Monday, May 21, 2007

Slain man prominent


Why was Glen Davis a target?

Glen Davis, 66, is seen last year at the Firth River, Yukon. The millionaire donor to wildlife causes was shot to death Friday at about 2 p.m. in a parking garage near Eglinton Ave. E. and Mount Pleasant Rd.

He cheated death twice, escaping a 1983 airplane fire, then a 2005 beating that police say may be linked to his slaying

Glen Davis was born into wealth, and until he survived a 1983 airplane fire that claimed 23 lives it seemed he was content to continue growing the $100 million empire his father left him.

But surviving that crash may have sparked a turnaround, prompting the Toronto businessman to begin a new focus on philanthropy, conservation and the environment, a life of giving cut short by a gunman's bullet in a north Toronto parking garage Friday.

Toronto police are continuing the search for a suspect, but admit they have few leads apart from surveillance footage showing a man leaving the garage, near Eglinton Ave. E. and Mount Pleasant Rd., at about 2 p.m. Friday, about the same time Davis, 66, was killed.

The gunman – who police say may have deliberately targeted Davis – ended both Davis's life and a remarkable record of giving millions of dollars to conservation and environmental causes including the World Wildlife Fund Canada and the Sierra Club.

Davis had cheated death twice before.

On June 2, 1983, he became one of just 18 survivors when a fire broke out in the bathroom of a Toronto-bound Air Canada jet, forcing an emergency landing at Greater Cincinnati Airport that claimed the lives of several fellow Canadians, including Toronto television magnate George Curtis Mathes Jr. and Hamilton-born folk star Stan Rogers.

Davis also survived a beating with a baseball bat in December 2005, when someone attacked him outside his Toronto office. His attacker took off in a van after witnesses intervened. Nothing was stolen during the attack and a suspect was never arrested, homicide Det. Wayne Fowler said yesterday. But police are investigating a possible connection between that beating and his death two years later.

Friends say the Air Canada fire may have given Davis a new focus.

It came four years after his father Nelson, 72, died of a heart attack while relaxing in the swimming pool of his winter home in Arizona, leaving his son a vast fortune.

Nelson M. Davis, a long-time friend and adviser of Conrad Black, amassed his fortune mainly from transportation and trucking interests. He was chair of Toronto-based holding company Argus and chair and president of N. M. Davis Corp. Ltd., which he left to his only child.

Davis carried on his father's dealings full-time until about two years after his brush with death.

Friends say it may have been a combination of that life-changing experience and meeting Monte Hummel – current president of World Wildlife Fund – at that same time, that turned Davis to philanthropy.

"I've heard that story from several different people," Stephen Hazell, executive director of Sierra Club of Canada said in an interview, adding Davis was "not a guy who sought the limelight" and didn't speak about the 1983 incident to many people.

"I think Monte Hummel has played a great role in encouraging Glen in his philanthropy."

Elizabeth May, a friend of Davis and leader of the Green Party of Canada, said yesterday that "about a third of his time he spent in wilderness trekking in remote locations, and about a third of his time was devoted to what business dealings he had that remained and about a third of his time was dedicated to philanthropy to a number of causes – primarily environmental causes, but also the Canadian women Olympic rowers.



"He largely took his father's fortune and liquidated it in order to be a full-time philanthropist. He was an extraordinarily generous person," May said. "Everybody is just devastated. The entire conservation movement in this country is going to be just devastated."

"I think it's fair comment to say he gives away millions of dollars a year," Hazell said. "He's been probably the greatest wilderness philanthropist in Canada over the past number of years, although not many people know about him."

The conservation movement "was what spoke to him," May said. "He liked nothing better than to be somewhere in the wilderness where there was no sign of humanity as far as the eye could see."

In addition to countless charitable donations, Davis used his money to take friends on expeditions they'd otherwise be unable to afford, May said.

"He was not just a donor, but a friend, a very good friend to so many of us in the environmental movement. It just tears a hole in our hearts and the whole movement."

Barry Artiste, a contributor to NowPublic.com news network, wrote on his blog Davis was "quiet, reserved and certainly not flashy, a semi-retired businessman who, if you passed on the streets of Toronto, you would not give a second look as you went about your day."

Davis, he said, "preferred to stay silently in the background and work behind the scenes," as he donated his millions.

Davis was pronounced dead in hospital after he was found collapsed on the bottom level of the two-level parking garage. He wasn't next to his car when he was found, Fowler said.

"There were a number of people in that underground, coming and going, going to their cars," yet no one reported hearing gunshots, Fowler said. "When we get into echoes and underground garages, it may sound totally different than a gunshot would normally sound," he said.

"This is not a high crime area," he pointed out. "Obviously there was a reason why Mr. Davis was selected versus someone else going to their car at that point in time."

Research for a 2005 Toronto Star column revealed that there was only one fatal shooting in 15 years in a 3.5-kilometre radius around Mount Pleasant Rd. and Lawrence Ave.

The parking garage remained closed through yesterday as a forensics team examined the "extensive scene."

Surveillance video images were released of a "person of interest" seen entering and leaving the garage by foot. The man, 25 to 30 years old, spent "a period of time" in the garage before leaving, Fowler said.

The man, standing about 5 foot 8, is seen wearing a black baseball cap in two of the images, as well as a blue sweater, waist-length dark hooded jacket, dark pants, and white shoes.

