Gerry McCann: 'Ask the dogs, Sandra'
Transcript, with many thanks to Johanna at unterdenteppichgekehrt.blogspot.com
Sandra: Hello Kate, Hi Gerry. You have called us here, or invited us here to show these two new pictures of how Madeleine might look like now at the age of six and also to watch a video, a new appeal video, but you have been recently together in Lisbon. Have you truely felt that the portuguese public opinion is still with you?
Gerry: I think obviously there has been a lot written that is very negative, and ehm it is inevitable that given so much..., so much was written negative about us, that some people felt that we were involved, that we do feel now, that legal action has been taken and the judicial process has seen that there is no evidence to support what has been written.
Sandra: You are talking about Goncalo Amaral's book?
Gerry: Yeah, but also with the publication of the file in the first place erm an initial process of the criminal erm file and regarding Madeleine's disappearance. You know there is no evidence that we were involved and subsequently the action we have taken recently I think that people are now prepared to continue the search for Madeleine and that is why we are here today asking people to help us trying to get this very important message...
Sandra: But how can you explain that Goncalo Amaral has sold over 175.000 copies defending that you played the keyrole in Madeleine's disappearance?
Kate: I mean I think it's important to remember Sandra, the only victim in all of this is Madeleine erm and that is obviously why we are here today really, we are trying to, we are trying to (sigh) reach that person who knows something, and there is somebody who knows something, not the person who has taken Madeleine, but the person on the periphery, and that might just be erm a colleague of the person, a neighbour, a fami..., you know this person, the abductor, has got a mother, a brother, a cousin, a part of family, so that...
Sandra: Do you believe that the public opinion in Portugal right now after reading the book of Goncalo Amaral erm still can support you? Still can answer to that appeal?
Gerry: Now that's the key point why we are taking action Sandra and that is part of the legal process as you know. There is already an injunction out against the book He is banned from repeating his thesis that Madeleine is dead and we were involved. Now that has been two separate judges plus the original judgemental file have said that thats what we will do with discussing the facts. Thats the correct place to discuss.Goncalo Amaral. And the Book...
Sandra: Are you saying that Goncalo Amaral doesn't have the right to share his opinion, his conviction under the evidence he gathered into a book? He doesn't have freedom of expression to say that and to publish it?
Gerry: There is a difference between freedom of expression and evidence to support a theory. What the judges have said there isn't evidence to support this theory, so he shouldn't be saying it. And is about as much as we want to say about him. You know that's a legal process and we have challenged it, it's been through the judicial process and thats....
Sandra: The files were closed and no thesis won. How can you explain that after Goncalo Amaral, Paulo Rebelo, the next investigator, also pursued this thesis? He also investigated the possibility of you both play the keyrole in Madeleine's disappearance?
Gerry: It was investigated, the evidence was presented to the judiciary, and the judiciary concluded there was no evidence to support that thesis, that's very...
Sandra: No DNA, but how do you explain...
Gerry: No no...
Sandra: ...the coincidence...
Gerry: The DNA is only one aspect of it, there was no evidence to support our involvement in Madeleine's disappearance, that is the key thing. Madeleine is still missing, we are here as her family to continue the search. Now I can't speak for people who have read the book but obviously it doesn't stand up to critical appraisal (?).
Sandra: But this is the first time that you give us a big interview not being arguidos, not being arguidos. Since then. erm. So now I feel free to ask you this directly. How can you explain the coincidence of the scent of cadaver found by british and not portuguese dogs?
Kate: Sandra, maybe you should ask the judiciary because they have examined all evidence. I mean we are also Madeleine's mum and dad and we are desperate for people to help us find Madeleine which is why we are here today. The majority of people are inherently good and I believe the majority of people in Portugal are inherently good people and I am asking them if they will help us spread this message to that person or people...
Sandra: So you don't have an explanation for that?
Gerry: Ask the dogs (smirk) Sandra.
