I thought tonight we'd take a look at the events of the day after Madeleine's disappearance as portrayed by Kate in her book.
I find it very revealing, not just in terms of the events of that 24 hours but in terms of the insights into the character of Kate McCann.
I am going to highlight some passages which stand out for me. This is a longer extract, so bear with it. Consider it payback for having to wade through War and Peace written by a lunatic every Friday for fucking years.
Friday 4 May. Our first day without Madeleine. As soon as it was light Gerry and I resumed our search.Resumed? I demand a ruling from the Advertising Standards Authority
We went up and down roads we’d never seen before, having barely left the Ocean Club complex all week. We jumped over walls and raked through undergrowth. We looked in ditches and holes. All was quiet apart from the sound of barking dogs, which added to the eeriness of the atmosphere. I remember opening a big dumpster-type bin and saying to myself, please God, don’t let her be in here.Interesting. Just the one? Doesn't sound very systematic to me.
The most striking and horrific thing about all this was that we were completely alone. Nobody else, it seemed, was out looking for Madeleine. Just us, her parents.And there, in one very short passage, you really have the essence of Kate and Gerry McCann.
The only people looking. Said with a complete absence of irony, presumably. Let's be honest here, it's not a huge ask to expect her parents, who fucking lost her in the first place, to do a bit of searching, is it? But instead what comes across is that sense of McCann entitlement - 'we shouldn't have to do it, we're her parents. We shouldn't have to look after them, there are listening services for that. What, no listening service?! Well, why not?'
We must have been out for at least an hour before returning to David and Fiona’s apartment, where Sean and Amelie were now up and about.At least an hour. Honestly, you couldn't make this up. The use of the words ''at least'', the fact that she draws attention to them, indicates that she regards this as worthy of some merit. And note that they returned, nobody came and fetched them back.
The twins, distracted by having Lily and Scarlett to play with, didn’t mention Madeleine, mercifully. Russell, Jane, Matt, Rachael and their children began to arrive. People kept telling me to have some breakfast but I couldn’t eat. I had no appetite and my throat was constricted with anxiety. In any case, how could I think about eating now? There wasn’t time to eat. Someone had Madeleine and we had to find her.Remember those words. They are going to come back to haunt her shortly.
That morning I learned of the man Jane had seen in the street. Although Gerry and our friends had been trying to protect me from further distress by not telling me about this sooner, when they did I was strangely relieved. Madeleine hadn’t just disappeared off the face of the earth. There was something to work on.This disturbs me a great deal. Strangely relieved. It was never a possibility that Madeleine disappeared off the face of the earth, because this is real life and not Harry bloody Potter. There is only one set of circumstances where I can imagine feeling relieved that my child has been seen carried away by a presumed predator and that's if I really needed there to be a rather large, rather distracting, red herring
This man was around thirty-five, forty years old, dark-haired and of southern European or Mediterranean appearance. His everyday clothes – beige or gold-coloured trousers and a dark jacket – gave Jane the impression he was not a tourist. He was carrying the sleeping child horizontally across his arms, the child’s legs dangling. Though she had no reason, at that point, to be at all suspicious of him, clearly there was something odd enough about what she saw for her to register the image. While he had been dressed for the cold evening, the child was barefoot and not covered by a blanket. Although Jane had never seen or known about Madeleine’s Eeyore pyjamas, her description of this child’s night clothes – light-coloured pink or white pyjamas with a ‘trailing’ or floral pattern and turn-ups on the bottoms – matched Madeleine’s almost exactly. From the style of these pyjamas, she had also assumed the child was a girl.Now - I want to highlight this for one reason. Kate is quite correct, Jane Tanner did report this straight away, to both the GNR and the PJ. We know that because there is a record of it in the statements taken from those officers and others. There is also a record of Silvia translating for her.
There was little doubt in my mind then, nor is there now, that what Jane saw was Madeleine’s abductor taking her away. But in spite of the fact that she’d reported this to both the GNR and PJ straight away, it would be 25 May before her description of the man and child was released to the press.
How strange then that these officers, who so assiduously recorded those conversations and ensured they had a translated description, should fail to note any mention of Kate telling them about the twins being drugged?
I have never felt any anger or disappointment whatsoever towards Jane.How fucking big of you. You are the one who left your children alone and a door open. What right would you have to feel anger towards your friend?
Here is the bit I don't get - what kind of person do you have to be for it even occur to you to blame your friend for your poor parenting?
