Madeleine finder’s sudden death and cremation in Skipton

Colin Sahlke in Praia da Luz

Colin Sahlke in Praia da Luz, May 2007.

According to the British press in May 2007, a former British paratrooper, Colin Sahlke, went to Praia da Luz to search for Madeleine McCann. He sold his possessions and gave up his job and his rented home to finance the search.

Under strange circumstances almost 3 years later, Sahlke suddenly died in bed on April 19, 2010. His death is a mystery and the traces of what caused his death are gone forever—Sahlke was cremated in Skipton on April 29, 2010. At the time of writing in early June 2010, the family still do not know the cause of death.


Days before Faked Abduction was printed, 3 chapters were removed. One of them “The Trojan Horse” was a controversial chapter detailing the operation of the inflatable billboard sent to Praia da Luz.

According to Gavin Hollywood, the managing director of Posterplus Media—the company who sent the billboard—the entire operation took 13 days in May 2007. From press stories released on Monday May 28, 2007, there is a consistent claim that the two drivers left Scotland on Friday, May 25, 2007. This also tallies with Gavin Hollywood’s communication to the author that the journey from Scotland to Portugal took 3 days.

The two van drivers were lauded by the press as a couple of ordinary guys who had been moved to pay for the venture out of a genuine, heartfelt concern for the plight of Madeleine. Nothing was further from the truth. The entire venture was set up after John McCann—Madeleine’s uncle—had approached Posterplus Media. The two men were employees of Posterplus Media and were just doing their job.

When we peel back the layers, we find that one of the drivers—Les Harley—lives very close to John McCann in the Temple/Partick area of Glasgow. Posterplus Media is located in Kilmaurs and is a good 25 miles away from where Harley & McCann live. It is a fair bet that John McCann knew Les Harley as a fellow brethren in one of the local lodges in that district—perhaps in the Galen Lodge located at the torched Ardery Street Freemason Hall that was burned to the ground in an arson attack in January 2008. No doubt the membership records of the various lodges using the Ardery Street hall disappeared into smoke along with many other interesting historical records.

Kate and Gerry McCann looking at the inflatable billboard that was driven to Praia da Luz for a couple of days at a cost of over £20,000.

The 2000+ mile trip to Portugal with an 800 sq.ft. inflatable “bouncy castle” with a poster stuck on the side made no sense at all. Gavin Hollywood’s estimated cost of £20,000 ($30,000) could have been done for thousands less by flying the two men to Portugal and sending the inflatable as air freight. A glance at the accounts and financial status of Posterplus Media makes the story even more fantastic. Deeply in debt for several years and with at least one county court judgment recorded against them, what on earth was the company doing by spending such a vast sum of money for very little—if any—reward? The newspaper articles touted the drivers, Chris Lennox and Les Harley as the brains behind the venture and at no time was the name Posterplus Media mentioned in those articles. It wasn’t as if the company gained by some press exposure and if anything, the company remained completely anonymous. When you are so deep in the red, it isn’t as though those expenses can be used as a tax right-off. If you’re not making money then you won’t be paying tax anyway.

Now switch our attention to a story that came out a day or two before the “bouncy castle” story.

The balance sheet for Posterplus Media shows significant losses.

Posterplus Media balance sheet. Click the image to view it larger.

Steve Taylor and Colin Sahlke were two former British Army soldiers who are reported to have met while working in a shower company in Nelson, Lancashire. The fantastic stories about Taylor and Sahlke have a vibe that is incredibly similar to the story of Harley and Lennox. Taylor and Sahlke didn’t take any fancy equipment to Portugal but if we are to believe the news reports of the time, we are told that they both gave up their jobs and at least one of them gave up his rented home and possessions to raise £5,000 ($7,500) to go and find Madeleine.

John McCann, the Madeleine Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned Limited Chairman, is said to have given up his job with AstraZeneca so he could concentrate full time on the search for his niece. It is staggering to think how four people gave up their careers to focus on the search for Madeleine: Kate Healy, John McCann and two former soldiers in Lancashire.