Sandra: Ask the dogs? No Gerry. Now I feel free to ask you, don't you feel free to answer me?
Gerry: I can tell you that we have also looked at evidence about (haha) cadaver dogs and they are incredibly unreliable.
Gerry: Cadaver dogs, yes. That's what the evidence shows, if they are tested scientifically.
Sandra: You read the files, Kate?
Kate: Yes I have read the files.
Sandra: What did shock you most? Any part of the... any detail that...you weren't... aware of? Something that has really surprised you or you didn't find anything?
Kate: Oh I have been through them and I have made notes and I passed that on to our investigation team obviously.
Sandra: And you found any evidence? Of anything?
Kate: Well obviously the only evidence I wanna find is who has taken Madeleine and where she is. They are the key things and until we actually get that bit of information you know we are always gonna feel like we are a long way away. But basically what we are doing is trying to get as much information as we can and trying to put the jig-shaw, jigsaw together, so finally we have the complete picture.
Sandra: And what about your friends? Did you have a pact of silence with your friends?
Kate: (laughing) You know the judicial secrecy?
Sandra: I know it but we don't have it anymore.
Gerry: You have to put it into context of the situation that we were in...
Sandra: But now is the time to explain it...
Gerry: That, ar.. ar... article that was written in June was directly as a result of the journalist phoning all of us, and saying what can you tell us about it and we were under explicit instructions that we were not to talk about the details of the case, under judicial secrecy. So that is all that people did. And I don't think that should be considered a pact of silence.We were told, that's what we were to do. And you wouldn't expect witnesses in other cases in any country to begin divulging information that may be useful to the perpetrator of the crime.
Sandra: Are you still friends? Do you plan another trips together or did it damage...?
Kate and Gerry: No No
Kate: We are still friends. We haven't got any holidays planned but we are still friends. We are in touch with each other, we still meet up and see each other.
Sandra: Don't you agree that there were a lot of details that in a certain way contribute to people to doubt of you, for example, when you went to the Vatican so quickly, all the contacts that you have made. Can I ask you Gerry, if you personally know Mr. Gordon Brown the Primeminister?
Gerry: (moving on his chair uncomfortably) No, and we still, we have never met Gordon Brown. We have spoken to him once on the phone several weeks after Madeleine was abducted. People have got to remember that, and what today is about... good ordinary people wanted to help find an innocent missing child. And that's what happened. Clearly there was a huge amount of media coverage and people wanted to look at ways to help. Our government wanted to assist the investigation to find the missing child.
Sandra: Are they still supporting you, Mr. Gordon Brown still talks to you directly?
Gerry: We have had continued meetings with both the Home Office and also with the Foreign Office to discuss ways in which the search can continue. Obviously today is a prime example of law enforcement-LED initiative with CEOP with... in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies, Interpol, Europol, and you know, the key thing is, that law enforcement believe we can get information from those who may know.
Sandra: How could you explain that Clarence Mitchell left the British Government where he was a press speaker to be your press speaker?
Gerry: Obviously, when Clarence came first out to Portugal working for the Government at that time he came out and spent I think almost three, two to three weeks with us, and he got to know us very very well, and he felt very very passionate about the search for Madeleine and when the opportunity arose, erm, you know, we asked him if he would come back and shield us from the intense media interest and that is what Clarence has done superbly well, and he has become an extremely good friend during this.
Sandra: But he must be paid.?
Gerry: He was paid, that's right
Sandra: And now he must be paid?
Gerry: yeah, but you know...
Sandra: Isn't it difficult for you to pay him?
Gerry: You know, in the first period Brian Kennedy paid his salary and then he was subsequently paid by the fund and now, you know, he works part-time on this, and he is a consultant for Freud Agency, so, you know, as the media interest dropped down, we haven't needed a full-time spokesperson. He still works with us, we are working very closely with him and he has done a brilliant job protecting us and allowing us to have some degree of normality as a family considering the very very intense media interest.
