Wednesday, 10 June 2015


The disappearance of Madeleine McCann coincided with the birth of social media and those who had been twitching on the sidelines wondering where the profit in the internet might lie, were thrown a golden goose loaded with golden eggs, as long as they were able to keep total control of the goose that is.

In the summer of 2007, the tabloids ruled, they gave the public the headlines and the news, and on the whole the public accepted what was written without question, because the papers are 'not allowed' to publish things that aren't true, right? We knew politicians lied to us, that was a given, but we somehow believed that the newspapers were on our side, the side of the people.

Despite its sleazy image, Fleet Street also had journalists with integrity, journalists who would publish and be damned, journalists who would dig their teeth into a story and go after the truth no matter what, their integrity wasn't for sale. Sadly, they are now few and far between. Its not entirely their fault, stories about Kim Kardashian sell more newspapers than stories about corruption.  The public gets what the public wants.

When Madeleine McCann went missing, we saw for the first time, the internet used at full throttle, and it was being used for a good cause, it demonstrated how one tiny girl could unite the entire world through compassion and generosity.  Momentarily, we all became as one, and it was a phenomenon. Everyone, the world over, wanted to help, but the only realistic way for most to assist was to donate cash.  Kerching. 

Not only did Team McCann launch the most successful media campaign ever seen, they simultaneously launched an under cover online campaign to stamp out any opposition to the 'official' abduction story, and their fructiferous goose. The anonymity of the internet allowed them to steer public opinion in favour of the McCanns without revealing their original source. 

The anonymity of the internet allows people to behave in ways they would not dream of in their 'real' lives.  They can express their dark, malevolent thoughts without anyone knowing who they are and if they are lucky they will find like minded folk and form a pack.  Therein, the nastiness and pitchforking lies.

Anonymity can be used for good, in that it gives a voice to legions who might otherwise wish to keep their heads below the parapet. In the early days especially, commenting negatively about the McCanns made individuals targets of one of the most malicious social media campaigns ever seen.  Facebook pages were scoured, backgrounds researched and a Blacklist compiled. For myself as a writer with a book coming out it was the kiss of death. 

People had good reason to protect their online identities. Threats to make examples of 'haters' were prolific on every social media site, employers, neighbours, friends and relatives would all be informed of your antisocial behaviour online. It was a precursor to the example made of Brenda Leyland.

The use of anonymity online is a debate I won't go into here, suffice to say that anonymity allows people to behave in ways that are not constrained by normal social boundaries.  They can create false personas in whatever form they wish and present themselves as characters beyond reproach or wannabe gladiators entering an arena. 

Whilst providing us with information beyond our wildest dreams, the internet is also filled with deception, or more accurately, fictional characters, that is people living out imaginary lives online.  They are easy to spot, they don't 'do' Facebook or Twitter, lol, and they hang on to their anonymity as if their lives depended on it.  However, 8 years on, the fear is now more imagined than real, I doubt there is a boss left in the land who cares one way or another what his/her employees think about the McCann case. For many, it may well be that they now regret their ill chosen words, others are simply hooked on taking bitching to the extreme and don't want to give it up.

So how did the forums begin?  As the summer of 2007 went on, the power of the internet began to work against the McCanns.  Whilst they could slap the tabloid newspapers with gargantuan lawsuits, they had no control over what was said online. For the first time in history, news could not be contained by borders.  Anyone who cared to look beyond the UK headlines could quickly find details about the missing Madeleine case that were, for some reason, being withheld from the British public.  The work of Joana Morais, Astro, Pamalam, Nigel Moore (McCann Files), Steel Magnolia (RIP) Teddy and others must never be underestimated, without their courage and integrity, the truth about this case would have remained buried.

