Below are listed the main agencies and individuals employed by the McCann Team, in the approximate order in which they were appointed. The details given are by no means a complete record of these matters, which clearly illustrate the unsuitability of all of them to search for a missing child:
1 Brian Kennedy
2 Gary Hagland
3 Metodo 3
4 Francisco Marco
5 Antonio Gimenez Raso
6 Julian Peribanez
7 Marcos Aragao Correia
8 Oakley International
9 Kevin Halligen
10 Henri Exton
11 Tim Craig-Harvey
13 Former Detective Inspector Dave Edgar
14 Former Detective Sergeant Arthur Cowley
15 Melissa Little
Brian Kennedy has been the acknowledged head of the McCanns’ private investigations since September 2007, possibly even before then. He must take personal responsibility therefore for the appointment of all the other 14 agencies and individuals listed above.
I refer now to an article by Mark Hollingsworth in the Evening Standard in August 2009, which discusses the McCanns’ private investigation. Here is part of it, quote:
“Kennedy hired Metodo 3, an agency based in Barcelona, on a six-month contract and paid it an estimated £50,000 a month. Metodo 3 was hired because of Spain’s ‘language and cultural connection’ with Portugal. ‘If we’d had big-booted Brits or, heaven forbid, Americans, we would have had doors slammed in our faces’ said Clarence Mitchell, spokesperson for the McCann’s at the time. ‘And it’s quite likely that we could have been charged with hindering the investigation as technically it’s illegal in Portugal to undertake a secondary investigation.
The agency had 35 investigators working on the case in Britain, France, Spain, Portugal and Morocco. A hotline was set up for the public to report sightings and suspicions, and the search focussed on Morocco. But the investigation was dogged by over-confidence and braggadocio. ‘We know who took Madeleine and hope she will be home by Christmas,’ boasted Metodo 3’s flamboyant boss Francisco Marco. But no Madeleine materialised and their contract was not renewed.Until now, few details have emerged about the private investigation during those crucial early months, but an investigation by the Evening Standard shows that key mistakes were made, which in turn made later enquiries far more challenging.
The Evening Standard has spoken to several sources close to the private investigations that took place in the first year and discovered that :
* The involvement of Brian Kennedy and his son Patrick in the operation was counter-productive, notably when they were questioned by the local police for acting suspiciously while attempting a 24-hour ‘stake out’.
* The relationship between Metodo 3 and the Portuguese police had completely broken down.
* Key witnesses were questioned far too aggressively, so much so that some of them later refused to talk to the police.
* Many of the investigators had little experience of the required painstaking forensic detective work”.
These were very serious allegations. The most serious by far was the claim that Brian Kennedy’s men had intimidated potential witnesses into silence.
I must also refer to what at the time was a secret meeting held on 13 November 2007 between Brian Kennedy and the first and chief suspect at the time, Robert Murat. This was a highly irregular meeting between the man investigating Madeleine’s disappearance for the McCanns (Brian Kennedy) and the original suspect in the case (Robert Murat). Present at the meeting, held in the Portugal home of Robert Murat’s aunt and uncle, Ralph and Sally Eveleigh, were: Kennedy and the McCanns’ co-ordinating Solicitor (and since 2009 a Director of the Find Madeleine Fund), Edward Smethurst, and Robert Murat, his mother, aunt and uncle and Murat’s lawyer, Francisco Pagarete. It was therefore a meeting between top legal representatives of the three main suspects in the case. When, a fortnight later, news of the meeting was leaked to the Portuguese press, Kennedy claimed he had met Murat simply ‘to offer him a job looking for Madeleine’. These facts suggest that Operation Grange should have investigated what the real reason was for this meeting.
He was employed by Cheshire businessman Brian Kennedy, who led the series of private investigations conducted by the McCanns and the Directors of the McCanns’ ‘Find Madeleine Fund’. He worked for him, according to statements of his that I have seen, from around September 2007 to March/April 2008, and was based in a house bought by Brian Kennedy for the investigation in Knutsford, Cheshire. He had no qualifications or experience in looking for missing children. His only qualification appears to be in money laundering legislation. An article was written by him in 1993, published in the Journal of Financial Regulation and Compliance. Accompanying this abstract is a brief description of the author, Gary Hagland, which states: ““Gary Hagland, AMSI MIMgt, entered the fledgling area of compliance in 1985 after leaving the Royal Hong Kong Police where he had served in criminal intelligence for some six years”. In addition, Hagland has written a book, under the pen name ‘Mason Horsburgh’, titled ‘UFO: A Saucer full of Secrets’, in which he describes encounters with aliens and flying saucers, including a rapid trip around the planets to beyond Saturn and back. He is also on record, in writing, as having deep reservations about the work he was employed to do for the McCanns, and claims that he was fired by Brian Kennedy after he told him face-to-face that his investigation was ‘heading in the wrong direction’. He has written an as-yet-unpublished book about his experiences working for the McCanns.
