Friday, 20 March 2015

Brenda's Day

Half an hour after this post is published the inquest into Brenda Leyland's death is scheduled to start.

The blog has decided to repeat what was said in our “2014 Christmas Break” and “2015” posts about Brenda:

1. What we said in “2014 Christmas Break” (Dec 12 2014):

On the 18th [Dec 18 2014] there will be a Pre Review Inquest on Brenda Leyland’s death which is still to be ascertained. It will be to determine who can be witnesses and if anything illegal occurred. It will be like a court directions hearing and nothing much is expected to happen on that day.

It could go on for years and those thinking that it would be an opportunity to see Martin Brunt squirm in justifications may best stay home and save their trip expenses.

Death is, as said, to be determined. We wait for coroner’s report.

Pre Review may announce cause of death if results known but may still need to call witnesses if suicide is the outcome.

If death was natural causes, then we don't see what witnesses could say as it can't be proved that her death resulted from anything related to Sky News interview.

If it appears death was suspicious, then this would have to be investigated by police.

If the Inquest is complex, reports are not forthcoming, or it appears that the adjournment is continuing for too long, the Coroner will fix a date when all interested persons, including the family of the deceased and any legal representatives will be required to attend court for a formal hearing. This will be a public hearing.

At a Pre Inquest Review the Coroner will deal with any outstanding matters and will give such further directions as are necessary to prepare the case for a final hearing.

Usually the Coroner, in conjunction with the family and legal representatives will, at the Pre-Inquest review, decide upon the scope of the Inquest, the evidence to be heard and the witnesses to be called at the final hearing.

The date for the final hearing will usually be set at this Pre Inquest Review. All interested persons will receive written confirmation of the date and the date will be publicised on the website.

Any properly interested person who wishes to inspect or receive copies of any statement or document to be considered at the Inquest may apply to the Coroner. 

As we said, we don't know cause of death and can't speculate, but looks like it won't be resolved before New Year.

However there are many questions we wish we would have answered to but very unlikely to get any on the 18th.

Why wasn’t Brenda Leyland surprised with Brunt appearing at her home? She does seem surprised by what he has to say after he meets up with her but the way she walks towards him is if she was expecting him only not at that inconvenient time as she was about to go out with a friend.

Why did Martin Brunt and his crew wait for Brenda to return? He has filmed his “ambush” got the surprised reaction of the victim who was filmed leaving the scene in a car with a friend:

So why not pack things up and leave?

Brenda is filmed inviting him inside her house. Meaning it was after she returned (this is not filmed or is said if she decided to cancel outing with friend because of report). She got out of the car, walked to her door and invited Brunt inside, politely but visibly angry:

Between this and the moment Brenda drove away what did Brunt do? If she did go out with her friend as it seems she did, why wait so long for Brenda on her doorstep?

Why was Martin Brunt holding copy of documentation allegedly under investigation? Someone provided a copy to Brunt and informed him that it was material under investigation. We understand that Mr Brunt has the right to protect his sources but by showing documentation under investigation – and hindering it by revealing through a printout that clearly identified a site that was supposed to be under police scrutiny – did he commit a crime? What does the British justice system intend to do about it?

Why hasn’t Martin Brunt or Sky News issued an official apology about their performance with regards to Brenda Leyland? This one we will answer ourselves to be fair to the man: probably advised not to as he could legally incriminate himself if he did apologise.

Who advised Brenda Leyland to seek refuge in a hotel so near home? If she felt unsafe for some reason being in her house after the Sky News exposure, why not flee far away instead of staying at an arm’s reach of the menacing press.

That hotel, near her home, would probably be one where reporters interested in the story would stay. It was like running away from wasps and hide in their nest.

But the most important question we would like answered is why is sweepyface Brenda Leyland? Or, to more specific, why, when and how was the pseudonym sweepyface linked to the individual Brenda Leyland?

We first noticed the oddity of this identification outing in this picture from the Daily Mail of 01OCT2014:

As a footnote to it it’s said “some identities have been held for legal reasons”.

Well, we have on that particular picture 3 @******** and 1 @sweepyface.

So it can be deduced that the only identity not held for legal reasons was @sweepyface.

But @sweepyface is not an identity. It’s a pseudonym, a pen name, a nom de plume, a literary double. Not and identity. Something adopted by a person to assure their anonymity.

The pseudonym @sweepyface provides the exact same kind identification as @sledgehammer, @pinkpanther, @marypoppins, @thick_ankles or even @anonymous. Usernames that we've just invented but most likely exist.

Usernames don't provide ANY personal identification. In fact, a username only identifies the use of a Twitter account. It may represent one person or it may represent many. Anyone who has the respective password.

People using pseudonyms wish to remain anonymous. It’s their right. Much like the right to remain as anonymous as the woman who appears in the video – by coincidence no longer available on youtube but can still be seen on this Sky News webpage – saying she was the one who collated the info that was put into the in the infamous tr*ll dossier.

Also, if the other pseudonyms were held for legal reasons, one can only assume that @sweepyface was authorised to be used by Brenda Leyland. When did this happen?

But note that Martin Brunt never identifies Brenda Leyland. This is the transcript of the video:

“Brenda Leyland on screen, filmed outside this lady’s home, as she approaches her car.

Martin Brunt: “This woman uses Twitter to attack the parents of Madeleine McCann. On the internet she’s anonymous – not anymore!”

A woman walks from her car and approaches Martin Brunt.

Woman: “Well I’m just about to go out”

Brunt: “No, we caught you! Can we talk to you about your Twitter… handle, and your attacks on the McCanns?”

Woman: “No!”

Brunt: “Why are you attacking them so regularly?”

Woman: “Look I’m just going out with a friend ok?

The woman makes her way to a waiting car. Martin Brunt follows her.

Brunt: “But why are you using your Twitter Account to attack the McCanns?”

Woman: “I’m entitled to do that”

Brunt: “You know you have been reported to the police to Scotland Yard?  They are considering a whole file of Twitter accounts …”

Woman: “That is fair enough”

Brunt: “… of what supporters say is a campaign of abuse against the McCanns.

Woman: “Okay then well I am going out now.” 

Brunt: “The Crown Prosecution Service is considering it.  Are you worried about that?”

Woman: “No.”

Woman gets in and leaves in a car driven by a friend.

Brunt: “On Twitter she uses the name ‘sweepyface’ and the profile picture of a pet.  She tweets many times a day, and mostly about the McCanns.  In one message she spread rumours about the couples marriage, in another she hoped Madeleine’s parents would suffer forever.

But sweepyface is not the worst.”

The woman is simply identified as sweepyface. Strangely for an experienced reporter to say “on the internet she’s anonymous – not anymore!” and then only reveal a pseudonym as an identity.

Brenda Leyland’s identity was revealed by her face. It was the internet that publicly linked her face to her name, not Sky News.

But, and that is the importance of our question, Mr Brunt to make that report knew that @sweepyface was Brenda Leyland and knew where she lived.

Unless Brenda Leyland identified herself clearly in one of her tweets, someone, somehow, somewhere, went to the trouble of identifying the pseudonym and passed this information to Martin Brunt. This implies to us, a crime of violation of privacy – for some reason Daily Mail held “identities” for legal reasons in the picture above.

Again we ask, what is the British justice system going to do about it?

2. What we said in “2015” (Jan 16 2015) :

We were wrong when we said that “nothing much is expected to happen on that day”.

And in our opinion, it did happen but unfortunately people concentrated on things that, for us, weren’t important at all, namely whether the Coroner said at the end of a sentence “this may change on the day of the inquest” [20MAR15].

What the Coroner may have or not said at the end of the sentence, for us it’s completely irrelevant whether she said them or not.

The Coroner determines if there is foul play in what caused the death. If the physical reason(s) why person has died is of criminal origin.

“An inquest is an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding a death. The purpose of the inquest is to find out who the person was and how, when and where they died, and to establish the details the Registrar of Deaths need to register the death.

An inquest is not a trial – it is not the role of the Coroner to decide any question of criminal or civil liability or to apportion guilt or attribute blame.”

The Coroner’s conclusions may, or may not, give reason(s) for there to be a prosecution. But a Coroner does not determine if there is to be one or any other sort of legal action.

According to BBC:

“A pre-inquest review was told it will hear evidence from a toxicology expert, police and the Sky News journalists.

The coroner said no criminal action was planned against any witnesses and adjourned the hearing until March.


“Leicester Coroner Catherine Mason said: "I understand from my officers that, of all the witnesses who I have said that I will call to give oral evidence, there is nobody to which there is any foreseeability of any criminal action being taken."”

The Leicester Mercury:

“Mrs Mason had opened an inquest into Ms Leyland’s death on October 8. That hearing was told that the cause of her death had not yet been determined. It was not revealed at today’s hearing.”

The Belfast Telegraph:

“Confirming details of a full inquest due to take place next year, Leicester Coroner Catherine Mason said she would hear evidence from Sky News Crime Correspondent Martin Brunt and Head of Newsgathering Jonathan Levy.

Two police officers, a toxicologist and a doctor are also due to give oral evidence at the one-day hearing on March 20.

Adjourning the pre-inquest, Mrs Mason said she would be presented with written statements from a pathologist and one of Mrs Leyland's sons at the next hearing.”

When the Coroner says “there is nobody to which there is any foreseeability of any criminal action being taken” we think she’s saying something like “as far as can be seen up to now the cause of death is explainable and was not due to any criminal physical act on the victim but let’s wait until we have all the reports before coming to a definitive conclusion”.

One of the reports being written is the pathology report to be handed in at the March Inquest.

Only then will the Coroner determine what the cause of death was.

To say any decision has been taken is ridiculous. If there was one, then there would be no need for the March 20 Inquest.

This will take place because there still are things pending to allow a full decision by the Coroner, otherwise there would be no need to hold one.

If the decision is that there was foul play, then it’s up to the Coroner to put that in her conclusions but it’s up to the British justice system to determine how the prosecution will run its terms.

If the decision determines it was suicide, then, again, it’s only up to the British justice system, and not the Coroner, to decide if the case requires prosecution or not.

So if she said “this may change”, it’s only an opinion, with no legal value able to enforce any sort of action.

But what a Coroner can do however, in case cause of death is deemed suicide, is to help establish if it was in any way provoked by an external source.

If the victim was put in a situation in which death appeared to her as the only option to escape clearly provoked surrounding circumstances or if the victim decided to put an end to her life as the culmination of an individual ongoing internal process. If the suicide was unexpected and provoked or if it was just an individual tragedy.

But as the Coroner’s job is only to determine if it was or wasn’t suicide, any opinion given about causes of said suicide, are just that, opinions.

It will be only up to the British justice system to determine if those opinions should or shouldn’t result in prosecution.

To say that Mr Brunt will not be charged with anything related with Brenda Leyland’s death is as inappropriate as it is to say that he will.

By the list of those called for the March 20 inquest, it seems Coroner does wish to provide an opinion about reasons of suicide, if suicide is determined to be the cause of death:

“Dr West – pathologist (statement only)

Dr Smith – toxicologist (oral evidence)

Dr Zakrzewski – not Brenda’s GP, but had knowledge of her

Jonathan Levy – Sky (producer?)

