Tuesday, May 15, 2007
It is quite clear that the Portuguese police literally don't have a clue. This is not criticism - sometimes there are no clues.
The questioning of Robert Murat, something from which he will probably never be free if Madeleine isn't found, was brought about by a suspicious journalist. Lori Campbell of the Sunday Mirror made this deductive leap because
“He was acting very strangely. I found him to be creepy. When he was talking to me he was vague about his background. He was coming in and out of the family apartment speaking with the media and acting like he was somebody official.”say no more.
Clearly Ms Campbell has heard of Soham where the murderer showed a similar enthusiasm for media highlife. However this not only isn't evidence it isn't anything. Journalists are not detectives, they are, at best, amateurs in the field yet on this lack of anything lives are being ruined.
I suggest a better comparison would be with the Jill Dando murder. There, as in this case, police had come to a dead end, or lots of dead ends. There, as here, their was immense pressure to find someone. A story must have a beginning, a middle & an ending - preferably a happy ending but at least some sort of ending & if real live is not so obliging it must be created. The media demand a solution & they will have one whether it exists or not. The right solution would be best but they will bay for blood till they have some sort of solution.
The Portuguese police are thus under immense pressure to find somebody - anybody. In the same way the UK police were under similar pressure to "solve" the Dando killing & were able to pin it on on Barry George. Some of them may even have believed it, after all the human animal has immense ability to rationalise our desires. The fact remains that there was no real evidence against Barry George & a solid alibi. Nonetheless it would have taken a brave jury to release him & attract tabloid opprobrium on their own heads & he did not get a brave jury.
There is no reasonable doubt that Barry George is innocent & without taking the Marat case to far the fact that he was living with his mother makes it improbable that he could kidnap the child & bring her to his home.
Mr Murat, 33, was taken for questioning at Portimao police station yesterday along with a German woman, believed to be his girlfriend, and a Portuguese man.The feeding frenzy by journalists dissecting the lives of these people is obscene. Trial by media is clearly incompatible with justice or even the rule of law.
Chief Inspector Olegario Sousa, spokesman for the Madeleine McCann investigation, said today that a British man in his thirties taken from the house which was searched has now been classed as an “arguido”.
..........Mr Murat's cousin, Sally Eveleigh, said there was “absolutely no way” he could have anything to do with Madeleine’s disappearance. Ms Eveleigh, who runs a guesthouse near Lagos, close to Praia da Luz, told Sky News: “They [police] had heard from English reporters that ... Robert had said he missed his daughter so much. And from that, because they’ve got nothing to go on, they’ve all started assuming.
“We had dinner with them on Saturday night, him and his mother. He was so calm, they stayed at the table when we left - if you’re doing something bad, there’s no way you would be doing that. And I’ve known him all his life - he’s much younger than me - and there’s absolutely no way. He loves children, but not to do something like that."
Ms Eveleigh was visited by police last night who questioned her about her cousin, she told Sky News.
UPDATE Iain Dale has said something similar.