"Kate was very keen that she get called Madeleine...and errr...I would have shortened it, I'm sure I would have. Certainly where I grew up in Glasgow, and with our family we shortened all of our names but I...I...really early on if someone called her Maddie or Mads or something, then she would say 'no, my name is Madeleine'The relationship I had with Madeleine was incredibly special. I would say that between myself, Kate, and Madeleine, it was like an equilateral triangle. Yeah, when Madeleine was young, she had really bad colic - after she fed, within 30 minutes she would get a lot of discomfort...and we almost ran a shift system, in terms of getting through it. When she had colic I used to put her on my chest, and rub her back, and er...one of the things she used to do was pull the hairs on my chest really tightly, quite painful...and err, it seemed to ease her burden a little bit - I felt I was taking some of, some of it, and I suppose all that contact time and skin to skin type contact...I did feel I formed a really strong bond with her - at a very young age. The following year, ah...before she was even one, we went to Amsterdam...for a year - which was for my work, and I was then working pretty much 8 till 6 - Monday to Friday, and I didn't have any on call, and I didn't have any weekend duties so I had an awful of quality time with Madeleine when there was just the 3 of err and that was a really special time you can't get back when children are really young.
She's absolutely amazing ....... erm...I do think back about this - a lot, you know, all parents think that their child is, are amazing and most children are amazing...but some of the stuff er I was able to do with Madeleine the conversations she could have, her character, personality...its really fantastic. After you know that the twins were conceived in Amsterdam and they were born...and er so we used to get the twins down especially on a Saturday night, and then Madeleine and I would sit down in a little snug and there were two programmes in particular it was like our hour and one of them was David Tennant had started in Dr who, and it might seem, she was 3, it might seem kind a funny a 3 year old watching Dr Who, but she really loved it - really loved it - and er, I would often do the bedtime with Madeleine in particular. I used to go up and read her a story and lie down in her bed with her and she had these little stars...er...that would glow in the night above her bed, that was our time, really our time.And she loved, like I like my sport, and er she really loved running round the garden and playing games and being chased, and laughing - these are the things I really remember, and swimming - she loved swimming. I suppose that's the other thing that's pretty unique about her, we you'd take her along to the swimming, the local leisure centre to swimming pool and she would just march out there, right round the pool to her instructor with her cap on, and goggles, smiling no anxiety, fear about it she was in there.
I can't remember how it arose between friends Fiona and Matt Russ and Jane about the idea of going to Prai de Luz we went the last week in April and the weather wasn't that good and it was really windy and the pool the big outdoor pool wasn't heated and we'd been up early and er I remember feeling tired because we'd travelled so when we go in she just said 'lets go swimming, let's go swimming' Madeleine was dragging Kate and she took her into this pool and Madeleine lasted quite a bit longer than Kate because Kate doesn't have much insulation but she was straight in er that was us she saw the pool and she was like 'swimming'.
That actual evening on the Thursday we went out ................. was really when Kate came, running back from the apartment screaming. On the night that was the first thing that..raised any, well there wasn't just raising alarm bells at that point it was just all out, and I just, I just, complete shock and Kate was screaming, 'Madeleine's missing, she's gone' and was like, she can't be gone, and running in - obviously lookin' in the bedroom, and checking everywhere in the apartment, and even places I knew she could be, under kitchen sink, in cupboards and......and I mean it was disbelief that she said Madeleine was missing - disbelief, shock, horror...and then panic and, and terror - because I could only think of one scenario, at that time.
