True Crime Analysis, Breakthroughs, Insights & Discussions Hosted by Bestselling Author Nick van der Leek

Have the McCanns been playing us for fools for the past 12 Years?

Playing us for fools? For twelve years? I know, I know, it’s a ridiculous [say that with a Scottish accent, it sounds stronger] and ludicrous thing to say.

So how about putting the question otherwise.

Have the McCanns been laughing at us for twelve years?

Have they laughed, smiled, chuckled or sneered during interviews over the past many years?

Below is another edit from the same interview, a follow-up answer to the “did you kill your daughter?” question.

Notice how the media have tried to cut this clip below [viewed almost 900 000 times to date] right where both Kate and Gerry are smiling, and Gerry reaches up to scratch his nose. Instead the edit flips back to the interviewer, who is herself beaming after asking whether the parents killed their own child.

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Sometimes it’s easier to appreciate and catch the micro-expressions where the interview is frozen into separate screengrabs. Take note of the deadly series import of the question that’s being asked, and the serious potential implications of the question, versus the lighthearted, dismissive expressions and arguably an almost sneering contempt in the response.

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Notice how, at about 3:30 in the video below, Gerry compares losing Madeleine and getting over her to “getting over student debt” and “getting back into the black.”

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McCanns defend using public fund to pay mortgage – Reuters

Madeleine fund paid for mortgage – CNN

McCanns used fund to pay mortgage – BBC

McCanns used £1m fund to pay mortgage – Telegraph

McCanns used Madeleine fund to pay mortgage – The Guardian

£100,000 donated to Madeleine McCann campaign ‘stolen to fund lavish lifestyle’, whisteblowers claim – Metro

Madeleine McCann donations dramatically fell in just one year – The Mirror

Donations to the Find Madeleine McCann fund fell from almost £2 million to £650,000 in just one year, it was revealed yesterday. Only cash received in libel payouts to friends of Gerry and Kate McCann – dubbed the Tapas Seven – enabled the search for their daughter to go on, latest accounts show.

Around £260 an hour flooded into the Fund as a wave of public sympathy swept the UK after Maddie’s abduction in Praia da Luz in the Algarve in May, 2007. It had £1.4million in bank donations alone in the first ten months of the search.

But contributions fell away after the McCanns became one-time suspects. And the Fund’s income dropped to £629,181 in the year up to 31 March 2009 – while spending rose from £815,113 to more than £1 million. Outgoings covered investigators, publicity and the pair’s legal fight against Portuguese policeman Goncalo Amaral.

Below is a brief summary of how much the Find Madeleine Fund made in less than the first year [ending March 2008]. Just 13% of the total raised was spent on doing what the fund claimed to be raising money for – search and detective fees. By contrast, PR and legal expenses [bear in mind the McCanns were never tried in a criminal court] more than eclipsed the money spent on search and investigation, and after that over a million pounds in “profit” [income] remained.

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Almost ten years later the McCanns almost depleted the fund completely as they used it to pay for their legal battle against their main accuser, Goncalo Amaral, a battle they’ve ultimately lost [to date].

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Madeleine McCann’s parents make final appeal to European court in battle to silence Portuguese ex-police chief’s ‘lies’ – Daily Mail

Mixed messages as McCanns bid to take three-time court defeat to new appeal – Portugal Resident

McCanns could pay out $1m if they lose case against detective who said they were responsible for Madeleine’s disappearance [September 2018] – meaww

The fund currently has £728,508 in it which was largely contributed by the public. If the McCanns lose the case, they’ll be forced to use money out of it to pay compensation…Furthermore, the Kate and Gerry have reportedly used money from the fund to cover the costs of hearings on past occasions as well. Retired Detective Chief Inspector Mick Neville, who investigated the case last year, called the most recent developments “tragic”. “It is tragic that funds to try to find her could be lost because of this legal action,” he said. “There is every reason to believe she may be alive.”


  1. Lynn

    I haven’t kept up to date with this case. What are people saying happened to this little girl?

    • nickvdl

      It depends who you listen to. Some say she is still alive, abducted by pedophile traffickers. Others say she died in the apartment on the night she supposedly was abducted.

  2. Sylvester

    I think at first they didn’t know they would raise the kind of money they did – then when donations came pouring in (from celebrities too) there was no turning back – they could now turn the whole affair into a money-making scheme. They could profit from the death of their daughter.

    Overdose is possible of course. But I think keeping an eye on 3 kids while Gerry was playing tennis suggests to me that Kate wasn’t paying close enough attention to her children. She states she only took a 5 minute shower. She wants the public to think she didn’t take her eye off them for more than 5 minutes. How long was Gerry away from the restaurant on his first check-up and does it coincide with the time frame where the witness saw a man carrying a child? What a coincidence that on the second check-up the Tapas friend didn’t really look in on the kids. What would he have seen had he actually gone into the room. Then comes Kate’s check-up and final one. This was the plan, that she would make the discovery – but if the Tapas friend had made it that was okay too.

