Un ténébreux fait-divers des années 2000 à Praia da Luz et ce qui s'ensuivit. Comment la disparition singulière d'une petite fille (Our Maddie), portée par une houle médiatique déferlante, devint l'effervescent 'McCann Case', alimenté comme un grand fauve insatiable. En quoi la liberté d'expression s'y trouva en danger, ce que l'on peut en apprendre sur la nature humaine et comment rien n'est plus contraire à la sagesse qu'un excès d'habileté. Nil sapientiæ odiosius acumine nimio (Sénèque/Poe)
Grâce à la liberté dans les communications, des groupes d’hommes de même nature pourront se réunir et fonder des communautés. Les nations seront dépassées. Friedrich Nietzsche (Fragments posthumes XIII-883)
Cleanliness is next to
godliness, they say. What with a 'hands on' papal greeting and
countless other blessings along the way, Kate McCann should be about
as close to God already as any mortal might expect to get. But if the
proverb should be at all reliable, her actions in Praia da Luz, five
years ago now, ought to guarantee her a seat at High Table. The
various instances of showering and child bathing though are not
nearly so interesting as the one occasion on which she chose to wash
a pyjama top belonging to her daughter Madeleine.
The context is brief and
familiar. On 3 May, during breakfast, 'she noticed a stain,
supposedly of tea, on Madeleine's pyjama top, which she washed a
little later that same morning. She hung it out to dry on a small
stand, and it was dry by the afternoon. Madeleine sometimes drank
tea; nevertheless the stain did not appear during breakfast, maybe it
happened another day, as Madeleine did not have tea the previous
night and the stain was dry.' (KM witness statement, 6.9.07).
This little cameo,
despite not having made it to the top of the rostrum in time for the
McCanns' first statements to police on May 4, was nevertheless worthy
of mention the second time around. And the third, as it is given an
equally meritorious mention in 'Madeleine,' Kate's book of
'I didn't think of it at
the time but the day Madeleine disappeared I noticed what I thought
was a tea stain on her Disney pyjama top,' she says. 'I washed it
without thinking but looking back, the children hadn't drunk any tea
that day and I can't remember her mentioning that she'd spilt
The obvious discrepancy
in these accounts has been pointed out previously (see article:
Accounts of the Truth, McCannfiles 8 May 2011). Kate's retrospective
use of the pluperfect tense in her book places the washing at the end
of the day rather than the beginning. On the one hand therefore we
have spontaneous garment washing shortly after breakfast; on the
other, it would have occurred nearer tea-time.
The second performance
naturally leads one to re-examine the first, when Kate, after having
noticed the offensive stain, 'washed it a little later that same
morning' so that 'it was dry by the afternoon.'
The parameters bear
Breakfast 8.00 - 8.30
a.m. Pyjamas washed a little later (not somewhat, or much, later).
Pyjamas dry by the afternoon (not mid-afternoon or late afternoon).
Now watch closely as we
skip through a heavily redacted version of Kate McCann's statement of
6 September, 2007:
'On the 3rd of May ....
They washed the children and had breakfast at the apartment between
08:00 and 08:30 a.m .... During breakfast .... She noticed a stain
.... on Madeleine's pyjama top, which she washed a little later that
same morning. She hung it out to dry on a small stand .... it was dry
by the afternoon .... Madeleine did not have tea the previous night
and the stain was dry.
'After breakfast they
.... left the apartment.
'After leaving the
apartment they left the twins at the crèche .... she supposes that
Gerry took Madeleine to the crèche.
'Once the children were
delivered, they went to the tennis courts .... Kate's group lesson
was at 9:15 .... When her lesson ended at 10:15, she went to the
recreation area next to the swimming pool to talk to Russell until
Gerry's lesson was over. Afterwards .... they went back together to
the apartment until close to 12:15 when she went to Madeleine's
crèche to pick her up, together with Fiona Payne.
'... they went to the
apartment for lunch .... This would be around 12:35/12:40 .... Lunch
lasted around 20 minutes. After finishing lunch they stayed for a
while at the apartment, then they went to the recreation area ....
They remained at this area for about an hour, maybe more, then they
left the twins at the crèche next to the Tapas and both of them took
Madeleine to the other crèche.
'After leaving Madeleine
at around 2:50 p.m., they both had, once more, a tennis lesson.
'She doesn't remember if
they were already wearing appropriate clothes or if they went to the
apartment to change.
'The lesson ended an hour
later, at around 4:30 p.m. Gerry continued playing tennis .... while
she went for a jog .... for around half an hour .... She cannot
confirm whether she went to the apartment between the tennis game and
'When she finished
jogging, at around 5:20/5:30 p.m., she went to the Tapas area. Gerry
was there, as well as the twins and Madeleine .... Her parents were
required to sign the register when the meal was over, at around 5.30
p.m .... Madeleine .... asked Kate to carry her back to the
'They arrived at the
apartment at around 5:40 p.m .... At the apartment they both bathed
'After the children's
bath .... she put pyjamas and nappies on the twins, and gave them
each a glass of milk and biscuits.'
First things first. Kate
McCann was due on the tennis court at 9.15. Once breakfast was
concluded they still had to dress the children (all three of them),
before leaving the apartment ('On the 3rd of May .... They washed the
children and had breakfast') in time to take the infants to their
creche before the tennis lesson(s) began. They did not return to the
apartment until Gerry's tennis lesson had concluded (11.15) and left
it again at 12.15, giving Kate about half-an-hour in all during which
to wash Madeleine's pyjama top, three hours and more (a little
later?) after she first noticed the stain.
But now it's around noon,
by which time the pyjama top was said already to have been dry.
Perhaps Kate meant that
it was dry by mid-afternoon or later. That's as maybe. But how can
she possibly have known what time the clothing was dry since, having
remained in the apartment for a twenty minute lunch (12.40 - 13.00)
and 'a while' thereafter, she spent an hour or so at the recreation
area before proceeding to the creche(s) once more with the children,
then onto more tennis, jogging etc., with no confirmation of any
visit to the apartment in the meantime, until they all returned at
So, unless Kate exploited
her 'window of opportunity' between 11.30 and 12.00 in order to wash
Madeleine's pyjama top (which could not possibly have been 'dry by
the afternoon'), she could not have washed it until the evening
(according to her own verification of events). And whilst this
interpretation would sit more conveniently with her later description
of proceedings (in 'Madeleine') it must, at the same time, suggest
that Madeleine was put to bed in wet pyjamas! ('They arrived at the
apartment at around 5:40 p.m .... At the apartment they both bathed
the children. After the children's bath .... she put pyjamas and
nappies on the twins, and gave them each a glass of milk and
Perhaps that accounts for
Kate's earlier apparent reluctance to describe exactly how they
dressed Madeleine for bed after her bath.
A liquid post-script
'It is believed the
entire Portuguese case rests on DNA evidence from body fluids which
allegedly suggests that Madeleine's corpse was carried in the boot of
the McCanns' hired Renault Scenic. (The Daily Mirror,19.9.2007)
'But the McCanns say the
fluids probably came from Madeleine's unwashed pyjamas and sandals
which were carried in the boot when the family was moving
(These are the very
fluids Kate McCann told the Leveson Inquiry did not exist).
A Tense Situation –
Time is of the essence.
It is so important to each of us in our daily lives that, in the
course of mankind's cultural history, every effort has been made to
quantify it - pictorially, mechanically, electronically; even
What did the McCanns do
with their precious time in the immediate aftermath of Madeleine's
disappearance, first announced on Thursday night, 3 May 2007? Kate
McCann has told us (parentheses mine).
Friday 4: Virtually the
entire day was spent at PJ headquarters in Portimao. They travelled
there with police at 10.00 a.m. (p.88) returning to Praia da Luz
'some time after 8.30 p.m.' (p.92).
Saturday 5: 'Alan Pike
(trauma psychologist)... was at the door of our apartment by 6.00
a.m... we talked... for several hours... it turned out to be a
bewilderingly busy day for Gerry and me...' (p.99-101). 'Three family
liaison officers (FLOs) from Leicestershire force... came to
introduce themselves.' (p.102). 'We had so many meetings that day...'
(p.103). 'Neither Gerry nor I was functioning remotely properly... At
lunchtime, over by the Tapas area, Gerry saw a crowd of departing
guests... With a new batch of incoming holidaymakers, more of our
relatives appeared.' (p.104) 'I remember slumping on one of the
dining chairs in the apartment (4G)... I also felt a compulsion to
run up to the top of the Rocha Negra... the sun set on another day
and there was still no news.' (p.105).
Sunday 6: '...despite my
fragility I was determined to go to Mass... We all, family and
friends, went to mass at the local church.' (p.106). That first
Sunday saw two further arrivals in Luz: my childhood friends Michelle
and Nicky. Both wanted to be with me... Alan (Pike) planted in our
minds the idea of reducing the size of our support group... Listening
to Alan it all seemed so obvious... after giving the matter some
thought' (p.109)... 'we ended up getting down to the nitty-gritty...
that Sunday evening.' (p.110).
Monday 7: British
expatriates living permanently in Praia da Luz organized a search of
the area. The volunteers were joined by most of our family and
friends... while Gerry and I were tied up with Andy Bowes and Alex
Woolfall... When lunchtime came, Gerry and I were in the middle of
another meeting... we had to go to the Toddler Club ourselves... Once
we were left with our leaner support group, we allocated general
roles... It had been suggested that I should record a televised
appeal aimed at Madeleine's abductor, and this is what we had been
discussing that morning with Andy and Alex... (p.111) Andy Bowes had
proposed delivering part of my appeal in Portuguese, which I did.
Gerry sat beside me...' (p.112). 'I was hugely relieved when it was
over... Around teatime, Father Ze turned up...' (p.113). 'We were
seeing the Leicestershire FLOs every day. That Monday evening... we
lost it with the liaison officers.' (p.113-4).
Tuesday 8: '...we said an
emotional goodbye to the family and friends who were leaving us...
Later I went down to sit on the beach for a while with Fiona... We
talked and cried and held on to each other... As we were walking up
from the beach at about 5pm, I had a call from Cherie Blair...'
Well that about takes
care of the McCann itinerary during the first five days immediately
following Madeleine's reported disappearance.
I should apologize at
this point for what next may seem to some like an overly complex
version of an old trick, where, after being invited to count the
passengers boarding and leaving a bus en route, the unsuspecting
listener is suddenly invited to answer the question: 'How many
bus-stops were there?' Because now I should like to ask when, in the
course of all the activity Kate McCann has dutifully outlined for us,
did she personally find the time for sight-seeing; in particular her
visit to Lagos Marina, which she has previously described to D.C. 975
Markley of Leicestershire Constabulary? It was he who wrote, on a
spare sheet of LC paper headed 'LEICESTERSHIRE CONSTABULARY
Continuation WITNESS STATEMENT,' the following:
INFORMATION FROM THE
spoke to Kate McCann on
Tuesday 8th of May 07. She told me that a friend of her Aunt &
Uncle from Leicester had a friend that had a strong vision that
Madeleine was on a boat with a man in the Marina in Lagos.
This person arrived in
Portugal and has spoke to Kate. They have visited the Marina and
identified the boat as "SHEARWATER". They saw a man on the
boat but this was not the same man that she had in her vision.
This is very important to
Kate. I spoke to Glen Pounder if he could make some enqs with regards
to the boat.
He has done this and the
boat is registered to a Canadian National called Bruce Cook. Glen has
told me that George Reyes at the police stn is now dealing with the
matter with regards to doing PNC checks etc.
I spoke with Kate today
and she has given me photographs of the boat. She has also given me a
photograph of a man who had been on the boat. This is not the man
that the woman had in her vision.
This matter is very
important to her and she is very pleased that we are making enqs into
Once the enqs have been
completed can we please let her know the result.
concerning information provided by Kate McCann don't forget, has to
be read very carefully. Although the page is undated, 'I spoke to
Kate McCann on Tuesday 8th of May 07' is clearly a reference to a
past action. Furthermore, the conversation to which it refers
describes past activity itself, placing the vision, certainly, at a
time prior to Tuesday 8 May (some time between May 4th and May 8th,
no doubt). But what about that person's arrival in Portugal and their
visit to the Marina?
DC Markley, writing
whenever, does not say 'This person has since arrived in Portugal and
spoken to Kate,' i.e. placing these actions at a time after his and
Kate's 8 May conversation, although they may be misconstrued as
having occurred later. Rather, these activities are referred to much
as might be the subject matter in continuation of that very first
conversation. DC Markley goes on to explain that he has 'spoke with
Kate today' (i.e. the day of the memo) and that his colleague, Glen
Pounder, had by that time already completed certain enquiries
regarding a particular yacht. Completion (not commencement) at the
time of writing necessarily implies that these enquiries must have
been stimulated by an earlier Markley/McCann conversation.
Hence, by Tuesday 8 May,
Kate McCann is in a position to inform DC Markley of a specific
vessel moored at Lagos Marina. The visit which identified it must
already have taken place, as DC Markley makes no reference whatsoever
to any exchange of information in the interim, i.e. in-between the
'conversation' that occurred on Tuesday 8 May and the tete-a-tete
meeting on the day he wrote his memo, when Kate 'gave him photographs
of the boat.'
Ah yes, but it was Kate's
anonymous informant who visited the Marina alone, took the
photographs and passed them onto Kate ('This person arrived in
Portugal and has spoke to Kate. They have visited the Marina'),
'They' in this instance being an impersonal reference to the
individual in question.
Oh no it is not.
The subsequent sentence
reads: 'They saw a man on the boat but this was not the same man that
she had in her vision.'
The change of pronoun
clearly distinguishes between the visionary (she) and her
companion(s), 'They' being the third person plural.
