A major argument put forward by Amaral, Bennett and others is that abduction was “impossible.” Further, they claim there was “no evidence for abduction;” that the child died in the apartment and that the parents covered up this death by disposing of the body in such a fiendishly clever manner that it has never been discovered despite intensive searches using dogs and special machinery designed to indicate the presence of dead bodies. Let us examine these claims.
Firstly, if Madeleine died in the apartment as claimed, we need to look at the probable cause of death. In his book The truth of the Lie, Amaral suggests at least two causes, the first being that she died of an accidental overdose of ‘Capal, a sleeping drug.’(sic). We believe he means Calpol, a commonly administered child medication, readily available in any high street chemist. However, had Amaral been a detective of any reasonable calibre, he would have done his homework and discovered that Calpol is not a ‘sleeping drug.’ In fact, it has no sedative properties whatsoever. Calpol is an antipyretic, designed to reduce fever. If your child has a temperature, and you give them a dose of Calpol, it helps to reduce the child’s temperature, thus allowing them to fall asleep naturally, not because of any ingredients in the Calpol itself. Also, the manufacturers are well aware of the dangers of children finding and swallowing the contents of interesting bottles of yummy looking liquids, and so only sell Calpol in bottles of a size too small to offer any serious danger to a child swallowing the entire contents.
The second reason suggested is that she died as the result of a fall, possibly from climbing on the sofa after the parents went for their evening meal. If that were the case, we then need to discuss Kate’s reaction on discovering her daughter, dead, on the floor. We know what ours would be, and we can probably imagine yours. But let’s imagine, if we can, Kate’s reaction, and to get a better idea of what that may be we need to go back in time, to before Madeleine was born, to her time of conception. As most readers know, Madeleine was born via IVF, as were her twin siblings. If you were fortunate enough to have been able to conceive naturally and easily, you may not know how emotional and distressing the process of IVF (in vitro fertilisation) can be. If, on the other hand, you have been through the IVF process, you hardly need us to tell you. Indeed, it is usually considered as the last resort for couples who are so desperate to have a child that they would consider anything, however stressful, rather than remain childless. Let us repeat that - couples who are desperate to have a child. As a result, many paediatric psychiatrists claim that the bond between a mother and child conceived this way is often deeper than one formed from a natural conception. And yet Mr Amaral would have us believe that Kate’s first reaction upon finding her dearly longed for first daughter dead is something like, “Oh Damn, how am I going to clean up this mess?”
Let’s follow Amaral’s flawed thinking further. Before raising the alarm, by screaming in a supposedly ‘pretend’ panic, she would have first needed to hide the body. We have to ask where she could have hidden the body. We want to know a plausible hiding place, given the short amount of time Kate had at her disposal. It couldn’t have been in the flat, as that was searched, not only by the friends, but the first GNR on the scene. And please don’t mention the freezer (another of Amaral’s bizzare hypotheses). The average holiday flat kitchen freezer is just about big enough for a packet of frozen peas. She would have been unlikely to think of putting the body in the dustbins because, logically, that would have been the first place a sensible person would have looked. She couldn’t have believed that the GNR and the PJ would be so incompetent as to forgo even searching the bins, before allowing the bins to be emptied within a few days of the abduction, so Kate would have almost certainly ruled that out. It would also be unlikely she hid Madeleine somewhere outside. As a tourist, not a resident, she would have little idea, if any, of the layout of the local area, or where would be a good hiding place. (When you go on holiday, do you subconsciously keep a lookout for good places to hide your child’s body, ‘just in case?) So then, the second fundamental flaw in Amaral’s theory, after cause of death, is, where did Kate hide the body?
What would have happened next? Well, if we imagine that somehow Kate did manage to hide the body, she would have had to break the news to Gerry. Gerry, remember, was back at the Tapas restaurant at the time of the alarm being raised. During the commotion and panic, Kate would have had to try to find a quiet moment to take Gerry aside and tell him, “Look, I’m so sorry, Madeleine wasn’t abducted, I found her dead on the floor. I hid her for now, but we need to maintain this abduction pretence.” What do you suppose his reaction would have been? Finding out his daughter is not just missing, but actually dead? Don’t you think he would have exhibited extreme emotion at receiving this news, and with all the people coming and going, wouldn’t someone have noticed this? These are two ordinary people, who in their entire lives have never once raised an ounce of suspicion from their neighbours or friends, and yet they are able to control their emotions over the death of their much longed for and greatly loved daughter in such a way that nobody doubted them, even for a second? Do you really believe that?
Secondly, let us look at the friends, the so-called ‘Tapas Seven,’ who Amaral suspects helped the parents to dispose of the body to a better hiding place, and assisted in the cover up, and who were all sworn to a pact of secrecy. Just suppose, even for a second, Kate and Gerry were able to control themselves long enough to conceal the body, and concoct a cover story. We now have to accept Amaral’s suggestion that all of the friends agreed to go along with this story. We must ask you, what are the chances of all of them agreeing to this? We would have thought that at least one of them would have said, “Look, we sympathise with you completely, we feel just as devastated over Madeleine’s death as you do, but you must tell the truth. You can’t expect to get away with it forever; the truth will come out eventually. If you don’t admit what happened now, it will only be much worse for you later when the police eventually find it out themselves.” Surely one, if not more, of the friends would have acted as the voice of reason? Amaral’s theory is now beginning to unravel faster than a ball of wool in a room full of kittens.
