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Saturday, 5 August 2017

Was Madeleines' Make-Up Photo taken on Sunday and connected to her death?

I think it’s worth summarising at this point some of the main reasons why the Make-Up Photo is so suspicious and why it may well have been taken on the very same days as the Last Photo (i.e. Sunday 29 April).
I can think of 23 reasons.
1.      When it was first published, it was by Jon Corner, not the McCanns
2.      The McCanns had had three years in which to publish it. They did not do so
3.      When the photo was published, they made up a story about it being taken when Madeleine was ‘playing with Mummy’s dressing-up box’, which was clearly untrue
4.      They have never disclosed who took that photo
5.      The photo has clearly been cropped
6.      It is possible that they themselves do not know who took that photo
7.      We do not know why Jon Corner chose to publish not only the Make-Up Photo but also, in the same short film, the ‘Ice Cream’ photo and the ‘Skirting Board’ photo
8.      Dozens of people commented on social media that the Make-Up Photo looked like a ‘Lolita’ photo and even the Independent newspaper and Mark Williams-Thomas (!) condemned it as highly inappropriate
9.      The stucco background (whether ‘cream’, ‘yellow’, ‘ochre’ or ‘orange’) is untypical of the British Isles but very typical of the Portuguese Algarve coast
10.  Excluding the controversial ‘Tennis Balls’ photo (which was apparently taken by two different people on two different days), we have NO photos of Madeleine taken after lunchtime on Sunday 29 April – except perhaps this one, the Make-Up Photo
There are also these very specific reasons for thinking that an adult dressed and made up Madeleine and that the Make-Up Photo was taken on the same day (Sunday) as the Last Photo:
11.  Madeleine’s hair length is the same as on the Last Photo      
12.  Madeleine’s hair colour is the same as on the Last Photo    
13.  Out of the dozens of videos and photos we have of Madeleine, hardly any have hair beads on her
14.  Both the Last Photo and the Make-Up Photo show Madeleine wearing hair beads. They may not be identical, or in the same place on her head, but clearly the same adult who dressed Madeleine in a hair bead for the Last Photo, could have put on another one for the Make-Up Photo
15.  Madeleine could not have put the necklace on herself
16.  Madeleine has blue eyeshadow on her, which is extremely unlikely to have been applied by herself
17.  It is very likely clear, especially when the photo is enlarged, that Madeleine has eye-liner carefully applied to her skin below the eye
18.  Similarly, someone seems also to have applied eye-liner to her skin above the eye    
19.  According to some who have viewed this photo, Madeleine might be wearing lipstick  
20.  In the Make-Up Photo, Madeleine is wearing a pink dress or top with shoulder straps. This could be the same garment as she is seen wearing on the Last Photo
21.  Madeleine is not smiling; she looks stiff, miserable and afraid
22.  Madeleine’s pupils are very large
23.  She seems to stare out at the camera with a kind of catatonic stare.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

What happened to Madeleine McCann? - No. 4   50 ridiculous stories the British media "ARE" telling you


This is our fourth leaflet in this series. The three previous ones featured facts about the reported disappearance of Madeleine McCann that the British media have not been telling you about. This leaflet is different.

While the British mainstream media have for years denied the British public the facts that might help us to better understand what happened to Madeleine, they have, at the same time, shamelessly produced many ridiculous, unbelievable stories about what might have happened to Madeleine, mainly to sell more newspapers and make more money. Some of these stories were even generated by the McCanns’ chief publicist, Clarence Mitchell, former Head of Tony Blair’s  Media Monitoring Unit. He once boasted that his job was ‘to control what comes out in the media’. Many stories featured in this leaflet could have harmed Madeleine, if she really had been abducted, was still alive and being held by an abductor. Suppose even one of these ‘sightings’ and ‘claims’ was true? What would be the effect on any abductor? What would he be likely to do? Many of the stories could have put Madeleine, if still alive, at great risk, by causing an abductor to take steps to evade the police.   

Our first leaflet examined the main facts of the case. You can watch a video of this leaflet on YouTube, in 4 parts, at this link:   Our second looked at the main members of the ‘McCann Team’, examining their activities, focusing on the controversial individuals (some of them criminals) and detective agencies they used - for what they said was their search for Madeleine. Our third leaflet discussed Operation Grange, the 6-year-long Metropolitan Police review and investigation into Madeleine’s reported disappearance. We have numbered our points from No. 151 onwards, this being a continuation of our first three leaflets.

British media stories about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann

We present below a selection of some of the most bizarre claimed ‘sightings’ and stories about Madeleine’s disappearance printed in the British media, some more ridiculous and unbelievable than others. A very useful website on the internet which gives further details about many of these stories is:  and many of them are discussed in detail on this popular Madeleine McCann discussion forum:

In 2017, the Sun published a list of 8,685 different ‘sightings’ of Madeleine.  The initial claim by the McCanns was that Madeleine had been abducted by a paedophile or a group of paedophiles. A bewildering variety of ‘sightings’, theories and claims about what really happened to Madeleine followed. We add comments on some of the stories, which we list in the approximate chronological order on which they were first published:

151. Madeleine seen in a taxi by Mr Cardosa on the day she was reported missing (3 May 2007) COMMENT: The taxi-driver claimed he had had a young blond-haired girl in his taxi, with two adults. But his story unravelled when he got muddled about which day this happened. He was dismissed as an attention-seeker.

152. Robert Murat’s girlfriend Michaela Walczuk handed Madeleine over to someone near the Spanish border (May 2007) COMMENT: This curious story emerged months after Madeleine had been reported missing. Moreover, when it did emerge, it was via the controversial, corrupt Spanish detective agency used by the McCanns, Metodo 3. On 13 November 2007, the man who ran the McCanns’ investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance, businessman Brian Kennedy, met with the Portuguese Police, bringing with him two Metodo 3 detectives (one of them, Antonio Giminez Raso, was arrested three months later and spent four years in prison on serious drugs and corruption charges). At the November 2007 meetings, the Metodo 3 detectives said they had been contacted by a truck driver who saw a blonde woman handing over ‘a package wrapped in a blanket’ to a man on a camp site near the border with Spain. The Portuguese Police followed this up, but it was another false lead.    

153. Maddie in a Dutch shop owned by Anna Stam (6 May 2007):  COMMENT:  This sighting was not made public for a full 15 months. It finally surfaced in the British media on 7 & 8 August 2008, after Anna Stam had flown to London to meet the McCann Team and help to draw up an artist’s sketch of the couple she said she’d seen with a young girl in her party shop in Amsterdam on Sunday 6 May 2007, three days after Madeleine had been reported missing. Ms Stam claimed the girl had spoken to her and said: “My name is Maddie. She is not my Mummy. They took me from my holiday”. Ms Stam did not report her sighting for a month. Dutch police interviewed her, drew up computer e-fits, and sent them to the Portuguese police on 18 June. The Portuguese police declined to follow up the information, besieged as they were by the intense work of their initial investigation and the presence of hundreds of international media journalists in Praia da Luz.  Ms Stam said: “I didn't like the man, he didn't look like a nice person…most people smile when they come in to buy things…he didn't smile back at me when I smiled at him. He had no sparkle in his eyes. He seemed angry”. She added: “The woman seemed stressed and uncomfortable. The man spoke in Portuguese. I know because I have Brazilian friends. The woman spoke in French while the little girl spoke English. It didn't seem like a real family”. The story was revived in August 2008 when the McCanns became aware that the Portuguese police had not travelled to Holland to follow up Ms Stam’s claims.  The McCanns’ PR spokesman Clarence Mitchell told the Mirror: “Anna did the right thing in contacting the Dutch police. But I find it shocking that the Portuguese police weren't even in touch, either with her or with us. I'm grateful to the Mirror for bringing her to us. Her evidence could be very significant. Our investigators will interview her in the next few days”.

154. Madeleine seen near a petrol station in Marrakesh, Morocco, asking to see ‘My Mummy’(9 May 2007) COMMENT:  A witness was sure she saw Madeleine with a man near a Marrekesh petrol station, next to the Hotel Ibis, on May 9, 2007. She said the girl ‘looked very distressed’ and said: “Can we go see Mummy now?’  The Daily Star revived this story as recently as 17 April 2017, as the 10th anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance neared:

155. Madeleine seen asleep on a Belgian train (May 14, 2007)   COMMENT: A British man claimed he saw a child asleep on a train from Brussels to Antwerp and thought she looked drugged. The girl was with a balding, 6ft white man in his forties, who got off the train at Mechelen carrying her.

156.  Sightings in Geneva, Switzerland (16 May 2007)  COMMENT: A man reported seeing Madeleine in   Geneva on 16 May. In June, there were two separate sightings of a girl seen at Geneva Airport with a blonde woman in her 50s. Fifty police officers were called to search the entire terminal building, while all the pilots were asked to search their planes for the child:

157. Police looking for a red van with false number plates near Lisbon (17 May 2007) COMMENT: This story was reported by SKY News.

158. GCHQ hunt for Madeleine after they intercept messages in Arabic referring to "the little blonde girl" (29 May 2007) COMMENT:  Yes, even GCHQ in Cheltenham were involved in the search for Madeleine, in a story covered by Fox News on 29 May: “Brits Follow Cell Phone Signals in Hunt for Madeleine".

159. Three sightings in Belgium, two in Tongeren (May and June 2007): COMMENT: There were three more reported sightings in Belgium. The first was in May 2007 in Liège. Then, on 27 June, Jessica Beem said she had seen Madeleine in her flower-shop in Tongeren. A third claimed sighting, also in Tongeren, occurred on 28 July on a café terrace, where children’s therapist Katleen Sampermans said Madeleine was with a ‘strange-looking’ Dutch man and an Englishwoman. An artist’s sketch of the Dutchman was compiled. However, the girl turned out to be the 4-year-old daughter of a Belgian man. The Portuguese newspaper Correia da Manha in August 2008 reported that Interpol had received reports from 107 people that they had seen Madeleine. See here:

160. Two sightings in Zaio, Morocco (late May/early June 2007) COMMENT: A Spanish tourist said she saw a girl resembling Madeleine as she drove through the town of Zaio in northern Morocco at the end of May. Later, another Spanish tourist, Isabel Gonzalez, said she saw a girl fitting Madeleine’s description being ‘dragged across a street’, also in Zaio, by a North African woman on 15 June.