Martin Brunt – Sky reporter

Ben Leyland – evidence only

Sgt Taylor – Leics Police

Det Sgt Hutchins – Leics Police”

Of these witnesses, clearly Jonathan Levy, Martin Brunt and Ben Leyland have nothing to say about the physical reasons that caused Brenda Leyland’s death.

We do think they can certainly contribute in helping ascertain the reasons for the suicide, if suicide is determined to have been the cause of death.

Only after all decisions are taken at this inquest can the British justice system determine what it will or won’t do next.

A verdict of unlawful killing, for example, we think would be followed by police action. Suicide verdict unlikely to result in any further action.

As the Coroner is part of that system, one thing is certain and irrelevant of there being a prosecution or not, Sky and Martin Brunt have been legally involved in the case of Brenda Leyland’s death.

We think some people are hoping the dossier compilers will be prosecuted.

We can’t see that happening as they were entitled to compile it and present it to the police, whatever we may think of their actions.

The fact something is amoral doesn’t mean it’s illegal.

If Martin Brunt lied to Brenda about a pending prosecution, we think he must have breached the code of practice for Sky and may also have breached the code in door-stepping her.

But unless Brenda wrote a note or spoke about her reaction to what Brunt said, it could only be surmised that it may have led to her death.

There was one particularly vile tweet directed towards her, which seemed to come from an individual and has been drawn to the Coroner's attention, we believe, by the Express newspaper. Whether it is enough to constitute an offence of a threat of violence, we don't know.

If it did, we presume a family member would need to make a complaint to the police. If threatening tweets are pursued by the police, it would be a separate matter from the coroner's court.

3. Today:

The Coroner only refers it to the police if suspicious circumstances result from post mortem.

It's a matter of how she died.

If anyone takes their own life or dies from other causes, coroner can recommend changes to procedures to prevent future risks

A recent example was a man who took his life because he owed money to the council. The coroner recommended changes in council procedures.

Maybe she will have something to say about whether Sky followed its own code of conduct and whether that code is adequate.

So it doesn't happen again.

In Brenda’s case, the police haven't reported any suspicious circumstances to her otherwise, Coroner wouldn't proceed until those circumstances were investigated by police.

If it was an evidently assisted suicide, it would be a police matter.

If one leaves one’s partner and they subsequently take their own life and leave a note saying it was because of one’s actions, it's not the role of the Coroner to attribute one the blame.

There would be a finding of the reasons given by the deceased but no action taken against. One didn't do anything illegal. One may have been amoral but as we said, amorality is not illegality.

If Brunt didn't follow the code of conduct, it would be for his employers to act. The coroner might note that procedures were not followed and might then recommend something. But it's not her job to punish Brunt.

Relatives can, if they wish to do so and can afford it, take action against Sky for wrongdoing. But they can do it with or without Coroner finding procedures not although their position would be strengthened, but only that, if she did.

That's what our previous posts said originally. All the excitement that Martin Brunt could be sent to prison is, in our opinion, be a little over the top.

Action against him could be disciplinary action by his employers. But if he took legal advice from Sky lawyer beforehand, then unlikely. And even more unlikely if they would eventually share responsibility in the matter.

If he lied to Brenda Leyland about prosecution:

- Civil action by her family if he acted beyond Sky's Code of Conduct or lied to her. But we think he chose his words carefully. He only implied prosecution.

- By police, if he had interfered with the course of justice. But it seems there was no police investigation.

We were trying to calm expectations.

If he gets more stick than we anticipate, fine. We can be glad to be wrong. But we seek only justice done by the appropriate authorities not a burning at the stake.

We not only do not support any witch hunting as we clearly and vehemently condemn it.

Today is about Brenda Leyland and not Martin Brunt.

For us it’s sufficient that he has to sit and face us, via the Coroner, and be told to tell us what role he possibly played in the events that led to Brenda’s loss of life.

Today, we, like everyone else will be focused on Brenda Leyland today.

We, like everyone else will be waiting for updates and for the inquest verdict to be given.

We, like any other decent human being, wish no one be handicapped. But today we do make an exception: may Lady Justice be totally and hopelessly blind.



    Leanne Baulch Toxicology was required because his internal/external examination showed no proof of cause of death.
    16 mins · Like

    Leanne Baulch Toxicology revealed asphyxiation by helium overdose
    15 mins · Like

    Leanne Baulch It was a complex set of chemical results in her blood, which confuses the precise cause of deatb
    9 mins · Like

    1. Given Brenda's tweet about making sure if she died, people would question it, I'm sure police would make sure they tracked down helium purchase - from where and when.
      If she bought it, it's clear what her intent was


    Joy Savage Police say , no threatening tweets were sent
    10 mins · Like · 1

    Joy Savage Police say , no threatening tweets were sent
    10 mins · Like

  3. Joy Savage Brunt will not reveal source for dossier
    5 mins · Like
    Joy Savage Claiming a quick search on the internet found Brenda
    4 mins · Like


    Inquest to begin into death of 'internet troll' accused of abusing Madeleine McCanns' parents

    Two journalists will be called as witnesses at inquest of Brenda Leyland

    By Victoria Ward

    7:54AM GMT 20 Mar 2015

    Two Sky News journalists will give evidence today at an inquest into the death of an alleged internet "troll" accused of abusing the parents of Madeleine McCann.

    Crime correspondent Martin Brunt and head of newsgathering Jonathan Levy will be called as witnesses into the death of Brenda Leyland.

    The 63-year-old's body was found in a hotel room in Leicester last October, two days after she featured in a Sky News report exposing online abuse directed at Kate and Gerry McCann.

    She had faced widespread condemnation after being exposed for posting thousands of messages on Twitter attacking the McCanns, whose daughter Madeleine disappeared in Portugal in 2007.

    Tweets from the @sweepyface account had said that the McCanns should suffer “for the rest of their miserable lives”.

    Mrs Leyland, a mother-of-two from Burton Overy, Leicestershire, was asked by Mr Brunt why she was attacking the couple and responded that she was “entitled to”.

    She was informed that she had been reported to the police and that officers were considering an apparent campaign of abuse against the couple by her and other online “trolls”.

    She responded that was “fair enough”.

    Mr Brunt said he had later been invited into Mrs Leyland’s home, where she told him she had questions for the McCanns but hoped she had not broken the law.

    Police officers, a toxicologist and a doctor are also due to give evidence at the one-day hearing, held by Leicester coroner Catherine Mason at Leicester Town Hall.

    A pre-inquest hearing heard that no one was facing any criminal action over Mrs Leyland's.

  5. Joy Savage Brunt tells court
    "I told brenda, I hope I havnt ruined your day"
    Just now · Like


    1. Café McCann‏@CafeMcCann·53 secs53 seconds ago
      "She seemed relaxed - I offered her the opportunity to do a full interview but she declined." – MARTIN BRUNT, SKY NEWS REPORTER. #McCann

  6. Joy Savage Discussing the principles of doorstepping , options considered, they chose to identify her only visually, but not to name. They decided against obscuring her face, on the basis of the story, being one of twitter identity.
    Just now · Like

    1. Disingenuous to say she was only identified by sweepyface name. Her house was very distinctive and neighbours would know her. Her real name would soon be findable

  7. Joy Savage Psychiatrist now testifying, says Brenda had a mental health condition
    Just now · Like

    1. It seems she did have a mental health condition. Vulnerable person, so doorstepping was breach of code, I would say

  8. Joy Savage Police describe seeing canisters of gas in the hotel room
    Just now · Like

  9. please let justice be served today, although i think fairness is a rare in this corrupt world (have my own theories about who that dossier compiler is), poor brenda, am just off to work but my thoughts will be on what happened to this lady,and her sons who lost a mother

  10. Noon here in UK
    Not a single word from Sky News about this. Shameful.


    Inquest resumes into the death of alleged internet troll

    The inquest has resumed in Leicester into the death of an alleged internet troll, Brenda Leyland, who reportedly targeted the parents of missing Madeleine McCann.

    20 March 2015 at 11:25am

    Alleged internet troll on abuse tweets: 'I'm entitled to'

    Sky News reporter Martin Brunt has told the Brenda Leyland inquest that he traced her from a police dossier using basic Internet search techniques.

    He and a cameraman waited outside her house and approached her. When Brunt asked her why she was saying things about the McCanns she replied "I'm entitled to."

    After the confrontation on camera Brunt stayed in Burton Overy to get shots.

    He approached her again later same day and she invited him in for an off camera chat.

    Brunt told the inquest Leyland told him she tweeted about McCanns because she had concerns about fundraising.

    She seemed relaxed - I offered her the opportunity to do a full interview but she declined. I told Brenda Leyland we would use the "engagement" we'd had outside on camera.....she seemed to accept that. After our meeting Leyland told me over the phone, prior to the news item being aired 'oh I have thought about ending it all but I'm feeling better now - I've had a drink and I've spoken to my son in LA.' I was devastated to find out that Brenda Leyland was dead."

    – Martin Brunt, Sky News reporter
    Last updated Fri 20 Mar 2015

    1. Hi Textusa, so Martin Brunt had a further contact with Mrs Brenda Leyland and he knew her state of mind and did nothing!
      At times I despair of the "Human Race",what disgraceful way to behave knowing you have caused"Distress"and just got on with his job?

  12. Brunt doesn't want to revea his source?
    This article says "Gerry McCann compiled a dossier of abuse he said had caused his family "severe distress"."

    Madeleine McCann 'Twitter troll' inquest to hear from Sky News journalists

    Dominic Gover
    By Dominic Gover
    December 18, 2014 15:54 GMT

    An inquest into the death of a woman who was exposed for conducting a campaign of online abuse about Madeleine McCann will hear from two Sky News journalists, who orchestrated the sting.

    Brenda Leyland, 63, was found dead in a hotel room only days after a Sky News team confronted her about a series of abusive Twitter messages.

    Leyland fled to the hotel after she was outed by the news service. It is thought she committed suicide after, ironically, she became the target of a concentrated hate campaign on social media.

    Leyland, who published material online relating to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann under the name "Sweepyface", was confronted by the Sky news team and accused on live camera of carrying out a "campaign of abuse" by reporter Martin Brunt.

    He will give evidence at the inquest, along with the channel's head of newsgathering, Jonathan Levy. The hearings will take place in March 2015.

    Leicester Coroner Catherine Mason said: "I understand from my officers that, of all the witnesses who I have said that I will call to give oral evidence, there is nobody to which there is any foreseeability of any criminal action being taken."

    Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry McCann have spoken previously of how online abuse has affected them. Gerry McCann compiled a dossier of abuse he said had caused his family "severe distress".

    He told BBC Radio 4: "Clearly something needs to be done about the abuse on the internet. I think we probably need more people to be charged."

    The body of Leyland was discovered at the Marriott Hotel in Enderby, Leicester, in October, two days after the Sky News expose.