Davis leaves his wife Mary Alice. Anyone with information about his death is asked to call 416-808-7418 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477. Or click www.222tips.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Kidnap suspect's website contact questioned by police

PRAIA DA LUZ - The focus of the Madeleine McCann inquiry shifted last night to the home of a young Russian man who has helped establish a website for the police's main suspect - the Briton Robert Murat.

Sergy Malinka, 22, lives with his parents at the flat, near the church where Madeleine's parents have prayed regularly since their daughter disappeared two weeks ago today.

Two cars drove up to the flats at 6pm local time and went into a block where the family is known to live. A police cordon was put in place near the block 40 minutes later and a further two men, one carrying a laptop case, went into the building.

Mr Malinka was driven away in the back of an unmarked police car at 7.55pm. Two hard drives, a laptop and a black bin bag were put into the boot of a car.

Mr Malinka, who was born in Moscow and may have run a computer shop with his parents in nearby Lagos, is now understood to work from the flat.

He spent several weeks helping Robert Murat, 33, and his German girlfriend Michaela Walczuch set up their property website Romigen - which is short for Robert/Michaela/Genesis.

Yesterday afternoon, hours before the police arrived at his top-floor flat, he said he had met Mr Murat a few times but was not connected to the inquiry.

"I have just had all my residency papers approved and checks are always made for criminal convictions. I have none whatsoever," said Mr Malinka.

He also said he had enjoyed working for Mr Murat and had undertaken a lot of work for the site.

"I last saw [him and his mother] about three months ago," he said.

Reports in the Portuguese press yesterday suggested police had been alerted to a Russian associate of Mr Murat, as a result of the search of his own villa, 160 yards from the McCanns' apartment.

A local friend of the Murat family, Tuck Price, said Mr Malinka was a popular individual who fixed computers for residents in the area.

Soon after the flat was cordoned off, the man leading the inquiry, Olegario Sousa, who believes the investigation into his main suspect may still yield results, said he was unaware of the search but that it formed part of a day's activities "in the field".

Despite the police and media scrutiny on Mr Murat's own villa, where there was less evidence of police activity yesterday, Madeleine's parents were focusing on the launch of a fighting fund and website - findmadeleine.co.uk - to help in the search for their child.

They spent some of yesterday morning with advisers discussing how to co-ordinate the campaign - which focuses on the black flash that runs from her pupil to the iris of her eye; a key distinguishing feature.

The campaign launch at Leicester's Walkers Stadium, was led by the former England rugby captain Martin Johnson.

MPs demonstrated the extraordinary resonance of Madeleine's case by wearing yellow ribbons in the House of Commons yesterday and Madeleine's aunt and uncle, John and Philomena McCann, met Chancellor Gordon Brown and Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, at Westminster.

A montage featuring new images of Madeleine were screened at half time of the Uefa Cup final in Glasgow between Seville and Espanol. Appealing to the people of Spain, whose border is 90 minutes from Praia, is a vital part of the search.

The campaign even extended to the Cannes Film Festival. Thousands received posters of Madeleine in film trade magazines.

Forensic results from the search of Mr Murat's villa, which seem crucial to the inquiry, may not arrive for several days. Mr Murat's family said the uncertainty had meant he could barely sleep or eat and he spent much of his time pacing up and down.

It is understood officials from the British embassy in Lisbon have been in contact with Mr Murat, and offered him consular support.

Solicitors in Portugal are astonished by Mr Sousa's announcement on Monday that a 33-year-old Briton was his "main suspect" before he had gathered enough evidence to make an arrest.

"When police usually say they have a suspect, they already have enough evidence to prosecute him," said a solicitor, Artur Rego.

Though there is no prejudicial risk to Mr Murat - anyone who stands trial will appear before judges, not a jury - Mr Rego voiced concern about the damage to the reputation of a man who is innocent until proved guilty.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I'm Madeleine scapegoat, man says











The man being treated as a suspect in the search for missing Madeleine McCann says he has been made "a scapegoat for something I did not do".

Briton Robert Murat, 33, told Sky News the situation had "ruined" his life.

Police have searched his mother's Algarve villa, which is close to where four-year-old Madeleine of Rothley, Leicestershire, was last seen on 3 May.

However officers said they did not have the evidence to formally arrest or charge anybody.

Mr Murat, who previously lived in Hockering, Norfolk, has recently been living with his mother Jenny, 71, in Praia da Luz.

Speaking off camera after it emerged he was being treated as a suspect, Mr Murat told Sky News: "This has ruined my life and made my life very difficult for my family here and in Britain.

"The only way I will survive this is if they catch Madeleine's abductor."


We are hopeful that this case will be over in the near future
Chief Inspector Olegario de Sousa

Members of Mr Murat's family have insisted he had nothing to do with Madeleine's disappearance and say he was having dinner with his mother on the night it happened.

On Tuesday, Chief Inspector Olegario de Sousa told a news conference he could not confirm whether Madeleine was alive or dead.

He said police had searched five houses on Monday and seized "various materials" from the properties which were being subjected to forensic tests.

Two other people - a German woman and a Portuguese man - have been questioned as witnesses.



The suspect, who has not been formally named by police, has signed an identity and residence statement which prevents him from moving house or leaving Portugal, and requires him to regularly report to police.

Mr Sousa confirmed the suspect had assisted police in the early stages of the investigation by working as a translator.

Being declared a suspect, or "arguido", means Mr Murat has additional legal rights under Portuguese law.

He may have been named as an arguido by police or could have chosen to take the status himself to gain those protections.


ARGUIDO STATUS
Officially a suspect
Bestowed by police or requested by individual
Right to remain silent
Right to a lawyer
Must report to police every five days

An arrest can be made once someone is an arguido, but only if there is sufficient evidence.

