Blameless Brenda?

As the inquest into the death of Brenda Leyland opens and is adjourned, Matthew Steeples suggests that those who vilified her have as many questions to answer as they themselves asked


On Wednesday, a coroner opened and adjourned the inquest into the death of Brenda Leyland until 18th December due to her “cause of death still not [being] known”.


Brenda Leyland

Whilst this news has naturally encouraged those who allege “foul play”, there is little doubt that there will be anything other than a suicide verdict in due course. A Facebook group named ‘Sack Martin Brunt’, however, now has over 2,100 members and a petition demanding justice for this 63-year old has attracted over 1,000 signatures. These people are right: Mrs Leyland’s treatment by Sky News’ Martin Brunt and The Mirror’s Carole Malone does in fact deserve investigation at the very least.


Mrs Leyland, contrary to what was unjustly reported by the media prior to and after her death, did not directly “troll” Gerry and Kate McCann and she did not threaten to kill or harm them. Though she wrote 4,220 tweets making reference to the couple and their missing daughter, one pro-McCann supporter easily beat her with over 40,000 tweets attacking those who dare to question the events surrounding Madeleine McCann’s disappearance. Leyland was by far the tip of the iceberg in terms of her social media activities and that her remarks were innocuous is evidence enough that Sky reporter Martin Brunt’s actions in the way he targeted her were not in the public interest.


Though it cannot be denied that Brenda Leyland was plainly obsessed with the McCann case, Martin Brunt had no right to confront her in the way he did. Mrs Leyland, at the point she was filmed in the street outside her home had neither been contacted, interviewed, arrested or charged with any offence and on that basis Brunt’s declaration that “Scotland Yard were considering a file” against her was premature. He, as a journalist with a long career behind him, ought to have realised that instead of being a “self-appointed Internet policeman” and creating news, he should have waited to report on it.


Martin Brunt

Meanwhile, Dr Claire Hardaker, a lecturer at Lancaster University and a specialist in Internet abuse, made a series of valid points in stating:


“I don’t think [Leyland] was a troll, she had very unpopular opinions, she was convinced that there had been a cover-up and that the British press and police were complicit. She called the McCann’s fools, she called someone that she didn’t agree with a ‘f**ktard’, but that’s about as bad as it got”.


“[Leyland] had entirely bought into the conspiracy theory, and she was a campaigner. She was tweeting the Daily Mail, Sky News, the Met Police, everyone to try to get them to investigate. She might have been misguided, but her intentions were to act in the little girl’s best interests, and she was obsessive”.


“[Leyland] describes [the McCanns] as neglectful parents, objects to their ongoing media appearances, and complains that they are profiting from their daughter’s disappearance… And when people challenge her, she calls them unpleasant names, disputes their evidence, and blocks them”.


“In short, her conduct would aggravate some, and deeply offend others, but much the same could be said of select comedians, journalists and celebrities, who can reach millions. Brenda Leyland’s account had a mere 182 followers by the time it suddenly vanished. The crucial question, however, is: did she incite others to harm the McCanns? Or threaten to abduct the McCanns’ other children? Or pose any kind of clear menace? On Twitter at least it doesn’t seem so”.


Martin Brunt, himself, also engaged with Leyland on the social media network by following her and she is said to have “tweeted him asking him to investigate the theories she was passionate about” according to Dr Hardaker.


An Ofcom investigation into why Sky chose to report this story in the way it did is very much needed and just as Gerry McCann has demanded trolls be “made an example of”, so too must the journalistic conduct that undoubtedly contributed to the untimely death of Brenda Leyland.



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      • I would be interested to know her history. Who exactly was she? Obviously a bit of an obsessive.

        The McCanns have been through hell and didn’t need further aggravation or involvement of people like Ms Leyland who felt themselves in a position to pass judgement. I would be very angry if I had lost a child and then had a gang of strangers involving themselves in my family’s affairs.

        • If the McCanns had paid for child care in the evenings they wouldn’t be in this fine mess would they? Why don’t they cooperate with the police instead of linking up with dodgy private detectives, etc. Their links to Lady Meyer and that PACT charity tell me all I need to know. Gerry and Kate McCann do not deserve our sympathy, their poor (probably dead) daughter does.

