Phil Hall is one of the people featured in a new documentary series about the disappearance of British child Madeleine Beth McCann, who was just shy of her 4th birthday when she vanished during a family vacation to Portugal on May 3, 2007.
Hall served as a public relations consultant for the McCann family, as Madeleine’s parents were investigated as potential suspects in their daughter’s disappearance.
The eight-part series about the case debuted on Netflix on March 15, 2019. Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, were not involved with the project and have spoken out against it. They’ve said they are concerned the documentary could negatively impact the ongoing investigation. The McCann family has always maintained hope that Madeleine, who would now be 16 years old, is still alive.
Here’s what you need to know about Phil Hall.
1. The McCann Family Sought Help From Phil Hall as They Faced Public Pressure in the Months Following Their Daughter’s Disappearance
Kate and Gerry McCann were viewed as suspects early on in the investigation. The family, from central England, was on vacation in Portugal and were staying at a resort called Praia da Luz. They left Madeleine and their twins, Sean and Amelia, asleep in the hotel while they ate dinner at a restaurant around the corner on May 3, 2007.
Gerry McCann said he checked on the children around 9 p.m. and said all three were sleeping soundly. But an hour later, Kate McCann goes to check and realizes Madeleine is gone.
Gerry and Kate McCann initially had help from the British government. During the summer of 2007, their public relations advocate was Justine McGuinness, who was known for having previously run for Parliament. But in September of 2007, police announced that they were investigating Madeleine’s parents as suspects. The family decided to switch their representation in order to better handle the increased public scrutiny.
Hall told the Guardian in September of 2007 that he had been speaking with the McCann family since Madeleine disappeared. He added that he was not accepting payment for his advice.
Police announced in July of 2008 that Kate and Gerry McCann were no longer being investigated as suspects. According to CNN, they also won accepted more than $1 million in damages from two UK newspapers for libel.
2. Phil Hall Moved Into Public Relations in 2005 & is the Chairman of His Own Agency in London
Phil Hall has been a public relations professional since 2005. He founded his own company called “Phil Hall Associates” or PHA Group. He remains the active Chairman and the firm is based in London.
Hall explained his mission for the company on the website: “I wanted to work with passionate people, I wanted to be known for delivering a strategy, not just talking a good game and I wanted the industry to talk about us. I am proud to say our team has achieved all the above and more. They are an award-winning …read more