Sandra: You have also hired a new communication agency back in Portugal. Why do you think you need it and is it easy for you to afford it?
Gerry: Well again, it is an agreement that it is funded out of Madeleine's fund. It's a decision that was made by the directors of the fund, because we felt... Kate and I are both directors of the fund, there are nine directors in total, that to really make the search successful we had to present information to the portuguese public, given how much had been written in a negative way about us, and obviously we want to work with someone who understands the portuguese culture and the portuguese media and how we could persuade people that Madeleine is still out there and still can be found....
Sandra: Until when do you think that you will afford all this? Two lawyers in Portugal, a news agency, Clarence Mitchell... I don't know if you still have the two lawyers that you have hired here in London?
Kate: It's not ideal, you know, Sandra. We wouldn't have any lawyers, we wouldn't need any appeal if we weren't in the situation....
Sandra: But don't you feel strangled? Don't you feel that some day you feel it will be finished the money?
Kate: We have to do whatever we can to find Madeleine and obviously we have to look at sort of , you know, if the fund starts to run out we have to try and get more money in, we can't stop...
Sandra: And how do you do it?
Gerry: Well, you know, people have been extremely kind. You have to remember that the fund was set up initially because so many people offered money to try and help and wanted to help and were prepared to donate. We would love nothing better for Madeleine to be found and for the remaining moneys in the fund to go to helping other families of missing children both in the UK and in Portugal, and that is one of our objectives when we have found Madeleine... AND her abductor, then the moneys will be used for that. Obviously if the money runs out... is running out, then we have to look at alternative ways of fundraising erm we have done small events, community events, which have been very good for team building. We have had a small auction in Madeleine's school and the school where the twins are.
Sandra: Do you still have the support of Mr. Richard Branson, JK Rowling, this multimillionaire that initially gave you a lot of money?
Gerry: (burblegurgle) ..an independent investigation that has been funded completely out of Madeleine's fund... I mean an event like today, there is no specific cost for it, and this is obviously the internet, people already have subscriptions, they can do this. There is the willingness of the population to help and I think we will find hundreds of thousands if not millions of people today will forward this link to their contacts in countries all over the world. That is cheap.
Sandra: Do you still have money in the fund?
Gerry: There is some money still in the fund and it continues to be used and we will use every single penny in that fund in the search for Madeleine.
Sandra: You have asked Goncalo Amaral to pay you 1 million euros for damage erm for the defamation for example. Do you need that money to finance the campaign?
Kate: The reason why we have taken action against Goncalo Amaral is the damage that he has done for Madeleine. That's our main focus.
Sandra: Which motives could he have to make up all this story?
Gerry: We can't speak for Goncalo Amaral.
Sandra: But I presume that you think something? Why should an investigator make it up, a story without evidence
Kate: It has to be financial gain, hasn't it?
Sandra: You think that he made this with the commercial perspective?
Kate: You would have to ask him to get the answer to this.
Sandra: So this is your idea?
Kate: It's a possibility, isn't it. I mean I have....
Sandra: You think Goncalo Amaral is trying to win money playing with your, erm your child's life?
Kate: We have to wonder why an ex-inspector of the PJ would want to convince the population that Madeleine is dead, with absolutely no evidence whatsoever. And that question should be asked.
Sandra: Do you feel that there is a difference of treatment between the portuguese authorities and the british authorities? In any moment did you feel, or do you feel still, that you were victims of the portuguese investigation?
Gerry: The key victim is Madeleine. I mean, that's what the crime is about. We know we had to be investigated. And we have been investigated.
Sandra: Sorry Gerry, but you Kate said once, that you were feeling bad with what they asked you inside the PJ, trying to get a confession from you...
Kate: I know the truth Sandra, you know what I mean, and all I want to do is find Madeleine and I was upset...
