Monday, December 17, 2007


And then a little girl went missing, which was a news story – and over the next seven months an awful lot of other things happened, which weren’t. From Eye 1185:

Perhaps buoyed by their triumph last December, when supermarket worker Tom Stephens was arrested on suspicion on the murder of five prostitutes in Ipswich last December after pouring his heart out to their paper (before being released three days later when someone entirely different was charged), senior management at the Sunday Mirror advised reporter Lori Campbell to go to both Portuguese and Leicestershire police with her suspicions about Robert Murat, a man who had been offering translation services to those involved with the investigation into the disappearance of British toddler Madeleine McCann in Praia da Luz. “He was acting very strangely. I found him to be creepy,” Campbell told police. “Given the unimaginable horrors which Madeleine's parents were enduring, it seemed the very least I should do.”

After questioning him, police declared there was not enough evidence to charge him with anything – but the British press begged to differ.

“‘Chillingly, Murat said: ‘I know how it feels to Madeleine's parents because I have a daughter aged three and a half,’”
- news report, Express, 15 May
“As a parent of a four-year-old little girl it breaks my heart to imagine the anguish that the parents must be going through”.
- “Letter of the Day”, Express, 15 May

“Murat was reluctant to be filmed.”
- Sun, 15 May, page 4 paragraph 11“He told his story and wandered around the scene in front of TV cameras.”
- Sun, 15 May, page 4 paragraph 14

“For the last few days Mr Murat has helped out the media. He has a very friendly relationship with police”
- Daily Mail, 15 May
“He had continually haunted the crime scene.”
- Daily Mail, 17 May

“Police swooped on Moscow-born Malinka, 22, after discovering emails from him on Murat's laptop computer.”
- Mirror, 17 May
“Mr Malinka confirmed that he worked for Mr Murat earlier this year to create a website for his estate agency. The Russian citizen is believed to have volunteered to help police.”
- Times, 17 May

-Headline on Mirror website, 17 May, morning
- Headline on Mirror website, 17 May, afternoon

Casa Liliana - Two-storey white-painted villa 150 yards from McCann apartment. Sniffer dogs go ‘mental’ on entering. Search of villa, roof, grounds, garage, a small shed beneath the pool where chemicals appeared to be stored, and the Murats’ green van and a Hyundai. Swimming pool drained, internal walls torn down, garden cesspit checked. Three video cassettes and communications equipment seized. Shredded paper found at Casa Liliana could not be reassembled. Results of tests for DNA and fibres found at the Murat villa awaited.”
- Mirror, 19 May
“Police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have found no ‘material proof’ from the villa of their prime suspect, the Briton Robert Murat. The results of DNA tests at the villa Mr Murat shares with his mother, 160 yards from the McCanns' apartment, are still awaited, but initial forensic analysis has turned up nothing and there is no evidence of a kidnap.”
- Independent, 19 May

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