Thus Kate McCann took
advantage of a gap in her busy schedule to visit Lagos Marina, some
time between 4 and 8 May; an event directly associated with a matter
of considerable importance to her (DC Markley points this out twice);
so important in fact that she fails to describe it in her book at
all, whilst what she does mention specifically precludes its having
happened, in that period of time at any rate. The nearest she comes
to the subject is this: "There were a couple of 'visionary'
experiences in particular I took very seriously. One of them had come
through prayer which, at the time, gave it even greater credibility
in my eyes. I begged the police to look into these." She does
not elaborate further.
Kate McCann of course
knows 'what happened.' She was there. Her book, 'Madeleine' is an
account of the truth. How ironic then that the Leveson enquiry should
vilify representatives of the UK press for implicitly trusting the
presumed source of much of their information, in the form of the
Portuguese police, when a serving UK Detective Constable has
apparently made the very same mistake in trusting information
provided to him by the missing child's own parent. If what Kate tells
us in her book is true, then what she told DC Markley on 8 May, 2007,
whether by telephone, e-mail or carrier pigeon, cannot be.
But we're not done yet.
On an indeterminate date,
Kate McCann personally handed DC Markley a set of photographs taken
during a visit to Lagos Marina; a visit that took place before 8 May.
Kate's 'friend' may have had the vision, but did she take the
photographs? In light of Kate McCann's self-confessed photophobia,
she could well have done.
During an interview
published on 27 May, 2007, Kate told Olga Craig (Sunday Telegraph):
"I haven't been able to use the camera since I took that last
photograph of her." ('her' being Madeleine). James Murray
(Sunday Express, 9.8.09) interprets the situation a little
differently however: "Kate went to Lagos Marina, a few miles
along the coast from Praia da Luz where her daughter vanished on May
3, 2007, and photographed the boat and the man on board."
It's anybody's guess
perhaps, but if Kate McCann is herself a reliable source of
information, then identification of this photographer, an anonymous
friend of an anonymous friend, is long overdue. Someone who has a
'vision' over the weekend (she couldn't have had a premonition before
Madeleine was taken, surely?) flies out to Portugal immediately, then
makes straight for Lagos Marina to photograph the vessels moored
there, must have had an extraordinarily strong sense of purpose.
Otherwise we are left with evidentially valid (if not exactly solid)
statements by Kate McCann, which appear to suggest that this maritime
photography was accomplished during her own free time, before 4 May
even. Make no mistake, when it comes to anticipation Kate McCann has
already demonstrated some 'previous form' in that regard:
"From the moment
Madeleine had gone, I'd turned instinctively to God and to Mary,
feeling a deep need to pray, and to get as many other people as
possible to pray, too. I believed it would make a difference.
Although in the early days I struggled to comprehend what had
happened to Madeleine, and to us, I've never believed it was God's
fault, or that He 'allowed' it to happen. I was just confused that He
had apparently not heeded the prayer I'd offered every night for my
family: 'Thank you God for bringing Gerry, Madeleine, Sean and Amelie
into my life. Please keep them all safe, healthy and happy. Amen.'
Please keep them all safe. It must be said that when I'd prayed for
their safety I'd been thinking: please don't let them fall off
something and bang their heads, or please don't let them be involved
in a car accident. I'd never considered anything as horrific as my
child being stolen. But I had kind of assumed my prayer would cover
every eventuality." (p.106).
As an adjunct to the
present discussion, it is interesting, albeit for unwelcome reasons,
that Kate McCann should consider a child's being involved in a car
accident and suffering trauma at least, serious, possibly fatal
injury at worst, nothing like as horrific as she herself suffering
the consequences of theft.
But back to the matter in
hand - Kate's sense of timing.
The entire ritual quoted
above is prefaced by the phrase, 'From the moment Madeleine had
gone,' giving the impression that the tendency to enhanced
spirituality, and the prayers that went with it, was consequent upon
the events of 3 May, i.e. the 'abduction.' But Kate had clearly been
genuflecting nightly long before. As she says, 'I was just confused
that He had apparently not heeded the prayer I'd offered every night
for my family.' (God had not been listening even before 3 May, never
mind afterwards). Included in Kate's prayer was the exhortation to
'keep them all safe' which, as Kate goes on to explain, embraced
various categories of danger, as she'd actually been thinking:
'please don't let them fall off something and bang their heads, or
please don't let them be involved in a car accident,' although she'd
never considered anything as horrific as her child being stolen.
God stands exonerated
therefore. Since 'abduction' per se was not itemised among the
supplications, He cannot be blamed for overlooking it. The omission
was Kate's entirely. So if God did not heed her prayer it must have
been another detail of Kate's appeal he ignored. And these were? Well
nothing like as generally relevant to well protected pre-school
infants as 'keep them from head-lice, chicken-pox, cuts, bruises,
respiratory problems etc.' or, with their developing independence,
the myriad other misfortunes that might attend them. No, none of
that. Gerry, Madeleine, Sean and Amelie were religiously insured
against car accidents and falling off things. Madeleine was not
driving when she was taken. So what risk, exactly, did God's agency
Rumours – 24.01.2012
"We'd never lied
about anything – not to the police, not to the media, not to anyone
else. But now we found ourselves in one of those tricky situations
where we just didn't seem to have a choice." (Kate McCann in
'Madeleine,' pp. 205-6).
The McCanns have begun
litigation against Tony Bennett for alleged defamation concerning,
among a variety of other things, an earlier undertaking "not to
repeat allegations that the Claimants are guilty of, or are to be
suspected of...lying about what happened..."
At issue, in this
specific instance, is not whether the McCanns have been unerringly
truthful, but that Tony Bennett be prevented from alleging the
contrary himself, or repeating such allegations by others, in any way
shape or form. I.e., he may think what he likes provided he does not
voice his own or others' opinion. 'A still tongue keeps a wise head,'
so the proverb has it, although that particular stratagem didn't
quite work for Sir Thomas More.
The Presentation of Self
in Everyday Life, by Erving Goffman, was a groundbreaking book on the
subject of social interaction. Here, in the context of 'reputation
management,' we have a clear example of how society functions on the
basis of pretences, albeit false ones.
The McCanns have lied.
Kate McCann has admitted as much in her very own book, as she goes on
to say, talking about the passage of information to the media, "As
it happened, Gerry had a mild stomach upset which we used as an
excuse to postpone the trip." (to Huelva).
The sales figures for
Kate's book, 'Madeleine,' if they are to be believed, suggest that
the book's overall circulation probably rivals the number of
individuals who might have read any or all of Tony Bennett's
apparently repeated allegations 'that the Claimants are guilty of, or
are to be suspected of...lying about what happened...,' the global
reach of the Internet notwithstanding.
So we have this
altogether bizarre paradox in which, for the sake of 'keeping up
appearances,' what people do or say, whether alone or in company, is
not quite so important as how many other people know about it (the
presentation of self, if you will).
But that in itself is not
the paradox. The real, and quite extraordinary contradiction in this
instance is that Tony Bennett's apparent act of defamation consists
of his having broadcast 'allegations' of lying to a wider public;
allegations which carry a kernel of truth given Kate McCann's own
published admission, to a wider public, that they, the McCanns, were
prepared to lie - and did so, however 'badly' they may have felt
about it afterwards. Remorse is relative in any case, as 'Madeleine'
itself harbours various inconsistencies, and Kate McCann has
continued to offer 'accounts of the truth' since.
It would be
inappropriate, on several levels, to 'allege' anything at this point
but, following upon Kate McCann's unequivocal declaration ('We'd
never lied about anything – not to the police, not to the media,
not to anyone else.') one has to wonder quite how to describe the
ever expanding catalogue of 'errors in recall' on the McCanns' part,
and whether such a euphemism is itself legally acceptable. Or whether
the preferred option (much preferred no doubt) would be to silence
To friends and family
'The shutters were
'jemmied open'/'smashed.' (They were not even tampered with).
There was a 'system' in
place as regards 'checking the children'
For example, Jeremy
Wilkins' third (Rogatory) statement to British Police (08.04.08): 'I
assumed that Gerry was off to dine with the group in the Tapas bar,
but I cannot precisely say this came from him or if I figured this
out from our previous conversations regarding the checking system for
(The witness testimony of
Mrs Pamela Fenn and responses during Rogatory interview of Fiona
Payne and Matthew Oldfield indicate that there was no 'system' in
place at all).
To the police in Portugal
(Thursday). When her
lesson ended at 10:15, she went to the recreation area next to the
swimming pool to talk to Russell until Gerry's lesson was over.
Afterwards... they went back together to the apartment
The more recently
published 'account of the truth' reads:
"I returned to our
apartment before Gerry had finished his tennis lesson and washed and
hung out Madeleine's pyjama top on the veranda." ('Madeleine,'
To the general public
dropped the kids off at their clubs for the last hour and a half,
meeting up with them as usual for tea." ('Madeleine,' p.59).
(Creche records archived
among the case files show all the children signed in at 2.30 p.m.,
the younger twins signed out again at 5.20 p.m., nearly three hours
"Friday 4 May. Our
first day without Madeleine. As soon as it was light Gerry and I
resumed our search. We went up and down roads we'd never seen
before..." ('Madeleine,' p.83).
(Kate McCann can be
clearly heard, during an early filmed interview with the BBC's Jane
Hill, explaining away the fact that the McCanns themselves did not
physically search for their daughter).
"Since July 2008
there has been no police force anywhere actively investigating what
has happened to Madeleine." (p.364).
have stated in writing (June, 2011) that they view the investigation
that the man didn't look comfortable carrying the child, as if he
wasn't used to it." ('Madeleine,' p.98)
('They' made no such
comment. One Smith family member alone described the child as being
'in an uncomfortable position;' uncomfortable for the child, that
Under Oath (to Lord
'There were no body
(This statement refers
specifically to media reports of biological material retrieved from
the McCanns' hire car (for which hypothetical explanations are
advanced on p.264 of 'Madeleine') and virtually denies the existence
of a forensic report concerning an analysis of 'body fluids'
conducted by the FSS in Birmingham, which is again on record and
discussed, at some length, on p.331 of 'Madeleine,' by Kate McCann).
Influence – 28.01.2012
Gerry McCann's televised
meeting with Jeremy Paxman features several quizzical moments on the
part of the interviewee, but one in particular stands out:
JP (on the subject of
media attention in Portugal): "Do you think, to some degree, you
reaped a whirlwind?"
GM (after an initial
verbal fumble): "We had very clear objectives, what we wanted,
and any parents would take the opportunity of trying to get
information into the investigation, that might help find their
daughter, and that's what our clear objectives were..."
Even an uninformed
listener is likely to have wondered why Gerry McCann should have
found such a straightforward question apparently stressful, his
answer being peppered with speech errors initially. If they took the
time to think about it, they might also have wondered how this
statement answered the question, since 'getting information into the
investigation' and airing it before the media are not at all the same
pursuit. To simplify the issue however, we may classify this semantic
confusion straightforwardly as resulting from the stress hitherto
observed. The real cause of curiosity resides in the first clause,
which concerns the taking of a very particular opportunity.
The Paxman interview was
included as part of a BBC Newsnight programme broadcast early in
March 2009, and covered the unprecedented media activity surrounding
the McCanns in the wake of Madeleine's disappearance; activity which
Gerry 'fully expected to die down' after the parents' European
'trips.' These junkets, to Germany, Holland and Morocco, occupied
Kate and Gerry and McCann until mid-June, travelling to locations
'where we felt there might be information relevant.' (relevant to
what exactly is not made clear). After which time the parents
remained in Portugal where, emotionally unprepared to leave, they
felt closer to their missing daughter.
So much for context. Now
let us return to the issue engendered by that one all-too-meaningful
As vague as Gerry makes
it sound, it is entirely reasonable to suppose that the 'information'
the McCanns toured Europe in search of was relevant to the quest for
their missing daughter and would, should it have materialised, have
been introduced into the investigation. What class of useful
information might this have been? Much as the McCanns and others
would have sought at the outset most likely, e.g., sightings, of the
'where,' 'when,' 'how' and 'with whom' variety; perhaps even the odd
remark overheard in conversation, such as take place on the
boardwalks of the Barcelona marina.
But the significance of
the media in all of this can be discounted. Whereas they formed the
topic of the Paxman discussion, they were nothing like appropriate
agents for 'getting information into the investigation.' That role
belonged to the family liaison officers from Leicestershire
Constabulary and the PJ. 'Getting information into the investigation'
should not have involved the media at all, however concerned the
informant(s) may have been. In the McCanns' case the media, having
invited themselves to Praia da Luz, albeit at the McCanns'
instigation, were there, in principle, to comment upon the
investigation, not to influence it. We all know of course that
certain of its representatives exceeded their remit in that respect,
and it is a moot point as to whether that might have been an intended
outcome, but the media were essentially present as observers, not
Leaving the headlines,
both good and bad, aside, let us consider one very obvious aspect of
this much discussed 'information.' Come mid-June, i.e., four weeks or
so after Madeleine had been 'taken,' there was not very much of it.
And what of those sightings which had already come to the attention
of the Portuguese authorities without the benefit of McCann
intervention at all? What importance did the parents attach to any of
those? None whatsoever. And that puts a whole new slant on the idea
of there being 'very clear objectives' as regards 'getting
information into the investigation.' If sightings were of no apparent
interest from the outset, why travel around Europe in an attempt to
encourage them? Widening a search is one thing, spreading confusion
quite another. And all the while Madeleine stands to be seen by
everyone from Turks to the Tuareg (Germany has long hosted a
substantial population of Gastarbeiter), hope springs eternal.
'Sightings' seem not to
have represented the class of information the McCanns themselves were
concerned to 'get into the investigation,' in which case it will have
been information of a different sort they were desirous of
introducing. And suddenly we have an altogether inappropriate state
of affairs. Because even those of us whose culinary skills extend no
further than the micro-wave cooker understand that whatever
ingredients a chef adds to his or her recipe will directly affect the
outcome. Yeast will make the dough rise. If you want banana bread you
add bananas. What you put into the mix will influence the result.