Errrr, I haven't thought about those moments for a long time those specific ones, you can imagine it's pretty painful. I don't know if...if almost automation kicked in where - it was like ok 'search'. Dave, Russell I think went outside round the apartment, so we started searching more widely really quickly and then very quickly raised the alarm ....... I mean you're in this quiet little holiday resort, that seemed idyllic out of season and I certainly didn't speak Portuguese, so I know asked Matt to, to go to - to the reception and ask them to call the police. I was sure she'd been abducted.Ya know .......I think...I remember just being in the bedroom - distraught - the two of us - just completely distraught. It was almost feral - the reaction - and the pain ........ feeling ..........helpless, alone, alone together but, er it was just - the most painful... realisation...and I couldn't get the darkest thoughts...out of our minds, that you know somebody had taken her and abused her...and then I felt that every moment that we couldn't find her, you know, was worse - and...I remember being slumped...on ....... the floor starting to call...some of my family members...and erm just saying pray for her, because I thought that was the only thing that might help at that point. Because I'd been brought up Catholic and erm wasn't particularly religious but, that was my reaction and ....... at that point, I certainly wanted to believe there was a god and hope that, it would help.
I'm afraid I can't get inside the head of someone who won't search for a 3-year-old, missing in the cold in just her pyjamas, because it was too dark.I honestly er er, that bit for me is blurred, and I can't - can't really remember in, in the order now about the police seemed to take forever, to arrive, so I think it was probably .......in those hours, after they'd come and taken some brief statements and then just kind of left us, and we were alone we were still in the apartments and, and then it just, felt terrible and I know then we we went, to another apartment err by which time it was, er 3 or 4 in the morning, Kate was saying I want to go back out and search, and I said just wait until it gets light - Kate was, kept saying, 'it's so cold'. There was an overwhelming feeling of helplessness, that we couldn't do anything, that was the, and I think...that experience, that we were feeling, right at the centre of it, was like a, a, ripple or a tide wave gone out and crashing into all of our family and friends as they heard, what had happened.
At this point, the one word he hasn't mentioned is guilt
I mean that first night was...I felt like it lasted forever erm obviously I didn't sleep, and ............... then out again first thing, as soon as it was light again Kate and I went back out walking round the streets of Praia da Luz shouting Madeleine's name and dogs barking, and it was deserted...and when we came back, can't remember, it was between the hours of 8 and 9 the police arrived and then, told us that they wanted to take us to Portimão for formal statements...and then the whole day was spent in the police station, I mean I know that at the time it felt to us like nothing was happening, and I was ...............devastated, I mean I was expecting a metropolitan type response. I remember asking the police when they arrived to get a helicopter with ..................heat seeking equipment and the thought that somebody could be across the border, into borderless Europe driving her .........or Africa, the ports a couple of hours away. I remember thinking that - get the borders closed, it just felt like there should be road blocks or something happening. When we came back it was dark again and then I was just absolutely amazed when we drove back into Praia da Luz, that there was just hundreds of media there, I don't think I knew anyone had contacted the media at that point. My first reaction, was ..........you know any privacy was out of the window, I remember thinking that as that as we drove up to the apartment. Having seen abuses of people in horrible circumstances over many, many times and when we went into the apartment there was someone from the consulate there - and then suddenly I thought...we could appeal ................ maybe someone could come forward and there was no one really in control, no one giving advice, and I just scribbled whatever I said...down and er we went down and just there was lights and camera's, and loads and loads of journalists and I suppose it's, I felt like I was doing something that could be positive.
So, he starts this section with a denial that he slept which seems aimed entirely at cancelling out the bit in the book where his wife threw him under the bus - then swiftly moves on to recount how hard done by he is/they are. Useless police, no-one doing anything, Gerry the hero stepping forward and taking charge.
These are all straight out of the McCann playbook too - the section marked "Why we're great and the Portuguese police are sardine-munching layabouts"
As we see so frequently with Gerry, he is unable to keep his responses in the first person when trying to describe the emotions he claims to feel.I just think it's as sick as you've ever been couldn't eat, could almost not drink the worst of the adrenaline, the fear, anxiety that manifests itself in, ya know in quite dramatic physical symptoms. I know lots of people say that I can't imagine what this is like but everyone has felt...that panic in a supermarket or a shop or a sporting event, where you lose contact for seconds, so people know what *that's* like.............. every parent has felt that, and they know.
