The Madeleine McCann case has been unique.
‘Abduction’ has frequently been claimed by parents of young children when it later turns out that the child has died and the parents are responsible, whether the child has died as the result of an accident, negligence, neglect or deliberate act.
It is important that the media are able to engage in reasonable and fair discussion of the weaknesses of any particular claim of abduction, without fearing the consequences of a possible expensive libel action.
Once upon a time there was a sleepy little village on the coast of Portugal called Praia da Luz. Nowadays it is not quite so sleepy.
Anyway ….. when it was sleepy, a little three year old child went missing from her bedroom whilst her parents were dining at a restaurant quite nearby.
When I say that the restaurant was quite nearby …… it really wasn’t quite that nearby at all …… but her parents said that it was nearby and it was just like having dinner at the bottom of their garden at home.
Which of course it wasn’t …….. but the parents kept saying it was ….. And who were the police and public to argue the toss with them?
The parents also said that they had been informed (by whom?) that it was well within the boundaries of responsible parenting to leave very young children unattended ……. This has yet to be established …….but a great many people all around the World decided most emphatically that it wasn’t responsible parenting at all. But the parents and their spokesman said that it was. Indeed their spokesman said that it was a very British thing to do. So that was that.
Even the police could not get clear information about the parents and their holiday pals last movements ……..
And so it came to pass that any of the information received from the parents and their holiday pals about their their holiday stay was at its best vague and incomplete ………
Terribly vague and incomplete ……… The proof of which lies in the facts that some questions were never answered at all and some questions had to be addressed again. And nothing came to pass. Yet.