I first became involved in the social media wars in the summer of 2007.  I was extremely puzzled by the details of this case and went online to see exactly how far the Tapas bar was from Apartment 5A and stumbled across hundreds of other people, who, just like myself, were wondering what on earth was going on.  As an AOL user I was pointed in the direction of the Europe Board chat room. The reception I received was comparable to that of a stranger walking into a hostile bar in the Wild West with the whisky flowing.  It was every man for himself.  I kinda liked it.  (I'm better now)

In the early days, several of the tabloids allowed their readers to comment about the case on their forums - the most popular of which, was the Daily Mirror.  However, as the hostility towards the McCanns increased, the forums were shut down.  This led to the birth of the 3 Arguidoes, the most prominent anti forum, and probably the one that fed the myth that all those who doubted the abduction story were pitchforking haters.    

As bloody as the Europe Board battlefield was, it was as nothing compared to the 3 As, for that you needed a full coat of armour and the Samaritans on speed dial.  Even then, there was an air of tyranny, it was no place for the faint hearted, and humour was strictly prohibited.  I have since discovered it was run by Tony Bennett and Bren Ryan, so there you go. The 3 As was doomed and Tony and Bren went their separate ways.

Tony set up a 'legitimate' forum via Jill Havern to run alongside the Madeleine Foundation.  The Jill Havern forum, the Complete Mystery of Madeleine McCann (CMoMM) presents the evidence collected by its researchers for analysis and discussion.  It is also a platform for Tony to receive the recognition he feels he deserves for solving the case (Murat dunnit).  However, like the 3 As, CMoMM is a hostile, unwelcoming, environment, where newbies are treated with suspicion and derided for asking stupid questions.  Question mein host and you are out the door.  Their priority now is not solving the mystery of Madeleine McCann, so much as destroying the opposition.

Tony's Madeleine Foundation was the militant wing of CMoMM, committed to taking action against the McCann parents through frivolous law suits and intimidating them by distributing leaflets to all their neighbours. Yes, 'pros' that disgusted me as much as it did you.  It served no purpose other than to harass the McCann family and in my opinion it was rightly labelled as despicable by the tabloids. People who truly want justice are not cruel and sadistic, and when that kind of behaviour comes in, you have to question the motives.

Bren, like Gerry, had an epiphany, she saw the 'light' apologised to Kate and Gerry for all her past misdeeds and became their most staunch supporter. 
Bren founded, or became part of Stop the Myths/Exposing the Myths, the best known of the 'pro' sites and the compilers of the Hate List that led to the death of Brenda Leyland. The Kingdom was divided, and each took up their separate thrones.

For several years Tony Bennett has gone unchallenged as the 'leader' of the antis. He wears a suit.  He was once a solicitor (?), he was once a social worker (?), he is a man of God, he is filled with brimstone and fire - no-one can doubt his passion and he is a proven academic (all that research).  He has no time for frivolity (he doesn't watch TV) and he creationist, that is, he believes God made the world in 7 days and has given each of us our designated roles in this world. He takes misogyny to a whole new level. 

At this point, most people would be thinking 'clearly bonkers', but we are so indoctrinated by society's codes and conventions that we automatically store a suit clad 'academic' in the 'respectable' cabinet in our brains.  If he were covered in tattoos with a tunnel in his earlobe and facial piercings, we would have recoiled in fright, the suit had us all fooled.  There is a moral in here somewhere.

As one of my more enlightened readers commented, there has never been an anti movement as such, because groups by their very nature attract wannabe despots and tyrants who want to rule the roost.  I should mention at this point that leading is not something that has ever appealed to me, mostly because I am useless at it.  Whenever I was put in charge of a group I would take them all down the pub and face a disciplinary the next day. Ergo, I have been able to watch from the sidelines in both amusement and horror. In more recent years, we have seen the emergence of the super large Facebook groups and the thesis, antithesis and synthesis begins again, only the leading characters change. 

For those with a genuine interest in the facts and details, I can see how its all become so confusing.  You just want to know 'did they, or didn't they?' And if you are a rational person, you will look at the case from every angle.  There are thousands of pages of credible research available online, the McCann files are a goldmine and the videos of Hideho a treasure. From the 'pro' side there is very little to read, 1. Because the McCanns have remained resolutely silent and 2) because there are no reasonable or rational explanations for the parents' very odd behaviour.

