Proof! The ‘Last Photo’ is Fake

Why did it take weeks for the McCanns to share their last photo of Madeleine? Is the photo real?  It’s a question that’s been asked a lot over the last 10 years, prompting all sorts of theories about when and how, and if, it was taken – theories we’ve entertained as well.  And then we found this…

On August 2nd, 2007 [3 months after Madeleine disappeared] investigators showed up at 27 Rua das Flores – the McCanns’ new villa since leaving the Ocean Club’s Apt 5A on July 2nd – to conduct a search with the help of Eddie, a cadaver dog, and Keela, a dog that detects blood.  That search was videotaped.

Take a look at the clip that starts at 6:41.  The investigators are in the McCanns’ bedroom, at this point of the search, looking specifically at Kate’s side of the room.  A number of pictures of Madeleine are hung on the wall and displayed on a bedside table.  Now, look at time stamp 6:50.   What do you see?

In a black frame with a large cross and necklace draped over it, is the ‘last photo’ – well, actually – half of it.  Did Kate crop out her other daughter, Amelie, and husband, Gerry?  Seems kinda cold, but Ok, if this is a Madeleine shrine, it’s possible.  Let’s look closer.  Here’s the photo the McCanns presented to the world as the last photo of their ‘abducted’ daughter…

image004 (1)

I tried to crop this image myself to get the same amount of empty space that’s seen to Madeleine’s right, and quickly realized, it’s impossible.

The only way to completely remove Amelie’s and Gerry’s arms is to crop closer to Madeleine’s right arm, which then cuts off her right leg in the photo.  But, that’s not what we see in Kate’s framed image on the bedside table.

1-Fullscreen capture 20170517 034617 AM

Taking it one step further, focus in on the space between Amelie’s arm and her body – what’s the source of the white/black line?

Looking at an image of the kid’s pool, there’s no border or design along the outer rim that matches what we see in that space.


If this picture is indeed ‘doctored’, and it certainly seems we now have the proof, the next question for the McCanns, of course, is… why?

1-Fullscreen capture 20170517 042818 AM

To read more of our McCann case interrogation, the DOUBT trilogy

can be found on Amazon

#Shakedown Unleashes on Sunday Night, Part 3


Prior to Madeleine going missing in 2007, there were few reports, if any, of violent crime in Praia da Luz [current population, roughly 3500].   In 2013, six years after her disappearance, it was announced that Scotland Yard would take over the McCann investigation.  Low and behold, victims of crime starting coming out of the woodwork.


A ten-year-old British girl was sexually assaulted in Praia da Luz two years before Madeleine McCann disappeared, detectives have revealed.  The attack took place in the “heart of the resort” in 2005, but details of the assault have only just been reported to police [8 years after the attack].

It is understood the victim came forward following an appeal by Scotland Yard last month in which police revealed a string of potentially linked sex assaults on young British girls across the Algarve between 2004 and 2006.

Few details of the assault in Praia da Luz were given, but it is thought the victim – who would now be aged 19 – may have only just revealed what happened to her in 2005.

It is one of five further sex assaults which have been reported to Scotland Yard’s Operation Grange since last month’s appeal, taking the total to nine.

I’ll concede, sometimes victims of sexual assaults don’t come forward right away out of fear.  But in this instance – it appears that everyone in the area who came forward to share their stories only did so once an “appeal” was made.  What are the odds?


Part 3 of our podcast can be heard here…

DOUBT and DOUBT 2 are available on Amazon

#Shakedown Unleashes on Sunday Night, Part 2


“From the start, the police investigation had significant failings!”

We hear this all the time in true crime, especially when a criminal and their team are particularly skilled at PR.  The police bungled the case.  Because clearly when a crime has been committed, the truly evil are the ones investigating the crime, right?  Here’s something to nibble on… why the hell couldn’t Kate or Gerry call the police themselves if they felt so abandoned in the first two hours that passed [despite 60+ people being on the scene]?

The Portugal police aren’t the only ones who take a beating from Sadler.  Pat Brown’s made out to look like a bit of a lunatic.   Meanwhile, bespectacled ex-British cop, Colin Sutton – who delivers the breathtaking news that somebody might know something is apparently revered.

