Madeleine McCann A Global Obsession: Madeleine campaign gets 'favouritism' claims father of missing Norfolk boy

The case of Daniel Entwistle faded from headlines after he disappeared in 2003

Adam Sherwin
Tuesday 18 November 2014 16:29 GMT
British girl Madeleine McCann was allegedy abducted in 2007 from an Algarve resort apartment
British girl Madeleine McCann was allegedy abducted in 2007 from an Algarve resort apartment (Getty Images)

The father of a seven year-old boy who has been missing for 11 years has claimed that the parents of Madeleine McCann have received “favouritism” over the campaign to find their daughter.

Norfolk Police launched an extensive hunt for Daniel Entwistle, of Great Yarmouth, who failed to return to his home on May 4 2003, four years to the day before the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in Portugal.

Daniel was captured on a local shop’s CCTV and his bike was found near a local quay, leading to a river bed search. But he remains missing 11 years on and the case faded from the headlines.

David Entwistle, Daniel’s father, questioned the resources and media attention which the McCann case still receives, seven years after her unresolved disappearance.

“I’ve got 110% respect for Madeleine. I hope she does get found but I can’t understand why they’re in the paper every couple of days,” Mr Entwistle told Channel 5 documentary, Madeleine McCann: A Global Obsession, which airs Tuesday night.

He added: “Feels like to me it’s favouritism because they’re up there and they’re always…they’re campaigning, they’re getting money here, there and left right and centre.”

Contributors to the programme claimed that the disparity was because the McCanns were a “middle-class family” who were able to successfully “market” their family tragedy.

Judy Bachrach, Contributing Editor at Vanity Fair who covered the case and interviewed the McCanns, said: “Gerry McCann (father) made it his business to, as he put it me in an interview with me, ‘Market his child.’ He called it the ‘Marketing of Madeleine McCann’ and this, of course, was the act of a very desperate father. I cannot tell you that it worked perfectly, it worked very imperfectly but it worked.”

Ms Bachrach added: “They were told by child abduction experts ‘If you cry on television…the kidnapper might get off on that.’ Horrible though that sounds, so she (Kate, mother) had to keep a stoic face on television. She couldn’t weep, she couldn’t look distraught and so she looked kind of like a robot.”

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Matthew Parris, the Times columnist, told the programme: “Middle class people are better at arousing interest and at keeping attention focused. Sometimes they have the levers at their disposal that working class people don’t.”

Journalist Martin Bright said: “If you’re a missing person, you shouldn’t be a boy, black or working class. I find it very worrying that journalists and editors go down the route of being particularly selective about the missing children that they focus on.”

Kate and Gerry McCann speak about their missing daughter Madeleine (AP)

Martin Frizell, GMTV editor at the time of the Entwistle and McCann cases, who narrated the documentary, admitted: “ The police investigation continued (into Daniel Entwistle) but after a few days and with no donations and no PR campaign, there was nothing new to report so we, and the rest of the media, quietly stopped covering it. It’s the nature of news that other stories were developing at the time. Eleven years on, Daniel’s still missing.”

Michael Cole, PR advisor to Mohamed Al Fayed, said of the negative media coverage that McCanns subsequently received: “The monstering of the McCanns by the British media is one of the most shameful episodes of the British free press. It should not have happened. Perhaps it was the heat of the Algarve sun or the fact that they were a long way from Fleet Street, though a collective madness seemed to afflict the whole of the British Press corp.”

In 2008, the McCanns accepted £550,000 libel damages and front-page apologies from Express Newspapers over false allegations that they were responsible for Madeleine’s death.

Madeleine McCann: A Global Obsession airs tonight at 7pm on Channel 5

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