I missed Iain Dale's comments yesterday about the way Robert Murat has been labelled and convicted by the press of the abduction of Madeleine McCann on the evidence of the fact that the Portuguese police have "named" him as a suspect. but I agree with much of what Iain said.
To my mind, the Portuguese police have shown an enormous amount of incompetence throughout this whole investigation and before Mr Murat was questioned, indeed just hours before, the police admitted that they had "no leads at all".
No doubt with this shocking revelation of incompetence from the authorities and police in Portugal being reported worldwide, the police there needed a story in order to divert the press'' attention away from their own incompetence, and so it appears Mr Murat has become the sacrificial lamb.
Sadly, the British press have been culpable in this. With a need for the reporters to justify their stay in Portugal, they have to produce headlines, and implying that Mr Murat is guilty on the basis of the comments from a third rate police force does not seem to be proper justification in my view.
What is worse is that his family in Norfolk have been suffering and go in to hiding. The press have helped to wreck their lives and not given it a second thought. My wife drove through Hockering in Norfolk where his family live yesterday on her way back from work and she was shocked at the number of TV camera crews there, Sky news, BBC, ITN and international TV stations all broadcasting from outside his ex-wife's house, all reporting half truth and rumour.
Of course, we all want to see Madeleine safe and well (and I would urge people to add the banner at the bottom of this page to your blog if you have space), and if anyone is guilty of a crime, we would all want to see them convicted.
I don't know if Mr Murat is guilty of anything or not, but then again, neither do the press. If anyone is to be prosecuted then let it be on the basis of sound evidence, a proper police investigation and a trial by jury and not on the back of tabloid style trial by media and poor reporting letting the Portuguese police off the hook.