The joke of the matter is Sutton is supposedly there on the show to give hope.  There’s a new lead, although he doesn’t give an inkling of what it is.  But then he, and others from team McCann, deflate that balloon by essentially saying don’t even bother looking, you’d have better luck finding a leprechaun in the most-hide-a-bodyable town of Praia da Luz.

Hear more in our podcast Part 2…

Stay tuned for Part 3.

DOUBT is available on Amazon

#Shakedown Unleashes on Sunday Night, Part 1

Sunday Night’s “World Exclusive” farce program – using 6-year-old clips – wasn’t entirely a waste.  They succeeded in illustrating just how crafty (and essential) the media can be when one is desperate to dodge an investigation.

Paul Luckman, a reporter for Portugal News, shared with McCann apologist, Rahni Sadler (in one of the few new interviews conducted by the show) how he was one of the first reporters on the scene May 4th.   He snapped a few pics, from a distance, of Kate being shielded by friends.    The police weren’t so lucky.  Not only were they called to the scene much later than everybody else – no thanks to the McCanns – they couldn’t actually get close enough to the parents to carry out even the most basic of procedures, like taking their picture.  Luckman sets the scene that cops were treading lightly; they thought it was simply a matter of a child wandering off.  Really?  Apparently he’s forgotten about:  “They’ve taken her! They’ve taken her!”  


Sadler:  And Kate looked out of her mind?

Luckman:  She was pretty distressed and being comforted and it was running around freely.  What mom wouldn’t be pretty much out of her mind at the thought you’d lost a child.

Sadler:  What was Kate doing?  Was she inside or outside the apartment?

Luckman:  She was outside the apartment.

Sadler:  Was she interacting with the police?

Luckman:  Yes, interacting to some degree.  I think the police were trying to take it very gently.

What else is Kate doing if she’s interacting to some degree? Is there anybody more important to be conversing with than the police when your child is missing?  For Kate and Gerry, chatting with their priest, and friends appeared to be more pressing.

Listen to Part 1 of our podcast….

Stay tuned for Part 2.

DOUBT is available on Amazon

MCCANN WORLDWIDE EXCLUSIVE: #Shakedown reveals the inside scoop to Sunday Night’s Breakthrough! Incredible Story!

At 04:12, shortly before dawn on Thursday 13th May, bone fragments were discovered by Paulo Sousa, a Portuguese fisherman in a small, sheltered cove located between Sagres and Cabo de São Vicente [Cape St. Vincent].

The curved object was taken to a local lab for testing the same day, and preliminary results indicate a weathered rib bone of a three to five…

Hypothetically, what would be the six biggest breakthroughs imaginable in the Madeleine McCann case, if there were indeed a breakthrough?

  1. Madeleine’s remains are found.
  2. Madeleine, who’s living with another family, suddenly sees herself on television for the first time, remembers she’s Madeleine, and realizes her current family isn’t her real family.
  3. Madeleine walks up to the McCann’s front door in Rothley, Leicestershire, and says “Hi, Mom, I’m homeLet’s go get me some new shoes.”
  4. Sean and Amelie suddenly remember everything that happened the night of the abduction, abandon their beds and their home and call the police.
  5. Robert Murat confesses that he’s a pedophile and has adopted Maddie.
  6. Goncalo Amaral admits he was wrong; and that he abducted Madeleine.

Any one of these would qualify as breathlessly sensational “breakthroughs” but how many – bar one – has a snowflake’s chance in hell of actually happening?

What pray tell could the producers of Sunday Night know that nobody else in the world seems to know, not even the McCanns?  It sounds pretty damn huge!


The parents of Madeleine McCann have urged an Australian TV crew to hand over any “new evidence” to police, it is reported.

A documentary programme, due to air on Sunday, claims it has discovered a fresh lead in the high-profile case.

A family spokesman called on TV bosses to contact officers about the clues amid the claims of a “major” breakthrough.

He told the Daily Star: “If the Australian TV show contains any credible, fresh lines of inquiry they should, of course, have been given immediately to the police.”

A teaser video for Channel 7’s Sunday Night programme suggests a significant new lead in the case has been unearthed.

“There are major new developments!”

“It could be the key to the case!!”

“She may still be alive somewhere!!!”

“The breaking evidence about Madeleine McCann will be revealed exclusively on 7 Sunday Night!!!!”