    1. i like how it appears to have a little dig at mcann

  13. Joy Savage 20 March 2015 at 11:19am Police evidence at inquest into alleged internet troll death A police sergeant has told the inquest into her death that Brenda Leyland had spent the last days of her life looking online about suicide methods. Brenda Leyland was 63 and lived at Burton Overy in Leicestershire. Her family are not at the inquest but several "supporters" are in the public gallery.
    Just now · Like

  14. DO NOT PUBLISH Anonymous at 20 Mar 2015, 12:35:00,

    Thank you for such a personal and heartfelt comment.


    alie charlesworth [ltr]@nataliecharlesw[/ltr] · 13s13 seconds ago
    [ltr]Coroners verdict death by suicide #mccann #brendaleyland[/ltr]


    20 March 2015 Last updated at 13:12 GMT

    McCann 'Twitter troll' Brenda Leyland suicide verdict

    A woman who "trolled" the family of Madeleine McCann on Twitter overdosed on helium days after she was challenged over the abuse by reporters, an inquest has heard.

    Brenda Leyland, 63, from Leicestershire, was found dead in a hotel after she was confronted by Sky News correspondent Martin Brunt.

    Coroner Catherine Mason recorded a verdict of suicide at the inquest.

    She also called for helium sales to be regulated.
    Confronted at home

    Mrs Leyland, of Burton Overy, reportedly used the Twitter handle @sweepyface to post thousands of messages about the McCann family.

    Madeleine went missing while on a family holiday in Portugal in 2007.

    In a list of thousands of tweets, apparently sent by Mrs Leyland, none of the messages were directed personally at the McCanns, who have "no significant presence" on social media.

    In an investigation by Sky News, Mr Brunt confronted her outside her home and put to her she had attacked the family.

    She replied: "I'm entitled to do that."

    She was found dead in a Leicester hotel several days later.

  17. Seems martin brunt is devastated. So to the inquest he is the victim.....


    To You, Brenda Leyland the real victim, xxxx to the Heaven. We remember Yours advice " if I appear dead...."


    Brenda Leyland inquest: 'McCann Twitter troll' told Sky News presenter she'd thought of 'ending it '

    By Yasmin_Duffin | Posted: March 20, 2015

    The Sky News presenter who confronted 'Twitter troll' Brenda Leyland has spoken at her inquest of his "devastation" after finding out she had taken her own life days after she had told him she had thought about "ending it all".

    Martin Brunt has spoken at the full inquest into Ms Leyland's death, which has been taking place today at the Town Hall, in Leicester.

    Ms Leyland took was found dead in a Leicester hotel room on October 4.

    Her death came after Mr Brunt had confronted her about abusive tweets she had sent to the Gerry and Kate McCann, following the disappearance of their daughter, Madeline.

    Mr Brunt confronted Ms Leyland on September 29.

    He told the inquest how he and a cameraman waited outside her home in Burton Overy for three hours, waiting for Ms Leyland to appear.

    When Ms Leyland came out of her house, he approached her, along with the cameraman and asked her: "Why are you using your Twitter account to attack the McCanns?"

    He told how she initially turned away and then turned back and said: "I'm entitled to".

    The following day, on October 1, Mr Brunt called Ms Leyland to tell her the footage would be broadcast.

    During the phone call, Ms Leyland said to Mr Brunt: "I have been thinking about ending it all but I'm feeling better now."

    Mr Brunt told the inquest how he thought this was just a "throwaway comment".

    Coroner Catherine Mason today recorded a verdict of suicide.

    Ms Leyland died from a helium overdose.


    Case No: 2686/14
    Name of Deceased: LEYLAND, Brenda Kathryn Gabrielle
    Gender Female
    Date of Birth: 09/06/1951
    Age: 63yrs
    Town Burton Overy, Leicestershire
    Medical Cause of Death:
    1a. Asphyxia,
    1b. Inhalation of helium
    2. Citalopram toxicity

    Circumstances: Brenda Leyland was found deceased in a hotel room at the Marriott Hotel, Leicester on the 4th October 2014. She had recently been upset by public exposure in the media and had been researching ways to end her life.
    Inquest Status: Held
    Date Inquest Open 08/10/2014
    Hearing Date 20/03/2015
    Hearing Time: 10.00
    Type of Hearing: Final ( HMC Mrs C.E.Mason ).
    Date Inquest Closed: 20/03/2015
    Conclusion: Suicide.

    1. May she rest in Peace, Mrs Brenda Leyland, safely away from the hounding of MSM,/Sky, Martin Brunt hang your heads in shame!

  20. Sky News report on the subject:

    The blog's transcript:

    "I’ll read to you just a little bit of what Benjamin Leyland said he told the Coroner’s court that his mother suffered from a history of a mental depression and that she in the past considered taking her own life and that she was troubled by anxiety and depression, but he said at the end “I have no doubt in my mind that the panic and the fear I heard in her voice after the Sky News interview was the final straw that pushed my mum to do what she did, she was broken, destroyed.”

    Martin Brunt also told the court that he had a phone conversation with Mrs Leyland about the interview and she told him “I’ve thought about ending it all but I’m better, I’ve had a drink, spoken with my son who has told me I had been a silly, stupid woman, he said that he could not have gauged from that conversation that this was a serious intention, it was a throw-away remark” and the Coroner Katherine Mason said “I’m satisfied that although Mrs Leyland had a mental history that others would have necessarily would have known that she was suffering from mental health, the very fact she mentioned wanting to take her own life and then dismissing it, I don’t think it could have been known to anybody that there was a definite intention for her to take her own life”.

    Sky News has this afternoon issued a statement concerning this case, I will read that to you, it says “The team at Sky News followed an editorial guideline and then pursued the story in a responsible manner that we believed was firmly in the public interest. Brenda Leyland’s tragic death highlights the unforeseeable human impact that the stories we pursue can have, and Sky News would like to extend its sincere condolences to her family”"

    1. I wonder if OFCOM or the regulators of the media would like to investigate as to whether or not, they (SKY/MB) did follow the guide lines into the revealing of her Twitter account, Martin Brunt,"It's not a secret any more?"

    2. Show your disgust by cancelling your Sky subscription, if you still have one.

    3. Hi to anonymous 17.08,I do not subscribe to Sky or MSM, Facebook(murdoch story Machinations).
      Quite alarming to find out that the Leicester Police Force found "Evidence of one of Mrs. Brenda Leylands Twitter message's possible to prosecution 1 of 2000 + Tweets?
      Yet as up to the present moment 21 March 2015, that the same Police Force have been unable to "Trace" the obviously nasty personal attacks directed towards Mrs Brenda Leyland on her Twitter account, six months since they were posted to her, why you cannot find these people, Oh they are Team McCann supporters? Different rules for these people!



    Sky TV reporter 'devastated' by suicide of McCann Twitter troll days after he exposed her, inquest hears

    Brenda Leyland died in October days after being approached by Sky News
    The 63-year-old had written hundreds of tweets about the McCann family
    She was confronted by Martin Brunt outside her Leicestershire home
    During exchange she said she was 'entitled' to write the negative posts
    Four days later Mrs Leyland's body was discovered in a hotel in Enderby
    Mr Brunt said he was left 'devastated' by her death at an inquest today
    The divorcee battled depression in the past and attempted suicide before
    A coroner said Sky had followed 'all guidelines' in its coverage of the story

    By Jennifer Smith for MailOnline

    Published: 16:23 GMT, 20 March 2015 | Updated: 17:09 GMT, 20 March 2015

    A Sky TV reporter has revealed he was 'devastated' by the suicide of a woman who killed herself days after he exposed her as one of the Twitter trolls who abused the McCann family.

    Brenda Leyland, 63, from Burton Overy, Leicestersire, died in October days after being approached on camera by Martin Brunt.

    The reporter confronted her on the subject of hundreds of posts she had written about the McCann family, whose daughter Madeleine went missing in Portugal in 2007.

    At an inquest into her death today Mr Brunt said he was 'devastated' when told she had been found dead days later.

    'I was devastated, I still am and the enormity of what’s happened will always be with me.'

    He approached the woman on September 30 last year after being given a list of the names of people who had been trolling the family.

    Among some 400 posts written by Mrs Leyland, she described Kate and Gerry McCann as the 'worst of humankind'.

    After tracking the divorcee down to the village in Leicestershire, Mr Brunt and his camera crew approached her outside her house.

    Introducing himself as a Sky News reporter, he asked her why she had been using Twitter to 'attack' the family.

    Mrs Leyland responded: 'I'm entitled to do that,' before saying that a Scotland Yard investigation into the tweets was 'fair enough'.

    She died days later after checking in to a hotel in nearby Enderby. Today Mr Brunt said he was surprised she had engaged with him at all in the days beforehand.

    'I was rather surprised that she did speak to me and did engage with me,' he said.

    Following their filmed exchange Mrs Leyland got in to a parked car and drove away. Later she returned to the house and invited the reporter inside.

    'After she left, we stayed in the village and I did a piece to camera. We were just packing up to go when she returned,' Mr Brunt added.

    'We approached her again as she walked up to her house and she said "Come in Martin". I went in and spoke to her for about half an hour.


  23. cont

    'Once in the house she seemed very relaxed. I said I had caught her on the hop and asked if she would be willing to do an interview in her house, but she wasn't interested.

    'I said I hoped I hadn't ruined her day, and she said I hadn't ruined her day - but her life.'

    He added the woman was 'at pains' to explain why she had written the negative messages about the McCann family.

    'She said she had concerns about the fundraising and was concerned they had left Madeleine with her siblings alone.

    'She said, "I have questions for the McCanns".

    'She said she thought Twitter was a means to express opinions and hoped she had not done anything unlawful.'

    Mr Brunt added he explained the police were in discussions with the Crown Prosecution Service.

    'She acknowledged she was (the Twitter user) "sweepyface" and said "I probably won’t ever tweet again"'.

    The following day Mrs Leyland contacted Mr Brunt on the phone number he had given her during their visit and asked whether she would be identified in the broadcast.

    'I did say I would keep her informed because I am aware of the impact such a confrontation can have on somebody,' he told the inquest. .

    The pair spoke again the night before the clip was shown.

    Asked whether he could detect any concern for her life during their conversation, Mr Brunt said: 'No, but when I asked her how she was, she said "Oh I have thought about ending it all but I am feeling better - I have had a drink and spoken to my son.'

    He added he thought her comments were a throwaway remark and that he had no knowledge of her battle with depression at the time.

    The inquest heard how Mrs Leyland had previously grappled with mental illness and had tried to take her own life once before.

    In a statement her son Ben, who lives in America, said the encounter had left his mother 'panicked'.

    'On September 30 she called me and it was clear to me from her tone of voice that she was panicking,' it read.


  24. cont

    'She said "I have been tweeting about the McCanns, I have had a reporter from Sky News here and a report has gone to Scotland Yard"'.

    'We discussed what action to take to avoid her name and picture appearing in the media.

    'On October 2, I was aware the story had broken. I tried to contact my mother without success, I discussed with my dad and brothers going round to check she was OK.

    'I got an email from mum on Wednesday saying she felt "cheerier".

    'My mum has always struggled with depression and has undergone therapy and psychiatric treatment.

    'I have been thinking a lot and have no doubt of the panic and fear in her voice, and think the Sky News report was the final straw.'

    Recording a verdict of suicide, Senior Leicester Coroner Catherine Mason described Mrs Leyland as an 'intelligent and loving person'.

    'She was aware she had come into the public eye. I have heard all guidelines were followed by Sky and Brenda invited Mr Brunt into her property.

    'She was also kept informed of how the story would be run. I am satisfied that although Brenda Leyland did have a medical health history, others wouldn't necessarily have known she was suffering.