"When you work, you work to get results, but this doesn't always happen at once," Mr Sousa said.

"Let's wait and see. We are hopeful that this case will be over in the near future."

Mr Murat, a former property developer, had become well known to journalists during the search for Madeleine.

The search of his mother's property, known as Casa Liliana, began on Monday after Sunday Mirror journalist Lori Campbell had spoken to the British Embassy and the police about Mr Murat.

It is believed police have examined two cars used by the Murats, as well as taking away computers, mobile phones and several video tapes

Madeleine McCann
Madeleine McCann disappeared on 3 May

His mother is a former nurse who has lived in Portugal for 40 years and brought Mr Murat and his sister up in the country.

Mr Murat's uncle, Ralph Eveleigh, who runs a bed and breakfast in the nearby village of Burgau, said his nephew had been at home with his mother on the night Madeleine went missing.

"Robert is so sweet and good-natured. He was just trying to help," he added.

Madeleine disappeared from her bedroom 13 days ago as her parents ate dinner at a nearby tapas restaurant.

On Wednesday, Madeleine's uncle and aunt, John and Philomena McCann, from Glasgow, are to visit the House of Commons in a bid to keep the search in the public eye.

Glasgow MP Mohammed Salwar, who will accompany the couple, said the McCann family had "the full support of the British government".

The international number for Crimestoppers is +44 1883 731 336. People with information about Madeleine can call anonymously.

Briton suspect in Madeleine hunt



The villa is owned by Jenny Murat and used by son Robert




Casa Liliana, sealed off by police looking for Madeleine McCann
The sealed off single-storey building is known as Casa Liliana
A British man questioned over the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in Portugal is being treated as a suspect.

He is believed to be Robert Murat, who shares a villa with his mother Jenny in Praia da Luz, Algarve.

The man has been given "arguido", or suspect, status - but may have requested this for the rights it gives.

Officers have searched the villa close to where four-year-old Madeleine of Rothley, Leicestershire, was last seen and questioned three people.

Under the Portuguese legal system, people who are questioned are not arrested but treated as witnesses.

Arrests can only be made when police designate someone as an arguido.

But a person may also ask for the arguido process to be invoked as it gives them specific protection such as access to a lawyer and the right to remain silent.

Map of locations

BBC correspondent Richard Bilton said a British man in his 30s has been given arguido status.

It is understood the other people to be questioned were a German woman and a Portuguese man.

'Alibi'

The search of the property known as Casa Liliana began at 0700 local time on Monday after Sunday Mirror journalist Lori Campbell had spoken to the British Embassy and the police about Mr Murat.

He had become well known to journalists during the search for Madeleine.

Jenny and Robert Murat
The villa is owned by Jenny Murat and used by son Robert

Mr Murat, formerly of Hockering, Norfolk, describes himself as half-Portuguese and told reporters he had been helping police with translation work during the investigation.

Mr Murat's mother is a former nurse who has lived in Portugal for 40 years and brought her son and daughter up in the country.

When asked by the BBC on Monday why the villa was being searched, Mrs Murat replied: "I don't know why."

She then said she was "not allowed" to speak to reporters, before moving away.

Mrs Murat, 71, believed to be a widow, has been running a stall on the seafront in Praia da Luz, appealing for information from the public about Madeleine's disappearance.


His mother says that on the night the kid disappeared they were both in the house together all night
Ralph Eveleigh, Robert Murat's uncle

Catherine Roberts, a friend of the family in Portugal, said: "Jenny is very well known around here - she has lived here most of her life.

"And the family has a very good reputation and a very good name."

Mr Murat's uncle, Ralph Eveleigh, told the BBC his nephew had an alibi for the night Madeleine went missing.

"His mother says that on the night the kid disappeared they were both in the house together all night," he said.

Officers in white suits with facemasks were seen at the Murat's villa and in its grounds on Monday evening.

It is believed the search has included draining its swimming pool.

'Concrete evidence'

Last week searches were scaled back in the area immediately around the holiday apartment where Madeleine was last seen on 3 May.

The focus had shifted to an international child abduction inquiry, amid suggestions she may have been taken out of Portugal.

Madeleine is believed to have been abducted while her parents were eating at a tapas bar.

On Monday, her parents Kate and Gerry McCann said they would not return to the UK until Madeleine was found safe and well.

Mr McCann, who is originally from Glasgow, said the couple would continue to believe she was being cared for until they received "concrete evidence to the contrary".

He said they had drawn "tremendous strength from the warmth and the spiritual outpouring" the couple had received from around the world.

British ambassador to Portugal John Buck said there were "impressive resources" being devoted to the investigation and praised the "truly exceptional" collaboration between the Portuguese and British police.

Rewards totalling £2.5m have been offered to anyone with information leading to the safe return of Madeleine, who was four on Saturday.

A "fighting fund" to which members of the public can donate to help in the search for Madeleine is also being set up by her family's lawyers.

The international number for Crimestoppers is +44 1883 731 336. People with information about Madeleine can call anonymously.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Suspects emerge in Madeleine case



"I really believe she was British and yes it could have been someone seeking the girl. She looked at cars, she was startled, she hesitated and she looked away" - Anonymous witness
Suspects emerge in Madeleine case
12.01, Sat May 12 2007

Evidence is mounting about a female suspect in connection with the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

A potentially vital witness said that she saw a woman behaving suspiciously at a crucial place and time on the night Madeleine was abducted from a Portuguese holiday apartment in the Algarve village of Praia Da Luz.

