Sunday 22 April 2018

Guilt trap: Why the McCanns remind us of ourselves

Even if we believe the McCanns did nothing wrong, 10 years on, their guilt feels real to us all
Gerry and Kate McCann. The 10th anniversary of their little girl's disappearance is approaching Photo: Alban Donohoe/Sunday Mirror/PA Wire
Gerry and Kate McCann. The 10th anniversary of their little girl's disappearance is approaching Photo: Alban Donohoe/Sunday Mirror/PA Wire

Sarah Caden

'Don't get me on to the McCanns, we've all got something to say about them." According to the friend who visited her in prison and kept diaries of their conversations, these are the words of Karen Matthews, who in 2008 faked the kidnap of her nine-year-old daughter, Shannon. The child was found more than a fortnight later, alive, but tied up and drugged, hidden in a bed base, at Karen's boyfriend's uncle's home.

"I've been judged and I'm paying for it," Matthews is reported to have said, "but Maddie's mother was bad too. At least my daughter was never left alone!"

The basic point being made by Matthews in this and other bits of her rant against the McCanns - and Kate McCann in particular - is that because they were middle class and educated and even good-looking, they got an easier ride than she.

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