Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Media Coverage of Robert Murat is Shameful

I suspect I am not alone in feeling deeply uncomfortable at the coverage given to Robert Murat, the man being questioned by Portuguese police over the disappearance of three year old Madeleine McCann. The Daily Telegraph had a huge picture of him on their front page this morning and the 24 hour news channels are giving him blanket coverage. He hasn't been arrested, he hasn't been charged, yet the media are acting as if he's been banged to rights already.

The last time this happened was in Ipswich when a man was given similar treatment over being questioned over the death of the murder of the five prostitutes. He was released without charge, yet his life was left in ruins after he was turned over in the media. News editors should be asking themselves some searching questions today.

117 comments:

Wibble said...

Is there perhaps a case for privacy laws?

At least in this case the media coverage doesn't have implications for the trial - imagine if the man in Ipswich had turned out to be the man the police thought was the killer - it would have given the defence ample support for a claim that the media would have prejudiced the trial.

BJ said...

The bloke in Ipswich actually remains on the police bail. But yes -- otherwise you're dead right. Some of the innuendo in the Telegraph and the tabloids is staggering.

febrile press said...

Well said Iain.

everyone loves a headline said...

I couldn't agree more. It has been bothering me all morning. I wondered whether they were all conniving with the police to set a hare running. He has now been named as a formal suspect, whatever that means - he's been released, after all.

It seems that the police started to focus on him after a Mirror journalist tipped them off that he didn't want to talk to them about his background. As opposed to all the rest of us who'd be only too happy to chat to a sleazy tabloid hack about our personal stuff.

I have no idea whether he is guilty or not. But what I do know is that if he is innocent it will still be years before he can introduce himself to someone without them thinking "pervert".

Ed said...

Blair got rid of habeas corpus a long time ago didn't he?

Mike Kingscott said...

Quite right Iain, the way the MSM is plastering this guy's face and name everywhere is highky unpleasant. I thought we were all innocent until proven guilty?

Anonymous said...

The whole case has been covered in a bizarre fashion. I agree with you about this Iain.

Richard Patient said...

Quite right. As an Ipswich man myself, I thought the media there were far too quick to charge, judge and convict individuals. Both are immensely sad stories.

As a father of a 5 year old myself, it is of course the worst thing that could happen to any parent.

Millie said...

BBC hack, Jane Hill, was reporting about this man last night. She talked for at least an hour (that I saw) non-stop. I thought she was going to start hyperventilating. I was not watching for the "news" but to see how long she could talk about nothing.

Remember the old saying "don't tell my mother I'm a reporter, she thinks I play the piano in a brothel".a

The Hitch said...

Lets look at the evidence
1 , He has a glass eye
2, Is in his 40's and lives with his mother
3, speaks Portugese
4, has been an estate agent
5, has been a car salesman

If that isnt pretty damning evidence i dont know what is.

machiavelli said...

"He hasn't been arrested, he hasn't been charged"
Need to brush up on Portuguese police procedure, Iain. The fact that he hasn't been arrested doesn't mean he's innocent. He's a - indeed, the only - suspect.

I take your point about Ipswich. Of course, that man wasn't accused of being a child killer. There was a pretty similar instance of someone in Soham who was though.

Hope you thought long and hard before adding this post, Iain... There's not many votes in defending paedophiles, it has to be said.

Dave Blunkett's Dog said...

UK courts only convict once 'guilt' is established. Innocent until proved guilty is still the basis of the legal system, or is this something that MSM conveniently forgot?

Machiavelli's Understudy said...

I've never been surprised all that much by the vulture-like nature of the modern media machine- particular the tabloid format, like The Mirror, The Sun and Sky New- but I was truly astonished by what I saw last night.

The cynical mentality of those media representatives on the scene was laid bare to all when their boredom was satisfied by this development.

Ian Woods, the Sky correspondent, was particularly keen to share his thoughts on conversations he'd had with Mr Murat and chose to describe him with such colourful detail.

Other reasons I'd heard being given for suspicion included that he had a glass eye, so that obviously makes him 'creepy', in the words of one person (whether or not Gordon Brown set that precedent, I don't know).

Ian Woods said he was 'puppy-like', because of his keenness to informally help out as a translator.

Then, of course, we have the scummy Mirror hack who thought him suspicious because he didn't want to become part of the media circus frenzy.

Regardless of one's guilt, none of these reasons mentioned- individually or when taken together- should form the basis of suspicion in the media and the opportunity to cash in on somebody's situation.

At that point of the night, Mr Murat was not being treated formally as a suspect and was not under arrest. He was there because a Mirror hack had shopped him.

It's really disgusting though, that somebody who goes out of their way to help others is treated with such cynicism these days. Have we really got to this point? It says something so much more about the state of our society's affairs.

Man in a shed said...

And its not just him, but his mother and people who know him who are on TV. The camera's were watching his ex-wife's house in Norfolk also ( they all seemed to get there in plenty of time to film children being removed under blankets.)

You right Iain this isn't on. It doesn't serve justice or help find Madeleine.

Constabulary PR expert said...

Nothing like mentioning the man's name twice to reduce the intrusion. The point is sound but why blag the guy's name about like that?

Chris Paul said...

The most interesting aspect for me is the acres of press on this young girl - hopefully safe and well - rather than on Darfur, Baghdad or the Congo where hundreds are dying every week, day, hour.

We've had this lack of a proper news value calculation over and over and over again.

The witch hunting etc is just a detail.

Observer said...

Britain has a trashy media but it fits the country perfectly. Politicians created the media - without political help there is no way an Australian could have built up such a strong position in Britain.

Just when have British newspapers been British-owned ? The Astors from New York owned The Times and The Observer; the Thomsons from Canada owned The Times; the Beaverbrooks from Canada owned The Express; the Blacks from Canada owned the Telegraph.......


Gannett now owns most of the English regional press......