    'Although she did mention wanting to take her own life, she then dismissed it.'

    'She was upset by her public exposure in the media. She planned (her death) independently and had insight into her actions, so I therefore conclude a verdict of suicide.'

    The cause of her death was given as asphyxiation due to gas inhalation.

    A former psychiatric consultant of Mrs Leyland, Dr Kajetan Zakrewski, said the risk of self-harm had 'always' existed due to her state of mental health.

    Following the coroner's verdict Sky News issued a statement expressing its condolences.

    'The team at Sky News followed its editorial guidelines and pursued a story in a responsible manner that we believed was firmly in the public interest,' it read.

    'Brenda Leyland's tragic death highlights the unforeseeable human impact that the stories we pursue can have, and Sky News would like to extend its sincere condolences to her family.'

  25. People on twitter are very angry about how Martin Brunt treated Brenda


    Inquest: McCann Troll's Death Was Suicide

    15:18, UK, Friday 20 March 2015

    By Ashish Joshi, Sky News Correspondent

    A Leicester coroner has concluded a woman found dead days after she featured in a Sky News report into online trolling took her own life.

    Brenda Leyland was found dead in a Leicester hotel room in October 2014.

    An inquest into her death at Leicester's Coroners Court heard witness testimony from a toxicologist, two police officers, Mrs Leyland's former psychiatrist and two Sky News employees.

    A written statement from Mrs Leyland's youngest son, Benjamin, was read to the court.

    He said: "I have no doubt in my mind that the panic and fear that I heard in her voice after the Sky News interview was the final straw that pushed my mum to do what she did.

    "She was broken, destroyed."

    Mr Leyland, who lives in America, described his mother as a woman who "felt it hard to connect with people".

    He wrote: "She struggled with depression. She had undergone psychiatric treatment and medicated for anxiety. The court was also told that there had been a previous suicide attempt."

    Sky News' Crime Correspondent Martin Brunt, who challenged Brenda Leyland about her alleged online trolling in a report for the channel, said he had talked to Mrs Leyland on the telephone after approaching her but before the report had been broadcast.

    He said: "I asked her how she was and she said 'Oh, I had thought about ending it all but I'm feeling better, I've had a drink I've spoken to my son who has told me I've been a silly, stupid woman."

    Mr Brunt was asked by Coroner Catherine Mason if he thought it was a throwaway line.

    He replied: "Yes".

    Detective Sergeant Steven Hutchings told the court that Mrs Leyland had posted more than 2,000 tweets under the name Sweepyface.

    Of these, 424 mentioned Gerry and Kate McCann. The couple's three-year-old daughter Madeleine was taken from the family's Portugal holiday apartment in 2007.

    In recording a verdict of suicide, the coroner said: "I'm satisfied although Mrs Leyland had a mental health history, that others would not necessarily have known that she was suffering from mental health (problems).

    "She had mentioned wanting to take her own life but then dismissed it. I don't think it could have been known to anybody that there was a definite intention for her to take her own life."

    A Sky News statement issued after the coroner's verdict said the broadcaster was confident that no editorial guidelines were breached.

    "The team at Sky News followed its editorial guidelines and pursued a story in a responsible manner that we believed was firmly in the public interest," the statement said.

    "Brenda Leyland's tragic death highlights the unforeseeable human impact that the stories we pursue can have, and Sky News would like to extend its sincere condolences to her family."


    Madeleine McCann: Sky News journalist 'devastated' after being told internet troll killed herself following TV report

    15:34, 20 March 2015
    By Martin Fricker

    Brenda Leyland, 63, was found dead in a hotel room after being exposed on Sky News for sending vile tweets to Kate and Gerry McCann

    Respected Sky News journalist Martin Brunt has told how he was left "devastated" after an internet 'troll' who targeted Madeleine McCann's parents killed herself after he confronted her.

    Brenda Leyland, 63, was found dead in a hotel room days after the long-serving crime reporter approached her outside her home.

    The mum-of-two had been identified as the person behind the anonymous @sweepyface account - who posted comments about Gerry and Kate McCann.

    The divorcee, who had a history of mental health problems, accused the pair of neglect and a cover-up over the disappearance of their daughter.

    An inquest into Mrs Leyland’s death was told she sent more than 400 tweets related to the tragic case in just 10 months - more than one a day.

    Her messages featured in a dossier of evidence given to Scotland Yard about suspected online hounding of the McCanns.

    She was confronted at her home in Burton Overy, Leics, by Sky News crime correspondent Martin Brunt last September.

    After her face appeared in a broadcast on the TV channel two days later, Mrs Leyland checked into a Leicester hotel and killed herself.

    Mr Brunt told her inquest today he was left “devastated” after being told about her death by his boss, Sky News head Jonathan Levy.

    “I was devastated and I still am,” he added. “The enormity of what happened will always be with me."

    Her son Ben Leyland, who lives in America, said her ‘outing’ as @sweepyface left his mother “a broken wreck”.

    He added: "She was completely destroyed by what had occurred. It was the final straw that pushed my mum to do what she did."

    Mr Brunt told the hearing at Leicester Town Hall how he discovered Mrs Leyland’s identity after being handed the dossier by a third party.

    He went to her home with a cameraman on September 30 last year and confronted her about the tweets - which were later found to not be unlawful.

    Mrs Leyland invited him into her home after the initial confrontation and seemed “calm” and rational, he added.

    She told him she was “entitled” to tweet her concerns the McCanns had left their children alone on the night Madeleine disappeared in 2007.

    Mr Brunt, a respected veteran journalist, said he ended the conversation by telling her: “I hope I have not ruined your day”.

    She replied: “I don’t know yet if you have ruined my day or my life."

    Mr Brunt said he spoke to her again on the phone before his report was broadcast and she told him she had “thought about ending it all”.

    “It was a throw-away remark,” he said. “She said she was feeling better. I had no idea about her mental background or history."

    The Sky News broadcast was aired on October 2 and showed Mrs Leyland’s face but did not name her or identify where she lived.

    She later rang her son in Los Angeles before asking a neighbour to look after her cats while she “lay low”, the inquest was told.

    Mrs Leyland drove to the four-star Marriott Hotel on the outskirts of Leicester the following day.

    Horrified staff discovered her body inside her £120 room the next morning and alerted police.

    Sgt Kevin Taylor, from Leicestershire Police, said she was found lying on the bed .

    Police discovered an iPad alongside her body which was open on a website giving instructions on how to commit suicide.

    Coroner Catherine Mason said “all proper guidelines” had been followed by Sky News in their coverage of the story and gave a conclusion of suicide.


    McCann Twitter troll killed herself after being exposed on TV

    AN INTERNET troll who posted hundreds of abusive tweets attacking Madeleine McCann’s parents killed herself after she was exposed on national TV.

    By Jerry Lawton / Published 20th March 2015

    Mum-of-two Brenda Leyland, 63, spent 10 months firing off messages about former GP Kate McCann, 47, and her heart specialist husband Gerry, 46, using the Twitter account @Sweepyface.

    She was unmasked after Sky News was handed a dossier of offensive social media posts about the McCanns – including her’s - which were under investigation by the Metropolitan Police.

    Journalist Martin Brunt confronted Mrs Leyland on camera outside her home and asked why she was tweeting about the couple whose then-three-year-old daughter vanished while on holiday in Portugal in 2007.

    She told him: ''I’m entitled to.’’

    After inviting him in she explained she was 'particularly concerned’ the McCanns had left their daughter in their apartment the night she disappeared and had 'concerns about fund-raising’ for the Find Madeleine campaign.

    She told him she had 'questions’ for the McCanns, thought Twitter was a 'means to express opinions’ and 'hoped she had not done anything unlawful’.

    The TV news channel broadcast its investigation unmasking her as a troll 48 hours later.

    Two days later she was found dead in her room at the Marriott Hotel, Leicester, with two canisters of helium gas – used to blow up party balloons – at her side.

    An iPad nearby showed a website describing how to commit suicide using the gas, which can prove fatal in large quantities.

    Police said she had used the tablet and her laptop to research how to kill herself.

    Yesterday an inquest in Leicester heard she died from an overdose of helium and anti-depressants.

    Her son Ben told police his mum, from Burton Overy, Leics, had a history of mental illness, had spent a long period in a psychiatric hospital and previously attempted suicide.

    When he viewed her Twitter account he was shocked to see her profile picture was of his dog and she stated she lived in Los Angeles.

    He said she was 'proud but stubborn’, was worried about how she was viewed by others in her 'social circle’, and her exposure as a troll was the 'final straw’.

    ''She was a broken wreck and completely destroyed by what had happened,’’ he added.

    Mr Brunt told the inquest he had no knowledge of nor saw any sign of her mental health issues and was 'devastated’ by her death.

    ''The enormity of what happened will always be with me,’’ he said.


    Sky News reporter 'devastated' at death of McCann Twitter troll

    Martin Brunt said conversations with Brenda Leyland had been cordial and that she had appeared 'very relaxed' about his report

    By Victoria Ward
    3:20PM GMT 20 Mar 2015

    A Sky News reporter has told an inquest he was “devastated” when he heard that an alleged internet "troll" accused of abusing the parents of Madeleine McCann had killed herself two days after he exposed her on television.

    Crime correspondent Martin Brunt said Brenda Leyland had appeared “very relaxed” when he confronted her about alleged Twitter attacks on Kate and Gerry McCann

    When the pair subsequently spoke on the phone, Mr Brunt explained what he would be reporting.

    He told the coroner that although Mrs Leyland said she had considered "ending it all" he did not believe she was serious as she said she was "feeling better" about it all.

    “At the end of the conversation she said it was a pleasure to meet you,” he said.

    “I said I hoped I hadn’t ruined her day which I considered very much a throwaway remark.

    “I was out of the country when I was told that Brenda Leyland had been found dead. I was devastated and I still am and the enormity of what's happened will always be with me."

    Mrs Leyland’s body was found in a hotel room in Leicester last October, two days after she featured in Mr Brunt’s report.

    She had faced widespread condemnation after being exposed for posting thousands of messages on Twitter attacking the McCanns, whose daughter Madeleine disappeared in Portugal in 2007.

    Mrs Leyland’s youngest son, Ben, disclosed that his mother had previously suffered with mental illness.

    In a statement read to the coroner, he described his attempts to contact her in the wake of the report being broadcast on Sky.

    “My mother had always struggled with depression and was prone to anxiety and physical health issues she had been told were effectively untreatable,” he said.

    “There is no doubt in my mind that the Sky News interview was the final straw that pushed her to do what she did.”

    Mr Brunt described how he confronted Mrs Leyland at her home in Burton Overy, Leics, four days before her body was found, after coming into possession of a dossier of alleged Twitter "trolls" which had been handed to police by a third party.

    He told the coroner that he asked the 63-year-old why she had been using her Twitter account to attack the McCanns and that she responded: “I’m entitled to.”

    They spoke briefly and Mrs Leyland later invited him into her house, where she appeared “very relaxed” about the situation.

    “Mrs Leyland said she was concerned that the McCanns had left Madeleine and her siblings alone and that Twitter was a mean to express feelings and she hoped she had not done anything unlawful,” he told the coroner.

    “She acknowledged that she was the holder of the @sweepyface account and said she would never tweet again."

