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McCanns launch fightback over 'nonsensical' murder claims.

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McCanns launch fightback over 'nonsensical' murder claims.

Post  mumbles on Wed 9 May - 17:37

Kate and Gerry McCann launched a robust fightback against the Portuguese police yesterday, as their advisers tore into the case against them and insisted that there are entirely innocent explanations for the reported discovery of their daughter Madeleine's DNA in their hire car.

A source close to the couple said that traces of DNA with a match to Madeleine were found in a Renault Scenic, hired 25 days after her disappearance, simply because her belongings were transferred in the boot of the car. These included her sandals which, experts have told the McCanns, would have left traces of DNA from her sweat.

The couple will also argue that at least 30 people connected to them, including blood relatives, used the Renault Scenic before police seized it to gather forensic samples. The source said yesterday: "What people have got to ask themselves is just how many people were associated with that vehicle over a 10-week period? How many family, friends and campaign workers? How many blood relatives, how many drivers? I know of at least 30 people being associated with that vehicle in the relevant period.

"People also need to consider what was carried in that car for entirely innocent reasons. These are all areas that will provide the innocent explanations. When viewed as a whole by any rational person, these reasons at best raise fundamental questions about the reliability of any so-called evidence and at worst render it totally useless."

It is a week since Sky News broadcast a report that DNA samples with a 100 per cent match to Madeleine had been found in the boot of the Scenic. Suggestions that the match might be bodily fluids prompted a rash of speculation about decomposing bodies. But bodily fluids can include sweat or urine.

The couple's new spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, who resigned his position at the Cabinet Office's media monitoring unit to take up work for them in Leicestershire, said any suggestion the McCanns had harmed their daughter was "as ludicrous as it is nonsensical". Standing beside the couple in the driveway of their home in Rothley, Leicestershire, he said the suggestion would "be laughable if it wasn't so serious".

The McCanns' new-found public confidence stems from the team they are quietly building to counter the unsourced allegations coming out of Portugal. The couple spent Friday and Saturday in consultation with their lawyers from Kingsley Napley and by Sunday were already insisting that the scent of death picked up by sniffer dogs was a legally discredited line of inquiry. Mr Mitchell is also believed to be involved in the process of monitoring claims about them from Portugal.

Mr Mitchell was initially seconded from the Cabinet Office to assist the McCanns, but he said his re-employment, after an approach supported by the couple's legal team and financial backers, meant that continuing to work for the Civil Service was "untenable" and so he had resigned.

"I have done so because I feel so strongly that they are innocent victims of a heinous crime that I am prepared to forgo my career in government service to assist them," he said. "I wish to stress that from now on I am in no way speaking on behalf of the British Government."

Mr Mitchell said the McCanns were happy to continue their co-operation with the Portuguese authorities to establish what has happened to Madeleine. "The focus must now move away from the rampant, unfounded and inaccurate speculation of recent days, to return to the child at the very centre of this, Madeleine," he said. He also said the family wanted to stop people photographing and filming the McCanns' two-year-old twins, Sean and Amelie.

The twins did not seem to have been affected by Madeleine's disappearance, Mr Mitchell said. "They are very happy being at home. Mum and dad are constantly talking to them about Madeleine," he added. "It's not as if there's any secrecy. They are surrounded by her toys, books and pictures. They [Mr and Mrs McCann] make it clear, if they ask where she is, that she's not here at the moment."

The campaign's key figures

Gerry McCann

Mr McCann has assiduously nurtured contacts among national newspaper editors to counteract the stories emanating from Portugal. He is believed to have telephoned the News of the World's editor, Colin Myler, shortly before he was declared an arguido (suspect), to tell his side of the story, and it was a direct call by Mr McCann to Rebekah Wade last week that resulted in a Sun splash and inside headline: 'There's no proof.' By contrast, the day before the paper ran with the headline: 'Guilty or Innocent?'

Clarence Mitchell

The McCanns' communication operation was at its best when the former BBC News presenter was seconded for a month to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to replace the former Daily Mirror journalist and long-serving government spokeswoman Sheree Dodd in May. His decision to resign on Monday as head of the Government's media monitoring unit and return to the fray, replacing Justine McGuinness, has already helped the McCanns begin their fightback against innuendos in the Portuguese press. Calm and erudite, it was Mr Mitchell who briefed on Sunday that US case law might help shoot down 'evidence' that sniffer dogs had 'smelled death' in the McCanns' apartment.