Newspapers are simply print adjuncts of corporate empires needing titillation to sell

(whoops....McAvity is on WATO talking about schools....sounds ominous....he's on percentages again....)

Anonymous said...

Well said chris paul. This is a tragic incident but could have been prevented by due parental diligence. It should not be rewarded either by the current media frenzy, multi-million pound rewards or publicly-funded fighting funds. It pails into insignificance against the injusticies taking place in other parts of the world which go consistently under reported.

jilted john said...

what do you expect after a certain mr bliar removed all honesty, decency and the rule of law from society during his 10 years. its all about spin and presentation- the rule of law has broken down in this country and the sooner people realise it the better.

when politicians can break the law with impunity its only a matter of time before it filters through society. if jowell, prescott, brown, blair,browne, mandelson etc etc all get away with lying and outright criminality why should the media bother to follow the rules...or the people for that matter

verity said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Let this be a lesson to us all. If you see or know someone in trouble, do as much as you can to distance yourself from them. Do not give them or anyone else any help whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

happens to terror suspects all the time

Anonymous said...

oh do stop flouncing Verity

Hamer Shawcross said...

To be fair, Verity, Iain isn't that bad on the smearing (possible exception of the recent post on John Reid)...oh my God, I just said that?

[off to have a lie down]

Seriously though, I think Iain has a point on this one. The press are just desperate for new news on the case and it would be terrible if this man is lynched in the media and innocent.

But, in a horrific way, even if he isn't responsible, the fact of the matter is that all the hacks who were packing up to go home might stay on for a bit now there are new developments. It keeps it in the public eye and, for the little girl, this is a good thing.

They must have found something more meaty about this bloke to have had his house searched, though, even beyond the Mirror woman's contention of: "he looks a bit odd, doesn't he?"

What do we think? Or shouldn't we speculate?

neil craig said...

Thanks for that Iain. I had put up something similar on my blog & am pleased to see I am not alone. As Machiavelli says there are no votes in this, which makes your saying it all the more admirable (I have less to lose).

The "evidence" against him is that a Mirror journalist thought he looked "creepy" (having a lazy eye).

This strikes me as having similarities to the Jill Dando case where Barry George was convicted not because there is any evidence against him but because he waas a bit unusual & the media demanded & the police supplied closure.

Lady Finchley said...

Well, Chris Paul, you couldn't possibly be a parent. What a thing to say. Does it bother you that Madeline's parents are middle class and articulate and can get people motivated? Far better to see people unite in a good cause than to indulge in musings on Big Brother?

As for Darfur etc - whose fault is that? And the Congo? Corrupt African leaders who couldn't give a toss as to their fellow Africans. Bagdahd? Shia and Sunni kicking each other's asses.

As to the 'suspect', the usual media feeding frenzy - distasteful and not helpful.

Oh and Observer - I remember how trashy News of the World was in the 60's before any Australians were near the place - I seem to remember them waging a war against the Stones, even as far as planting evidence.

Anonymous said...

I am one of the many parents following this heartbreaking incident.
1. There are no perfect parents.
2. Parental diligance does not guarantee your children's safety.
3. I haven't heard anyone say that Robert Murat is guilty of anything yet.
4. The media are only doing their jobs, they are REPORTING what is actually happening at this moment in the Algarve.
5.We are all entitled to our opinions, when I hear someone say they thought Robert Murat was creepy, I think I am intelligent enough to understand that this is only an opinion.
6. This could happen to anyone of our children and the day that an innocent child is abducted and there is no MEDIA FRENZY, is the day that I hope I not in this world.

verity said...

Anonymous 2:02 pm (aka Mike, who promised he would never come back) says "Do stop flouncing Verity." If I hadn't happened to awake very early this morning and decided not to try to go back to sleep, I would not have been up and posting at this hour. You provincial moron. Google "time zones". Duh.

Everyone on this thread, including our good host, but except Machiavelli, is wrong about this.

First, unless Mike is posting under multiple names again, there seem to be a lot of people here who do not understand that Portugal is a country with its own body of laws. Quoting English laws vis-a-vis the investigation is on the wilder shores of daft.

This Murat seems to be a type well known to police worldwide. He had wriggled into the centre of the investigation after the first two or three hours. He had no official standing, but he took care to be in and out of the apartment. (If the sniffer dogs picked up his scent, well of course! He was in and out with the police!)

His help wasn't invited by the police, although they seem to have been relaxed about letting him hang around. In an area with thousands of English people, the police have access to probably a couple of hundred people who are fluently bilingual, and they probably have access to bilingual officers. There was no need for this fellow's persistent attentions.

He has tried to set agendas by frequently saying that he thought little Maddie had been taken to Spain. (I.e., she's not here.) Several people have noted that he seems to be very excited to be involving himself. This is a type known to police in Britain and the US, and I suspect most other countries.

Most alarming, this Murat has been telling people he has a daughter of "three or four". Parents of toddlers know exactly how many years and how many months their tiny child has been on this earth. Fathers may get vaguer as the child proceeds through its teenage years, but for tiny toddlers, they know.

In addition, Maddie was just at the turning point between three and four. She turned four on Saturday. Before that, while Murat was busying himself running in and out of the apartment and joking around with police and visitors, she was three. (Iain, a godfather, knows how old his little god daughter is, for example. He wouldn't have said, "She's two or three.")

I'll bet there is a police officer's blog, in Britain or the US or Oz, discussing this man's behaviour as we write.

verity said...

Hamer Shawcross - do not address me. I do not know you. You do not know me. I did not comment on this thread until one minute ago. If you cannot recognise the difference in style between me and a cheap imposter, you have no business here.

I have never made a negative comment about our host, with whom I am on good terms. In addition, the comment attributed to me simply isn't true. Iain has never written anything, to my knowledge, that "could damage people's lives". I wish there were some kind of sign-in system so we wouldn't be subject to trashy people like this.

Anonymous said...

