The victim they selected, Brenda Leyland, hadn't in fact committed any crime, she, like myself and thousands of others simply refused to accept the establishment line that Madeleine McCann was abducted by a stranger. The McCanns and those who assist them, truly believed they could stamp out all their critics with a gang of thugs patrolling the internet and via hard cash in the libel courts. To be fair, for a while there they succeeded.
Unfortunately for Gerry McCann, Jim Gamble and Martin Brunt, their jackboot, vigilante tactics appalled the public, whatever Brenda had done, she did not deserve a public execution. They selected Brenda because she was 'ordinary', but it was that ordinariness that made her everyone's mum, nan and aunty - the McCann couple, already seen as cold, were now chilling.
It is bizarre that two years on, Operation Grange seem as far from a conclusion as they were at the outset but probably not surprising. The grisly details of what happened the night Madeleine disappeared have become the back story, it's what happened from that night onwards, that will make the Chilcott report look like a couple of hours of light reading.
The incumbent Blair government perverted the course of justice. There is no nice, or euphemistic way of putting it. It was obvious to the first two Portuguese policemen on the scene that the abduction was staged, and ten years on, to anyone who looks at the facts without the 'but they are such a nice couple' blinkers, it still is. The problem Operation Grange have, is that once they point the finger at Gerry and Kate, the entire house of cards will collapse.
What was said during Gerry's one to one chats with PMs Blair and Brown? Or indeed between Kate and Cherie? One thing we can be sure of, every word will be kept verbatim. Are we to believe that two British Prime Ministers, with all the country's top advisors, police and Special Branch, were taken in by Gerry and Kate? Not only were they taken in, they put the full services of the establishment at Team McCann's disposal. That's an Oops right up there with Okily Dokily Mr. Bush.
How many New Labour cabinet ministers were schmoozing the McCanns? Or police chiefs attending their fund raising events? Will the highly experienced and decorated Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe and Jim Gamble explain how they were so misled by a couple of tricksters the average housewife could spot within seconds? The unveiling of a fake abduction would reveal a sea of red faces and a scramble by those who should have known better to find excuses for supporting such an obvious scam.
I kind of get the predicament Operation Grange finds themselves in and the difficulties they must have in releasing public statements. At some point they will have to pee in the pot or get off it. It has been clear for some time that OG are not looking for an abductor, which translates, 'we know who's responsible but we don't have enough to prosecute'. Gerry's 'Nooooo evidence' mantra seems to be holding up quite well, but you can't keep throwing public money at an investigation that's going nowhere.
Unfortunately, while the silence of Operation Grange might temporarily hold back the floodgates, (who dare publish while Gerry and Kate have
Those of us who know more about this case than is healthy, would argue the 'No Evidence' point quite vigorously, a quick google of Madeleine McCann, will not only throw up every rational argument for why the parents were involved, it will do it in alphabetical order and with pictures.
Whatever is going on behind the scenes in an effort to limit the damage when Madeleine hits the headlines again, should not be used to take out members of the public. And vigilant groups, even if they are 'establishment' ones, should not have the power to destroy lives.
If I were Brenda's family, I would still be mad as hell, but I respect their right to privacy. I think unless you understand the full horrors of the abuse of power in Madeleine's name, we 'McCann geeks' will always seem a little strange. My own adult sons think I am quite bonkers. When justice finally arrives for Madeleine, Goncalo and all those 'destroyed' by the McCanns and their henchmen, I want to see Brenda's name cleared, public apologies for those vile troll headlines that drove the poor woman to her death. The use of the word 'troll' has sinister undertones and it will be used unscrupulously by those intent on policing the internet and targeting dissenters. In the case of Brenda it was used as a warning to others that spectacularly backfired.
I think on this sad anniversary, it is important to remember the ghastly way in the full might of the establishment and the media were used to destroy the life of an ordinary woman who dared to question an obvious lie.