Sunday Night saying it has groundbreaking, earth-shattering, jaw-dropping scoop, is akin to the National Enquirer saying they have gossip to share.  Speaking of which, remember that time the Ramseys granted an interview to the Enquirer?  Actually, wasn’t it two interviews, and then a book [immediately after settling a libel suit out of court]? The Ramseys sued the Enquirer, then granted them interviews.  Keep that in the back of your mind…


Those of you who followed the Oscar Pistorius trial will recall a “leaked” re-creation video of Oscar [seen for the first time ever on his stumps] racing towards the phantom intruder with his hand stretched out in front of him as if holding a gun.  Thanks to Sunday Night, those of us who once found Oscar hot, seriously had our bubbles burst.

Sunday Night aired this “leaked” footage, and made it appear balanced by peppering it with some clips from Oscar’s critics and Reeva’s grieving parents – just like we’ve seen clips of Goncalo Amarel and Pat Brown for tonight’s Maddie special – while the majority of the show ended up being commentary from Scott Roder, the serious-sounding American forensic specialist [hired by the wealthy Arnold Pistorius] exclaiming he believes the poor broken sod, Oscar.  Meanwhile, Oscar can be heard wailing like an opera singer in the background.

Roder just scored a fat paycheck from uncle Arnold, so yea, that pretty much seals the deal for him touting Oscar’s innocence.   To draw yet another parallel, Sunday Night likes to advertise they conduct their own investigations.  They built a replica of Oscar’s house just like CBS built a replica of the Ramsey’s house.*  Does anyone really believe a show is willing to spend millions of dollars to “investigate” a crime without any clue or any say about the outcome? With that in mind, is it really an investigation?

“He’s on his stumps, he’s vulnerable, that’s when he hears something!…”

“If you’re right, Oscar’s clearly not guilty!!”

 Although Oscar’s re-creation was filmed by his defense team prior to trial, but not ultimately used because his defense(s) and defense strategy changed like the wind, this footage magically appeared on the Australian TV show with team Pistorius reportedly scratching their heads at its terribly insensitive release.  They threatened to sue.

“A staggering breach of trust!”

Intriguingly, this show was aired precisely at the time Oscar’s defense was arguing that Oscar had to stay and fight [the intruder] because he didn’t have the capability of flight.  Although, anyone who watched that video could clearly see – the Olympic runner could run. No shit?!  Was this a gift for the prosecution?  Was it the proverbial nail in the coffin for the once-beloved champion?  Not exactly.

There was quite a buzz, and quite a stink, caused by the Pistorius’ over this program.  There was talk of lawsuits and threats of mistrials.  So, Gerrie Nel, prosecutor and master ruse-detector, didn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole. And even though the video of Oscar on his stumps was so outrageously offensive to his family, they saw to it [during his sentencing phase] that the whole world got to see a drugged-up Oscar not only remove his legs, but walk across the courtroom on stumps, wobble in place, and nearly fall over, all while crying. Gasp!

So…. Let’s get real for a moment.  Was the Sunday Night program dangled as a piece of bait?  If it was, then who was the one feeding the foul chum to the fishes?

“The physical evidence is consistent!”

kate and gerry on SN

Let’s shift our focus the McCanns.

“She may still be alive somewhere!”

Yesterday, Pat Brown, who’s analysed the McCann case, shared a recent email communication with the owner of a forum, expressing her disgust over her recorded words being edited for their teaser trailer.  Referring to the McCanns, Brown says…

“They’re lying and they’re concealing guilt.”

Now, this shouldn’t really come as a shock.  Brown’s been publicly vocal for a while now that she believes Madeleine is dead.  But her concern is the blatant nature in which the words were presented on TV; she’d prefer to frame that statement as “the evidence supports…” which is understandable, although, if I may be frank, it’s pretty freaking naïve (if true).  Sorry Pat, I dig your work, but come on.

Pat brown.png


I was contacted by Rahni Sadler to do an hour long interview with her on the case. Coming on the heels of the recent spate of good Australian media coverage of the case, I consented to do the interview. I was led to believe this was a one-on-one interview, an in-depth interview that would not be edited to any extent. I had no idea that I was going to be but a piece of some “explosive” documentary which was only going to include bits and pieces of what I said.

Had I known this, I would have refused the interview. I rarely do media interviews anymore that are not live interviews unless I am fairly sure that my views are going to accurately represented.

