Those who have been following my blogs over the past couple of weeks are saying that I have changed, that I have gone over to the 'dark side' and that I am now supporting Kate and Gerry McCann. Some have been concerned (Ok, one person, thank you Liz) that I am having some sort of mental breakdown, that I'm not myself. Unfortunately, as I have multiple personalities, I'm not sure which one of us she means. I jest, it's not necessarily a diagnosis I agree with, I think we all have different 'characters' for different situations and most of us can keep the mad ones hidden for most of the time.
But it would be true to say I have been hurt. I have written about the Madeleine case for many years, despite the severe detrimental effect it has had on my writing career and my reputation. Why? because I hate injustice, and because a child shouldn't just disappear with seemingly no questions asked of those who had care of her.
I'm not generally a bullet point maker, but on this occasion I will make an exception, because I want to highlight the issues in this case that keep me here and keeps me putting my neck on the line for justice.
1. Responsible Parenting
When Gerry was asked if there were any lessons to be learned, he replied with many words, but basically, 'yes, we didn't do anything wrong'. Wrong Answer! Not only were the suspects claiming they did nothing wrong, but so too were the dozy mares on breakfast TV and in the newspaper columns.
There were of course vital lessons to be learned, lessons that were totally ignored in order not to hurt the parents feelings. Children die, and that's heartbreaking, but the only way to make any sense of a child's death is to try to make something good come out of it. That is, do everything in our power to prevent the same thing happening to another child.
The Abductor, Child Predator, story was false. Not only has it cost two governments millions, it has been used to scare parents into having their kids microchipped and demanding a national DNA databank. The whole debacle created a budding new corporation and enriched existing charities.
The issue of the McCanns and the Tapas group leaving their children on their own has not only been swept under the carpet, the government have built a flyover on it. All those millions of tabloids sold in the name of Madeleine, were not warning their readers about the dangers of leaving toddlers unattended, they were all but putting out posters saying your child could be next. It has created a culture where this generation are confined to their bedrooms eating pizza. It breaks my heart that so many children today have so little freedom. They are being indoctrinated to live in fear - the message, there is a predator behind every lamp post has been this century's best seller.
Accidents in the home are the biggest danger for toddlers, and that is a lesson that should have been stressed over and over. Ironic as this may sound, in the 1980's I watched a child safety documentary presented by Jimmy Savile. As a new and pretty clueless young mum, I learned more in that hour than I could have in a hundred books.
2. The involvement of the 'Establishment'
No matter which way you look at this case, the original investigation was scuppered by the interference of the UK (New) Labour government. Since taking Goncalo Amaral off the case in September 2007, the case has not moved so much as inch forward. If Scotland Yard or the PJ make the slightest move towards the Mr and Mrs, an entire house of cards comes tumbling down. It is abundantly clear they had lots of help, a fair few perverting the course of justice in a criminal investigation.
To myself, and no doubt to many who have followed this case throughout, we can see the enormity of the crimes, and we are astonished today as we were 10 years ago, that nobody seems to care. Unfortunately, huge miscarriages of justice occur daily, some, such as Hillsborough will never be forgotten because their supporters, bless them, will never give up on their loved ones and the appalling, spiteful decisions that led to their deaths. Ninety six people died at Hillsborough, and the establishment's involvement in the cover up was 96 times greater. This is just one small girl.
While the truth behind Madeleine's disappearance has the potential to grab world headlines, it has fallen way down the ladder, it is competing with so many sensational stories, cover ups, financial scandals, and a raving lunatic as US President, that it is unlikely ever to get the same attention again. The zeitgeist has changed, human interest stories have been replaced by glitz and celebrity, not a path available to the pap loving McCanns.
Will those responsible ever stand trial? Despite all I have said above, there is still a glimmer of hope. Operation Grange remains live, so too, as far as I know, does the PJ investigation. The PJ of course, were quick enough to shelve the case in 2008 when they realised they did not have enough to prosecute, and they were adamant for several years that they would not 're-open' the file without new evidence. That it is still 'live' in Portugal should mean something.