161. Madeleine seen in Hong Kong (14 June 14  2007)  COMMENT: A woman claimed that she had spotted  Madeleine in a Hong Kong shopping centre. The ‘sighting’ was ruled out after police studied CCTV footage

162. 28 sightings in Malta (17 to 29 June 2007)  COMMENT: There was a spate of alleged sightings of Madeleine in Malta, see e.g. here  She was seen several times with a man, once with a woman. Another claimed to have seen her boarding a bus in the capital, Valetta. Elsewhere a Maltese man used his mobile ’phone to take a photo of a child he believed to be Madeleine at a parish festival in Zejtun on 17 June. A man from north Wales  said he saw a girl in the north-eastern town of Sliema wearing a jet black wig who was being told: "Get up, little girl”, by an Arab-looking man. Nothing came of any of these sightings: yet more police time wasted. 

163. Madeleine seen in Dubrovnik, Croatia (19 June 2007) COMMENT: She was allegedly seen in Dubrovnik, Croatia, laying on the floor ‘kicking and screaming’ and yelling: “I’m never going to see them again”.

164. Antonia Toscano, a Spanish journalist and professed ‘expert in Satanic cults’, said he knew Madeleine had been abducted by a French paedophile - on orders from wealthy organisers of a European child sex ring (27 June 2007)  COMMENT: A false claim by a man with a vivid imagination (see also No. 200).

165. Madeleine seen twice in Bosnia (8 July and 10 November 2007)  COMMENT: A British tourist believed he had seen Madeleine at the Roman Catholic shrine of Medjugorje. He said the little blonde girl he saw with a couple was ‘agitated and sobbing’. Police traced the girl, who was a local. In November, an Irishman visiting the same shrine contacted McCann detectives Metodo 3 to tell them he heard a little girl cry ‘I want my Daddy’ as she was driven away (10 November 2007).  This story was apparently backed up by a shop assistant. The Irishman had seen the car’s number plate, details of which were reported by the media before the police had chance to find the owner.    

166. Two women reported seeing a child who looked like Madeleine with a man at a petrol station near Cartagena, Spain (21 August 2007) COMMENT: This alleged sighting was thoroughly investigated by both the Spanish National Police and Civil Guard, using up hundreds of valuable police man-hours: Press Association, 23 August 2007, ‘Madeleine Spain sighting' probed’; also in the Guardian, 26 August 2007.

167. Madeleine was being carried on a peasant’s back in Morocco at Zinat near Tangier. The girl was actually Bushra Binhisa, the daughter of the woman who was carrying her (seen on 31 August, reported 20 September 2007)  COMMENT: This case received huge publicity in the British press, including the broadsheets, in September 2007. A European-looking girl of about Madeleine’s age was photographed as a Moroccan peasant woman carried her on her back. The girl’s face didn’t look like Madeleine at all, yet the British press ran banner headlines: ‘IS THIS MADELEINE?’ It turned out that this photo had first been seen by the McCanns, who passed it to the press. They must have known that it was not their daughter. Yet they let millions of British newspaper readers think that this might be Madeleine. Police and even journalists were sent out to Morocco and soon found the peasant family. The parents were shocked and distressed to have been accused of abducting Madeleine.         

168. Naoula Mahli claimed to have seen Madeleine in Fnideq, Morocco. Later, Lord Leveson was told at the Leveson enquiry into press standards that the Daily Express paid her £500 for her story (November 2007) COMMENT: This alleged sighting by Naoual Malhi occurred (she says) on 21 August 2007, but was not reported to the Spanish police until 6 days afterwards. Mrs Malhi claimed she was told by police that over 100 people had reported seeing Madeleine McCann in the same mountain area. She then reported her claims to Metodo 3 at the end of October. Naoual Malhi is a Moroccan doctor who lives in a British expatriate community near Malaga, Spain. She is divorced and at the time had a 4-year-old child. The blonde girl identified in the city of Fnideq as Madeleine McCann turned out to be a Moroccan child living with her parents, according to the director of the Moroccan Judicial Police. Naoula Mahli wove a superficially believable story about having discovered where Madeleine was being held. But her story didn’t stand up. Did she make it all up just to get £500 from the Daily Express?


169. Dunedin, New Zealand: Madeleine was seen in a supermarket in New Zealand with a man (5 December 2007) COMMENT: CCTV footage from New Zealand showed a girl like Madeleine being led into a supermarket by a portly man in shorts. The man’s behaviour aroused the suspicions of a female security guard in the Dunedin shop on South Island. She approached the girl who said her name was ‘Hailey’. But the security guard remained  convinced the girl was Madeleine and reported the matter to police. The CCTV footage of the man and girl was repeatedly shown on New Zealand TV, and in Britain. Interpol in Wellington was also called in to investigate. Of course, it was not Madeleine McCann but a young girl out shopping with her father. 

170. A man who looked like Beatle George Harrison may have abducted Madeleine (January 2008) COMMENT: This was a major front-page story on Sunday 30 January 2008 in the now-defunct News of the World. It was heavily prepared in advance by the McCann Team with the active help of Leicestershire Police. The entire story was woven by the McCann Team around a real individual who was often seen around Praia da Luz. One strange feature of the case concerned McCann friend Jane Tanner’s involvement in the story. She was the friend of the McCanns who claimed she had seen a man carrying a young blond child near the McCanns’ apartment at 9.15pm on the night she was reported missing. In all her descriptions of this man, she admitted that she never saw any part of his face. Brian Kennedy, head of the McCanns’ private investigation, had used a lady by the name of Melissa Little (said to be an F.B.I.-trained forensic artist) to draw a sketch of the man Jane Tanner said she had seen in May. In the sketch, released in October 2007, the man’s face was not seen. Later, in January 2008, Jane Tanner was shown the sketch of the man drawn to look like Beatle George Harrison. It was of his face, and he had a moustache. Despite never having seen the face of the man she said she had seen on 3 May, she now said she was ‘60 to 80% sure’ that ‘George Harrison man’ was the same man she’d seen in May! It emerged later that Jane Tanner had done an identification parade on 13 May 2007, when she said she was ‘adamant’ that Robert Murat was the man she had seen on 3 May. But the subsequent sketch she approved in October 2007 looked nothing like him. Hardly surprisingly, the Portuguese Police dismissed everything Jane Tanner said as wholly unreliable.        

171. Madeleine seen at a service station on the A9 motorway near Montpellier, France (21 February 2008) COMMENT: The claim that Madeleine had been seen in a service station on the A9 motorway in France was taken so seriously by the British press that even broadsheets devoted long articles to the alleged ‘sighting’. Even the Daily Telegraph’s respected Chief Reporter, Gordon Rayner, wrote an extensive piece on the subject, solemnly reported as follows: “Madeleine’s parents were facing further heartache today when it emerged that CCTV footage of a little girl playing in the south of France is ‘almost certainly not her’. Hopes of finding the missing four-year-old were raised when a Dutch student said she spotted the child at a service station close to the city of Montpellier last Friday. Melissa Firing, 18, said the child was with a ‘tall, swarthy’ man who bundled her away in a car. French detectives spent ‘hours’ examining the footage at the nation’s Criminal Research Institute in Rosny-sur-Bois, near  Paris. Police even tracked down the owner of the car in which the little girl was driven away, after the number plate appeared on the video footage. A ‘source close to the McCanns’ said: “The owner has provided a plausible explanation of what he was doing with a young child in a motorway service station”. French police at the time said they were also investigating allegations that young children, including babies, were being ‘sold’ at impromptu auctions in car parks along the Mediterranean coast. 

172. A Portuguese couple with Madeleine in tow knocked at the door of a retired civil servant in Dorset (25 February 2008)  COMMENT: Reported in the Daily Telegraph, 24 February 2008.  This is believed to be the first reported sighting of Madeleine in Britain. It occurred in Dorset, where civil servant Alan Cameron had retired. He told police that Madeleine was with a Portuguese couple who came to the door. Yet another false claim.

173. Madeleine seen on a plane to Brazil, one of six ‘sightings’ in that country (14 May 2008)  COMMENT: A traveller claimed to have seen Madeleine travelling on a plane to Brazil. Interpol’s chief Jorge Pontes said: “This sighting is still under investigation so we cannot reveal details. We have a witness insisting they saw the child on a flight to Sao Paulo”. Clarence Mitchell, the McCanns’ PR spokesman, said: “The couple’s privately hired detective agency, Metodo 3, are looking into the latest claim”. There had been five other ‘sightings’ in Brazil, one in Rio de Janeiro. Brazilian police chief Marilia Moreira Marques said that a man called Mark claimed to have seen Madeleine at a book fair in Cinelandia Square, Rio de Janeiro, on 11 May 2007. The sighting had been reported to a foreign embassy in the capital, and was referred to Interpol, who were said to hold a ‘40-page dossier’ on Madeleine.  On 7 June, a man said he spotted Madeleine in an Ipanema cafe sitting with a man. He said she looked ‘sad’ and was not speaking to her male companion. See:

174. Madeleine spotted on a Venezuelan island (18 May 2008)  COMMENT: A British businessman and yacht skipper, Trevor Francis, said he saw Madeleine in the company of two or three women on the island of Margarita in Venezuela. He claimed this happened several weeks previously, but says he didn’t approach her because he was ‘too fearful of causing a spectacle’: “I wanted to grab her and shout out her name and see what reaction I would get," he told the News of the World. Mr Francis claimed he noticed an identical eye blemish to that of Madeleine.   

