Sunday, 13 September 2009

Madeleine McCann, "is in a secret lair."

The Belfast Telegraph Sunday September 13th

"The Ulster detective leading the search for Madeleine McCann today reveals his most chilling theories yet, exclusively to Sunday Life. Hardened ex-RUC cop Dave Edgar told us he is convinced that little Maddie is imprisoned in a hellish lair – just like kidnapped sex slave Jaycee Lee Dugard."

Right! And just what makes you think that, then, Dave?

"He insisted the “back from the dead” reappearance of Jaycee – and the cases of Austrian cellar girls Elisabeth Fritzl and Natascha Kampusch – confirmed his suspicion."

Ok, Dave, so, in spite of the fact that most missing children have been abducted by a parent or a close relative, we have here three cases of children who turned up years after being abducted. I see. And, wait a minute, there's more!

"There was further backing for his theory when American boy Ricky Chekevdia was found hiding with his mother in a tiny “secret room” two years after he was kidnapped while caught in a custody battle."

Dave, every week people are winning the lottery. This confirms my belief that I am definitely going to win it! This idea is as plausible as your suspicions being confirmed, based on a handful of cases in the past 18 years since Jaycee Lee Dugard went missing.

Dave, I wonder what your ex-colleagues in the police would think. A few children out of the hundreds of thousands who have gone missing over the past few years have turned up, having been hidden away in seclusion, and this confirms your suspicions that Madeleine must be in a cellar somewhere?

What about the many, many children who were reported as having been abducted, and who were actually killed or sometimes, hidden, by parents or someone close to the family? Does that tell you something? Not raise your suspicions? Little Marina Sabatier, for example, reported missing, killed by her parents. And Shannon Matthews, reported missing, and found to have been hidden by a relative. Hang on, though, Dave, one of those children you have mentioned, Ricky Chekevdia, was actually found hiding with his mother. So, maybe we can count him out when we are talking about children being hidden in secret lairs!

Dave, you'd be the laughing stock of any police force if you came out with that kind of theory. Hang on, guys, my suspicions are confirmed about this case because three out of hundreds of thousands of kids have been found years later.

"And despite fresh leads taking his probe to Australia and Barcelona,"

Barcelona, Dave, the case where, according to the Daily Mail, your investigators:

  • Failed to speak to anyone working at the seafood restaurant near where the agitated woman was seen at 2am.
  • Failed to ask the port authority about movement of boats around the time Madeleine disappeared.
  • Failed to ask if the mystery woman had been filmed on CCTV.
  • Knew nothing about the arrival of an Australian luxury yacht just after Madeleine vanished until told by British journalists, who gave them the captain’s mobile phone number.
  • Failed to interview anyone at a nearby dockside bar where, according to Mr Edgar, the mystery woman was later seen drinking.
  • Failed to ask British diplomats in for advice before or during the visit.

Well, I can see that you carry out rigorous investigations, Dave, from that desk of yours in Knutsford, Cheshire!

Right! Back to this secret lair, which you say is, "...just 10 miles from where she was snatched in Praia da Luz two years ago." Now, you don't actually tell us why you think that, but could it be because of what you believe about the area?

"Dave said: “Jane is a very reliable witness and there were other sightings of this man, who Jane saw carrying a little girl in a blanket, in the days leading up to the disappearance.”

He feels this is the lone prowler who has Maddie stashed in a cellar or dungeon in the lawless villages around Praia da Luz."

"...lawless villages," Dave? Any chance of your naming these villages so that we can ask the inhabitants what they think about their places of residence being called, "lawless."? The Lone Ranger, I mean the lone prowler, who managed the impossible task of getting Madeleine out of that narrow window in the apartment, is holding Madeleine in a cellar, or even a dungeon, in a lawless village in the wild west, I mean the mountainous regions around Praia da Luz.

And you know this because?

"Dave says the region where he feels Maddie is being held has attracted many strange characters, including convicted sex offenders.

“I don’t want to generalise or make gross exaggerations, but there are people there living on the edges of society,” Dave said."

Dave, why not try Peckham? There's loads of people living on the edge of society there, and probably lots of strange characters.

And finally! Dave, I see that you are chasing up those leads!

"He is now investigating leads on six child sex offenders, 78 other rapists and sex attackers and 22 vagrants."

Nice work, Dave.

Kate McCann: that "poisonous," letter from the wife of Gonçalo Amaral

Today, the Sunday Express reports that Sofia, wife of Gonçalo Amaral wrote a, "poisonous," letter to Kate McCann. What they omit to say is that the letter was written in September 2008, following remarks by Kate McCann, during an interview with a Portuguese daily newspaper. During that interview, Kate McCann said that Dr Amaral was a "disgrace, professionally and as a person." In response, Sofia Leal wrote an open letter to Kate McCann. This is the letter:

-- Dear Madam,

Excuse my audacity, but after learning about your comment in your interview with the newspaper, Expresso, on the subject of Gonçalo Amaral, my husband and father of my daughters, I have to send you these words of thanks. For many years I have been trying to make myself understood with this feeling that unites you and I "....and his behaviour is a disgrace professionally and as a person"...

Consider this:

a) Professionally

-- As coordinator of criminal investigation for the PJ, my husband has always refused to sit comfortably behind his desk, from 9 to 5, which is usual for his rank.