Having had every
opportunity during interview to inform the PJ of as much relevant
detail as they possibly could, the McCanns should have largely met
their 'clear objective.' Obviously they did not meet it entirely,
since they went jetting off looking for further information, of a
type they had previously disregarded. Objective not totally fulfilled
therefore. But in the absence of information worth passing on to
investigators, 'taking the opportunity of trying to get information
into the investigation' would necessarily require initiative.
It fell to Kate (who
couldn't bear to use her camera after taking the 'last photo') to get
information into the investigation, and via the proper channels of
police liaison, thereby giving the attendant matter of mysticism an
air of respectability. And it came to pass that the PJ diligently
investigated the ownership and movements (not) of the yacht
'Shearwater.' Just as they had diligently held a press conference to
announce inclusion in their 'missing persons' bulletin of an official
photograph, of pyjamas identical to those being worn by Madeleine at
the time of her disappearance.
Interfering with a police
investigation is a crime in the U.K. and, I dare say, in Portugal
Inferences and Deductions
"The book is full of
inferences and deductions," said Isabel Duarte, two years ago,
of former lead detective Goncalo Amaral's book, The Truth of The Lie.
And for that stunning inference a deduction will inevitably have been
made from the Find Madeleine Fund. (Love me, love my invoice).
Like a football match
staged on a land-fill site, there are so many obstacles in the McCann
case (that of the missing child, not the satellite legal productions
of the McCanns), a simple intuition or two about the best route to
goal could prove just as effective as any in-depth knowledge of waste
categories. Participants are always likely to fall over debris left
by others in any event.
An associate member of
the McCann legal team at the same Lisbon Court hearing, speaking on
the McCanns' behalf, made it perfectly clear that they were in no way
responsible for obstructing the path to justice. As Sky TV's Jon di
Paolo reported at the time (12 Jan, 2010):
12:24: The McCanns'
lawyer makes the point that 'evidence' usually sightings – has
suggested Madeleine is still alive.
12:25: He says that the
McCanns are not responsible for generating any of this 'evidence'
that their daughter is not dead.
As previously observed
(see article, 'Just Like That,' McCannFiles, 22 March 2011),
according to the advocate concerned, evidence suggesting Madeleine is
still alive usually took the form of sightings, implying that on
occasion it might take some other form. Whatever form this 'evidence'
took however, the McCanns were not responsible for generating any of
it (an inference followed by a deduction wouldn't you say, Ms
Duarte?). Curiously this defence of the McCanns appears to have been
in rebuttal of an accusation that had not even been made.
'Generating' evidence in
the manner alluded to by the McCanns' lawyer would constitute
interference with a police investigation, surely? Which is no doubt
why said lawyer pre-emptively denied the unannounced allegation. But
while he 'majored' on sightings far and near (those reported by David
Payne and Jane Tanner fall into this very category), he overlooked
those of a more spiritual variety.
Kate McCann generated
photographs of a boat, on board which Madeleine was supposed, by a
clairvoyant friend, to have been sequestered following her abduction
(i.e., she was alive and not dead).
While Kate McCann has not
personally laid claim to the pre-cognitive 'sighting,' she was
reportedly present at the marina when the photographs were taken and
has never denied taking them herself.
constitute evidence in support of a 'sighting,' albeit a phenomenal
one; evidence that Madeleine was not dead, and generated by Kate
McCann; evidence which proved, on further investigation, to be
worthless. The 'vision' was of a boat that didn't sail anywhere
throughout April or May 2007!
The statement: 'The
McCanns are not responsible for generating any...'evidence' that
their daughter is not dead.' is therefore false. It was made by a
legal advocate speaking on behalf of the McCanns in open court during
proceedings in January, 2010. Professionally highly dubious, it is on
a level par with Kate McCann's own perjury before the more recent
Leveson Inquiry ('There were no body fluids.').
But just as one man's
terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, supporters of the
McCanns, be they vigilantes or 'hired guns,' would most likely
champion the view expressed by Gerry McCann, to Jeremy Paxman, that
they merely wanted...to get information into the investigation, that
might help find their daughter.
All well and good if the
child existed to be found. And if not?
In the final analysis,
whether these initiatives were born of an earnest desire to locate a
missing child or an ulterior motive of some kind, serves only to
colour an inescapable fact: That the McCanns, contrary to an
unambiguous statement made on their behalf by a legal representative
in open court, generated evidence their daughter was not dead.
And in the complete
absence of even a 'grain of proper evidence' that Madeleine McCann
was the victim of a stranger abduction, one has to question the true
purpose of such evidence generation.
Bad Day at Black Rock –
"Yeah, I mean, I was
saying this earlier, that at no point, other than that night, did I
go stick my head in. That was the only time, because the door was
like that. I mean, I knew how I'd left it." (Gerry McCann, in
'Madeleine Was Here.')
"Part of the reason
we ended up coming through the back was the noise coming through the
front door. We didn't want to disturb them." (Gerry McCann to
Matthew Oldfield, in 'Madeleine Was Here.')
"...on the whole,
people checked their own children. Erm, and, again, on the actual
night Madeleine was taken, that was, was very much different, I
think, to, to previous nights, in that, there was probably more cross
checking that night." (Fiona Payne - Rogatory Interview).
"...on the first few
nights it all seemed, erm, fairly well spaced... Erm, whereas, again,
that differed on the Thursday night, in that, it seemed more, erm,
out of, people were more out of synch." (Fiona Payne - Rogatory
4078: "Was that the
first time that you had taken it upon yourself to check on somebody
Matthew Oldfield: "Yeah,
I'd not done it before, (Rogatory Interview)
"I know there was a
conversation about, oh we've started nipping in that way rather than
going the long way round. Erm, so, I suppose, at that point, that's
when they, because you couldn't lock the French doors from outside,
that's when they weren't locking it." (Fiona Payne - Rogatory
"No, as I say, it
came up at that, that conversation, which I think was on the, on the,
on the Thursday night, about, erm, you know, whether I would feel
happy leaving, leaving a door unlocked, but that was the only time
I'd heard Kate sort of almost saying, question whether they should do
it or not." (Fiona Payne - Rogatory Interview).
"I haven't been able
to use the camera since I took that last photograph of her."
(Kate McCann to Olga Craig, writing for the Sunday Telegraph of 27
May, 2007. The photograph in question is said to have been taken
mid-afternoon on 3 May).
All these 'first time of
asking' decisions taken, before Madeleine, on the Thursday.
Not since the sinking of
the Titanic have so many coincidences formed the prelude to a
catastrophe. Even the elements conspired. Gerry McCann left the door
to the children's bedroom in a 'slam shuttable' position. He must
have done, because that's what the door did on Kate's arrival into
the apartment at 10.00 p.m. that Thursday night apparently. Matthew
Oldfield, who, like Kate, was oblivious to the cold night air
entering through the open bedroom window, was frightened to touch it.
It was perhaps a blessing in disguise therefore that the door waited
fully three-quarters of an hour before closing in Kate's very
presence, otherwise she might just have turned around there and then
and Madeleine's absence would not have been noticed until breakfast
the following morning. As Kate herself has said:
"I just stood,
actually and I thought, oh, all quiet, and to be honest, I might have
been tempted to turn round then, but I just noticed that the door,
the bedroom door where the three children were sleeping, was open
much further than we'd left it." ('Madeleine was here').
Was Rocha Negra ever
mentioned in the holiday brochure?
Above the Law –
No one is above the Law.
Except perhaps for what's-his-name upstairs, and a few consultants of
one complexion or another.
Hence we have perjury,
interfering with an investigation, and the obstruction of justice (so
far). All perpetrated in the name of innocence.
The McCann affair,
whatever its eventual outcome, will no doubt provide Law faculties
worldwide with study material for years to come, for however tight
one's research net, some piece of plankton is always likely to escape
attention. How many of us remember, for instance, the episode where a
recruitment consultant was 'consulted' with a view to recruiting a
handful of her close associates to help out with a modest charade in
On April 17, 2008, Stuart
Prior of Leicestershire Constabulary, sent a rather 'pally' e-mail to
Rachael and Matthew Oldfield c/o Rachael Oldfield. The message closed
'I trust that these
answers will assist you and the others in reaching a decision as to
whether you intend to participate in the proposed re-enactment.
'If you wish to discuss
this further then please do not hesitate in getting in touch with
The author signed off as
Almost a week later (23
April) Ms Oldfield responded on behalf of herself, her husband (to
whom she copied her text) and, one imagines, several of her erstwhile
message is bracketed by the opening:
'We remain unconvinced
that this reconstruction is necessary.'
'We just need to be
properly convinced of the reasons for doing a re-enactment.'
In between is a catalogue
of unbridled arrogance, setting out the terms under which they would
consider participating in the re-enactment requested by the
Since when on God's green
earth does a recruitment consultant, having manifestly failed to
recruit the necessary personnel in this instance, have the right to
dictate conditions of attendance at a police reconstruction?
Can you imagine the
'revenue' standing for an epistle, in lieu of a cheque, stating that
the author needed to be properly convinced of the reasons for paying
their taxes? Mind you, a letter to H.M. Treasury suggesting they
'claw back' as much as possible of the £3.5 m. 'McCann Review'
subsidy recently allocated to the Metropolitan Police might not go
That two individuals can
have been allowed to cause mayhem on the international stage and
instigate expenditure of truly epic proportions, all in the name of a
child whom they both acknowledge to be dead, simply beggars belief.
What's that? Whenever did
either of the McCanns admit or suggest that Madeleine is dead?
They have each done so on
separate occasions during broadcast media interviews, so what sounds
like an admission is exactly that, and not an apparent error
attributable to over zealous reporting or an editorial 'angle.'
First, Kate McCann (to
Sara Antunes de Oliveira, SIC, 9 March, 2010):
"We're not going to
sit here and lie and be totally naïve and say she's one hundred per
Well, less than 100%
alive equals 'dead' (as a light is either 'on' or 'off').
Furthermore, according to Kate, they would be lying if they claimed
Madeleine was 100% alive. The truth therefore can only be that
Madeleine is less than 100% alive, i.e., that she is 100% dead.
Interestingly Kate McCann does not talk of 'speculating Madeleine is
alive,' as one might if the child's fate were to be undetermined, but
lying about her being so, which reflects a categorical knowledge on
And now Gerry McCann (to
Nicky Campbell, Radio Five Live Breakfast, 1 May, 2008):
"We have contact
with the Foreign Office, errm... from predominantly a consular basis.
We do put requests in, that we do want to get as much information as
possible and, I think, what we've asked, and will ask repeatedly, is:
'what evidence does anyone have to suggest that Madeleine is dead?'
because we know of no evidence to suggest otherwise and we would like
a public acknowledgement of that."
Couldn't be much clearer
could it? The McCanns know of no evidence to suggest Madeleine is
anything other than dead. Yet should any member of the public
acknowledge said fact, as the McCanns would have them do, they run
the risk of being invited to defend themselves against a charge of
A little knowledge…
...is a dangerous thing,
is it not? How many times has Gerry McCann made the statement, 'Kate
and I strongly believe Madeleine was alive when she was taken?' Quite
several, in one variant or another. But on one particular occasion he
glibly added, 'obviously we don't know what happened to her
afterwards.' Obviously. So any knowledge they might have had
concerning Madeleine's state of health can only pertain to a time
before she was 'taken,' ostensibly between 9.00 and 10.00 p.m. on the
night of Thursday 3 May, 2007.
For Kate McCann to resist
any temptation to claim that her daughter is 100% alive and, in so
doing 'lying' about it, she has to 'know' that such a claim would not
be truthful. Yet that knowledge cannot have come from any evidence as
to Madeleine's whereabouts or well-being since she was reported
missing. There isn't any. And we have already been informed that the
McCanns obviously don't know what has happened to Madeleine since the
magic hour. On what basis therefore does Kate presume to know that
Madeleine is less than 100% alive? Her knowledge can only derive from
Madeleine's status prior to being 'taken,' not afterwards.
In sum, the McCanns have
given us two 'key pieces of information:' That Madeleine is dead (not
100% alive - there is no evidence to suggest otherwise) and that she
is known by Kate to have been less than 100% alive (i.e. dead) prior
to the time when Kate raised the alarm (Kate would not lie about
something she cannot have ascertained later).
Never mind elephants in
the room, someone's having a giraffe! One that has already cost any
number of people their livelihoods and continues to soak up
tax-payers and others' cash like an unsupervised siphon, while
various agents of justice, one Lord Leveson among them, continue to
cow-tow to a pair of self-proclaimed martyrs.
A Line in the Sand –
When, according to
legend, Colonel William B. Travis invited comrades to step across a
line he had just scored in the San Antonio dirt, he was offering them
a stark choice: Exit the Alamo ahead of the impending battle, or stay
and face certain death - an unenviable decision for anyone to have to
make. The sad and inexplicable disappearance of Madeleine McCann is
not something to be either trivialised or dramatised, but the story,
as we understand it, incorporates an equally decisive moment - the
moment when, it is said, she was 'taken.'
The McCanns' declared
belief that their daughter Madeleine was alive until 'that minute,'
after which time they 'obviously didn't know what happened to her,'
places Madeleine's fate squarely in the hands of whomever is deemed
to have taken her - at that minute. But, as previously discussed (see
articles: 'There’s nothing to say she's not out there alive,' 2009;
Consequences, 2011 ), the McCanns have a great deal riding on the
wager that Madeleine was abducted. For wherever there is an effort at
expansion, be it of a physical body or conceptual position, the
repercussions following a collapse are just as extensive. An empire,
a galactic star or Enron - it makes no difference. The same principle
applies and it is one from which the McCanns are not exempt.
All the while the
roulette wheel is spinning and the ball in play, 'abduction' is a
candidate explanation for Madeleine's disappearance. But should
someone grab the spokes and the ball settle in 'zero' then matters
would take a very different turn. If Madeleine McCann was not
abducted, then she is unquestionably dead. People do not just
disappear off the face of the earth. And if Madeleine met her death
inside apartment 5A, then her parents must know that is what
happened. How could they not? But the question is not quite the
straightforward one of 'alive or dead,' depending on which side of
the window one places a potentially fatal event. It is altogether
deeper than that. If Madeleine McCann was not abducted then the
repercussions would be grave indeed.