Metodo 3 was the Barcelona-based private detective agency used by the McCanns as their lead investigators from September 2007 to April 2008. Despite obvious problems surrounding this firm of detectives, the McCann Team continued to use them until at least March 2009. The firm had an extremely poor reputation in Barcelona. Journalist Christine Twomey from The Times interviewed its Director and a colleague in early 2008 and also came away with a strong impression that Metodo 3 was very far from being the reputable agency that the McCanns claimed it to be. Metodo 3 had previously been investigated by Spanish police over persistent allegations that they were involved in systematic illegal telephone tapping, and several of its staff were questioned by police. The firm was later involved in another scandal over government contracts for ‘research’ work. But, instead, they produced useless, bogus reports. In 2014 the firm eventually went out of business when they were again found to have been conducting illegal telephone recordings of conversations between major Catalonian politicians.
Marco was the Director of Metodo 3 at the time of Madeleine’s disappearance and remained so until the recent closure of Metodo 3. In the run-up to Christmas 2007, Marco lied on several occasions, making these wild and untrue claims which were widely reported in the British press: ‘Madeleine is alive’, ‘We know where she is’, and ‘Our men are closing in on the kidnappers’. This led to dramatic headlines in the British press: ‘Maddie will be home by Christmas’. Despite this succession of outright lies, the McCanns continued to employ his services for at least another 15 months. In 2013 he was at the centre of an operation to illegally record conversations of top politicians in a Barcelona restaurant. He was arrested and charged.
Antonio Gimenez Raso
Antonio Gimenez Raso was one of Metodo 3’s leading investigators on the Madeleine McCann case, from September 2007 to 17 February 2008. On that date he was arrested and remanded in custody on very serious drugs charges. It was alleged that, back in 2004, when he was working as a Drugs and Trafficking Inspector for the Catalonian Regional Police, he had supplied information about a stash of 25 kilos of cocaine, worth millions of pounds, on a boat in Barcelona harbour, enabling a criminal gang to steal it. This gang was later described by a Barcelona judge as ‘a 27-strong vicious gang that practised exceptional violence’. Headlines in the British, Spanish and Portuguese press on 18 February 2008 stated unequivocally that Gimenez Raso was ‘One of the investigators employed by the McCanns’, a fact that has since been confirmed. Yet the McCanns’ spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, issued an immediate, flat denial, claiming: ‘Gimenez Raso is not one of our men’. After four years in custody, Gimenez Raso was found ‘Not Guilty’ because of insufficient proof that he had supplied information to the gang, but, in acquitting him, the judge told him that the evidence had revealed that “You became much too close to the members of this gang”. It was also revealed that in late 2004 Gimenez Raso had ‘left’ his senior post in the police’s Drugs and Trafficking Department, though whether he was sacked or simply resigned is unclear (see also below under Marcos Aragao Correia).
Gimenez Raso was also central to persistent allegations that members of the McCann Team and British journalists were offering money to people in Morocco in exchange for stories claiming that they might have had a ‘sighting’ of girls who looked like Madeleine McCann. According to one media report: “Antonio Gimenez Raso had travelled to Morocco and, whilst he was there, was able - somehow - to find a number of witnesses who claimed to have seen Madeleine. It was around the time of Gimenez’s trip to Morocco that the Moroccan government took the unusual step of expelling a man who had been visiting hotels and garages in various parts of Morocco offering people money if they could claim to have seen a girl looking like Madeleine.