    Recalling how Mrs Leyland had contacted him the following day to ask if she would be identified in his report, Mr Brunt told the inquest: "I did say I would keep her informed because I am aware of the impact such a confrontation can have on somebody."

    When they next spoke, Mr Brunt gave her details of the report, which did not identify her.


  30. cont

    Asked if there was anything in Mrs Leyland's voice which caused "real and immediate" concern for her life, Mr Brunt replied: "No, but when I asked her how she was, she said 'Oh I have thought about ending it all but I am feeling better - I have had a drink and spoken to my son.'

    "I told her we would not name her but would show her face and that we would not identify the village where she lived."

    Mr Brunt said he thought Mrs Leyland's comments about "ending it all" were a throwaway remark and that he had no idea of her background history, which included a previous attempt at suicide.

    Sky News head of newsgathering Jonathan Levy told the inquest the report into "trolling" of the McCanns, which went to air on October 2, had taken into account specific guidelines governing invasion of privacy.

    The inquest heard that between November 2013 and September 2014, Mrs Leyland had sent 2,210 tweets and retweets from the Twitter account @sweepyface, of which 19 per cent related to the McCanns.

    Tweets from the account had said that the McCanns should suffer “for the rest of their miserable lives”.

    Detective Sergeant Steven Hutchings, from Leicestershire Police, confirmed that none of the tweets concerned amounted to a criminal offence.

    Coroner Catherine Mason, sitting at Leicester Town Hall, recorded a verdict of suicide following the two-and-a-half-hour hearing.

    She said there were many issues surrounding Mrs Leyland’s death.

    “I am satisfied that no one could have known what she was going to do and how she was going to do it,” she concluded.

    “It’s quite clear to me that all preparation was done at her own hand and that there was no third party involvement.”

    After the verdict, Sky News issued a statement offering its "sincere condolences" to Mrs Leyland's family.

    It added: "The team at Sky News followed its editorial guidelines and pursued a story in a responsible manner that we believed was firmly in the public interest. Brenda Leyland’s tragic death highlights the unforeseeable human impact that the stories we pursue can have."


    Woman killed herself after being doorstepped over McCann trolling

    Sky News offers condolences to family of Brenda Leyland, who was found dead in a Leicester hotel two days after channel broadcast footage of her

    Caroline Davies and Tara Conlan

    Friday 20 March 2015 14.59 GMT

    Sky News has offered its “sincere condolences” to the family of a woman who killed herself after being doorstepped by one of its senior reporters over abusive tweets she had directed at the parents of missing Madeleine McCann.

    The news channel’s crime correspondent, Martin Brunt, told an inquest that Brenda Leyland, 63, said she had thought of “ending it all” but that she was “feeling better now”. He said he thought the remark – made days after he had confronted her – was “a throwaway line”.

    Leyland was found dead in a hotel room in Leicester on 4 October last year, two days after Brunt’s report aired on Sky.

    “I was devastated and I still am,” Brunt told the inquest at Leicester town hall. “The enormity of what happened will always be with me.”

    Coroner Catherine Mason heard Leyland was a proud woman whose standing in her community meant everything to her, and who suffered depression and had made a previous suicide attempt.

    On 30 September she was approached by Brunt and a cameraman outside her village home in Burton Overy, Leicestershire, after the journalist was given a dossier containing details of people allegedly posting abusive tweets about Kate and Gerry McCann, whose daughter Madeleine disappeared in Portugal in 2007. Leyland had posted or reposted more than 400 tweets about the McCanns, the inquest heard.

    Brunt said he identified himself and asked her: “Why are you using your Twitter account to attack the McCanns?”

    At first she did not respond, then replied: “I’m entitled to.”

    “I said: ’Are you aware that your tweets are contained in a dossier that has been passed to Scotland Yard?’ And she said: ‘That’s fair enough.’”

    She then left, but on her return later that day he approached her again and she said “Come in, Martin”, which surprised him. During a 30-minute discussion she explained her views on the McCanns, and was clearly concerned about being exposed on television and identified.

    Brunt said he explained the decision was not his. “I did say I would keep her informed because I am aware of the impact such a confrontation can have on somebody,” he said.

    He gave her his contact details and she contacted him the following day. Asked if there was anything in her voice to cause concern, Brunt said: “No, but when I asked her how she was, she said: ‘Oh, I’ve thought about ending it all but I am feeling better. I have had a drink and I’ve spoken to my son.’” He said he thought it was a throwaway remark. He did not know of her medical history, he said.


  32. cont

    Sky broadcast footage of Leyland, but did not name her or give details of where she lived, the inquest heard.

    Leyand’s younger son, Ben, who was not present, said in a statement she was a loving mother, a proud and stubborn woman, and “could not bear to think she could be disliked by those in her community”. He said she suffered from extreme bouts of depression and anxiety and was on medication.

    Before the Sky News approach, she had been upset by a “fractious” dispute with a neighbour over an issue concerning a wall.

    He had “no doubt” from the panic in his mother’s voice when she telephoned to tell him of the Sky News incident that “this was the final straw that pushed her then to do what she did”.

    He said his mother was “completely destroyed” by what had occurred. He was trying to organise legal advice for her, he said. In her last email to him, she said she felt “cheerier”.

    When later he could not reach her, he and his brother and father thought she had gone somewhere to “lie low” as she had asked a neighbour to look after her cat for a few days.

    The inquest heard between November 2013 and September 2014, using the Twitter ID @sweepyface, she had tweeted or retweeted 2,210 posts, of which 424 mentioned the McCanns. Her tweets did not constitute a criminal offence, the inquest heard.

    Brunt approached her after a dossier of tweets about the McCanns was passed to him by a source, whom he declined to reveal. The coroner said she could not compel him to reveal it and that Brunt was not accused of any criminal offence.

    Recording a verdict of suicide, Mason said she did not think that anyone could have known that Leyland had made a decision to take her own life.

    Jonathan Levy, senior manager at Sky News, said the approach was in line with the broadcaster’s guidelines on doorstepping: deemed to be warranted when public good outweighed intrusion, and as long as the method was proportionate.

    Leyland had not accessed Twitter after Brunt’s approach and would not have seen “disturbing” tweets about herself, which are being investigated, the inquest heard.

    A Sky News spokesman said: “Brenda Leyland’s tragic death highlights the unforeseeable human impact that the stories we pursue can have, and Sky News would like to extend its sincere condolences to her family.”

    “The team at Sky News followed its editorial guidelines and pursued a story in a responsible manner that we believed was firmly in the public interest.”


    McCann troll Brenda ­Leyland driven to suicide by Twitter death threats

    DEATH threats were allegedly sent to the woman found dead in a hotel just after she was publicly accused of trolling Kate and Gerry McCann over their missing child Madeleine.

    By James Murray
    PUBLISHED: 00:00, Sun, Oct 12, 2014

    In tragic irony, the hate messages directed at lonely divorcee Brenda ­Leyland were tweeted by someone who aggressively defended the McCanns on the internet.

    The Sunday Express has passed on the five disgraceful messages to Leicestershire Police who are preparing a report for the coroner over the unexplained death of mother-of-two Ms Leyland, 63.

    They were sent on Friday, October 3, from someone calling themselves Rainne and addressed directly to Ms Leyland’s Twitter account, @sweepyface.

    The following day her body was found at the Marriott Hotel in Leicester where she had fled to after being identified as the sender of tweets expressing her views on the Madeleine mystery.

    Today we can disclose some of the appalling comments sent to her. The first states: “Hoping you get beaten so bad you beg for mercy, only to have gasoline thrown on you and set ablaze.”

    The next adds: “You have reached the end of your torturing campaign against the McCann family, understand.”

    The third message is a direct threat against her life with the sadistic author stating: “Death is waiting and watching for u @sweepyface..Do you feel it????”

    The next attack was so disgusting it is unsuitable for publication.

    The last message states: “Sweepyface, we’re coming for you. Do you feel us?? The decent kind folk who pray for this family and their sad loss.You go to hell *****.”

    Police are trying to establish the details of the sick pro-McCann troll, who may face prosecution, and discover whether Ms Leyland read the messages and if she discussed them with any family or friends prior to her death. A spokesman for Leicestershire Police said: “We are investigating the circumstances around the death. If any offences are disclosed, we will investigate appropriately.”

    There is no suggestion that Kate and Gerry McCann or any members of their wider family know Ms Leyland’s troll.

    Ms Leyland was confronted about her Twitter comments about the McCanns by Sky News, which revealed that Scotland Yard detectives on the Operation Grange squad were examining a so-called dossier of anti-McCann trolls.

    She was not named in the report and crime reporter Martin Brunt did not say she lived at Burton Overy, a village just 15 miles from the McCanns’ home in Rothley, Leicestershire. However, her identity quickly became known.

    After the report Gerry McCann told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Clearly something needs to be done about the abuse on the internet. I think we probably need more people to be charged. We do not have any significant presence on social media or online and I’ve got grave concerns about our children as they grow up and start to access the internet.


  34. cont

    “I’m glad to see the law around this area has been reviewed. We need to make examples of people who are causing damage.”

    A friend of Ms Leyland said she “couldn’t live with herself” after being outed and feared going to jail.

    The neighbour, who had been due to accompany university-educated churchgoer Ms Leyland to a harvest festival the day after her death, said: “We never dreamed she was trolling the McCanns. That was very wrong.

    “Brenda was a proud, very bright, articulate and upstanding lady and the thought of a prosecution and a prison sentence hanging over her would have devastated her. Sadly she couldn’t live with herself.

    “I’ll really miss her, yes she was eccentric and opinionated but she was flamboyant and fun too.”

    Today we can reveal fresh momentum in the investigation to find out what ­happened to Madeleine, who vanished from a holiday home in Praia da Luz in Portugal in May 2007.

    Scotland Yard detectives are due to fly to Portugal tomorrow for a meeting with Portuguese officers and possibly Ines Sequiera, the new prosecutor for the case, who is reported to be “utterly determined” to crack it.

    They want their Portuguese counterparts to interview three of seven suspects for a second time and search their homes.

    McCann family spokesman Clarence Mitchell, responding to alleged online death threats against Brenda Leyland, said yesterday: “We will not be commenting. It is a matter for the coroner.”

    A source close to Kate and Gerry said: “Abuse online seems to go in either direction but it has nothing to do with Kate and Gerry. They do not encourage or condone anything online. People seem to say anything they want.”

  35. This tweet is interesting:

    Sonia Poulton ‏@SoniaPoulton 6m
    Death threats and 'disturbing' tweets posted to #BrendaLeyland are subject to a separate investigation, detective revealed in court #mccann

    This lady was in the court today as well:

    ann-kristine ‏@fiorifan 4m
    @PetsyLz @NettyCox @skymartinbrunt I think Brunt IS devastated. He looked haunted and humble today.His boss was pure SLIME.#mccann

    ann-kristine ‏@fiorifan 9m
    @NettyCox @skymartinbrunt MARTIN BRUNT was the most credible witness today. #mccann

    And Martin Brunt's twitter account has tweeted, not at anyone in particular, and totally different to his usual style of tweeting, so a bit bizarre:

    Martin Brunt @skymartinbrunt 3 hrs
    That was a hoax!