The dates and times that Taylor and Sahlke were in Praia da Luz are pretty much the same as Lennox and Harley’s. All four men left the UK on Friday, May 25, 2007. Apart from a few staged photographs of Taylor and Sahlke decked out in clothing more suitable for Operation Desert Storm, we saw nothing more of the two former soldiers. We saw nothing more of the inflatable sign either. After a photo session on the beach in Praia da Luz, the sign was not seen again despite Gavin Hollywood’s claim that the sign was to be set up at sites around the Algarve.

And what incidentally was it that cost Taylor and Sahlke £5,000? Two return low-cost airline tickets to Faro, Portugal, from Leeds/Bradford or Manchester Airports would typically cost about £150 or less. Accommodation for a week or even a cheap package holiday including flights would have cost the two men no more than £500 each. May is not high season in the European package holiday trade.

The two stories of Taylor/Sahlke and Lennox/Harley really make no sense whatsoever. Keep in mind that these men came onto the scene 3 days after Clarence Mitchell’s public arrival on the Madeleine McCann disappearance.

North East Lancashire/West Yorkshire

For those not familiar with this part of England and its involvement in the McCann case, it is a location that has had an ever increasing list of coincidental involvement. To date we have:

  • Ed Smethurst, a Madeleine Fund director, a lawyer and a prominent Freemason in the East Lancashire Lodge in Manchester. It appears that Smethurst has lived and worked in the Bury/Rochdale/Clitheroe area for most of his life.
  • Michael Wright, Kate Healy’s cousin’s husband. Wright was the named driver on the Renault Scenic where the cadaver dog smelt the scent of death in the trunk. Wright made numerous trips to Portugal in 2007, including one trip where he literally flew to Portugal to accompany Kate and the twins on a flight back to England the same day.
  • CCP—the Centre for Crisis Psychology—are based in Skipton. CCP were dispatched to Portugal in the middle of May 2007 to assist the McCanns with trauma counselling.
  • Colin Sahlke and Steve Taylor were work colleagues at a shower company in Nelson. Presumably this was Manhattan Showers Ltd.
  • Raymond Hewlett, the deceased former paedophile lived in Todmorden and was linked to the Madeleine case for various reasons. Suspected to have been the real killer of Leslie Molseed in 1975, Hewlett passed away in 2010 after contracting throat cancer.
  • David Payne, one of the Tapas Nine, has family in Rochdale. Payne is the doctor who was reported to Leicestershire police by Katerina and Arul Gaspar when they made statements about the behaviour of Gerry McCann and David Payne when they were all on holiday together in Majorca in 2005.

The area of north east Lancashire and west Yorkshire discussed in this section. A: Clitheroe, B: Skipton, C: Nelson, D: Keighley, E: Todmorden, F: Rochdale. To give an idea of the scale of this map, it is about 27 miles from Clitheroe to Keighley and 40 miles from Skipton to Rochdale.

A well known blogger in the Madeleine McCann case is “Blackwatch”. His blog—The Sargeant’s Inn (here)—is like a curio shop full of fascinating connections between the hundreds of characters involved in the story. Intelligently written, it is a great repository of trivia on the Madeleine story.

The detail in his blog is what makes it a compelling read but although he supplies many names and their relationships between each other, he reaches few conclusions and he actually states by way of a disclaimer:

The site offers no explanation for what might have occurred prior to the event, only for the Press, PR and lobbying activity that erupted in its wake. The intent is to dispel any notion of an elaborate conspiracy and to propose a more prosaic but no less compelling account of the Madeleine Franchise and how it came almost accidently into shape: a story of commercial and political improvisation.

Blackwatch also goes on to state:

Here are a few things we won’t tolerate:

  • Any crazy stuff about Roslyn, Roswell, Freemasons, the Bilderberg Group, Crop Circles, the Illuminati, Opus Dei, New World Order and fat bald blokes

Phil Johnson, the owner of JJ Associates International based in Keighley, West Yorkshire.

While the Madeleine case may not involve crop circles, the Bilderberg Group, Roslyn Chapel, the Illuminati, Opus Dei and a New World Order, it certainly does involve Freemasons. As Faked Abduction clearly demonstrates, there is a large network of Freemasons involved in the founding of the official fund. Madeleine’s Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned Limited has their registered office at one of Britain’s largest law firms to represent Freemasons and Freemasonic charities. Ed Smethurst is one of the directors of the Madeleine Fund and is a long time Freemason.