My greatest fear is that they are going to use us naysayers as dramatic bait and end the show with some “evidence” that Madeleine is alive and still has hope of being found.

Ya think?

Has Pat Brown ever watched TV?  That’s (kind of) a serious question.  Did the profiler who rarely does interviews anymore not profile the show she was being asked to participate in?  Did Brown suddenly do a back-track not wanting to get sued for a gazillion dollars like CBS?  Either way, who’s bullshitting who?

Let’s apply the same logic to the McCanns.

“She may still be alive somewhere!”


…the show has left her parents, Kate and Gerry, “angered and upset”, according to a source close to the couple.

Uh oh, the McCanns are upset.  The Sunday Night producers are clearly not on their side.


Documentary-makers are now running a 40-second teaser video using a six-year-old clip with journalist Rahni Sadler posing the offensive question.

They are also suggesting in the “landmark television event” they have secured a new interview with Kate and Gerry, which their spokesman Clarence Mitchell said today is “simply not true”.

He added: “They are hyping it for all its worth and it’s not worth anything!” [look away, look away!]

“She may still be alive somewhere!”

Mr Mitchell hit out at Channel 7’s trailer tactics despite being interviewed himself for the programme to mark the milestone 10th anniversary of Maddie’s disappearance.

Long-serving family PR Mr Mitchell hit back at the current affairs show, simply called Sunday Night, saying: “There’s nothing new in it that I’m aware of. I don’t know of new evidence neither do Kate and Gerry.”

Mitchell’s “not aware of anything new” because, apparently, that’s how the McCanns have conducted business all these years – loosey-goosey.  Right?

Did Mr. Mitchell – who agreed to be interviewed for the show – the former director of the government’s media monitoring unit, a journalist for the BBC, long-term hired gun for the McCanns, forget to do his homework, just like Ms. Brown?

After 10 years of dodging and controlling the insidious media, this slippery program outwitted them all?  M’kay.

 “There are major new developments!”

“It could be the key to the case!”

“She may still be alive somewhere!”

*CBS is being sued by Burke Ramsey, with Lin Wood as counsel, for defamation.


DOUBT The Madeleine McCann Mystery is available on Amazon

The Prodigal Nanny Returns – #Shakedown McCann Podcast #1

“I remember thinking, even before I knew them, how they were the picture perfect family.” – Anonymous Nanny, 2017

In 2007, Charlotte Pennington, a nanny at the resort’s Baby Club, gave an eyewitness Nanny Penningtonaccount of what Kate McCann said and did within the initial minutes after Madeleine went missing.

According to the Daily Mail UK 2007 article, Pennington said:

“We automatically went into lost-child procedure.  In these situations, the first thing we do is investigate the scene.  When we were coming out we saw Kate and she was screaming: ‘They’ve taken her.  They’ve taken her!’  She remained so hysterical that she could hardly communicate.”

Ten years later – a few weeks shy of the May 3rd anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance – a new “nanny” article has been published, not just in the Mirror UK, but in papers across the US, Australia, New Zealand, even as far away as Hungary.   In other words, a global media blitz.  Why now?  What’s the point?

This time around, the nanny in the articles is intriguingly anonymous.  Is Pennington back to expand on her story, or is this some other nanny who’s waited 10 years to speak? In addition to being a witness to the McCann’s guttural grief, the nanny says the Portugal police are to blame for bungling this case and the resort town of Praia da Luz is actually a haven for violent sex crimes.

From the Mirror UK:

[Upon starting her new job at Ocean Club in April 2007] “We were told, ‘Here’s a rape whistle don’t go anywhere by yourself, ever. It didn’t sound like a family resort to me.”

Not a family resort, you say?


Also from the Mirror UK:

“[Kate] was crying, but almost in a catatonic state, and Gerry was very distressed.  That’s the one thing I really remember from him, looking under the cars.  I can’t forget that.”

She [the nanny] is still constantly quizzed by people about the case who ask if “the parents did it.”  She said: “I tell them no, there’s no way at all.  


Is it possible we’ve stirred up a hornet’s nest with DOUBT?  Is this an effort on behalf of Team McCann to regain the sympathy narrative?

Hear more about our insights into the Prodigal Nanny here…


DOUBT The Madeleine McCann Mystery is available on Amazon

Where was Kate?