    As regards Brenda, all this just leaves me feeling incredibly sad. Thinking of what she must have gone through and ending her life alone in a hotel room like that, and then the MSM showing no humanity whatsoever and continuing to call her a tr*ll, it makes me despair.

    Whatever happened to compassion and empathy I don't know, but then I suppose I should know better than expect it from MSM at my age.

    Nuala x

    1. Hi Nuala x, truly agree with you thoughts of compassion,empathy and humanity, perhaps that is the way that life is that the "caring People in society" get S**T on, whilst the hard nosed insincere carry on not giving a damn only for themselves,or there interests?
      CM and other mouth pieces have received large remunerations from the find Madeline Fund since Madeliene's disappearance/Abduction? Operation Grange remit, DCI Redwood, "stranger took Madeleine"?

  36. There's a simple way to see if there's any kind of shenanigans gone on here. A FOI (freedom of information) request is sent to the Met Commissioner about the 'dossier' and if it is refused in whole or part for reasons that don't make any sense then we know the result of this enquiry has been engineered. We have all been told that the dossier was handed in either by the 'family' (construed as the Mc's) or by GM himself and it's also been widely reported that the authorities are not interested in it, so if this is true a FOI request will provide clarity on whether it is being used for a wider investigation or not.

  37. Hi!
    I remember back when Martin Brunt was reporting from Lisbon,he genuinely seemed like a good reporter,despite being with sky,he came accross as an "old style" reporter,reporting the facts,i always thought he would get the "scoop"!!Hopefully he will return to the "old style" reporting!!

  38. As a regular Guardian reader, I'm considering cancelling my subscription.
    The report today on Brenda Leyland says abusive tweets were directed at the parents of M, slyly suggesting she tweeted them directly, but no mention of the fact that the tweets did not constitute a criminal offence.
    This paper is even more favourable to the family than the tabloids. I suspect because they are in synchronicity in their support for the Hacked Off campaign.

    Look at the different facts reported by each media outlet in the comments.
    And ask yourself why facts are included or excluded. Not one outlet appears to have reported a full and unbiased account of the inquest.
    Good journalism is as dead as poor Brenda.

  39. According to Martin Brunt it was a hoax! What hoax? The 'probable' death of Madeleine? The 'investigated' death of Brenda Leyland? The whole damn story? I only can recommend every sane person to read the PJ files and connect the facts to his/her gut feeling. Not enough to nail the people in the knowing, but more than enough to conclude the obvious.
    The Madeleine Mc Cann case is not an issue in the Belgian papers. But everyone that follows the case here and elsewhere feels the same: it stinks, it's wrong, and the way the British press handles it is absolutely incomprehensible. I personally know some journalists in my country and in the Netherlands who don't understand why neutral in depth journalism doesn't stand a chance in this high profile case. Unless ... due to the high profile of it. My English probably isn't what it should be, but my opinion is.

    1. Which is your country? I am always curious what the public elsewhere make of the whole corrupt matter.

    2. Your English is excellent, my friend :)

  40. I’m amazed the coroner didn’t have photos of the evidence found in the hotel room and the detective had to use hand gestures to indicate the size of the canisters. Surely that would have been the most important point to start from???? And the leading question from her to MB asking if he thought it was a throw away remark which is also a closed question when she should have asked how he interpreted her remark about thinking of ending it but then felt better. I’m beginning to feel uneasy about the inquest.

    1. At the time, the police who attended the scene stated there were no obvious signs of cause of death. Therefore, no cannisters or empty tablet packs. Thus no photo`s nor the actual items. Lies, lies and more lies repeatedly by the authorities. A covered up murder. Brenda`s depression etc was a happy coincidence for some.
      Anyone could wonder what Colin Stahlke and Brenda stumbled upon or realised. After all, where Brenda is concerned she never expressed that the McCanns should be trampled by horses or waterboarded. Others did, but they weren`t hunted down and exposed. So the tweets couldn`t have been the true reason. There was something else, such as discovering a truth that would blow apart all the lies.

  41. What does Martin Brunt think is a hoax?

  42. Notes from the inquest:

  43. Hi Textusa, I realise the amount of interest in the sad loss of Mrs,Brenda Leyland, but I am at a loss as to why as Jonathon Levy thought the "Exposure of the identity of sweepyface" was in the "Public's interest"?
    Also note how Kate and Gerry were "very distressed" about the amount of internet interest over their exposure in finding out what happened to their missing daughter Madeleine/abducted?
    What about the constant"Screening on Sky" Four times an hour when dear Martin made the comment,Well,"sweepyface's identity is not a secret any more!?" Seems a bit ironic the use of public interest, perhaps Martin Brunt can ask Clarence about the use of funds from the find Madeline fund, which was not to be used to pay costs of the parents personal interest's?

    1. I am just amazed why the coroner didn't ask to why it was deemed so significant to the public interest that it was broadcast all daylong on sky. I mean even if the abduction story was true it was a 63 year old woman expressing an incorrect opinion. It might not be considered a nice thing to do but surely there are other more serious offences that could have warranted that type of exposure.

    2. To anonymous 16.22/textusa, I have just viewed an article/video by Sky news,Martin Brunt from jillhavern forum,Peter Mac post, lovely pics of Fat Ankles,PM? I thought Kate and Gerry told MSM that they have no direct access to Twitter/Face book?
      Ask Martin Brunt was the person concerned(Sky news programme) for Kate,Gerry and their son and daughter, the same person who told him in Portugal that the PJ asked Kate to make a deal over the disappearance of Madeline McCann?
      The big man JG has been quiet lately but he was outspoken about the Cyber bullying in this piece with his loyal friend,MB. Quite apparent as to why they chose to disguise the "Dossier informant voice"!
      Leicstershire Police Force still not brought charges of Cyber bullying of the vile and nasty,pernicious comments posted to the late Mrs Brenda Leyland, has JG seen these comments eh Jim?

  44. Blacksmith has had it. He is going for Brunt with a million blows.

  45. Anonymous at 21 Mar 2015, 18:36:00 and Pete at 22 Mar 2015, 17:28:00

    According to BBC:

    “The coroner said no criminal action was planned against any witnesses and adjourned the hearing until March.


    “Leicester Coroner Catherine Mason said: "I understand from my officers that, of all the witnesses who I have said that I will call to give oral evidence, there is nobody to which there is any foreseeability of any criminal action being taken."”The coroner said no criminal action was planned against any witnesses and adjourned the hearing until March.” (BBC)

    We then said, on Jan 16, 2015, as per present post:

    “When the Coroner says “there is nobody to which there is any foreseeability of any criminal action being taken” we think she’s saying something like “as far as can be seen up to now the cause of death is explainable and was not due to any criminal physical act on the victim but let’s wait until we have all the reports before coming to a definitive conclusion””

    Nowhere have we read then that “the police who attended the scene stated there were no obvious signs of cause of death”.

    We urge people to stop chewing on that new chunk of meat that has be thrown at us and which some seem not to be able to resist and have already sunk their teeth really into it: the new myth that Brenda Leyland was murdered.

    The lack of evidence presented in court and the absence of photos have a very simple explanation: the cause of death was not contested by the family.

    This means there was no need to debate the issue in court. It was sufficient to describe the cause of death in broad terms, without going into details.

    Involving ourselves in or fuelling any sort of debate around this issue is to play the game the way the other side wants us to play it, distracting us from the essential and from what really is important.

    1. I'm not sure why people can't see the evidence before their eyes, namely the testimony of Brenda Leyland's son, which left us in no doubt about the terrible mental anguish felt by his mother after she was exposed by Sky.

      Her son was clearly in no doubt that his mother committed suicide, something that must have been incredibly painful for him to testify about, and yet people are prepared to ignore that harrowing evidence from a loving son about his equally loving mother, in order to pursue a much more sensationalist line about murder, for which there is no evidence whatsoever.

      Apart from the obvious lack of logic, such speculation can only add to the pain of Brenda Leyland's family and so I hope it stops.

      Nuala x

  46. Madeleine McCann, portguese suspects, scotland yard, jerry and kate mccann, maddy, arguidoPA
    Madeleine vanished in May 2007
    The trio were given “arguido” or suspect status in July last year which allowed Portuguese detectives to question them intensively about their movements around the time that Madeleine vanished in May 2007.

    Details of those interviews have now been analysed by Scotland Yard officers.

    Under Portuguese law the arguido status lasts for only eight months but can be extended, although that is not common.

    If no formal accusations can be made, investigations are shelved, which automatically removes the arguido status.

    With an April deadline approaching, the Yard is carefully considering its next move. Senior Portuguese police officers recently met British officials in Portugal for an update on what the Yard team seeks to do and how long it will take.

    If no formal accusations can be made, investigations are shelved
    Although there are no plans to drop the four-year £10million Operation Grange investigation, led by Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Wall, the meeting focused on what new information has come to light and what more needs to be done.

    It is understood that part of the discussion was about DNA samples taken from the Ocean Club holiday apartment in Praia da Luz on the Algarve where Madeleine was staying with her family.

    The trio waiting to have their arguido status lifted are former Ocean Club driver Jose Carlos da Silva, jobless schizophrenic Paulo Jorge Ribeiro and Ricardo Jorge, who was just 16 at the time Madeleine vanished.

    They have all strenuously denied knowing anything about her disappearance.

  47. Wasn't Robert Murat interviewed as arguido.? If so was status newly placed on him or is it a constant?

    1. Anonymous 23 Mar 2015, 07:08:00,

      It wasn't disclosed under what status Murat was heard in Dec 2014. Nor do we know the same about the other 10 people that were heard then under togatory request of SY.

      We know he filed an objection to being heard claiming he couldn't be heard as an arguido twice under the same process. Because of this his hearing was delayed but only for a couple of days, so it would be an educated guess that he was heard under the arguido status. But, we repeat, we don't know.

      That claim, in our opinion, had no reason to be because, as we then said, if he was heard as an arguido then it would be the first time because the hearings were under the British process.

      Even if made under the Portuguese process, we see no reason for it either. The initial process was archived (no re-opened), which means until it's closed any citizen can be arguidos in it, including those who already were.

    2. Hi textusa,perhaps DCI Nichola Wall can arrange for the PJ to come to UK and ask to go over the original statements form the Tapas 9,do a reconstruction as to the original process, as they may remember"crime watch"scenario, DCI Redwood's time management method?
      Nah, the duty free is appalling in UK!?

    3. Hi textusa,perhaps DCI Nichola Wall can arrange for the PJ to come to UK and ask to go over the original statements form the Tapas 9,do a reconstruction as to the original process, as they may remember"crime watch"scenario, DCI Redwood's time management method?
      Nah, the duty free is appalling in UK!?

    4. Hi Textusa, I have posted on Luz's Secret about how "Powerful and Influence" MSM,Sky,Murdoch Empire has, Reference Death of PI Mr Daniel Morgan 10 March 1987!!

  48. Unpublished sloganman at 23 Mar 2015, 18:58:00

    We are not publishing your comment because we don’t bring over to our blog what happens internally in other blogs and forums, unless posters there refer to issues we’re concerned with or currently handling.

    We trust readers there to judge for themselves how far each individual poster there may or not be from the truth and, about those who insistently are far from it, as to what reasons may there be for them to persevere in keeping such a distance.