Like Hercules keeping the
world aloft on behalf of Atlas, an entire apparatus of socio-legal
machinery has, for five years, propped up the abduction hypothesis; a
hypothesis for which there is not 'a grain of proper evidence' (to
quote Messrs. Carter-Ruck), making it 'meaningless' in the McCanns'
very own terms. A child's bare feet being carried in one direction,
followed, three quarters of an hour later, by a little girl, wearing
the wrong pyjamas, being carried in the opposite direction, are
altogether insufficient as indices of a single child abduction. The
'thesis' has nothing else to commend it.
The situation appears
disconcertingly unresolved; dangerously so for the McCanns all the
while the possibility exists that, somewhere in the case files, there
might be evidence which links them directly to their daughter's
disappearance. Of course they and their lawyers would contend
otherwise, but the issue, as we know, remains open.
The hypothesis that
Madeleine was abducted is no more valid than the hypothesis that she
was not. And that, hypothetically speaking, does more than open a
window. It opens a whole can of worms. Madeleine McCann's
'non-abduction' would invalidate completely the statements of the
McCanns and their holiday associates, since, as Gerry McCann has
previously explained, all of their depositions, without exception,
are bound by an 'abduction' context:
"Clearly at the time
we felt what we were doing was quite responsible. If we were going to
be down and further away or round the corner we would never have left
the kids, and with hindsight... everything with hindsight is all
taken in the context of your child being abducted." (BBC
Panorama - The Mystery of Madeleine McCann, 19.11.07).
Hence a 'non-abduction'
hypothesis would require us to dispense entirely with seemingly
evidential statements, and go where the impartial evidence alone
leads. No more stories of dining out; no more checking on the
children; no more milk and biscuits at tea-time, and neither tears
nor stains washed away in the morning. When viewed in this light, the
Portuguese authorities' insistence that a reconstruction alone would
offer the McCanns the opportunity of exoneration they claim is theirs
by right, is much easier to understand. The McCanns, however, have
dug themselves an even deeper pit in the interim, since some things,
even in hindsight, cannot be 'taken in the context of your child
being abducted,' Kate McCann's extraordinary statement as to
'circumstances,' for one:
"I know that what
happened is not due to the fact of us leaving the children asleep. I
know it happened under other circumstances." (Daily Mail,
This tells us quite
clearly that something happened at a time when the children were
awake and/or one parent at least was present. Kate does not mention
Madeleine's being 'taken.' Indeed, the concept of a nocturnal
abduction in the parents' absence is totally inconsistent with this
more 'knowledgeable' observation.
For his part, Gerry
McCann has contributed the following:
"So. An' if she died
when we were in the apartment or fell injured, why would we... why
would we cover that up?" (Interviewed for Seven on Sunday
Compounding the two
perspectives one might justifiably re-iterate Gerry's very own
question: If either parent was present in the apartment when 'it
happened,' why should they cover it up? But we are entertaining the
hypothesis of non-abduction, don't forget. If there was no abduction,
then the parents, knowing what happened, have failed to reveal what
they know. Instead, therefore, of subscribing to an interpretation
along the lines of, 'We did not cover up an accident. Why should we?'
if faced with the actuality of a cover up, one would inevitably have
to explore the question of 'why?'
We have already moved,
hypothetically it must be said, backwards in time from a nocturnal
abduction to a diurnal event of some kind; an accident earlier that
Thursday, perhaps? Yet Kate McCann, writing in her book, 'Madeleine,'
with even greater clarity of exposition than when discussing the
'circumstances,' takes us back further still:
"Wednesday, 2 May
2007. Our last completely happy day. Our last, to date, as a family
The abduction hypothesis
sees Madeleine removed from apartment 5A on Thursday night, in which
case that very day, May 3, would have been the McCanns' 'last, to
date, as a family of five.' Even accepting that Kate seems to have
had a problem with dates elsewhere in the book, there can be no
doubting her accuracy in this instance. 'Wednesday, 2 May 2007' she
says, clearly and completely, Thursday 3 May no doubt etched
indelibly in her memory. If the McCanns were no longer a family of
five on the Thursday, then something pretty serious must have
happened beforehand. Tellingly, she had earlier stated (to Oprah):
"You know I look
back and think oh why can't we just rewind the clock and it takes you
back to really happy memories you know, things that you really
enjoyed and it's just a reminder really of what isn't here anymore."
Perhaps 'what isn't here
anymore' went missing between Wednesday 2 and Thursday 3 May, 2007?
That would account for the sudden reduction in family size alright.
All of this of course
hinges on a hypothesis of non-abduction; a hypothesis which cannot be
confirmed simply on the basis that abduction remains unproven. In
that sense Gerry McCann's repeated reference to the impotence of a
negative outcome is correct, and the McCanns appear to be on
eternally solid ground. Unless or until the abduction hypothesis is
disproved. The very possibility of that happening would give anyone
in the McCanns' position cause for concern, since a logical proof of
the kind envisaged need only be accomplished once to be conclusive.
Small wonder then that attendance at a reconstruction, which might
determine once and for all whether an abduction was even feasible,
has never been high on the McCann agenda.
Clear as Crystal –
Police training, no less
than that of a criminologist or any other variety of crime analyst,
will doubtless point up the significance of the early stages in any
felony, when mistakes on the part of the guilty party are most
likely. It's a characteristic of crime that has fuelled many a plot
of Agatha Christie's and features heavily in the Hitchcock classic,
'Dial M for Murder.' Even Thomas Hardy's Mayor of Casterbridge is
undone in the end by an error of judgement early on in the story. No
matter how much time has elapsed, or how many embellishments have
been added to the account of Madeleine McCann's disappearance, the
solution to the puzzle most probably resides somewhere near the
beginning of events as they are known to have unfolded.
Criminals are not
necessarily unintelligent. They are human, however, and subject to
error like anyone else. Kate McCann, in her book 'Madeleine' confirms
just how smart she considers the anonymous abductor of her daughter
to have been:
"It wasn't until a
year later, when I was combing through the Portuguese police files,
that I discovered that the note requesting our block booking was
written in a staff message book, which sat on a desk at the pool
reception for most of the day. This book was by definition accessible
to all staff and, albeit unintentionally, probably to guests and
visitors, too. To my horror, I saw that, no doubt in all innocence
and simply to explain why she was bending the rules a bit, the
receptionist had added the reason for our request: we wanted to eat
close to our apartments as we were leaving our young children alone
there and checking on them intermittently."
If not a speaker of
Portuguese, he will have done remarkably well to have garnered the
significance of this dining schedule, written in Portuguese, from a
glance inside a staff notebook.
over time to Paedophiles and 'rings' thereof implies that the suspect
was felt to have had some 'previous,' and not to be confused with
opportunists. Indeed they had been studying the McCanns' every
movement apparently. According to Kate McCann, 'They'd been watching
us for several days, I'm sure.' Anyone capable of adopting a
methodical approach such as this is unlikely then to go on and do
something absolutely dumb subsequently.
In just the same way that
cardiologists are trained to recognise symptoms of cardiac disorder,
so investigative police, whatever their nationality, know and
understand the hallmarks of a crime. It's what they do. Just as the
bed-ridden patient is not called upon to interpret the trace of the
oscilloscope to which he or she is attached, police judgement in
matters of criminal investigation should be respected. They can tell,
for instance, if they are looking for a 'seasoned pro' following a
burglary, or a rank amateur, simply from the way in which a set of
drawers has been rifled (the practised burglar will waste no time,
'working' a chest of drawers from the bottom up, not top down).
So then, we have a shrewd
suspect with a reasonable I.Q. But even intelligence has its
limitations. No amount of studying the McCann family at play would
have told him which of two bedrooms the children occupied. Smashing
his way in via the wrong window would not be the smart thing to do.
And since the shutters were always down he could not have known,
unless he had been invited in previously, who slept where exactly.
(Kate McCann (6 Sept.,
2007): "The window to Madeleine's bedroom remained closed, but
she doesn't know if it was locked, shutters and curtains drawn, and
that was how it remained since the first day, night and day. She
never opened it. If somebody saw the window shutters in Madeleine's
room open, it was not the deponent who opened them, and she never saw
them open." ).
Is it possible that
manipulation of the window was the culprit's first and biggest
mistake? Kate and Gerry McCann both confirmed on 4 May that Kate had
discovered it disturbed the previous night:
"At 10pm, his wife
Kate went to check on the children. She went into the apartment
through the door using her key and saw right away that the children's
bedroom door was completely open, the window was also open, the
shutters raised and the curtains drawn open. The side door that opens
into the living room, which as said earlier, was never locked, was
closed." (Gerry McCann).
"At around 10pm, the
witness came to check on the children. She went into the apartment by
the side door, which was closed, but unlocked, as already said, and
immediately noticed that the door to her children's bedroom was
completely open, the window was also open, the shutters raised and
the curtains open, while she was certain of having closed them all as
she always did." (Kate McCann).
It seems so obvious.
Until, that is, one gives more careful thought to the practice of
abduction in this instance and the simple logistics of breaking and
Kate McCann again, in
"For a long while we
would assume that the abductor had entered and exited through the
window of the children's bedroom, but it is equally possible that he
used the patio doors or even had a key to the front door. Perhaps
he'd either come in or gone out via the window, not both; perhaps he
hadn't been through it at all, but had opened it to prepare an
emergency escape route if needed, or merely to throw investigators
off the scent. He could have been in and out of the apartment more
than once between our visits."
No one but an idiot would
struggle to get in through a window only to struggle out the same
way. The suspect was no fool and would have left by a door. The
bedroom window was either a haphazard option or chosen because it lay
on the elevation furthest from where the parents were dining. Then
again so did the front door. Clarence Mitchell's remark, 'he got out
of the window fairly easily,' said with all the certitude of an
established fact, was a lie. Anyone attempting to climb through that
window, in either direction, with or without the impediment of a
child in his arms, would have had difficulty in doing so, as the
police quickly established. It is also appropriate that we deal here
with a few of Kate McCann's 'suppositions.'
'He could have been in
and out of the apartment more than once between our visits.'
He could have made
himself a cup of tea, sat and watched football on the television.
Such wild speculation
flies in the face of common sense. How many 'visits' does it take to
abduct a child? There was not the time in-between Gerry's 9.05 check
and Jane Tanner's 'sighting' minutes later for an abductor to have
made several trips to the premises. Given the window as integral to
the undertaking, Gerry would have noticed this himself had it been
opened earlier. By 10 May, Gerry McCann was 'fully convinced that the
abduction took place during the period of time between his check at
21h05 and Matthew's visit at 21H30.' Except that in his earlier (4
May) statement to police this interval of time was punctuated mid-way
by the activities of Jane Tanner:
"It is stressed that
when one of the members of the group, Jane, went to her apartment to
see her children, at around 9.10/9.15 pm, from behind and at a
distance of about 50 metres, on the road next to the club, she saw a
person carrying a child in pyjamas. Jane will be better able to
clarify this situation."
So, one visit - a 'smash
and grab.' But without the 'smashing' as it turned out.
'For a long while we
would assume that the abductor had entered and exited through the
window of the children's bedroom.'
'For a long while,' after
the police had established to their satisfaction that no-one had
passed through the window at all, seems to reflect a certain
stubbornness on the McCanns' part. And yet, 'it is equally possible
that he used the patio doors or even had a key to the front door.'
Rather more likely, all things considered. But if there's an easy
access way in, why contemplate a problematic way out?
'Perhaps he'd either come
in or gone out via the window, not both; perhaps he hadn't been
through it at all, but had opened it to prepare an emergency escape
route if needed, or merely to throw investigators off the scent.'
It is at this point that
involvement of the window becomes even more paradoxical. Although
'Elvis' is supposed to have left the building after Gerry McCann, he
must have been present inside before him, otherwise he would surely
have been noticed approaching the patio, with evil intent, by either
Gerry or Jez Wilkins standing opposite the gate outside. There is no
other way of accommodating Jane Tanner's 9.15 sighting of him. But if
our man had some nefarious purpose in mind for the window then, being
something of a forward thinker, he would have carried that purpose in
with him just as assuredly as he carried Madeleine out. This means
that he could either (a) open the window etc. on first entering the
apartment, then pick Madeleine up from her bed, or (b) lift Madeleine
up, then draw back the curtains, open the window and raise the
shutters with Madeleine in his arms all the while.
It doesn't take much
thinking about. But once the window was opened it would have been as
obvious to Gerry as it was to Kate. More so in fact, as Gerry stood
over his children while they were asleep. Kate's attention was only
drawn to the room by the slamming door. If 'Elvis' had prepared an
emergency escape route, it would have been done first, not last, and
Gerry would have seen it, as the two are supposed to have been in the
apartment at the same time, i.e., the window would already have been
For the moment, however,
let us play devil's advocate and rescind Kate's attribution of
intelligence to the supposed felon, who simply refuses to take the
easy route. He waits for Gerry to leave 5A, then springs into action,
quickly opening the window, curtains and shutters (audibly to anyone
outside) before snatching Madeleine up and marching out through the
door (with her body back to front, according to Jane Tanner's
description); not forgetting that he tidied Maddie's bed before
And he opened the window
because? Gerry had left, 'Elvis' remained undiscovered, the emergency
had passed and intruders do not waste time leaving 'red-herrings.'
But the window served
some purpose, surely?
According to Kate McCann
('Madeleine'), Matthew Oldfield was accused by Portuguese
investigators of having passed Madeleine out through the window in
question. Without drawing Oldfield unnecessarily into the debate,
Madeleine's passage through the window in this way is the only
rational explanation for the fact that her head and her feet had
changed ends by the time she was seen by Jane Tanner. Let us
therefore consider what might have happened next.