John McCann

Gerry McCann's brother, a pharmaceutical sales rep, is a director and trustee of the Find Madeleine Appeal Fund, but has also been the family's calm, public face, who toured television studios on Saturday to reassert his brother and sister-in-law's innocence. His sister, Philomena, has had a higher profile, visiting the Scottish Parliament to discuss the case and speaking live to rolling news channels, but the family values John McCann's less emotional output.

Angus McBride

He, rather than his colleague Michael Caplan QC, seems to be taking a leading role in the case at Kingsley Napley, the London law firm recently appointed by the McCanns. Mr McBride toured many national newspaper offices with Justine McGuinness last week and, though he has not made any public statements, he is believed to have been behind the challenge to the sniffer dog 'evidence'. He defended the actor Chris Langham, who was recently sentenced for child pornography offences.

Carlos Pinto de Abreu

The McCanns' Portuguese lawyer is based in London and, after a brilliant academic career, is one of Portugal's most celebrated legal men, with a direct line to the country's Attorney General by virtue of their work together on human rights issues. Mr De Abreu's services have been put at £200 an hour but he is a vital source of clarity, explaining publicly last week that the McCanns' initial belief that they were offered a plea bargain was flawed.


Last edited by mumbles on Wed 9 May - 17:39; edited 1 time in total

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Re: McCanns launch fightback over 'nonsensical' murder claims.

Post  mumbles on Wed 9 May - 17:39

Sorry folks... this appears to be an OLD article.

Will delete if mods so wish.

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Re: McCanns launch fightback over 'nonsensical' murder claims.

Post  Chris on Wed 9 May - 17:42

mumbles wrote:Sorry folks... this appears to be an OLD article.

Will delete if mods so wish.

I wouldn't worry the papers have been recycling other 5 year old stories all week.

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Re: McCanns launch fightback over 'nonsensical' murder claims.

Post  mumbles on Wed 9 May - 17:44

Carlos Pinto de Abreu

The McCanns' Portuguese lawyer is based in London and, after a brilliant academic career, is one of Portugal's most celebrated legal men, with a direct line to the country's Attorney General by virtue of their work together on human rights issues. Mr De Abreu's services have been put at £200 an hour but he is a vital source of clarity, explaining publicly last week that the McCanns' initial belief that they were offered a plea bargain was flawed.

Yet Kate McCann still mentioned in her book that they were offered a deal??

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Re: McCanns launch fightback over 'nonsensical' murder claims.

Post  kitti on Wed 9 May - 17:46

Mr McCann has assiduously nurtured contacts among national newspaper editors to counteract the stories emanating from Portugal. He is believed to have telephoned the News of the World's editor, Colin Myler, shortly before he was declared an arguido (suspect), to tell his side of the story, and it was a direct call by Mr McCann to Rebekah Wade last week that resulted in a Sun splash and inside headline: 'There's no proof.' By contrast, the day before the paper ran with the headline: 'Guilty or Innocent?'




That little titbit says it all really.

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Re: McCanns launch fightback over 'nonsensical' murder claims.

Post  interested on Wed 9 May - 17:51

Old article or not, thanks to mumbles for bringing it forward. I find it interesting that Mitchell made a point of, "I wish to stress that from now on I am in no way speaking on behalf of the British Government." Does anyone know the date he made this statement? In other words, when did the 'FROM NOW ON' commence?

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Re: McCanns launch fightback over 'nonsensical' murder claims.

Post  Chris on Wed 9 May - 17:53

interested wrote:Old article or not, thanks to mumbles for bringing it forward. I find it interesting that Mitchell made a point of, "I wish to stress that from now on I am in no way speaking on behalf of the British Government." Does anyone know the date he made this statement? In other words, when did the 'FROM NOW ON' commence?

The article was in the Independent 19 September 2007

ETA This from a FOI request:

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.

Which ties into the article comment.


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Re: McCanns launch fightback over 'nonsensical' murder claims.

Post  interested on Wed 9 May - 18:30

Chris wrote:
interested wrote:Old article or not, thanks to mumbles for bringing it forward. I find it interesting that Mitchell made a point of, "I wish to stress that from now on I am in no way speaking on behalf of the British Government." Does anyone know the date he made this statement? In other words, when did the 'FROM NOW ON' commence?

The article was in the Independent 19 September 2007

ETA This from a FOI request:

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.

Which ties into the article comment.


I'm assuming then that prior to 17 September 2007 he WAS speaking on behalf of the British Government, although the Central Office of Information statement confirms only that he had resigned without giving the exact date. It sounds like a cover Mitchell's (and other's) backside statement to me.

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Re: McCanns launch fightback over 'nonsensical' murder claims.

Post  AnnaEsse on Wed 9 May - 20:19

If there was all that DNA on Madeleine's belongings, why was none found in apartment 5A?

