by Dilip Kuner
THE Olive Press has won a victory against ‘evil’ online trolls who have attacked the family of missing Madeleine McCann for the last 14 years.
Their aggressive campaign to destroy a new book on the mysterious abduction and its links to prime suspect Christian Brueckner has taken a hit.
Their so-called ‘trolling’ aimed to influence buyers of the book by Olive Press editor Jon Clarke, by giving it dozens of one-star reviews on Amazon.
Partly spearheaded out of Spain by a retired British detective, the group have long claimed that Kate and Gerry McCann were to blame for the death of their three-year-old daughter, in Praia da Luz, in Portugal, in 2007.
In the alarming attack, the group even set up a specific Facebook page to target the author and his book My Search for Madeleine, released last month.
Describing Clarke as a ‘liar’ and ‘disgraced’, they have claimed that he has been in the payroll of the McCanns and could even have worked with MI5 and the British secret services.
It came despite celebrated investigators and crime journalists, including Sky’s Martin Brunt, ITV’s Donal MacIntyre and American author Robbyn Swan praising the book.
Swan, whose research formed the basis of a big Netflix documentary into the case, described it as a ‘Herculean effort’, while Brunt insisted it was ‘tirelessly researched’ and told him ‘a lot’ of new things about the case.
Yet, this didn’t stop an alarming 27% of all reviews giving it just one star, many by ‘reviewers’ who had not even purchased the book.
Each bogus review was dubbed ‘helpful’ by the legion of trolls, further aggravating the situation.
But this week Amazon finally stepped in to tackle the issue.
After removing nearly 20 reviews, a spokesman told the Olive Press the company will now be considering ‘legal action’ against those that violate Amazon’s policies.
“Thanks again for getting in touch and flagging this to us,” said Dagmar Wickham. “We’ve looked into this case and removed the abusive reviews.”
She added: “We have clear policies that prohibit abuse of our community features, and we suspend, ban, and take legal action against those who violate these policies.”
Trolls have continually attacked the McCann family since the three-year-old disappeared, on May 3, 2007, while on a family holiday.
One of the McCann attackers, former lawyer Tony Bennett was convicted of his involvement in a series of pamphlets distributed around their home town of Rothley, in Leicestershire.
Meanwhile an online forum set up by a driving instructor and former military policeman, has dedicated tens of thousands of words to why the McCanns were to blame.
More alarming, is the involvement of a former Deputy superintendent of Nottinghamshire Police, Peter MacLeod, who is still peddling a ‘free e-book’ on why the family are involved from his home in Spain.
The former Ronda hotelier, now retired to the Costa del Sol, has claimed in a podcast that Madeleine and her siblings were probably sedated.
He also claims it was ‘not possible’ for an abductor, such as Christian Brueckner, to have snatched Madeleine that night.
A former spokesman of the McCanns Clarence Mitchell said last year that trolls will have to strongly reconsider their position if the new German suspect Bruekcner is found guilty.
“Anybody who believes that Kate and Gerry were involved are categorically wrong,” he insisted.
“And sadly if this proves to be the man responsible, then a lot of people on social media will have to take a long hard look at themselves and what they’ve said over the years.”
The book My Search for Madeleine is available on Amazon.