Madeleine finder’s sudden death and cremation in Skipton

Colin Sahlke in Praia da Luz

Colin Sahlke in Praia da Luz, May 2007.

According to the British press in May 2007, a former British paratrooper, Colin Sahlke, went to Praia da Luz to search for Madeleine McCann. He sold his possessions and gave up his job and his rented home to finance the search.

Under strange circumstances almost 3 years later, Sahlke suddenly died in bed on April 19, 2010. His death is a mystery and the traces of what caused his death are gone forever—Sahlke was cremated in Skipton on April 29, 2010. At the time of writing in early June 2010, the family still do not know the cause of death.


Days before Faked Abduction was printed, 3 chapters were removed. One of them “The Trojan Horse” was a controversial chapter detailing the operation of the inflatable billboard sent to Praia da Luz.

According to Gavin Hollywood, the managing director of Posterplus Media—the company who sent the billboard—the entire operation took 13 days in May 2007. From press stories released on Monday May 28, 2007, there is a consistent claim that the two drivers left Scotland on Friday, May 25, 2007. This also tallies with Gavin Hollywood’s communication to the author that the journey from Scotland to Portugal took 3 days.

The two van drivers were lauded by the press as a couple of ordinary guys who had been moved to pay for the venture out of a genuine, heartfelt concern for the plight of Madeleine. Nothing was further from the truth. The entire venture was set up after John McCann—Madeleine’s uncle—had approached Posterplus Media. The two men were employees of Posterplus Media and were just doing their job.

When we peel back the layers, we find that one of the drivers—Les Harley—lives very close to John McCann in the Temple/Partick area of Glasgow. Posterplus Media is located in Kilmaurs and is a good 25 miles away from where Harley & McCann live. It is a fair bet that John McCann knew Les Harley as a fellow brethren in one of the local lodges in that district—perhaps in the Galen Lodge located at the torched Ardery Street Freemason Hall that was burned to the ground in an arson attack in January 2008. No doubt the membership records of the various lodges using the Ardery Street hall disappeared into smoke along with many other interesting historical records.

Kate and Gerry McCann looking at the inflatable billboard that was driven to Praia da Luz for a couple of days at a cost of over £20,000.

The 2000+ mile trip to Portugal with an 800 sq.ft. inflatable “bouncy castle” with a poster stuck on the side made no sense at all. Gavin Hollywood’s estimated cost of £20,000 ($30,000) could have been done for thousands less by flying the two men to Portugal and sending the inflatable as air freight. A glance at the accounts and financial status of Posterplus Media makes the story even more fantastic. Deeply in debt for several years and with at least one county court judgment recorded against them, what on earth was the company doing by spending such a vast sum of money for very little—if any—reward? The newspaper articles touted the drivers, Chris Lennox and Les Harley as the brains behind the venture and at no time was the name Posterplus Media mentioned in those articles. It wasn’t as if the company gained by some press exposure and if anything, the company remained completely anonymous. When you are so deep in the red, it isn’t as though those expenses can be used as a tax right-off. If you’re not making money then you won’t be paying tax anyway.

Now switch our attention to a story that came out a day or two before the “bouncy castle” story.

The balance sheet for Posterplus Media shows significant losses.

Posterplus Media balance sheet. Click the image to view it larger.

Steve Taylor and Colin Sahlke were two former British Army soldiers who are reported to have met while working in a shower company in Nelson, Lancashire. The fantastic stories about Taylor and Sahlke have a vibe that is incredibly similar to the story of Harley and Lennox. Taylor and Sahlke didn’t take any fancy equipment to Portugal but if we are to believe the news reports of the time, we are told that they both gave up their jobs and at least one of them gave up his rented home and possessions to raise £5,000 ($7,500) to go and find Madeleine.

John McCann, the Madeleine Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned Limited Chairman, is said to have given up his job with AstraZeneca so he could concentrate full time on the search for his niece. It is staggering to think how four people gave up their careers to focus on the search for Madeleine: Kate Healy, John McCann and two former soldiers in Lancashire.

