Above: Arthur Cowley and Dave Edgar, private detectives working for Kate and Gerry McCann.
Years ago, when I was living in a town up north, I had a neighbour whose three children were all under five years old. The neighbour had a habit of leaving the children on their own and taking the bus from Chorlton-cum-Hardy into the centre of Manchester to go shopping. Anyone who knows Manchester will know that this is a 20 minute bus ride.
My neighbour used to be gone for at least two hours and I would wonder how long it would take for the crying to start. It was really quite heart-rending, listening to those children. So, after the second or third time of hearing the plaintive sobbing, I phoned social services. I was quite shocked, actually by what I was told: under the 1932 Children and Young Persons Act, there is no minimum age at which small children can be legally left alone. However, and this is a very important point, particularly for the McCanns, if children are left alone and significant harm comes to them, the parents can be prosecuted for neglect.
Now, the reason I mention this is that Gerry McCann is still repeating that mantra, in connection with his daughter Madeleine's disappearance. According to Gerry McCann, Madeleine was abducted, but there is no evidence that she has come to harm.
From the latest bla bla on Gerry's Blog
"The court case has demonstrated, once again, that there is no evidence that Madeleine has come to any harm."
So, I'm going to have a wee shufftie back over some of the ideas Gerry has put forward about Madeleine's abduction and specifically here what kind of person may have been the culprit. For the moment, I am going to ignore: shutter jemmied/shutter intact; window open/open window and raised shutters not noticed by Matthew Oldfield who walked past them and didn't notice; only Kate McCann's fingerprints on the window; no sign of intrusion into the apartment. I'm just going to consider this hypothetical abductor, who has not harmed Madeleine.
On May 14th 2007, Gerry McCann was quoted as saying:
"Until there is concrete evidence to the contrary, we believe Madeleine is safe and is being looked after". (The McCann Files )
At this point, we are led to believe that Gerry is sure that Madeleine has been abducted by a kind person, who is looking after her. Robert Murat is being investigated as a suspect in the case and I would say it seems odd that a person so local to the McCanns' apartment would abduct a child, hide her, and have no motive but to look after her. Ah well!
In the Vanity Fair interview which appeared in January 2008, Kate McCann explained the reason why she had appeared to be lacking in emotion in her early interviews.
"But Kate wasn’t buoyed. From time to time, she would turn to friends and offer a wistful half-plea—“I hope whoever has Madeleine is giving her blankets … is feeding her properly … is keeping her warm.” Not really absorbing at first, her confidant explains, “what kind of person this was.”
Eventually, though, the probable nature of the abductor was brought home to her in the most explicit and horrifying way. Never talk about Madeleine’s preferences to the press, British police warned the McCanns, because whatever Madeleine most loves—a favorite cartoon, say—could be used as a tool for manipulation by her kidnapper.
Madeleine’s mother was also warned not to weep in public. “That was one of the things they were told right from the beginning,” McGuinness reveals. “Don’t show any emotion, because whoever took the child could get off on that, and take it out on the child."
So, since Kate claims to have acted on this advice, are we to assume that she accepted this, that whoever had her daughter was liable to gain some perverted pleasure from hurting her? Nearly three years on, Gerry and Kate are still repeating the "no harm," mantra, when even soon after Madeleine's disappearance, they believed she could be with someone who was so unstable that he/she could gain from hurting her?
Since then, we have been through the remote villages of Morocco, where Madeleine was spotted, as well as diverse places on all five continents. More recently, the latest bunch of dodgy detectives, Edgar and Cowley, have had their sights on Raymond Hewlett, a very ill convicted paedophile, who was thought to have been in the Algarve when Madeleine disappeared. These ex-police officers, insisted that they wanted to interview Hewlett in order to clear him from their investigation, a fact reiterated by Clarence Mitchell. Did Gerry and Kate, on hearing this, think that Hewlett had looked after Madeleine, adopted her as his own, or perhaps been a very kind paedophile, who had not harmed Madeleine?
The latest gem from Dave Edgar, is that he believes that Madeleine is alive and being held in a "hellish lair," in one of the, "lawless villages," within a 10 mile radius of Praia da Luz. Now, you'd think that if Kate and Gerry did not lend any credibility to this they would have sacked their hired help, but this does not appear to be the case. So, do they think this theory has any validity? Madeleine is being held in a "hellish lair," and at the same time, she has not come to any harm?
Whatever Kate and Gerry McCann would have us believe has happened to their daughter, in terms of the identity and character of the alleged abductor, one thing, I feel, is pretty obvious, that is that a child who was abducted by a stranger, taken from her bed in an apartment in a foreign country, has been harmed simply by that act. Do the McCanns really believe that their child could have been removed from her bed, taken God knows where by a stranger, held against her will away from her family, and she had not been harmed? A child abducted by a stranger has not been harmed?
I find myself shaking my head in disbelief when I read that or hear that. How could any parent believe such utter tosh! And yet, last year in their Christmas appeal, the McCanns told the world of the "spare place," at their festive dinner table and pleaded for help to fill it, to help bring Madeleine home. Did they truly believe that a child who had been abducted, who had been kept from her family for nearly three years, would join the happy family round the table as though she had just walked out the door? That she wouldn't be so traumatised from all she had been through that she would simply merrily join a family she would hardly recognise any more?
Sometimes I think the McCanns actually believe the rubbish they come out with! But then the more cycnical side of me takes over. Why would the McCanns have to keep chanting the "no evidence that Madeleine has come to any harm," mantra? They're two sandwiches short of a picnic? That may be so, but they're obviously not unintelligent. So, what could be the reason? I go back to what the social worker in Manchester told me: if small children are left alone and significant harm comes to them, the parents can be charged with neglect. So, there we have it, I think, folks! No harm has come to Madeleine, so her parents cannot be charged with neglect, can they?