'Elvis' (who is indoors)
hands Madeleine to an accomplice, who, punctual to a fault, is
waiting outside the window. He (the accomplice) then marches off,
stage left, across the road ahead of Jane Tanner. 'Elvis' himself now
leaves the building through the front door, not the patio (he, like
Jane Tanner, goes unnoticed by McCann and Wilkins standing outside)
and bolts like Richard Branson in the opposite direction, having
gently closed the door behind him. Jane Tanner did not hear a door
slam as she approached her own apartment. Nor did she see anyone
sprinting down the road ahead of her as she turned the corner,
although why the person actually carrying the child should merely
amble away is a mystery in itself.
There being no sighting
of 'Elvis' fleeing empty-handed means that there was no hand-over
either, no accomplice, and no reason for the window to have been
opened after all. Yet Kate and Gerry McCann each affirmed (4 May)
that that is how it was discovered on the night Madeleine is said to
have been 'taken:'
'The window was also
open, the shutters raised and the curtains open.' Additionally, Kate
herself was 'certain of having closed them all as she always did.'
Let us go back to 'square
one' for just a moment. The abductor having entered via the patio,
has it in mind, at least, for Madeleine to exit via the window, which
he opens for the purpose - fully, having drawn back the curtains -
fully, and raised the shutters - fully. No self-respecting criminal
is going to make a crime more difficult to accomplish by leaving
obstacles in his own path. Now, as we cruise along exploring the
hypothetical relevance of an open window to the disappearance of
Madeleine McCann, we might consider whether a sail is more likely to
billow before a following wind or a lateral one, and whether a
curtain bunched to the side of an open window will go 'whoosh' in a
gentle breeze. Of course it's more likely to happen if the curtains
are in the closed position as Kate describes in the opening scenes of
the McCanns' very own documentary, 'Madeleine Was Here:'
"...as I went back
in, the curtains of the bedroom which were drawn,... were closed,...
whoosh... It was like a gust of wind, kinda, just blew them open."
If the curtains were in
his way at all then 'Elvis' did not pass either Madeleine's body or
his own through the window, which he would not have opened simply to
let the air in. Nor would he have bothered to reset the curtains
afterwards, just as he didn't close the window or lower the shutter,
Despite the presence of
her fingerprints alone, Kate McCann is adamant that she did not open
the window. Which leaves a Portuguese speaking visitor to the Ocean
Club, who checked on a staff notebook earlier in the week, paid
several visits to 5A, then checked to see that the McCanns were
actually at the Tapas restaurant on the Thursday night (wouldn't
you?) before arranging the scenery at their apartment that night.
As for who actually
'abducted' Madeleine McCann, and when... Well, that's another story.
Another Story –
A primary objective for
both believers and non-believers in Madeleine McCann's abduction has
long been one of establishing that someone (or no-one) broke into 5A
on Thursday night, 3 May, 2007. The evidence however, coupled with
various statements to police, is sufficient for us to conclude that
no-one actually left the apartment around the time of the Tanner
sighting. Whoever crossed the road in front of Jane Tanner, if indeed
anyone did so, they had not just emerged from 5A. Furthermore, if
no-one of an abduction persuasion left the apartment at any time
before 10.00 p.m. that evening, it can only have been because they
were not inside it in the first place!
A contingency explanation
might be that Madeleine was 'taken' after Matthew Oldfield's 9.30
p.m. 'check,' not before. Hence the Smith sighting nearer 9.50. But
whoever it was that members of the Smith family actually saw being
carried, it could not have been Madeleine McCann in her Eeyore
pyjamas. The child seen by Aiofe Smith was said to have been wearing
a long-sleeved top. If one is prepared to accept that Jane Tanner can
discern the colour of a garment from some distance away, in the dark,
when she cannot even see the item in question, then it is even more
reasonable to accept the accuracy of Aiofe Smith's close-up
As previously discussed
(Crystal Clear: McCannFiles, 19 March), Jane Tanner's sighting of
only one individual means that there was no accomplice. The window
becomes completely irrelevant therefore. No-one climbed through it in
either direction. No-one exited via the patio at the time of the
Tanner sighting (Gerry McCann or Jez Wilkins would have seen them)
and, in any case, 'the abductor' was spotted further up the road.
That leaves 'Elvis' with just the front door at his disposal.
Since the Tanner-approved
artist's impression confirms the 'abductor' was not wearing gloves
(that topic was visited long ago), he might well have left his
fingerprints on the door handles, both inside and outside, when
opening and closing it. The door opened inwards and could not have
been 'kicked shut' from outside. It was not reported open.
Although no fingerprints
were actually recovered from the front door to the apartment, one or
two additional details remain to be accounted for.
The front door was
recessed. If the intruder were left-handed, he would have struggled
to open the latch had he been carrying a prostrate, sleeping child,
who might easily have awoken when her feet and legs inevitably came
into contact with a solid vertical surface. If he were right-handed
he would have struggled to pull the door closed without risking
contact with the child's head; both of these possibilities being
governed by the position of the child's body on removal from her bed,
where her head would have been to the right. Of course the 'abductor'
could have overcome this small problem to some degree by operating
the door with the opposite hand on one or other occasion.
But the smarter solution,
surely (and the culprit has been recognised, by Kate McCann at least,
as smart), would have been to carry the child vertically, as
described by the Smith family, freeing either hand at a stroke. This
small matter of orientation alone confirms that Jane Tanner's
'suspect' did not set off to cross the road from apartment 5A.
Since the child was not
passed through an open window, any re-positioning would have been
entirely (and literally) in the hands of the one person who had
entered the apartment and picked Madeleine up directly from her bed.
Notwithstanding the problems associated with opening and closing the
front door thereafter, whichever way round Madeleine may have been
facing, one has only to ask the simple question of why anyone should
alter the position of something they are carrying? The equally simple
answer is: To make their grasp of the object more secure and/or more
No 'abductor,' in the
circumstances envisaged, would transfer his burden to a less
comfortable position. Had Madeleine been picked up in a 'fireman's
carry' initially, her remaining in that position would have enabled
her captor to open and close the exit door straightforwardly. And
from the door to the head of the road, where the pair were apparently
seen, is a distance of just a few steps - hardly far enough for the
porter, a decently proportioned individual by all accounts, to want
to re-think his carrying style.
In any event the
'abduction' was accomplished with little or no time to spare. One has
therefore to picture the perpetrator seizing Maddie in his arms from
where she lay, her head to the right, then making his way out, albeit
awkwardly, through the front door. A 'change of ends' in the interim
would not have made escape any easier. Nor would a similar manoeuvre,
once outside, have resulted in a more comfortable position. Since
such a switch would not have been advantageous by any measure, it
would not have been made. Madeleine would have been carried out
directly, her body in exactly the same position throughout. Which
renders Jane Tanner's sighting of her impossibly back-to-front.
Thus it is that Jane
Tanner's insistent account of a child, clad in pink, being carried
through the streets of Praia da Luz, actually negates the possibility
of its having been Madeleine, since the physical circumstances of her
holiday accommodation mitigate against, rather than support, Tanner's
claims. The child, if she saw one at all, could not have been
Madeleine McCann. But she saw no-one else. And if no-one is known to
have left 5A, carrying a child, at any time between 9.00 and 10.00
p.m., it is because there was no-one inside to have done so. Apart,
that is, from Gerry McCann at 9.05 and Matthew Oldfield at 9.30.
It's a lock-out
There is yet another
important aspect to the fugitive's dilemma. The front door, the only
exit he could conceivably have availed himself of that night, was
locked. And he did not have a key. Let us allow Messrs. McCann,
Oldfield, O'Brien and Payne to explain the situation more fully:
First, Gerry McCann:
'Thus, at 9.05 pm, the
deponent entered the club, using his key, the door being locked.
At 10pm, his wife Kate
went to check on the children. She went into the apartment through
the door using her key.' (Statement to Police, 4 May, 2007).
'... he fully confirms
the statements made previously at this police department on 4 May
2007, being available to provide any further clarifications.'
(Statement to Police, 10 May).
Hence Gerry first states
that he unlocked the front door with his key (he didn't simply 'open'
it) then later confirms his statement. He goes on (10 May,
(Re Sunday): 'They left
the house (for the Tapas bar) through the main door, that he was sure
he locked, and the back door was also closed and locked.'
'On this day (Wednesday),
the deponent and KATE had already left the back door closed, but not
locked, to allow entrance by their group colleagues to check on the
children. He clarifies that the main door was always closed but not
necessarily locked with the key.'
(The last, it should be
noted, is a general observation, not specific to Wednesday).
'Back to Thursday, after
breakfast, about 09h00, KATE and the children left by the back door,
the deponent having left by the front door, which he locked with the
key, having also closed and locked the back door from the inside.'
So far the account has
been consistent throughout. When recalling specific instances of
departure, Gerry McCann affirms that he locked the front door using
his key, an observation of some significance as it turns out and one
to which we shall inevitably return. But then he has a dramatic
change of heart:
'Despite what he said in
his previous statements, he states now and with certainty, that he
left with KATE through the back door which he consequently closed but
did not lock, given that that is only possible from the inside.
Concerning the front door, although he is certain that it was closed,
it is unlikely that it was locked, because they left through the back
This aspect of his 10 May
statement is questionable on two counts. The first is the certainty
with which McCann seeks to override his earlier testimony. Memories
do not improve over time, they deteriorate (that's been tested
scientifically, Sandra). Hence Gerry McCann's immediate recollections
will have been more accurate than those he decided to advance a week
later. The second doubtful observation is that concerning the front
door ('although he is certain that it was closed, it is unlikely that
it was locked, because they left through the back door.').
The doors to apartment 5A
were logically and physically independent of each other. They did not
operate in tandem. Hence it makes no sense to claim that 'it is
unlikely that it (the front door) was locked, because they left
through the back door.' Even if the statement is taken to be an
imprecise reference to the McCanns' behaviour rather than the doors'
function, it still fails to convince.
The McCanns claim to have
adopted a policy of patio door access for their own convenience, not
to jeopardize security unduly ('Part of the reason we ended up coming
through the back was the noise coming through the front door. We
didn't want to disturb them.' - Gerry McCann in 'Madeleine Was
Here'). The fact is, they say they could see the patio, even if only
just, from where they claim to have been dining. They could not see
the front entrance at all. Under these circumstances it is
inconceivable that a professional couple would adopt the attitude of,
'We're leaving the back door open, so we might as well leave the
front door unlocked too.' Notice also that Gerry's observation
concerning the degree of front-door security does not flatly
contradict his earlier statements in that regard. He merely says it
is 'unlikely' the door was locked. Not a categorical statement of
fact at all.
It is important to
understand the significance of 'locking' the main entrance doors to
the Ocean Club apartments. As others of the Tapas fraternity will go
on to explain, the mechanisms were not of the Yale variety, although
Kate McCann (6 September), knowingly or otherwise, gives the
impression that a Yale type lock was in place:
'They left through the
balcony door, which they left closed but not locked. Main door was
closed but not locked. She thinks it could be opened from the inside
but not from the outside.'
Matthew Oldfield, on the
other hand, appears to have been rather more observant:
4078 "Okay. Did you
leave by the patio door?"
Reply "Yeah, back
the same way, because this door would have been locked and that's the
shortest way anyway of coming through there, so I would have gone
back out the same door."
What Oldfield tells us
here is that, supposing the front door to have been locked, he would
not have been able to unlock it and exit that way had he wanted to.
Never mind shortening the distance of his journey, he would have been
unable to unlock the door, despite being on the inside.
Further into his rogatory
interview, Oldfield has more to say about locking doors, his own
patio for example, and helpfully concludes with:
4078 "So at night
times you'd always have that door locked when you'd exit?"
Reply "The patio
door would be locked and you'd go out through the..."
4078 "Gone through
Reply "Main door and
lock that one."
4078 "Which then you
locked behind you."
4078 "After you
Reply "You had to
lock it because it would open on the, it wouldn't shut through like a
Yale lock it would close just on a, on a handle that opened it."
The front door locks, it
appears, did not operate on the commonly understood Yale principle
In the course of his
skirting the issue as far as the McCanns' practices were concerned,
Russell O'Brien, in his rogatory interview, makes the function of
their respective front door locks absolutely clear:
"On Sunday I recall
I checked Kate and Gerry's apartment as well as Rachael and Matt's. I
had taken Matt's keys and I believe that their (Rachael and Matt's)
door was deadlocked the same as ours and that I would have needed to
turn the key two times.
"I needed Matt's key
to check on their room and I had it, but I didn't need Kate and
Gerry's key because they went through the patio door', erm, we went
through the patio door to cross in and look into the children's
bedroom. So, at the time, I have to say, I didn't really think that,
you know, about the differences in how, in how we were, the security
in the, in the rooms was, but, erm, I definitely did not go in
through Gerry's and Kate's main, you know, double locked door or
anything, I'm sure I went through the patio."
And now the focal point:
"We were conscious
that, that, erm, if you, you only do one lock on the main door then
it can be opened from the inside but if you double lock it then,
then, then you need the key to get in or out.”
It is noticeable, on
reading this episode of his rogatory interview in full, that Russell
O'Brien is panicked somewhat by the possibility of the interviewing
officer's interpreting his observations of other peoples' careful
security measures as applying to the McCanns also. He is at pains, on
several occasions, to re-iterate that he did not avail himself of
their door key in order to enter 5A at any time, as they were
behaving differently to everyone else in leaving their patio door
unlocked. Thus is he, O'Brien, supporting the McCanns' contention
that they left their patio door unsecured, whilst at the same time
avoiding any specific reference to the status of their front door.