175. Croatian national footballer’s two-year-old son mistaken for Madeleine (18 August 2008) COMMENT:  Two British tourists spotted a woman leading what they thought was a young girl with long blonde hair along a beach on the Croatian holiday island of Krk. They both immediately thought it was Madeleine McCann. They secretly took photographs of the child. The British woman seized a chance to grab the child’s arm, intending to take her to the police. Only then did she realise that the child was not Madeleine as it was a boy. The boy’s mother turned out to be well-known Croatian model Nives Drpic, while the father was a footballer for the Croatian national team and for Dinamo Zagreb. They were described as the ‘Posh & Becks’ of Croatia. See:  and

176. Madeleine seen in Algeria with a suspicious-looking family (September 2008) COMMENT: A man said he had seen a Madeleine look-alike blonde girl, with a British accent, with an Algerian family who were ‘acting suspiciously’.

177. Maddie seen in the company of a big, fat gypsy woman (September 2008)  COMMENT:  A British woman, Mrs Jean Godwin, aged 56, from Widnes, Cheshire, was sure she had spotted Madeleine McCann in the company of two fat women at Carvoeiro, about 30 miles from Praia da Luz, and rang the McCanns’ ‘investigation hotline’. Mrs Godwin described a ‘gaunt, very thin, malnourished’ young blonde girl wearing a black, shiny wig being dragged by ‘gipsy women’. One of the women, she said, was an ‘obese’ size 30, in her mid-to-late 40s, with ‘dirty and unkempt’ red hair. She added: “The girl’s eyes were wide open and my attention was drawn to the large irises. I am 100% sure it was Madeleine”.  This sighting, said the McCann Team’s investigators, matched an earlier account of a fat, red-haired woman, now known to be Yvone Albino, a cleaner, who had been seen by another British tourist, Jeni Weinberger, from Salisbury, Wilshire, acting suspiciously outside the McCanns’ apartment on 3 May 2007, the day Madeleine McCann was reported missing.  The McCanns’ investigators traced her -  she has two grown up sons but no young children - and followed her to a small, run-down farmhouse on an orange grove, near Silves, not far from Praia da Luz. They then began a surveillance operation at the farmhouse, fearing that Madeleine was being held prisoner there. In the following months, Yvone Albino paid several visits to the property, a holiday home owned by a teacher and his partner, whom the investigators deemed to be ‘suspicious’. Their concerns were raised when they discovered a white Citroen Berlingo with a child’s doll on the back seat and a child’s drawing among rubbish bags - even though the couple did not have young children. Mrs Albino, who has two grown-up sons but no young children, used to visit teacher Jorge Martins and his partner Maria Silveira (traced through their car), at their run-down farmhouse in an orange grove. Portuguese police confronted Mrs Albino, who said she knew nothing about either sighting and denied any contact with young children. Officers found the house deserted. The woman with Mrs Albino in Carvoeiro was never identified. Mr Martins and Miss Silveira have never been accused of any crime by police. He told police the doll was given to him by his students several years earlier. Nothing came of all this effort, but it made it look as though the McCann Team were doing a real investigation.                         See:

178.  Madeleine spotted in Majorca by British tourist (28 September 2008): COMMENT:  Two British  holidaymakers were convinced that they saw Madeleine on a beach at Cala d'Or, Majorca. She was reportedly ‘in the company of two women’, but they also added: “We saw the girl was on her own under a parasol on the beach with a colouring book, which struck us as odd…later in the week we saw the girl again and the woman was trying to drag them down to the beach, although it was dark, which she again found odd”. Spanish police combed dozens of hotels and holiday apartments to try to locate the girl. One police spokesman said: “We are aware of the numerous previous sightings all over the world that have turned out to be false and it could well be that the couple have made an honest mistake”.  See here:  …and in the Daily Mail

179. Madeleine seen with a Portuguese child trafficker in the United States (9 October 2008) COMMENT:     On October 9, 2008 it was reported that Madeleine was living with a Portuguese man in the U.S. He allegedly was a child trafficker, smuggling children from his homeland, Mexico and Greece.

180. Madeleine asked for a chocolate ice-cream from an ice-cream seller whilst with a French family in Brussels (October 2008)  COMMENT: A North African-looking woman with a young girl in tow was picked up on CCTV footage by a security guard at a branch of the Belgian bank KBC. Later, an ice cream vendor, Antonio Migliardi, came forward, describing the woman as being ‘very severe’ with the child, adding: “She held her hand firmly and kept pulling her closer. When I gave the ice cream to the child she stood frozen. The lady took it in her place. Normally a happy child always takes the ice. This was not a normal situation”.  The security guard said: “I will bet everything I own that the child I saw was Madeleine McCann”. Clarence Mitchell, the McCanns’ spokesman, commented: “We take this information seriously”.  See:

181. Maddie seen in a Spanish restaurant in Maryland, U.S.A. (May 2009) COMMENT: An unnamed woman spoke to the Sun newspaper in June 2013, saying she thought she saw Madeleine in a Spanish restaurant in Montgomery County, Maryland, accompanied by a blonde woman and two men, one of whom was ‘scruffy-looking with a foreign accent’. She added: “I’ve never felt so strongly about something”. She said that Operation Grange was now following up the alleged ‘sighting’.

182. Madeleine was abducted by British paedophile Raymond Hewlett (2009 and 2010)  COMMENT: This was a long-running story in 2009 and 2010. Raymond Hewlett was a convicted British paedophile who had been travelling around Europe in 2007, when Madeleine was reported missing. Another traveller, Peter Verran, had met with Raymond Hewlett in June 2007 in Morocco. The two men discussed Madeleine McCann, and Hewlett admitted that he had been staying about 30 miles away from Praia da Luz at the time Madeleine went missing. He also said he knew of the apartment block where the McCann family had been staying in May 2007. Hewlett denied he had been in Praia da Luz that week and there was no evidence that he was. Yet the McCann Team kept the story of Hewlett being a suspect going for months. They made repeated attempts to interview him, having located him at a hospital in Aachen, Germany, where he was being treated in hospital (see also below).     

183. Madeleine was taken on a yacht to Australia by an Australian woman who looked like Victoria Beckham and wanted ‘a new daughter’ (6 August 2009) This was another major news story promoted by the McCanns. Their PR spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, held a news conference where he paraded a sketch of what the woman looked like. He said she looked like Victoria Beckham (‘Posh Spice’). The whole story was said to have come from a British man, said variously to have been a ‘businessman’ or ‘banker’. The McCanns didn’t give the man’s name, so his story couldn’t be checked. It was claimed that the man told the McCann Team that on Sunday 6 May 2007, he had been drinking all evening in some of the numerous bars around Barcelona docks. He said that at 2am that night, a young woman with an Australian accent came up to him and asked: ‘Have you got my new daughter?’ He said ‘No’, and the young woman went away. Despite Madeleine’s disappearance being front-page news around the world at the time, he had delayed reporting this incident for over two years, claiming he had ‘agonised’ all that time over whether or not to report it. It was claimed that Madeleine may have been taken by boat from Praia da Luz to Barcelona (a journey of hundreds of miles), and that the woman with an Australian accent had arranged to ‘buy’ her at Barcelona docks three days later and board a large yacht bound for Australia which was leaving the next day. Amazingly, the British press once again fell for this most unlikely story. It made the top story  on TV and mainstream British newspaper bulletins. It caused an extensive police search for the woman in Australia. A month after this story, the Mail on Sunday exposed the fact that the McCanns’ detectives who had researched this story had neglected to contact any of relevant Barcelona agencies, such as the police and the port authority, and had failed to do the most basic of checks with owners of pubs around the port.  On 9 August, a  Sydney Morning Herald article: ‘Madness in the search for Maddie’, reported that, following the McCanns’dramatic press conference, the search for Madeleine ‘swept across at least four Australian states’, with ‘a string of sightings’ by people who said they had seen a woman looking like ‘Posh Spice’ A 53-year-old Australian woman, Judith Aron, was ‘forced to deny’ that she had abducted Madeleine. She had a fair-haired five-year-old daughter. It was thought that a neighbour had reported her because she ‘spoke Spanish’. Also, an elderly Sydney woman went into Burwood police station claiming that a friend she had met in Spain, and travelled with in Portugal, was the woman in the identikit picture. She was later identified as Nelida Martinez and was soon ruled out. The McCanns said they had received over 600 e-mails after issuing the ‘Posh Spice lookalike’ appeal, mostly from Australia. See: ...and

184. Madeleine seen with man at petrol station in Devon - arrested (4 September 2009)   COMMENT: A fire protection officer, Jon Hazlehurst  was questioned over Madeleine McCann after being spotted in a petrol station with his step-daughter, Lauren, aged eight (Madeleine would have been six at that time). The man was traced by police, visited by police, driven to Kingsbridge police station and taken into custody. The witness had noted down Mr Hazelhurst's car registration plate and contacted the police. Mr Hazlehurst said: “I was surprised more than anything. I thought it was…a prank, before I realised that they were quite serious. The police were very polite and I understood that they had to follow up the lead, even if it didn't come to anything”. See:

185. Madeleine is alive but being kept in an underground lair within a few miles of Praia da Luz (September 2009)  COMMENT: In 2009, the world heard the extraordinary story of Natasha Kampusch, from Austria - the young girl kept captive for years by a paedophile, until she escaped from his clutches at the age of 18. A similar story of a paedophile keeping his victims locked up involved Fritzl from Germany. Later, Jaycee Lee Dugard, who had been abducted by a paedophile from a bus stop in the U.S. at the age of 11, was found alive and rescued at the age of 29. When these stories began to receive publicity, the McCann Team quickly capitalised on them. Their lead detective at the time, Dave Edgar, exploited these news stories in the Belfast Telegraph and the Independent, stating that his new theory was that Madeleine was likewise being held in an ‘underground lair’ within a few miles of Praia da Luz. This was purely for the press - in order to maintain public perception that Madeleine had really been abducted. Whilst professing that they believed that Madeleine could be hidden near Praia da Luz, the McCann Team made no effort whatsoever to initiate any official or unofficial search for such a lair.