The nanny’s story that made international headlines this past week actually misses a very important insight.   Where was Kate in the minutes after Madeleine’s abduction?

The nanny that’s featured in the Mirror UK article is anonymous.  Why?  Because if they named her, it would lead you back to this article from September 2007.

From The Daily Mail UK:

“I was in the apartment less than five minutes after they found that Madeleine had gone.  When we [the nanny and two staff members] were coming out we saw Kate and she was screaming: ‘They’ve taken her, they’ve taken her!’  I was standing right in front of her outside the apartment’s back door, in the alleyway.  I was very close to her.  It might not have been the first thing she said. But she definitely said it.”

Now, here’s Kate’s account of what happened from her book, Madeleine:

“I checked the wardrobe in the children’s room, I ran to the kitchen, throwing open all the cupboard doors, into our bedroom, searching the wardrobes, in and out of the bathroom, all within about 15 seconds, before hurdling out through the patio doors and down towards Gerry and our friends.  As soon as our table was in sight, I started screaming ‘Madeleine’s gone, someone’s taken her.”

When you read between the lines, it’s impossible not to ask where exactly was Kate?  Was she on the balcony yelling out across the pool?  If she was, then hasn’t Gerry just lost his alibi?

If she wasn’t on the balcony, if she was somewhere else outside the apartment, why did she abandon her twins right after her daughter had just been allegedly abducted?


DOUBT The Madeleine McCann Mystery is available on Amazon

Two Sides to the McCann Story – or more?

“Every truth has two sides; it is as well to look at both, before we commit ourselves to either.”  — Aesop

“No matter how flat you make your pancakes, it still has two sides.” — Daniel Tosh

“In seeking truth you have to get both sides of a story.” — Walter Cronkite

Having covered half a dozen high-profile criminal cases, some of them very difficult and very complex cases, we believe we’re ready to investigate Madeleine’s story.

If there are two sides to Madeleine’s story, then there’s certainly an opportunity for even more sides to the story merely on the McCann’s side alone. This is in terms of Kate’s version of events vis-à-vis Gerry’s.  There is also the possibility that Kate’s version may deviate from “the McCann’s” narrative or that Gerry’s might.  By McCann narrative, I mean their common cause.* If and when we find these deviations, we will find signature cracks to this case.


When dealing with the possibility of more than one suspect [and at one time** police believed both Madeleine’s parents were prime suspects or “arguidos”], there is not one arch narrative mirrored by one opposing narrative.  When there are several suspects*** there are typically several opposing narratives, each claiming to be the definitive narrative.

In other words:

McCann narrative vs Counter narrative

Gerry McCann narrative vs Counter narrative

Kate McCann narrative vs Counter narrative

Gerry McCann narrative vs McCann narrative

Kate McCann narrative vs McCann narrative

Gerry McCann narrative vs Kate McCann narrative

McCann narrative vs McCann narrative

The counter narrative is effectively the narrative the McCanns wish to oppose, control or discredit.  Typically the counter narrative confronts the opposing narrator as a suspect, where he or she, or both, are seen as a protagonist(s) in his or her, or their, own invented spiel.

If it sounds complicated at a single glance, it is.  It’s much simpler to sample one piece at a time, and then piece the whole thing together and see how it fits.

Having written one book short of three trilogies on the unsolved JonBenét Ramsey case, we hope the readers will allow us, through the course of this narrative, to make certain linkages between both the Ramsey case and the McCann case as they come up. It is also useful to draw similarities and inferences from various other cases.

These intertextual similarities help us to develop confidence in what’s there, and to notice what’s far more important: what isn’t there.  The absence of evidence is sometimes the more compelling evidence.  It is the nature of true crime that information is missing and not merely missing, but hidden.  More often than not these holes in the suspecttrue crime narrative are found by inference.

We will use various data mining techniques to filter through this enormous narrative.  What we’re hunting for are inconsistencies in the narrative cosmology.  The dissimilarities help us to see the idiosyncrasies of a particular case on their own terms. So, for example, we might ask:

What do abductions of small children typically look like?

Do abductions look any different when they happen in foreign countries? 

What sort of profile can we draw up based on an abduction scenario and does that profile fit this case? 

If so, how so?

If not, why not?

On the other side of the narrative divide we might ask simple questions like:

What kind of people are doctors?

