Saturday, 15 September 2007

PR expert Mark Williams-Thomas: “huge doubt" about “the integrity of the Chief-Inspector Gonçalo Amaral”



Mark Williams-Thomas, a former policeman and managing director of WT Associates, a PR company specialized in child protection, media handling and advice for high profile cases, urged Portuguese police to ditch the case against the McCann – a case that he classified as “ludicrous” - and follow another lead that he thinks could take PJ to the real kidnapper.

The managing director of PR company WT Associates, who is usually introduced to Sky News viewers only as a “child protection expert” or “crime expert”, criticised Polícia Judiciária for not paying attention to “such a strong line of inquiry”. The PR expert referred that, even if “over 90% of murders are domestic-related”, he can’t “accept that Gerry and Kate as parents of the child could have been involved in her murder.”

For the managing director of WT Associates, “the answer to the case may lie in the disappearance of an eight-year-old Portuguese girl in 2004.” Joana Cipriano vanished from a village just seven miles from Praia da Luz, where Madeleine disappeared.

Leonor Cipriano and her brother, who had a incestuous relationship, were both sentenced to 16 years in jail, after appealing to Portuguese Supreme Court, for the murder of Joana Cipriano. Her body never appeared, but blood found inside the family’s refrigerator and the confession of Joana’s uncle were sufficient to convince the jury. Her case has been referred, by the British Media, in what seems to be an attempt to discredit Portuguese Police, comparing it with Madeleine’s case.

Joana Cipriano, who never confessed the crime, accused five CID officers of beating her. Later, she was not able to identify none of the five officers, when she was taken to a police line-up, behind a two-way mirror. The Public Prosecutor’s Office decide to charge the five CID officers ASFIC, the CID inspectors union filled a formal complaint against the Public Prosecutor's magistrate, because he didn’t included in the case's dossier the results of the police line up.

The fact that one of the officers accused in Chief-Inspector Gonçalo Amaral casts “huge doubt” to the managing director of WT Associates, who believes that Mr. Amaral should be ousted from the investigation of Madeleine’s case: “"Even if we work on the basis that he is innocent, given this allegation against him, he shouldn't have anything to do with the Madeleine investigation”, the PR expert told to Sky News.

Questioned yesterday, September 14, about his business relationship, as a expert also in media handling and advice for high profile cases, Mr. Mark Williams-Thomas initially confirmed that his company had a contract to provide services to the McCann. Asked to confirm some details of that business relationship, he changed his initial answer and denied any relationship, admitting only that he has “been in contact with the press officers for the family.”

We asked also to Sky News if they were aware of the fact that Mr Mark Williams-Thomas was also the owner and managing director of a PR company, as Sky News has invited almost every day, to comment about Madeleine McCan's case, introducing him only as a "child protection expert" or a "crime expert". We are waiting for Sky News answer to those questions.

Duarte Levy (Rothley) and Paulo Reis (Sevilha)