I share your thoughts exactly. Do people really think the police would have announced him as a formal suspect just because someone thought him creepy?! Do you think they are going to share their intelligence and give us reasons why they are searching his home etc.? that is what is wrong with this country, too many goody two shoes wailing about peoples privacy and rights, never mind Madeleine's privacy/rights!

Chris Doidge said...

Funnily enough I'm revising contempt of court right this second for a journalism exam. Here's my take on who's to blame. You won't be too surprised if I don't say 'news editors'!

Firstly, in 2004, the Attorney General gave a speech that opened the floodgates: sufficient passage of time alone was enough to ensure prejudice would be unlikely to occur in jury trials. Not so relevant to Portugal, but relevant to Ipswich.

Secondly, that old chestnut of 24-hour news and the internet. If one media organisation reports something - which everyone else knew to be the case - then they have to jump on the back of it. Once Mr Murat's identity was revealed by one source, there is little point in everyone else keeping silent.

Thirdly, the family of Mr Murat have been in front of the cameras today, talking about him and what he was doing on the night Madeleine was abducted. It is often the family, and not the police, who end up identifying suspects to the media. I think (may be wrong) that this was the case in Ipswich too.

Importantly, in Portugal, a witness can asked to be named a 'suspect' as it gives them certain legal protection, without indicating any guilt. Last I heard it wasn't clear whether Mr Murat had declared himself a suspect or the police had. The media haven't tried hard enough to convey this though.

You're not wrong, Iain. This relatively recent spate of suspects being named well before they're even charged isn't a good thing. But there's not much that can be done about it, and I'm not sure blame lies solely at the door of the media.

forthurst said...

THe media are perfectly capable of adopting self-censorship, despite potentially enormous public interest and consequent sales when it suits their own malign purpose, for example when an english or person is brutally murdered by a person of colour, and it is contrary to the media's overall script, which states that only english people are violent and racist and only people of colour are victims, despite overwhelming statistical evidence to the contrary.

As for the current case, I agree that the present level of media hysteria can neither assist the police investigation nor subserve justice.

Apart from horror at what has happened, and pity for the family, what more really is there?

Hamer Shawcross said...

"Hamer Shawcross - do not address me. I do not know you. You do not know me. I did not comment on this thread until one minute ago. If you cannot recognise the difference in style between me and a cheap imposter, you have no business here."

Oh, I am sorry. I thought, given Iain's article the other day, that this was a forum for debate.

I didn't realise that one needed to have some sort of sixth sense to ascertain that "verity" wasn't THE "verity" (whoever you are, and I don't care).

"I have never made a negative comment about our host, with whom I am on good terms. In addition, the comment attributed to me simply isn't true. Iain has never written anything, to my knowledge, that "could damage people's lives". I wish there were some kind of sign-in system so we wouldn't be subject to trashy people like this."

If you read my post, you would see that I was agreeing with your above statement. Nevertheless, seeing as you now own Iain's site, I will take myself off and leave you to froth in private.

See ya, wouldn't want to be ya.

verity said...

Mark my words.

verity said...

My comment immediately above was meant for those who think Mr Murat has done nothing to merit so much media attention.

I wasn't addressing the troll.

Anonymous said...

Verity – Hamer Shawcross and anybody else may address you any way they choose, you who throw around personal insults like “fat” and “moron” all day long. You are a moronic old crone. There. That’s exactly no less and no more than you post about others. I have no idea why you are still allowed to spew your bile of insults all over the blog, but as you are, take some back yourself.

jailhouselawyer said...

I feel that the police should be asking searching questions of the McCanns. From the outset I have had reservations about this case.

Anonymous said...

Iain, I couldn't agree with you more, the media coverage by BBC News 24 is absolutely fucking scandalous and they should have their knuckles hit very hard indeed.

I have just seen a facile interview with a 'member of the family' [yeah, right] saying that the fact that he was being 'treated as a suspect' now meant 'there must be some evidence' and gave her some hope.

Er, except that it is total bollocks on stilts. You are I could be questioned by the Police in Portugal and could elect ourselves to be 'treated as suspects' to get the legal protection of the right to silence and representation.

The fact that the BBC [especially the execrable Jane Hill] is giving out assumptions as though they were fact, speculating as to what the search inside is doing and generally indulging in idle chatter to make up for the perfectly reasonable request by the Spanish police not to give updates every 5 minutes.

And given that reports by the Daily Mirror are then jumped on by the BBC and given a life of their own, it makes me squirm when Jane Hill is saying 'ooh, the police aren't telling us anything'.

Go to Sky News, love, if that is your attitude. Mind-numbingly dreadful vulture journalism.

Anonymous said...

God, what is this site??
All I can say is that I am sure that the portugese police havent questioned a man because a journo has said that he looked funny! I would imagine that they have more to go on than that...plus how would we know because of their secrecy laws? this man may well be innocent, or he may not be...but i think wild speculation is unhelpful (which the media arent doing to be fair...they are still conveying the facts and not wild theories and hypothesising)given that there are secrecy laws. quite possibly the suspect has asked to be upgraded to a suspect in order to seek legal counsel but to also have his name publisised is a double edged sword. The point being that we dont know.
No one can say that more attention should be given to other world wide situations and therefore taken away from this one; we have no right to place 'value' on any event that is a desperate situation to a family. I beleive that this has touched the nation, because it involves an innocent child.
Maybe instead of us all writing on here, we should use the internet as a tool to help the plight of people in countries around the world, by showing our support, instead of bitching about how the media dont do it? charity begins at home and we have to take responsibility as individuals.

Anonymous said...

Yes Iain, I agree about being not being judged before they are charged and found guilty in a court.

You added the Ipswich murders case about someone being pre-judged by the media. May I add another Lord Levy? To name just one.

My point is that there is no reason on earth why the idendity of a person should be released if they have only been questioned or even arrested. There MAY be a case for naming them if they are charged by certainly CERTAINLY not before this stage.