The following is typical:
"...on one of the
visits at least, erm, I went back to five 'D' and checked on our
children, but I also went to five, erm, 'D' on Matt's and I, I'm
pretty sure that I needed Matt's key to do that, so I think they were
doing the same as us. But when, for Kate and Gerry, I just went in
through the patio steps and, and just across to the room."
aside, what we can very reasonably conclude from all of this is that
if the front door to 5A were double locked, then a key would have
been necessary if one wished to get in or out. Importantly, three
'witnesses' (McCann, O'Brien and Oldfield), albeit not truly
independent, all alluded separately to the locked door at the front
of 5A, one of them being the occupant himself who, as we know, later
modified his account. O'Brien in particular refers to the McCanns'
'double locked door.' How would he have known (why should he have
assumed even) that was the case, given his claims not to have used
it? And why should anyone be particularly 'conscious' that 'if you,
you only do one lock on the main door then it can be opened from the
inside'? Surely the focus of concern should be with intruders
breaking in, not occupants getting out!
For his part, Oldfield,
without explicitly stating that the McCanns' front door had been
'double locked,' nonetheless intimated that he could not have opened
it from the inside. This despite the McCanns supposedly having left
their apartment that night via the very same patio door through which
he claimed to have entered. Oldfield says he eventually left via the
patio door himself 'because this door (the front door) would have
been locked.' With a key, obviously, and from the inside no doubt.
9.30 visit to 5A holds further clues. Many question whether he even
set foot inside the McCanns' apartment that night. Ironically, in
this instance, it might have been better for them had he not done so,
but peered through the patio doors from outside instead. That way he
need not have known, or assumed, anything about either door - front
or back. Once inside however, he, like the abductor, has to get out
and, again like the abductor, would have done the obvious thing,
i.e., exit the way he came in (which leads directly to where he
intended to go next) without a further thought, for the front door in
particular. Not only does he give it further thought. He cites it as
the primary reason for leaving via the patio door, despite not even
being asked about it! The question was, 'Did you leave by the patio
door?' not, 'Why did you leave by the patio door?'
One should not overlook
the fact that Oldfield's explanation for his actions is
retrospective. His rogatory statements were made well after the
event, by which time he will long have known that the McCanns had
left 5A via their patio on the night in question. And yet, even in
hindsight, he still sees fit to proffer the explanation, 'because
this door would have been locked,' in the knowledge (?) that the
McCanns, atypically, did not exit through this door themselves and
might therefore have merely closed it without locking it, as Kate
McCann had contended eighteen months earlier.
Since Oldfield has
consistently asserted that he entered 5A on that fateful occasion,
his statements concerning the interior, including the doors, shift
logically from supposition and toward reliability. From outside he
can only assume certain things. Once inside his actions are governed
more by knowledge than assumption (unless of course we're talking
about safeguarding children. There again, he was outside the room).
Be that as it may, his justification, 'because this door would have
been locked,' given in hindsight, warrants additional consideration.
If the statement is
interpreted as having been expressed in a tense the classical
grammarian would describe as 'future perfect in the past,' then it
simply reflects the timing of a situation or event, not its degree of
certainty. In that case 'The door would have been locked' is a
statement of fact with regard to a past moment in time, not a
conditional suggestive of doubt. The continuation (understood) might
be, for example: The door would have been locked by the time I
If, on the other hand,
the statement is construed as a conditional one, it must obey two
constraints (in this case): It must still make sense if appropriately
expanded. But what it tells us must also conform to what else we
know. Does it succeed on both counts? Let's examine a few more
1. The door would have
been locked as usual.
2. The door would have
been locked on that occasion.
3. The door would have
been locked by Gerry.
4. The door would have
been locked had the McCanns left the apartment that way themselves.
All make sense, but only
the last actually introduces an element of doubt. It is also the
interpretation which best fits the circumstances as we have been
given to understand them. Nevertheless, although the situation
described, as well as Oldfield's concomitant action, is in the past,
the statement describing it is made in the present (accepting, of
course, that Oldfield's 'present' was April, 2008). We know, as
Oldfield knew, that the McCanns had not left the apartment that way,
making the statement under consideration (version 4 above)
superficially pointless. We are obliged then to turn our attention to
Oldfield's thoughts at the time of the action, not when he made his
statement. And these too are suddenly portrayed as vaguely absurd.
Following a quick 'recce'
(or hasty abduction) the protagonist would instinctively go out the
way they came in, or otherwise take the line of least resistance. For
Oldfield the patio gave onto the path leading directly to the Tapas
bar, as he himself pointed out. The front door did not. The obvious
answer to the question 'Did you leave by the patio door?' therefore
is something akin to 'Obviously.' As simple as that. The front door
has no role to play in proceedings, and certainly should not feature
as the primary motivation for leaving via the back entrance.
What this points to is
Oldfield's knowing, at the time he made his statement, that the front
door was locked - at the time of the incident, i.e. 9.30 p.m. on May
3, 2007. In which case it will have barred the passage of an aspiring
abductor fifteen minutes earlier.
At last we may properly
understand why Gerry McCann, having introduced the open patio door
into the equation, thought it expedient to add that it was 'unlikely'
that the front door had been locked. Because he had previously, and
consistently, distinguished between 'closing' and 'locking' the front
door and first described locking and unlocking this door with his key
(not closing and opening, or closing and unlocking); implying that a
key would afterwards have been required to open it - from either
side. As an anonymous commentator speaking unofficially for the
McCanns has observed: "The front door has two locks - one which
is self-locking. When they are referring to 'locking' the door, they
are referring to locking the deadbolt with the key as opposed to the
springbolt (latchbolt) which was self-locking." Exactly.
No worries though. From
the catalogue of possibilities offered up by Kate McCann in
'Madeleine,' they need only select the 'duplicate key' option. Here
it is again:
"For a long while we
would assume that the abductor had entered and exited through the
window of the children's bedroom, but it is equally possible that he
used the patio doors or even had a key to the front door."
As David Payne explains
in his rogatory interview:
needed the key you know, to use, if I remember to gain access into
the, err into the apartment, and you know generally it was difficult
because there was, you know we'd ask about more than one key, there
was the only one key to the apartment."
So unless we're looking
at some particularly disgruntled member of the OC staff who, one
supposes, might have had a master key, and despite a lengthy holiday
season ahead decided that it simply had to be Madeleine McCann on 3
May, 2007, what we're faced with is an abductor who enters 5A much
like an insect enters a pitcher plant. He comes in through the
unlocked patio doors and then - fails to emerge. He is not seen to
exit via the patio. He does not exit via the window. He cannot exit
via the front door. And yet Jane Tanner is convinced she saw the
newly hatched 'abductor' carrying Madeleine, back-to-front.
Through the looking glass
Co-incidentally, we have
evidence, in the form of an 'off the record' statement by Gerry
McCann, that he was aware (or had been made aware) of this conundrum.
During a recent interview for Portuguese television, Goncalo Amaral
revealed the following:
"There is a report
from Control Risks, the first private detective agency which was
brought to the case [by the McCanns] in the very first days, where
they state, after speaking with Gerald McCann and other witnesses in
that group [Tapas 9], that the key that Mr Gerald McCann alleges to
have used had in fact been left in the kitchen, on the kitchen's
counter. Right away, the lies started." (Interview on SIC, 17
Why, one might ask, is
such a crucial observation absent from Gerry McCann's own statement
to police on both 4 and 10 May?
Reporters David Brown and
Patrick Foster, informed readers later that year:
'Mr McCann first
contacted private investigation companies less than three weeks after
his daughter was reported missing on May 3.' (The Times, September
Less than three weeks in
this instance is more than two weeks, or Brown and Foster would have
written 'less than a fortnight.' The relevant data gathering by
Control Risks Group was therefore carried out after Gerry McCann had
made his statements to police, when, unsure of what exactly to reveal
about the status of the front door to the apartment, he opted for the
non-committal 'likelihood' of its having been unlocked on the
Thursday night and 'not necessarily' locked on other occasions,
despite every itemised departure being accompanied by the rigorous
locking of both doors, front and back. And locking the front door,
don’t forget, meant a key would be required if one wished to go
through it afterwards, in whichever direction.
It does rather look as
though someone 'wised up' to the implications of conscientious adult
behaviour on this occasion and subsequently left a key at someone
else's disposal; or would like others to believe they did. An earlier
discussion (Reinforcements: McCannFiles, 10 April, 2011) examined how
and why elements are introduced into a story to compensate for a
weakness of some kind. Since the two are inter-related (the element
and the weakness) consideration of the one should help identify the
other. If the front door key left in the kitchen was an accommodation
to circumstance, then the front door will have been the weakness.
But the story of
Madeleine McCann's 'abduction' is not Alice in Wonderland. Nor is
Gerry McCann Scotland's answer to Lewis Carroll.
An intruder unfamiliar
with the Ocean Club apartments, who is in a hurry to enter one such,
and just as eager to depart, will have their 'eyes on the prize.'
Even if they enter through a window they will seek to exit through
the nearest available door. So, having had to await the disappearance
of the Lone Ranger, 'Elvis' (who, we should remind ourselves, is
anything but 'tonto') snatches Madeleine up and makes for the front
door. Finding it locked, what does he do? Well, if he came in through
the window his attention would immediately turn to the patio door
which, as he would quickly discover, he could open. Had he come in
that way he would of course have known that already and not even have
considered leaving via the front door, unless it were in some way
advantageous so to do. Anyway, out he goes. Except he didn't. Why
He could not possibly
have known there were people standing in the street opposite the gate
to the steps until he was outside the door. So what if there were? He
could not have known either that one of them was the tenant of 5A,
whom he had neither seen nor heard speak during the brief time they
were in the apartment together. Maybe he just didn't feel like taking
a chance on being seen. But what choice did he have? How was he to
know the two conversationalists were blind to passers by? He had no
choice it seems. Unless he realised that the key on the kitchen
counter - the one with the 'Use Me!' label attached - was his means
The abductor had entered
an apartment in darkness, looking for a child, not a key. He had
crossed the main floor with his attention directed towards the
bedrooms, not the kitchen (had he come in through the window he could
not yet have noticed the kitchen even). Suddenly he hears someone
else slide open the patio door ('Not another one after this little
girl!' he thought) then hid from view somehow. After he'd heard the
toilet flush and the patio door slide shut, he reasoned that the
'coast was clear' and carried his prize anxiously to the front door,
when the kitchen counter would have been out of view, or the patio
door, if that is how he came in. But then the kitchen counter would
still not have been in his line of sight. It would only have been so
on first entering, or if he had gone out through the patio door,
turned round and come back in again! (the 'I must avoid those
witnesses' decision). So now, if he has not already done so, he tries
the front door.
Whether or not Elvis's
attempts at escape are front-then-rear or rear-then-front, he's in a
tight spot and needs to leave in a hurry. The minutes are ticking by.
Tarzan is standing outside and Jane's just leaving (or left) the
restaurant. Thinks he: 'Surely whoever's staying here will have left
a key to the front door lying around somewhere.' Don't they all? (He
hadn't previously met Messrs. O'Brien, Oldfield or Payne) But where?
Oh! What's that I can almost see among the clutter on the kitchen
counter? (from just inside the patio door, in the dark, Madeleine
cradled in his arms (see forensic photographs of 5A interior). Or, if
standing at the locked front door, 'Damn! I'll have to go out through
that bedroom window after all! Mustn't forget to close the curtains
behind me!' It looks like it might be a key. I wonder if it fits the
front door? Let's take a closer look. If I can pick it up without
this child's body skittling everything else on the shelf and waking
her up, I might just make it out in time for the next 'check on the
children,' due any second now.'
Control Risks observation on behalf of Gerry McCann, that a key had
been left on the kitchen counter, does not address the inevitable
question of where exactly this same key was found subsequently, after
the abductor had perhaps made use of it. Was it discovered in the
door, for instance? It was fortunate for the McCanns that the
intruder did not take it with him. That could really have spoiled
their holiday, since there was only the one. The point is, if it
hadn't moved from the kitchen counter, then it would not have been
employed by an abductor desperate to exit the apartment (unless,
perhaps, 'Please return to kitchen counter.' was written on the
reverse of the 'Use me!' label intended for Alice). This shortcoming
probably explains why the story came and went like Halley's comet.
Gerry McCann no doubt felt it safer not to include it in any further
statements he might make to the police; in September, say. So he
In the real world, being
unconstrained by the timing of Jane Tanner's anticipated 'sighting,'
the criminal waits quietly out of sight at the top of the patio
steps, until McCann and Wilkins wander off - and so does he -
carrying Madeleine. And a change of pyjamas.
The situation is
cut-and-dried. If Madeleine McCann's so-called abductor did not leave
5A in time to be spotted by Jane Tanner at 9.15 p.m., then he could
not have been seen by her. He might perhaps have left later (via the
patio) in time to be seen by the Smiths, but only with a different
child, or Madeleine in a change of clothes, and having successfully
hidden himself from Matthew Oldfield's view in the meantime (Not
difficult. He had only to sit silently on Madeleine's bed. But he
would not have known that!).
In any event Gerry McCann
was 'fully convinced that the abduction took place during the period
of time between his check at 21h05 and Matthew's visit at 21h30.'
Notwithstanding which, he and the abductor were in each other's
company, apparently, just before 9.10 p.m. Why would the culprit wait
twenty minutes or more before leaving the scene? They wouldn't. And
even if they did, is it not highly improbable that two significant
sightings, the only two in fact, should have been of innocent
parties, whilst the individual actually carrying Madeleine through
the streets of Praia da Luz went unnoticed?
No mysterious unforeseen
abductor can have emerged from 5A between 9.00 and 10.00 that night.
The only people to do so were those that actually entered the
It has been pointed out
before now (A Line in The Sand: McCannFiles, 19 March) that the one
thing neither the McCanns nor their legal representatives would be
able to fend off would be a proof, evidential or logical, that their
daughter Madeleine could not have been abducted during the one hour
in which they suppose it to have happened. Such a conclusion would
lead, inevitably, to a chain of postulates: 'Not abducted' between
9.00 and 10.00 p.m. would mean 'not abducted at all,' since she was
reported alive at 9.05 and her parents were present in the apartment
after 10.00. 'Not abducted' would mean Madeleine is dead and her
parents are aware that that is so. Parental awareness of Madeleine's
true fate would reveal subsequent, unremitting emphasis on abduction
to have been a ploy. An effort to conceal Madeleine's death, having
been publicly acknowledged by the parents as unnecessary in the event
of an accident, would mean that, rather than accidental, something
deliberate may have occurred to bring about fatality.
