these things done?

I am at a complete loss to explain why these things or at least some of them were not done. The case was huge worldwide news at the time. The McCann's were being suspected of disposing of Maddy's body. The evidence from the single sample in the car boot suggested that could be the case but was inconclusive. Here was a great opportunity to either clear the McCann's or gather evidence that would help to prove they did dispose of Maddy's body. Why did no one.... NOT EVEN THE McCANN's themselves..... insist that this car was examined thoroughly and every scrap of evidence extracted?