  49. Big article in Mail :

    Reinforces opinion to give up the search for Madeleine - Is this part of the propaganda to drop the case and move on?

  50. I was hoping that the recent reporting regarding requests to stop money being spent on the Mc Cann investigation were part of another Swinging BH campaign to prevent the truth emerging. I still hope that they might be - but at the same time I am wondering if it is just part of a Government BH campaign in shaping public perception in order to shelve the case. Wondering what Textusa is thinking...

    1. The endless efforts by the establishment to cut off the life of this saga, to make it foolproof, is obvious.

      Never stop asking the questions, don't let the matter rest until we have answers for Maddie and Brenda.

      Don't let us leave any more space for the blatant lies of mccann.

    2. Anonymous post of 09.29,10.08,11.37, It is just that,we the public don't have control of the establishment, the Government do!?
      But have they the gumption to see this to it's proper conclusion?
      David Jones article, makes no reference to the trained surveillance dogs,Eddie and Keela or how the cadaver on a parents article of clothing."Ask the Dogs,Sandra", then David Jones states the PJ as inept?
      Scotland Yards Finest,DCI Redwood,Hamish Campbell(Barry George,framed,Daniel Morgan found dead 10 March 1987?) Now do not forget who is DCI Nichola Wall's Boss,HC?

    3. Hi Textusa my post 12.59, I must point out that I said Hamish Campbell now retired from the Metropolitan Police in January 2014, is no longer connected to Operation Grange, he did have involvement into murder investigations where convictions were overturned on appeal!

    4. Anonymous 24 Mar 2015, 12:59:00 Yes, as follows :

      ' If we do not have the wind in our sails we have to row' :)

      Gonçalo Amaral has set the perfect example being persistent, consistent and coherent. His phrase "The McCanns knew that I was going to get them" is encouraging.

      Fortunately we have plenty of time.

  51. We have decided to bring over to the blog the content of yesterday's Daily Mail article about the Maddie case, which we deem interesting:

    Yes, it's time we stopped looking for Maddie: As a police boss says the £10m hunt must end, DAVID JONES, who's reported on the case for eight years, explains with a heavy heart why he agrees

    - Police chiefs have been urged to wind up the hunt for Madeleine McCann

    - Metropolitan Police Federation chairman John Tulley called for a 're-focus'

    - He said: ‘It's time to re-focus on what we need to do to keep London safe'

    - Maddie vanished from apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal eight years ago

    - Met Police has spent £10m in hunt for her but no arrests have been made

    By David Jones for the Daily Mail

    Published: 23:31 GMT, 23 March 2015 | Updated: 08:49 GMT, 24 March 2015

    Not long ago, seized by the compulsion to follow up yet another supposedly promising new lead in the Madeleine McCann case, I returned to Praia da Luz, the conspiratorial little resort that will be forever associated with her name.

    Having reported on her story from the earliest days after her disappearance, investigating innumerable twists and turns, I have beaten the tortuous path to that craggy tip of the Algarve more times than I care to remember.

    Yet revisiting some of its now-fabled landmarks — apartment 5A at the Ocean Club holiday resort, the white-washed chapel where Kate and Gerry would pray for deliverance — it struck me how precious little we have learned about her fate.

    Look back at the newspapers of May 4, 2007, the day after Madeleine vanished, and you will read of a ‘gorgeous, active, chatty and intelligent’ little girl, a few days shy of her fourth birthday, who appeared to have been snatched from her bed while her parents dined with friends at a tapas bar a few dozen yards away.

    You will read how the child’s abduction was discovered by her mother when she went to check on her at around 10pm; how she found a window was ajar, and ran back to the restaurant in hysterics to raise the alarm; and how witnesses later saw a child being carried off through the darkened streets.

    Fast forward eight years, and that, with the addition of a few marginally relevant details, remains the full extent of our knowledge.

    We have no more idea what became of Madeleine now than we did then. It is almost as if time has stood still.

    Given the enduring global obsession with the case, we might think this quite extraordinary. As of today, the Daily Mail’s archive contains 11,450 stories about Madeleine. Googling her name, I found no less than 1,290,000 references — five times more than you get by tapping in ‘Madonna’ — and the number soars higher with each passing day. The public’s fascination has been matched by the exorbitant amount of time and money spent on trying to solve the mystery.

    First we had a series of Portuguese police investigations, the ineptitude of which is well documented.

    Next came a procession of private detectives (including a self-proclaimed Spanish super-sleuth, expensively hired by the McCanns in December 2007, who blithely promised to have Madeleine home for Christmas).

    Then, in 2011, at the behest of David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May, Scotland Yard’s finest were called in to clear up the mess.

    At least, that was the Prime Minister’s hope, and perhaps his expectation, when — apparently moved by a personal appeal from the McCanns — he ordered a team of Met detectives to be removed from their other duties and assigned to the case, codenamed Operation Grange.


  52. (Daily Mail cont.)

    But almost four years and an eye-watering £10million of taxpayers’ money later — an amount that would pay the annual wages of countless PCs — it is patently obvious his intervention is not producing results.

    Though a huge number of man-hours have been spent re-examining the 5,000-page Portuguese judicial dossier in the hope that it might contain a vital missed clue, though great swathes of wasteland in Praia da Luz were explored with sophisticated gadgetry last year, and a plethora of suspects re-interviewed, there has been no sign of a breakthrough.

    Despite the lack of progress, 31 Met police staff — detectives and civilians — were still working solely on the investigation this week, at a time when the Yard’s budget is being slashed by £600million over four years, with further cuts to come, and the threat of Islamic terrorism is stretching its resources to breaking point.

    Occupying a large office at New Scotland Yard, the Met’s ‘Madeleine Squad’ have spent four years painstakingly re-examining the botched Portuguese investigation. They have been to Portugal no fewer than 33 times — yet still apparently drawn a blank.

    You cannot fault their thoroughness. Portuguese officers found hundreds of hair strands in the McCanns’ holiday apartment. Some were never tested for DNA; others were checked but the results were patchy. The Operation Grange team want permission to carry out fresh DNA tests on them, together with the curtains that were hanging in the apartment.

    Meanwhile, every witness statement and tip-off is being re-checked, every theory considered, no matter how unlikely.

    This led, late last year in Portugal, to the questioning of 11 possibly key witnesses, among them Robert Murat, the British expat who won a huge sum in libel damages after wrongly being named as a suspect by the Portuguese police in the early stages of the hunt for Madeleine.

    And only a few days ago, Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Wall — the newly installed head of Operation Grange — flew to Lisbon with a small team of officers for a private meeting with the authorities.

    Each such development raises fresh hopes and excites the media, but so far they have all come to nothing. And one had to ask whether DCI Andy Redwood, who had set up the inquiry and had overseen it enthusiastically for four years, would have recently stood down had he been on the brink of solving the biggest case of his career.

    All of which goes to explain why the chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation has now suggested that it might be time to pull the plug on Operation Grange.

    Expressing the private concerns of many of the union’s 30,000 member officers, John Tully said: ‘It’s time to re-focus on what we need to do to keep London safe. We no longer have the resources to conduct specialist inquiries all over the world which have nothing to do with London.

    ‘The Met has long been seen as the last resort for investigations others have struggled with elsewhere. It is surprising to see an inquiry like the McCann investigation ring-fenced. I’ve heard a few rumblings of discontent about it from lots of sources.’

    He added: ‘When the force is facing a spike in murder investigations, it’s not surprising there is resentment of significant resources diverted to a case that has no apparent connection to London.’

    Mr Tully’s remarks have inevitably sparked heated debate. One side insists that the investigation must continue at any cost, while friends of the McCanns have reportedly accused him of speaking out of turn and citing the case to peddle the Federation’s agenda.

    But many have praised him for having the courage to voice the unsayable truth. With a very heavy heart, I must say I agree with them.

    As the grandfather of three children who are roughly the same age as Madeleine when she was taken, and similarly cherubic, I dread to imagine how it must feel to be living in purgatory like the McCanns.


  53. (Daily Mail cont.)

    If, God forbid, I was in their shoes, I would want, demand and plead that everything humanly possible must be done to find a member of my family; or, at the very least, to discover what became of them.

    I would gladly swing for any policeman or Home Office mandarin who presumed to evaluate the chances of finding them in the cold terms of cost-effectiveness. I would insist that the search must go on: indefinitely, and whatever the price.

    Like Kate and Gerry McCann, perhaps I would cling to miracles, too.

    I would remind people how a woman called Jaycee Lee Dugard was found safe in California, fully 18 years after being abducted by a sex offender and given up for dead.

    And how, only last month in South Africa, a girl called Zephany Nurse was reunited with her overjoyed parents 17 years after being plucked from her sleeping mother’s arms in a maternity hospital, when she was three days old.

    The sad truth is, however, that when we examine such exceptional cases, they do little to support the argument for a hugely expensive and protracted police investigation.

    Jaycee’s deranged kidnapper, Phillip Craig Garrido, virtually shopped himself to the FBI by presenting them with a rambling essay purporting to offer a cure for sexual predators, and later parading her and another of his victims at a university campus lecture.

    The salvation of Zephany, whose mother Celeste has urged the McCanns to continue praying as she did, and ‘never give up’, owed still more to happenstance. Her identity was discovered after she was unwittingly enrolled at the same school as her sister, and fellow pupils noticed their extraordinarily similar looks.

    But leaving aside, for a moment, the remote likelihood that the Operation Grange team might unearth some crucial piece of evidence at this late stage, it seems only fair to compare the ‘no stone unturned’ investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance with that of the many other British children who go missing.

    Children who, it must be said, vanish without a publicity blitz to draw attention to their plight, without their parents being received by statesmen and religious leaders including the Pope, and without celebrities offering enticing rewards for their return.

    Recent figures show that a staggering 160,000 such children are reported missing in the UK each year — one every three minutes. In the vast majority of cases they are quickly reunited with their parents. Nine out of ten cases are closed within 48 hours, and 99 per cent are solved in under a year.

    Under protocol set down by the Association of Chief Police Officers, those who are not found promptly are categorised according to the degree of jeopardy their disappearance is perceived to place them in.

    Those deemed to be ‘high risk’ are judged either to be vulnerable, in danger of harming themselves or others, or falling victim to serious crime. Those at medium risk are thought ‘likely’ to be in danger, and those at low risk are judged to be safe.

    So how much time and money might you expect the police to invest in searching for one ‘medium risk’ child? According to a recent study by Portsmouth University’s Centre For Missing Persons, the amount is astonishingly low: between £1,325 and £2,415.

    Compared with the millions poured into the search for Madeleine, this figure — which covers such basic procedures as taking an initial call, risk assessment, obtaining a photograph of the child, undertaking a house search, and a police national computer check — is derisory indeed.


  54. (Daily Mail cont.)

    Mercifully, as matters stand, just 131 unsolved missing children cases (including Madeleine’s) are listed on the website Missing Kids UK, which is run by the Child Exploitation And Online Protection Centre — the national law enforcement agency which protects Britain’s minors.

    On the website, one finds many forgotten children whose anguished parents would doubtless walk barefoot across hot coals if it meant their disappearance would receive the same microscopic attention as Madeleine’s.

    It goes without saying that none of this is any fault of the McCanns.