This is an intriguing case and without wishing to trivialise the tragedy that lies at the heart of it, it is a real life mystery, one that appeals to our inner detective.  A puzzle to stimulate and occupy our minds. For some a form of escapism. It was the butler in the drawing room with the candlestick.  High profile crimes attract huge public interest, especially the interactive ones.  The trial of OJ Simpson kept several nations gripped for several months with families falling out and threatening never to speak to each again. That we allow the lives of strangers to encroach our own personal space to that extent is bizarre in itself. 

But again, I don't want to put people off joining the forums and groups. Once this case gets inside your head the need to understand/solve it becomes like an insatiable fever.  I fully understand the need to discuss it, which is why I don't tell people to stay away from the forums.  For many the need to put our theories to the test and bounce ideas backwards and forwards with others is overwhelming, and I hold my hand up right there. I actually encourage those new to the case to join the forums and facebook groups.  Despite the way it may appear, there are lot of genuine, kind and decent people out there.  People who want justice for the missing child, not vengeance on their perceived enemies.

The best advice I can give for anyone who wants to dip a toe, is read Goncalo Amaral's book and/or watch the documentary that accompanies it.  As for the groups, join all of them, test them out, some are better than others, but it is all down to personal taste. 

As for myself I am done with the bickering, I have way too much going on. I am happy to respond to and interact with anyone on here pro or anti if they are polite and rational.  The personal abuse however, will simply go straight to spam. 


  1. I read with interest your views on the 'forum wars' they pretty much mirror my own experience.

    Similar behaviours, the shouting down and ostracising of (particularly) new posters
    can be found on many forums and any subject. In extremis it's like the treatment of apostates in any aggressive religion - you're either with me,the forum owner, or against me - if you're against me you get,figuratively, stoned - and not stoned in a good way either.

    What set the McCann case apart from other issues on t'net. though was the dearth of real facts. How often have we heard statements by friends of the family/someone close to the investigation? How many headlines, all over the world were followed by a question mark - shoddy editorship as the question mark shows that facts are thin on the ground and another theory is being peddled.

    And even if facts were delivered - how much was lost in translation - some posters and members of the MSM based their views on googletranslate - no wonder 'rapid landscaping' and 'pants of ganja' entered the McCann case vocabulary.

    As for the false prophets of Bennett's ilk - they spoil it for the vast majority of posters by having an agenda waaaaay outside the confines of the case.

    Anyone with a messiah complex is best avoided - in the virtual as in the real world.

  2. Thanks for your reply :)

    I don't think the facts are thin on the ground though. In actual fact, this is probably the first high profile crime where the public have been kept informed all the way through, thanks to the internet. And of course, we saw the release of the original police files.

    Goncalo Amaral's book and the police files were translated by Portuguese/English speakers, not google translate, and if anything specific has been mistranslated, then why have the McCanns never corrected them? They paid a substantial amount to have the police files translated for themselves, £100k I believe, therefore correcting anything lost in translation should not have been a problem.

    As far as the Messiah Complex goes, Tony sees himself as guardian of our morals, defender of the faith and Witchfinder General (he is not alone in this). He has completely overstepped the mark by actively interfering in a police investigation and his activities regarding the witnesses verge on stalking.

    The majority can hear the alarm bells relatively quickly after meeting Tony, but sadly some see still him as a martyr to the cause and the endless 'work/research' as legitimate and worthy. However, a cursory glance quickly reveals that his 'results' are based on limited and biased research designed to reach the answer he wants. If his work were submitted as an academic assignment it would be dismissed straight away. He only presents one argument, his own.

    Tony has a history of latching onto high profile criminal cases and seeking media attention. Is his passion for removing road signs as strong as his passion for the Michael Barrymore and Madeleine McCann cases? Each case has involved Tony Bennett making a spectacle of himself. When Gerry and Kate were the most famous couple in the world, Tony launched a child neglect civil action against them. The reception he received from the MSM was apt. His action was inappropriate, badly timed and designed solely to bring media attention to himself.