Certainly once they have gone to court and been found guilty by a jury I see no reason why the media cannot them say whatever they wish about them.

Remember, Innocent until proven guilty. Or innocent until named in The Sun.... (and then heaven help you)

Anonymous said...

jailhouselawyer, I tend to agree. There is something about their behaviour (and that of their extended family) which is not quite right. There seems to be a lot of money floating around this case. It wouldn't be surprising if it turns out they know Murat ....

Ned said...

Of course you are correct in saying leave the man alone until & if he is found guilty... I just believe from day one this case has been badly handled by local Police.... & we are all very frustrated for the family. Past experience in similar cases here Police assume its someone close to the family,or in the family & in these circumstances holiday friends.In police talk "Search the attic first". I fear this will be the outcome.The family must be suicidal with grief ..
Just pray for a miracle & Maddy's safe return.

verity said...

Anonymous writes: "My point is that there is no reason on earth why the idendity of a person should be released if they have only been questioned or even arrested. There MAY be a case for naming them if they are charged by certainly CERTAINLY not before this stage."

An expert in Portuguese law, then, are you? All you ethnocentrics are so provincial. Portugal is a foreign country whose laws have developed differently from ours, formed by circumstances and events different from ours, over the centuries. The Portuguese police are acting within their own remit.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me, but a little girl is missing, I think a lot of you are forgetting this. And for the person who suggests the police look at the family, God forgive you, you obviously have no idea what this family must be going through, do you have a heart?
I am sure that if Robert Murat is innocent, we will find out soon enough.

Anonymous said...

The Chris Pauls of this world make me sick with all their self-serving anguish about Baghdad, Darfur etc. Wouldn't he have been happy to Saadam remain in charge of Baghdad, doesn't he now want to hand the country over to a bunch of Islamist murderers.

Journos are lower than a snake but not as low the morally conceited left.

verity said...

No one sane could regard the anguished, tortured faces of those two parents without feeling intense compassion.

Anonymous said...

chris paul - I don't always agree with what you say, but you are bang on the money here. This ridiculous 'vulture journalism' has gone on long enough. There is an army of BBC staff out there for no readily apparent reason. Meanwhile Barbara Plett's reports from Pakistan, & Mark Urban's films from Iraq are safely delegated to 'The World Tonight' and 'Newsnight'. Get a grip folks.

And stop playing Armchair Detective verity, and get back to watching 'Murder She Wrote'.

Chester said...

People were very scathing about how the Portugese Police handled this case and in particular their laws allowing them to give as little information to the public as possible. The headlines mentioned regarding the "suspect" explain why they are correct to do so! Given information, however significant (or not) it turns out to be and our tabloid press are again showing themselves in their true light. The only reaction with which we can retaliate is to leave these newspapers on the shelves, as I do daily.

black country ethnic said...

forthurst

re''when an english person is murdered by a person of colour''?!

so a ''person of colour '' can not be english?YOU FUCKING RACIST PIG.

verity said...

Provincial Anonymous- I saw "Murder She Wrote" a couple of times when I lived in Britain - I think. Oddly enough, it isn't known in Mexico.

I am not trying to play detective. That is a great big important man's job!!

I am simply making note that this Murat is a type well known to police forces. It was not I who discovered this fact, so do not feel insecure. It was great big - mainly male - police forces in various parts of the world. Girls never thought of it! Don't worry!

PS Why did you capitalise Armchair Detective? Is that another British TV show?

Anonymous said...

black country ethnic - calm down a moment, I think [my reading may be incorrect] the point forthurst was making is that it is the press which are more guilty of that crime...

Please don't shoot the messenger, there's a good chap..

Anonymous said...

I wonder whether anyone writing here remembers the footage of Ian Huntley, very involved in the search, anxious to help the press, looking the camera straight in the eye and marvelling disingenously that he supposed he must have been the last person to have seen those two little Soham girls alive?

Anonymous said...

Its been wonderful to see police getting on with their job in Portugal protected by the law rather than here where they are expected to waste valuable time responding to the demands of the UK's half-witted journalists. The TV journalists in Portugal seem to think we should sympathise with them for not knowing what's going on.
They are as despicable of the journalists who've been making for Jon Sweeney.

verity said...

Anonymous 4:49 - A perfect example of the type.

IIRC, John Wayne Gacy also put himself forward as an eager 'helper' during the investigation of the murders of those boys in Chicago. (I think it was Gacy. If it wasn't him, it was another prominent case at the time.)

Anonymous said...

True enough Iain.

I tell you what was also distasteful though. Seeing Esther McVey, one of our PPCs, being interviewed on Sky News as a 'family friend' but ensuring that banners advertising her business were prominently displayed in the background.

Thinking of how best to advertise your business at a time like this is frighteningly cynical.

gordo's little rocking horse said...

So if some New Labour slag from that politicaly-correct, soft-on-pervs, gutter rag, the Mirror doesn't like the look of you then she reports you to the police as a weirdo who then pull you in for interrogation.

How very Orwellian or even Kafkaesque.

Meanwhile one of the slimiest perverts in Britain is on the verge of becoming Prime Minister.

Anonymous said...

Verity said....

Anonymous writes: "My point is that there is no reason on earth why the idendity of a person should be released if they have only been questioned or even arrested. There MAY be a case for naming them if they are charged by certainly CERTAINLY not before this stage."

An expert in Portuguese law, then, are you? All you ethnocentrics are so provincial. Portugal is a foreign country whose laws have developed differently from ours, formed by circumstances and events different from ours, over the centuries. The Portuguese police are acting within their own remit.

Why did I make a comment about the Portuguese law or police? I am aware that Portugal is a foreign country, Oh they have a history different to our own - oh thank you I did not know that! Oh the portuguese police are acting in their own remit. Oh you're just full of facts. But what is your point.