On the contrary, I was grateful someone had seen something. I’m sure this experience has been a terrible burden for her to carry around with her every day since and I do feel for her.So you don't blame her and you do feel for her, but nevertheless you position it as a ''terrible burden'' for her. It is rather like saying to someone "I'm sure you must blame yourself every day for the death of my mother but you weren't to know that she would die after you gave her that 'flu''
There have been many occasions when I have visualized myself walking up that road instead of Jane. Would I even have noticed the man and child? Seen that it was my daughter? Would it have dawned on me, out of the blue, what was happening? If not, after going into the apartment and finding Madeleine missing, would I instantly have made the connection and been able to chase after him? I’ve even pictured myself catching up with him and grabbing him by the shoulder. Saving Madeleine.Here is, I venture to suggest, another revealing snippet.
She - Kate - visualizes herself as the heroine. The one who gives chase and catches the swarthy stranger before he makes off with her child. However, she doesn't appear to visualize herself looking after her children properly so that no-one can take one away. She doesn't relive the event and make better choices. No, she reinvents herself as Wonder Woman
She is grateful Jane saw something. Is she really? Is she honestly glad Jane saw Madeleine being carried off by a ''bad man''? Or is she actually relieved because that sighting gives credence to the idea of an abductor?
Around 8am, I started to receive text messages and calls from friends back in the UK who were seeing and hearing news bulletins – messages like: ‘Please tell me it’s not your Madeleine.’This appears to be the first time that morning any of them have attempted to engage with the police to find out what is happening or if there is any news. Personally, the police would have had to beat me away with a shitty stick. Not for the first time, Kate's narrative is riddled with unfair and downright offensive criticism of the police. The previous night she had referred to 'Tweedledee and Tweedledum'; now, they are standing about doing nothing.
At about nine o’clock we all went out on to Rua Dr Agostinho da Silva to find out what was going on and to look out for the PJ. The GNR patrol was still in evidence, although again, there didn’t seem to be much sense of urgency. So what had the police been doing? It was hard to tell.
According to the PJ files, to which we did not have access until August 2008, two patrol dogs were brought to Praia da Luz at 2am on 4 May and four search-and-rescue dogs at 8am. I don’t remember seeing any police dogs until the morning, and if there were any specific police searches overnight, they were not apparent.So there was no sense of urgency, and it was hard to tell what they were doing, and no searches were apparent. But she even admits that the searches were being conducted and that the police were out with search dogs; I guess they are not apparent when you have gone to bed, are they?
The only searches I was aware of were those carried out by ourselves, fellow guests and the Mark Warner staff.Now frankly this sentence is just mean. She clearly implies that the police did nothing, which is absolute bollocks. If she was unaware of what they were doing, perhaps she should have made an effort to find out, maybe when she was forgetting to tell them about the drugs?
According to the files, the tracker dogs did not go out until 11pm on 4 May. At some point in the first twenty-four hours (I could not say when exactly, but probably that morning) I recall one of the GNR patrol officers asking us for some of Madeleine’s clothing or belongings to enable these dogs to identify her scent. I fetched the pink princess blanket she took to bed with her every night, which they took, and some of her clothes, which they didn’t.Well unfortunately, tracker dogs, like helicopters with heat-seeking equipment can't be just magicked into existence to suit the McCann's over-inflated sense of their own importance.
Several people I recognized as other Mark Warner guests were milling around and a few of the men offered to help. Steve Carpenter told us that he had approached John Hill, the resort manager, insisting that all the apartments, occupied or not (and as it was the low season, many were empty), should be opened up and searched. There had been no house-to-house inquiries at all and there wouldn’t be for some hours to come. To this day, I don’t know that this task has been completed.Once again, hero guests and hopeless cops. And still no mention, to this english-speaking cop, of a drug-wielding child thief.
A lady from an apartment across Rua Dr Gentil Martins, overlooking our little side gate, came over to speak to us. She said that the previous night she had seen a car going up the Rocha Negra – the black, volcanic cliff that dominates the village. There was a track leading to the Rocha Negra but nobody remembered ever having noticed any vehicle that far up in the daytime, let alone at night. This immediately conjured visions of Madeleine being disposed of somewhere on the overhanging cliff. I went to tell one of the police officers who was able to speak a little English. He was quite dismissive. It would have been one of the GNR men checking the area, he said.