Blackwatch recently wrote an article about JJ Associates International (here). This private firm of investigators are also located in the East Lancs/West Yorks area and their mailing address is in Keighley (D on the map above). In typical “Blackwatch” style, he connects the players and in the context of this article he refers to Colin Sahlke:

Readers might recall that Colin Sahlke a former Keighley paratrooper and his friend flew to Praia da Luz in the first weeks of her disappearance. I am assuming he may have been a member of JJ Associates or at least someone on their books.

The owner of JJ Associates International is Phil Johnson. Phil has a long and detailed entry on the business networking site “Linkedin” (here).

Freemason involvement

Ed Smethurst has made no secret of his affiliation with Freemasons. For most of his life he has been involved with the craft in the Manchester area.

Phil Johnson lists 'The Virtual Lodge' in his group affiliations on his Linkedin page.

For all Blackwatch’s denial of Freemason involvement in the Madeleine disappearance, when we look at Phil Johnson’s Linkedin entry, we see that he belongs to a group called The Virtual Lodge. As Blackwatch surmises, perhaps Sahlke was on the books of JJ Associates International. Who knows?

According to Colin Sahlke’s sister, she is of the opinion that if Colin was a Freemason then that was “in his dreams” because her brother liked to exaggerate his achievements. In point of fact, when the British press reported that Colin was a former paratrooper, his sister said “…that was the first we knew of him being a former paratrooper!”

But were Sahlke and Taylor Freemasons or were they chosen by Freemasons to go over to Portugal?

The Midas Award logo (left) is suspiciously Masonic in design. Compare to the compass and squares (right), the well-known symbol of Freemasonry.

Here’s a clue: Manhattan Showers in Nelson have their registered office in Glossop, Derbyshire at a firm of accountants called Crossley Lomas. Back in 2004, Crossley and Lomas won a financial services award called a Midas Award. The company behind this are located (here). Look at the Midas Award logo. Crossley Lomas are the registered office for many companies and they also advised a Manchester company called the Brownsword Group Ltd. Brownsword Group Ltd are the parent company of Mike India 5 Ltd—clearly a play on the term “MI5”.

The reader is probably bewildered now by an ever increasing list of company names and more people loosely connected by Freemasonry in the Manchester area.

Look no further. The connection comes back full circle to tie in Freemasonic Madeleine Fund helpers Brian Kennedy and Ed Smethurst.

In October 2008, it was announced that Brian Kennedy’s rugby club Sale Sharks had a new sponsor.

From (here):

Sale Sharks sign up new sponsor- 27 Oct 2008

Guinness Premiership side Sale Sharks have signed a one-year sponsorship deal with insurance specialists Mike India 5.

Prior to the deal being signed, the Cheadle Hulme based firm, specialists in investigating integrity for the insurance industry and general commerce, completed an investigation into the benefits of an association with the Guinness Premiership club.

The investigation has concluded with Mike India 5 signing a one-year deal to become official partners of Sale Sharks.

The Sharks will wear the Mike India 5 logo for all their remaining Heineken Cup matches this season.

The deal also provides Mike India 5 with perimeter signage, corporate hospitality to entertain key guests to Sharks matches and the opportunity to network with other club sponsors and partners through membership in the Sale Sharks 500 Club.

Freemason sponsors of Sale Sharks - Mike India 5 Ltd - an east Manchester based investigation and surveillance firm with links to Chartered Accountants Crossley Lomas. Click image to see larger version.


This is yet another proven Freemasonic link in the Madeleine McCann case and one that ties in the key players Brian Kennedy and Ed Smethurst to Colin Sahlke and Steve Taylor—two men sent to Portugal on May 25, 2007.

Did Sahlke and Taylor help to repatriate Madeleine?

Sahlke liked to talk too much. Was this his downfall and did it ultimately cost him his life?