The Portuguese woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "The woman was about 1'70", perhaps 1'72", more or less 50 years of age. She was a little fat, had blonde hair and a centre parting.

"I really believe she was British, and yes it could have been someone seeking the girl. She looked at cars, she was startled, she hesitated and she looked away."

But the witness claimed investigators had taken no interest in her sighting and had not shown her any sketches or photo-fits.

Meanwhile, police have said they are checking CCTV footage from several locations. A source confirmed that it includes a tape from a service station close to Praia da Luz which shows a young girl with a woman.

Madeleine's father has insisted he will leave "no stone unturned" in the hunt for his daughter as a businessman offered a £1 million reward for her return.

Gerry McCann joined by his wife Kate said: "We have now seen at first hand how hard the police are working in the search for Madeleine and their strong desire to find her.

"We are doing absolutely everything to assist the police with their investigation and we will leave no stone unturned in the search for our daughter Madeleine.

"We are very grateful for all the effort and offers of support that we have had from home and around the world."

Mr McCann added that his family is still "positive" even though the ground hunt for her is being scaled down and there has been no breakthrough in the police investigation more than a week after she was snatched.

At St Andrew's Cathedral in Glasgow, hundreds of well-wishers attended a vigil for the missing toddler.

The service was organised by her uncle John McCann who read out an email from Madeleine's parents to the congregation gathered in the church.

The message from Mr and Mrs McCann said: "We remain confident that Madeleine will be found soon and your prayers and efforts will bring this about."

It comes as David Beckham filmed a television appeal for the little girl's safe return.

Stephen Winyard, owner of a Scottish health spa called Stobo Castle, offered a reward of £1 million for information that leads to the return of Madeleine McCann through a British newspaper.

It is not the first reward to be offered in the case after a colleague of Madeleine's mother offered a £100,000 reward for help in finding the toddler.

A 200 kilometre (125 mile) square area had been searched, with each area covered more than once by search, rescue and dog teams.

Police also issued an image of a pair of pyjamas identical to those which Madeleine had been wearing when she disappeared. Notices around Praia da Luz previously had differing accounts of what she was wearing.

Q&A: Madeleine McCann


Steven Morris in Praia da Luz, Portugal
Tuesday May 8, 2007
Guardian Unlimited


When did Madeleine vanish?

Between 9.30pm and 10pm on Thursday. Her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, were dining at a tapas bar in a Mark Warner resort around 100 metres from the apartment where Madeleine and her twin siblings were sleeping. The McCanns checked on the children at around half-hourly intervals. Mr McCann checked at 9.30pm, but when the couple returned at about 10pm, Madeleine had gone. A pool, hedge, wall and alleyway are between the bar and the apartment.

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How could a kidnapper have got into the apartment?

There are three likely routes. The bedroom in which Madeleine was sleeping has a window with a plastic shutter and a door leading to a narrow car park and a quiet residential street. This side of the apartment cannot be seen from the tapas bar. At the back of the apartment, which can partially be seen from the bar, are French windows. These were the doors the parents were coming in through when they checked the children, and may have been left unlocked.

Were the doors or window forced?

Members of Madeleine's family said the shutter on the street window was forced, and police have fingerprinted it. However, the Mark Warner holiday company said there was no sign of a forced break-in. A kidnapper could have come through the street window and left via the street door. It is unlikely he or she would have entered or left via the French windows, because they face the tapas bar and the rest of the complex.

Do the police have any suspects?

At the weekend, they seemed to say they had a suspect in mind. However, it became clear earlier this week that this was not a named person but a man who witnesses had seen acting suspiciously. A sketch of the man has been made but not published - normal procedure for the police in Portugal - but it is not a clear image.

Why has so little information been published?

The Portuguese police claim their judicial system makes it impossible to release information for fear of prejudicing any future case. However, Madeleine's family are known to be frustrated at the way the investigation is being handled. It was their decision to make the direct appeal to any kidnapper and to release details of what Madeleine was wearing - the police had not done so.

Has the search been thorough?

Many people, including some family members, believe not. Criticism that the police did not even begin searching immediately, however, seems unfounded - officers and members of the public began a search as soon as Madeleine was reported missing.

However, there is scant evidence of an organised, exhaustive search. Neither border nor marine police were given descriptions of Madeleine for many hours after she vanished, and officers have not been seen making extensive door-to-door inquiries.

What about the police investigation?

Again, it appears unsatisfactory. The scene has not been secured as tightly as it would have been in the UK. Passers-by are allowed to go right up to the shutters of the window that Madeleine's parents say were forced. The lack of appeals for help and information has upset the family and surprised police experts.

There have been suggestions that the police are hiding behind the idea that they cannot release information because they might prejudice the case. Article 86 of the Portuguese processo penal says information must not be released, apart from in exceptional circumstances. Nevertheless, the lack of information has created a vaccuum that has been filled by speculation and theories ranging from the idea that a paedophile ring is behind the kidnapping to the claim that she may have been abducted to order.

J.K Rowling pledges millions




May 14, 2007 08:30am

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has pledged a major contribution to $2.5m reward for the safe return of missing Madeleine McCann.

British tabloid The News of the World said J.K. Rowling had offered the single largest contribution to a reward fund started by the tabloid newspaper. It called Rowling's pledge "staggering," but said the author asked the amount be kept secret.

Madeleine McCann, 4, disappeared May 2 after her parents left her, and her brother and sister, both aged 2, alone while they went to a nearby restaurant within their hotel complex at Praia da Luz, a vacation resort in Portugal's Algarve region. Portuguese police continue to search for her.

