Justice for Madeleine and Mary
Demand for the truth about what happened to Madeleine McCann is likely to continue even if London’s Metropolitan Police Service has to give up its Operation Grange investigation when the funds run out.
A remarkable example of public determination and fortitude in a missing child case took place in Ireland last Saturday.
A silent vigil was held outside the Donegal County Coroner’s offices to demand justice for Mary Boyle, who disappeared without trace at the age of six while visiting her grandparents’ farm near Ballyshannon 41 years ago.
Family and friends have called for an inquest to establish exactly what happened to Mary on March 18, 1977.
They believe she was killed by a known suspect and then became the subject of a police cover-up instigated by a politician.
Those taking part in the demonstration on Saturday included Mary’s twin sister, Ann Doherty. The protest group, wearing purple ribbons and holding purple balloons, handed in a petition containing more than 10,000 names.
Joe Craig, Mary’s cousin and spokesperson for the Justice for Mary Boyle Campaign, said: “Time is running out and we simply cannot allow this to be dragged on any longer.”
Mr Craig added: “All we are asking for is to allow the events of that day to be pieced together at an inquest so we can move on. Is that too much to ask?”
Madeleine’s parents have always claimed their daughter was abducted and believe she may still be alive.
The Met has so far spent more than £11 million of taxpayers’ money on Operation Grange but has apparently not managed to find a shred of solid evidence to solve the mystery.
A response is still awaited from the British Home Office to last month’s request for more funding, which came at a time when the Met, along with police forces throughout the UK, are under severe budget pressure and laying off thousands of officers.
Aside from such pressure, many analysts have described the Operation Grange investigation as a “sham”.
Colin Sutton, a highly respected senior Met detective now in retirement, has been more concise in his criticism.
Last May, around the 10th anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance, he said the investigation had been so “restricted” from the start that it was destined to fail.
After being tipped to lead Operation Grange, Colin Sutton was advised against it in a phone conversation with another senior Met officer. He was told that operation Grange would be restricted to the abduction theory.
Colin Sutton has not elaborated since last May, but nor has he backtracked on his comments.
He said recently: “I have no reason to change my view that Grange was never a comprehensive reinvestigation of all possible theories and that unless and until it changes that focus it will be doomed to fail.”
As in the Mary Boyle case, a great many people would like clarification about the way the Madeleine case has been conducted.
By Len Port
Len Port is a journalist and author based in the Algarve. Follow Len’s reflections on current affairs in Portugal on his blog: algarvenewswatch.blogspot.pt
Photo: Madeleine, missing since May 3, 2007 / Mary, missing since March 18, 1977