What kind of parents are doctors?

How are doctors different [as people and parents] from others, if at all?

Simple questions in true crime often have difficult answers.

I might as well be upfront right now and make it emphatically clear that the PR surrounding this case is absolutely staggering.  Given that no criminal trial specific to this case, or a trial for those thought to be directly involved ever occurred, the intensity of the coverage is even more mind-boggling.

However, the saturation media coverage surrounding this unsolved case is something the McCann and the Ramsey cases [a case twice as old as the McCann case] have in common.  There are two sides to saturation media.  There is the hijacking of a particular narrative one way or the other in the media but not necessarily by the media, and then there is the repeated laying down of a narrative – of a version of events – by the suspects themselves.

The effect of these repeated assertions and also counter-assertions by other players and responses to these – in the media – is similar to making sworn statements in court and then being cross-examined in court.  The only difference is, in the media there are far more opportunities and potential players who can control, influence or steer a narrative.

While the media can be an effective tool, it can also turn on its masters.  Give someone enough rope to hang themselves and invariably they do, don’t they?

Just a year or two ago, we likely would not have thought a cogent analysis of this case would be possible without court documents, which necessarily are a detailed public record of various positions, including expert testimonies and detailed outlays of forensic evidence.  The Ramsey case, I believe, provides a prescient example where more than sufficient narrative has been laid down [even in the media, especially in the media] despite the absence of a trial.  In addition to these “unofficial” narratives are countless depositions and police statements.

In both cases, many additional narratives have emerged through alternative sources. There are countless interviews which form part of a public record.  There are also several books, not merely those by the [former] prime suspect/s but also by the investigator in charge of the case.

In the Ramsey case, both parents were suspects and both parents wrote a book to “set the record straight.”  In the McCann case both parents were suspects at one time, but it was Kate McCann – the more media shy of the couple – who elected to tell her story.


In the spirit of two suspects and two sides to a story, the DOUBT narrative is a two [possibly three] part series.  The second narrative interrogates the events and players crucial to what happened on May 3rd in sharp detail. The second narrative attempts to provide a cogent scenario for who, why and when Madeleine was killed, and what happened to her remains. The second narrative also deals more particularly with Gerry and Kate.

The ambit of this narrative is to briefly introduce the characters involved [such as the Tapas 9], to contextualize the massive media coverage, to meticulously locate the case on a beach in Southern Portugal and to resolve the greatest mystery of all bedevilling this case: the motive surrounding Madeleine’s death.

If Madeleine did die, how was her death and disposal covered up?  The Ramsey case provides, I believe, very useful reference material in terms of the first part of that question.  Some elements of the second are also there. However, what isn’t found in reference cases is part of the unique terrain of this case and we make no bones about it, these are very difficult areas to intuit and interrogate.  It can be done but requires precision analysis, absolute concentration and an absorption of all the available data.  All of these then feed into an attempt to try to interrogate a compelling psychology
surrounding the disposal of one’s child, if that is what happened.

Part of how we intend to achieve this is by trying to understand the McCanns themselves.  This discussion spans both narratives, but starts off with a broader focus which becomes more targeted and more surgical as the narrative progresses. Although we begin with a particular end in mind, we must let the evidence and the actors guide us.  The difficult part is deciding what to use to guide you and what to discard as mischievous malingering.

What is DOUBT?


DOUBT is like a raven that doesn’t belong in a cloudy sky. It flies low over tawny terrain and crawling, baby blue waters of the North Atlantic. Like a black dagger cutting across white limestone, it searches across many paths for the true story of a solitary little girl.  The path to the doctors’ daughter requires a bold line of inquiry, so how about this:

What if the whole world thought Madeleine McCann was missing when she was never abducted to begin with?

What if Madeleine was murdered?

This book occupies itself primarily with the first question.

*Common cause is also known as a “shared purpose.”  In the legal sense it is the set of facts agreed on by both the prosecution and defense.

**On September 7th 2007 the McCanns were formally identified as suspects in their daughter’s disappearance. They were accused by police of killing Madeleine, hiding her for several weeks and then secretly disposing of Madeleine’s body.

***High-profile cases involving more than one prime suspect include the JonBenét Ramsey case, the Amanda Knox case, Steven Avery and the West Memphis Three. Ultimately the prosecution, or prosecution failures, in all these cases were arguably far from adequate.