At the Leveson enquiry, David Pilditch, lead journalist for the Daily Express covering the Madeleine McCann case, admitted on oath paying at least one witness money in return for claims of a ‘sighting’. Additionally, Sunday Express reporter James Murray and Express photographer Mike Gunnill were accurately reported to have “driven from Portugal to the southern Spanish port of Tarifa, across to Tangiers, then boarded the train to Marrakech via Casablanca”. There, they had “visited contacts at locations in Marrakech”. Gimenez Raso was known to have been in the area at that time. In addition, Paulo Reis from the GazetaDigital site reported that “The Moroccan authorities expelled a British citizen a few days ago, after he contacted staff from a gas station near the city of Marrakesh. A source from ‘Sureté Nacionale’, Moroccan security and intelligence services, confirmed that the British citizen offered a large amount of money to several employees, in exchange for specific statements about a sighting concerning a blonde girl. The British Embassy in Morocco, contacted by SOS Madeleine, refused to comment. The possibility of having private detectives working in their country was referred, by the same source, as “an offence and a violation of national sovereignty”. These are matters that should be fully investigated, given that there were indeed numerous claimed ‘sightings’ of Madeleine in Morocco, none of which were true.
Julian Peribanez was another employee of Metodo 3 who worked on the Madeleine McCann case. He can be seen in a video uploaded to YouTube walking alongside Cheshire businessman Brian Kennedy, whilst trying to hide his face from the cameras. He was still working for Metodo 3 in 2013 when the scandal of the illegal recordings of politicians in a Barcelona restaurant was exposed. Arrested, he soon admitted his guilt and gave evidence against his boss Francisco Marco to the police on how the illegal recordings operation had been carried out. In 2014, Julian Peribanez wrote a book on his experiences with Metodo 3 in which he gave chapter and verse on a host of illegal activities, scams and frauds carried out by the firm over many years, including in the case of Madeleine McCann. Members of my forum obtained a copy of his book and paid for the translation of the chapter he wrote on the Madeleine McCann case into English. It can be read on my website, here:
It has already had nearly 8,000 views on my forum. Peribanez makes the following statements about Metodo 3.
1 Initially Metodo 3 worked closely with Brian Kennedy and money-laundering expert Gary Hagland, who Peribanez met at least twice.
2 He and a Metodo 3 colleague, Antonio Tamarit, worked in close contact with the British government-backed security firm, Control Risks Group.
3 There was a meeting in Manchester in early 2008 between Brian Kennedy and Marita Fernandes, the mother of the head of Metodo 3 (Francisco Marco) and José Luis Marco Llavina, her nephew, who was Metodo 3’s accountant.
4 Tamarit says of these two: “[Neither] had carried out any investigative work for many years…they made a fortune by means of deception and dishonest trickery…Metodo 3 was swindling [Madeleine’s Fund, with] inflated expenses, invented items, false invoices, etc.”
5 Specific information is given: “Francisco Marco…obtained some El Corte Inglés travel invoices and subsequently falsified them by changing the details”.
Peribanez adds that the claims made by Metodo 3 that they had either 20, or even 40, people working on the Madeleine McCann investigation were outright lies. He says there were only ever three. He adds that Francisco’s claims of having ‘a bank of multilingual telephonists to staff the telephone hotline’ were also ‘bogus’.
Marcos Aragão Correia
Marcos Correia was a lawyer from the island of Madeira who played a very significant role in supporting the McCanns, although the McCanns never conceded this fact. We do, however, have multiple evidences from Correia himself that he was directly instructed in his activities at all times by Brian Kennedy, on behalf of the McCanns. He was engaged by them on two main tasks. One was to act as the lawyer representing convicted murderess Leonor Cipriano in a criminal complaint by her against Goncalo Amaral, the co-ordinator of the Madeleine McCann investigation until 2 October 2007. The other was to search the Arade Dam for Madeleine’s bones.
Leonor Cipriano and her brother were convicted in 2005 of murdering Ms Cipriano’s 8-year-old daughter, Joana, having originally reported her missing. The murder was especially brutal and each received 16-year jail sentences. In unusual circumstances, Marcos Correia visited Ms Cipriano in Odemira Women’s Prison on 8 April 2008 and replaced her existing lawyer. Mr Correia then pursued, on behalf of the McCanns, a legal action by Ms Cipriano against Mr Amaral and four other detectives, accusing them of having tortured her into making a false confession. The charges of torture were dismissed but, in a decision which baffled legal experts, Amaral was found guilty of ‘filing a false report’ and handed a suspended prison sentence.