Tycoon Sir Richard Branson offered $240,000 and American Idol judge Simon Cowell promised to give $120,000.

J.K. Rowling, 41, is one of Britain's richest people, with an estimated fortune of $1.2 billion, thanks to the best-selling novels and films about her boy wizard.

The newspaper said its editor will decide who receives the reward after consulting with Portuguese authorities.

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, together with his fiancee Coleen McLoughlin, offered $60,000.

Among the others pledging money to the fund were retailer Sir Philip Green ($600,000) and Everton chairman Bill Kenwright (amount not disclosed).

Mr Kenwright told the News of the World, which announced the reward: "If it helps towards the reunion it will be the best cheque I've ever written."

The group offer is in addition to rewards of STG1 million already made by a Scottish businessman and STG100,000 from a colleague of Kate McCann.
Tidal wave of emotion

Meanwhile, Madeleine's father has described a "tidal wave" of devastation wreaked by her abduction.

At a special Mass held in Portugal yesterday - Madeleine's fourth birthday - Gerry McCann told villagers that he and his wife Kate had drawn "strength, hope and courage" from the support they had received in Praia da Luz, across Europe and around the world.

Speaking with emotion but determination, he told the packed church: "We are looking forward to the day when Madeleine returns to us as a joyous one."

It is the first time he has spoken at length about the tortuous days he and his wife have suffered as they wait for news.

He told the congregation at the tiny 16th century church of Nossa Senhora da Luz: "Today we should be celebrating the fourth birthday of our daughter Madeleine.

"Instead we have had to remember what a normal, beautiful, vivacious, funny, courageous and loving little girl that we are missing today.

"I like to think about the effects of Madeleine's abduction from us nine days ago like a tidal wave.

"The devastation - which was tremendous - was greatest for Kate and I."

The couple were showered with kisses, hugs and flowers as members of the congregation queued to greet them at the end of the service.

His wife, who in recent days has appeared increasingly drawn, smiled as scores of villagers lined up to kiss her on each cheek.

Among the presents which had been left at the front of the church before the service were a yellow fluffy duck, a multicoloured striped handbag and a fluffy pink flower with a yellow smiling face.

The McCanns had spent much of the anniversary in private and away from the ill-fated Algarve complex from where their daughter vanished nine days ago.
No firm leads
But despite the massive rewards being offered for information which results in Madeleine's safe return, there remains no evidence of firm leads.

Portuguese police are operating under an official news blackout but have been actively continuing the investigation, with senior detectives working late into the night at headquarters in the town of Portimao.

Nine people, all thought to be British, have been questioned, including the McCanns, who were re-interviewed late into Thursday night and the early hours of Friday morning.

Sniffer dogs have been back in action around the apartment where Madeleine was snatched and, according to local Portuguese reports, may have picked up a scent from the McCanns' apartment as far as another flat in the complex.

Among things the McCanns and others are likely to have been shown is a series of CCTV images which centre upon a blonde woman.

Following reports of sightings of a blonde woman and two men linked to suspicious incidents reported to police, shopkeepers in the nearby village of Burgau confirmed today that officers had been round on a number of occasions.

Madeleine's parents were having dinner in a restaurant only a stone's throw from the apartment where they had been staying when they returned to find their daughter was missing 10 days ago.

Her two-year-old twin brother and sister Sean and Amelie were also sleeping in the apartment but were unharmed.
Messages of support
Messages of support for the McCanns back in the UK included comments from Chancellor Gordon Brown.

Expressing his sympathy, he said: "My thoughts, like the thoughts of all parents, are with Maddy's parents."

In the Algarve, ex-pat Britons gathered with their children in Praia Da Luz to tie yellow ribbons and express their hope that she will return safely.

Back in the UK, friends and relatives showed their support by releasing pink balloons with messages and prayers tied beneath.

In Liverpool, Madeleine's grandmother Susan Healy told Sky News, with tears in her eyes: "Madeleine is such a beautiful child and this is her birthday.

"She was a precious gift from God and Kate and Gerry will be remembering that today and hope to have her back as soon as possible."

Madeleine's aunt Diane McCann will join today's Glasgow 10k race wearing a T-shirt bearing the youngster's picture on the back and the words "I'm running for Madeleine McCann".

Hundreds of the T-shirts will be handed out to runners taking part in the race which starts at 10am at Bellahouston Park.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Police chase new leads as resort search for girl ended

Police chase new leads as resort search for girl ended


· Three suspects sought in British-registered vehicle
· Parents consider whether to accept £1m reward offer

Esther Addley in Praia da Luz
Friday May 11, 2007
The Guardian

Portuguese police investigating the disappearance of three-year-old Madeleine McCann are ready to call off their search around Praia da Luz, the Algarve resort where she vanished.

Eight days after she was apparently kidnapped from the bedroom of her parents' holiday apartment, investigators said last night the trail had gone cold in the town and surrounding area.

"All the places have been checked. The results are zero," said Chief Inspector Olegario Sousa, who is leading the investigation. The search of the town and more than 200 square kilometres of surrounding countryside would therefore be ended, he said at a press conference last night.

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The search would now focus on three connected lines of investigation, he said, but refused to give further details. "We are looking at several clues, not just one."

Local newspapers have said police inquiries are increasingly centring on three suspects seen driving a car with British number plates.

Police are understood to have been given CCTV footage of two men and a woman at a petrol station near Praia da Luz taken on the night Madeleine was abducted.

