Scotland Yard statements on Madeleine McCann fail to erase the question marks
"But, as we now know, they were."
Nigel Moore is based in Leicester, England, United Kingdom, and is a Stringer for Allvoices.
Last week, as part of Scotland Yard's decision to update the public on the progress of their 'investigative review' into the Madeleine McCann case, Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood stated: "Neither her parents or any of the member (sic) of the group that were with her are either persons of interest or suspects."
There will be many who will be greatly surprised at those words. Not least the Assistant Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police, who stated in July 2008 that "While one or both of them [the McCanns] may be innocent, there is no clear evidence that eliminates them from involvement in Madeleine's disappearance." At that time the McCanns were attempting to gain access to all the documents held by Leicester Police regarding the disappearance of their daughter. The request was denied.
But that wasn't the first or last time that British authorities had placed a question mark against the parents insistence that Madeleine was abducted.
Less than a month after Madeleine's reported disappearance, Lee Rainbow, who was at that time Senior Behavioural Investigation Consultant for the NPIA (National Policing Improvement Agency), wrote a report in which he stated: "The potential involvement of the family in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann cannot be discarded, and it can be considered that, when pondering the basis for research, this hypothesis deserves as much attention as the criminal with sexual motivations that has been previously prioritised.
"It should be stressed that there is no evidence to directly support an involvement of the family, yet given the absence of decisive evidence to prove the contrary, such a scenario has to be explored." That report led directly to the arrival of the two operational specialist search dogs which indicated at a number of locations, as well as items, connected to the McCanns. As a result of that intervention, and what the Portuguese police believed to be conclusive DNA evidence, the McCanns were made arguidos (suspects).
The British government's Foreign & Commonwealth Office also made their view clear, post-arguido, in December 2009, when responding to a Freedom of Information request about the missing child, Ben Needham. They wrote: 'You will also be aware of the Madeleine McCann case. Both this and the Needham case are categorised as a missing persons, rather than child abduction cases, as there is no evidence in either case to support whether the children were or were not abducted.'
It could not be clearer. There is 'no evidence' to support the claim that Madeleine McCann was abducted.
So, are Scotland Yard playing an elaborate game of cat and mouse or are they looking to blindly stick the abduction tail on some unsuspecting donkey? Or are they simply running around like headless chickens in the last throes of their 'investigative review'? Only time will tell. However, it is worth remembering that the words of Chief Inspector Andy Redwood are far from unique.
Countering increased press speculation, in August 2007, about the possible involvement of Madeleine's parents in her disappearance, Portuguese Chief Inspector Olegario Sousa stepped in to clarify the situation. Speaking to the BBC, his words of support mirrored those of Mr Redwood last week. The McCanns, he assured, were "victims of this crime because they have lost their little child" and were not being considered as "suspects in the case". But, as we now know, they were.