    To the contrary, via Kate’s best-selling book and the couple’s countless public appearances, during which they are always eager to look beyond their own loss, and by promoting innovative methods of prevention and detection, no one has done more to raise public awareness of missing children. They have become unofficial global ambassadors for the cause.

    It is to their eternal credit that they have remained so resolutely optimistic, re-stating at every opportunity their unswerving belief that somehow, one day, their daughter will come back to them.

    They always speak about Madeleine — whose 12th birthday falls this May — in the present tense, and in their Leicestershire home they continue to maintain her pink bedroom, crammed with teddy bears, rosary beads and other gifts from wellwishers. There is also a special keepsake box into which her siblings, twins Sean and Amelie, now ten, put mementoes for her for when she returns.

    Last week, reportedly responding to Mr Tully’s remarks through friends, they remained typically upbeat, expressing their gratitude to the Operation Grange team and insisting there was ‘still a job of work to be done’. If I were them, I would say exactly the same.

    Regrettably, however, after eight years of false dawns, wrongly accused suspects, and epic wild-goose chases (one of which saw me spend days on the trail of a blonde-haired girl sighted with an Arab woman in northern Morocco), I have come to the same conclusion as John Tully: enough is enough. A great many people in Praia da Luz, as I have discovered, feel the same way.

    From the moment Madeleine was taken, they have behaved with commendable dignity and shown enormous compassion towards her family, even though the reputation of their once-blameless resort has been irreparably sullied and the tourism industry that supported their livelihood has suffered a mortal blow. (The Mark Warner holiday firm through which they booked their ill-fated trip has dropped the town from its destinations.)

    Surely now it is time to spare a thought for their wishes? Surely it is time to stop treating their town as one big crime scene, to be forensically re-examined and excavated, and allow them to try to get back to some semblance of normality?

    Surely, too, it is time to call a halt on the to-ing and fro-ing of British detectives to this agreeable part of the continent — trips that somehow require them to stay in four and even five-star hotels with spas and golf concessions? Yesterday, invited to compare its scale and cost with that of other missing person inquiries, the Met said this was not possible because each case was individual, and Madeleine’s disappearance was ‘clearly a unique and complex case’.

    In response to Mr Tully’s remarks, the Met said the investigation had commenced at the request of the Home Office, which fully funds it, adding that it ‘does not impact on our other operations in London’.

    They admitted that no arrests had been made since the operation began, but declined to describe any progress they may have made.

    It should be stressed that I am not arguing for a minute that we ought to forget about Madeleine, or cease to be vigilant. And, of course, the police must investigate any genuinely promising new leads, should they emerge.

    I simply believe, with the best of intentions, that it is time to put sentiment aside, face up to the harsh financial realities of modern policing, and regard Madeleine McCann in the same manner as all those other missing children.

  55. This report is so fawning of the Mc Canns and damning of Operation Grange (trips that somehow require them to stay in four and even five-star hotels with spas and golf concessions? ).
    At least SY respond that the investigation is funded by the Home office and that it ‘does not impact on our other operations in London’.

  56. David Jones has been an obsequious useful-idiot to the abduction theory from the start. But he's not a stupid man. I've always maintained that people like Jones - won't call them 'journalists', must have had their doubts about the McCanns from very early on in the case.

    I've never seen these useful-idiot types as part of any wider conspiracy, however - they're just my mother-in-law in other guises.

    This latest piece of sentimental drivel (disguised as hard-nosed yet compassionate objectivity) from Jones shows that he was hoodwinked by the couple - he fell for their story because he wanted to believe it. He mentions his grandchildren - about the same age as Madeleine when she went missing and 'just as cherubic'. Yes, mother.

    But he's not stupid. Or is he?

    The article begins with the discredited McCann stories of May 4th.The shutters, the geezer walking with a child in PDR. Stories discredited by 2 groups of detectives. Stories begging further questions (relating to dogs and dicrepancies for example). Questions that will never go away, regardless of whether the Met plods decide to bin their all-expenses shin-digs in Portugal.

    1. I've just read Blackwell. Seems Jones certainly did have his doubts - so not so stupid. I've only ever read his more fawning accounts. Why don't these muppets just come out and write some serious investigative journalism? Jones writes like a manacled cartoon ghost - howling in the dark. Shutters and Creche Man, indeed! Those early doubts have transmorphed into certainties, I'd say.


    Hunt goes on: Is the Madeleine McCann case to be shelved? – Update

    Posted on 23 March 2015.
    By Len Port, Contributor(*)

    The chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, John Tully, is concerned about the Operation Grange investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann but, contrary to press reports, he has not called for the investigation to be closed.

    What is in question is the scale of the operation in the light of severe budget cuts and other demands on the Met. But there is no indication that the investigation is to be terminated.

    The Daily Star sparked confusion and a flurry of speculation with an “exclusive” under the headline: “Police urged to shelve Maddie hunt as cops needed in UK to battle terrorism.”

    The headline inferred it, but the story did not quote Tully or anyone else as saying the investigation should be shelved.

    Following up on the Star story the next day, the Daily Mail Online reported that Tully had called for the probe to be axed.

    The Leicester Mercury, the regional paper where Kate and Gerry McCann live, did not mince its words either: “A police union boss has called for London officers to give up the search for Madeleine McCann.”

    Other papers, both in the UK and Portugal, churned out the latest fabrication in a mystery that has become a deep-rooted international obsession.

    Asked by Portugal Newswatch about what he actually said to the press, the federation chairman was adamant:

    “At no time did I suggest that operation Grange should be closed.”

    What Tully was getting at when speaking with the Daily Star was the wisdom of devoting a team of detectives exclusively to the investigation of a crime that had nothing to do with London.

    He said he made his comments “in the light of the force having to save £1.4 billion from the budget.”

    He added: “The pressure of work and expectation placed on officers, including the unacceptable situation where other officers are carrying in excess of 30 live investigations, is also an important consideration in these circumstances.”

    The Metropolitan Police press bureau confirmed there are currently 31 officers working on Operation Grange and that “their sole investigation is the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.”

    For now at least, the search for any scrap of solid evidence goes on. DCI Nicola Wall, who took over as head of Operation Grange at the end of last year, was reported in the UK and Portugal media as visiting Lisbon last week to “strengthen links” and for “detailed discussions” with Portuguese prosecutors.

    The Week magazine described the talks as “crucial” and said they were designed to “work out next steps” in the investigation. The magazine went on to quote a statement from Kate and Jerry McCann: “It’s very apparent that the determination of the Metropolitan Police remains steadfast.”

    Originally requested by Home Secretary Theresa May with the backing of Prime Minister David Cameron, the Met investigation has been ongoing for almost four years at the reported cost to British taxpayers of £10 million.

    There are no indications that the Met are any nearer to solving the mystery. It is not at all clear where the operation is at, or where it is going. All the Met’s press office will say is that “we are not prepared to give a running commentary on this investigation.”

    Frustration over the lack of progress is palpable.


  58. Yesterday invited to compare its cost with that of other missing persons inquires the met said this was not possible because each case was individual and Madeline disappearance was c clearly a unique and complex

  59. cont

    The Daily Star accurately quoted Tully as saying it was time to re-focus on what was needed to keep London safe. The Met no longer have the resources to conduct specialist inquiries all over the world, which have nothing to do with London.

    “The Met has long been seen as the last resort for investigations others have struggled with elsewhere. But we have made £600m of cuts. We have closed 63 police stations across London. Another £800m of cutbacks are anticipated over the next four years.”

    Tully went on to say: “It is surprising to see an inquiry like the McCann investigation ring-fenced. I have heard a few rumblings of discontent about it from lots of sources. When the force is facing a spike in murder investigations it is not surprising there is resentment of significant resources diverted to a case that has no apparent connection with London.”

    Officers in London are said to be “bemused” why they are working round-the-clock solving murders and fighting the threat from Islamic State-inspired jihadists while the Operation Grange detectives are barred from helping.

    Meanwhile, to the bemusement of many people in Portugal and almost eight years after she went missing, the search for Madeleine goes on.

  60. This McCann saga is a cover up but because of the media involvement, mega money involved and public interest, it will NEVER go away. Eventually the world will know the truth it will be documented worldwide exactly what happened finally the truth will be revealed. This is the legacy of lies and deceit the mccanns and tapas friends have left for their children and for their children's children. Just as the news is currently reporting from events of 40 years ago, and sending those guilty to prison, this is news and it will be heard. We now demand transparency in all cases, that is now the utmost priority TRANSPARENCY. we will know the answers and find the truth. Brenda Leyland did not die in vain, she spoke her mind and she should still be here, we live in a democracy of free speech, Brenda spoke for all of us, we want answers and we want the truth, no more lies or cover-ups and there but for the grace of God goes us, she wanted the truth but those who ask questions and are met with a wall of silence. Margaret Thatcher's brilliant career and legacy has now been blighted forever because she turned a blind eye on what was going on in her party , she knew, but did nothing, another cover-up now exposed 40 years later has ruined her reputation and tarnished it forever. Today far too many prominent people are involved in cover-ups and foolishly believe they are above the LAW BUT the truth will come out maybe in 10, 20 or 40 years time, who knows, but those that are guilty today will be named and shamed tomorrow and their families will feel the brunt and shame of their deceit. RIP Maddie you deserved so much more.

    1. It might be a good idea to have DCI Nichola Wall to interview a certain CM on the record as part of "Operation Grange,stranger Abductor/ion" perhaps he could explain as to why two former arquidos, who were supposedly not to discuss anything to do with the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine, had a secret Tryst meeting at a designated hotel in July 2007 with the Tapas group, at which he was present? "it was just a group of friends who were meeting up as they had not seen each other since their holiday" where upon their daughter had disappeared,but nothing of any value was taken? Astounding eh!,
      Perhaps DCI Wall interview the provider of "disturbing abuse"directed to Kate and Gerry,family in her disclosure to Martin Brunt,Sky news interview,Big Jim Gamble?
      Is this person a relative of the McCann family,if so it is becoming murkier and very disturbing,Cyber bullying?
      Six months since "Leicester Police" Force given Twitter message's of insidious abuse directed to sweepyface,but no criminal charges brought yet,GCHQ have got to protect London you know, Mr.Tully(Prime Minister), "shot across the Bow"?

  61. News on the Knox case:

    So many parallels with Maddie!!

    "staged break-ins are often attempts to divert attention from individuals who have access to the property concerned"

    "Aside from highlighting the near-impossible window entry point and the fact that nothing of any value was taken,"

    1. The bra clasp: "By the quantity of DNA analyzed and the analysis at 17 loci with unambiguous results, not to mention the fact that the results of the analysis were confirmed by the attribution of the Y haplotype to the defendant, it is possible to say that it has been judicially ascertained that Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA was present on the exhibit.”

      The knife: “...the consultant also did a statistical calculation with the purpose of determining the probability that the profile could belong to someone other than the victim Meredith Kercher. The calculation of the Random Match Probability came to one chance in 300 million billion.”

      It seems DNA is easier to collect and identify than in 5A. The defence even claimed the knife was contaminated in the lab! A bit like Kate’s trousers! This really shows how odd it was Maddie’s DNA was so hard to find.
      "pointing out that DNA traces on the knife were analyzed six days after last handling Kercher's DNA, ruling out lab contamination "


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