I was going to add Tapas 136, the number given by Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe at the beginning of Operation Grange, and one that stuck in my head because I thought it sounds about right.
The Tapas 2, Gerry and Kate, have pretty much taken all the flack for the Tapas 7. the group minus K&G, the Tapas 6 especially, OMG did six doctors really do that? Or the Tapas 9, all the adults in the group. I’d like to leave out Fiona Payne’s mother as I doubt she had much input in any of the childcare decisions made, but there she was on the steps of the Royal Courts of Justice, taking a bow alongside the rest of them.
I don’t like the Tapas friends, I haven’t liked them since the moment I read they had torn up missing Madeleine’s colouring book to write out their alibis. I tend to think if the two year olds had been in the room, one of them would have shouted ‘no, that’s Maddie’s’. I don’t like their condescending attitude towards the Portuguese Police and a re-reading of their statements hasn’t changed that. They believe themselves superior, their social circle elite, they didn’t fraternise with those beneath them. Their attitude to the PJ borders on racist. Who was feeding all the sardine munching, wine swilling stories about the PJ to the British press? Happily they were tripped up by their own arrogance, the Portuguese police were far more advanced that they had thought.
The framing of Robert Murat too deserves a special mention. It takes a special kind of evil to accuse an innocent man of such a heinous crime. It began with Jane Tanner, who, from the back of a police van in a covert operation, identified RM as the man she saw carrying a child, even though he was nothing like the description she gave to the police. Then there were the three tapas friends who claimed they had seen RM outside the apartment on the night. They didn't, he wasn't there. Then there were the creepy anonymous phone calls to the police, followed by the tip off from Sun reporter Lori Campbell. Combined they led to RM being made the first arguido. That and the CEOP profile that he happened to fit exactly.
The only reason I can think of for the investigations taking so long is that 9 of the key witnesses aren’t talking, and haven’t talked since 2008. The infamous Pact of Silence, the shady Collective Decision. Police can’t force witnesses to talk and once they are lawyered up, it’s over. For many, that’s it, they got away with it, they can get on with their lives. But of course it is never really over, especially now when tenacious detectives have so much new technology available to them.
Of course the will to prosecute has to be there, but I’d say a 7 year British investigation would suggest it is. ( I don’t want to make OG feel bad, but Mueller completed his in just over 2 years). But fair dues, if witnesses won’t talk, OG are having to investigate via the longer ‘prove it’ route. Bet Gerry regrets saying that now.
I suspect the characters of the central witnesses may be what is driving the investigation on. It’s not only Gerry and Kate who are not likeable, their friends have the same unlikeable traits. Jane Tanner gives an example in her rogatory statement. She was uncomfortable with the block booking of the Tapas table for the entire week. She was aware their ‘selfishness’ was upsetting other holidaymakers but she didn’t speak up. It is bad enough when there is a large rowdy crowd in a restaurant, add pompous know it alls, and your appetite is ruined. And to those eejits saying there was no neglect, READ the tapas statements.
Downplaying the neglect and making discussion of it taboo, let the entire group off very serious child neglect/endangerment charges that could have destroyed their careers, especially the medics. Unfortunately that meant the loss of detail from the crucial hours before the alarm was raised.
Madeleine’s parents want us to focus on everything they have done since they found Madeleine gone, and ffs, ignore everything prior to that. As Kate said, they are not the ones who did something wrong, and they have been punished enough. And they have, especially the McCanns. The Tapas 7, not so much.