19 Responses to “Madeleine finder’s sudden death and cremation in Skipton”

  1. 1
    Gavin Hollywood Says:

    I have just read your article with interest and would wish to clarify a few points. The inflatable billboard was offered as a media platform to assist with the awareness campaign. The cost of a similar media project would be approximately £20,000 depending on the geographical area, the actual operational costs were between £6000-£7000. Posterplus has other profitable companies and assets. This was purely an act of kindness to help find a missing child and nothing else, the billboard was actually located at several locations over 10 days including the border where we got full support and approval from the authorities, digital photographs of all locations with the billboard being used are available to anyone by request. Les Harley does not stay in Temple/Partick area but resides in Irvine. The quickest way to get the equipment to Portugal last minute was by road as Air Freight and clearance would take over 5 days plus the operators required a van with spares and a vehicle facility to move around with the billboard on a daily basis. The opportunity to assist with the campaign was offered to around 20 drivers all of whom offered to drive to Portugal. The aim of the billboard was to attract attention to help find a child and not a publicity avenue for our company hence the reason for removing our company logos in order to avoid this type of criticism. Our sole intention was to try and help someone when they needed help nothing else.

  2. 2
    John Says:

    One Hell of an explanation for a straightforward missing child case

  3. 3
    Death mystery of Nelson man after Maddie hunt « Exposing myth, distortion, corruption and the TRUTH Says:

    […] under Famous Articles, TRUTH For Madeleine. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry Colin Sahlke in Praia da Luz, May […]

  4. 4
    Anne Says:

    I personally find it so sad that people try to comment on what is actually a very sad situation. If your close relative’s child was missing, would you feel comfortable to continue going to work every day? Would you not feel that you had to go out and look for her? The McCann’s do not need the money. They need their family to be complete again. Now, just for a moment, put yourself in their shoes, your child is missing, you have another two children to look after, you cannot rest until you know what happened… HOW DO YOU FEEL?

    Site Admin: People can comment on whatever they like. You assume the family don’t know what happened. We believe that the family and some or all of the Tapas 9 know what happened on May 3, 2007. We feel that they should answer the questions posed by the Portuguese police in September 2007.

  5. 5
    Liz Y Says:

    Anne, If your close relative’s child is missing, would you not think it strange that in the earliest days the McCanns appeared together holding hands, smiling, and seemingly without a care in the world. Someone who appeared in public immaculately dressed with careful make-up. A gentle jog on the beach, all beaming smiles coming out of church a few (a very few,) days after their daughter disappeared, and, as Gerry and Kate believed, in the hands of paedophiles, WOULD YOU NOT BE ON THE FLOOR, RACKED WITH GRIEF, GUILT AND REMORSE??? If they are truly innocent, their re-action on being told the dogs had smelled cadaverine, was to immediately go on the offensive and make disparaging remarks about the dogs not being infallible, I would have been overcome with more grief because my initial re-action would be ‘Oh God she’s dead and an abductor must have done it’. Cue crying, screaming, wailing, shock and horror. I don’t remember any one time that Kate looked like she’d been crying all al night or not having slept for days. You cannot override these emotions, and certainly not a few days, months, maybe years later. You said ‘Would you not feel that you had go out and look for her?’ Neither Gerry or Kate joined the physical search not even in the moments immediately after her disappearance, instead they tore the back off one of precious Madeleine’s books, to write down an itinerary stating who went where and at what times the were children checked on. Would you or your relatives do that? IS THERE ANY SANE PERSON YOU KNOW WHO WOULD DO THAT!!? YOUR BABY HAS BEEN ABDUCTED BY A PAEDOPHILE, everyone else is searching and you have the presence of mind to do that? If you were convinced (as Kate said she was immediately), would you leave two more of your babies, (if you really, really thought there really, really was an abductor) to run down to the Tapas Bar to raise the alarm? I do agree with one of your points though, the McCanns don’t need the money. If all the people who contributed to the fund knew that a good portion of it has been spent on top specialist lawyers, mortgages and other things a million miles away from what the fund was intended to do, they wouldn’t have been quite so generous.
    You have our opinion, but how much do you REALLY know. Not much I’ll bet.

