A little over a month since the world’s press went into overdrive commemorating the 10 years since Madeleine McCann vanished during a family holiday in Portugal, campaigners doggedly researching the case insist it has been “pretty much solved”.
It is simply a question of doing away with the “expensive farce” that Operation Grange – the British police investigation into the mystery -“has become”, and opening the field to an “unlimited remit”.
Volunteers running The Complete Mystery of Madeleine McCann (CMoMM) forum contend that “ten years of the UK Police and government deliberately looking in the wrong direction is criminal”.
Thus, the group that includes retired police officers has approached Prime Minister Theresa May and Metropolitan Police chief Cressida Dick with a renewed call for action in the form of a six-page letter setting out all their reasons.
CMoMM leading light Jill Havern – formerly attached to RAF military police at USAFE, Alconbury airbase in the UK – told the Resident that she suspects “something very wicked lies at the heart of this case”, bearing in mind that the forum’s repeated approaches to the authorities “always fall on deaf ears”.
“We have written Petitions, submitted FOI (Freedom of Information) requests… All replies are written from the same script. It doesn’t matter from which department.
“Basically people want to prevent our research”, she continued.
Right now, “CMoMM is being mercilessly attacked by nameless faceless entities on the internet”, she added.
There have even been “death threats” aimed at a forum member whose book: “”What Really Happened to Madeleine McCann: 60 Reasons which suggest she was not abducted” was ‘silenced’ in 2009 by lawyers working for the McCann parents.
But adversity has not deterred campaigners from pushing for what they believe to be the truth to be allowed to come out.
Thus last month’s media razzmatazz – and three key developments that it threw up – have been seized in this latest bid for “a new unlimited remit”.
Havern actually dubs the moment “urgent”.
She explains in the letter sent to Downing Street and the Met that Portugal’s highest court in the land has ruled in favour of former Maddie investigator Gonçalo Amaral – bringing his court wins in the bitter legal case brought by the McCanns to three (click here), and dispensing with any further chances of appeal.
In a rejection of the McCann’s ‘last pitch’ at litigation in Portugal, the Supreme Tribunal reiterated that the couple had not been cleared of involvement in their daughter’s disappearance (click here).
And in interviews with Sky News and “an Australian news source” former Metropolitan Police Detective Chief Inspector Colin Sutton dropped the bombshell about being warned off leading Grange “by a very senior Met police officer” as he (Sutton) “wouldn’t be able to go where he wanted to” .
Havern quoted Sutton as saying: “Operation Grange’s narrow remit to focus only on the theory that the four-year-old was abducted from the family’s holiday apartment in Portugal was unusual and a ‘missed opportunity’…”
Reminding the prime minister of a previous letter from the forum, pushing for true transparency, openness and thoroughness – to the point that detectives are free to go “wherever the evidence leads them” – CMoMM said that it hopes a new remit would also give a green-light to investigate “all aspects of the operation of the Find Madeleine Fund, including:
investigating the actions of all of its Directors,
the funding of the private investigations,
whether or not funds have been used to pay the McCanns’ legal fees and expenses,
why it was necessary for a separate account to be set up last year, to be controlled by the McCanns and not the Directors, and
accounting for all monies paid into and from the Find Madeleine Fund since it was set up in May 2007.”
So, does Havern think she will get answers?
The amateur sleuth is not holding her breath – particularly as Theresa May is “up to her ears in problems” right now.
“Ultimately, we will have to make a Misconduct in Public Office complaint”, she told us. “But that cannot happen until Grange is concluded”.
Indeed, there are those who believe the only reason Grange remains open is to stave off the effects of its closure – both in UK and Portugal – bearing in mind it has spent around €15 million without producing any answers.
Here, for example, a vindicated Amaral is still adamant that the Supreme Court victory should impel the PJ to “once and for all start investigating” (click here).
“REAL JOURNALISM WOULD HAVE QUESTIONED TAPAS GROUP”
Amaral, who has a second book in hand – ready for publication once Grange is wound-up – believes it is “high time to channel efforts into what’s important”: getting to the truth.
In an interview with the Resident shortly after his third legal victory in the battle for his right to freedom of expression, he said “perhaps it is time to transform the PJGA initiative” (set up to help him pay his legal costs) “into PJMM, Projecto Justiça Madeleine McCann”.
“With the collaboration of retired Portuguese and British police”, PJMM could “advance with a real, objective, independent investigation to investigate the causes of the mysterious disappearance, search for the child and identify those responsible”, he said.
“An independent investigation that doesn’t look at names but looks at evidence and facts – without worrying about the position of anyone – is possible”, he believes, though the quality of journalism over the last 10 years has clearly left him unimpressed.
“Not one organ of communication bothered interviewing the companions of (Madeleine’s) parents”, he told us.
“They should be bombarded with questions, but no one questions.
“In the front line appears the parents, with the friends in silence…It is strange, very strange”.
A former British police superintendent, member of CMoMM and author of the ebook “What Really Happened to Madeleine McCann?” put the forum’s new initiative into three simple sentences:
“This is not about any kind of personal vendetta against the McCann parents, it is a search for the truth of what happened to Madeleine”.
“If the McCanns, any of their detectives, the PJ or Grange can come up with a cogent, coherent and credible story about what happened between 9pm and 9.50 pm on 3/5/2007 then we all want to hear it.
“But each bit of what we have been told has been proved to have been wrong, mistaken, irrelevant, or a simple lie”.