Before moving onto the next point, I would like to be clear about my sympathy for Kate McCann. Yes I feel sorry for Kate, as I would for anyone in a wretched situation, even if that wretched situation is of their own making. I guess I am one of the few people who wept when Saddam Hussein was dragged out of his bunker, stripped and beaten to death.
I have stated again and again, that Law, Order and Retribution are really not my thing. I am interested in crime because I study human behaviour, my quest is enlightenment. The punishment part, not so much, OK, not at all. It is an issue where I spend much of my time with my head in the sand. It is not to say that I don't feel that anger and rage, I do, the face of Ian Huntley for example, incenses me, I don't think I could see him in the flesh without attacking him.
Now what I am about to say will infuriate my enemies even more, but Kate is not in the same category as monsters such as Ian Huntley or Mark Bridger, she is a mother for whom something went desperately wrong. Gerry was being truthful when he said 'there's been a disaster'. That is she didn't kill her child for any sort of gratification, sexual or otherwise. If there was a crime that night, it was a crime of passion. Not premeditated or with malice aforethought.
The interim report of Tavares de Almeida concludes Madeleine died in the apartment and the parents did not want to give up the body. Anything else regarding the events of that evening is pure conjecture. There is no mention of paedophile gangs, and no mention of orgies going on in the resort.
The premeditated, malice aforethought crimes began in the aftermath, with the hiding of the body and the misinformation they were giving to the police and the media. Far from going into a panic, they went into overdrive, their methodical scientific minds, planning not only ways in which to avoid any form of prosecution, but also ways in which to make a fortune.
Though the financial crimes are whitecollar, they are just as damaging to their victims. Millions in cash and resources has been diverted from genuine charities and genuine missing people. People have been misled, taken for fools. But the cruellest of their actions has been against Goncalo Amaral. They have gone above and beyond to destroy his career and reputation, not because they were thinking about their daughter, but because they wanted vengeance.
Had they confessed that night that there had been a terrible accident and that they were sorry they left the kids, they probably would have received compassion. The public hatred for Kate and Gerry grew out of their lack of remorse - they have never blamed themselves, they have always blamed others. But on top of that, they always looked so darn smug. 'What do you do if there is a sighting?' a reporter asked Gerry in the early days. From the expression on his face, his first answer should have been 'try not to giggle', the second was 'not take them too seriously'. Ie. the complete opposite of what you would expect from the father of a missing child. They blame Goncalo Amaral, but their own expressions have told their story throughout.
I don't think Kate deliberately killed her child. Ergo, it is only natural that she would be bereaved. I agree that didn't look like the case in the summer of 2007, both she and her husband thrived in the Portuguese sun, and that I think is something many of us find hard to forgive. I can't because it shows a shallowness of feeling towards the child that reveals narcissism. Any child, and there are many, who grew up with a narcissistic mother will have a deprived childhood. Not in the sense of being deprived of food, warmth, or even suffering physical punishment, but in the withholding of affection, preference given to siblings and of course, jealousy. The narcissist mother will be jealous of the child who takes away attention that should belong to her.
Narcissistic mothers are so common, it doesn't count as abuse per se. The child may grow up with self esteem issues, but they are just as likely to grow up twice as strong. Little Madeleine I think, would have been the latter, as her nan said, 'that girl could throw a tantrum'. The snippets we do know about Madeleine, show that she was not an abused child. She had a wide vocabulary (always an indicator), she was outgoing and not afraid to stamp her feet. Abused children have few words, and what they do have, they are afraid to use.
I want to see Kate and Gerry stand trial for every crime they have committed, but I don't see the need for internet researchers to make up a few more. Especially when the heinous crimes they are alleging, directly affect the lives of the children involved. Kate would have be an automaton if she were not suffering now, the pain and stress is etched into her face. Some might say she deserves it, myself too on occasion, but we are not Judge and Jury, nor are we law enforcers. Right now there are a small number of people who have reached a verdict and are handing out their own form of punishment on social media, that makes me very uncomfortable.