December 20, 2007
By Martin Brunt, Sky News Crime Correspondent
I've tried so hard to avoid it, but I think I'm getting drawn into the McCann conspiracy theories industry.
Weeks ago I asked their man Clarence Mitchell why the apartment from where Madeleine disappeared was registered to an owner called McCann.
I had to pester him for an answer, which only added to my suspicion that it was Gerry and Kate's second home and for some reason they had pretended it was a holiday rental.
We finally nailed it. The place belongs to a Ruth McCann, a teacher in Liverpool (where Kate is from), who inherited it from her late husband.
She told us she was no relation to Madeleine's family and hoped she wouldn't be pestered after my inquiry.
In fact, she was more interested in learning whether she was likely to get compensation from the police who have, at last, kept the apartment as a locked crime scene.
I say all this, in a half-hour programme that's running at Christmas, as an illustration of this strange story in which it's not difficult to get sucked into looking for suspicion where none may exist.
The chance of the McCanns renting a holiday home from someone of the same name is 7,500-to-one.
That also means that there were probably three people called McCann at the Bruce Springsteen concert at the 23,000-seat O2 arena in Greenwich last night.
Now, earlier this year Springsteen contributed to an album raising funds for the homeless. So, too, did Madeleine Peyroux.
And Springsteen once played Lisbon. Aha! Suspicious or what?
You can see where I'm going with this? I'm surprised no-one else has made the connection.
Anyway, I didn't pursue this unbelievable coincidence. I'll leave that to the real conspiracy theorists.
I was too busy trying to work out why the crowd was booing Springsteen after every song, until my son pointed out they were actually shouting "Bruuuuuuuce" in adoration.