Britain's diplomats 'were told not to support Murat'

13 December 2007
The Daily Express

"...BRITISH diplomats had been ordered to "avoid offering support" to suspect Robert Murat, it was reported yesterday. It was claimed that a Foreign Office memo sent the instruction to staff three days after Murat was named a formal "arguido".

His mother Mrs Jenny Murat is also reported to have complained to diplomats that he was not given the same support offered to the McCanns. While they had the backing of Government ministers, all Murat was offered was "a kit with a toothbrush and a towel, and a list of lawyers who gave special prices".

Last night his lawyer Francisco Pagarete said: "He feels he has been abandoned by his own government. This extremely serious order confirms the lack of support which the family has felt since the beginning. He does not oppose in any way the support which has been given to the McCanns."

...Yesterday Spain's El Mundo newspaper reported that the Foreign Office document, dated May 17, justified the order because of "the specific nature of the case".

It said British diplomats "were already helping Madeleine's parents".

The newspaper reported: "An internal document sent by the Foreign Office orders British diplomats 'to avoid offering support' to Murat unless charges are presented against him."

John Buck, British Ambassador to Portugal when Madeleine vanished, joined the McCanns in the Algarve days later. Three family liaison officers from Leicestershire Police flew in to assist the couple.

The Foreign Office sent press officers Sheree Dodd and Clarence Mitchell to Praia da Luz to help with the media. El Mundo claims Murat's only support was a meeting with two low-ranking diplomats weeks after being named a suspect.

Mrs Murat went to the UK to complain to her MP. The politician contacted the Foreign Office and met two diplomatic staff from the Algarve. They were assured Murat would get the same support as the McCanns – but only if he was charged."

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