Today I followed a tweet made by Joana Morais about a Hartlepool man who has been denied access to the Police Files about his missing daughter, Katrice who went missing on her second birthday from a NAAFI supermarket in Paderborn in Germany on November 28, 1981.
My heart and thoughts and prayers go to Mr Peter Luff, because not knowing what happened to your child must be one of the hardest things to have to live with.
Joana Morais tweeted this, but I do have to ask myself if the story had not involved the mention of Madeleine McCann would she have bothered even tweeting this?
Mr Luff has been denied access to the investigation on the grounds that it could prejudice a future trial. Mr Luff said in the Hartlepool Mail the following:
“The investigation into Katrice Lee’s disappearance remains open and disclosure of the case files, even to a family member, could have a prejudicial effect on the investigation or any subsequent trial.
“The Ministry of Defence also has a duty to protect an individual’s personal data under the Data Protection Act 1998 and disclosure of case documents could represent a breach of confidence where the information was provided for the purpose of a police investigation.”
The police files, with regards to the disappearance of Madeleine, that the McCanns received did not come from British Police, they came from the Portuguese Ministry, who released the files on a DVD to journalists who had to apply to receive a copy. Paulo Reis, explained that one of the conditions the press had to adhere to, when they received these files, was that they could be used to write a story and the facts could be printed but they were not allowed to quote the files verbatim.
In July 2008, the McCanns applied to the High Court for release of information held by the British Police, namely Leicester. Out of 11,000 documents the McCanns received only 81 pieces of information, believed to be about sightings. Also Clarence Mitchell confirmed that the information they received was information that had already been given to the McCanns by the Public which was subsequently passed onto the Police.
Clarence Mitchell says in the Daily Mail:
‘This is important information.
‘They are potentially 80 new leads for our private investigators to work with and that will be done as an absolute priority.
‘Bearing in mind this is from people who contacted Kate and Gerry and the police in the early stages of the investigation, this is very good news for the investigation.’
The McCanns lawyer, Tim Scott QC said the evidence related to:
phone calls made to the McCanns’ solicitors and passed on to the Leicester control room at the start of the inquiry.
So in effect the information that the McCanns were getting back, was not new information, but information that had already been told to their lawyers.
The pieces of information received by the McCanns from Leicester Police were about potential sightings. The 2,000 pages of sightings the McCanns received back in February 2010 again was from the Portuguese Public Ministry.
I do feel for Mr Luff especially if he is lead to believe that the British Police have handed over files to the McCanns, which appears not to be the case.
The laws of our land do not allow the British Police to release case files…. especially if an investigation is still open and even if it is closed or archived due to lack of leads or evidence, we still DO NOT hand over Police files.
But what I find even more disgusting is people jumping on someone else’s tragedy in order to try and get one over on the McCanns or to use a story to bash the parents of another missing child, and in this case the parents of Madeleine McCann.
Would these people have bothered about this poor man and his campaign to get the files with regards to his missing child, if the McCann name had not been mentioned in the article? … I doubt it very much.
Mr Luff probably wouldn’t even have got a looking by the anti-McCann brigade if the McCann name was not in the article.