The texts and phone calls kept coming. By this time our friend Jon Corner, a creative director in media production in Liverpool, was circulating photographs and video footage of Madeleine to the police, Interpol and broadcasting and newspaper news desks. This was in accordance with the standard advice of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in the US, which advocates getting an image of a missing child into the public domain as soon as possible. A colleague from the surgery in Melton Mowbray suggested enlisting the help of a private investigator and offered to look into the possibility. I was bemused. Back then, I thought of private investigators – if I thought of them at all – as lone mavericks like Jim Rockford in The Rockford Files. And at that stage I honestly didn’t know what we needed, though it certainly felt like more than we had. Had I known what I know now, perhaps I would have taken her advice.So clearly taking no notice of the ''No media'' instructions
A forensic team also arrived from Lisbon that Friday. Having moved out of apartment 5A, we weren’t aware of exactly when, but presumably it was some time in the morning. All we saw of them were TV images of a woman in her street clothes dusting the shutters outside the children’s room. Her shoulder-length hair was blowing free and I seem to recall that in some shots she wasn’t wearing any gloves, either.All these people, you are supposed to think, letting Madeleine down. But not her parents.
Not having slept for some twenty-six hours*fetches onion*
I was starting to feel quite jaded but my mind was teeming with horrific images. A middle-aged British lady suddenly materialized beside me and introduced herself. She announced that she was, or had been, a social worker or child protection officer and insisted on showing me her professional papers, including, I think, her Criminal Records Bureau certificate. She asked me to sit down on a low wall, plonked herself next to me and told me she wanted me to go through everything that had happened the previous night. She was quite pushy and her manner, her very presence, were making me feel uncomfortable and adding to my distress.A professional turns up and tries to help. No, we don't want that.
It is exactly the sort of ''intrusion'' you would have been subjected to at home
David was standing nearby. Concerned, he took me aside and pointed out that we didn’t know who this woman was or what she was doing there. He reassured me that I wasn’t obliged to speak to her if I didn’t want to. And I didn’t want to. Whoever she was, and whatever her credentials were, it was an inappropriate intrusion.
And something about it, something about her, just didn’t feel right. I was glad I extricated myself. This woman would pop up several times in the days and months to come and I still don’t really know who she is or what she was trying to achieve.No, you know precisely who she was and what she was trying to achieve.
If you haven't twigged by now, these are all examples of Kate McCann settling the scores she intended when she wrote the book. Anyone whose evidence in any way harms her becomes the victim of her forked tongue. I once said of Pamela Gurney that if she bit her tongue she would be dead in minutes. I think Kate carried an even deadlier venom.
Steve Carpenter returned with a man who had offered his assistance. He was, he’d told Steve, bilingual in English and Portuguese and could maybe assist with interpreting. I was grateful for any help we could get. This man was in his thirties, wore glasses and there was something unusual about one of his eyes – a squint, I thought at the time (I have since been told he is blind in one eye). He seemed very personable and was happy to be of service. When one of the GNR officers came over to request more details about Madeleine and any distinguishing features she had, this man stepped in to translate.She really cannot help herself, can she? The man has offered to help, he sympathises and says Madeleine looks like his daughter, and she fucking takes offence?! What an utter cow. Even if she thought all these things at the time, was there really any need, years later, to attack all these good people? Because make no mistake, that is what she is doing
I was holding a photograph of Madeleine, which he asked to see. As he studied it, he told me about his daughter back in England who was the same age, and who, he said, looked just like Madeleine. I was a little irked by this. In the circumstances, it seemed rather tactless, even if he was simply trying to empathize. I didn’t think his daughter could possibly be as beautiful as Madeleine – though of course, as her mum, I didn’t think any other little girl could be as beautiful as Madeleine. When he had finished translating, he turned and began to walk briskly away. Realizing I didn’t know his name, I caught up with him and asked.
‘Robert,’ he said.
‘Thank you, Robert,’ I said.
It was about 10am by the time a couple of PJ officers turned up. (One of them, in his thirties, tall and well built, I thought of for ages simply as John. I’m not sure he ever gave us his name, but later – much later – we found out that it was João Carlos.) They told us they had to take us and our friends to the police station in Portimão. We couldn’t all go at once as somebody needed to look after the children. After some discussion, it was agreed that Gerry and I, Jane, David and Matt would be interviewed first and the PJ would come back for the others later in the day. Fiona and Dianne took Sean and Amelie to their club along with the other children. While our world was falling apart, the best way of trying to keep theirs together seemed to be to stick with what they were used to.More complaints, except about the person who offers unquestioning support
Gerry and I travelled in one police car with the others following in a second vehicle. It was an awful journey. It took twenty, twenty-five minutes, but it felt much longer. On the way I rang a colleague – another lady of strong faith. She prayed over the phone for most of the trip, while I listened and wept at the other end. I will for ever be indebted to her for her help and support at that agonizing time.
Seriously? Fuck off.
Our first impressions of the police station were not encouraging. Basic and shabby, it didn’t seem conducive to efficiency and order.