186. Madeleine seen in a Swedish photograph (10 October 2009) COMMENT: This story was first brought to the British public by Antonella Lazzeri of the Sun, which has produced many of the most absurd stories about  alleged Madeleine ‘sightings’. A girl was photographed in Sweden, with claims that ‘after computer-matching’, she could be Madeleine. She was seen at a car show, and was said to have an ‘identical jawline’ and ‘eyes the same colour as Madeleine’. The photo appeared on a website, after which Swedish police were ‘inundated’ with calls from the public, some of them saying they had seen Madeleine at the car show, where she was heard to speak in English. ‘Face-mapping technology’ used by British police was said to have identified the girl as a possible match. Madeleine’s parents Kate asked for ‘an urgent investigation’. The McCanns’ official spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "Kate and Gerry are liaising with the relevant authorities”. This excellent website carries this Swedish story:

187. Madeleine was seen on TV at a school concert in Canada (5 March 2010) COMMENT: The continued appearance of Madeleine McCann’s appealing photograph in newspapers around the world led to an extraordinary incident in Canada. Distressed viewers inundated a Canadian TV station with calls after a blonde girl looking identical to Madeleine was shown singing with a school choir on a news show. The Canadian police had to contact the school and carry out checks to make sure the girl was not Madeleine.  See:

188. Madeleine was seen in Dubai (20 January 2011)  COMMENT: Madeleine was reported to have been in a Dubai shopping centre. By this time, she would have been nearly eight years old. The sighting was by ‘an unnamed 35-year-old businessman’. The man with Madeleine was said to be ‘very skinny’ with a moustache and a ‘scary appearance’ – and some commented that he looked very similar to a previous artist’s sketch of a possible suspect [see sighting No. 170, above]. He was accompanied by two women, one of whom was black and wore a veil and the other who was ‘also very thin’, according to the Sun.  See also:

189. Madeleine was abducted by vicious paedophiles who took her to the United States, according to  a basketball-playing Angolan amateur sleuth whose front teeth were knocked out by the paedophiles (18 February 2011)  COMMENT: The Sun headed this story: ‘Madeleine McCann is in America - and I know who took her’. This story, once again strongly promoted by the McCann Team, was based on the outrageous and completely unbelievable claims of Marcelinho Italiano, a 6’ 4”, an Angolan-born ‘amateur detective’. He claimed that in the course of his sleuthing in Portugal, he had contacted a group of vicious paedophiles. This brutal group - who, he said, had knocked out two of his teeth in the course of his sleuthing - had supposedly spirited Madeleine away to the U.S., where they were holding her. Italiano claimed he had to flee Portugal and had gone to ground in  Spain in fear for his life. However, when the story broke, a search on the internet soon located him. His name came up as a regular member of a team playing in a Spanish basketball league. Once again, nothing came of this story, which appeared to have been manufactured by the Sun with the help of ex-pat Olive Press editor, Jon Clarke.

190. Madeleine was seen in India (29 June 2011):  COMMENT: The alleged sighting of Madeleine was made by a British woman on holiday in Jammu & Kashmir, in the northern Indian Himalayas. She raised concerns with other tourists, one of whom, an American, was so sure the girl was Madeleine that he tried to snatch her from the couple she was with. The parents, a French woman and her Belgian husband, were spoken to by the police who insisted they produced their passports. A spokesman for Leh police told the Chandigarh Tribune: “It all depends now on the evidence like DNA for which we need help from Madeleine's parents and the British police”. The McCanns’ PR spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, said: “We remain grateful for people's vigilance around the world. Madeleine is still out there and the search for her very much continues”. This was another Sun story, also reported in the Daily Mail:

191. A drunk gypsy told British paedophile Raymond Hewlett that he organised Madeleine’s abduction; Hewlett then wrote a letter on his death-bed to his long-estranged son Wayne, who promptly burnt the letter and then told the Sun all about it (1 September 2011)  COMMENT: Many rate this as the most preposterous story of them all. Raymond Hewlett (see sighting No. 182 above) died in December 2010. He had been estranged from his son Wayne for more than 20 years, because his son had turned against him after learning of his sexual abuse of young children. The story Wayne told to the McCann Team and to the Sun was a strange one. He claimed that a ‘mystery man’ had travelled from Germany with a letter his father had written to him on his death-bed. In this letter, Wayne said, his father explained how he had got to know the leader of a criminal gypsy gang. One evening, they had both had a lot to drink, and the gypsy gang leader had confessed that he and his gang had abducted Madeleine and handed her to a wealthy North African family for money. In the letter, he identified the gypsy gang leader by name. Wayne said he had been upset by the letter and burnt it. However, having burnt it, he apparently then approached either the McCann Team, or the Sun directly, with his story. He could not now remember the name of the gang leader. Despite the obvious unsoundness of the story and the fact that Wayne could not remember even the name of the alleged gypsy gang leader, the Sun put this ridiculous story on their front page - and reported that the British police were taking his information seriously.  Nothing ever came of it.     

192. Madeleine was abducted to Brazil (31 August 2012) COMMENT: Pictures appeared in several newspapers of a young white girl who looked vaguely like Madeleine, in a crowd of people leaving a plane in Brazil. Who developed this story is not clear. But an alert Madeleine McCann researcher, known on the internet as ‘Reggie Dunlop,’ matched the photo of the crowd leaving the plane with a photograph of people seen leaving a plane in Ibiza, several years previously. The photo had been ‘reversed’ (left-to-right) in the newspaper pictures. Whoever developed this story for the press was engaged in a very deliberate deception of the press and the public. 

193. Madeleine was seen in a car leaving a campsite with a Swiss family (9 May 2012) COMMENT: See:

194. Rose Johnson saw Madeleine playing on Penoncillo beach, Spain (3 May 2012)  COMMENT: This was yet one more absurd story reported by the ever-dutiful Jon Clarke, Olive Press Editor. He reported in May 2012 that an ex-pat pensioner, Rose Johnson, believed she had seen ‘eight-year-old Maddie’ playing outside Merendero restaurant on Penoncillo beach, between Nerja and Torrox, the previous summer (2011). She had said: “We were quite taken aback…this Maddie look-a-like walked off the beach and joined a table of what we would describe as a party of Spanish people or similar. They were completely different to her. The whole family was dark skinned, whereas she had fair hair and pale skin and obviously was northern European. It was very, very strange. She was about eight and seemed really airy-fairy, in a world of her own”. Clarke also claimed that Portuguese police, just a fortnight previously, had asked their Spanish counterparts to investigate other sightings in Nerja, and that Rose Johnson had only spoken after reading an Olive Press article. A lady called Karen commented in the Olive Press article, claiming she had seen Madeleine on 6 May 2007 (three days after she was reported missing) “with a family in Cabopino Campsite, near Marbellam who had a dark blue people carrier. Clarke responded: “Hi Karen, we would love to talk to you about this…we have now had at least half a dozen very good ‘sightings’ of Maddie on the Costa del Sol…I really hope somebody can produce the killer fact! Give our newsdesk a call”.  See:

195. Madeleine spotted in Queenstown, New Zealand on New Year’s Eve, 2012   COMMENT:  A girl was spotted in Queenstown on New Year’s Eve by a retailer. A police investigation began, which discovered that the girl had once previously been identified as Madeleine McCann. See:


196. New Zealand school pupil ‘frequently mistaken for Madeleine’ given DNA test (7 February 2013) COMMENT: A New Zealand schoolgirl repeatedly mistaken for missing Madeleine McCann had to give police a DNA sample so that Scotland Yard could confirm that she is not the youngster. Several New Zealanders had thought she was missing Madeleine McCann, who was said to have a mark on her right eye similar to the distinctive one on the British girl's iris.                                See:

197. Madeleine may have been snatched by six people seen in a white van (2014) COMMENT: This was a story possibly leaked by Scotland Yard’s investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann - Operation Grange. It was claimed that Scotland Yard detectives were trying to trace six people, thought to be British, who had used a white van in Praia da Luz at the time the McCanns were in Praia da Luz. There was nothing about it in the Portuguese Police files, and no more has been heard about this since. But, again, it made for a good headline.  

198. Skeltal remains of a fair-haired young girl, found in a suitcase in Australia, ‘could be Madeleine’ (26 July, 2015)  COMMENT: A suitcase containing the skeletal remains of a fair-haired young girl was discovered near a motorway in Wynarka, near Adelaide. Pathologists said she would have died in 2007. There was speculation that the body was Madeleine’s after a police spokesman said that the remains did not match descriptions of any missing children in Australia. But after forensic examination, the DNA did not match Madeleine’s,

199. Former Scotland Yard detective Colin Sutton says that ‘Madeleine was stolen to order for a wealthy North African family who wanted a white child’ (April 2017)  COMMENT: This story appeared just two weeks before the 10th anniversary of Madeleine being reported missing, as the British media geared up for another frenzy of anniversary articles. According to the Press Association, former Met Police Detective Chief Inspector Colin Sutton, who had been to Praia da Luz several times for various newspapers, the most likely hypothesis for what happened to Madeleine McCann was that she had been “stolen to order by slave traders or people traffickers and smuggled into Africa for a rich family who wanted a white child”. A Daily Mirror article claimed that “Gangs are thought to sell children to rich Middle Eastern families while operating out of Mauritania, West Africa”.

200. False claims made by ‘psychics’ and mediums   It is estimated that thousands of assorted mediums, psychics, dream interpreters and others, who claimed knowledge of what happened to Madeleine, contacted the police or the McCanns with their ideas, impressions and theories. Mostly these were vague, e.g. “I see a white cottage on a hillside” or “I see a boat on the sea”. Tens of thousands of valuable police hours were wasted investigating this nonsense. These  mediums and mystics just relied  on their vague impressions and ideas, because no two of them were ever the same.  .        