    1. Thank you for writing this article. I don’t think you are an ignoramus nor should feel shamed you make some great points. People do love trying to shut down discussion around the McCanns but questions must be asked.

      Claire Hardaker made some valid points, but you really didn’t need an internet abuse specialist to recognize that Brenda Leyland was not a troll and was doing nothing more than trying to right a perceived miscarriage of justice. Brunt and Malone created hate out of lies and most definitely have blood on their hands, IN MY OPINION

      There is clearly more to the story. IN MY OPINION – Gerry McCann’s ‘make an example’ comment suggest he is involved, but MSM continued assault on Brenda Leyland and pushing of the ‘internet trolls’/internet privacy debate makes me think McCann, Brunt and Malone are just players in a bigger more hidden game.

    2. “Blameless Brenda”………??? Ha!…….. Unfortunately, the term “Good Riddance” seems more appropriate in this tawdry case………

    3. If you put yourself and story out in the “public Eye” then people have a right to ask questions , especially when you keep telling different versions of events and your story gets re-invented to match evidence . For example – The Broken Jemmied Shutters – Using a key in the front door to check on children – Checking on the children every 15 mins – then every half an hour and in one statement it was even hourly and these were only at the start of the story. People do not have to blindly believe the Mc Canns , there is a mountain of evidence and statements out there to see the lies and changes in stories. You may say there is no proof beyond a doubt that the parents were involved and you are right , but there is also no proof of an Abduction .

    4. Brenda Leyland asked the Met police & Mr Brunt to investigate her theories about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. It Sound’s to me like one of Brenda Leyland’s theories … might have hit the bullseye ?! If i can remember rightly one of Brenda Leyland’s theories was The McCanns had a visit from a very important person the night of Madeleine’s …, And this visitor was a “son” of a very powerful and important Aristocratic family! Even the member of European Royal family.


    5. Brenda was never a troll,those that chose to hound her are the trolls,in my opinion its the mccanns whom appear to be running this country at this present time… it was their followers who posted some of the most obscene material i have ever come across… my opinion once more let he who throws the first stone be without guilt.


    6. Paul – and anyone else who think Brenda was actually the troll in this case, I challenge you to check out the Mccann supporters (including a self confessed relative and a witness – so I have read) sick websites as well as on twitter. How come none of the trolls the supporters have put through hell in the media have actually been prosecuted? None. Because they’re not the trolls. Strangely, some people seem to want to believe everything they see in the media. These people rely on the gullibility of those who are always hoping for someone to rip to shreds to make themselves feel superior and righteous.

      Here’s Brenda’s tweets for 29th September. One that makes me shudder in particular is numbered 21:
      #mccann ” Men in suits want me to stop ” but not until I have told every body about their presence ‐Mon Sep 29 19:00:07 +0000 2014

      Here’s the link, just in case you think I’m a troll!

    7. I personally want to know what £10 million of UK taxpayers’ money has been spent on in this case and more importantly why this child is so much more important than any other missing child. There are huge discrepancies in the statements on the McCann case that are now freely available to view on the net… Brenda Leyland did what thousands of others continue to do which is try to find out exactly what happened to that little girl. In 7 years the police have not achieved it and considering Kate McCann refused to answer 48 questions put to her she clearly did not help the police investigation. If the government wants to keep us in the dark as to what motivation they have to spend millions of pounds of our money it is up to us to uncover the reason. I started a poll 11 days ago asking the question: “Do you believe that Madeleine McCann was abducted?” It now has 3,218 votes and only 6% of those voters believe she was. Does that make them trolls too. To question something that has been difficult to believe from day one does not make people trolls. It makes them annoyed that their intelligence is being insulted constantly by the Government, the Met, the Leicester Police, the media and the McCanns. And when it is our money being spent on it, we have a right to know the full facts. Hopefully the new prosecutor assigned to this case will solve it as she has promised and she is nobody’s fool. People may perhaps have noticed that the McCanns are strangely silent about this new appointment considering they should be jumping for joy that someone is committed to putting this case to bed. People interested in voting please click the following link:


    8. All you people,who obviously have never looked at the evidence that connects the parents to Maddies dissapearence,should be ashamed of yourselves for commenting about a scandal that you know sod all about.


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