  6. 6
    Helen Says:

    Liz, again spot on!!! Cant add anything to that!! 🙂

  7. 7
    phoebe Says:

    I think the mccanns know full well where their child is and they are getting loads to say they dont

  8. 8
    Mag Says:

    INFLATABLE BILLBOARD- it’s not even Kate and Gerald McCann / Healy on it! Look at the lady’s Derriere ;), and Look at the man’s CHIN! NOT THEM! NO WAY! Loooooooooooooooool!

    ps. check your site mails , ty.
    ah ah and well done for the Book dear Friend.

  9. 9
    taz Says:

    I am haunted by this case, as a mother myself I find it impossible to let go. Every day and night I wonder what happened to Madeleine? I have tried the believing they had nothing to do with it route, but things dont add up. But I do wonder if this is something bigger, something to do with government or a maffia type crime, is she alive? Perhaps the parents carefully chosen unanswered answers are because they simply cannot answer in order to protect their daughter, the twins and themselves? Or maybe poor little Madeleine is dead, in which case why isnt anyone doing anything about it. Someone or a lot of someone’s know exactly what happened, isnt it time to act?

  10. 10
    Kate McCann releasing a book - General Chatter Forum (Page 108) Says:

    […] This is weird…#comment-20029 […]

  11. 11
    LadyB Says:

    Now the police are going to review the case,

    as they wished, the saying “Be careful what you wish for”

    comes to mind!!

    Site Admin: The British government covered up the death of Madeleine McCann in the first place. When the wolf is looking over the hen-house, do not expect any more from this bunch of clowns in Westminster than the previous set of clowns. It is all a circus to continue to cover up the death.

  12. 12
    Looking for answers Says:

    Having just read the Madeline book I thought I would look into the other side of the story and try to establish an even view. Having visited this site I am only more convinced of the McCanns innocence and more amazed at the people that seem to support the views spouted on this website? Having looked into this on various websites I believe the initial investigation was a mockery and should be reviewed. Even you all should agree that with the UK looking into this now, any evidence against them will come to light and be taken seriously, should it actually exist of course!!!

    Site Admin: The problem with the Madeleine book is that Kate misses out so many important factors. She fails to describe that:
    1. Two doctor friends of the McCanns and the Paynes went to the British police on May 16, 2007 to describe how they thought that Gerry McCann and David Payne were potential paedophiles (based on a holiday they took with them to Spain a couple of years earlier).
    2. The family of nine that she describes in the book as seeing the potential abductor (the Smith family), actually stated that the “abductor” looked exactly like Gerry McCann.
    3. The Madeleine Fund was initially set up to raise money for legal expenditure.
    4. The McCanns were financially broke and had to get family members to pay their mortgage for them in the summer of 2007.
    5. The McCanns were connected to Cabinet level MPs via previous relationships or social circles. Kate does not tell us how they knew these people.

  13. 13
    Angelique Says:

    I read this article a while ago and have just recently been thinking again about if they wanted to remove a body how they would have done it.

    I wonder if these two drivers actually drove vans ? It’s an awfully large inflatable. To my mind it would be too big to handle into the back of a van. It would be easier if it were loaded onto a trailer. I have worked on trailers and some of them have refrigerator units which are used to keep produce cool. It’s just an idea. Does anyone know if they did use vans or not ?

  14. 14
    elvira bothma Says:

    I cannot believe that grown up people can even accommodate the thought that Madeleine was murdered by her own parents. What is wrong with you people ? Go to Google, ask for Lindy Chamberlain and read how she was accused of murdering and burying her own child, then crusified by people (exactly what is happening with the McCanns), nobody believed Lindy, in the end she went to prison and she was INNOCENT. The media and people are the worst you can get. Be careful of what you wish for other people or what you say – you never know when it will backfire on yourself. I wrote down a small paragraph from Lindy’s letter : “There are good, honest, truthful people in all these fields.(Policing etc). We need to support them in their struggle to clean up their profession and stand for truth and justice. Hitler got as far as he did because good people didn’t wake up to the importance of the small details that did not look threatening on their own, until the avalanche engulfed all and it was too late to fix”. That poor woman’s life was hell, through the untruth of stories the media published, and people who did not know the truth but told lies about Lindy. I believe if the people do not get punished for their ghastly thoughts, accusations, or whatever you want to call it – in this life – they will surely in another. So support the McCanns and try to help find Madeleine. God bless them. Elvira