    • nickvdl

      I don’t think death was caused by overdose, but the sedation precipitated an accidental fall from the balcony down into the garden below. Cadaver traces were found below the balcony railing in the flower bed, and of course, with the parents a stone’s throw away, it probably would have been tempting if she woke up to climb onto something to get a better look at where they were, especially if she was also trying to call them.

      Another way to look at it is the sedation gave the “peace of mind” to abandon the children for extended periods in the first place, which opened the window for whatever happened to happen. This goes to negligence.

      • Sylvester

        Negligence for sure. Isn’t it possible though that she died before they went to dinner? That the check-ups during dinner were planned, staged. Or Gerry discovered her dead on his check-up. He’d then have to signal to Kate. Doubtful he would want her to find out the hard way.

        • nickvdl

          That’s my theory. The first part of your comment.

      • CBH

        I would say it was gross negligence; and yes, they’ve been playing the public for fools for 12 years. In both the McCann and Ramsey cases, there were never any abducting pedophiles.

        • Right44

          You are 100% right, CBH. I see “duper’s delight” on the faces of both McCanns in these interviews, just as I saw it on the faces of John and Burke Ramsey.

      • Nurse Nelson

        This hypothesis is not unreasonable however no DNA traces were found in the garden – just cadaver odour. I think maybe she fell from the couch (Due to being sedated) and hit her head resulting in a fatal head injury that wasn’t found until much too late. I wonder where Gerry was when Kate came down to report Maddie missing? His whereabouts went unaccounted for during the period surrounding the initial discovery and search. This is the most humane explanation I am able to allow myself to think about. Anything else would be just too awful to fathom.

  3. Sylvester

    Does anyone notice Madeleine looks nothing like Gerry?

  4. Sylvester

    It’s making more sense to me now. I have to re-read things over and over sometimes. Also I read Doubt quite a while back – I was very immersed in the JonBenet murder mystery and wasn’t sure I wanted to get involved in another case but there are so many similarities between the two. Neglect being the operative word here in both cases. It’s also interesting to me how Gerry and Kate seem to be welded to each other whereas as soon as the police arrived at the Ramsey home it was observed that John and Patsy showed no affection toward each other – they were sequestered in different rooms – and I always wondered if John may have held Patsy responsible for neglecting her own parental duties in the rearing of the children knowing full well their older child was exhibiting problems and violent tendencies and nothing was done about it. Look at Gerry and Kate though. There isn’t a moment where they aren’t touching each other, holding hands, etc. Forget my 8:30 comment above, we weren’t on that subject and it’s distracting. You can delete it if you want.

  5. julinka1981

    I read so much about this case when she first disappeared. What shocked me is that kids and Maddie were in holiday club most of the day and then handed to parents in the evening. And then left to sleep on their own whilst parents having a dinner. I just don’t get why take kids for holidays when you don’t spend any time with them. Parents both worked as GP’s so I would imagine kids were always looked after by someone. It shows that parents didn’t have a close bond with them and perhaps struggled with parenting and we’re detached from them. In video they said “the only time we left them on their own was when we were at dinner “ Yes exactly.And that’s exactly motive to panick and get rid of body if something happened to her.The stakes were too high if they were found to neglect them,they would both lost their jobs and be trialed for neglect.

    • Sheis

      Not to be too judgy, but I know parents like this. They dread the weekends because they don’t know what to do with their kids. I live in NYC and it was shocking to see all the nannies with kids in the playground or kids activities on weekends.

      Some people REALLY don’t want to take care of their own kids. Why have them?

      • julinka1981

        Totally. In my experience,parents then really struggle with discipline -they don’t know kids well enough to handle them.

        Watching Netflix documentary now and the scene of kids room Looked so staged ,lies about shutters and window,Kate said she looked under the bed but bed has no underbed space.The inconsistencies with timing that other friends reported. So many red flags. But still can’t figure where would they put Maddie if she accidentally died.

        • nickvdl

          My book Doubt provides the route, location and “package” used following the child’s death. It also provides a scenario for the day when and how her remains were removed from Praia da Luz and her “final resting place”.

          • julinka1981

            Thanks Nick, I will read it now.

  6. LW

    I’d never heard of Duper’s Delight until the Chris Watts case. The McCanns have Duper’s Delight written all over them.

    • nickvdl

      As do the Ramseys, and most high-profile criminals, especially those who passed go and got their get-out-of-jail cards.

