Two quite brilliant and superbly written articles from John Blacksmith. A pleasure to read, thank you.
Winning His Spurs
Two weeks after her departure Clarence Mitchell announced at a press conference outside the McCanns' redbrick house in Rothley that he was resigning from the Foreign Office to work with the McCanns, mainly because “he believed in their innocence.” There is much dislike, even hatred, of Mitchell among those who have followed the case. The lugubrious undertaker-like figure of Clarence, however, brings a note of pure comedy into the sombre drama of Madeleine McCann; despite the sinister nature of his activities he remains as much a buffoon as a conspiritor, someone whose reach always exceeds his talents.
Pompous as a small town councillor, the journalist whose love of gruesome murders made him the butt of unpleasant jokes from his colleagues, the trainee TV newsreader who, farcically, lost his job by falling asleep and missing his bulletin, the head of a glorified press-cuttings department in the civil service which foreigners believed was a spider's web of secret intelligence with Clarence at its centre,reporting daily to the prime minister with his MMU folder under his arm. Nobody, but nobody, had ever taken Clarence Mitchell as seriously as he took himself before; now was the chance to show that Clarence could play with the big boys. more
Fugitives R Us
The soap-opera Search for Maddie, that "fairy-story" as the ex-police officer Marita Flores described it in a Lisbon court, ran for almost three more months to huge viewing figures and rave reviews until it was taken off in early September when the leading man and lady were removed from the stage and named, to audience uproar, as arguidos. Following their hasty exit to the UK the two stars now had to concentrate on the altogether less glamorous business of clearing themselves. Those, however, who thought that the parents, once away from the hysterical rumour mill of the Portuguese press, would dismiss the "ludicrous" claims against them with ease by calmly and simply putting forward the facts that demonstrated their innocence, were in for a shock. That was not to be their strategy at all.
With their new-found financial resources the parents engaged two of the most skilled and expensive lawyers in London. One, Gerald Caplan QC, was a specialist in saving people from extradition, however strong the evidence against them appeared to be. He was the saviour, if that is the right word, of Chile’s ex-dictator General Pinochet, who had begun his political career with the slaughter of his democratically elected predecessor and continued it with his “expunging” of political opponents by killing them on a truly South American scale. more