Kate and Gerry McCann pour their hearts out at Leveson Inquiry

Kate and Gerry McCann today gave evidence at the Leveson Inquiry about the press intrusion their family has endured whilst trying to find their daughter.

Many people criticise them for courting the media and then crying foul because of malicious, false and libellous headlines, implicating them in the disappearance of their daughter.

Just for one minute, take a step back and put yourself in their shoes, just walk a mile and then you will understand why they wanted to use the media. They wanted people to search for their daughter, they wanted people to be vigilant and look out for their daughter. The crux of the matter was they wanted their daughter found and over four years later their plight has still not ended.

Today they are no closer to finding Madeleine than they were back in May 2007, but what they do have is the heartache of never ending days of not knowing if their daughter is alive.

Kate McCann, looked tired, the pain clearly etched on her face. Gerry gave evidence, but you could tell by the tone of his voice at times how stressing times have been.

Just imagine the fear that two little children must have had with photographers banging on car windows and taking photos. Kate McCann spoke of how her youngest daughter, told her she was scared at what was happening to them.

When Kate and Gerry spoke of those awful headlines, any mother would have felt her pain. They accepted that the police might have looked at them closely to see if they were involved. But who would have thought, evidence contained in those Police files would eventually find its way to the News of the World, especially as those documents were of no value to the investigation and a judge had ordered their destruction.

Yes Kate McCann had to read her personal diary word for word bar a few mis-translated words spread across the Sunday Tabloids. Private thoughts that should never have been in any papers not here and definitely not in Portugal. But was the News of the World the first paper to print Kate McCann’s private diaries? No they have previously been printed in a Portuguese Newspaper CdeM.

For years I doubted the McCanns, why because of the media, especially the news emanating from Portugal. There I was, and probably many others, being led by our noses that the British Press were protecting the McCanns and vilifying the Portuguese Police.  We were being brainwashed that the McCanns were guilty and that what was printed about the case was factual, it is only reading the files that you begin to understand the true implications of what the press did to the family of Kate and Gerry McCann.

What a shock to hear how many weekends, that were supposed to have been spent as a family, were ruined because of press intrusion and phone calls telling them, that this and that would appear in the paper.

Today I felt for the parents of Madeleine McCann and felt ashamed that I allowed myself to be manipulated by people and the media, into thinking they could be responsible. It is so easy to get swallowed up in some mad conspiracy theory that has no basis whatsoever. I have learnt the hard way, I have learnt never judge another person and accuse them and form an opinion based on media coverage. What I have learnt is what the papers tell you might never be the truth.

Nothing will ever put right what my actions did, but all I can do is apologise for my actions. Nothing will ever be right for the McCann family until they find their daughter. And yes I wholehearedly agree with Gerry McCann, the media coverage of the McCanns has distracted and harmed the search for Madeleine McCann.

To listen to the evidence of Gerry McCann speak of those headlines, where Kate was supposed to have harmed her daughter, was like seeing a mob mentality attack a grieving mother.

Yes you can grieve without suffering a bereavement, you can have your heart broken and your prayers unanswered when you have a missing child. Should the McCanns have been pilloried by the media? Most definitely not.

Today, we saw the worst of our media, we saw how they can turn from aiding a family to destroying that family without remorse. Today, through the damning evidence given by Kate and Gerry McCann, we saw decent jounralists feel ashamed at what their profession did to the family of a missing child.

Today we learnt, that the old saying, today’s headlines are tomorrow’s chip paper, simply is not true.  What words are printed, whether it be mainstream media or forums and blogs, affect real people.  Malicious comments based on unfounded allegations and pure speculation can cause added stress, strain and pain to a family who are already suffering the most horrendous pain imaginable by having their child missing.

Today the world learnt the true extent of those headlines, I, like many others, never knew how much this poor couple were suffering at the hands of the press… today should be the day that we each learn to stick to the facts and not the supposition, innuendo and assumptions that so many people seem to thrive on.


11 comments on “Kate and Gerry McCann pour their hearts out at Leveson Inquiry

  1. Was just reading Brian Cathcart’s evidence at the Leveson inquiry. 

    He mentions an article that I don’t recall ever having read before: 