According to local newspaper reports, one of the men and the woman, who was described as blonde and in her 40s, were photographing young children in a nearby town days before Madeleine's disappearance. When challenged by the father of one of the children, the Correio de Manha said, they fled. The man is reported to have been shown the CCTV images and confirmed that it was the same couple. The number plate had been passed to European police, the newspaper said.

Another newspaper, 24 Horas, quoted a local businesswoman as saying she saw a woman matching the blonde's description outside the girl's bedroom window on the night she disappeared.

Asked about the reports, Mr Sousa confirmed that CCTV footage had been taken from several locations but would not elaborate. "The notice that appears in the newspaper is their responsibility," he said, adding that "countless hypotheses" were being investigated.

Police yesterday also issued a photograph of the pyjamas Madeleine was wearing when she disappeared, three days after her parents did so on their own initiative.

It was another blow for Kate and Gerry McCann, who spent most of yesterday afternoon at a police station being reinterviewed; police have stressed that they are not under suspicion .

The McCann family are also considering whether they can accept the offer of a £1m reward to anyone who can provide information that leads to the girl's return made by a businessman this week. Stephen Winyard, owner of a Scottish health spa called Stobo Castle, made the offer. It is unclear whether Portugese law allows the offer to be formally put to the public. On Saturday a colleague of Mrs McCann offered a £100,000 reward for help in finding her daughter.

Earlier in the day, Mrs McCann attended an ecumenical communion service in the town's chapel, accompanied by a female friend. More than 150 local people, expatriates and holidaymakers crammed into the small church for a service which the Anglican priest, Haynes Hubbard, described as unprecedented.

"We are simply going to ask God's power and protection on Madeleine and her parents and her siblings, and on everyone who has been shocked and saddened and utterly desolate at what has happened," he said.

At one point during the highly emotional service, Mrs McCann stood and touched a large candle burning at the front of the church while she prayed silently. Several holiday reps from Mark Warner, the firm which operates the holiday resort where the couple are staying, were in the congregation, some of them in tears.

Mr and Mrs McCann are devout Catholics and have attended a number of services at the chapel since Madeleine disappeared last Thursday evening from their apartment while they ate in a tapas restaurant 100 metres away.

One expatriate woman, who gave her name only as Alison, had come with her nine-year-old daughter, Ashley. "As a mum I wanted to do something," she said. "I don't know how on earth we can offer any comfort but I wanted to make sure there were as many people here as possible to show our support."

Crimestoppers has set up a special number for information from holidaymakers in the Algarve. A spokeswoman said a number of calls had been passed to the police, four of them containing information that was potentially "very useful".

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Portugal defends Madeleine police










Portugal defends Madeleine police

Madeline disappeared while her parents were at a nearby restaurant

The police investigation into missing Madeleine McCann has been defended by the Portuguese ambassador in London.

Antonio Santana Carlos said the case was of "great concern" to Portugal and asked people to trust the police.

Little information has been made public, prompting concerns the police are not doing enough.

Three-year-old Madeleine, who is from Leicestershire, disappeared from a holiday resort in the Algarve village of Praia da Luz on Thursday.



The police are expected to give an update on their investigation at about 1830 BST on Tuesday.

There have been reports on Portuguese state television that a man and a child matching Madeleine's description were seen driving off in a car from the town of Nelas, about 300 miles (483km) north of Praia da Luz.

The channel reported that police road blocks had been set up in the area.

Meanwhile, Manchester United footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, who is Portuguese, said he was moved by news of the little girl's disappearance.

He made an appeal for information about her whereabouts on MUTV, Manchester United's television channel.

"I appeal for anyone with information to come forward," he said.

Prayers

Earlier, Madeleine's parents Gerry and Kate made a private visit to the local church of Nossa Senhora Da Luz (Our Lady of Light) to pray for her safe return.

Clutching Madeleine's favourite soft toy and a picture of her, Mrs McCann walked with her head bowed.

The couple were accompanied by a member of staff from the Mark Warner resort where Madeleine went missing.

The McCanns have said their Catholic faith has offered them hope and strength.


I ask you to trust the authorities... They are doing their best
Antonio Santana Carlos,
Portuguese ambassador

In an a interview with the BBC, Mr Carlos said that under Portuguese law there was very little information the police could disclose.

He said: "We are cooperating with Europol and Interpol and also with the British police.

"So for the police of course it is a completely open matter, but investigation is quite secretive and it has to carry on that way, due to our legal obligations that exist in Portugal."

He added: "I ask you to trust the authorities. They are doing their best. If they cannot give you more information, it's because they can't."

Police said they had widened their search to nine miles (15km) from Praia da Luz and are working with UK and other forces, taking witness statements and making inquiries into whether paedophile rings operate in the area.



Dave Shelton from Manchester, who now lives in the village, has been working with the police to co-ordinate volunteer searchers.

He told BBC News that a group of up to 20 locals and tourists were searching an area around the village, concentrating on ruins, wells and bushes.


He said: "Every morning at eight I go to see the police chief and he decides where we go and gives us our little zone, plus a map.

"We go off and do that area and then report back and tell him we have done the area so he can tick it off."

As the search continued, back in the Leicestershire village of Rothley, friends and neighbours of the McCanns are to hold a silent vigil for the family and people are being encouraged to light a candle or to tie a ribbon around railings at the war memorial.

Staff at Leicester's three hospitals also joined in prayer for the McCann family.

Madeleine's father is a consultant cardiologist at the city's Glenfield Hospital and her mother is a GP.