RIP Brenda Leyland
RIP BRENDA LEYAND (SWEEPYFACE)
So Sky's rolling news day on McCann trolls has resulted in the death of Brenda Leyland (Sweepyface) a middle aged lady angered by the lies of Gerry and Kate McCann. Seven years on, despite being suspects in the eyes of the rest of the world, in the UK they are still being treated like victims and being compensated financially. No amount of money will satisfy Gerry and Kate, they have had over £4m, they also want the Laws to be changed so their crimes will never be reported. We have had a news blackout in the UK for the past 7 years. Why?
The McCanns didn't have any threats against them or their children. Their witness claimed this in the Lisbon libel trial, but could not substantiate it. Several months on, no-one has been arrested or charged for threatening the McCanns. A bit like the abductor.
The biggest threat they could find to the McCanns was poor old Brenda, an obviously shy, timid lady who clearly presented no danger to the McCanns whatsoever. But she was to be the scapegoat, the face of the cruel campaign against an innocent family. She was the line of least resistance - had they doorstepped any of the more outspoken among us, we would have given them an interview they couldn't broadcast, on the hour, every hour, etc without Carter Ruck jumping down their throats - now re-employed by McCanns it seems and kerchinging nicely.
Did Martin Brunt threaten her? If so, what with? He had pretty much done the worst thing imaginable, but it clearly left her in great fear. She fled from her village. More doorstepping perhaps? Her past raked up? Did she have mental health issues? Did any of her family? Was she a vulnerable adult in any way? Surely Sky News would not have carried out such a catastrophic public attack without making a few basic checks?
Were the McCanns going to go after her financially, as they have done with Goncalo Amaral, demand that she sell her house? Was she facing threats of financial ruin? How could a regular person stand up to Carter Ruck? Her limited 'I thought I was entitled to' - portrayed her as ignorant, but what else did she say when she took the crew inside her house?
What did the police say to her? Afaik, she was not arrested or cautioned, but did they give her a 'stern' taking to? And how stern was that talk? Normal people with no criminal record or dealings with the police would be terrified. What Laws did Brenda break, if any? Lets hope the police taped their interviews with her, if I were her family, I would demand they be revealed at the Inquest - and there should definitely be an Inquest.
However, Jim Gamble's hope of using 'outing' as a device to stop people asking questions about the McCanns, or indeed anything, has spectacularly backfired. The consequences of such sinister threats have become all too apparent. I would imagine legal talks are frantically underway as we speak, Sky News cannot just brush this off, they must at the very least, issue an apology to Brenda's family. No Court in the world (maybe N.Korea or UK under McCann Rule) would have found Brenda guilty of anything. If worse tweeters exist, then why didn't Sky go after them, why go after a fragile, quiet lady in a pretty village, who clearly posed no threat to the McCanns whatsoever. The cynic in me pictures the McCanns looking up the property prices as one reason, but more likely the subliminal message was 'it could be you'. There were threatening undertones in that news report, and more than a tinge of cruelty in the way the story was reported. They couldn't hide their glee at exposing a respectable middle aged lady as a vicious internet troll to all her friends, family and neighbours. It was pitchforking at its very worst.
However, any gleeful thoughts Gamble and McCanns may have of outing people on a regular basis must now be treated with the seriousness it deserves, as Brenda's tragic death has proved. The punishment Brenda received (based on no evidence) was way beyond anything a Court could have dished out. It seemed more like payback, than a genuine news story, Her face, and home, was broadcast every hour, on the hour, as she was publically labelled as a 'Hater', continually hounding the family of Madeleine McCann. She wasn't. She was angry at this blatant miscarriage of justice as many are. Nothing she did deserved the kind of punishment she received. The death of a child is always emotive, especially when those charged to uphold the law appear to be covering it up. Sky News acted as Judge, Jury and Executioner. Brenda is dead because of what she was accused of, not because of what she did. She probably said a lot more in that Sky interview than 'I thought I was entitled to', but will we ever know? They wanted to label her as evil, and they did.
Brenda, bless her, knowingly or unknowingly, may well set off a chain of events that will bring about the final downfall of the McCanns and their minions. Jim Gamble and the McCanns wanted to use her as an example of what will happen to anyone criticising them, but her suicide has turned the tables. Now they have to justify what they have done to her.