The first installment of DOUBT will be available on Amazon in May

best version

Where were you when Madeleine was reported Missing?

The onset of the McCann case predates my work as a true crime author by about seven years.  When I first heard about it I was in the process of quitting my job as a Data Team Lead at a large pharmaceutical company, moving north and working in a new field – the media.

Press 2

The media played an enormous role in publicizing the McCann case. One cannot and should not interrogate the McCann narrative without acknowledging the media as a sort of partner at best, co-conspirator at worst.

As a key player in the narrative, the McCanns became the main source of the narrative [in Britain], and if the media shaped the narrative so did the McCanns.

The part that is easy to miss is that the arch narrative also shaped many of the other players, not least of all, Madeleine herself.  Madeleine, despite her cause trumpeted far and wide, is still missing.  But was she really missing to begin with?* Is Madeleine still alive and still missing, or neither?

To understand the scale and scope of the impact of the McCanns on Britain, we need to examine the McCanns and the media.  In 2007 the media landscape was in flux. A powerful ongoing narrative like the McCann case helped the media find its feet and find its direction.  The irony is in learning to tell the McCann’s story across brand new platforms the media also proved how effectively it could be used as a tool for “post-truth.”

As a Communications Specialist in the country’s second largest media house in Johannesburg, South Africa, I’d be a worker bee inside a buzzing open plan newsroom. Yet certain aspects in the new role were the same as the old one – to filter through data, to determine statistical trends and relationships, and to effectively map and communicate these. The goal was to understand which news stories were gaining traction and why they resonated with audiences, and to use this data to build the media brand and improve our advertising income.

It was an exciting time, although a stressful time for media houses worldwide.  Newspapers had to deal with a strange new player to the media landscape – digital media – and they didn’t quite know what to make of it.  Some ignored the online dimension as a passing fad while circulations plunged.  Others – like Times Media** where I worked – tried to do something with it.  And social media, well that was a brand new peripheral thing that the mainstream media were even more in the dark about.  My boss, until very late in the game, didn’t know about Twitter and when she did hear about it, wasn’t convinced there was any point to it.  Even less, how an online news service might use it.

By car, I was around 13 461 km [8364.5 miles] away, give or take, from Rothley, in Leicester which is where the McCanns were based from September onwards.  And yet the case often made headlines on my side of the world.

I recall at the time I couldn’t make up my mind what had happened to Madeleine, one way or the other. All of it was pretty confusing.  There didn’t seem much more to go on at the time other than the expressions of the parents.  Did they look like they were involved in their daughter’s death or disappearance, or didn’t they?

Kate and Gerry

The first time I saw the McCanns they were on television standing outside their home looking rather glum while they had someone else speaking entirely on their behalf.  I thought it a little odd, and I also thought the fellow representing them seemed a little odd.  He seemed to really enjoy reading and conveying his message, and although he conveyed it well, it seemed…I don’t know…too well conveyed.


The couple standing alongside didn’t seem emotional one way or the other; if anything they seemed faintly annoyed.  Surely when the media come to your door [apparently at your request], it’s a chance to make an appeal for someone you care about and a chance to make that appeal with all your heart.  So why weren’t they?

I didn’t know then that various appeals had already been made at other times especially between May and August.  I didn’t know then about the many special events dreamed up by the McCanns or the saturation of media coverage, such as the balloon releases on the 50 day and 100 day anniversaries of Madeleine’s abduction.  I didn’t know then what was circling endlessly in the British tabloid media.  All I knew was that announcement I saw in September of three people standing in front of the house seemed stilted and charming at the same time.  In other words a bit off.

But then the tides of time swept me one way and the McCanns another.  Now it’s 2017, and we’re at the ten year anniversary of poor Madeleine’s departure from this Earth.  Yes, I believe Madeleine is dead, not simply “disappeared” and even less “abducted.”  DOUBT will attempt to explain why that is, even though her parents have steadfastly*** claimed the opposite, and still do even today.

*Madeleine McCann was reported missing at 22:40 by an emergency call to police.

**Times Media in South Africa is related to Britain’s Times.

***On rare occasions in mid-July 2007 Kate McCann implied that she believed Madeleine was dead.

DOUBT will be available on Amazon in May

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