I was making a general point that when police question or arrest someone they should not be identified - whether they are arrested in England, Portugal or Russia (they too are a different country, I know!)

For what it is worth I think the Portuguese police are doing a good job, and their life is made more difficult by a Media who seem to think that they have a god given right to be told what is happening.

anglo celt said...

black country ethnic said...
forthurst
so a ''person of colour '' can not be english?YOU FUCKING RACIST PIG.

Oh dear, those jungle drums are getting louder

Anonymous said...

Reporters and photographers in the area of Portugal where Madeleine disappeared are fighting for every scrap of information they can find.
So when it becomes clear that police are speaking to Robert Murat, the battle commenced.
Except of course that Portuguese law states that the police cannot talk about the arrest. So what do we get?
We get a Lori Campbell, a journalist from the Sunday Mirror, talking about why she reported him for acting suspiciously earlier in the investigation.
She said: “I found him to be creepy. When he was talking to me he was vague about his background.”
What absolute piffle.
He has not been arrested, is not a suspect as far as one can see. Why the hell should he have to explain himself to her.
If he was arrested and was going to court, then she should talk about it.
In the meantime she should have kept her suspicions between herself and the police and kept her mouth shut.

Anonymous said...

I also note the way the media are mentioning - and how the tone of their voices change - that "he lived with his mother."

verity said...

He has been named a suspect at his own request, because that way he can get legal aid immediately. You people just have to accept that the whole world does not operate on English Common Law (although the whole part of the world that matters does, but that's a different issue).

Anonymous said...

Verity said "He has been named a suspect at his own request, because that way he can get legal aid immediately."

Has he, did he say that? Or was it on the media?

Peter said...

Get your facts right Verity - he nor the police have made any such statement saying he asked for to be classed as a suspect.

You just have to accept that the whole world does not operate on your own blinkered - lets-make-it-up - outlook.

neil craig said...

Anonymous said "I wonder whether anyone writing here remembers the footage of Ian Huntley..."

Quite obviously Lori Campbell, the journalist who set this particular hare running, did. That plus a wonky eye plus being the only character in the script not accounted for obviously made him a suspect according the the Big Journalist's Book of Detective Stories.

Journalists are not experts at detecting crime or indeed much of anything except writing up a paucity of facts in horrific terms. We should not treat them as if they know what they are talking about.

Tom said...

The thing that worries me is the constant lambasting of the Portuguese police who are doing their job well according to their police and investigative laws. The condescension of the British public and media knows no bounds. By contrast our own police appear to understand this and try not to tread on their feet by saying too much about their side of things. Quite right too. If and when anyone is charged the Portuguese police will reveal all in contrast to our system.

Machiavelli's Understudy said...

Silence, peasants!

Verity has spoken... We are clearly all wrong. I yield to her omniscience.

verity said...

Peter and Anonymous: Knowing nothing at all about Portuguese law or indeed Portugal, I assure you I did not make up information about their legal system. I looked at all the papers and the BBC site this morning and read on one of them that Murat had requested suspect status because that would give him immediate access to free legal assistance before the police arrested him, if they did so.

I can't remember on which site this information was offered. I thought it was The Telegraph, but went back and their page has changed. But here is a related snippet from The Telegraph: "This morning he was named officially as an "arguido" – a "formal suspect". Restrictions have been placed on his movements, requiring him to report to police within five days and prohibiting him from leaving the country. The arguido status also gives him the right to an attorney."

Lots of very angry legal experts on this site today, I note.

The police took some videos and his computer away.

Realpolitik said...

Does this help?

It says he has got "arguido" status. Doesn't say whether he actually asked for it but presumably it's in the individual's interests to have it once suspected.

Jeremy said...

I see that Sky News online has on its front page "Police searching for Madeleine McCann say there is not enough evidence to arrest the main suspect, thought to be Briton Robert Murat".

Then it says that "not enough evidence" actually means "no evidence". And the words "main suspect" get put in quotation marks.

Even given the usual standards of our media, I am amazed.

Anonymous said...

The vampires of the media have fallen upon this bloke with wrath because basically they've been out there on huge expense accounts telling us absolutely nothing we couldn't have picked up on the radio for many many days now - and so all they have been able to do up till now is re-run 101 varieties of the same 'brave sad family' circus event and they are feeling as guilty as hell and want to justify their saddo existence.

No journos, you HAVE NOT justified you being there, stirring up morbit curiosity.

verity said...

Thanks, Real Politic, that is exactly where I saw it this morning.

Peter said...

Verity - you shouldnt have to rely on others to support your claims. You should have supported it yourself. Besides it still does say who asked for him to have suspect status.

Anonymous said...

Verity - are you sure your not Anna Botting?

verity said...

Peter, I will rely on others to support my claims if it is pragmatic to do so. That is why I thanked Real Politic. Do not be so ridiculous.

There is a lot of misogyny on this thread. What are some of you men so angry about? Do you think the law is your private property and that a woman commenting is somehow a trespasser? I note too that the reporters you angry men have trashed have all been women as well.

You seem to be in a snit because Portugal does not operate under English Common Law, thus robbing you of your chances to opine with authority.

Tom Tyler said...

Sky News: (the Portugese Police) denied Mr Murat had voluntarily taken on the status of arguido - they said it was "as a result of the investigation".

I agree with Verity, and for several days I have to admit that I have tentatively shared JailhouseLawyer's gut feeling that there is something rather odd about this whole thing.

If Murat didn't want his name splashed all over the media, he should have kept himself to himself instead of poncing all over the place, lying to the media about being an official police interpreter, running around as if he's in charge but refusing to answer questions about himself. The police do not need busybodies interfering, they know perfectly well how to conduct their work.
I'm 90% sure that he is involved in this, and he's trying the Huntley tactics on.
As someone else said, (and this isn't an accusation of any conspiracy), I wouldn't be at all surprised if he already knows the family. That would explain a lot, as for a start I don't see how some stranger can break in through a window and run off with a four year old, (a) without the struggling and screaming that would draw attention, and (b) without leaving vital DNA around the place...unless of course he returns to the scene and gets himself around as much as possible so that "of course" his DNA is going to be all over the place.