So "I was as sick as I have ever been, couldn't eat, could barely drink" is replaced by "I just think it's as sick as you've ever been couldn't eat, could almost not drink "
It is as if he cannot own the emotion enough to convincingly talk about it unless he remains at a distance from it. It is very strange and it stands out a mile.
And there you have it.You put it in a situation and it was magnified, but the in terms of surviving after I did, went out and did the appeal asking for any information for people to come forward, we came in up back to the apartment and the counsellor had arrived, Alan (Pike) - he said you know, I'm there and at the time...I just didn't think I'd be the sort of person that would...need counselling, or respond to it. He was great and he just said 'well I'm here, you can call me, anytime' and then when we did finally go to bed - in the dark and we couldn't sleep I could just hear the wind howling it was really windy, that whole week but the wind that particular night was howling round the apartments, the shutters rattling.......and we were getting more and more distraught ........I think .......I can't remember...I think sometime between 4 and 5...one of us said let's phone Alan (Pike) and he came round to the apartment...he started talking...to us and, and it was interesting because he, he started off asking about our normal life or week at home and what it was like you can ................... imagine the feelings we had and how, and I mean this has been misconstrued many times but, Kate had said you know had said I'd let her down, I'd let her down, I wasn't there for her and that feeling of guilt that we both had...and that we had somehow let this happen or gave someone this opportunity - we can perceive it now but at the time it was guilt, that we were partly responsible for allowing someone to steal our daughter ..... and erm after listening to us Alan (Pike) just said......................... you sound like model parents .......... and er .................... and er I s'pose at the time ........ that was something we really needed to hear
I have recently been reading Kevin Wells' fantastic book about his daughter Holly, who at the age of 10 was one of the victims of the Soham killer, Ian Huntley. It is a wonderful book.
One of the most poignant passages is where Kevin talks about his feelings that he let Holly down, that he had failed in his duty as a father to keep her safe, about the tremendous guilt he felt. Kevin no longer feels that way; with the benefit of time and distance he knows that the freedom they gave Holly was entirely age-appropriate and what happened to her did not happen due to any lack of supervision or lack of responsibility on his part or that of his wife.
Yet here in an interview about his supposed feelings of loss and that special bond between fathers and daughters, Gerry actually can't help but drop the "model parents" bomb
Well fuck that. Model parents don't leave toddlers home alone. Ever. If you have a problem with that statement then bugger off - you are in the wrong place.
I'm afraid I think Gerry did have a vision. I believe him. I believe he had a vision of them getting away with it.We were, paddling furiously under the water just to keep our nose above the surface. We were so close to drowning, that's what it felt like. Lack of information about what's happening that was the hard part. I think Medicine and I think I'm every walk of life the worst thing for anyone is not knowing what's happening and lack of information and that was, that was almost paralysing. Without a doubt the family support's incredibly important. At times we were just crumbling, I'd just be going into the bedroom and lie down and cry...and that happened...for very long time afterwards, or I got triggered by something I saw emotion and sometimes - letting that emotional release happen was important. But you know how we responded I think...was very different after the first 36 or 48 hours or whatever it was, almost like a switch clicked for me took Kate much, much longer to get into that mode, it's quite hard to describe because it is it was quite transformative...and we had gone down to the church quite a bit, I suppose now, you know I was, you probably call it mindfulness, I was just no distraction, I was thinking and I had the closest thing ...........I'm sure that I've ever had to a vision, but I, I felt like we were in a tunnel and it was really dark...and that's what it felt like, but on this particular day, I could just see that the tunnel had a, an ending and it there was light and the light was getting bigger and brighter...and that to me was like, like a symbol that we could do things that would make our, our goal of finding Madeleine...more achievable.