But why would they want to cover up her death in the first place? The McCann’s are on record as stating that when they booked their holiday they believed the resort ran a ‘drop-in’ nanny service, where a maid or nanny patrolled the resort, listening in, or opening the door and checking on all children of families who paid for this service. Such listening or drop-in services are still widely used across the U.K. and Europe, and it was, in fact, available at the resort they stayed at the previous year. After assuming they would be able to use such a service at Praia da Luz, they were surprised to find it not available after all, so instead they made their own arrangements, to copy the service for themselves. There were enough of them, so that each one of the friends would only have needed to make one visit, check on all of their children, then return to the table for their meal. The staff at the resort are on record as saying many other families did the same that summer, not just the McCann’s and their friends. During interviews Kate and Gerry have said that, while they deeply regret their decision now, at the time they thought their actions were within the bounds of reasonable parenting. If that is the case, then they would have had nothing to fear from admitting that Madeleine had suffered an accident while she was alone between visits. So far then we have found no motive, no cause of death, no body. Cover up? It just doesn’t make sense.
Nevertheless, there is also another theory, propounded by some of the McCann’s more vocalic critics and this is as good a time as any to discuss it. This one speculates that Madeleine died, accidentally or otherwise, earlier that day, and even, believe it or not, up to several days prior, before the parents even went out for their evening meal. This means we now have to consider the proposition that two clearly loving parents, one of whom, Kate, is known to be painfully shy, were able to calmly dispose of their daughter’s body, then go for a meal and laugh and joke as if nothing had happened. They would have to have put on an act worthy of an Oscar, all without raising the slightest suspicion. But if that was indeed the case - if there was any attempt at a cover up - why wait till half way through the meal before raising the alarm? Surely the best time would have been first thing the next morning, on waking up. That way there would be no danger of being under suspicion themselves. In fact, if Kate were truly the ice maiden some of the more ignorant internet bloggers would have us believe, then why, on discovering Madeleine’s body, did she not just pick her up, place her back in bed, and carry on as normal? Then, in the morning, she and Gerry could have returned her body to the scene of the accident, and then claimed she must have got out of bed in the night and had a fall, while everyone else was asleep. That way all suspicion would have been removed, with the added bonus of there being no body to dispose of. No, in our opinion the whole idea of Madeleine dying before the parents left the apartment is the most ridiculous scenario of all, and we dismiss it out of hand.
However, getting back to the alleged cover up, Amaral and also Bennett would have us believe the cover up goes even further. In fact, all the way to the very top of the British Government and the Prime Minister himself. Both allege that there is government involvement, up to and including a ministerial order to protect Kate and Gerry, and discredit the Portuguese enquiry into Madeleine’s disappearance. Again, we have but one simple question. Why? If ministers, possibly even the Prime Minister, knew that Kate and Gerry had been responsible for Madeleine’s demise, what possible reason could they have for getting involved in, or even ordering the cover-up of, the death, possibly murder of an innocent child? If such a thing ever got out - and such things do have a habit of doing so - the damage to the reputation of all those involved would be enormous. And just who are Kate and Gerry to warrant such high level protection anyway? Is it because, as some would have you believe, the McCanns have very rich and influential friends, people with connections, able to pull strings in the highest of places? We must ask you, in all reason, how likely is that? Gerry was the youngest of five children, son of an Irish immigrant family to Scotland, who grew up in a Glasgow tenement block. Kate came from a working class background in Liverpool. Both of them worked very hard, studied, and became doctors. They are two of thousands of doctors all over the country. Respected, yes, but hardly out of the ordinary. So how on earth did these humble medical practitioners become involved with the likes of Richard Branson, Brian Kennedy or the Prime minister himself? Has any attempt been made, by any of the investigating authorities, to check out what, if any, connections the McCanns had with these powerful and well known public figures prior to 3rd of May, 2007? No, because before Madeleine was abducted, the McCanns had never met any of these high flyers, and nor would they ever have done so, if fate had not so cruelly intervened. The truth is, all of these people - the Virgin Media boss, the millionaire building magnate, the Prime Minister - all got involved for the simple reason that they had sympathy for the suffering parents of an abducted child, and wanted to show their support, either financially or politically. The simplest explanation is usually the correct one. There is no conspiracy, no government cover up, and there never was one.
Finally, there is one thing left to consider. Imagine that so far to date Madeleine’s body has been successfully kept hidden, the secrecy pact has so far held, the cover up has been maintained, and the police have failed to find any evidence whatsoever of the parents involvement in her disappearance. What would be the most sensible course of action to have taken, once the arguido status was lifted from the parents, and the official police documents had cleared them of any involvement? If they were indeed guilty, we would imagine everyone involved would have heaved a huge sigh of relief. Kate and Gerry in particular, though mourning the loss of their daughter, would have been happy with the knowledge that they had ‘got away with it.’ The best thing then would be to keep quiet; to slip slowly away from the public eye, doing their best to not draw any attention to themselves. Perhaps, in six months to a year after being cleared, they may have made one final public statement to the effect that they had finally accepted that their daughter was gone, in all probability never to be found, and that the search was therefore going to be wound up, with all remaining cash in the Find Madeleine fund going to children’s charities. Instead, what have they done? They announced that they were hiring some of the best private detective agencies money can buy, including retired detectives and other experts. Wouldn’t you think, if they really had something to hide, they would be just the slightest bit afraid that one of these great detectives would discover their secret?
That is the greatest damnation of the cover up theory. Kate and Gerry are, in fact, still determined to do whatever it takes to find Madeleine, their firstborn child, their beloved daughter, and they still cling doggedly to the belief that somewhere she may just still be alive. If that were not the case, why then even bother with their many appeals, asking for any information that may have so far been forgotten?
Amaral and Bennett are asking us to take their word. They are asking us to trust them, to stretch our incredulity to breaking point, to reach the same conclusions, because they think they know better than us. However, we reject this unreasoning with contempt. Their whole argument can be demolished with but four simple words. No body, no proof.