If you’ve found this leaflet of interest, please pass it on to those you know  >>>   thank you

Published by ‘The Madeleine McCann Research Group’, 14 July 2017.   Further reading/watching:

Recommended discussion forum   >>>      

Recommended internet library       >>>

Watch the Portuguese detective’s documentary:

Watch Richard Hall’s five Madeleine McCann films  >>  

1. True Story of Madeleine McCann ----

2. The Phantoms -------------------------------

3. When Madeleine Died? -------------------

4. McCanns’ Embedded Confessions

5. Madeleine: Why The Cover-Up?

Monday, 10 July 2017

The British Ambassador’s .phone call to Alipio Ribeira at 11.00pm on Thursday 3 May 2007: Is this yet more evidence of a pre-planned state cover-up of Madeleine’s death on Sunday 29 April?


The British Ambassador’s .phone call to Alipio Ribeira at 11.00pm on Thursday 3 May 2007:  Is this yet more evidence of a pre-planned state cover-up of Madeleine’s death on Sunday 29 April? 

by John Whitehouse of the Madeleine McCann Research Group, 7 July 2017

A  Introduction

Amidst the continuing determination by some to insist, at all costs, that the theory of Goncalo Amaral and the PJ that Madeleine died after 6pm on Thursday 3 May 2007 must be maintained, whatever the evidence, we present a discussion of a newspaper article published in Correia de Manhã on 12 August  2007. This reported a ‘phone call from the British Ambassador to Alipio Ribeira at 11.00pm that night.

We will also review other matters rerlating to Ambassador Buck, including the evidence that Robert Murat was recruited by the British Ambassador or by the British security services to supply translation services to the PJ on the morning of Friday 4 May 2007 and in the following days. We suggest that the information on this article strongly supports claims of an establishment cover-up of the truth about Madeleine McCann - run and managed by Britain’s security services, including MI5.     

Our article will provide further evidence, if it is needed, that Madeleine died well before 3 May - and that those who continue to defend Amaral’s theory of ‘death after 6pm Thursday’ should once again reconsider the evidence.

In this respect we endorse the statement on Jill Havern’s forum, The Complete Mystery of Madeleine McCann (CMOMM) that “New research in [our research] section points to Maddie's death being on the Sunday or Monday and not Thursday 3 May”. It would appear to us that it is this positive declaration on CMOMM that has led to the unwarranted attacks on CMOMM of late by those who, for any one of a number of reasons, want people to focus their attention on the period 6pm to 10pm on 3 May and who refuse therefore to look at the evidence of what happened much earlier in the week.  

It should always be remembered that both the PJ in their interim report of 10 September 2007 (by Tavares de Almeida) and Goncalo Amaral himself relied on just ONE alleged fact to determine that Madeleine died after 6pm on the Thursday night: namely they believed (a) that the nanny Catriona Baker was an independent witness and (b) that she was telling the truth about having seen Madeleine at an alleged ‘high tea’ at between 5pm and 6pm on the Thursday. We have given evidence in our previous articles that both these beliefs were very likely to have been wrong. 

B  The article of 12 August 2007 in Correia da Manhã

First, we reproduce below an English translation of the full Correia da Manhã article, courtesy of the News Winnow blog, which the blog owner uploaded the very same day it appeared, 12 August  2007, see here:

PJ forced to investigate abduction track

8/12/2007 Posted by Winnower 

PJ forced to investigate abduction track
August 12, 2007 - José Carlos Marques

Introduction:   Alipio Ribeiro, national director of the Judicial Police received a telephone call from John Buck, the British ambassador in Portugal, on the night Madeleine disappeared from the Ocean Club, May 3.

 GOOGLE TRANSLATION [‘revised by MMRG simply for clarity]:

At about 23:00, about two hours after the child's disappearance, Alipio Ribeiro had to take a break from his dinner to speak to the diplomat [Ambassador John Buck]. The ‘phone call was the first sign that the British were very interested in following  the actions of the PJ very closely - and push towards investigating an abduction.

 "The PJ has lost too much time investigating the abduction," said a source close to Correia da Manhã. The pressure from the British Ambassador only slowed down when the British police officers arrived in Portugal. They tried to direct the investigation to follow the investigation hypothesis.

The recent biological evidence found in the apartment, however, was decisive in  changomg the course of the investigation - or at least for the PJ to publicly admit that change.

The decision to strengthen the hypothesis of the death of the child at the Ocean Club - and the consequent re-evaluation of the statements of Madeline’s parents and their friend – was despite the views of the British police.

Olegario Sousa, the Chief Inspector of the Judiciary Police, who has been the police spokesman in this case, yesterday gave interviews to the BBC and ITN, and said he agreed that there was a change in the police positon.

The choice of these two television channels by Snr Sousa was motivated by the police’s outrage at the conduct of the British police and by the objectionable statements made by the British press about the PJ’s conduct of the investigation. The BBC and ITN are considered to have treated the case with more detachment and impartiality, hence their privileged access to Snr Sousa.

Olegario Sousa admitted for the first time in public the possibility of Madeleine being dead. This positon now leaves the McCanns in the very centre of the investigation, a situation which has had to be delicately managed ‘with tweezers' by Portuguese police.

The McCann couple has relied on the help of powerful friends. The former spokesman for the McCanns, Clarence Mitchell, who organised the trips of Madeleine’s parents to several European countries, is currently a special adviser to Gordon Brown, the current British Prime Minister.

Brown supported the McCanns from the beginning, with the help of the couple’s friend,  Jill Renwick, a close friend of John Brown, brother of the British Prime Minister. According to the Guardian, Jill approached John on the street, leading him to contact his brother.


Father Haynes Hubbard, who conducted a special service yesterday in Praia da Luz, has expressed his support for the McCanns in their decision to stay in Portugal: "If it were my daughter, I would not leave here”, he said.. Hubbard stressed that the ceremony served to make Kate and Gerry feel that "we are with them in their grief@.


"We will not give up looking," said Gerry McCann, his voice breaking, during the service held yesterday morning in the church of Praia da Luz, marked the hundredth day after Madeleine's disappearance. The girl's parents could not hide their emotion in the religious ceremony, celebrated in English and conducted by Anglican priest Haynes Hubbard.

Kate and Gerry Mcann each spoke twice, confessing that they are living the ‘darkest days’ of their lives, but have faith that their daughter will be returned to them. At the end they were applauded by dozens of people.inside and outside the church.


The spokesman for the Judiciary Police in the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann admitted in the BBC interview the possibility that the girl was dead. Chief Inspector Olegario Sousa also, however, insisted that the child's parents are not suspects. They are ‘victims and witnesses’, he said.

A source close to the McCann family said that “Aafter a tough week, it was reassuring for Gerry and Kate to hear from official sources that they are not suspects”. But the couple said nothing about whether her daughter was dead. The parents said that in recent days, the police presented no evidence that affected them. "Portuguese law does not allow us to put all our evidence out on the table, so to speak, even for the people involved”, the Inspector cautioned the BBC.

The PJ’s spokesman explained that: “Developments that occurred in the last few days yielded new found some clues that may point to the possible death of the child”, adding: "All lines of investigation are open and laboratory tests are awaited. But this line of enquiry that Madeleine is dead is now being pursued with greater vigour”. .


"We have found clues that might point to the child's death" - Olegario Sousa

"We are waiting for test results to explain the evidence gathered" - Olegario Sousa

"All lines are open. But the investigation is now being pursued with greater vigour” - . "Olegario Sousa

"The couple is not suspected. They are victims, because they lost their daughter, and they are witnesses in the case”. - Olegario Sousa

C  The second article in Correio da Manhã - 14 September 2007

Correio da Manhã returned to the Madeleine McCann case with this article on 14 September 2007   (2007-09-14 ):

English: GOVERNMENT CUTS LINKS WITH THE McCANNS  [translation revised by MMRG simply for clarity]:

The first call Gerry McCann made the night of the crime was lo Alistair Clark, a university friend of the McCanns and brother of the current British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. Clark made various calls to officials at the highest levels - and before the Judiciary Police  arrived, already SKY News and the British Ambassador had been  informed of the abduction.

Ambassador John Buck was in the Algarve. Gordon Brown also gave his  personal contact details to Maddie's father during their many ’phone calls. However, from what Correio da Manhã has learnt, the current British Prime Minister is now “sufficiently disturbed with the route that the police investigation has taken” to decide to terminate d his direct link to the couple.

Publicity and urgent searches had been the priorities in the first hours after Maddie was reported missing. And as Correio da Manhã previously reported, John Buck, the British Ambassador in Lisbon, had called Alípio Ribeiro, National Director of the PJ, the very same evening [Thursday 3rd may] about an English girl having been abducted in Praia da Luz.

Police investigations began in earnest the following morning [Friday]. Later that weekend, the Associate National Director of the PJ, Guilhermino Encarnação, announced to journalists that this was a kidnapping – but without any traces if an abductor or any ransom notes.

As for publicity surrounding the case, the first news was broken by SKY News’s representative in the Algarve, from whence news of Madeleine McCann’s abduction spread rapidly to all the international media. It needed political involvement to create such international media interest -  and Alistair Clark, Gerry's friend from the University of Glasgow, who was a student  in the International Relations Department there when Gerry McCann was in the University of Medicine - was the perfect contact.

Alistair, whom Correio da Manhã was unable to contact before we went to press, is today a Professor in an university in Belfast, Ireland, and is also an Adviser to the current British government. The current British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, was Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time Madeleine was reported missing, and had been tipped to replace  the then Prime Minister of Britain, Tony Blair.

British government support for the McCanns included the appointment of the government’s top media relations officer, the Prime Minister’s ‘right arm’ in Downing Street, Clarence Mitchell.

Ambassador John Buck, meanwhile, became Director of the government’s Central Office of Information, part of which is the Media Monitoring Unit, which was then  directed by Clarence Mitchell, who was directly accountable to the Cabinet Office and to the Prime Minister.