(I'm sorry if my comments come across as insensitive - I'm not, and I have at times got very upset while reading coverage of this story. But I don't think that speculating about the case as a "case" means that I have forgotten about the victim).

verity said...

I have absolutely no doubts about the terrible anguish and torture this poor man and woman have been suffering. One look at the mother's skeletal frame and both of their anguished faces and the heart lurches in a desire to do something,anything, to lessen their suffering.

Murat, agreed and I said higher up the thread that the running in and out of the apartment and pretending to help to search - touch things - would be a perfect mask for when his footprints, fingerprints and scent, via the sniffer dogs, manifested itself.

This fellow has been way too engaged in this from day one - I mean, he was right there -given that he has no connection with this couple. Now it turns out that his blonde girlfriend has been identified as the woman in the service station with the little girl (I don't think the little girl has been identified).

Out of all the people in Portugal, Murat's girlfriend is caught on CCTV in a petrol station with a tiny girl.

Lady Finchley said...

Oh, right Jailhouse Lawyer, her parents sold her of course. Their obvious anguish is faked. You make me sick.

Has anybody seen the London Evening Standard - Murat's girlfriend and her ex-husband have been questioned and it is said that the three of them closely resemble the trio seen on the CCTV footage. Any further news on this?

Lady Finchley said...

Verity, I agree - he's doing an Ian Huntley and THAT is creepy.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Looking at this thread, have we learnt nothing from the 'tabloid judgement' of that guy in Ipswich where the court of public opinion practically had the lynch mob round his house before it was understood that he was, er, innocent ?

Facts, anyone ? Proof ? Evidence ?

Anonymous said...
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Tom Tyler said...

Well, one thing I know - enough of this "human rights" bulls*** as regards the perpetrators of such acts against children. Enough of this "Oooh, we are so civilised, there is no place for the death penalty in our lovely civilised societies".
People who commit such crimes against children, hanging is too quick for them. I would tie them to a post and let them be flogged to death, slowly. One lash every 15 minutes, for as long as it takes. True, it may not deter every such b*****d, but if it deters 40% of them, that's a start.

Helen said...

I see the police has now said that there is not enough evidence to charge him. While I have little good to say about the MSM on this issue, should we not ask ourselves what the police was doing releasing name, picture and address of a man against whom they do not have enough evidence to charge?

verity said...

Helen writes: "should we not ask ourselves what the police was doing ...". No, indeed, we should not. They're not our police. It's not our country.

Did either you or the world-famous, much-loved Anonymous of 8:18 read the comments of people who posted before you before you raced in breathlessly with your interesting observations? We covered all that around 70 posts ago.

Usually I ignore personal abuse because it's the resort of the mentally weak who are unable to articulate their case, but I am getting fed up with all the gratuitous insults that posters here feel free to throw at me. Not one of them attacks me on points I have argued. It's all based on feverish adolescent imaginings laced with bile.

To the Anonymous and Temporary- Fake-Name community, clean up your act, and get some manners or I am going to complain about you.

Peter said...

Verity said: There is a lot of misogyny on this thread. What are some of you men so angry about? Do you think the law is your private property and that a woman commenting is somehow a trespasser? I note too that the reporters you angry men have trashed have all been women as well.

So people critise you and the only reason they do is because your a woman. Oh go and cry in the kitchen love and GROW-UP! I'll critise anyone I dont agree with - male or female, black or white etc.

Verity said: You seem to be in a snit because Portugal does not operate under English Common Law, thus robbing you of your chances to opine with authority.

Didnt stop you though did it Verty?? You seem to know an awful lot about the case, are you sure you're not Martin Brunt?

Verty went on to say (using her fully right under common law to talk crap) this fellow has been way too engaged in this from day one - I mean, he was right there -given that he has no connection with this couple. Now it turns out that his blonde girlfriend has been identified as the woman in the service station with the little girl (I don't think the little girl has been identified). Out of all the people in Portugal, Murat's girlfriend is caught on CCTV in a petrol station with a tiny girl.
at the risk of sounding like a Mirror reporter Berty Verty seems to always have something to say, and seems too keen to point the finger, what does she know or have to hide herself?...

Anonymous said...

Everyone be nice to Verity, or else she is going to tell teacher! Scared now!

Peter said...

Verity moans that someone has raised a question about the portuguese police, she says "No, indeed, we should not. They're not our police. It's not our country."

So what your saying is people who dont live within a police area have no right to critise.

So if you live in London, you cannot complain about the Police in Oxford (they're not your police). Also I take it the parents of Jean Charles de Menezes had no right to complain about the Met, as it wasnt their police.

Surely the point of freedom of speech is people can say what ever they wish about who ever they wish. You should stop trying to limit free speech, however NuLab of you.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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verity said...

Peter - Who the hell is Martin Brunt? Helen said something along the lines of - cannot be bothered to look it up - "Should we not be asking questions about the police ...?" You can ask until you're blue in the face, but it's all based on your perceptions of the law in Britain, which doesn't apply. If Helen had read the posts preceeding hers, she would have seen that this question had been dealt with long ago.

Peter, you are free to disagree with whomever you like, "male, female,black or white etc", but your problem is, you do not 'disagree'. You fling personal abuse around.

The London police and Oxford policed operate under English Common Law, therefore, presuming you had cause, you would have firm ground for complaining. Complaining about the way the police of a foreign country carry out their investigations, according to that country's laws, is infantile and utterly pointless.

The Demenezes family complained because British police shot their family member in Britain and they made their complaints according to British law, not the law of Brazil.

Are you beginning to see a thread here?

Iain's blog is being overrun by the same vicious, coarse little people who overran Guido's blog. This used to be a wonderful place to come for interesting, well-expressed opinions.

