The title of the third episode refers to the infamous “Pact of Silence”. It’s an allegation that the McCanns and their friends [the Tapas 7] who they dined with on the night of May 3th, 2007 when Madeleine McCann disappeared weren’t being completely forthcoming to the cops, or the media.
On June 30th, two months after the incident, it took a Portuguese journalist to raise this allegation for the first time in a 3000-word article published in Sol. Since it was written in Portuguese, that’s where the idea was planted first – in Portugal.
From Joana Morais’s blog:
June 30, 2007
by Felícia Cabrita and Margarida Davim
Madeleine’s parents and the friends with whom they spent their holidays in Praia da Luz are suspects in the inquiry. There are contradictory versions about the night of the kidnapping, and an assumed pact of silence in the group.
Four long months later, the British press seemed to finally cotton onto this “rumour” and meekly questioned the McCanns about it. Their response, ironically through a PR “spokesman” was to “categorically deny” any secrecy.
From the Telegraph [October 29, 2007]:
Alleged discrepancies in the friends’ versions of events, as well as their refusal to comment on what happened that night, sparked frenzied speculation in Portugal, with reports claiming they agreed to keep quiet to protect the McCanns who remain official suspects in the case.
News that the Portuguese police wanted to re-interview some of those on holiday with the McCanns was seen by the Portuguese media as further confirmation of this theory.
But the seven friends – Russell O’Brien and his partner Jane Tanner, Rachael and Matthew Oldfield, Fiona and David Payne, and Mrs Payne’s mother Dianne Webster – have made a public statement to insist they had nothing to hide.
“We wish to state that there is categorically no ‘pact of silence’ or indeed anything secretive between us – just the desire to assist the search for Madeleine,” they said in a joint statement, released by the McCanns’ spokesman Clarence Mitchell.
“From day one, the police in Portugal told us not to discuss our statements. “It is incredibly frustrating for us that the fact we have done as we were asked to by the Portuguese police is still being looked upon as suspicious.“Everything we have done, and continue to do, has been to help with the search for Madeleine and to end this nightmare for Gerry and Kate.”
The denial from the group, known together with the McCanns as the Tapas Nine, came as a source confirmed 39-year-old Mr McCann will return to his work as a consultant cardiologist this Thursday, just a few days before the six-month anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance….Mrs McCann, also 39, has said she will not return to work as a part-time GP.
But the mindfuckery of the Netflix documentary is to dedicate the first half-hour of episode three to ridiculing, undermining and criticizing the Portuguese police. Let’s be clear: for half an hour prior to introducing the “Pact of silence” as a concept, the Portuguese police are taken through the washer, accused of being fat, lazy, drunk and incompetent.
Once that narrative is in place then the connivance moves on to dealing with their accusations of the McCanns and well, since we know where they’re coming from…treat them with contempt, right?
One of the primary narrators of episode two is the other PR spokesperson for the McCann’s, Justine McGuinness. This is her.
If you’re wondering how or why the McCann case became a media sensation, this is who was behind the PR, at least in the beginning, before ex-BBC reporter Clarence Mitchell took over. And Mitchell took over shortly after the McCanns were named official suspects by the Portuguese. A week after the McCanns were named official suspects in the investigation, McGuinness resigned as their PR representative.
McCanns’ PR steps down [September 13, 2007] – The Guardian
Former BBC man to speak for McCanns [September 18, 2007] – The Guardian
On 12 May 2008 McGuinness was questioned by the Portuguese police on the nature of her relationship with the McCanns. McGuinness said at the time that it was purely professional, and that she worked for them for only 89 days, and hadn’t known them previously.
When asked by the media why she was quitting, McGuinness stated that:
…one reason Ms McGuinness has given to journalists for her departure is that the McCanns have been ordered to remain silent because of the changing nature of the investigation and she feels she cannot help them further…But it is now thought that the McCanns are looking for a different kind of PR advice after they became suspects in the inquiry into their daughter’s disappearance and media coverage has become more negative.
Clarence Mitchell however, does punt his PR work for the McCanns on his LinkedIn profile. Like his counterpart making a foray into politics, Clarence Mitchell tried to do the same, but to date is still trying to get his foot into the door of British politics it appears.
In the interview below, where McGuinness is asked in early September 2007 why Kate McCann is being questioned by the cops, the reporter repeatedly tries to get a straight answer to the question on whether the cops consider Kate as primarily responsible, and Gerry as a sort of secondary figure.
The McCanns were asked asked directly by their suspicious behavior by Sabine Mueller, a German radio reporter on June 6th, 2007. This was during another PR “roadshow”, this time in Berlin. Kate McCann’s response was to refer to the popular vote. That according to her most people believe and support them. That’s how innocence works though, isn’t it? As long as most people believe you, you’re innocent. She then referred to her behaviour as a parent, specifically how often “we were checking on them” on the night in question, to rationalise her/their behaviour.
Yet technically Kate herself never checked on the children prior to something happening to Madeleine on May 3rd, an aspect which she curiously doesn’t seem to express any guilt or remorse over.
According to an article published by the Telegraph the day after the presser in Berlin, the German journalist said felt justified in asking her question:
Afterwards Miss Mueller, 35, who has worked for German Radio for 14 years, said her question was justified. “I was aware it was a difficult question but I felt it was a question that needed to be asked. I don’t suspect the McCanns of being involved. I know it has been seen as a hard question but I do not think it was improper. If they had walked out I would have been sorry. They are putting themselves out there a lot and if they keep staging press conferences they have to expect uncomfortable questions. I was doing my job as a journalist.”
The McCanns also responded to wider criticism of their campaign to raise awareness of Madeleine’s disappearance. They said they were not on a “tour” and reiterated that the sole motivation of their trips to four European countries in the past week was to get Madeleine back. Mr McCann said the alternative was to lock themselves away and wait in despair.
The McCann family is launching a wristband to raise cash and awareness for the missing girl. It will carry the international Crimestoppers number and the “Look” logo designed for the family’s campaign. The family is speaking to a supermarket chain about distributing the bands, for which people will be asked to make a minimum £1 donation.
The notion that Kate is more culpable is interesting. As mentioned above, when it was her turn to check on the children, she didn’t, Matt Oldfield supposedly did.
During the first of dozens of press conferences, Gerry did all of the talking in front of the apartment. Look at Kate’s face and body language.
The DOUBT series explores in-depth the events leading up to Madeleine’s disappearance on May 3rd, and provides a unique scenario for the route of the abduction, as well as the destination. Available at Amazon.co.uk at this link.