Still more controversially, Correia worked with Metodo 3 to plan searches for Madeleine’s bones on the Arade Dam, Portugal. As he has personally testified, he met Metodo 3 detectives - Director Francisco Marco and another, probably Antonio Gimenez Raso (see above) - at the Arade Dam on 10 December 2007. Both men had been instructed to meet each other by Brian Kennedy, on behalf of the McCanns. It was a remarkable and expensive meeting. Correia would have had to travel over 600 miles from Madeira, and another 600 back, for the meeting and Marco and Gimenez Raso would have travelled a similar distance from their base in Barcelona.
Just seven weeks after this unusual meeting, British and Portuguese newspapers reported dramatic news that a ‘Good Samaritan’, namely Marcos Correia, had begun a gruesome, week-long search for Madeleine’s bones. He claimed he was doing this out of the goodness of his heart, and his own pocket, because he had received intelligence from Portugal’s criminal underworld that her body had been thrown into a lake. He claimed he had worked out which lake it was. He undertook a further week-long search five weeks later, in early March 2008. Nothing of interest was found, but, significantly, he handed his findings not to the Portuguese police, as he should have done, but to Metodo 3 investigators.
Statements made by and on behalf of the McCanns suggested that they had known nothing of these planned searches of the dam. But it was clear that they must have done, having put their private investigations into the hands of Brian Kennedy, who in turn employed Correia and the Metodo 3 investigators, who held that significant meeting at the Arade Dam on 10 December 2007.
Only after the two week-long searches did some significant facts emerge about Marcos Correia. First, he admitted, eventually, that he had been paid by Brian Kennedy both to prosecute the Madeleine McCann investigator, Goncalo Amaral, in the criminal courts, and to carry out the two bogus searches of the Arade Dam. It also emerged that he had given two entirely different versions of how he came to take an interest in the Madeleine McCann case.
His initial claim was that underworld sources had told him that Madeleine had been abducted by a paedophile gang, raped, killed and then her body thrown into ‘a murky lake’. He said he had then used ‘visions’ and maps to locate where the gang probably threw the body. He later admitted that this was a complete fabrication, and proceeded to give another version of how his interest in Madeleine McCann had arisen. This time, he said that on Saturday 5 May, just two days after Madeleine had been reported missing, he had been to his first-ever Spiritualist church meeting, on the island of Madeira where he lived.
On returning home, he said, he had had a vision of a big, powerful man strangling a young blonde girl. Soon afterwards, he claimed, he had heard about the reported disappearance of Madeleine McCann, connected this with his vision, and decided to offer his help to the police and the McCanns. Sometime later, he admitted that this story, too, was a total fabrication.
Later still, interviewed by a Portuguese journalist about his boasts about being a medium and a visionary, he made this claim (quote): “Metodo 3 submitted me to a test in order to prove beyond all doubt whether or not my mediumistic abilities and my accounts were credible. They were fed up with following false leads. The fact is that the test gave totally positive results, according to what was confirmed to me personally by the Director of Método 3 in Barcelona himself. Following my mediumistic abilities passing Metodo 3’s stringent tests, Metodo 3 offered full support to my research”.
In April 2008, the McCanns replaced Metodo 3 as their lead investigators by a firm called Oakley International. This news was revealed around four months later, in August, when sources close to the McCanns claimed that Oakley International were ‘the big boys of international private detection’, based in the United States. On 13 August 2008, the Daily Mail reported: “Kate and Gerry McCann have hired a team of crack U.S detectives to lead the hunt for their missing daughter Madeleine, it has emerged. The unnamed US firm is said to have been offered a £500,000 six-month contract by the Find Madeleine Fund to help spearhead the search. A friend of the McCanns said: 'The hunt for Madeleine is becoming more and more international and it was felt that a truly international firm was now needed to lead the inquiry. These really are the big boys. They are absolutely the best, but they are extremely secretive and cloak-and-dagger about what they do. Since their appointment, Metodo has very much taken a back seat and they are now concentrating primarily in Portugal and Spain and across the Straits of Gibraltar…' The American agency is pretty much handling everything else.' The secretive firm is said to employ ex-FBI, CIA and U.S special forces, according to the Daily Mirror.
These claims, however, were completely false - see below.
Kevin Halligen, an Irishman born in Dublin, but who had followed a career in England for many years, specialising in his knowledge of lithium batteries, was the founder of Oakley International. On investigation, this company turned out to be merely a one-man-band company, registered by Halligen. Significantly, it had been registered in June 2007, only after Madeleine had been reported missing. It was nothing like ‘the big boys of international private detection’ claimed by McCann sources. It was, in effect, a bogus sole trader company in which Halligen employed a couple of his cronies.