The dates and times that Taylor and Sahlke were in Praia da Luz are pretty much the same as Lennox and Harley’s. All four men left the UK on Friday, May 25, 2007. Apart from a few staged photographs of Taylor and Sahlke decked out in clothing more suitable for Operation Desert Storm, we saw nothing more of the two former soldiers. We saw nothing more of the inflatable sign either. After a photo session on the beach in Praia da Luz, the sign was not seen again despite Gavin Hollywood’s claim that the sign was to be set up at sites around the Algarve.

And what incidentally was it that cost Taylor and Sahlke £5,000? Two return low-cost airline tickets to Faro, Portugal, from Leeds/Bradford or Manchester Airports would typically cost about £150 or less. Accommodation for a week or even a cheap package holiday including flights would have cost the two men no more than £500 each. May is not high season in the European package holiday trade.

The two stories of Taylor/Sahlke and Lennox/Harley really make no sense whatsoever. Keep in mind that these men came onto the scene 3 days after Clarence Mitchell’s public arrival on the Madeleine McCann disappearance.

North East Lancashire/West Yorkshire

For those not familiar with this part of England and its involvement in the McCann case, it is a location that has had an ever increasing list of coincidental involvement. To date we have:

  • Ed Smethurst, a Madeleine Fund director, a lawyer and a prominent Freemason in the East Lancashire Lodge in Manchester. It appears that Smethurst has lived and worked in the Bury/Rochdale/Clitheroe area for most of his life.
  • Michael Wright, Kate Healy’s cousin’s husband. Wright was the named driver on the Renault Scenic where the cadaver dog smelt the scent of death in the trunk. Wright made numerous trips to Portugal in 2007, including one trip where he literally flew to Portugal to accompany Kate and the twins on a flight back to England the same day.
  • CCP—the Centre for Crisis Psychology—are based in Skipton. CCP were dispatched to Portugal in the middle of May 2007 to assist the McCanns with trauma counselling.
  • Colin Sahlke and Steve Taylor were work colleagues at a shower company in Nelson. Presumably this was Manhattan Showers Ltd.
  • Raymond Hewlett, the deceased former paedophile lived in Todmorden and was linked to the Madeleine case for various reasons. Suspected to have been the real killer of Leslie Molseed in 1975, Hewlett passed away in 2010 after contracting throat cancer.
  • David Payne, one of the Tapas Nine, has family in Rochdale. Payne is the doctor who was reported to Leicestershire police by Katerina and Arul Gaspar when they made statements about the behaviour of Gerry McCann and David Payne when they were all on holiday together in Majorca in 2005.

The area of north east Lancashire and west Yorkshire discussed in this section. A: Clitheroe, B: Skipton, C: Nelson, D: Keighley, E: Todmorden, F: Rochdale. To give an idea of the scale of this map, it is about 27 miles from Clitheroe to Keighley and 40 miles from Skipton to Rochdale.

A well known blogger in the Madeleine McCann case is “Blackwatch”. His blog—The Sargeant’s Inn (here)—is like a curio shop full of fascinating connections between the hundreds of characters involved in the story. Intelligently written, it is a great repository of trivia on the Madeleine story.

The detail in his blog is what makes it a compelling read but although he supplies many names and their relationships between each other, he reaches few conclusions and he actually states by way of a disclaimer:

The site offers no explanation for what might have occurred prior to the event, only for the Press, PR and lobbying activity that erupted in its wake. The intent is to dispel any notion of an elaborate conspiracy and to propose a more prosaic but no less compelling account of the Madeleine Franchise and how it came almost accidently into shape: a story of commercial and political improvisation.

Blackwatch also goes on to state:

Here are a few things we won’t tolerate:

  • Any crazy stuff about Roslyn, Roswell, Freemasons, the Bilderberg Group, Crop Circles, the Illuminati, Opus Dei, New World Order and fat bald blokes

Phil Johnson, the owner of JJ Associates International based in Keighley, West Yorkshire.