The route that the PJ investigation took [in August and September] left Gordon Brown’s  cabinet very apprehensive, leading the Prime Minister to cut his direct linking with Gerry McCann.




D  Why did the British Ambassador interrupt Alipio Ribeiro’s dinner?

The question we now have to consider is why the British Ambassador would be interrupting Alipio Ribero’s dinner at about 11.00pm that evening.

According to what we know, the alarm that Madeleine was missing appears to have been raised by the McCanns sometime between 9.30pm and 10.00pm on the Thursday night. There is some doubt about the precise time, not least because there is zero independent corroboration of the account of Kate McCann allegedly rushing down to the Tapas restaurant crying: ’They’ve taken her’. Indeed, the whole account of how Kate, alone, allegedly discovered that Madeleine was ‘gone’, is so laden with contradictions that we can accept the conclusion of Inspector Tavares de Almeida in his interim report of 10 September 2007 that the ‘crime scene’ (the children’s bedroom) was pre-arranged  and that Kate’s account of finding Madeleine missing is a clear fabrication.

So, what do we know about the events of, say, the first two hours after Madeleine was reported missing?

We are told that the Ocean Club reception were notified by the McCanns or their friends at about 10.30pm.

A call was made to the police - the GNR - at about 10.40pm.

The GNR arrived at about 11.10pm (see below).

The PJ arrived about midnight.

Staff had begun to look for Madeleine soon after 10.00pm. The Ocean Club/Mark Warner  soon put out an alert to most of their staff. Soon word spread to some in the village, and some villagers turned out to search for Madeleine.

But how did word get to the British Ambassador, John Buck? - by 11.00pm, or just after - some time before the PJ had even arrived on the scene?


So let’s now look at the actions of the McCanns and their friends after 10.00pm that Thursday night.

Let’s start with looking at what is said in Kate McCann’s book, ‘madeleine’, about those events.

She says (p. 73) that “Just after ten past ten, Gerry asked Matt [Oldfield] to run to the Ocean Club’s 24-hour reception to get staff to call the police”, adding that our ‘screaming and shouting’ had alerted other guests and staff that something was amiss”. [NOTE: There is no independent corroboration of Dr Matt Oldfield reporting Madeleine’s disappearance at this time - and the Ocean Club have never confirmed it]   Some people started to gather outside their apartment.

A little later (p. 73), she writes that “Mark Warner had rounded up as many of their colleagues as they could, off-duty staff as well as those just finishing the shifts…” Then, she says (p. 74) “Close to ten-thirty they activated the company’s ‘missing child search protocol’ and mobilised people to comb the complex…”

At 10.35pm (note the precision of the timing,) she says that “The police had still not arrived”, so, she says, Gerry McCann asked Matt to go back to the Ocean Club reception to find out what was happening. John Hill, the Mark Warner resort manager, arrived minutes later on their veranda. Kate (p. 74) “screamed at him to do something” and ‘yelled’: “Where are the police?”.  She then says she was so frustrated at the delay that she “was hitting out at things, banging my fists on the metal railing of the veranda, trying to expel the intolerable pain inside me”.

A little later, Emma Knights, the Mark Warner Customer Care Manager, came to the flat (p. 75).  Another British woman ‘turned up at our veranda’ and ‘at about 11pm’ the woman in the flat above (whom we now know to be Mrs Pamela Fenn) asked: “What is all the noise about?”

Finally, she says (p. 75) “It was not until about 11.10pm that two policemen arrived, from the nearest town, Lagos, about five miles away” [MOTE: These were from the GNR – the local police force].

When were any media contacted (by anyone) after Madeleine disappeared? - and when did the Foreign Office get to hear about  the reported abduction of Madeleine?

The issue of when the media and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office first got to hear of Madeleine’s reported abduction is obscure, but let’s see if we can make an educated guess by looking at the data and the claims that we have.

We read above that, thanks to Correia da Manhã, that:

1      Gerry made a ‘phone call to his old university friend, Alistair Clark, brother of Gordon Brown
2      Alistair Clark duly called people in high places, including, presumably, his brother Gordon
3      British Ambassador John Buck made a ’phone call to the National Director of Police, Alipio Ribeiro, at about 11.00pm that evening, and
4      SKY News in the Algarve were the first to broadcast news of Madeleine’s disappearance.

But we don’t know  the exact times nor the sequence of these and other important events that night.

As regards the early involvement of SKY News, we have a version of the night’s  events by SKY News’s Ian Woods, as can be seen in this video: ‘The McCanns did not call SKY News first’, link:

In the video, Ian Woods denies categorically that the McCanns ever contacted SKY News. Instead, he says, “The first SKY News heard of it was at 8.15am on the Friday morning” when, he said, GMTV broadcast a telephone interview with the McCanns. “That”, added Woods, “was the first time that any journalists knew about this”.

Now, we can prove that this is incorrect because we know from the mouth of Jon Clarke, Editor of the Spanish newspaper the Olive Press, an English language newspaper published by British ex-pats, that he was contacted by the Sun, and maybe also by the Daily Mail, at around 5.00am (or before), and told to go to Praia da Luz and report on Madeleine’s disappearance. He later boasted in his newspaper that he was the first journalist on the scene, having arrived there sometime in the morning. Clarke lives in Ronda, Spain, a 5-hour journey by car from Praia da Luz.

For him to be called by the Sun at, say, 5.00am, or quite possibly earlier, means that someone senior working on the paper must have been briefed on the story, and made an informed assessment of its news value, before even picking up the ’phone to talk to Jon Clarke.

Clearly the news wires of the TV and print media must have been buzzing during the very early hours of the morning.

E  The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Freedom of Information Act answer concerning  a Daily Telegraph report about Madeleine, dated 00.01am, 4 May 2007

Researchers looking to study the very earliest news reports of the case soon stumbled on an online article about the case in the Daily Telegraph, timed at 00.01am, on 4 May 2007.That is, just two hours after Madeleine was reported missing.

Subsequently, we have all learnt that 00.01am is simply a common default time setting for the print media when they archive their articles online. It doesn’t by any means indicate that the report was actually written and published at that time.

Nevertheless, the interest in this apparently early press report about Madeleine’s alleged abduction led Madeleine McCann researcher Tony Bennett (then the Secretary of the Madeleine Foundation) to ask a Freedom of Information Act question, in December 2007, about this and related matters. This was the result:



Answers supplied by the Foreign Office to the Madeleine Foundation, 1 February 2008 (Summary)

NOTE from T. Bennett:  This information was supplied under the Freedom of Information Act in response to questions centring around the Daily Telegraph publishing an online report timed at 00.01 hours on Friday 4 May, referring to Foreign Office involvement in the abduction of a three-year-old child at 10.00pm the previous evening. I now think it is probable that the ‘00.01’ time is not the correct time that the Daily Telegraph report was filed but that the 00.01 time was left in place when the report was filed some hours later.

REPLY from the Foreign Office: Reference: FOI 0010-08 (CONS 03/2008)

… verbatim but with parts snipped:

The online [Daily Telegraph] report appears to have been posted 3 minutes after we were notified that a child had gone missing. If this timing is correct, then it is impossible that a Foreign Office spokesman could have spoken to the paper. The timing may be an error. In this case, the duty officer would have spoken to the Daily Telegraph; however we cannot give any further information due to the uncertainty over the timing.

At 23:58 on 3 May 2007 our duty officer in Portimao received a call from a Mark Warner employee reporting that a child had gone missing from the Ocean Bay Club, Praia da Luz. Our duty officer in Lisbon informed the Foreign & Commonwealth Office Response Centre in London at 00:30 on 4 May 2007.

We offer consular assistance, depending on the individual circumstances of each case, to British nationals in distress overseas. In this case, consular officials provided the appropriate assistance when the disappearance was first reported. The details about the disappearance given in the Daily Telegraph article, namely that the girl’s parents had gone to have dinner once their children were asleep that night, but returned to check on them only to find that the girl had gone missing’, were given to our Duty Officer in Portimao when the disappearance was reported.

Clarence Mitchell was seconded by the Central Office of Information, where he was the Director of the Media Monitoring Unit, to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, on 21 May 2007.

In accordance with the Civil Service Management code, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office refunded reasonable expenses incurred by Clarence Mitchell in carrying out his duties of providing assistance to the McCann family in exceptional circumstances. The total amount was £6,230.90.

The Central Office of Information made a statement on 17 September 2007 confirming that Clarence Mitchell had resigned as Director of the Media Monitoring Unit at the Central Office of Information. For any further information, you will need to apply to that Department.

No Foreign and Commonwealth Office staff were specifically appointed to assist the McCanns, although a number of our staff were involved in providing consular assistance to the family. We do not maintain financial records of the individual costs of consular cases.


[ Further discussions about this FOI Act question-and-answer can be found at these links: ]

So, the Foreign Office’s account of event is clear:

At 11.58pm, Thursday 3 May, a Mark Warner employee (unnamed) telephoned the Consular office in Portimao to say that a British girl may have been abducted.

There was then contact, presumably a ‘phone call, from the Consular office in Portimao to the British Embassy in Lisbon.

And then at 00.30am, Friday 4 May, the duty officer in Lisbon informed the Foreign & Commonwealth Office Response Centre in London at 00:30am on 4 May 2007.

Thus the very earliest that John Buck, the British Ambassador, could have learned about the alleged abduction was about midnight.

Yet Correia da Manhã learned that Alipio Ribeiro had received a telephone call at dinner  from John Buck at about 11.00pm.

How can we explain this?

Gerry McCann’s evidence is that he ’phoned his sister, Tricia Cameron, on four occasions between 11.40pm and 12.10am, but apparently she did not return any of his calls.

If we then look at Tricia Cameron’s statement, she refers to a flurry of ’phone calls between her and Portugal and says that ‘eventually’ she got through to the British Embassy in Lisbon. We do not know the time when she did so. 