    I don't know what he's up to, but it has little to do with finding out what happened to Madeleine McCann.

  3. The police files however were redacted to the best of my knowledge.

    However well translated or not the published files are - unless all of it
    is out in the open, the PJ files visible to us are not a definite account.

    think the 28 redacted pages of the 9/11 report - hopefully soon to be declassified - we can dream

  4. Sorry to be so negative about this case, but as long as the parents of Madeleine are allowed to get away with the same old mantra, that she was abducted, I can't see the case making any progress whatsoever. They don't seem concerned that their lies are known by millions around the world, that's apart from their statements, and video footage of them looking as guilty as hell. Every twitch, jiffle, and nose scratch, being monitored for future reference. If they remain unchallenged about questions they don't want to answer, then what happens in similar cases were the parent's cry abduction? The lawyers will be raking it in defending their clients! In other words...Just keep your gob shut and reply with no comment, not forgetting to involve the government first. No wonder they look so smug. Maybe they should apply to join the ''Police Force" they couldn't make more of an ash of things.

  5. at 2048

    it's understandable to be negative about the case. But isn't that the cornerstone of
    Team McCann's strategy? To wear down the populace and the authorities by NOT being open and transparent. And whenever parts of the MSM - and indeed Mr. Amaral raised their critical heads - to smash them down with major lawsuits.

    Hoping we'd all go away?

    Well tough luck Team McCann - that might have worked in the days of 'Read all about it' print journalism which ended up as tomorrow's chip paper - fluttering down the cobbles after use.

    The internet is quite a different beast. Practically anyone can access it 24/7- which scares the establishment - the same establishment that has harboured the doctors for years.

    1. It's just a pity 00:07 they had funds at their disposal to be able to do that, the "Fighting Fund" say's it all really. You can bet your bottom dollar some of the public who donated to that fund are now kicking themselves, for being taken in by them, celebrities included.

  6. @ OP re Bennett

    (he doesn't watch TV)

    why then does he have a televison set in his sitting room?

    Youtube: Richard D Hall Tony Bennett at exactly 35:24, look closely, right behind Hall

    is it broken, is it there just for show - or does it work and he doesn't pay his license????

    1. People like Mr. Bennett secretly admire those 'out of touch Judges' who loftily snort 'who is Kim Kardashian?'. That is, he believes it places him several notches above the hoi polloi - he is too busy thinking about deep intellectual matters to be bothered whether Jordan has gone up/down a cup size or if Posh Spice really should have worn those shoes with that dress (and her a mother!).

      Mr. Bennett I believe, keeps a television purely for matters of national and international importance, he has no time for frivolity, he is on a mission. He believes we have been put on this earth to suffer, and that those who suffer most (deprive themselves of BB15) should be placed on a pedestal.

      Unfortunately for him, the whole misery thing lost its' appeal to the general population somewhere around the middle ages - but kudos to him on his efforts to revive it, no-one tries harder.

  7. Oh dear Linda .You hardly ever posted on the McCann threads back in 2007 .You only found your way back to discussing the case shortly before AOL closed the message boards.And your reason for finding your way back onto discussing the McCann case was because most people were ignoring all the other topics you were posting on the boards,

  8. 13:14. Actually it was the McCann case that brought me to the AOL Europe Board, as that is where AOL were directing people who wanted to discuss the case.

    For your information, the Madeleine case is a very, very, tiny part of my life and work. Believe it or not, I was alive and writing for 50 years before that child disappeared. The Madeleine threads got the most attention on the Europe Board because that's what we were there to discuss! deh!