While the Madeleine case may not involve crop circles, the Bilderberg Group, Roslyn Chapel, the Illuminati, Opus Dei and a New World Order, it certainly does involve Freemasons. As Faked Abduction clearly demonstrates, there is a large network of Freemasons involved in the founding of the official fund. Madeleine’s Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned Limited has their registered office at one of Britain’s largest law firms to represent Freemasons and Freemasonic charities. Ed Smethurst is one of the directors of the Madeleine Fund and is a long time Freemason.

Blackwatch recently wrote an article about JJ Associates International (here). This private firm of investigators are also located in the East Lancs/West Yorks area and their mailing address is in Keighley (D on the map above). In typical “Blackwatch” style, he connects the players and in the context of this article he refers to Colin Sahlke:

Readers might recall that Colin Sahlke a former Keighley paratrooper and his friend flew to Praia da Luz in the first weeks of her disappearance. I am assuming he may have been a member of JJ Associates or at least someone on their books.

The owner of JJ Associates International is Phil Johnson. Phil has a long and detailed entry on the business networking site “Linkedin” (here).

Freemason involvement

Ed Smethurst has made no secret of his affiliation with Freemasons. For most of his life he has been involved with the craft in the Manchester area.

Phil Johnson lists 'The Virtual Lodge' in his group affiliations on his Linkedin page.

For all Blackwatch’s denial of Freemason involvement in the Madeleine disappearance, when we look at Phil Johnson’s Linkedin entry, we see that he belongs to a group called The Virtual Lodge. As Blackwatch surmises, perhaps Sahlke was on the books of JJ Associates International. Who knows?

According to Colin Sahlke’s sister, she is of the opinion that if Colin was a Freemason then that was “in his dreams” because her brother liked to exaggerate his achievements. In point of fact, when the British press reported that Colin was a former paratrooper, his sister said “…that was the first we knew of him being a former paratrooper!”

But were Sahlke and Taylor Freemasons or were they chosen by Freemasons to go over to Portugal?

The Midas Award logo (left) is suspiciously Masonic in design. Compare to the compass and squares (right), the well-known symbol of Freemasonry.

Here’s a clue: Manhattan Showers in Nelson have their registered office in Glossop, Derbyshire at a firm of accountants called Crossley Lomas. Back in 2004, Crossley and Lomas won a financial services award called a Midas Award. The company behind this are located (here). Look at the Midas Award logo. Crossley Lomas are the registered office for many companies and they also advised a Manchester company called the Brownsword Group Ltd. Brownsword Group Ltd are the parent company of Mike India 5 Ltd—clearly a play on the term “MI5”.

The reader is probably bewildered now by an ever increasing list of company names and more people loosely connected by Freemasonry in the Manchester area.

Look no further. The connection comes back full circle to tie in Freemasonic Madeleine Fund helpers Brian Kennedy and Ed Smethurst.

In October 2008, it was announced that Brian Kennedy’s rugby club Sale Sharks had a new sponsor.

From (here):

Sale Sharks sign up new sponsor- 27 Oct 2008

Guinness Premiership side Sale Sharks have signed a one-year sponsorship deal with insurance specialists Mike India 5.

Prior to the deal being signed, the Cheadle Hulme based firm, specialists in investigating integrity for the insurance industry and general commerce, completed an investigation into the benefits of an association with the Guinness Premiership club.

The investigation has concluded with Mike India 5 signing a one-year deal to become official partners of Sale Sharks.

The Sharks will wear the Mike India 5 logo for all their remaining Heineken Cup matches this season.

The deal also provides Mike India 5 with perimeter signage, corporate hospitality to entertain key guests to Sharks matches and the opportunity to network with other club sponsors and partners through membership in the Sale Sharks 500 Club.

Freemason sponsors of Sale Sharks - Mike India 5 Ltd - an east Manchester based investigation and surveillance firm with links to Chartered Accountants Crossley Lomas. Click image to see larger version.


This is yet another proven Freemasonic link in the Madeleine McCann case and one that ties in the key players Brian Kennedy and Ed Smethurst to Colin Sahlke and Steve Taylor—two men sent to Portugal on May 25, 2007.

Did Sahlke and Taylor help to repatriate Madeleine?