We get a third version from Kate McCann in her book, ‘madeleine’. She says that Gerry
did speak to Tricia, while the GNR officers were in the flat, and before the PJ arrived at about midnight. She writes: “Gerry was a mess - ‘roaring like a bull’ as Trish put it - and sobbing down the ‘phone…I could hear him crying over and over again: ‘She’s gone, Trisha. She’s gone” (p. 77).

She then adds: “After Gerry rang off, Trisha and Sandy called the Foreign Office in London, the British Consul in the Algarve, and the British Embassy in London, requesting assistance”.

No time is given for this, but it must have been close to midnight, as Kate she then writes (p. 77): “At 11.52pm, Gerry spoke to my uncle Brian and Auntie Janet in Rothley at my request…Brian then got in touch with the duty officer at the Foreign Office in London”.

Now this all conflicts with the Foreign Office’s FOI Act statement.  The Foreign Office say they were first informed at 00.30am, but Kate says that both Sandy Cameron and Uncle Brian in Rothley ‘phoned the Foreign Office before midnight – yet the Foreign Office makes no mention of these two calls.    

Further information about this comes much later in a report by the National Police Intelligence  Agency (NPIA)t de-briefing report, which included their version of
Events. Link:

On page 13, in a section headed ‘The Initial Response’, we read:

"The first report to a UK agency in relation to the McCann case was made
on 3 May 2007, in a call to the FCO duty officer in Portugal from the
operator of the holiday resort where the family were staying. The duty
officer informed the FCO in London on the same day, by which time a member
of the McCann family had also made contact with the FCO".

So now we get a direct admission by NPIA that a member of the McCann family (presumably Sandy Camron or uncle Brain Kennedy) had contacted the Foreign Office before the call from the Ocean Club.

There was a call from the Ocean Club which began at 11:57:48secs, but the call was not to the usual telephone number of the Consul in Portimao. Possibly it was to a different, out-of-hours special number. There was a call from the Ocean Club to the Consulate’s usual telephone number  on the Friday, at 14:04:30 in the afternoon, link:

The Correio da Manhã story insists that the call from Ambassador Buck came through to Alipio Ribeira at about 11.00pm, though – nearly an hour or so before the calls from Sandy Cameron or Brian Kennedy and the Ocean Club.

So how did he know at 11.00pm? How did he know by around 11.00pm that this incident required the National Director of the PJ to be disturbed at dinner?  

One poster on CMOMM, ‘rogue-a-tory’ summed up the discussion on this issue as follows: “I think your post confirms what many people have theorised over the years - namely, that the mainstream media were teed up ready to go on Thursday 3 May”.

But not just the mainstream media. Surely, for Ambassador John Buck to have moved so swiftly as to alert Alipio Ribeira during his dinner, he must have been briefed in advance. Did he know that Madeleine was dead and that he was being used as part of a deliberate hoax on police and public alike?

F  The British Embassy recommended Robert Murat as the translator

There is one further piece of evidence that suggests that Ambassador John Buck did have advance knowledge. And this comes in the form of an article by Portuguese journalist Paulo Reis.

Back in 2007, he wrote this (Link:


Staff from Bill Henderson’s office suggested the name of Robert Murat as a reliable translator who could be used in the police inquiry, in the days following Madeleine McCann disappearance.

Murat was already known among diplomatic staff, as he had letters of recommendation from Norfolk Police, where he worked for Bernard Matthews, one of the largest poultry farm companies in UK, which employs hundreds of Portuguese workers.

The fact that Robert Murat has acted, before, as translator for Norfolk Police, and the recommendation issued by Bill Henderson’s office, at the time the British consul in Algarve, took police to accept the suggestion, according to PJ [Portuguese Police] sources.

After Murat was named a formal suspect, the police went through all translations he had done, checking their accuracy, but no problem was found, according to the same sources. Bill Henderson retired from his diplomatic post and went back to the U.K. in August.


Robert Murat was on hand early in the morning of Friday 4 May to help with the interpreting, and began work that very day. Was this in fact set up in advance by the British Consul in Portimao? - or by Ambassador John Buck himself? Did one of them  speak to the PJ and recommend Murat? It seems highly likely.

Murat had another, very different,  version of how he came to be an official interpreter. He said that a holidaymaker, Stephen Carpenter, just happened to be strolling by his garden the morning of Friday 4 May. Murat pretended he knew nothing about what had been going on in the resort, despite his later admission to the police that he and his mother had heard all the police sirens the previous night. Carpenter told him that a 3-year-old British girl had gone missing. Straightaway Murat volunteered his services as a translator, and made contact with the PJ at the Ocean Club a few minutes later.

It seems an unlikely cover story.

The evidence presented here strongly suggests, then,  that both the British Embassy in Portugal, and well-placed senior staff in the British TV and print media, were primed in advance about what had really happened to Madeleine.  It is reasonable to suggest that the British Ambassador had probably ben told exactly what had happened to Madeleine, and was just waiting for a signal from the McCann camp on the Thursday evening to get things moving - fast.

Again, the evidence presented here tends to confirm the views of many that Madeleine died much earlier in the week, maybe as early as Monday or even Sunday, and it tends to confirm that the circumstances surrounding Madeleine’s death were so serious that it required several arms of the government’s security and intelligence services to mount a full-blown cover-up of what really happened to her.

Again, our evidence is consistent with the suggestion made by Richard D. Hall in his latest Madeleine film: ‘Madeleine: Why the Cover-Up?’, that Robert Murat may have been an MI5 intelligence asset, along with SKY News’ Martin Brunt, and that he had been summoned on Monday 30 April 2017 to fly over to Portugal on the very next flight and help plan and execute the cover-up.

G   The British Ambassador and the case of the McCanns washing their clothes 

We will mention here one other item of interest concerning the British Embassy’s involvement in the case: their assistance in helping the McCanns to ward off any potential demand by the PJ to seize their clothes. Here is a short article on the subject by well-respected Madeleine McCann researcher, Lizzie Taylor (generally known on the internet as HideHo):

THE WASHED CLOTHES - Ambassador John Buck and Consul Bill Henderson – turned the investigator's attention away from the McCanns

(Date Posted: 03/05/2011 11:18 AM) Aimoo Madeleine McCann

Also on 5th May 2007, two days after the announcement of Madeleine's disappearance, the police, according to Amaral, would commit an important error: "We were busy checking all the leads that came from the Ambassador. Leads that were, moreover, found to be false.

New instructions from the regional national directorate of the PJ, given after the intervention of two British diplomats – Ambassador John Buck and Consul Bill Henderson – turned the investigator's attention away from the McCanns

Kate and Gerry McCann, for the first and only time, went to hand in clothes to be washed in the Ocean Club Complex laundry, including Madeleine's clothes, which the inspectors only heard about two days later. Too late, according to Amaral

"At the time we had not established exactly which clothes Gerry was wearing on the night of the disappearance nor which clothes were handed in to be washed on 5th May", says Gonçalo Amaral.

It was by means of the statements by various members of staff from the complex, linked to the laundry service, that the inspectors were to learn that the McCanns had their children's clothes - those of Madeleine and also those of Sean and Amélie - washed.

"That would never have happened without the intervention of Mark Warner and, in particular, of the Ambassador.  They took advantage of the space we gave them, it was a mistake on our part", admits Goncalo Amaral.

"Last Saturday (05/05/2007) I received a bag of clothes brought in by Mark Warner staff, and was told expressly that these belonged to Madeleine's family – there was adult clothing (male and female) and children's clothing... ", states one of the laundry workers. 

Although the laundry worker only remembers a pink skirt belonging to Madeleine, she has no uncertainty in confirming that there were also other clothes belonging to the small British girl, which has also been confirmed to the police by other colleagues.

(thanks to Lizzy's Madeleine McCann Aimoo forum)


Main article by John Whitehouse.




APPENDIX:   Ambassador John Buck, on the Kevin Halligen Blogspot  

Here we add an excellent timeline collected by the blogger "Winnower", who posted this timeline on the actions of Ambassador John Buck in the Madeleine McCann case on 11 January 2009.  It's  a great piece of research.  We have bolded those items that seem of especial interest: 

11/01/2009 Posted by Winnower


British ambassador to Portugal from 2004 to 2007

Left office the day after the McCanns were made arguidos.

Friday May 4/ Saturday May 5, 2007 (conflicting reports):

Ambassador Buck drove from Lisbon to Praia da Luz. (Distance is approximately 3 hours by car.)

Saturday May 5, 2007

Drove in from Lisbon "to be with the family after they begged him for help."

Embassy spokesman said Buck was driving down to do everything for the McCanns that he could.

Ambassador Buck and 3 "family liaison officers from Leicestershire police” held a private meeting with the McCanns "at the resort" on the afternoon of May 5th.

Announced to reporters that 3 British police agents had arrived from Leicestershire to help with the investigation. He stated that the officers would act as a "liaison" between the McCanns and Portuguese police and between the Portuguese and British police. "..Mr. Buck was there to introduce the family liaison officers to the McCanns..."

The 3 "family liaison officers were flown out "at the request of the Foreign Commonwealth Office.

Leicestershire spokeswoman said the 3 officers were there "simply to assist the family" and were not going to have anything to do with the investigation at this point.
Told reporters that the investigation had been "intensive and extensive".

Reportedly Ambassador Buck "accompanied the couple...during the search on May 5"

Reported to have been "...with the family throughout their ordeal..."

Ambassador Buck's intervention was credited by the McCann's family and friends as being the only reason that the search for Madeleine was upgraded to a major investigation.

"Despite being convinced - for reasons they have refused to make public - that Madeleine is still in the Algarve, Interpol have been alerted about her disappearance and checks were being made at every Portuguese port and airport."

Sunday May 6, 2007

Ambassador Buck attended church service officiated by Father Jose Manuel Pacheco.

Monday May 7, 2007

Ambassador Buck apparently returned to Lisbon (or elsewhere, as later articles stated that he RETURNED to the Algarve on Tuesday May 8th.)

