As you peer into the murky water of the Madeleine McCann dissenters there are few prolific self appointed pundits that can match Antony Sharples and the Blacksmiths who have cornered the market in hysterical knee jerk sound bites and catastrophically wrong and misleading written comment.
Sharples is the sort of person that takes great pleasure suffocating someone with his own increasingly capacious obsession of self importance. Once writing in an email to a Fleet Street editor(s) among many other professional slurs he threw in the absurd line “I have the same lawyer as Robert Murat” and went on to confess that he is “…the only one trusted enough by sources inside the Madeleine McCann investigation to publish exclusives”.
In the intervening years Sharples has built up an impressive portfolio of embarrassing predictions gone badly wrong and the website that he and the Blacksmiths run has become synonymous with changing quotes, facts and translations to fit their lethal agenda of disinformation and salacious rumor. Neatly tacked onto this failed journalistic legacy, Sharples ensures that everyone knows that he has contacts in the UK media that feed him information pertaining to the Madeleine investigation.
As ridiculous as this sounds it is true. Sharples has contacted at least one editor that I know of in the UK and it is very likely that he has contacted most of the embedded editors in Wapping. No doubt trying to charm each one the same way by listing why everyone should pay him attention and bowing to his supreme journalistic intellect and investigative nose.
These days I see Blacksmith has been reduced to using his blog to reply to comments made on twitter. The high and mighty deluded have fallen. Tired out no doubt from anonymously moonlighting on the tragic Madeleine McCann forum run by ‘ Madeleine Foundation’ Commander Tony Bennett. Or his occasional conspiracy twitter account where he professes to be a former employee of GCHQ, the government communication monitoring establishment. All of which sounds mightily impressive if it were true.
The actuality is that Sharples is only an articulate, seasoned journalist in his own mind. The withering reality is someone who creates myths and deceit with the elegance and subtlety of a rail hammer splitting wood. This is not to say Sharples doesn’t have his own self assured fan base. He does albeit a dwindling one following what in journalistic terms was a spectacular and very public ‘seppuku’.
A seasoned and meticulous researcher will always second or probably third check a story from different sources however Sharples doesn’t have that ability or access to sources despite him saying he does. Anyone who did have these contacts, whether they be in Portugal or the Uk would be easily able to establish that for very pressing and professional reasons, neither Kate nor Gerry McCann would be attending the first day of Snr Gonçalo Amaral’s libel hearing.
Sharples so eager to believe anything and willing to appear to his readers to be at the very center of the Madeleine investigation he reached out to his sources. As a result a journalist did tip him off among other little false hoods. Lapping it up and sharpening his journalistic instinct for an ‘exclusive’, Sharples pounded out an entire update that was utterly and totally wrong. Not just wrong but an entire contradiction that was as stark as black and white.
Never realizing that he had just been made a fool of, he desperately tried to recover some journalistic reputation before finally realizing he had lost every last shred of respect and reputation and he deleted the piece.
In concluding it is clear that most of the Blacksmith Bureau’s research comes from opinions on Facebook; opinions that largely come from the elderly readership that his website attracts. What doesn’t originate from Facebook is just a figment of a mind that wishes he was so much more in the life yet sadly failed to achieve any notoriety other than sharing the same solicitor of a person who once lived in Portugal. Assuming that’s true.
My advice for Mr Sharples would be this; check the details, confirm the story from at least two other sources and lastly, don’t insult newspaper editors or you may find yourself the subject of another public humiliation.