Sahlke liked to talk too much. Was this his downfall and did it ultimately cost him his life?

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15 Comments » for Madeleine finder’s sudden death and cremation in Skipton
  1. Louise says:

    All very odd – you got me thinking.

    I used to work in an undertakers and cannot think how anyone could possibly be cremated without cause of death being established by a post mortem or inquest. How could this possibly happen?


    Free Masons have only one objective.

    It always has been and it always will be – Money.

    By their actions shall they be known.

  3. Smon says:

    The problem with this idiotic story like most conspiracy theories is that you have multiple sets of people involved, there is no way on Gods earth you can cover something this serious this up and get away with it if there are groups of people who know the truth and are involved in a conspiracy.

    No matter what happens in life whether it be something as serious as a little girl dissapearing or something totaly mondane, anybody could make underlying connections with that event. There is always the likelyhood to be a link to someone or some place in any given situation. Unless there is irrefutable evidence that will stand up in a court of law you can talk till the cows come home, doesnt mean anything other than a story someone made up.

    Reply: Using your own logic, the McCann cover story for the alleged abduction is also an idiotic story and in your own words, “…on God’s earth…”, Madeleine’s disappearance was something serious covered up.

    • Anony Mouse says:

      All I can say to people who roll out this age old response is Jimmy Savile. Loads of people knew and yet it was covered up. The true extent of estabishment paedophilia will NEVER see the light of day.

  4. What an involved business this has turned into. What is required is justice for little Maddie. In my lay and unqualified opinion Goncalo Avaral`s fact based findings surely have to be taken very seriously. He has dealt with the case professionally and in factual detail. The glossy paintwork will crack one day and I don`t think we will have to wait too long. This is just my opinion though based upon what I have read on this sad sad case. MIKE.

    • Ellie says:

      Well said Mike. Why do they not interview all the group about the anomalies in their statements. There are so many unsettling things which arouse suspicion about what was said and done by the group of holidaymakers. I cannot understand why now, 10 years on, no-one has been able to get this sorted out. i do hope the truth comes out soon.

  5. mac says:

    Hi thee, i found read a report by this is lancashire from the 7th of october and in it the coroner states he gave him an autopsy and found he had drunk the equivalent of 12 cans of beer but also had a large amount of morphine in hi system which killed him ???

  6. mac says:

    Oh and the verdict of the post mortem was open…so inconclusive

  7. Sheila Pinto says:

    Just leave it to time.

    If indeed Madeleine is alive, she will herself read all about it.

    And make contact with the concerned authorities.

    After all, she is growing up in an age of internet communication.

    I pray for her safety and reunion with her parents.

  8. anonymous says:

    Excellent article however, I want to point out that I attempted to follow your link to the Blackwatch blog (The Sargeant’s Inn) and see the connections between everyone involved but the site has gone. So, in order to still read the site I looked at Google’s historical cache of the page and this was also gone. Still determind to read the blog I went to the internet archive to access the wayback machine which archives most web content and makes it available by date – Guess what?
    The reply I got was:
    “This URL has been excluded from the Wayback Machine.”
    Yes, thats right, “This URL has been EXCLUDED from the Wayback Machine.” That means someone has taken the time to remove any traces of that blog from the internet. After seeing this I’m now starting to worry about the actual blogger himself… I wonder if anyone knows if he’s okay or has also been deleted?

    Anyway, thought I should let you know.

  9. nosam says:

    Colin did talk

  10. Anon says:

    Is it known what he said? Or was that comment to mean that someone may know the answer to my question?

  11. Daz says:

    Very very suspicious goings on involving Masons and MI5. Reminds me of the Princess Diana mysteries. There are common factors. Whatever these sickos are upto. I just hope that little girl wasn’t made to suffer.

  12. Ross Bickerdyke says:

    I am Colin Sahlkes Brother in law. Nothing mysterious about his death. He was an alcoholic who never served in the army never mind the Paras. He was one of life’s bull s_______s unhappy in his own life so invented another. So the only mystery is how he managed to live as long as he did.

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