What CAN Kate and Gerry be thinking?http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/columnists/article-506921/What-CAN-Kate-Gerry-thinking.html
Last updated at 22:32 08 January 2008
When I heard that the McCanns are in talks to make a movie of Madeleine's story I instinctively wanted to adopt the brace position - the one you get into on a plane when it's about to hit the ground.
For if such a project goes ahead while Maddie's fate is still unclear it can only be a disaster movie - a disaster for the reputation of the McCanns, and a disaster for those of us who have defended them and prayed for their lost child.
Critics who have never forgiven Gerry and Kate for leaving their kids alone in their holiday apartment will be confirmed in their view that the couple have truly terrible judgment. They will be accused of bad taste; of lacking respect for Madeleine's memory. Kate will be charged with wanting to swan down the red carpet, even though in this case it is sorrow, not vanity, that has reduced her to a Hollywood Size Zero.
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Far worse will be the boost given to the ghouls who have lapped up every blood-stained lie put out by the Portuguese police. These are the people who creepily seem to relish the torment of the Leicestershire doctors and accuse them of being everything from child-murderers to fame-obsessed money-grubbers.
Eight months after Madeleine disappeared, there is still not a shred of evidence linking her parents to her death. Two in-depth media investigations, one by the BBC, turned up nothing fresh except Kate and Gerry's anguish.
In fact, testimony over the past fortnight from witnesses who saw suspicious men hanging around the McCann apartment in Praia da Luz has given new weight to the theory that the poor family was stalked. Their four-year-old daughter was the victim of a cold, calculated abduction.
There is a precedent. In 1980, Lindy Chamberlain claimed her nine-weekold baby had been stolen by a dingo at Ayers Rock. Mrs Chamberlain, who, just like Kate McCann, was accused of lacking emotion, was found guilty of murder. The conviction was overturned in 1988, the same year that A Cry In The Dark, a great film about the case starring Meryl Streep as Lindy, was released.
In other words, the movie did not come out until the case was legally over and emotionally allowed to cool down. Whereas we are still in the thick of the Madeleine case, with feelings running high.
The problem is the Madeleine Fund is committed to spending £50,000 a month on a Spanish private detective agency. Metodo 3 is given to bullish boasting, which I fear owes more to testosterone than tests. It drip-feeds supposed sightings of Madeleine to the media to justify its huge fees. Yet, so far, they have failed to turn up a single concrete lead.
I can understand how Kate and Gerry must cling to the agency's promises of success, no matter how slender the chance they can bring their daughter back. But if paying the fees means they have to make a movie of Maddie's story to raise more money, then the price is too high.
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