In October 2009, after Kevin Halligen had gone on the run from police, who wanted him in connection with an alleged serious fraud committed in the United States. He was eventually arrested by British police after being found holed up with his girlfriend, Shirin Trachiotis, in the £700-a-night Bank Hotel, Oxford. He was taken immediately to Belmarsh top security prison. There, he spent three years fighting what was, ultimately, an unsuccessful legal battle to avoid extradition to the U.S.
In the U.S. he was convicted of a fraud totalling around $1.5 million and was handed a four-year jail sentence.
Prior to his arrest, Halligen’s shocking activities whilst working for the McCanns had been revealed in a highly illuminating article by Mark Hollingsworth in the Evening Standard in August 2009. This article noted that the original contract with Kevin Halligen might have been with Kevin Halligen’s company ‘Red Defence International’, but the media reported that it was Oakley International with whom the contract was made. Because of the secrecy surrounding the McCann case, it is impossible to know which, if either, is true. I will quote directly from Mark Hollingsworth’s article:
Kevin Halligen [was] a smooth-talking Irishman who claimed to have worked for covert British government intelligence agency GCHQ Halligen [and his friend Henri Exton] were for hire for a fee of £100,000 per month plus expenses”.
“Halligen…has been described as a ‘Walter Mitty figure’. He used false names to collect prospective clients at airports in order to preserve secrecy, and he called himself ‘Kevin’ or ‘Richard’ or ‘Patrick’ at different times to describe himself to business contacts…He is obsessed by surveillance gadgets and even installed a covert camera to spy on his own employees. He claimed to have worked for GCHQ, but in fact he was employed by the Atomic Energy Authority as head of defence systems in the field of new information technology…”
“Halligen has a degree in electronics [and] worked on the fringes of the intelligence community...After leaving the AEA, Halligen set up Red Defence International Ltd as an international security and political risk company, advising clients on the risks involved in investing and doing business in unstable, war-torn and corrupt countries…In 2006, he struck gold when hired by Trafigura, the Dutch commodities trading company. Executives were imprisoned in the Ivory Coast after toxic waste was dumped in landfills near its biggest city Abidjan. Trafigura was blamed and hired Red Defence International at vast expense to help with the negotiations to release its executives. A Falcon business jet was rented for several months during the operation and it was Halligen’s first taste of the good life. The case only ended when Trafigura paid $197 million to the government of the Ivory Coast to secure the release of the prisoners. Halligen made a fortune from Trafigura and was suddenly flying everywhere first-class, staying at the Lansborough and Stafford hotels in London and The Willard hotel in Washington DC for months at a time. In 2007 he set up Oakley International Group and registered at the offices of the prestigious law firm Patton Boggs, in Washington DC, as an international security company. He was now strutting the stage as a self-proclaimed international spy expert and joined the Special Forces Club in Knightsbridge, where he met Exton”. “During the Madeleine investigation, Halligen spent vast amounts of time in the HeyJo bar in the basement of the Abracadabra Club near his Jermyn Street office. Armed with a clutch of unregistered mobile phones and a Blackberry, the bar was in effect his office. ‘He was there virtually the whole day,’ a former colleague told the Evening Standard: ‘He had an amazing tolerance for alcohol…When not imbibing in St James’s, Halligen was in the United States, trying to drum up investors for Oakley International. On 15 August 2008, at the height of the McCann investigation crisis, he persuaded Andre Hollis, a former US Drug enforcement agency official, to write out an $80,000 cheque to Oakley in return for a ten per cent share-holding. The money was then transferred into the private accounts of Halligen and his girlfriend Shirin Trachiotis to finance a holiday in Italy, according to Hollis. In a $6 million lawsuit filed in Fairfax County, Virginia, Hollis alleges that Halligen ‘received monies for Oakley’s services rendered and deposited the same into his personal accounts’ and ‘repeatedly and systematically depleted funds from Oakley’s bank accounts for inappropriate personal expenses’. Hollis was not the only victim. Mark Aspinall, a respected lawyer who worked closely with Halligen, invested £500,000 in Oakley and lost the lot. Earlier this year he filed a lawsuit in Washington DC against Halligen claiming $1.4 million in damages. The finances of Oakley International are in chaos and numerous employees, specialist consultants and contractors have not been paid. Some of them now face financial ruin”.