    Naturally commenting on a high profile crime will attract attention and high profile crimes are often used by writers as a vehicle for their work, but it is not the criminals who committed the crimes that make their works great, it is the way in which they interpret the story. 'In Cold Blood' is a good example, Truman Capote could be accused of cashing in on the murderers or indeed the murdered, maybe he was, but he produced a fascinating study of the criminal mind that became iconic. To Kill a Mockingbird is not credited to the rapist or the criminal trial that formed the backdrop to Harper Lee's memorable book, it is credited for Ms Lee's ability to present the horrors of racism and injustice in such a profound simplistic way, that it changed the way in which many people thought.

    I didn't latch onto the Madeleine case to make money. If making money were my objective, I would have avoided it like the plague, especially after getting a major publishing deal for a (non McCann) book. NO writers and journalists were commenting negatively on the McCann case because they knew it was a fast track to being blacklisted and ostracised.

    I have never been able to keep my gob shut, it has got me into trouble all my life, and continues to do so on a daily basis. If I had been able to keep my mouth shut, or if I had been corruptible in any way, my life would have been entirely different.

    Strange how so many people KNOW that revealing their identities in this case will ruin them financially and socially, yet they are blissfully unaware that that is exactly what has happened to those of us who were daft enough to express our thoughts in our names.

    For most writers the money and the consequences rarely enter the equation, we write because we want to and we write about things that interest us. I don't know about others, but I cannot force myself to write stuff that I don't want to, and I cannot write for money because it would impose a censorship that would give me the screaming abdabs.

    I have never coveted material possessions or worldly goods, my needs are very simple - a room of one's own is all, and I have that. Happiness for me is usually found in seeing the happiness of others, especially those I love.

    Those who are judging me, are judging me by their own standards and their own values and desires, that is, what they would do if they had my 'gift'. I agree others could certainly put it to far better and more profitable use, but my head simply doesn't work that way. Having been 'imprisoned' as a child, it is a my greatest fear, I never want to be imprisoned again, and when people try to control my work (even with money) I feel the walls closing in and I make a dash for the hills.

    Of course I want to be rich and famous, who doesn't? But I want to create something that will bring pleasure to millions - at this moment it is a work in progress that has nothing whatsoever to do with Madeleine or the McCanns and everything to do with the next biggest play to hit London's West End. Watch this space!

  9. It has been brought to the attention (sic) of two (paranoid) forums (CMoMM and JATKY2) that I am HARVESTING IP addresses. Seriously?

    At the moment I feel a bit like a superspy from a John Le Carre novel who is about to wipe out all the undercover moles in the Eastern Bloc. I'm actually laughing my socks off as I type this. Why on earth do 'they' think I want their IP addresses? Or, very disturbing for some apparently, I may be able to track down the exact continent they are on, and the city they live in. Stop the Press.

    I really am curious as to what they think I am going to do with their IPs (lol), are they indeed international spies? Royalty? A-list Celebs? Surely not. Does MI5 or MI6 have or even want an extended list of malcontents? They probably do, lol, but I doubt very much it will be made up of this particular bunch of numbskulls.

    Fear not, you spineless wusses, I won't be dropping in for a cup of (green) tea anytime soon, nor will be I be sending a hitman - unless The Terminator is available. I jest, because even my words of peace and love are interpreted as a 'direct threat', so humour should probably be avoided.

    These people who are getting themselves all worked up, really have no need. Not only do I not care who they are, nobody else does either. The fear and paranoia is entirely a creation of their own (very disturbed) minds.

    However, if an investigative journalist, a police force, or a psychologist studying 'troll behaviour' wants to sift through the very murky contents of my spam box, they can be my guest. And if that troubles them, then perhaps they will think twice about sending anonymous poison pen letters to anyone else.

  10. "I have never coveted material possessions or worldly goods, my needs are very simple - a room of one's own is all, and I have that. Happiness for me is usually found in seeing the happiness of others, especially those I love."

    followed by

    "Of course I want to be rich and famous, who doesn't?"

    1. My needs are simple 20:21, my wants and desires humungous. Well not entirely humungous; Plan A was a beach in Cuba hut in Cuba with a guitar strumming Rastafarian until I discovered I probably wouldn't get on so well with their censorship laws.