Sandra: So have you forgotten everything that already passed? It's passed for you both?
Kate: The only thing we can do now is look forward, you know, you know. There is lessons to be learned by everyone ourselves included, from what's happened. But, all we want to do is find Madeleine and the only way of doing that is by looking forwards and trying to be proactive and see what we can do now, which is why this message has gone out today.
Sandra: Did you go back to work? Are you working already?
Kate: I am working full time in the campaign to find Madeleine. I am looking after Sean and Amelie.
Sandra: You don't have any plans to go back to the clinic?
Kate: No I don't, no I don't
Sandra: You don't. And talking about the twins. Now the time is passing. Two years and a half since Madeleine disappeared. They are growing up. How will you be able to explain them what happened one day they have the age to really understand it?
Gerry: It's like filling in a picture for them with the information we have available and we will give them as their minds inquire, and as they are able to handle that information, then we will answer all of their questions openly and honestly.
Sandra: But what will you tell them
Gerry: Well, we will answer the questions. So what they ask us we will tell them. And we tell them exactly what happened and what information we know. And what we do know, is that we are continuing to look for their sister. They want people to look for their sister.
Sandra: But will you go into details about what happened?
Kate: We will be led by them. We have had avice from a child psychologist and they said Sean and Amelie would lead the way. If they ask a question answer them honestly. We are not gonna rush them, but if they ask something, then obviously we will answer them.
Sandra: They are in the same school where Madeleine was?
Gerry: Well she didn't get a chance to start yet so, she was there, her place is there, and the twins are there now.
Sandra: The room, Madeleine's room is still the same?
Kate: The bedroom? Yeah, it's quite a few more presents in it now, but yeah, it's still the same.
Sandra: And what do you keep telling the twins whenever they ask for her? I presume that they ask about her a lot of times?
Kate: Well they know she is missing, you know, and they know we are looking for her, and they also say things to me like, if they see things like a Madeleine sticker or a poster, they say "look Mummy they are helping to find Madeleine with us", and they might point at other people saying "Mummy are they helping us to find Madeleine?" and you know, so *shrugs*
Sandra: Is it still very hard for you or are you getting used to this reality? Are you trying to live with it?
Kate: You have to, I think, you have to adapt and you have to function. And if we want to look after Sean and Amelie, and if you want to search for Madeleine, then you have to function. Erm. I am obviously stronger than I was say a year ago, and, obviously the emotion is still there...but...*sigh*
Gerry: Well we do as much as we possibly can to ensure that the twins see us happy, and see us happy with them, and they give us a tremendous amount of joy, and our life, you know, on a day-to-day basis superficially would look like any other family with two young children. Obviously one of our children is missing. And they know that and they know that that's not good and they want her back and they understand why on occasion, you know, that we are particularly upset and... we all want Madeleine back to be a complete family again, but the twins are coping fantastic...
Sandra: You told me once that you are both living a nightmare. In your more optimistical perspective, what do you imagine, what do you think, it could be the best way to recover Madeleine.
Gerry: I think, the first thing today is that this message, it can be downloaded and distributed, be heard and seen by someone who knows, and it well tweak their conscience and get them to give information to bring Madeleine back.
Sandra: The last lead that you have shared with us was about a women in Barcelona. Has this anything to do with this appeal? (Kate shakes head?) Is it for that, that you are asking the relatives of people that can be involved in her disappearance, to call you?
Gerry: I think the first thing to say is that the investigation is to be dealt with by professionals and obviously we have got David Edgar working for us or law enforcement as a project (?). Today is about this appeal. It is completely separate. It is going out in seven different languages, we want it to be spread as far and as wide as possible because we don't know where Madeleine is and we don't know who took her and that's why we need the public's help to spread the email, an email to all your contacts. I know you have already done it, Sandra.
Sandra: Thank you very much to you both.
Psst! You must see the 'cartoonified' interview to the McCanns at The McCann Gallery!