I wouldn't give a freshly-laid crap if it was in a Portacabin. These were the people she needed to help find her daughter, weren't they? Then who cares how basic it was?
We were shown to a small waiting area separated from the control room – where calls and faxes came in – only by windows and a glass door, which was left ajar. In the control room, officers in jeans and T-shirts smoked and engaged in what sounded more like light-hearted banter than serious discussion.For. Fuck's. Sake.
I know as well as anybody that one shouldn’t judge people – or perhaps places, either – on appearances, but it all made me immensely nervous.I think being in any police station made you nervous that day
I was appalled by the treatment we received at the police station that day. Officers walked past us as if we weren’t there. Nobody asked how we were doing, whether we were OK or needed anything to eat or drink or to use the bathroom. Our child had been stolen and I felt as if I didn’t exist.I have read and considered this paragraph so many times, and from several angles. I am going to try to list them:
1. Who thinks like that? Who can imagine being 'appalled' because they weren't being fawned all over and made to feel special? Remember, her child has been missing for 12 hours and she is bellyaching because she isn't the centre of attention.
2. A page ago she complained that people were trying to get her to eat and ''who could eat at a time like this?'' Now she is complaining because no-one jumped forward with a carefully prepared wedding buffet?!
3. She is writing this knowing that it will be read by millions of people. Has she so little self-awareness that she is blind to how it makes her appear?
4. Her entire focus seems to be how she is feeling and not on what is happening to her daughter
5. Her final line is revealing - it is not that her child has been stolen and nothing is being done which elicits her wrath; it is the fact that no-one is making a fuss of her
I’ve tried to rationalize it since: maybe they just couldn’t imagine how it felt to be a parent in such circumstances, or maybe they couldn’t speak English and it seemed better or easier simply to avoid us. Whatever the case, it was a horribly isolating experience.Maybe they were just doing their fucking jobs?
At some point that morning we’d become aware that friends and family were appearing on television expressing our concern about the lack of police activity overnight.Yeah, guess what, Sherlock? That probably didn't help either
I think I’d registered Trisha and a good friend in Glasgow popping up on the TV in the apartment. Gerry has a memory of seeing some familiar faces on the set in the police control room. We were quite surprised that people were giving interviews but it was understandable. After all, we’d been on the phone half the night to our friends and relatives, sobbing that nothing was being done and begging for their help. And we appreciated the swift response. We were just worried that any criticism of the police might not do us or, more to the point, Madeleine, any favours.There really are no words. They spend all night on the phone, complaining that the police are shit, and then she throws a wobbler when they don't start sprinkling rose petals in front of her cloven hooves
We were grateful for the support of the British consul for the Algarve, Bill Henderson, and the proconsul, Angela Morado, who met us at the police station. Although there was little anyone could say or do to ease our pain, they were both warm and extremely sympathetic.They were sympathetic, yes. Which is why you haven't slagged them off.
I especially appreciated Angela’s reassuring presence – she was roughly the same age as me, a mother herself and, most importantly, strong, and I felt those common factors would help her to understand a little of what I was going through. At one point, the British ambassador, John Buck, came down from Lisbon to see us. He was pleasant and obviously concerned.Me, myself, I.........
I recall Bill Henderson telling me there had been several recent cases of men getting into bed with children, but no known abductions. I’m not sure why this didn’t ring a million alarm bells or sicken me to the core. As it was, it remained locked away in the dungeons of my mind for many months. At the time my brain simply couldn’t connect such cases with Madeleine’s disappearance.I wonder why?
These were abuse victims, and as awful as such crimes were, Madeleine’s situation was much worse. Our child had been stolen. We didn’t know where or how she was.There is no pleasing this one, is there?
After an hour or so, Gerry, Matt and Jane were taken off for questioning. I remember constantly looking at the clock, counting the hours since we’d last seen Madeleine, my terror mounting with every five minutes that passed. My body, as well as my mind, appeared to have locked down. Bill and Angela went out for food and water for us but I had no interest in eating.
Why complain about the PJ not offering food if you didn't want any anyway?
Gerry told us afterwards that when he’d asked about deploying helicopters and heat-detecting equipment in the search, the police officer interviewing him had replied, ‘This is not the UK.’ There were no helicopters and no infra-red cameras, he was told.
Is that their fault?
I'm going to stop there for now and pick it up later, when they give their statements.
A couple of general observations
- The sense of entitlement and the demands for special treatment seem to be so much part of Kate McCann's personality that she can't actually suppress them, even when she emerges as a 24-carat bitch
- If this isn't narcissism, I don't know what is
- Her entire focus seems to be on how she was being treated, and not if her daughter was okay