Like Blacksmith, I believe this case is finally nearing an end. I had thought it would all reach a conclusion prior to the General Election in May, because if a massive fraud and cover up are exposed under this tory government, they could make a meal of it.
It may of course be that I am giving this case way too much importance from a political perspective, but I don't think so. As George Galloway said, if (when) this case is exposed it will the 'Mother of All Justices'. It will be a scam on a scale never seen before. From a financial perspective, more money has been raised/spent/misused in the name of Madeleine McCann than any missing child or person in history.
However, much seems to depend on the proceedings in Lisbon. Either by accident or design, news from Scotland Yard seems to coincide or at least run parallel to news from Portugal. Both countries seemingly afraid to make the first move.
As an outsider, it seems to me that the Portuguese have no appetite for the Scotland Yard investigation and the only reason I can think of for this, is that Operation Grange are determined to pin this on anyone other than the McCanns, preferably a Portuguese citizen. The endless rogatory letters and requests to interview oddbods, misfits and anyone swarthy who ever had a manual job at Warners, must be time consuming and irritating for those who know darn well what happened on 3rd May 2007. I hope I am wrong, but it looks to me as though the Portuguese have washed their hands of this.
The Portuguese police don't appear to be building a case of any sort whatsoever, if they are, they are keeping it very tightly under wraps, but I sense that they don't want to be dragged up the garden path again. In 2007 they were put to the time and expense of investigating every loony sighting from every corner of the earth, and I doubt they will be doing that again.
I have always thought that all the delays and the faffing about by Scotland Yard, is some strict adherence to building a concrete, 100% solid case for the prosecution, one that left no wriggle room for the high flying barristers for the Defence. But almost 8 years on there doesn't seem to any sign of this. If I were a pessimist I would say Scotland Yard appear to have no more evidence than the Portuguese did when they filed the case away 7 years ago. What I find worrying however, is the way in which the investigation seems to be having its strings pulled by people intent on proving there was a stranger abduction.
Actually it would be more than tragic if Scotland Yard too have hit a dead end, it would be a downright injustice, and one that will never, ever go away. If the intention of Operation Grange was to bury the case and prove beyond reasonable doubt that the McCanns were not involved, then they have failed spectacularly. The case of missing Madeleine still makes the front pages and more people are asking questions.
DCI Redwood introduced the idea that Madeleine may have died in Apartment 5A. Basically, the same thing that was said by Goncalo Amaral and for which the parents are demanding £1.2 million in compensation for their hurt feelings. The announcement didn't receive the fanfare that the 'McCanns (and their friends) are not suspects' did, but it won't go away. Anyone who knows even the most basic facts about this case, will know that it is impossible for the child to have died (and for cadaver odour to have accumulated) in the apartment without the knowledge of its occupants.
That Martin Brunt attempted to convince the Sky News audience that a 'burglar' took the dead child and buried her in the immediate vicinity of the crime after the alarm had been raised is an insult to anyone's intelligence. It may of course be part of a strategy to keep the heat off the families involved, but the pouncing on Brenda Leyland most certainly wasn't. I would hope that no-one 'official' was involved in that sickening PR stunt, and if they were, then they should be held to account for it.
Now that all these cans are open and lids off, the case MUST reach a conclusion which leads onto a couple of very big questions. Firstly, it must be pointed out that Scotland Yard do not have jurisdiction to prosecute someone for a crime committed in Portugal. So why have millions been spent on a Scotland Yard investigation that can never reach a satisfactory conclusion? There are no signs that Scotland Yard and the PJ are working together nicely, in fact, the opposite appears to be the case. I am hoping that it is a cunning plan, so cunning that it has outfoxed the lot of us.
Musing and speculating, I can only imagine that the UK and Portugal have reached some sort of agreement whereby any prosecution will be led by the British, but I can only see that working if British citizens were involved and the trial were to take place in the UK. The logistics of how, where and who will conduct a criminal prosecution are way above my head I'm afraid. Will, or indeed, can, the Crown Prosecution Service deal with this case 'as if the abduction/murder had occurred in the UK'?
The chances of the McCanns being arrested in Portugal, seem to be slim to zero. Both stood on the steps of the Lisbon Courts spouting the injustice of it all, without any sense of irony, or indeed fear. But then again, as two of the most famous faces on the planet, there isn't really anywhere for them to hide and they desperately need that money from Goncalo.
The big question for me at the moment is, what is Scotland Yard's agenda and what 'evidence' are they waiting for? Are they, like the PJ before them, stuck with only circumstantial evidence? Have all the witnesses, the inner circle especially, stuck to their original stories like glue? Does Jane Tanner still insist that the Frankenstein like creature carrying a child off into the night was not a figment of her imagination? Does Operation Grange have definitive 100% proof that the parents and their friends were not involved? In which case, why not release it and end their agony?
Where is Operation Grange heading? Will the investigation end in a trial? If so, where? The crime was committed in Portugal, any prosecution must be given the go ahead by the Portuguese Attorney General. Britain is not an empire, it can't cherry pick criminal cases involving UK citizens abroad and bring them back to the motherland to be tried and cleared. And if the investigation has been set up without the intention of bringing anyone to justice, then will there be an Inquiry?