      • Ralph Oscar

        First time hearing about “Duper’s Delight” over here (raises hand), so I looked it up. Found something interesting:

        These are but a few ways you can help to spot a liar and keep yourself protected.

        Be on the lookout for these signs:

        Duper’s Delight
        Tongue in cheek
        Covering the mouth or eyes
        Saying yes while shaking head no
        Stories with too much detail
        Delayed response to questions
        Hidden hands
        Fake smile
        Tight lips
        Use of distancing language
        Finger pointing

        There are many other ways to detect a liar, and none of these ways are foolproof, but these tips will serve as a useful guide.

        “The hands come out symbolically from the heart; hands and arms symbolically express the emotions of the heart. Liars tend to keep their hands hidden and still. They stick them in their pockets, clench them together or hold them behind their backs. Imagine that the person who you suspect of lying has the truth in the palms of their hands and see if they show it to you.

        It is not surprising that one of the first things we do to start a business interaction or close a deal with a customer is shake hands. My three years of academic research on handshakes show that the single most important factor in the handshake is palm to palm contact. Research also shows, when you’re the customer and don’t get it, you wonder what the person is hiding, you are uncomfortable for the rest of the interaction and you are less likely to purchase.

        When people are trying to hide their true feeling or the truth they may stick their hands in their pockets, clench them together, or hold the behind their backs. To spot liars — look to see if the hands are open and “above board.” Because people do hide their hands when they are nervous, if you see hidden hands ask yourself why they are nervous.

        Don’t look like a liar by using your hands normally as you speak or if that is not normal loosely at your sides. And try not to clasp your hands together. Body language is highly symbolic and it will look like you are hiding your own hands for comfort.” Source:

        I was particularly thinking about CW’s behavior when he was watching his neighbor’s surveillance video, where he oddly keeps his hands on top of his head. Also, that sucking in his lower lip thing you’ve remarked on, Nick, and the crossed arms – hands out of sight and still. The inappropriate smiling during his “Sermon on the Porch”.

  7. Shannon

    If her dad carried her that nite from the apt…what’s close by to hide her body, so no one sees her. I don’t think they could go back and remove her, cause of them crying fowl that nite. So it would have to be a good spot. Or did they remove her days before and then pretend?
    They are not innocent.

    • Ralph Oscar

      If memory served, the man was awkwardly carrying a limp child toward the beach.

      • Shannon


  8. Stu

    I am watching the Netflix documentary at the moment, I’m sure Gerry says Kate definitely didn’t use anything to make the kids sleep and then a minute later says he isn’t sure if Kate used anything. Do they ever show any remorse for leaving the kids on their own. My feeling is they are guilty, Something very wrong about them…..Kate gives me the creeps.

  9. Pat

    Watch embedded confessions with Peter Hyatt on youtube. It’s very impressive. He analyses their statements from a few interviews and points out that they are only concerned about themselves, not about their daughter. They are defensive and show disdain. They are not like parents of missing children who only care about finding them and what they must be going through — and who never stop searching.

  10. Angel CHEUNG

    Reading so much news articles about Madeleine McCann these days made me confused.
    I do not think Christian B abducted her because witnesses said they said a man with dirty brown long hairs carried a girl and walked down to the beach. While Christian B was driving his van in that area. Maybe he saw what had happened in the apartment and left. The abductor could be someone he knows.
    Tannerman said she saw the man carried the girl in pyjamas similar to the girl and Scotland Yard drew up a e-fit picture turned out the look like Gerry.

    I believe Kate and Gerry sedated her to go to sleep so that they could enjoyed having dinner with their 7 friends at the restaurant, perhaps overdose and could to not waking up even her nose could have bleed, mouth vomit and bleed from eyes?
    And when Gerry returned to check on them he must be terrified and freak and cleaned up the messed that’s blood etc and carried her down the beach and hid her under the sand. Then when he gone back to restaurant he whispered to Kate, and when she go to checking she already knew Madeleine is not there and fake the cry!

    When a month past by they dig out the corpse and put inside the boot of the car and drove very far away from the city into forest and hid her there.

    Murderers has done these kinds of evil things, no matter which country it is.

    Dogs found blood in the apartment and in the car boot Kate had hired.

    So I believe they are behind the abduction.
    Watching some of their interviews on videos confused me with their laughs, smiles and cry! Look like they fake it.

    And since taking Funds from the public to used for their two mortgage were ridiculous!

    The first time I didn’t know they were the suspect but now I guess I am right that they both are guilty. Maybe Kate was scared looking at Madeleine eyes especially the one with a flash.

    Did they planned it all along before that happened?!

    Why not give them both Lie Detector tests, this probably only way to find the true.

    But I heard it might not be 100% accurate.

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