“…by mid-August 2008, Kennedy and Gerry McCann were increasingly concerned by an absence of details of how the money was being spent. At one meeting, Halligen was asked how many men constituted a surveillance team and he produced a piece of paper on which he wrote ‘between one and ten’. But he then refused to say how many were working and how much they were being paid…Halligen was charging very high rates and expenses….eyebrows were raised when all the money was paid to Oakley International, solely owned and managed by Halligen. One invoice, seen by the Evening Standard, shows that for ‘accrued expenses to May 5, 2008’ (just one month into the contract), Oakley charged $74,155. The ‘point of contact’ was Halligen who provided a UK mobile telephone number”.
“The contract [with Brian Kennedy] was terminated by the end of September 2008, after £500,000, plus expenses, had been spent. Halligen has gone into hiding, leaving a trail of debt and numerous former business associates and creditors looking for him. He was last seen in January of this year in Rome, drinking and spending prodigiously at the Hilton Cavalieri and Excelsior hotels…"
As can be seen above, Exton is or was an associate of Kevin Halligen. It appears that Halligen employed him on his ill-fated Madeleine McCann investigation. Mark Hollingsworth wrote this about him in the 2009 Evening Standard article quoted above:
“Exton had been an undercover officer for the Manchester police. A maverick…figure, he successfully infiltrated gangs of football hooligans in the 1980s…In 1991 he was seconded to work on MI5 undercover operations against drug dealers, gangsters and terrorists…But in November 2002, the stress appeared to have overcome his judgment when he was arrested for shoplifting. While working on an MI5 surveillance, Exton was caught leaving a tax-free shopping area at Manchester airport with a bottle of perfume he had not paid for. The police were called and he was given the option of the offence being dealt with under caution or to face prosecution. He chose a police caution and so in effect admitted his guilt”.
In the BBC Crimewatch McCann special shown on 14 October 2013, two e-fits of different-looking men were shown to viewers, who were told by the Head of Operation Grange, Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, that the man represented by these two very different e-fits was ‘the centre of our focus’. It was said that these two e-fits were drawn up by two members of the family of Martin Smith, from Drogheda, Ireland. However, there are major doubts about the reliability of the sighting claimed by the family. The e-fits were produced by Exton in the spring of 2008 and shown to the McCanns. The McCanns say that ‘by October 2009’ they had shown these e-fits to Leicestershire Police and the Portuguese police, yet nothing was done about them until the Crimewatch show of October in 2014. Undoubtedly there is a great mystery about Exton’s role in producing those two puzzling e-fits.
Tim Craig-Harvey was another close associate of Kevin Halligen; both had close connections with government security services. Little was known about his role in the Madeleine McCann case until he appeared in a Channel 5 film about the case in early 2014. Research since then has revealed that Tim Craig-Harvey was involved in the formation and running of a number of companies associated with Kevin Halligen. Both had close associates in common. Given what we now know about Kevin Halligen’s history and modus operandi, there must clearly also be major question marks about precisely why Craig-Harvey got involved in the Madeleine McCann case.
In March 2009, shortly before a Channel 4 documentary made by Mentorn Media about the reported disappearance of Madeleine McCann, shown in May that year, stories began to appear in the print and TV media about a new company said to have been engaged by the McCann Team to find Madeleine. The press referred to it as ‘Alpha Investigations Group’. A number of reports suggested the following: (a) that it was a well-established and reputable detective agency and (b) that the ‘head’ of this agency was either retired Detective Inspector Dave Edgar, or him and a colleague, retired Detective Sergeant Arthur Cowley. Neither was true.
In fact, subsequent analysis by Madeleine McCann researchers unearthed these facts:
1 Dave Edgar was appointed independently by Brian Kennedy
2 So was Arthur Cowley
3 There was and never had been any company called ‘Alpha Investigations Group’,
and 4 Instead, a bogus company, ALPHAIG, had been set up to give the false impression that there really was a company called Alpha Investigations Group. The researchers also unearthed the following facts:
A Only after Edgar and Cowley had been working for the McCann Team for months did the head of the McCann Team’s private investigation, Brian Kennedy, set up a one-man-band company, ALPHAIG, in the name of Arthur Cowley, the sole Director. That occurred on 10 June 2009.