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Re: McCanns launch fightback over 'nonsensical' murder claims.

Post  cherry1 on Wed 9 May - 20:42


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Re: McCanns launch fightback over 'nonsensical' murder claims.

Post  kitti on Wed 9 May - 20:51

There was no DNA in the car, remember, Gerry mccann said so at the leveson enquiry.

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Re: McCanns launch fightback over 'nonsensical' murder claims.

Post  interested on Wed 9 May - 20:52

cherry1 wrote:

When used with Madeleine's toothbrush.

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Re: McCanns launch fightback over 'nonsensical' murder claims.

Post  malena stool on Wed 9 May - 20:53

AnnaEsse wrote:If there was all that DNA on Madeleine's belongings, why was none found in apartment 5A?
Bleach works well, or so they say.....

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Re: McCanns launch fightback over 'nonsensical' murder claims.

Post  Keela on Thu 10 May - 13:31

Blood relatives used the car? Are they saying that all blood relatives share the same DNA? I thought that DNA was individual to the person?

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Re: McCanns launch fightback over 'nonsensical' murder claims.

Post  Chris on Thu 10 May - 13:37

Keela wrote:Blood relatives used the car? Are they saying that all blood relatives share the same DNA? I thought that DNA was individual to the person?

A child shares the DNA components of their parents. I guess if you stuff enough blood relatives in the boot of a car you eventually make up the component parts of any one descendant member. Jolly uncomfortable though.

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Re: McCanns launch fightback over 'nonsensical' murder claims.

Post  HiDeHo on Thu 10 May - 14:04





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Re: McCanns launch fightback over 'nonsensical' murder claims.

Post  tanszi on Thu 10 May - 19:19

Nothing to add to that, move along now. just repeat after me the PJ files indicate .........

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Re: McCanns launch fightback over 'nonsensical' murder claims.

Post  LJC on Fri 11 May - 10:33

mumbles wrote:Kate and Gerry McCann launched a robust fightback against the Portuguese police yesterday, as their advisers tore into the case against them and insisted that there are entirely innocent explanations for the reported discovery of their daughter Madeleine's DNA in their hire car.

A source close to the couple said that traces of DNA with a match to Madeleine were found in a Renault Scenic, hired 25 days after her disappearance, simply because her belongings were transferred in the boot of the car. These included her sandals which, experts have told the McCanns, would have left traces of DNA from her sweat.

The couple will also argue that at least 30 people connected to them, including blood relatives, used the Renault Scenic before police seized it to gather forensic samples. The source said yesterday: "What people have got to ask themselves is just how many people were associated with that vehicle over a 10-week period? How many family, friends and campaign workers? How many blood relatives, how many drivers? I know of at least 30 people being associated with that vehicle in the relevant period.

"People also need to consider what was carried in that car for entirely innocent reasons. These are all areas that will provide the innocent explanations. When viewed as a whole by any rational person, these reasons at best raise fundamental questions about the reliability of any so-called evidence and at worst render it totally useless."

It is a week since Sky News broadcast a report that DNA samples with a 100 per cent match to Madeleine had been found in the boot of the Scenic. Suggestions that the match might be bodily fluids prompted a rash of speculation about decomposing bodies. But bodily fluids can include sweat or urine.

The couple's new spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, who resigned his position at the Cabinet Office's media monitoring unit to take up work for them in Leicestershire, said any suggestion the McCanns had harmed their daughter was "as ludicrous as it is nonsensical". Standing beside the couple in the driveway of their home in Rothley, Leicestershire, he said the suggestion would "be laughable if it wasn't so serious".

The McCanns' new-found public confidence stems from the team they are quietly building to counter the unsourced allegations coming out of Portugal. The couple spent Friday and Saturday in consultation with their lawyers from Kingsley Napley and by Sunday were already insisting that the scent of death picked up by sniffer dogs was a legally discredited line of inquiry. Mr Mitchell is also believed to be involved in the process of monitoring claims about them from Portugal.

Mr Mitchell was initially seconded from the Cabinet Office to assist the McCanns, but he said his re-employment, after an approach supported by the couple's legal team and financial backers, meant that continuing to work for the Civil Service was "untenable" and so he had resigned.

"I have done so because I feel so strongly that they are innocent victims of a heinous crime that I am prepared to forgo my career in government service to assist them," he said. "I wish to stress that from now on I am in no way speaking on behalf of the British Government."

Mr Mitchell said the McCanns were happy to continue their co-operation with the Portuguese authorities to establish what has happened to Madeleine. "The focus must now move away from the rampant, unfounded and inaccurate speculation of recent days, to return to the child at the very centre of this, Madeleine," he said. He also said the family wanted to stop people photographing and filming the McCanns' two-year-old twins, Sean and Amelie.

