"Madeleine McCann's father Gerry McCann has returned to Portugal to advise private detectives filming a reconstruction of her disappearance.
Family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said Mr McCann and two family friends have returned to the resort area of Praia da Luz to help with the filming.
The reconstruction will be shown in a Channel 4 Cutting Edge documentary.
Madeleine, of Rothley, Leicestershire, was three when she vanished from the Algarve holiday flat on 3 May 2007.
The reconstruction - being filmed by the McCanns' own private investigators - will focus on what happened on the night, as described by witness statements." *
As described by witness statements? Surely there are so many inconsistencies in those statements, this reconstruction will be very difficult, unless this firm of private detectives is planning to portray several different versions. For a start, there are several versions of Jane Tanner's statements about what she saw. There was the "Eggman," who was wearing beige coloured trousers and was carrying, "a bundle that could have been a child." Then there was her statement about the swarthy man who was carrying a child in pyjamas identical to the ones Madeleine was said to have been wearing when she disappeared. Then, there was the version where the man she saw was just like the man seen by the two female tourists. So, which one will the detectives go with?
"Negotiations are under way for the reconstruction to be shown on Portuguese television and in other European countries, and it will be also be available on the Find Madeleine website.
Mr Mitchell said: "The aim of this is to get that critical piece of information that could still help to find Madeleine. Gerry has returned with that aim." *
So, why didn't Gerry return when the Portuguese police wanted to mount a reconstruction? The seven friends the McCanns were on holiday with in May 2007, decided that a reconstruction would accomplish nothing one year on, and so communicated their decision to the Portuguese police.
"On May 23rd, all seven of the McCanns' friends sent a formal reply to the Prosecutor's request for a reconstruction, saying that they would not be attending, after advice from their lawyers. The reconstruction was therefore canceled by the Judge for the Court of Criminal Investigation, on May 26th 2008."
Duarte Levy & Paulo Reis
The planned reconstruction was canceled because of the conditions imposed by the Tapas 7 and also because they did not see any purpose in such a reconstruction. Maybe Gerry could have persuaded his friends at that time that a reconstruction could have led to important new information. After all, he actually said he was willing, but the date was not suitable.
"As it was impossible to accept or accomplish these conditions, Paulo Rebelo, in an email addressed to Stuart Prior on April 29th, requested that a final decision was taken. Jane and Russel O'Brien were the first to respond, saying yes, but waiting for further advice from their lawyers. Rachel and Matthew sent a similar response, but stressing that they couldn't be in Portugal between May 15th and May 17th. "
"The criminal court took the decision to set a new date: 29th and 30th of May 2008. Then Gerald McCann requested a change to this new date, because his lawyer had another meeting planned before the Lisbon court, for May 29th. His request was refused because it was impossible to make a further revision of the date, due to the numbers of people involved. "
SOS Maddie (See link above)
So, after all that messing about, the reconstruction was canceled.
But now, two years on, Gerry McCann returns to Portugal for this reconstruction by his team of private detectives? I think the local people of Praia da Luz have given the message very loudly and very clearly, that Gerry McCann and his merry band are not welcome in the area. Two years ago, the people of Praia da Luz did everything they could to help find Madeleine McCann. While Kate McCann did absolutely no phyisical searching for her daughter, local people took a whole week off work to search the area. The Portuguese police searched hundreds of properties and questioned hundreds of local people. Kate and Gerry swanned off round Europe! And now, they want the help of the local residents?
No! I guess something else must be going on. Maybe the Goncalo Amaral case is nearing a resolution and Mr Amaral's book will be available in English soon? Also, I believe there is a documentary based on Mr Amaral's book. So, perhaps the McCanns want to get their film out first? There must be something going on, I reckon for this to suddenly be important after two years.
At this point, as the tourist season is just getting underway, and the main industry of the town of Praia da Luz is tourism, I cannot help but wonder what effect this invasion of Gerry McCann's film crew is going to have on local business. One more chance, Gerry, to ruin a few businesses in Praia da Luz.
"The McCann's friends Jane Tanner and Matthew Oldfield, who were with them on the night Madeleine disappeared, will be interviewed on the programme, to be aired on 7 May.
A man was said to have been "acting suspiciously" two days before Madeleine disappeared, and Ms Tanner said she had seen a man carrying what may have been a sleeping child.
Channel Four commissioning editor for documentaries Mark Raphael said: "The disappearance of Madeleine McCann is one of the most harrowing unsolved crimes of recent years.
"Two years on, Kate and Gerry McCann are still searching for their daughter. We hope that this documentary and reconstruction may be able to provide vital new leads for the investigation." *