      Plan B - To become a scholar and a politician and I was going for the whole Anne Widdicombe/Mo Molam look - I thought no-one took me seriously because I was too cute. Depression causes you to imagine all sorts of things. Happily, that phase is now in the rubbish bin never to be recycled. It may well be that I am just not cute enough. Note to self: bigger earrings and more bangles.

      Plan C: Nice little retirement apartment near Brighton Beach where I can wander along the Promenade wearing a pink satin turban or whatever other frivolity I can find, drink cappuccinos and bounce ideas about with the established and visiting literati and fellow eccentrics. And I would like the freedom to travel whenever or wherever I wanted, in a little bit of comfort. Not because I am a snob, but because I am not sure the old ticker (or arthritis) could stand the shock of those surprise showers that could be hot, or indeed cold and those mattresses made out of wrought iron. As much fun as they were, I don't want to knock a hip out at my age.

      C. Adopt (another) rescue dog. Except I couldn't adopt one (in case it got lonely), I wouldn't able to leave all the rest behind and my heart would be broken on a regular basis. Ergo, why this remains at C. I already spend most of my time weeping about my work, the loss of a dog would open floodgates.

      To be honest, the A to Z list needs a complete revision. I have to include a trip on the Orient Express in there somewhere, a la Agatha Christie and getting drunk and shooting pool in the sleaziest jazz bar I can find in New Orleans.

      Nb. Plan A has been abandoned since losing me mojo, and Plan B (seaside apartment) needs rethinking as I may need a separate wing for Jack Nicholson in case it comes back.

    2. continued:

      As to fame. Hell yeh. In the fabulous old US TV series Soap, the leading character was (mistakenly) given 6 months to live. This involved all sorts of attempts to get into the Guinness Book of Records, or basically, to make a complete ejit of himself so he wouldn't be forgotten. The storyline was hilarious and completely over the top, but the philosophy of it stayed with me.

      If we are honest, we all want to be remembered - even the most ordinary and unexceptional among us. Very few people shy away from cameras, including those who really should make more of an effort to mean what they say. Every home has pictures of and stories about famous and infamous relatives and ancestors. Facebook and Twitter flourish, because their founders understood that need.

      We might leave mansions and riches for children and heirs, but in centuries to come, they will be like Ozymandias, nothing but dust in the wind. When people hit a certain age, they start to think about their legacies, what they will be remembered for - it is not the confine of Presidents and Prime Ministers. Not only do world leaders want to make shed loads of money, they want the word 'great' in front of their names. As for the rest of us, will history treat us well? Will anyone even care? I and my family carry my Father's name and legacy with pride, ditto my (mad) Mother's sock it to 'em genes. For all their faults and foibles, my parents were innately honest, kind and compassionate people, they were good eggs. I am so proud of them, that I want to repay them, by passing on their wisdom and wit, through my writing. And both of them would have loved what I am doing! When I first had a newspaper column (Hutton On the Button), my Dad would dress up every week in his best suit and tie and take the paper (with my pic) along to his club to show his pals.

      Happily I intend being around for quite a while yet, but I have to confess I have on occasion toyed with the idea of seeing how many maltesers I could get into my mouth without having a coronary. Ok, I tried it. It was not a pretty sight. Works much better if you start by filling in the sides, stop throwing in substitutes and try not to slobber too much. For the calorie counting, one maltester = 10cals. Caution. Do not try this at home.

      I can see how the Methodist or indeed Catholic Church might frown upon the wanting of fame, or even the Amish Community, but not sure why it is such a 'sin' in the modern world? Perhaps you could explain. Meanwhile, I'll say ten Hail Marys and one Our Father.

  11. "However, if an investigative journalist, a police force, or a psychologist studying 'troll behaviour' wants to sift through the very murky contents of my spam box, they can be my guest"

    So you did pass the information to Sonia?

  12. "It has been brought to the attention (sic) of two (paranoid) forums (CMoMM and JATKY2) that I am HARVESTING IP addresses."

    it was brought to your attention on MMM.