Madeleine's family have confirmed she was wearing white pyjama bottoms with a small floral design and a short-sleeved pink top with a picture of Winnie the Pooh character Eeyore when she disappeared.

Photo by Christopher Pledger
A set of pyjamas identical to the ones Madeleine was wearing

She is believed to have been taken from her bed while her parents were eating at a nearby restaurant and regularly checking on her and their two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie.

Around the marina in the nearby town of Lagos, maritime police have been searching amid claims a man was seen with a small girl in the area.

And tourist Amanda Mills, 34, from Basildon, Essex said that two weeks ago she saw a man trying to steal a pushchair at the resort when Madeleine went missing.

Mrs McCann found the outside shutter and window to Madeleine's room had been opened and her daughter missing shortly before 2200 local time on Thursday.

'Maddy was abducted and we have a suspect in mind'







'Maddy was abducted and we have a suspect in mind'

Portugese police believe three-year-old Madeleine McCann has been abducted and have a suspect in mind, a police chief said today. The toddler vanished from her bed at a holiday resort when her parents were in a restaurant only 40 yards away.

Guilhermino Encarnacao, director of the judicial police in the Faro region, said they were hopeful she is still alive and believe she is still in Portugal.

But he refused to reveal any more details for fear of endangering Madeleine's life.

The three-year-old's great uncle, Brian Kennedy said the family "fear the worst but we are hoping for the best."

British Ambassador John Buck was with Madeleine's family this afternoon. He confirmed that three family liaison officers from Leicestershire Police had now arrived and were with the family.

Kate and her husband Gerry, a consultant cardiologist, have told family and friends they suspect their daughter was snatched while her two-year-old twin brother and sister were sound asleep in cots on either side of her.

Madeleine, who was born by IVF treatment, disappeared from the family's ground-floor holiday apartment at the 'family friendly' Mark Warner holiday complex in the Praia da Luz resort as her parents ate at a tapas restaurant close by.

The child's aunt, Trish Cameron, yesterday described the frantic telephone call she received after the couple discovered their daughter was missing around ten o'clock on Thursday night.

"It was my young brother Gerry distraught on the phone, breaking his heart. He said: 'Madeleine's been abducted, she's been abducted'.

"They kept going back to check the kids every half hour. The restaurant was only 40 yards away. He went back at nine o'clock to check the children. They were all sound asleep, windows shut, shutters shut."

Kate then went over to the two-bedroom ground-floor apartment and 'came out screaming', said Mrs Cameron. 'The door was lying open, the window in the bedroom and the shutters had been jemmied open.

"Nothing had been touched in the apartment, no valuables taken, no passports. They think someone must have come in the window and gone out the door with her."

Portuguese police yesterday sealed off the three-storey block and forensic specialists fingerprinted the ground floor window of the McCanns' apartment. All airports, ports and border posts have been alerted.

But despite a massive search throughout the night by police, sniffer dogs and dozens of holidaymakers, there has been no sign of Madeleine, wearing white pyjamas when her parents put her to bed with twins Amelie and Sean in the bougainvillea-clad apartment.



Intriguingly, a Briton who runs a company in the Algarve has told police he spotted a couple carrying a young child early yesterday.

George Burke, from Liverpool, was driving home from nearby Lagos around 6am when he caught the two people in his car headlights. "I couldn't see them clearly because it was dark and windy. They scurried down a side road and out of sight."

Last night, as police helicopters and launches scoured the sea, beach and village, Madeleine's family issued a statement which read: "This is a particularly difficult time for the family and we are all comforting each other. At this time all the family's focus is in assisting the UK and in particular the Portuguese authorities in securing Madeleine's safe return."


Mr McCann, a consultant cardiologist at Leicester's Glenfield Hospital, and his wife Kate, a GP, had chosen the up-market resort because it was family-friendly.

A friend of the couple, Jill Renwick, said: "This is the first time they have done this. They are very, very anxious parents and very careful."

She said Madeleine - known as Maddy - was 'gorgeous, active and chatty and intelligent, not shy. She is four next week and starts school this year.'

The McCanns, who have been married eight years and recently moved into a £600,000 detached house in Rothley, a suburb of Leicester, were on holiday with a group of fellow doctors and other young children, paying around £1,600 for a week.

In the evenings, Mark Warner offers a drop-in creche service enabling customers to leave young children with staff while they enjoy a relaxing dinner.

Customers may also pay for individual baby-sitters but the McCanns, both 38, chose not to use either service, instead taking it in turns regularly to check their three young children themselves from the restaurant on the other side of a swimming pool from their apartment.

After Mrs McCann raised the alarm, Mark Warner said it immediately launched a search of all areas within the complex and the peaceful, 1,000-population fishing village.

Resort manager John Hill said: "As well as staff, we had guests helping, also the majority of the Praia da Luz village.

"Police were informed at the same time as the alarm was raised. They arrived about 10.45pm and after statements were taken from the family police decided to escalate the situation."

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Caring big sister: Madeleine, who is four next week, puts an arm around her two-year-old brother and sister, Sean, left, and Amelie for a family photograph

Paul Moyes, 47, from Cheshire, and his wife Susan own a holiday apartment in the same black as the McCanns. He said: "There was a knock on the door at about 11.30 from a hotel guest telling us a girl was missing and asking us to help in the search.

"There were uniformed police, plain clothes and even off-duty local officers. The search went on all night, people were using torches.