You'll be telling us that God is Portuguese next. All those prayers, no result. Wine-swilling, long-haired layabout.We had a tremendous amount of support from the community and I, I did pray a lot especially in the first months...the church is shared between the Catholics and the Church of England, and erm I can't remember who gave her the key, but, I think one of the key moments was I think, the first Sunday mass was Mothering Sunday that we went to, and we were down the front and, every woman in the congregation came up and held our hands and said strength esperança (hope) and that ............ made me feel stronger having that level of support.My spirituality has waxed and waned throughout my whole
life, but I suppose...has always been there to some extent in the background, and Kate and I are both Catholic, we had a quite earnest discussion about whether or not we would bring Madeleine up Catholic, although I was not devout er certainly far from it, but we made the decision that, that we felt it set really good principles to guide our own lives and erm, that we though it would be a good thing to do so we made a conscious decision, so we became a bit more involved in the church again. We chose to have her baptised again in Liverpool.I think it's back to what I was really saying, and mine's has always waxed and waned, I'd say Kate's hasn't but mine's has, and yeah I've found it harder with all those millions and millions of prayers to accept that that's had an influence, or hasn't had a better outcome with so many people praying and I find that very difficult to accept.
Portugal's reputation?Very early on, ya know we were saying we're not leaving without Madeleine and that's what it felt like we had pre-school kids and that was certainly how I felt in the first month or two, but it became very, very apparent to me...from the end of July through August that us staying in Portugal was actually making the situation worse, and it was being counter productive whether we liked it or not, it certainly felt like to me...that the problem just had to go away...and that er Portugal's reputation was being damaged, and being kept informed of progress was really what we wanted.
They were about to feel your collar and you knew it
You were out of there like a ferret up a Yorkshireman's trousers as soon as you got wind of the fact that you were most definitely in the frameWe'd stayed to stay close to where Madeleine was, but once ........... a kind of spotlight had turned on us...I said to Kate in August we needed to leave, so it felt like we were ripped ...........but at that point it was clearly...after we were made arguido...it was impossible and unbearable and you know, we did of course ask for permission to leave...but whole journey to the airport was just like something out of a horror movie, like ya know the whole thing was like a nightmare but it's, the worst bit where everything turns, just...
Again here we see how impossible he seems to find it to 'own' the emotionI mean Madeleine's room's...pretty much as it was, there's erm...a wardrobe full of presents, Christmas and birthdays and other special occasions...but it's the decorations the same erm bedding, err I think the stars are still up there the last time I was in, so it's pretty much the same and for a long time we couldn't let...people...in her room, almost felt like it was defiling .......... Madeleine or Madeleine's memory, the thought of even selling our house, and thinking that people would see Madeleine's room is not very appealing.Yeah that first month or two, was really erm, was busy and obviously it was fairly quick. it was about 10 days where there was announced that there wasn't going to be any charges, but by that point I'd completely lost any faith in the Portuguese police, and it was to me there was an orchestrated media campaign, that was trying to make us look guilty, and then the British press were worse by, just picking it up and splashing often things that were buried in small print of newspaper and splashing it, you know as front page headlines. Yeah, the whole of that first 15 months, just felt like one acute severe episode...of grief and loss and pain and compounded and pain by things reported as facts, that was nothing more than speculation or lies, and it had a huge impact on us, and I think the hardest bit was each of us was struggling so much, that it was actually hard to support each other. Thankfully, the days where both of us were having a really bad day, were infrequent...so supporting each other and having a common goal, and I think for us that an enormous amount of family...and friends support that we had, but it just enabled us to function, and we had an huge amount of support from ordinary people, but it was touch and go, there were periods where you just felt you were going under, and it was often late at night when you were tired, and of course your sleep gets disturbed but, getting through the nights was the hardest.