For its own sake Society
owes it to victims past, and as an endeavour to safeguard those who
might become victims, to demonstrate that the avoidable death of a
child is unacceptable, much less that those responsible should go on
to profit from it with their continued liberty or, worse yet,
financially. Whether inspired by the McCanns or not, a spate of
recent 'abductions' is evidence of a disturbing trend in peoples'
perception of what they might get away with. It cannot be allowed to
continue. Otherwise we are as good as signing the death warrants of
'at risk' children everywhere.
The door handle/lock on
apartment 5A PJ Files
Processo 09 Volume IXa,
Click image to enlarge
From: Processo 09 Volume
IXa, Page 2318
Finally, there also
proceeded the detailed analysis of the door and of the windows of the
target apartment there not being detected the existence of any
clues/traces of break-in/forced entry on them.
Photos 38 to 40: Detail
of the lock of the door of the apartment front entrance where the
non-existence of break-in/forced entry was verified.
Epilogue – 26.03.2012
Have you heard the one
about the man intercepted at the airport, just prior to boarding,
with a bomb in his luggage? When asked to explain himself he says
calmly, 'the odds of there being a bomb on board the plane are
100,000 to one. The odds that there are two bombs are double that.'
Unfortunately a double
indemnity does not necessarily make a situation twice as safe.
In the course of their
most recent public outing (on Swedish T.V. this time), the McCanns,
not asking for money (cough!) but, like students sitting their
'mocks,' and with script nicely rehearsed, repeated their by now well
practised answers, which included Kate's "Yeah, absolutely,
there's no way a young child could have got out."
This is clearly an agreed
position, as Clarence Mitchell, representing both parents, has
"Kate and Gerry know
Mad... know their daughter well enough to know she didn't wander out
of the apartment, as has often been speculated."
Gerry McCann has said
exactly the same thing, using exactly the same pivotal phrase ('no
"there's no way
she... she could have got out on her own."
'No way' is the
contemporary equivalent of 'impossible' (not 'unlikely,' 'with
difficulty,' or any other imprecise term). It is absolute.
Over a year ago now the
question of Madeleine's impediment was discussed (see article: Just
Listen, McCannFiles, 5 Feb., 2011). It turns out not to have been the
open patio door per se. That being so, we can offer the McCanns
'double indemnity' and, hypothetically lock that door for them
without changing the situation. There is still 'no way' Madeleine
could have got out on her own.
Why not? What was there
to stop her turning left instead of right and leaving through the
unlocked front door, as opposed to the supposedly unlocked patio
door, even if the latter had been locked? Nothing in principle, as
the considered thoughts of Russell O’Brien confirm:
"We were conscious
that, that, erm, if you, you only do one lock on the main door then
it can be opened from the inside."
In practice however,
leaving through a locked door without the key would have been
impossible. There is 'no way' Madeleine McCann could have left 5A
spontaneously under such circumstances. So, supposing that she was
perfectly well, as the McCanns have insisted all along, then the only
true obstacle to her freedom was the locked front door, not the open
patio. And that of course means, as has most recently been argued,
that the abductor was stuck inside also.
A Picture of Innocence –
As any half awake reader
of 'Madeleine' will have discovered, the McCanns appear to have an
answer for everything. Even though there may be questions yet to be
put for which they might struggle to offer a convincing response,
there is one in particular that they have already demonstrated they
cannot answer. They could not answer it when it was put to them in
2007. And they still cannot answer it five years later. It surely
does not require a clinical psychologist to point out that there is
something seriously wrong when a parent deprived of his or her child
cannot adequately recall that child's last moments with them.
When interviewed in 2007
for Spanish broadcaster Antena 3, the McCanns were asked:
"Allow me to take
you both back to the 3rd May. What's the last thing you remember
KM: "Just a happy
little girl. A beautiful, happy little girl"
(Not: 'She was sleeping
beautifully' or 'was sound asleep').
GM: "Just think of
all the times... the nice times that we've had with her in our house,
and in her playing, in the playroom with her... with her... the
The father could not even
place Madeleine in Portugal. Instead he describes happy times at home
Fast forward now to 2012
and a very recent interview for Swedish Television:
Fredrik Skavlan: "Errm...
If we could start by going back, errm... to... to May, errr... 3rd
2007. What's your strongest memories of Madeleine from that day?”
Gerry McCann: "I
think the strongest memory I have is of really, the photograph that
was the last photograph we have of her and, errr... you know, we'd
had a lovely holiday. Madeleine was having a great time and just
after lunch we went over to the pool area and, errr... she was
sitting there paddling in the pool and I was sitting next to her and
she turned round and she's just beaming. And then the... the last
time I saw her, which was probably minutes before she was taken, when
she was lying asleep, and it's terrible how... I've said this a few
times but I had one of those poignant moments as a parent where... I
went into her room, and the door was open, and I... I just paused for
a second and I looked, and she was sound asleep, and I thought how
beautiful she was. The twins were asleep in the... in their cots and
I thought how lucky we were. And within, you know, minutes that was
However intriguing one
might find Gerry McCann's reference to his reverie being 'shattered,'
or the verbatim repetition of his 'proud father moment' anecdote, the
more revealing aspect of his response to the interviewer's question
is the opener; the description, ostensibly, of his strongest memory
of Madeleine from that day, which turns out not to be a particularly
vivid memory of Madeleine at all, but the description of a photograph
in which both Gerry McCann and his daughter Madeleine appear. As
"I think the
strongest memory I have is of really, the photograph."
The 'last photograph we
have of her' gives nothing away as regards the date it was taken but
that is not the crux of the matter.
When Gerry speaks of his
strongest memory being of a photograph he means exactly that. He does
not describe his memory of accompanying two children by the pool and
being photographed at the time. Oh no. He describes the photograph,
from the onlooker's point of view:
"...just after lunch
we went over to the pool area and, errr... she was sitting there
paddling in the pool and I was sitting next to her and she turned
round and she's just beaming."
Look at the photograph in
question. Gerry is staring directly at the camera from behind a pair
of sunglasses. Madeleine, a sun hat shielding her face, has turned
away to her left with a broad smile. But from their relative
positions at the time the shutter was pressed, Gerry would not have
been able to tell whether Madeleine was beaming, frowning or crying.
'She's just beaming' is a description of what Madeleine looks like to
anyone viewing the photograph. It is not a personal recollection of
Gerry McCann's, the father who, despite attempts at convincing the PJ
that his memory actually improved with time, has, five years on, a
stronger memory of a photograph (its details, by virtue of the
photograph's very existence, do not need to be remembered) than he
does of a later interaction with Madeleine; an interaction which, in
keeping with well-documented 'recency effects' in memory (last
item(s) in a series best recalled), should constitute the stronger
recollection, being nearer in time and, by definition, the last
experience of its kind.
Amnesia apart, there are
two reasons in particular why anyone should be unable to recollect
the fundamental detail of a significant personal interaction: They
have either forgotten all about it (it was not that significant after
all), or the memory was not established in the first instance, i.e.,
what was supposed to have happened did not.
The McCanns have been
propped up by two classes of supporter over the years: The
enthusiastic subalterns with their own political and/or professional
agendas, and the cohorts of the gullible. Head of the Portuguese
Lawyers Order Dr. António Marinho e Pinto, a witness for the McCann
couple in the forthcoming libel action against Dr. Gonçalo Amaral,
the first co-ordinator of the investigation to Maddie's
disappearance, belongs in the former category, as illustrated by a
recent statement of his on Portuguese Television:
"I am highly
critical of the options taken by the Judiciary Police officers,
namely of Dr. Gonçalo Amaral [MeP seems oblivious to Paulo Rebelo's
role as coordinator of the 'second part' of the investigation that
lead directly to the archival]. I believe that it is absurd to
attribute... first of all to conclude that the child died, secondly
to attribute that death to the parents. I believe that an English
couple that is holidaying in the Algarve did not come here to murder
their daughter. And if indeed she died, due to an accident, the first
thing they would do, obviously, wouldn't be to hide the cadaver, it
would be to try to save her, to take her to a hospital. A couple that
sees their daughter in that situation, in that situation..."
Dr. António Marinho e
Pinto (and anyone else sharing his belief in the seemingly absurd) is
cordially invited to read/re-read as appropriate, 'There's Nothing to
Say She’s Not Out There Alive' (McCannFiles, 27 June, 2009). Anyone
capable of playing the game 'noughts and crosses' should be able to
interpret a matrix of four possibilities. If they cannot do that then
they have no right to opine as 'experts' in front of a T.V. camera.
Assuming they can recognise four discrete conditions, then what is it
about the following pairing the likes of Dr. António Marinho e Pinto
currently fail to understand?
If Madeleine McCann is
not 'out there alive' then she is dead.
Abduction is the only
route to being 'out there alive,' all other possibilities having been
dismissed by the parents. Hence 'out there alive' equates to
'abducted.' So if Madeleine McCann was not abducted then, as surely
as night follows day, she is dead - and then some. The statements by
Jane Tanner and Aoife Smith tell us, in effect, that Madeleine McCann
cannot have been abducted, unless she was tossed in the air like a
pancake just before being witnessed (sighted, call it what you will)
by Tanner, or else changed out of her Eeyore pyjamas 'on the hoof'
before being spotted by the Smiths.
The abduction story more
than verges on the ridiculous. It is ridiculous. It most certainly
does not deserve to be called a 'thesis.'
As for the second of Dr.
António Marinho e Pinto’s 'beliefs,' it too has already been
addressed ('A Line in The Sand:' McCannFiles, 19 March). So it's
'back to the drawing board' for April then...?
A Norse! A Norse! My
Kingdom for a Norse! - 09.04.2012
Assuming of course that
Madeleine McCann is in the hands of a not-so-swarthy Scandinavian,
secluded in a land where, 'with her looks, she could blend in fairly
And so the McCanns went
off to 'do media' in Sweden, where a journalist, who had no doubt
been told she was to meet and interview Kate and Gerry McCann, was
greeted by the pair with 'Hi, Gerry.' 'Hi, Kate.' As if she might for
some reason have had difficulty deciding who was who. (Making
allowance for Swedish sexual liberalism perhaps?). But don't get your
hopes up. The dialogue was no more convincing once they were all
Gerry McCann [voice
over]: I don't think you can give up, even when we've been exhausted
to the point of saying 'I just want this to end', you go to bed, you
get up the next day and you think, 'she's still missing and we still
need to find her' and I think most parents understand that.
And what, exactly, would
Gerry like to end? Not the search for his missing daughter, surely?
That's what they travelled to Sweden to promote, as Kate will later
confirm. But first we hear from her:
Kate McCann [voice over]:
I mean, I... I feel she's out there. I feel that there's... there's
more to come. I just need it to be soon.
Well of course she's 'out
there.' Where else could she be? (No, don't answer rhetorical
questions, on the grounds that, etc., etc.). Yet 'there's more to
come' You betcha!
Annika Widebeck [voice
over]: How convinced are you that she is still alive then?
Gerry McCann: Well, I try
to look at it as logically as possible. What we do know is that
there's no evidence, at all, to suggest that Madeleine's dead and
that means there's a good chance that she's alive, and as a parent I
couldn't accept that she was dead without irrefutable evidence that
she is, so...
We'll do the logic bit in
a moment. First the lie: 'there's no evidence, at all, to suggest
that Madeleine's dead.'
No evidence at all to
suggest, eh? Viva Zapata!
'...that means there's a
good chance that she's alive.' No it does not. If I may quote from an
entry in Wikipaedia (on a completely different topic - substitute
'that Madeleine is dead' for the phrase in parentheses):
'The argument that there
is no evidence (of Shakespeare's authorship) is a form of fallacious
logic known as argumentum ex silentio, or argument from silence,
since it takes the absence of evidence to be evidence of absence.'
So, a bit more effort on
the logic front required there I think, Gerry.
Kate McCann: And I think
we do know of so many cases now of children who have been abducted
and have, you know, been away for years and sometimes decades.
Was that two, or three
rediscovered in the last five years? I forget.
Annika Widebeck: Like
when you're walking in like a Swedish beautiful weather, do you think
about now, at this very second, she can be some place and wonder
Kate McCann: I do... It's
funny you mention about the weather because it's days like this when
I think 'oh, what a lovely day' and that's when I think 'but this
would be a lovelier day, if Madeleine was here', errm... (big sigh) I
do... I mean... I don't... I try not to speculate too much. I really
don't know where she is, all I hope for is that whoever's with her is
looking after her and that she's happy, and even that is... is,
errm... is sad because, you know, the thought of her being happy with
somebody else, when she should be with us, and being happy and, you
know, there's no doubt that a child's best place is with their
The weather. A singularly
British pre-occupation. And on days when the weather is good and it
is therefore 'a lovely day,' Kate thinks about how much lovelier the
day could be, i.e. how much better even, the weather could be, if
Madeleine were there. Apart from the occasional Welshman who believes
himself to be a native American Indian, I don't know of too many
Europeans who would place any faith in a 'rain dance.' The weather
locally (to me, to you, to Kate McCann) is wholly unaffected by
Madeleine's exact whereabouts. So in what sense could Madeleine's
'being here' enhance the day's loveliness?
The question to Kate
McCann is about Madeleine. All Kate 'hopes for,' primarily, concerns
whoever is with her (Madeleine, that is). This strange turn of phrase
made its first appearance during the McCanns' very first televised
appeal, causing Gerry to cast an irritated glance of disapproval in
his wife's direction. It describes guardianship, not captivity.