Instead of that, he spent the day (and sometimes the night) on the ground with the investigators, coordinating "on the spot" searches, surveillance, seizures and other duties. What a disgrace! But if this was just about being exposed to the elements, things wouldn't be serious, because as Madam Kate knows, the weather here is not bad. The problem is his commitment to the cause which has cost him promotion in his career. I will explain, because this case is contemporary to the search for your daughter. My husband was involved as senior coordinator, and between seizures of drugs, kidnappings and murders, he succeeded in producing a theory about drug trafficking by sea, which he defended before a jury in Lisbon, who congratulated him.

Full of hope, Gonçalo Amaral returned to the Algarve to await the result. It was with astonishment that he learned that he had been passed over by other colleagues (coordinators as it happens, to tell the truth), because he had not managed to get himself into "professonal training" settings. And yes, Madam Kate, my husband spent his life working, in the midst of complex investigations. He was the man in Portugal who seized most drugs, but as he didn't have the time to parade himself in the corridors of the PJ's institution, he was not promoted. A disgrace, madam, a disgrace!

As you must know, because you seem very well informed to me, my husband's salary was barely 1.5 times the minimum wage of your country. However, as a wife, mother and Portuguese, I cannot complain, given that Gonçalo Amaral's salary was the equivalent of 4.5 times the minimum wage in Portugal. Pay attention to this, which serves as an example of what I am going to explain: at one time, an individual shot an officer of the PSP and fled into neighbouring Spain. Between the comings and goings of a PJ team, of which my husband was a part, they were there for more than 15 days.

At that time, international expenses were 100€. As madam Kate can imagine, it is not possible on that amount to eat and to lodge in Spain, still less when it is Christmas Eve, and this money would only be available (with a bit of luck) by Easter. Even with that, Gonçalo Amaral never refused, not even for a day, to search for the evasive murderer, thus increasing our family budget. And this is only one example amongst many. I once suggested to him the creation of a fund, or something else for dealing with these extraordinary expenses, but he never listened to me. While we too had our mortgage to pay...A disgrace, Madam Kate, a disgrace!

b) Also as an individual, his behaviour is a disgrace, because it was never possible to distinguish or to have a private life with the way of working he chose. However, and if my dear friend Madam Kate will allow me, I can give some examples: Five years ago, a child called Joana "disappeared." The mother, just like Madam Kate, tried to project the case into the media, but this was as far as she got...After 8 days, came the confessions and the evidence: During an incestuous act between the mother and the uncle, the child was beaten, later cut into pieces and her body disposed of, no one knows where. The mother and the uncle were imprisoned, with the trial coordinated by Gonçalo Amaral, and bringing each of them nearly 20 years in prison. But going back a bit...

The child died on September 12th. On Christmas Eve, our family were together to begin our prayers, when my husband asked me to prepare a bag with food and warm clothes, because he had not yet carried out his Christmas act of contrition and penitence. Try to imagine, Madam Kate, where Gonçalo Amaral took himself that Christmas night when there was torrential rain and roaring thunder? To the Olhao prison establishment, where João Cipriano, Joana's uncle, was a prisoner; confessed murderer and clinically declared a psychopath. For my husband, giving alms to a beggar did not represent any sacrifice.

On the other hand, joining and sharing his Christmas meal with João Cipriano was the sacrifice he offered to God in memory of Joana. And isn't that a disgrace? Know this, Madam Kate, every year, on September 12th, my husband requests a mass for Joana Isabel Cipriano Guerreiro. He says that no one else will remember the poor child. But people remember to accuse him unjustly of acts and crimes which he has never committed. Isn't that a disgrace, Madam Kate?

I will relate one last story, which still costs me to talk about. This year, in May, we started the process of moving our family to Portimao. My husband's holiday was supposed to start the day after your daughter disappeared. "For obvious reasons," that didn't happen. I started a new job, I looked at houses, I made the move and I tried to settle our daughters into new schools with new routines.

All that alone, without any support from my husband, who, for obvious reasons, was looking for your daughter, Madam Kate. In October, on the day of his birthday, a week after our daughters had started the new school year, Gonçalo Amaral was dismissed and returned to Faro. It was supposed to be a time of the family getting together, but in fact it was even more of a separation. Isn't that a disgrace? Our daughters have never understood, and we have never succeeded in explaining to them what the obvious reasons were that justified a father leaving his daughters to look for a child he didn't know and whom the parents neglected. A disgrace that my dear friend Kate was not there at that time. Perhaps you could have helped us explain the "obvious reasons" to our children for their father's being sent back.

To finish, on the intimate subject of Gonçalo Amaral, I can only tell you that he is exactly as the Latinos have a reputation for: a wild one, and my modesty does not allow me to say any more.

I ask my dear friend to forgive these thoughts of a wife and mother, but I am sure you will understand. I will finish this missive by asking you to pass on to your mother my sincere compliments. She seemed very sincere to me when, during an interview, she said she had the urge to slap those who had left her grandchildren alone. She spoke as openly as a true Portuguese grandmother would have done.

My dear friend Madam Kate, without wishing to bother you any further, I would like you to do me a last favour: now that you are starting to let the truth come out, don't stop, go on, and tell the truth the world is waiting to hear.

With my best regards,

Sofia Leal

(Wife and mother of Gonçalo Amaral's children.)