    Site Admin: FACT – Parents are more likely to murder their own children than a stranger. Get used to it and stop trying to denigrate people who are merely discussing the likelihood of Madeleine being killed while under the care of her parents. The Chamberlain dingo case is not the McCann case. Lindy Chamberlain may have been declared innocent but the McCanns have not faced a trial to be either declared innocent or guilty. The McCanns are the prime suspects in a case shelved due to lack of evidence for a trial. That does not mean it was shelved due to lack of evidence. On the contrary, there is a lot of evidence and there are public statements made by Clarence Mitchell and Gerald McCann where they say that they (meaning the McCanns) are not guilty of Madeleine’s death.

    Why say “death” if, as they keep telling us, that Madeleine is still out there?

    If the McCanns weren’t such barefaced liars who keep changing their stories, probably more people would believe them. Right now, two-thirds of people believe they killed Madeleine and that is the opinion of this website.

  15. 15
    McCannsareliars Says:

    Looks like a lot of people are WORRIED about this article. Freemasons jumping out of everywhere to defend the McCann shite. Colin was talkimng his head off What you all going to do about it HA HA HA. Why have a giant inflatable over there when everyone and their dog knew about Madeleine. The brethern think they are smart. In reality they are just pathetic low life paedophiles

  16. 16
    DaftAida Says:

    The entanglement of such webs is always enlightening when considering what would a child or adult do caught up in this ring of endless power brokers?

    When such an event is vomited out by media, there is a specific agenda being pushed through undercover of this ‘lead’. I looked at the McCann’s connections and concluded that anyone able to rouse international media focus and get an audience with the highest profile psychopaths of our times, then something had to be afoot. Knowing about how these elite gangs operate, concluded that the child was another intergenerationally abused sex toy who was either sold and sacrificed in Portugal or perhaps even Scotland (Hollie Greig). In any event, the parents are just a part of that whole huge sick scene.

    There were, incidentally, certain notable Russian (jew) Football Club magnates in that region of Portugal at the very time of her ‘abduction’.

  17. 17
    Maddy, Missing Links | Iceni Rising Says:

    […] […]

  18. 18
    Ellie Says:

    We are approaching the ten year anniversary. This dreadful case remains torturous in the minds of many British and Portuguese people. The appalling truth is that other children have disappeared in the intervening years, yet we do not even know their names. Why are we so obsessed with the case of Madeleine McCann? I believe it is because we cannot make sense of any of it: The giant, highly orchestrated press involvement, the strange parents who have become media icons almost like a tragic version of the Beckhams. I wish the anomalies and worse the frighteningly suspicious events surrounding this case and the many people who have been involved could be brought into the open. Many decent and caring people have been feeling upset and troubled, many have donated money, some from very modest incomes, yet our fears and worries just seem to grow. There appear to be cover-ups and secrets. The McCanns appear to be inured of direct questioning as do their friends from the holiday. Yet between them they cannot agree about where they were and at what time. The two holiday complex staff, who rushed to attend to Kate’s shout “They’ve taken her”, agree about times. On that matter, what mother says “They’ve taken her” unless she has sure knowledge that particular people were attempting to take away her child? If your child is out of bed and the premises were left unlocked, wouldn’t you be shouting “She’s not here! Find her! She’s not in the flat!” or words to that meaning. It was strange to immediately plant this wild idea of a mysterious “they” in everyone’s minds and be so sure that the little one had not got out of bed and wandered off on her own.
    My message here though is this; PLEASE will someone, preferably a harmonious cooperation of the Portuguese and British Police, look at all the facts and interview all the people concerned including those who came over with that weird inflatable sign and those who know about the ex soldier who gave up everything to look for Madeleine but only returned to England to die mysteriously.
    This saga is sinister. People in Britain are wondering how safe we are. Can a child disappear, a Chief Inspector strongly suspect she has died in the place she was staying, so many witnesses give conflicting evidence, yet nothing comes of it? Are children safe? Can parents leave children unattended in unsecured premises and be allowed to carry on looking after two younger children as if nothing neglectful occurred?
    Please get on with this case and be OPEN and HONEST and BRAVE. Whatever it is that suddenly made the British Police stop looking at the DNA evidence and destroy the sheet with semen stains, please, look at your consciences and do this for Madeleine and all children who need protection. No matter what the blackmail, if there be such an attempt, stick to the facts and follow the evidence. Find the culprit(s) and conclude the case. For Madeleine, for Compassion, for Justice, for Truth.