Anonymous said...

My Take on all this is,

That Murat was never suspected as the abductor of the poor Girl.

He was suspected as the "seeker" for the abductor(s).

The Hitch said...

I get the distinct impression that a lot of the animosity directed towards "verity" probably comes from the same source using different Names.
A grotty , sweat stained little nothing who is in for a bit of a shock in the near future.

Anonymous said...

Verity I'm not flinging personal abuse round. I didnt agree with what you said. Simple as that.

You are the one who mentioned that I only disagreed with you because you are a women. Untrue anyway.

Every opinion that anyone ever makes is based on their perceptions. So dont critise people for it. Disgaree yes, but not critise.

Dont label people who disgree with you as "course little people" as it just makes you appear narrow mindined - not saying you are just the impression you give.

Surely people have the right to comment on the Portuguese law, yes it is not based on common law - think that has been established. You could say that no one has the right to comment on this case as we are not related to the family and therefore has nothing to do with us?

It goes back to freedom of speech - so stop trying to limit it.

Edward said...

A bit sad looking at the comments, the arguments between verity and others (or an individual). A little girl is missing and some people just use it as an excuse to have a argument and an excuse to label others.
Sad really.

Anonymous said...

Are you going to promise to quit again, Verity?

That'd be great, if only you'd stick to it. You promised to quit the first time when Iain did not bow to your vote against the revolving banners.

Misogyny has nothing to do with dislike of your posts. I'm a woman and loathe your viciousness, sexism and fondness for personal insults while you shriek blue murder if anybody speculates about your own looks and attractiveness.

How dare you say "you fling personal abuse around" after your own gems today?

"You provincial moron."

and let's not forget

"Meaning, you're a fatty.

And you didn't admit it to yourself until "a couple of years ago". You're tall and fat....

Big Congenial Non-Hostile Fat Andy, get a grip."

Personal abuse is all you do. Get over it if some of it is returned in your direction. You've more than earned it.

wrinkled weasel said...

This thread has been hijacked by poster calling themselves "Verity". This "Verity" has chosen to draw attention to themselves in the most vulgar way, by insulting other posters and indulging in glib self-justification. Not only that, this "Verity" seems to do this in an arbitrary and ignorant way.

I would have thought that given the nature of this topic, even he/she might have exercised some restraint.

My message to you "Verity" is that despite your apparent self-belief, you are frequently misinformed and frequently wrong. I have noted this over a period of months. Many posters have seen the funny side of this in the past and enjoyed your eccentric contributions, but the time has come, I think, for you to re-consider your position.

Could you perhaps join in for the pleasure of finding out what other people think?

verity said...

I'm getting fed up with the personal abuse from people who are unable,or unwilling, to articulate an argument. If there's a purpose for the arcane exercise of discussing the progress and methods of the Portuguese police in Portugal in the context of English Common Law, fine. But they don't argue their case.

I notice that few of the usual, articulate, regulars are here today, and the ones who have made an appearance have posted once and not bothered to come back. And now the blog owner has been forced to put on the approval facility.

Thanks for your defence, Hitch!

Machiavelli's Understudy said...

Tom Tyler,

You're suggesting that we flog to death people who have abducted children? Surely that's a bit harsh, no? I would expect that sort of comment for paedophiles and the like.

Anyhow, as you have such a positive view of capital punishment for abduction, perhaps you can share your thoughts on the positive aspects of creating incentives for abductors to take their crime to the next step of rape or murder? They have nothing to lose by doing so, after all, if they know they're going to be flogged to death...

Anonymous said...

So Murat's girlfriend is the woman seen on the service station CCTV. Is that a fact? All I've seen after searching the news and blogs are some comments that his girlfriend is blonde and so was the woman at the service station.

So is this a rush to judgement or what? The BBC gave 10 minutes to this story on the 10pm news on BBC1. They seem to have learnt nothing from their tabloid coverage of the Ipswich case.

Anonymous said...

If it bleeds, it leads !!

Anonymous said...

Dear Verity

I understand.

I empathize.

I pray that God sustain your emotional well-being.

verity said...

No, I am Spartacus!

neil craig said...

I mentioned the conviction of Barry George, who is clearly innocent, to satisfy the media's need for blood.

Here is Boris on the Colin Stagg case:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2006/06/22/do2201.xml

We clearlyb have avery serious problem with the number of instances of people being fitted up to satisy the MSM

Anonymous said...

"There is an army of BBC staff out there for no readily apparent reason."

Try looking at them on tv. The Algarve is a nice place for a suntan. Journalists are scum.

Until anyone produces a shred of evidence against that bloke the most likely assumption is that the Portuguese police got tired of being criticized by scum British journos and decided to make a meaningless gesture to give the scum something to talk about thereby giving them an excuse for an even longer holiday by the sea.

Anonymous said...

verity said...
"I'm getting fed up with the personal abuse from people who are unable,or unwilling, to articulate an argument."

But it's ok when it comes from a gobby bore like you?

Anchorman said...

It is sensationalist reporting turning a tragedy into a soap opera.

We all, everyone of us, want Madeleine returned safe and sound, the media has done a great job in getting pictures of her around the world. However beyond that they are just self serving vultures.

This suspect may turn out to be guilty, but as yet he is innocent and, for my purposes here in the UK I do not need to know what he looks like or his name, or where he lives until he is charged. If someone wants to report they believe him to be a threat to people in a local area and at large, that's a different matter. As yet it is "behaves oddly" which frankly isn't good enough.

Why do we, the public, fuel this press behaviour? We buy the stuff with the endless media speculation in it. It is, indirectly, our fault that the press behaves like this.

The really horrible bit is that these vultures in the media are currently the McCann's best friends, but at some point, hopefully after Madeliene is found, but perhaps not, they will pack up and leave the family with the nightmare. It will, as ever, be tomorrow's chip paper.