"We searched the beach and the hotel grounds with scores of people. Quite a few of us own holiday homes here so it's a close-knit community and something like this is terribly shocking." Michael Hannar, from Pontefract, Yorkshire, owns a ground floor apartment close to the McCanns.

He said: "I don't believe a three-year-old child would have been strong enough to open the window or shutter.

"Mine are difficult to open, especially if the window is fully closed. The shutter is also difficult to open."

Family friend Mrs Renwick said the McCanns - who met while training at the Western Infirmary at Glasgow - felt let down by police.

"I spoke to them this morning and they said the police had done nothing overnight and they felt as if they'd been left on their own."

Resort manager Mr Hill said: "We're in a sleepy fishing village and manpower for the police, I agree, was low at the time. After the CID were involved more police were called."

In Leicester, neighbours spoke of the loving, protective parents.

Tracey Horsefield, a 32-year-old nurse, said: "They never let those children out on their own. I have never seen Madeleine without her parents."

Mr McCann's mother Eileen, 67, from Glasgow, said the couple had been desperate to have children and eventually underwent IVF treatment.

"Madeleine made their lives complete when she came along. The three children were very close and I don't know how they will cope - how any of them will."

Madeleine's uncle Michael Healy said: "There has been some negative spin put on this, with people criticising them for leaving the kids.

"But it's nonsense, they were close by and eating within sight of where the children were and checking on them. No one was rip-roaring drunk."

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Politicians deserve game misconduct


Shane Doan



Politicians deserve game misconduct for Doan smear job
Don Martin, National Post
Published: Thursday, May 03, 2007

OTTAWA At the wrong place in front of the wrong people, they ended up making life miserable for the wrong guy.

A parliamentary committee loaded with third-string politicians could do nothing more than gulp, swear allegiance to the teams gold-medal objective and whimper with embarrassment as hockey star Shane Doan was exonerated as a worthy Captain Canada by the sports governing bodies.

The offending quip, a "f**king Frenchmen" slur muttered against an all-francophone referee lineup late in a December 2005 game, was actually from left-winger Ladislav Nagy of Slovakia, an admission that is expected to officially enter the court records during Doans defamation hearing against MP Denis Coderre.
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Yet, something tells me Slovakian politicians wont be hauling Nagy before a committee to justify his credentials as a national team player.

The setting for Canadas unprecedented meddle in none-of-their-business territory was loaded with negative irony. Inside the nations capital just off the Hall of Honour, parliamentarians engaged in a dishonorable, disingenuous and pointless tarnishing of an iconic Canadian.

They dusted off and dragged on Doans misery, extending the original wrong of his 10-minute penalty during the actual game into a bogus 16-month misconduct in the court of public opinion. Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson startled the committee very early on in the hearing by disclosing that Doan had been improperly tagged as the guy who uttered the anti-French slur.

He went on to argue that Doan was the logical, if not only choice, having played 46 games under the Maple Leaf while the remaining 22 Team Canada players combined had only 116 notches on their belts.

For one player to dominate Canadas place on the international arena so convincingly only to be denied the captain status would be unfathomable.

Yet, despite the quip clearance and Doans performance credentials, some MPs spent another hour sneering and smearing the hockey star before the cameras on topics far from the meetings purpose.

Much ado was made about official bilingualism, despite Hockey Canada being at the advanced state of working seamlessly in both official languages.

They fretted about the linguistic balance of the team, a query that backfired given that most francophones who were asked to play for the team turned down the opportunity for a variety of reasons.

And, incredibly, many persisted in saying that Doans sullied status deserved reconsideration of his leadership position.

The Bloc Quebecois, separatists who undoubtedly find the notion of Quebecers on a Team Canada offensive, were at their accusatory worst.

Blochead MP Luc Malo was particularly confrontational, insisting just the whiff of guilt was enough to rip the "C" off Doans jersey.

But when the inquisitor got an inquisition from Global Nationals tenacious TV reporter Hannah Boudreau after the meeting, as she dogged him down hallways demanding to know if unfounded allegations would be sufficient for Malo to surrender his MP credentials, the one-term wonder fled in a nervous sweat without answering.

For their part, government MPs did little more than sound like team groupies while soliciting praise for their sports equipment tax credit which, not surprisingly, Hockey Canada loved.

Look, its professionally a tad embarrassing to be writing columns on political antics of such a trivial matter when our troops are at war and were allegedly on some 15-year doomsday countdown clock before climate change kills the planet.

But its all too morbidly fascinating to look away as MPs thrashed about in mud of their own creation, demanded to know if a players language skills, not his ability to put goals in a net, were a factor in the selection process. Well, duh, no.

MPs and the sports representatives used the word "respect" ad nauseum respect for the committee, the process, each others comments, the players, the game, blah, blah, blah.

But the one person denied it deserved it most.

Shane Doan is showing incredible patriotism through a history of volunteer action. He sacrificed golf for gold, giving up time with his family and some horseback riding or mountain biking at his parents summer camp.

When his hand went up to help Canada reclaim its rightful gold medal podium position, he knew that meant cuts and bruises on ice. He could never have dreamed it meant a painful beating by his countrys politicians.

Establishing Doans guilt or innocence was always beyond the committees mandate. Hockey Canada says it has no second thoughts about its choice. To strip Doan of his captaincy would, in Nicholsons view, send players packing for home and leave Canada without a team.

The insult to injury was when those flicking hypocrites on the committee voted unanimously to cheer Team Canada on to victory after putting the team in a morale meltdown and smearing the teams figurehead.

My Solution to the Gun Violence in Toronto

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