The twins did not seem to have been affected by Madeleine's disappearance, Mr Mitchell said. "They are very happy being at home. Mum and dad are constantly talking to them about Madeleine," he added. "It's not as if there's any secrecy. They are surrounded by her toys, books and pictures. They [Mr and Mrs McCann] make it clear, if they ask where she is, that she's not here at the moment."

The campaign's key figures

Gerry McCann

Mr McCann has assiduously nurtured contacts among national newspaper editors to counteract the stories emanating from Portugal. He is believed to have telephoned the News of the World's editor, Colin Myler, shortly before he was declared an arguido (suspect), to tell his side of the story, and it was a direct call by Mr McCann to Rebekah Wade last week that resulted in a Sun splash and inside headline: 'There's no proof.' By contrast, the day before the paper ran with the headline: 'Guilty or Innocent?'

Clarence Mitchell

The McCanns' communication operation was at its best when the former BBC News presenter was seconded for a month to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to replace the former Daily Mirror journalist and long-serving government spokeswoman Sheree Dodd in May. His decision to resign on Monday as head of the Government's media monitoring unit and return to the fray, replacing Justine McGuinness, has already helped the McCanns begin their fightback against innuendos in the Portuguese press. Calm and erudite, it was Mr Mitchell who briefed on Sunday that US case law might help shoot down 'evidence' that sniffer dogs had 'smelled death' in the McCanns' apartment.

John McCann

Gerry McCann's brother, a pharmaceutical sales rep, is a director and trustee of the Find Madeleine Appeal Fund, but has also been the family's calm, public face, who toured television studios on Saturday to reassert his brother and sister-in-law's innocence. His sister, Philomena, has had a higher profile, visiting the Scottish Parliament to discuss the case and speaking live to rolling news channels, but the family values John McCann's less emotional output.

Angus McBride

He, rather than his colleague Michael Caplan QC, seems to be taking a leading role in the case at Kingsley Napley, the London law firm recently appointed by the McCanns. Mr McBride toured many national newspaper offices with Justine McGuinness last week and, though he has not made any public statements, he is believed to have been behind the challenge to the sniffer dog 'evidence'. He defended the actor Chris Langham, who was recently sentenced for child pornography offences.

Carlos Pinto de Abreu

The McCanns' Portuguese lawyer is based in London and, after a brilliant academic career, is one of Portugal's most celebrated legal men, with a direct line to the country's Attorney General by virtue of their work together on human rights issues. Mr De Abreu's services have been put at £200 an hour but he is a vital source of clarity, explaining publicly last week that the McCanns' initial belief that they were offered a plea bargain was flawed.

Hold on a minute, I really don't understand this reference to transporting Madeleine's sandals in the boot, which would have traces of her sweat on them which, they are saying, could have left a trace of her DNA. Are they talking about odour here, or am I correct in saying they are talking about fluid transference? Surely, given the period from time of disappearance to time of transporting the sandals, any residue of sweat would have been completely absorbed and dried into the interior lining of the sandal, so I fail to see how bunging these items into the car boot could have transferred DNA fluid. The use of the word fluid, to my mind, means just that, fluid, something wet which transfers across to another surface.

Plus, the particular area of the car boot where this find was made, surely that particular area was not used for storage?

Perhaps I am totally wrong here, but I would need it explaining to me how small traces of historical sweat left inside a pair of sandels, which were then transported some 28 days later, could have left traces of fluid in the interior of the boot. Odour, yes I can understand, but this article definitely talks about fluid traces being left behind, so I don't understand.

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Re: McCanns launch fightback over 'nonsensical' murder claims.

Post  tanszi on Fri 11 May - 15:13

i dony understand that teither, especially as i understand that Amelie wore Madeleine's sandals, at !8 months???

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Re: McCanns launch fightback over 'nonsensical' murder claims.

Post  Keela on Fri 11 May - 15:32

I don't understand it either. How can the sandals of a nearly 4 year old fit an 18 month old. they would have been far too big and also I have never known a 3 year old's feet to sweat or at least that much that it was obviously running in rivers.

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Re: McCanns launch fightback over 'nonsensical' murder claims.

Post  AnnaEsse on Fri 11 May - 15:34

Keela wrote:I don't understand it either. How can the sandals of a nearly 4 year old fit an 18 month old. they would have been far too big and also I have never known a 3 year old's feet to sweat or at least that much that it was obviously running in rivers.

Amelie would have been 2 years and 3 months old when Madeleine disappeared, but still, you'd think the sandals would be too big.

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