As you will all be aware the mainstream media are desperately trying to convince the nation of any theory - other than parental involvement - as to the circumstances under which Madeleine McCann disappeared in May 2007. In an article published on the 21st April 2017, The Daily Mirror were doing just that. The Mirror ran a story that included quotes from Colin Sutton, a former Senior Investigating Officer, who worked on the murder squad for the Metropolitan Police.
Using Colin's words, the article indicated that the former officer's most likely theory was that Madeleine was snatched by a trafficking gang; crucially however the paper misrepresented Colin. Writing on the CMoMM forum yesterday (22nd April 2017) Colin clarified what he actually said:
"This (the theory that Madeleine was kidnapped by a child trafficking gang) is the most likely scenario once those closely linked to Madeleine have been ruled out.
That is an important part of the quoted piece to keep in mind.
My view, as I gave to The Mirror, is that they have not been ruled out, either by the PJ or Op. Grange. However the editorial slant given to what I said to the reporter has pushed this to the very back of the piece.
I have taken part in three pieces for the 10-year anniversary - the Mirror, the Australian TV film and the Sky TV film.
The Australians never told me they had 'new evidence', I don't know what this is but I was asked about police procedures in these cases and not asked to give an opinion as to what actually happened.
The Sky film will be, I hope, a much more balanced piece than anything else in the mainstream media. I am sure you will have a view once you see it -as will I, as once again it has to go through an editing process, but in what I have recorded I have tried to deal with some of the inconsistencies, to point out that the Portuguese investigation was nowhere near as bad as it is painted, that the McCanns have never been eliminated and that Grange was too restricted either to do this or to have a meaningful impact on the case.
I am sceptical about abduction being the only valid scenario and will continue to be so. In taking that view in the mainstream media, one is subject to legal and editorial restrictions which of course do not exist on a forum. My choice therefore is either to give up and not take part or to do so and try to push the boundaries each time so that the concept of alternative theories can gradually be published more widely. I chose the latter.
I am cross that The Mirror piece has been adjusted so much that it gives precedence to a hypothesis which I don't feel is the most likely. It is the first time I have done this sort of work for that paper and this is an outcome which has not happened when working for others. No newspaper or TV company has ever told me what conclusion I should come to and if they did I would run a mile. Once I have told them what I think, though, I am at their mercy as to what they use and do not use."
When asked on the forum about Eddie and Keela, the dogs that alerted to various areas in apartment 5a, Kate's clothing, the boot of the hire car, as well as Madeleine's soft toy, cuddlecat:
"I have great faith in the abilities of these dogs in general. On the handful of occasions I used (different) dogs operationally they were reliable in that they directed us to areas where forensic material was found. I accept that dog findings alone are not evidential.
One of the areas of this case where my understanding is lacking is what happened after Eddie and Keela indicated - how the material was then analysed and how it came to be discounted."
Colin then returned to the subject of how the article was misleading:
"I can tell you how the Mirror piece was put together - I spent 2 days in PdL with Martin Fricker and a photographer. I didn't, on this occasion, actually write anything - Martin interviewed me and we discussed the case and the possibilities of what had happened. He had a list of these possibilities and I gave my view on them one by one - generically as well as how they might apply to this individual case. I had nothing to do with the piece on Mr. Amaral; my personal opinion of it was that it was pretty unpleasant.
Most of what I said forms the 5 numbered paragraphs on the bottom half of page 4. I didn't have any control over the relative prominence given to them, had I done so then point 1 (parental involvement) would have had the greatest or at least equal prominence.
My views on the Portuguese investigation form much of what was printed on the bottom halves of pages 6 and 7. Emphasis here on the criticisms is not mine - but we must I think accept that there are some valid criticisms to be made. Equally I believe that we should not apply the standards we expect of British officers operating within the British culture and criminal justice system to those operating in a quite different context.
On the final page I did say that I believe that Madeleine is dead but that I understand that it is difficult for many to give up hope. I said - as I believe - that there is/are a person/persons who know what happened to Madeleine and that I fear that now only information from one of them will solve the case. This was written as "... if the culrprit makes a confession." Which is very similar but also can be read in a quite different sense.
Just to be absolutely clear, currently my overall position is this:
I do not know what happened to Madeleine. I do not think the official investigations by the PJ or Scotland Yard have disclosed this either. I have read a lot of hypothesising and logical thought by many different people - both pro- and anti-abduction - with varying levels of experience and expertise. Much of what they say, much of the evidence which is available, can point to logical conclusions either for or against the abduction hypothesis.
But the important point for me is that the accepted best practice in these cases is to ensure that the parents and those close to the missing child are eliminated at an early stage. The good reason for this is that, statistically and experientially, they are most likely to be involved. If the PJ tried to do this but could not and Operation Grange didn't actually try to as it was never a part of their remit, then I don't think it can sustainably be said that Madeleine's disappearance was investigated to the depth it ought to have been.
Of course there are, sadly, some cases where the evidence is not to be found, where the best possible investigation will not yield the answer. I am not convinced this case is one of those because I am not sure it has been investigated as thoroughly as it could have been.
I am certain, for a number of reasons, that Operation Grange was not a full re-investigation - and I believe it should have been.
I do not ignore the other points you mention. They all have some credibility, in my judgement at least sufficient to warrant investigation by the appropriate authorities. As such, they are the sort of things I would have expected a proper re-investigation to look at."
Unlike the Mirror, I haven't edited any of Colin's words regarding the interview; I haven't rearranged what he had to say; I have given no prominence to any part, or parts.
I have to say that I admire the honesty, balance, and structure of what Colin said above; what he has revealed though, raises some serious questions;
Why are our press so determined to avoid printing facts?
Just how many other people has The Mirror - and other publications - misrepresented, in an attempt to portray Kate and Gerry McCann as victims?
When - if ever - are they going to realise that the victim here was Madeleine McCann, and that by printing biased, one sided, and often totally untrue articles, they are complicit in covering up the truth, as to what happened to a 3 year old little girl who went on holiday with her family, and was never seen again?