    The Real McCann Scandal

    Brian Cathcart

    Published 23 October 2008


  2. 4.41pm: Myler says he had been given a categorical assurance that the McCanns’ representative Clarence Mitchell knew what they were about to do.Edmondson had no view that there was anything ambiguous in what we were going to do.However, Lord Justice Leveson describes a transcript of a conversation between Edmondson and Mitchell before the diaries were published as “ambiguous” and “not terribly clear”.4.36pm: Myler says:I think the extracts that appeared in Portugal were very limited, but there was a transcript of a conversation where he explains to me that he’s trying to get me to go big with it. In the course of that conversation Mr Mitchell tells me that he recalls an event where they [diaries had been used in part in the Portuguese press] … but only selective parts.Asked why he apogised to the McCanns, Myler says:I felt very bad that she didn’t know.
    Without her permission I wouldn’t publish them.
    Why would I do something as personal as that, however much behind the shield of nailing the lies of the Portuguese police?
    I don’t think that would be sufficient for the grief it caused her. I had nothing to gain and everything to lose.4.30pm: Myler is asked why he did not phone Gerry McCann and ask whether the News of the World had the consent to publish the diaries.He replies:Ian Edmondson had assured me on more that one occasion that [the McCanns’ spokesman] Clarence [Mitchell] was aware of what we were intending to do and had said ‘good’. I think it was very clear from Edmondson’s point of view that he had spelled out what he wanted to do.Myler added:I didn’t want Kate coming out of church on Sunday morning and finding that her diaries were public knowledge.4.28pm: The paper entered into a formal agreement on September 5, involving “a substantial sum of money to secure the diaries of McCann for exclusive publication”.4.24pm: Myler says elements of the diaries had already been published in Portuguese papers, and as far as he recalls the Portuguese journalist was also the source of these stories.He agrees that the diaries “probably emanated” from the Portuguese police.4.22pm: Jay recounts the background to the publication of the Kate McCann private diaries.The story was presented to him by news editor Ian Edmondson, who said he had a copy of the diary.The source, Jay says, was a Portuguese journalist. The dieries were available for €3,000 in total and had come from the Portuguese police in some way.Gerry and Kate McCann. Photograph: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP4.19pm: Myler on the McCanns’ privacy:I was very aware that they did enjoy and protect their own privacy and space. They had a lot going on, the pressure was pretty intense.
    The point I’m making is I didn’t abuse that. Unless there was a reason to specifically discuss, I didn’t want to waste their time.4.17pm: Myler is asked about Gerry McCann’s claims three weeks ago at the inquiry that Myler had an “irate” phone call with the couple following a decision to do an interview with Hello! magazine.Myler says:I was surprised to hear that from Gerry. I think he said I berated him. I do not have a reputation for berating people.4.16pm: Jay now raises the issue of the McCann diaries.Myler says in paragraph five and six in his statement the newspaper was “very supportive” of the McCanns and he wouldn’t adopt the stance taken by other papers.The paper had a very succesful campaign and raised £1.5m in 48 hours. He spoke to Gerry McCann frequently – every few weeks, depending on what was happening.http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/blog/2011/dec/14/leveson-inquiry-colin-myler-jon-chapman-live

  3. Hi Carana, here is the transcript of this afternoon’s hearing


    LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  Well, you’ve read this transcript,
    14    I’m sure.  It’s clearly not a document that spells it
    15    out in words of one syllable, is it?
    16 A.  You know, Mr Edmondson, given the number of times
    17    I asked him for the assurance to make sure that there
    18    was absolute clarity and understanding, had no view that
    19    there was anything ambiguous in what we were going to
    20    do.
    21 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  It may be, Mr Myler, that it’s unfair
    22    to ask you much more about this, but would you agree
    23    with this: this document is most clearly ambiguous?
    24 A.  This —
    25 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  This is the transcript that you were

    Page 921    sent by Mr Edmondson as establishing, presumably, the
    2    consent about which you were then concerned.  And it’s
    3    not terribly clear.  Would you agree with that?
    4 A.  I need to —
    5 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  All right.
    6 A.  I only got this bundle yesterday.
    7 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  That’s entirely fair enough.

    So even Lord Leveson on reading the transcript of the conversations states that it is not clear that they actually did get permission from CM

  4. And another thing I found interesting was the amount for which the diaries were trading hands for.

    Q.  Sorry, my understanding of this contract, and it’s quite
    15    a short document with very few stipulations, is that on
    16    consideration of the diary being supplied to the
    17    News of the World, News of the World would pay 20,000
    18    euros to the journalist, and its purpose would be for
    19    exclusive publication in the News of the World?
    20 A.  Yes.
    21 Q.  But the payment of 20,000 euros wasn’t dependent on it
    22    being exclusively published in the News of the World?
    23 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  Yes, it was, paragraph 6.
    24 A.  Yes, it was.  Yes, it was.  All the contracts were on
    25    that basis because we would run out of money rather

    Page 871    quickly —
    2 MR JAY:  Yes, you’re right, I’m wrong.
    3        So the next few days, I think the documents show,
    4    were devoted to establishing that the diaries were what
    5    they purported to be, do I have that right?
    6 A.  Yes.

  5. 6 Q.  Mr Edmondson to you, 5 September.  So we are nine days
    7    before the story:
    8        “We have got the Kate McCann diaries journalist at
    9    a meeting.  They are in Portuguese, translated by cops.
    10    Official police document looks good.  Don’t think this
    11    is a set-up.  We can take possession after paying
    12    a small deposit and pay the balance upon publication,
    13    3,000 euros in total.  Get it as great stuff for next
    14    week?  Ian.”
    15        So your source, as it were, was I think a Portuguese
    16    journalist?
    17 A.  Mm.
    18 Q.  I think it was a woman journalist, but it’s not going to
    19    matter.  Made clear to you that the Portuguese police
    20    had translated the diary and therefore they remained in
    21    Portuguese but they looked as if they were what they
    22    purported to be; is that correct?
    23 A.  Yes, according to this.

    • Clarence Mitchell has responded to the claim he approved the publiciation of the Kate McCann diary. He is very angry: he claims his contact with Edmondson was limited to one phone call and one text on the Friday and Saturday of publication. The text was “along the lines” of News of the World wanting to expose the lies of the Portuguese police (according to Channel 4’s Andy Davies). Mitchell claims at no point did Edmondson spell out that the News of the World had Kate McCann’s diary.


  6. Same story as the McCann’s…someone else was to blame…please!!!!!

    • Please!!!!!!!!! what?

      I think it is quite clear from Lord Leveson and what he said at the inquiry that the transcript of what was said between CM and Edmondson was  ambiguous and not clear at all.

      But don’t let the truth get in the way of vilifying the McCanns, will you?  I am afraid to say that no matter what they say or do there are some people that will just twist their words to suit their agenda.

      Doesn’t it bother you that a Journalist was given a document that was held by the Police and a document that was supposed to have been destroyed by Judges order?

  7. Some will only see what fits with their preconceived theories, not what is actually said.

    20.000 euros  –  not bad earnings for a doc. that should never have found its way into the public domain from the investigation process.

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