B One of Kennedy’s friends and business associates, Andrew Dickman, two days later, also registered an internet domain in the name of ALPHAIG - but it was never used.
C ALPHAIG never traded.
D Only one set of accounts was ever produced and it showed no evidence of any business being done.
E The registered office was Cowley’s home - a hilltop cottage 1,000 feet up on Halkyn Mountain in north Wales.
F It was never the base for any detective agency.
G ALPHAIG never had a website.
H ALPHAIG never had any offices.
I ALPHAIG never advertised.
J ALPHAIG ceased to exist in 2011. Sometime after it ceased to exist, Arthur Cowley spoke to a journalist and told him that he held ‘secrets’ about the Madeleine McCann case that he was not prepared to disclose and would ‘take to my grave’.
It appears, therefore, that ALPHAIG was only registered as a company to give a wholly misleading impression to the media and the public. ALPHAIG was a dummy company. Neither Dave Edgar nor Arthur Cowley was employed by, or running, a company called Alpha Investigations Group, nor had they been running any detective agency at all, let alone a well-established one. The media were deceived. Brian Kennedy appears to have been responsible for this misleading impression being given. He personally appointed Dave Edgar. He appointed Arthur Cowley as well. One of Brian Kennedy’s long-time friends and contacts registered a domain name for ALPHAIG.
Former Detective Inspector Dave Edgar
In his August 2009 article for the Evening Standard, Mark Hollingsworth wrote this about a press conference organised by the McCanns’ spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, and Dave Edgar, earlier that month:
“It was billed as a ‘significant development’ in the exhaustive search for Madeleine McCann. At a recent dramatic press conference in London, the lead private investigator David Edgar, a retired Cheshire detective inspector, brandished an e-fit image of an Australian woman, described her as ‘a bit of a Victoria Beckham lookalike’, and appealed for help in tracing her. The woman was seen ‘looking agitated’ outside a restaurant in Barcelona three days after Madeleine’s disappearance. ‘It is a strong lead’, said Edgar, wearing a pin-stripe suit in front of a bank of cameras and microphones. ‘Madeleine could have been in Barcelona by that point. The fact the conversation took place near the marina could be significant'."
But, within days, reporters discovered that the private detectives had failed to make the most basic enquiries before announcing their potential breakthrough. Members of Edgar’s team who visited Barcelona had failed to speak to anyone working at the restaurant near where the agitated woman was seen that night, neglected to ask if the mystery woman had been filmed on CCTV cameras and knew nothing about the arrival of an Australian luxury yacht just after Madeleine vanished”.
Little is known about the career of Dave Edgar, except that he worked in Northern Ireland for a substantial period, One thing about the press conference that Mark Hollingsworth failed to mention was that during it, Edgar claimed that the McCanns’ friend Jane Tanner, who maintained that she had seen a man carrying a child at about 9.15pm on the evening Madeleine was reported missing, might actually have seen a woman, not a man. This seemed to fit in with the narrative about a woman seen on Barcelona docks that Clarence Mitchell and Dave Edgar were trying to convey to the media. But it made a nonsense of the detailed description she had given on 4 May 2007 (the day after Madeleine was reported missing) of a man.
He also made strange pronouncements about what he thought had happened to Madeleine, often based on a range of media stories. To give one example, in September 2009 he developed the strongly-held belief, published in at least two newspapers, that Madeleine was being held alive in an underground lair within a few miles of Praia da Luz. There was absolutely no evidence of this. Despite this ‘firm’ belief of Edgar’s, the McCann Team did nothing to follow up this apparently sincerely-held conviction. It appeared that the only basis for this hypothesis was that the media had reported a few weeks before on the case of Jaycee Lee Dugard, an 11-year-old girl who was abducted in 1991 but was found alive 18 years later, in the summer of 2009. Edgar’s claim that he believed Madeleine was being hidden in a lair on the Algarve coast was fairly obviously for media consumption - to capitalise, as it were, on the publicity surrounding Jaycee Lee Dugard - and was never a genuine line of enquiry.
Former Detective Sergeant Arthur Cowley
I have covered his limited role in the McCann Team’s private investigation above. I have indicated that the evidence suggests that he was not running a company called ALPHAIG, but merely agreed with his employer, Brian Kennedy’s plan to make it look as though he and Dave Edgar were running along-established business called Alpha Investigations Group.
