British Diplomat warned Foreign Office of concerns over McCanns

The request was partially successful.

A concerned UK taxpayer and voter

Dear Sir or Madam,

Firstly, I would like to quote part of a newspaper report in order to provide you with the source of my personal concerns about the matter I have referred to in the Summary box you provide regarding this FOI request by myself.

"The Foreign Office was alerted to fears over Gerry and Kate McCann by a British diplomat in Portugal just
days after their daughter Madeleine went missing.
The diplomat was sent to the holiday resort of Praia da Luz in the days following the four-year-old's
disappearance and soon became concerned over "inconsistencies" in the testimonies by her parents and
their friends.
After visiting the McCanns, the unnamed diplomat sent a report to the Foreign Office in London, admitting
his worries about "confused declarations" of the McCanns' movements on the night of May 3.

He also noted the couple's "lack of co-operation" with the Portuguese police.
The diplomat's concerns were made over four months before Gerry and Kate were named arguidos (suspects)
on September 7.
Contents of the letter were leaked to Belgian newspaper La Dernière Heure over the weekend.
The diplomat expressed his fears after receiving instruction from the Foreign Office to provide
"all possible assistance to the McCann couple".
The French-language paper printed excerpts of the letter, quoting the diplomat as saying:
"With the greatest respect, I would like to make you aware of the risks and implications to our relationship
with the Portuguese authorities, if you consider the possible involvement of the couple.
"Please confirm to me, in the light of these concerns, that we want to continue to be closely involved
in the case as was requested in your previous ­message."
Although the Government was quick to assist the McCanns in the days following Madeleine's disappearance,
direct contact with the couple ceased when they were named as suspects.
La Dernière Heure pointed out that a majority of the diplomats originally involved in the case have now been
taken off it.
The then-Prime Minister Tony Blair sent special envoy Sheree Dodd to act as a "media liaison officer" for
the pair soon after Madeleine vanished.
Ms Dodd has since resigned from the Foreign Office, while the British consul in the Algarve, Bill Henderson,
has retired.
John Buck, the British ambassador in Portugal, no longer works in the country."

Furthermore :
BRITISH CONSUL Celia Edwards, who replaced Bill Henderson upon his retirement, resigned from her post on July
1st 2008, after one year's tenure.

My questions which I request an answer to via the FOI facility are :

A : Was such a report forwarded to the Foreign Office in early May 2007 ?

B : If so, who was the British Diplomat who forwarded this report ?

C : What was the reply/response from the Foreign Office to this British Diplomat's report about such concerns ?

D : Why did the Foreign Office provide such an unusual amount of Diplomatic and Government assistance to the McCann's ?

E : Who was the person, or person's, within the Foreign Office who seemingly overruled the British Diplomat's concerns ?

I hope that clear and unequivocal answers to my questions about these matters can be provided via your FOI facility.

Yours faithfully,

A concerned UK taxpayer and voter.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Dear Sir/Madam

Thank you for your request, which we received on the 3rd October 2008.

Section 8(1) of the Freedom of Information Act reads:

In the Act any reference to a "request for information" is a reference to
such a request which

(a) is in writing,
(b) states the name of the applicant and an address for correspondance,
(c) describes the information requested

Therefore, we will be unable to process your request until we receive your
contact details.

We can use this e-mail address for further correspondance. However, I
would be grateful if you can confirm your name.

Many Thanks

Henry Leitch

Information Rights Group
Information Management Group

show quoted sections

Alex Skene left an annotation ()

Information about pseudonyms/anonymous FOI requests here: (Paragraph #9)

A concerned UK taxpayer and voter

Dear Leitch,

With reference to your query regarding my FOI request to the Foreign Office of 3rd Oct 2008, I am forwarding
my e-mail and name to you as you request.

Yours sincerely,

Mr M A Dillon.
[email address]
A concerned UK taxpayer and voter

A concerned UK taxpayer and voter

Dear Mr Leitch,

Please forgive my previous response to your query.

I inadvertently omitted the "Mr" in my response letter.

Yours sincerely,

Mr M A Dillon.
A concerned UK taxpayer and voter

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

1 Attachment

Information Handling Manager
Strategy, Communications & Training Group
Consular Directorate
Old Admiralty Building
Tel: +44 (0)20 7008 0123
E-mail: [FCO request email]

<<UBS Letter to Mr Dillon.pdf>>

Visit [1] for British foreign policy news and travel
advice and [2] to read our blogs.

Please note that all messages sent and received by members of the Foreign
& Commonwealth Office and its missions overseas may be automatically
logged, monitored and/or recorded in accordance with the
Telecommunications (Lawful Business Practice) (Interception of
Communications) Regulations 2000. We keep and use information in line with
the Data Protection Act 1998. We may release this personal information to
other UK government departments and public authorities.



Visible links