  19. 19
    G1 Says:

    “The appalling truth is that other children have disappeared in the intervening years, yet we do not even know their names.”

    – Firstly, this, as just quoted, is true, and appalling, as you say. This is some kind of unknowable phenomenon with the media, who seem to want to treat the public with carefully selected kind of cartoons instead of the fullness of real news. (I know Madeleine’s disappearance is no actual cartoon or anything like it, but I am referring to the media attitude.) If the statistics if the people, and children who go long term missing – very large numbers – are true, where is the reportage of this beyond Madeleine?

    – Secondly, however this basic fact is no reason to blame the McCanns for trying to do everything they can to find their daughter. It happened that she touched the world, and again this is largely the strange doing of the media. But the McCanns ought to be respected for trying to keep publicity going about their daughter, and not disrespected. Anything which could help find Madeleine is worth trying, even still. Also, anything which leads to information about what happened to Madeleine could be information which could help stop other children going missing.

    “On that matter, what mother says “They’ve taken her” unless she has sure knowledge that particular people were attempting to take away her child? If your child is out of bed and the premises were left unlocked, wouldn’t you be shouting “She’s not here! Find her! She’s not in the flat!” or words to that meaning.”

    – I’ve been through every possible way of thinking and saying that someone has taken your daughter, suddenly, in shock, and with that thought in mind, that someone has taken your daughter.

    I have no doubt now that “They’ve taken her”, is by far the most natural and appropriate thing to say, for an educated person.

    The woman deep down thinks and her body wants to express that her daughter has been taken BY someone or someone, as her deep instinct is that Madeleine would never go out alone. (Potentially wrong or right, a mother can have such a deep feeling.)

    So the question of how to express this would be going through the mind, like blinking at many times per split second. What expresses this idea?

    “Someone has taken her”? Not quite as it may have been more than one person.
    “Some people have taken her”? The same again, it may have been one person.

    The returning mother wouldn’t know whether to picture a he or a she doing the abducting, so those two pronouns wouldn’t seem appropriate to Kate in the blink of an eye her mind is processing what to say.

    The word “they” covers all possibilities.
    They can be used to refer to one person. (Eg. “John and Jill, you have to take it in turns to wash the dishes this week. Whoever’s turn it is tonight, would THEY make sure to dry them also”.)

    It can refer to a single person.
    It can refer to an abstract, general or unknown single person. (Eg. “When a person has planted flowers, THEY must make sure to take care of them as they grow”).
    It can refer particularly when there is doubt as to which person is described. (Eg. Anyone using the garden, could THEY make sure to refill the birdseed?)
    It can refer to a single man or a single woman.
    It can refer to a number of people of same or mixed sexes.

    So it seems clear to me that if someone wanted to express what she felt, that her daughter was taken by a person or persons of quite a number of different combinations – single man, single woman, single sex group, mixed sex group – the mind can find “They took her” and it accounts for all the vagueness, general ideas, and every possibility.
    While it is just simply expressing that the child was taken by someone or someones.
    This meant a lot to Kate who felt sure that Madeleine wculd not have been naughty and gone out.

    I can’t even say it another way without sounding odd – “She was taken by someone or someones” – who is going to shout that?

    Doctors are very used indeed to excluding ways of expressing things which are not correct or not fully correct. They have spent a lot of time thinking about expression in this way and have gotten very used to their minds very quickly going through possibilities of what to say, and excluding what doesn’t work.

    “She was taken by people”? No, as Kate would be fearful of her friends or others going searching missing a single kidnapper.

    “They’ve taken her” – meaning some character or characters Kate suddenly envisages in her mind in shock is natural and easy to come to mind and covers everything.
    Single, group, man, woman, men, women, mix, the expression covers them all.

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