Melissa Little was not, strictly speaking, one of the McCann Team’s investigators. She was hailed by the McCann Team as an ‘F.B.I.--trained forensic artist’, which sounded highly impressive. Her main role in the private Madeleine McCann investigation was to produce two sketches of alleged suspects. One of them, of the man supposedly seen by Jane Tanner at 9.15pm on the night Madeleine was reported missing, was produced on 25 October 2007 - nearly six months after Madeleine had been reported missing. There was no obvious reason why the McCann Team took so long to release this sketch. It was of very little, if any, value, so long after the event. Moreover, Jane Tanner’s description has changed over time in significant respects. Moreover, Jane Tanner said she had not seen any of the man’s face.
Brian Kennedy, some weeks later, asked Melissa Little to produce another sketch for him. This time it was of a moustachoied man, with long, straggly hair, said by the McCann Team to be a suspect. It was based on a sighting by a Ms Gail Cooper of a suspicious-looking charity collector she had seen in Praia da Luz. The McCann Team publicised this sketch, with the help of Leicestershire Police and the News of the World, on 20 January 2008. The man became known by many who saw the sketch as ‘George Harrison man’ or ‘Monsterman’. The sketch was based on reports of this man submitted privately to the McCann Team and not to the Portuguese police. One of the curious features of this second drawing by Melissa Little is that it bore a passing resemblance to the earlier one she had drawn based upon Jane Tanner’s claims. Jane Tanner even made a statement that she was ‘60% to 80% sure’ that the person she had seen and ‘Monsterman’ were one and the same.
This wholly lacked credibility as she admitted that she had seen no part of the face of the man she said she had seen.
Paulo Reis, a Portuguese researcher into the Madeleine McCann case, made some important observations, on the ‘GazetaDigital’ website, on Melissa Little’s two sketches. He referred to a Powerpoint demonstration produced by the McCanns and sent to the Portuguese police and Leicestershire Police in advance of the news report in the News of the World. He noted these points:
1 Although Jane Tanner had not seen the face of the man she claimed to have seen on 3 May, and Gail Cooper had clearly seen, full face, possibly more than once, the man she identified, Melissa Little was somehow able (after spending hours with both witnesses) to state “There are many similarities between Miss Tanner’s man and Gail’s”
2 Gerry McCann stated in his Powerpoint presentation to Leicestershire Police: “Miss Tanner spent a full day with Melissa Little, a qualified Police Sketch Artist since 1986, to compile this likeness of the suspect”
3 Miss [Jane] Tanner believes that there is an 80% likelihood that this is the same man she saw carrying away the child, believed to be Madeleine. The News of the World developed this story still further. They wrote: “The sketch by qualified police artist Melissa Little bears an uncanny resemblance to an earlier picture, based on Miss Tanner's story”. Paulo Reis added this comment to his article: “This is unsurprising given both selections had - using considerable artistic licence - been made by the same artist, Melissa Little, and paid for by Mr Kennedy to assist the McCanns”.
Paulo Reis hinted strongly that Melissa Little may not have been independent, but in effect had colluded with Brian Kennedy and the McCann Team to suggest to the British public that the two images were of the same man. To achieve this, Melissa Little also sketched a drawing of how Monsterman might have looked carrying a child. As no-one had actually seen him doing so, this was most certainly the use of artistic licence, at best, and arguably dishonest.
Two footnotes need to be added
First, the man identified as ‘Monsterman’ by Melissa Little’s sketch was soon identified by the Portuguese police and firmly ruled out of any connection to Madeleine’s disappearance.
Second, Jane Tanner had taken part in an identity parade on 13 May 2007, 10 days after Madeleine’s reported disappearance. One of those paraded before her, viewed from inside a police van with a two-way mirror, was Robert Murat.. Jane Tanner told the police that she was adamant that Robert Murat was the abductor she had seen just 10 days earlier. Murat was made a formal suspect two days later, partly on the strength of Tanner’s strong conviction that he was the man she had seen. However, Murat looked nothing like either the man she had described as having seen on 3 May, nor did he look anything like ‘Monsterman’. How was it possible for Jane Tanner, who had never seen the man’s face in the first place, to first of all say it was Robert Murat, and then to say it was ‘80% likely’ that he was Gail Cooper’s ‘Monsterman’?