Do you have them? I sure do... and they keep irritating me!
From day one, the public were bombarded with claims of abduction, jemmied shutters and swarthy intruders. Visions of a beautiful, big eyed child were emblazoned on our television screens 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. British toddler, Madeleine McCann, aged just 3 had been 'taken'.
Bring Madeleine home, she's not yours!
Then came the not-so-televised news from John Hill, Manager of the Ocean Club that the shutters were perfect, there was no sign of a break in to the apartment. Brief photos of the 'jemmied' shutters were shown on the news to be undamaged.
But hold that result... forget about the shutters, they're not newsworthy! Rewind back to the sweet little three year old with the big eyes. Forget about the fact that Madeleine, her 2 year old twin siblings and all of her younger friends were apparently left alone, night after night in empty apartments. Forget about the fact that this group of 9 adults all dined, drank and had their jollies in a restaurant down the road while all of their children were left alone to care for themselves. All of these children were 3 years and under!! That's not so much an irritating niggle, but a gobsmacking one. And one that bemuses me to this day, because it's only ever referenced to the McCanns. Nine adult individuals behaved in the same manner, apparently...
Anyway, back to those niggles... thanks to our great British press and media, I would be well on the way to actually believing the theory of abduction if it weren't for certain photo opportunities that Mr and Mrs McCann seemed to grasp with open arms...
Now forgive me, but the photos pictured above were all taken in the weeks following Madeleine's disappearance. The first photo (unbelievably) was taken on the 12th May 2007, just 9 days after Madeleine McCann's disappearance was announced to the world. Nine days without your child, without knowing where she is or who she's with? Nine days of not seeing your child with your own eyes and nine days of worry. Could you bring yourself to function properly within 9 days, let alone smile, laugh, prance around holding balloons and flowers?... In public.
It's in the utmost bad taste, even more so when you consider that (as her parents maintain) Madeleine McCann could be sitting with her 'abductor' in front of the television screen, recognising her parents' obvious smiles emanating from those photos. Well, let's give Mr and Mrs McCann the benefit of the doubt - maybe they have no control over their emotions and simply smile, laugh and be jolly at the most inappropriate moments. I'm sure Madeleine would understand.
Anyway, let's talk about another niggle... that of the Hell Hounds from South Yorkshire.
Eddie and Keela were actually the brainchild and suggestion of the British police. They are both spaniels (not collies) with incredible noses, and when working Eddie detects cadaver odour, Keela detects blood. These dogs have travelled the world, are in great demand and Eddie actually earns more money than McDonalds on a good day!
The dogs arrived in August 2007 with their owner Martin Grimes, and if this had been a run of the mill abduction case, you would expect them not to mark at all, pat on the head, dog biscuit and go home? These are the places that the Portuguese police requested that the dogs put their snouts...
Five apartments at the complex in Praia de Luz.
Mr Murat's property at Praia de Luz.
Mr and Mrs McCanns' villa at Praia de Luz
Articles of clothing from the McCanns' residence.
Western beach Praia de Luz.
Eastern Beach Praia de Luz.
10 Vehicles screened at Portimao
The dogs alerted in the McCanns' apartment, in their car and on various items of clothing belonging to Mrs McCann and a child's t-shirt. We are talking about a cadaver dog, alerting to the scent of a cadaver. Which in layman's terms is alerting to the scent of a dead body and I'm sorry to say that dogs don't lie. The cadaver dog also alerted to Madeleine's iconic soft toy, known as Cuddlecat.
They alerted nowhere else. Not in any other apartment or car or clothes. Only places and items belonging to the McCanns. Talk of false positives and false markings are rubbish because the dogs would have marked here, there and everywhere.
This is the biggest niggle of all... unfortunately I can't ask the dogs, so if you could explain that one for me I would be most grateful.
Eddie and Keela in action.