You felt You were going under
You were tired
Your sleep gets disturbed
Are you talking about yourself or not, Gerry? Because referring to yourself like this does not suggest a heartfelt emotion - it suggests distance
Distancing language again, the lack of the personal pronoun. Gerry speaks about emotions and feelings but each time he does so he uses distancing language and drops the personal pronoun. This suggests to me he is relating the emotions he thinks he ought to feel, without experiencing them himselfThe other thing that kept us really focused was the twins...having two other children ...... trying to make sure that they had ....... enough love and attention that they deserved, individually in their own rights...was incredibly important and thank God and err err I...I don't know what it would've been like if, I mean Madeleine was a special bond with, with me and with Kate and our first child and how hard we'd tried to have children ............. but it would've been even worse if she'd been our only child, because we needed our two young people who are part of us who needed that support....and there's never a day goes by when I don't think about Madeleine and the situation and what might have happened...but now I mean we're 11 years down the line but...over the course, and particularly since the Metropolitan police started investigating six and a half years ago nearly seven, we've had a new normality... that our day to day life as a family of four and not a family of five, and although Madeleine will always be part of it...you adapt to - and it's terrible to say, and it sounds cold, but you can't live the way we lived for 15 months, you can't, you, you're drained and exhausted ........... you've crutches whether it be people, distraction, you cannot live like that and you can't live with that emotion on a day to day basis. It completely drains you.
This passage is interesting as, for once, he drops the distancing language and his comments in the middle of the paragraph where he imagines what she would be like now are, I believe, the only truly sincere part of the interviewOften, you know, and clearly my memories and happy memories are of...a girl who was almost 4 - but, you look at Amelie...and...how she's developed, and you can't help but think what would she look like and, anniversaries are obviously really difficult and birthdays in particular, but also seeing Sean and Amelie go through all the stages that, I imagine Madeleine would, and that I'd be seeing her and be part of it, and when we were running around the garden and seeing her swimming and seeing how good Sean and Amelie are at these things, I do...often think ....... what it would be like with Madeleine there ...... and thank God Sean and Amelie have had each other, but what they've missed out on having such a lovely big sister...is very painful ....... and I've not done it for a while, but watching the home videos that we have with them of the three of them together, and we've got photographs up all around the house and that hasn't changed of the 3 of them, but yeah...the first day when she should've gone to school...that autumn, but seeing your twins that are 21 months younger than Madeleine going to secondary school, and now yeah doing science and French and...you can't help but think that's what Madeleine should be doing.
I don't honestly know about this last section. It strikes me as being more real and authentic than the rest of the interview. The only time Gerry seems honest is when he departs from what has become a well-worn script. Strangely, in the final section, it seems to me that all he really wants at this point in time is closure. It is as if the interview consists of two distinct parts. The first is the bombastic, narcissistic Gerry, whose descriptions of grief are hollow and lacking any impact. The second half seems to come from a different place, where he just wants it to stop.I have dreamt about her ........ including you know and in the last few months, but it's it's not frequent .............but they're painful when they happen though.I thought about it a lot early on...and what I was absolutely confident about is, whatever had happened Madeleine was still alive and is still alive but we could cope and she would be in the right place...that's how I felt about it, and I think and I have thought about it recently that I just want to hug her, and hold her. I cry ...........a lot. I would just deal with that situation as it arose. I have thought at various points .......... yeah, what it would mean just stepping back from everything else.I think that's the, the thing that I've seen over and over again you adapt to your situation, and I think it's human nature and the amount of people who've said to us 'I don't know how you coped and I know I wouldn't have coped' but actually, you see it all the time and people are fighting illness or deaths of parents or children, or other incredible tragedies...they come through over and over, we're incredibly resilient, for the most part and people help you...and, time ................ makes the pain ease ........... the grief and the loss...and the pain, some of the pain we have, is not knowing, but, I certainly don't wish her dead, and it's not a trade off at any point. I certainly did believe in heaven...right now, but, I do almost think that again it's like instinctive reaction I feel...and it's just a feeling, I feel we will be reunited ..... at some point.
Although he knows it never will.
*many thanks to Ben and Nat for all their hard work*