Tuesday May 8, 2007

Ambassador Buck traveled to the Algarve and met the McCanns. Reports were that the meeting lasted an hour.

He gave a television interview in which he said he had been in touch with Portuguese ministers and the prime minister Jose Socrates, and senior police chiefs who assured him everything possible was being done to ensure the safe return of Madeleine. Buck said that he was making sure the links between the British and Portuguese officers were working, after concerns had begun to be expressed regarding the experience and expertise of the Portuguese investigators.

He made a statement to the media announcing the arrival of additional British experts
Said that investigators were in close touch with Interpol and Europol

Said the McCanns were "very grateful for their efforts"

Ambassador Buck was interviewed by the Leicester Mercury. Quote: "As you know, I spent quite a lot of time with the McCann family on Friday and over the weekend…I wanted to come down today to see Kate and Gerry again and to continue to support our consular staff, who have been working on this for a number of days."

Wednesday May 9, 2007

An email between Portimao and Lisbon of 9 May 2007 was the subject of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request asking for Ambassador Buck's communications related to the McCanns. This email (or a portion of it) was withheld based on "Personal Information" exemption: Section 40 (2) and (3) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Further information emerged regarding the 2 additional experts Buck had announced on
Tuesday May 8th.

Ambassador Buck said they were "kidnapping experts" and had joined the 3 other British investigators who had been in Portugal since Saturday

"... two 'Cracker-style' criminal behaviour experts from Britain flew into the Algarve yesterday to join investigators..."

They were from CEOP and their dispatch had been organised by the British Foreign Office.

"A spokeswoman for the CEOP said the move was unprecedented and had been organised by the Foreign Office."

Thursday May 10, 2007

A Foreign Commonwealth Office internal email of 10 May 2007 (12a) was the subject of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request asking for Ambassador Buck's communications related to the McCanns. This email (or a portion of it) was withheld based on "International relations" exemption: Section 27.1.a (1)Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice—( a) relations between the United Kingdom and any other State

A Foreign Commonwealth Office internal email of 10 May 2007 (13aa) was the subject of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request asking for Ambassador Buck's communications related to the McCanns. This email (or a portion of it) was withheld based on "International relations" exemption: Section 27.1.a.(1)Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice—( a) relations between the United Kingdom and any other State

Friday May 11, 2007

An email between the Foreign Commonwealth Office and John Buck of 11 May 2007 was the subject of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request asking for Ambassador Buck's communications related to the McCanns. This email (or a portion of it) was withheld based on "International relations" exemption: Section 27.1.a. (1)Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice—( a) relations between the United Kingdom and any other State

An email between John Buck and the Foreign Commonwealth Office of 11 May 2007 was the subject of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request asking for Ambassador Buck's communications related to the McCanns. This email (or a portion of it) was withheld based on "International relations" exemption: Section 27.1.a. (1)Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice—( a) relations between the United Kingdom and any other State

An internal Foreign Commonwealth Office email of 11 May 2007 was the subject of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request asking for Ambassador Buck's communications related to the McCanns. This email (or a portion of it) was withheld based on "International relations" exemption: Section 27.1.a.(1)Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice—( a) relations between the United Kingdom and any other State

Monday May 14, 2007

Ambassador Buck present in Praia da Luz

Spoke to national chief of police in Lisbon and chief investigating officer in the Algarve.

Thanked journalists for respecting the McCann's privacy and said there were impressive resources allocated to the investigation. Said the resources are primarily Portuguese but that there were a number of British police officers working closely with their Portuguese colleagues in the Algarve.

Arrived late for a scheduled news conference and found journalists fleeing toward Casa Lilliana where a search was underway.

Tuesday May 15, 2007

An email between Lisbon and Foreign Commonwealth Office of 15 May 2007 was the subject of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request asking for Ambassador Buck's communications related to the McCanns. This email (or a portion of it) was withheld based on "International relations" exemption: Section 27.1.a.(1)Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice—( a) relations between the United Kingdom and any other State

Wednesday May 16, 2007

A letter from John Buck to Foreign Commonwealth Office of 16 May 2007 was the subject of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request asking for Ambassador Buck's communications related to the McCanns. This email (or a portion of it) was withheld based on "International relations" exemption: Section 27.1.a.(1)Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice—( a) relations between the United Kingdom and any other State

Thursday May 17, 2007

An internal document was sent by the Foreign Office ordering British diplomats 'to avoid offering support' to Robert Murat unless charges were presented against him." (Note: Murat was made an arguido on May 15 and the Foreign Office internal memo was allegedly dated May 17.)

Tuesday May 22, 2007

An email between Portimao and Foreign Commonwealth Office of 22 May 2007 was the subject of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request asking for Ambassador Buck's communications related to the McCanns. This email (or a portion of it) was withheld based on "International relations" exemption: Section 27.1.a. (1)Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice—( a) relations between the United Kingdom and any other State

Thursday May 24, 2007

An email between Portimao and Foreign Commonwealth Office of 24 May 2007 was the subject of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request asking for Ambassador Buck's communications related to the McCanns. This email (or a portion of it) was withheld based on "International relations" exemption: Section 27.1.a.(1)Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice—( a) relations between the United Kingdom and any other State

Ambassador Buck, consular officials and British police had an "informal" meeting with the McCanns "over tea." Reports stated that the McCann's travel plans were up for discussion. The following day Portuguese police issued a detailed description of the "possible suspect".

Reports were that ""...The British embassy duly applied pressure on the Portuguese authorities to find more flexibility in their secrecy laws..."

Friday May 25, 2007

Ambassador Buck met again with the McCanns and British police.

Portuguese police issued detailed description of possible abductor.

Sunday May 27, 2007

News emerged that the McCanns had held discussions with Gordon Brown
Personal intervention of Gordon Brown was reported. Gordon Brown was reported to have urged police to give more public details after the McCanns voiced their concern about the lack of disclosure by Portuguese detectives.

June 18, 2007

A Foreign Commonwealth Office internal email of 18 June 2007 was the subject of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request asking for Ambassador Buck's communications related to the McCanns. This email (or a portion of it) was withheld based on "International relations" exemption: Section 27.1.a.(1)Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice—( a) relations between the United Kingdom and any other State

June 19, 2007

An email between John Buck and Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO)/ Portimao of 19 June 2007 was the subject of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request asking for Ambassador Buck's communications related to the McCanns. This email (or a portion of it) was withheld based on "International relations" exemption: Section 27.1.a.(1)Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice—( a) relations between the United Kingdom and any other State

June 21, 2007

An email between Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO)/ Lisbon of 21 June 2007 (19b) was the subject of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request asking for Ambassador Buck's communications related to the McCanns. This email (or a portion of it) was withheld based on "Personal Information" exemption: Section 40 (2) and (3) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
September 10, 2007

Ambassador John Buck was replaced as the British Ambassador to Portugal by Alexander Ellis. It was announced that Buck had "left the diplomatic service". 
The press release stated that Mr. Ellis would take up this appointment with "immediate effect."

October 2007

In October 2007 an individual made an FOI request (under the Freedom of Information Act 2000) to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for information concerning communications between the then Ambassador to Portugal John Buck and the Portuguese police on the subject of the disappearance of the child Madeleine McCann. Reference: FS50188322. 

Some information was released straight away and some information was withheld. 
Since that time the Foreign Office released "most" but not all of the requested information. (Withheld information noted above.) 

The Information Commissioner's Office reviewed the matter and in March 2009 decided that the Foreign Office had complied with section 1(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act but had breeched section 1(1)(b) of the Act by failing to provide the information within the specified time limit. 

The commissioner upheld the Foreign Office decision to withold some information, stating that the public interested in withholding the information outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information. The ICO also decided that personal information withheld was done so correctly.

December 3, 2007

A memo was leaked to the Belgian newspaper La Dernière Heure regarding a diplomat's concerns about the case. 

Questions have been raised as to whether the memo may have been written by Ambassador Buck or someone in his office, although diplomat's name was not published in the newspaper articles.

The leaked memo was routed through the British diplomatic mission in Brussels
The leaked memo was sent "just days" after Madeleine disappeared.

The leaked memo warned the Foreign Office of concerns regarding the McCanns and warned of the risks of siding with the McCanns in public.

The diplomat immediately had doubts after being sent to Praia da Luz due to what he considered to be inconsistencies in their testimonies and "confused declarations" as to the whereabouts of the McCanns and their friends on May 3.

The memo mentions instructions "from London" that consular staff "overstretch their authority and put pressure on Portuguese authorities."

The memo refers to orders sent the previous day from the Foreign Office in London commanding embassy staff to provide all possible assistance to the McCanns and that the McCanns "had to be "accompanied at all times during any contact with the Portuguese police" by a member of consular staff or by British police officers sent out from the UK.

He also mentioned their lack of cooperation with the Portuguese police

The memo was sent *from the Algarve* to the Foreign office days after Madeleine "went missing"

Quote: "With the greatest respect, I would like to make you aware of the risks and implications to our relationship with the Portuguese authorities, if you consider the possible involvement of the couple. Please confirm to me, in the light of these concerns, that we want to continue to be closely involved in the case as was requested in your previous message."

The Belgian report also stated that Portuguese detectives believe it is possible Madeleine died as the result of an accident on May 3 in the family's holiday apartment and that her parents hid and later disposed of her body with the help of their friends. 
They said it is highly significant that almost all of the diplomats involved at the outset have now been taken off the case.

December 12, 2007

Reports emerged that British diplomats had been ordered by the Foreign Office to "avoid offering support" to Robert Murat.

The claim was made that an internal Foreign Office memo had sent the instructions three days after Murat was made an arguido (Note: May 15 is the date Murat was made an arguido.)

According to Spain's El Mundo newspaper, the order was justified due to the "specific nature of the case".

The internal memo allegedly stated that British diplomats were to "avoid offering support" to Murat unless charges were pressed against him.