Saturday, 2 October 2010

The Mindset of the McCanns

Kate and Gerry McCann obviously felt at ease leaving their three toddlers alone, in a dark apartment.  Night after night, while they dined and drank with their friends elsewhere in the village of Praia de Luz.  They've apparently been told by many people that 'everyone does it' and what they did 'falls within the realms of responsible parenting'.  Clarence Mitchell agrees with them, saying that it's a very 'British thing' to do.

I personally disagree with the comments Mr and Mrs McCann have made.  I have never carried out anything remotely similar, and I don't know anyone who has either.  And I don't think it's responsible.  I would also disagree with Mr Mitchell's comments about it being a British thing - it's not.

Anyway, let's give the benefit of the doubt and pretend that everyone does actually do it.  We all know the script... the layout and position of the apartment in relation to the Tapas Restaurant.  Put yourself in the shoes and minds of parents who leave three small toddlers to care for themselves.


It's a brisk night, darkness has already begun to descend as you check one final time that your three children are tucked up, asleep in bed.  You make your way out of the apartment, sliding the patio door behind you, leaving it ulocked and cross the balcony.

Aren't you already looking back to see if they've followed you?

You open the stairgate (which incidently is not recommended for children over 2 years as they can clamber over) and make your way down the steep, concrete steps.  It's very dark as the large hedge and plants obscure the light from entering the area.

Aren't you already thinking 'How dangerous is this? Totally unsuitable for families'...

You close the latch on the little wrought iron gate (there is no lock) and make your way down the hill towards the entrance to the Ocean Club Reception.

Aren't you aware that this is a road, with traffic and parked cars.

You enter the Ocean Club complex through two sets of double doors and make your way along the snaking path.  Past the toilet, through shrubs and bushes, past the swimming pool.

Aren't you thinking all this is between you and your children.

You arrive at the Tapas Restaurant and are shown to your table.  It's a cool night but luckily your table is undercover.  You look over to your apartment block.  Your flat is out of view, obscured by both distance and the shrubbery.  It is also dark and there's a chill in the air.

Aren't you wondering if they're still asleep, if they're still safe or calling out for you?

What is going through your mind right now, knowing that you have another thirty minutes before you need to look at those children again?  Thirty long minutes... in which a lot can happen - falls from beds, slipping on tiles, fingers jammed in doors, plugs, undersink cupboard, cutlery drawer, table corners... the list inside the apartment is endless.  As is the outside - steep stairs, cars, strangers...

Do any of these things enter your mind as you're thinking about your children being on their own?

What about the simple thought of a little boy or girl opening their eyes in the silent darkness to find that he or she is all alone.  It's one thing wakening up from a bad dream and another thing wakening up in one.


Many people are sceptical about the theory of 'neglect', they speculate that it never happened and is a cover for something else.  Others speculate about the children being given a little something to help them sleep.  Putting myself in this particular mindset, I begin to wonder myself.


  1. Me.Myself, Moi

    Totally agree with all your "red" quotes.

    It is not possible for a responsible parent to do what the McCanns and the Tapas7 did. Baby listener of not, it's not good enough.

    The statistics say that most accident happen in houses. So what were these so-called Doctors doing - it matters not whether they checked every 30 minutes,15 minutes, 10 minutes 1 minute. Their children were under four years of age and could not look after themselves. If that were true we would have countless parents leaving to go to work every day and leaving their children alone in the house. Save a fortune of nannies, etc., But normal parents don't.

    Giving them sedation does not make them secure - just unconcious - if we are to believe the McCanns - their abducted daughter proves otherwise.


  2. It's quite a good idea to put yourself in the "shoes and minds"... Thank you !

    "You enter the Ocean Club complex through two sets of double doors"
    Are you sure ? There's one (simple ?) at the reception...

  3. Yes, quite sure about the doors. The main entrance doors are from the street, you then pass through the reception and there are a further set of doors which enable you to gain entry to the pool and bar area.

  4. It can be easily solved - you just have to nip along to your nearest Butlins, upgrade it a bit in your mind, and there you have it - virtually the same layout - (this is a joke)- but in reality that's all this complex is - an up-market Butlins.


  5. Strangely enough no one ever mentioned this. I had some difficulty to know whether the street door was the kind that closes itself or whether you have to close it.
    You're so sure that it means you went there and saw.
    In fact 3 doors, a bit of a street and 2 grades change the like at the back of the garden picture !

  6. Anne... the reception area is in an enclosed little building in itself. You can enter/exit two ways - via the street entrance or the poolside entrance. Both entrances have doors. I don't think it makes any difference whether the door closes itself or not.

    In reference to the back garden comment, well you could say that you had to go through your garage on the way back to the house.

  7. In addition to the above... I've been trying to find some online evidence of a second set of doors. Very difficult as most of the attention was centred around the front entrance of the Ocean Club.

    However, in this documentary, The Mystery of Madeleine McCann, Martin Brunt walks alongside his camera crew from the Tapas Bar to the apartment to give an idea of distance. His walk starts at 4min 40secs and the second set of doors can be clearly seen at 5min 25secs.

    It's certainly helpful to view the walk to the apartment in this manner - it certainly is not like eating in the back garden.

  8. Thank you so much, MMM ! I'm afraid I still don't understand well... The window door we can see from 5'24 on is what I thought was the reception only access to the pool and tapas bar, and I doubted whether it remained open or had to be open and closed every time they went to check on the children.
    Now you're speaking of a different access you call the poolside entrance (whereas the other is the street entrance). Where is that one ?

  9. Angelique,

    You don't even have to go to Butlins to try it out. Just step out your front door and walk the required amount of yards - you'll be surprised at the distance you travel. Especially if you go round corners and walk around obstacles. It really is an eye opener as to what you would feel comfortable putting between yourself and your children.

  10. 30 long long minutes this would seem forever to a small child waking up alone .The increasing panic and terror that a child would feel when no-one came in those long 30 mins could be enough to make a child vomit and inhale the vomit through her sobs,possibly rendering her unable to breath ... Gerry is it 30 mins since we checked the kids??? asks Kate !!

    I Agree with all you've said Potting shedder and you are quite right ,a lot can happen to a child if left alone for 30 minutes !!!

  11. Me, Myself, Moi

    Yes - it is a long way - have to admit that if I need to go out and my washing machine is still running - I even feel a bit worried that it won't flood the kitchen while I am gone. I know I couldn't do what the McCanns did, night after night. It's unreal - it's selfish and no - it's not what other parents do!


  12. For three years I thought the parents could not possibly be involved, although i was astounded two educated adults could think it reasonable to leave their three kids under four. Six months or so ago I came across a youtube clip of 'Gerry scratching his ear denying medicating the children. I knew instantly that i thought he was lying. There is a childs medicine called Medised, over the ounter. This is paracetamol based with an antihistamine which makes kids drowsy. Shortly after Madeleine disappeared the guidelines over selling this were tightened hugely.

    I have often wondered if this was used.

    Reading this, I put myself in their shoes (as much as one could, as a parent who wouldn't dream of leaving her child) and I now believe they didn't leave those kids alone. It is simply impossible to pass a swimming pool knowing your children are in an unlocked apartment alone.

    There is something very wrong here.


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