  13. So not bothered that you can't resist taking a pop at Bennett & CMoMM. I don't recall him saying Murat 'dunnit'. More fantasy & misinformation from your warped mind. Anybody would think you are jealous.

    1. Where do you think Tony Bennett's theories lead? Why is TB implying that Robert Murat needs an alibi?

      TB is fixated on the sexual implications of this case (many are) - that is, he believes the world is full of people who practice the 'dark' arts in the form of freaky, weirdo sex stuff, and he wants to expose them. He is an (unfulfilled) Christian soldier, an extremist, masking his aims under a 'righteous' cause, as Christian soldiers often do.

      He, like Jim Gamble and an assortment of self appointed vigilantes, believe the internet is filled with wicked paedophiles and perverts preying on the innocent (children especially), and it is their duty to track them down.

      Robert Murat had every aspect of his life raked over from a 'let's prove he's a pervert' perspective, complete with having his computer seized, anonymous tip offs and childhood 'friends' coming forward with tales of bestiality involving small animals.

      If it could be established that an internet ring of paedophiles/perverts were responsible for the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, it could rush in laws to police the internet with the full approval of the public. If internet gangs are preying on such well cared for kids as Madeleine McCann, then ALL our kids are in danger. Shouts of 'Think of the Children' always get a big applause.

      Unfortunately, for them, that chance to govern the internet ship has now sailed, people are beginning to see the man behind the curtain operating the voice. Even by the largest stretch of the imagination, it is impossible to make a direct connection between missing Madeleine and the World Wide Web, she was after all, only 3 years old.

      However, in my opinion, if it could have been proved that Robert Murat 'dunnit', this case would have been wrapped up years ago. And at this moment in time, 8 years on, he is still the only (grasping at straws) viable alternative to the parents.

    2. "The number of recorded sexual offences against children in England and Wales has risen by a third, the NSPCC says.

      There were 31,000 offences recorded in the year up to April 2014, up 8,500 on the previous year.

      Figures compiled by the charity show 85 offences were recorded by police every day, with significant rises in Scotland and Northern Ireland also."

      BBC today

    3. I don't dispute the figures 10:57, but they are not being sexually assaulted by internet predators are they? They are being assaulted within their own homes and by people who know them.

      Sadly the powers that be, the more lurid tabloids and the Christian soldiers always focus on sexual crimes. The kids who are being battered and enslaved come a very poor second, even though they comprise the greatest numbers and the circumstances they live in could prove fatal.

      The UK is nowhere near in a position to start investigating 'thought' crime, when very real crime, as illustrated by the statistics you produced, is flourishing.

  14. I totally agree with everything that Cristobel says regarding Tony Bennett and while I respect the work he done initially and indeed made a small contribution to the sending of "Reasons" to MPs I am at a loss to understand his position on the Smith sighting. I and several others were banned unreasonably for daring to disagree with him and trying to defend the honour of a respectable Irish business man. (see "Smithman" threads on his site.) Regarding the Havern/Bennett forum I was also horrified at the racist filth they allowed to be posted around the time of Mandela's illness and death and his recent homophobia regarding Gay marriage he misuses that forum to spread his right wing views.

    I still read the forum but I would suggest that anyone who has developed a recent interest in the case should check out The McCann Files or Joana Morais. I do miss having an area for discussion I have no idea why reasonable people regardless of their beliefs/theories on this case can't come together to discuss it. I am appalled sometimes at the hatred for the McCanns because if their child died due to a terrible accident and they made a bad drunken choice to cover it up they will be tormented and in emotional agony for the rest of their lives. As for the obsession most of those posters have with paedophiles I do not understand it I spent most of my adult life working with survivors of sexual abuse and see no evidence for it at all in this case. I believe Dr Gaspar but I also believe it was a bad taste running joke regarding breastfeeding between them (which the motions made describe) it is horrendous that Dr Payne has been slandered on the internet I don't know why he does not take the offenders to court.