The whole of the reporting of this case has been bizarre - the idea that the needs of 24 hour media are above those of Madeliene herself fueled the press against the Portuguese police as they were reluctant to fuel the press pack itself.

Anonymous said...

The fat woman has sung - well has lobbied MPs for support. The fighting fund is up and running and I can't imagine how much well-meaning and hard-earned cash will now flood in. It should ensure that more of the gobby extended family and hangers-on get a free holiday. Is it just me, but has this thing just got terribly out of hand? Something smells and it's not just Baldrick's porridge.

jayne gregson said...

I think that the way that Robert Murat has been treated is disgusting. Why did the reporters call him weird with a glass eye. What has him having an artificial eye got to do with anything. My son lost his eye when he was 2 years old through illness,
he is now 18 years old and as we watched sky news we were digusted at the reporters comments on robert. they have ruined his life and these reporters should not be allowed to be so personal about people.whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty, they are ill informed , small minded people.

Anonymous said...

Half the comments on here about Iain defending paedophiles is so ill thought out, even if Robert Murat was involved, there is no evidence it is because he is a paedophile.... why cant we just await the outcome of the investigation and stop making wild guesses and speculations which also stand to hurt another child(who is unquestionably innocent).

The one thing which concerns me most about all this speculation is pictures of this as yet uncharged man's tiny daughter being carried out of her home with a blanket over her head - being taken to a safe house. She is not even in Portugal and had nothing to do with this investigation, yet how traumatic will she find all of this media intrusion into her tiny life?

There will be enough time to make our judgements after the investigation and any subsequent arrest and trial. Until then, lets keep looking for Madeleine and offering her parents all the support we can rather than venting our frustrations on every suspect and their families.

Anonymous said...

Isnt it strange how on the very morning of the day robert murat was questioned, all of the national papers were proclaiming how the police over there had admitted they had 'no leads whatso ever' and were back to square one. then suddenly, they have a suspect. very suspect indeed, i say!!

Anonymous said...

There is certainly an arrogance to Robert Murat who places himself in a position of trust with a distraught family. He has no official status as an interpretor yet he blagged his way into a crime scene. I don't care what the guy looks like, his motivation to be in the centre of a crisis is questionable.I must admit that both my husband and I thought that there was something of the 'Ian Huntleys' about him.
God Bless Maddie, where ever she is.

Anonymous said...

I worry that the press involvement in this situation is very quickly getting out of hand. I can understand little Madelaine's parents want the story to stay in the front of people's minds BUT the reporting is now getting so out of control that it is in danger of becoming an obstruction to the Portugese Police. While we should all stay vigilant we should be letting the police get on with their job and not waste their time trying to placate the British press.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the Soham Murder case to me, didn't Ian Huntley help police?, wasn't he in everyones face too?.

Huntley did this as a cover up so that they wouldn't suspect him. Murats wife knew something was up by the way she left Portugal in a hurry and refused to tell anyone the reason why

Anonymous said...

What sick b.. would put a child in a football shirt that has echoes all over the world of Holly and Jessica?

Robert Murat is very well liked say locals even if after a near fatal motorbike accident. He has one eye due to this and is on medication. Now some in Praia da Luz who are not doctors do feel empathy with the mentally injured, not least Ricardo who I met and danced with. The locals took that as kindness, media looked at a clown, me.

As Robert Murat along with 19 other people invaded a small recessed corridor similar to army billets as 5A, C, D, then the warren is a run. It has two high three foot walls to engage, and tiers above, across is the executive villas looking in, and from that 200 children play just 10 yards from the door. The time to go left and then right and then turn into an unmanned reception by a 18 year old English girl was 8 minutes. It was downhill, across from this was a large building site with a fixed high fence, just 10 yards from where Madeleine was last seen. But as we have learned in England, the last to see the child is the suspect, always will be. Robert Murat may have decided mommy knows best and seeing the tarty photos in tabloids she was right. Locals helped as they do and now this haven of working class expats will be tarnished. It was and is despicable that the McCann's said they wait for a news break in the terrorism incurred by doctors at Glasgow and London. In that statement is a complete shamefullness as the word donations and website is used. Doctors now are so badly needed, and here we have two who are with extended family and the business is nearing one million pounds. So any story that robs the campaign of news is a pain in the ,,, for these doctors. Now which oath did they take. Robert is a simple brain damaged man that doctors treat.

Reddutch said...

All my support goes out to Robert and his family- innocent until proven guilty.

Interesting what the Portuguese papers said yesterday.

Rich Baxter said...

Quite right Reddutch.

And I agree with earlier comments about the "living with mother"/"glass eye" ridiculousness. Madeleine lived with her parents and had a dodgy eye too - maybe she abducted herself?

Anonymous said...

http://www.sundaymirror.co.uk/news/sunday/2007/05/20/why-i-shopped-maddy-suspect-98487-19135270/

This Lori Campbell is part of this she wrote this about Murat and now the terrible article trying so hard to clear the Mccanns in todays paper.

http://www.sundaymirror.co.uk/news/sunday/2007/08/12/maddy-was-alive-when-taken-98487-19613517/One of the directors of the campaign fund runs a public relations company and was used to be on heaven and earth show, is there anyway that this Lori Campbell is on her staff, or something similar and a huge conflict of interests.

They need to keep thier new lucrative careers so need to keep Mccanns clean and this farce article is written in desperation.

How can we find out who is on the books of this leave no stone unturned director. I am going to do some research on compaines house, director searches etc and see what companies she sits on.

Peter Hubner; a retired consultant;

Brian Kennedy, a retired head teacher;

John McCann, a medical representative;

Esther McVey, managing director of a public relations & communications company;

Doug Skehan, clinical director in cardiology at Glenfield Hospital;

Philip Tomlinson, a solicitor and former coroner in Leicestershire.

http://www.findmadeleine.com/fund/faq.asp


Shannon