I remember this crime being the first real one that registered as a child. I was 9, a similar age to the accused, and I distinctly remember the hysterical reaction that greeted it from the media every time I woke up to watch TVam every morning. I was at that age of curiosity, I was starting to be allowed to go to play football after school with my pals but what I remember was that I just couldn't fathom the crime - it was too removed from my life to be real, the actual actions of the accused just didn't compute.
So many years on and here we are again. The same old grainy footage is wheeled out by the media to try and shock a new generation of people into understanding something before their time. But it isn't shocking anymore. The McCann disappearance is now the pedastal for 'evil' child crime in this generation and the media carnival shat on it from such a great height it dissolved the shock, made it unreal and made the victim a caricature, a distant character in some awful film where there is no ending.
These media storms, especially ones involving child crime, are blown so powerfully into hysterical whirlwinds that they seem politically motivated; throwing accusations that devalue the crime and trying to outsell eachothers newspapers by making the parents of the murdered seem repetitive and uneducated as they harangue them for throwback comments to stick on the frontpage.
Sometimes it makes you glad print media is going out of business.
Anyway, here's a really good article about it.