Furthermore, if the subject of the observation is a missing child,
then one might expect to hear the phrase, 'whoever she's with' used
as an adjunct to any discussion. Here, once again, the child is
replaced as the topic by her 'abductor.' Why should Kate prefer/find
it easier to discuss anonymous individuals rather than her own
Gerry McCann: You know,
there was a very clear strategy at work that was, errr... trying to
convey to the world that, errr... there was strong evidence that
Madeleine was dead and we were involved and, in fact, thankfully the
prosecutor's final report makes it absolutely clear that, you know,
there is no evidence that Madeleine is dead and there's certainly no
evidence to link us, errr... to implicate us is any way. So...
So... there's that same
old misrepresentation again. Followed by a remark that swerves to
avoid danger like a frightened charioteer in the film Ben-Hur:
'...there's certainly no evidence to link us, errr... to implicate us
is any way.'
Might that have been, 'no
evidence to link us to her disappearance,' perhaps? (At which point,
those who enjoy a good 'stand-up' routine might picture another
notorious Glaswegian, standing all of six feet, one hand on his hip
the other stroking his beard, replying, 'Oh, you b****y think so?').
Kate McCann: The damage,
errm... that was done with all the media reporting with the lies and
speculation and fabrication and being made arguido. I think the
damage was ongoing. We've had this in other countries, outside the UK
and Portugal. Unlike the UK and Portugal, where the story carried on,
some... in other countries it stopped, so it stopped at the dramatic,
'oh, the parents are involved' and then, you know, they moved on to
another story really, and all I can say to people is please, please
read my book.
Not, '...please be
vigilant and look out for my daughter.' 'Please read my book’
(available at the usual retail outlets), where you will find an
‘account of the truth,' comprising lies, speculation and
fabrication to counter that of the media referred to earlier.
Gerry McCann: Madeleine
could have easily been taken out of Portugal within the first two
hours and that's the problem. We have no idea where she is, we don't
know who's taken her and we don't know why, so unfortunately for us
we want as much awareness as possible that Madeleine's missing and
obviously with her looks she could (laughs) blend into Scandinavia
'Madeleine could have
easily been taken out of Portugal within the first two hours and
that's the problem.' A problem exacerbated by the McCanns having
given the abductor a two hour head start (Madeleine 'taken' at 9.15
or thereabouts, local police first contacted at 10.50 p.m., arriving
at the scene some 12 to 15 minutes later).
Note also the categorical
statements of ignorance. The McCanns apparently have no knowledge of
'where,' 'who' or 'why.' Really?
Gerry McCann: I think
certainly there's been remarkably few child abductions since
Madeleine was taken.
Remarkably few genuine
child abductions to be sure. Coupled with an equally remarkable
upsurge in the number of faked ones. Trend analysis anyone?
Annika Widebeck: Tell me
how far away was this restaurant?
Gerry McCann: I mean it
was incredibly close. I think if you had to draw a straight line from
the restaurant to the apartment it was 50 metres. It never entered
our head for a second that somebody would steal your child, it was
the furthest thing from your mind, so...
Two metres might be
'incredibly close.' Fifty metres is like the other side of the dual
carriageway. Just think of 'cross the bridge for motorway services.'
And by the way, Annika's child, if she has one, was never at risk, so
there was little point in Gerry agonising on her behalf.
Annika Widebeck: And
still you hear this all the time why did you leave them... right?
Kate McCann: I mean,
there's only so many times we can answer the question and, you know,
I've had to... you know, I've persecuted myself with that, you know,
obviously... (sigh) I can't change it, I know how much we love
Madeleine, you know, and at the end of the day the person who has
taken Madeleine is the one who has committed the crime and, errr...
and that's who we need to find.
Basically, 'there's only
so many times we can answer the question,' ('Why did you leave
them?') and Kate's not going to answer it now either as it turns out.
All in all another media
moment that's as transparent as cellophane. Still, it did provide
some pictures to remind us all of how 'destroyed' the McCanns have
been by others opinions of them.
('As he walks along the
Bois de Boulogne with an independent air, you can hear the girls
declare, 'He must be a millionaire...!').
Same Beans, Different
Grounds – 27.04.2012
A little over two years
ago a deep and disturbing strategy was detected as underpinning the
McCanns' half-hearted inclinations toward a Portuguese re-opening of
the archived investigation into their daughter's disappearance (Wake
Up and Smell the Coffee - McCannFiles, 18.2.2010).
Central to the plan was a
collection of new 'leads,' which the McCanns' Portuguese advocate,
Isabel Duarte, crowed about in Lisbon, before, during, and after the
court hearing at which the McCanns sought the imposition of an
injunction upon Goncalo Amaral's book, The Truth of the Lie. This was
a civil case don't forget, the litigation involving no agencies other
than those representing either the McCanns or Goncalo Amaral. Hence
it is entirely reasonable to conclude that the stratagem concerned
was, by whatever measure, a McCann initiative.
That strategem was to
induce the Portuguese to re-open the Maddie case on the strength of
these new 'leads;' leads that had already been dismissed as being
without merit and which had accrued after the primary investigation
had been set aside. Had it succeeded, the Portuguese police would
have been saddled, indefinitely, with the obligation and interminable
expense of an open-ended inquiry. The former arguidos, on the other
hand, could bask in the knowledge that they were comfortably outside
the new frame of reference, while continuing to seek sponsorship of
their 'search.' The ruse was subtle and turned essentially upon the
substitution of 'recommencement,' for 're-opening,' the new starting
point being post-archival.
All the while the
original investigation sits on the shelf, with the McCanns resident
inside the box marked 'not exonerated,' it festers as a wound,
against which all the PR in the world is ultimately no more effective
than band-aid. Unless they are able to demonstrate their innocence to
general effect through legal channels, other than initiating actions
for defamation of course, then the only way forward for the couple is
to amputate the offending limb. That was, and remains, the objective.
After one or two false
starts, the current 'review' sprang from the traps like a desperate
greyhound, following a very public appeal to Prime Minister David
Cameron by The Sun newspaper. Now if there is one thing to be learned
from the evolution of the McCann case, it is that it could be a
mistake to take things at face value - whatever their point of
origin. Despite, therefore, others' very reasonable belief in the
impartiality of the on-going Met. Police review, the air of deja-vu,
like the odour of decomposition, is more than faintly detectable.
Even those whose ears are closest to the ground may have been fooled,
by the more obvious tremors, into overlooking the deeper, long-wave
Much as expected, DCI
Andy Redwood personally, and one suspects deliberately, delivered an
empty envelope during the recent BBC 'Panorama' broadcast (Madeleine:
The Last Hope?) But to whose advantage? Why mount the soap-box if
you've nothing to say? Madeleine might be alive. There again she
might be dead. Oh, and we believe she was taken from the apartment
illegally. Splendid. Now please refund the Police allocation from my
Council Tax bill! If that's what £2m. buys I'd as soon shop
But this is no laughing
matter. Besides assiduously (or so we are led to believe) addressing
themselves to 40,000 pieces of information gathered by the PJ and
other agencies, the Met. have apparently identified 195 avenues ripe
for further exploration, on which basis Redwood and colleagues are
hopeful that the Portuguese might, at some future date, re-open the
Maddie case. And that's with three-quarters of the work remaining, as
far as the review is concerned. On a conservative estimate therefore,
the Met. could find themselves nursing some five hundred pointers for
the PJ to go on and explore. That's rather more than the number of
'leads' which Isabel Duarte considered, and considers still, to be
pivotal to her own argument, which she personally re-presented for
the benefit of 'Panorama' viewers.
There is an anecdote
concerning the CEO of Coca-Cola who, when requiring a new initiative
from the incumbent ad agency, was told: 'We'll put ten writers on it
immediately.' To which he laconically replied: 'Why not one good
one?' Goncalo Amaral has voiced the same pragmatism very recently
with regard to the '195' suggestions for further investigation. Five
should be enough. If they're genuinely worth pursuing, that is.
The right thinking view
that the Met. must stand aloof in all this is sadly compromised by
their acknowledgement of collaboration with the McCanns, in producing
yet another instrument in support, not of their own official review
duties but the parents' 'appeal' activities. Pleas for information,
accompanied by photographs varying in their currency, have been heard
loud and long for the past five years. It does not now require
another evolved image to be purchased at the taxpayer's expense. As
cynical a question as it may appear, how important is Madeleine
McCann anyway? For £2m. (or more), the BBC could recruit an
established personality to present a weekly five-minute appeal on
behalf of all the UK's missing children - perhaps Kate McCann even.
That would give her something to do and spare her the agony of
running round the equivalent of Hyde Park every so often.
I digress. We should, I
believe, be concerned that the Met. have been in liaison with McCanns
at all. Although the Portuguese have seen fit to rescind the status
of 'Arguido,' Leicestershire Police, when it counted, were absolutely
clear that there were no demonstrable grounds for ruling them out of
the inquiry as it stood, even after it had been 'archived' abroad.
What consultation, beyond 'What do you think of this one?' might we
not have been appraised of by DCI Redwood?
This point of view will
no doubt be considered melodramatic by many, but 'a source close to
the McCanns' has already provided a useful hint as to its accuracy.
According to The Mirror online (April 27th, 2012):
'Last night a source
close to the McCanns said: "Kate and Gerry agree with what
Scotland Yard said on Wednesday. They will speak publicly next
And in The Sun:
'Kate and Gerry McCann
had been given fresh hope by a Met review of the investigation.
'Yesterday a source close
to them said: "They were hoping the Portuguese would see sense
and agree. But it seems not.
'"There is a little
girl missing — that is all that should matter. They feel the best
hope of finding Madeleine lies in the case being reopened."'
Which, in a nutshell,
tells us that Scotland Yard and the McCanns are 'singing from the
same hymn sheet,' their common purpose being to convince the
Portuguese to re-open the investigation - on their terms. But now,
instead of the eight/eighty/eighty-eight leads tendered by Isabel
Duarte two years ago, we have one hundred and ninety-five (and
counting) clues, coming from no less an authority than Scotland Yard.
And why should the McCanns, after years of 're-opening' avoidance, be
particularly disappointed at the immediate and negative reaction from
Portugal? Because the Portuguese are simply not prepared to buy what
the they and the Met. are proposing to sell them! And why should
The peoples of the
Iberian peninsular are generally cheerful and abundantly
open-hearted; characteristics which, unfortunately, tend to invite
deception. They are not, however, anyone's fools. Like the last
number played aboard the sinking Titanic, the melody in this instance
may differ according to which side of the Pond you're from, but the
lyrics remain the same regardless. Under the terms of reference
proposed originally by Isabel Duarte and latterly by the Metropolitan
Police, the McCann case would become the police equivalent of a
Mandelbrot set. The investigating authority (i.e. the Portuguese)
could amuse themselves indefinitely exploring the same function in
ever decreasing degrees of magnitude (or clairvoyant sightings of
infinitely varying clarity if you'd rather), whilst the McCanns alone
would have the luxury of admiring the full picture.
The current situation is
either the result of an unholy alliance, or else the consequence of
'political correctness' deriving from what might be termed the
'balloon effect;' something the McCanns recognised and exploited very
early on. The more a balloon is inflated, the louder the 'bang'
should it burst. Hence fewer people are inclined to rupture it. The
McCanns, through their new mouthpiece the Met., are trying to blow
yet more air into the Maddie balloon, but the Portuguese, having
already thrown a net over it, see no reason for it to expand further.
And who would blame them? For all the mutual stroking going on in the
UK, Portugal has no vested interest in anything other than rigorous
police work in this instance. Their politicians have to be mindful of
their voters after all. Alan Johnson’s talk of a 'charm offensive'
is a day late and a dollar short. Five years has passed and too many
people now know too much for any more wool to be pulled over their
So we arrive at a
peculiar stalemate, with no-one in authority on either side of the
water prepared to cut the Gordian knot. It simply is not in their
interest to do so. Anyone in the UK who occupies any kind of public
or 'visible' corporate office (in the media, say), were they to
denounce the McCanns, would become, overnight, as popular as the
Plague (Isabel Duarte would vouch for that). From the Portuguese
standpoint, simply re-opening the case would plunge them straight
back into the quicksand from which they have only recently emerged,
since the investigation has but one direction it can take.
The breakthrough, if
there is to be one, is more likely to arise out of left-field,
instigated by someone with nothing to lose. It is not beyond the
realms of feasibility. But, as Robert Redford discovered toward the
close of the film Three Days of the Condor, damning revelations can
only be effective if others are allowed to read them. The victim of
this crime herself having set an unwarranted precedent, it is
therefore entirely possible that Madeleine McCann will not be unique
in having disappeared without trace. 'Evidence' can do that also.
A Matter of Trust –
The title of this piece
is borrowed from Billy Joel, arguably one of the greatest songwriters
of the last century, and a line from this very song will be used in
conclusion. But first a quote from Kate McCann: "As a lawyer
once said to me, apropos another matter, 'One coincidence, two
coincidences – maybe they're still coincidences. Any more than that
and it stops being coincidence.'" According to this reasoning,
three or more coincidences within a given context are unlikely all to
be chance occurrences. With this in mind, certain historical aspects
of the McCann affair may perhaps be viewed with more than a hint of
scepticism. To begin at the very beginning...
At 10.00 a.m. on the
morning of May 4, 2007, the British Consul arrived in Praia da Luz
from Portimao, less than twelve hours after Portuguese police had
been alerted to the unexplained absence of Madeleine McCann from her
holiday accommodation. Who, one wonders, made the suggestion (or
issued the instruction), either late on Thursday night or early the
following morning, that the Consul's presence at the scene would be a
good idea? Perhaps the same source coincidentally prompted the
arrival, also that morning, of Ambassador John Buck from Lisbon,
considerably further away. Ambassador Buck himself announced to the
assembled media on 8 May:
gentlemen, good evening. As you know I spent quite a lot of time with
the McCann family on Friday and over the weekend..."
The Daily Mail once
carried a report (the on-line version since deleted) of how an
unnamed British diplomat expressed personal doubts about the McCann
case directly to the Foreign Office, 'over four months before Gerry
and Kate were named arguidos (suspects) on September 7.' Indeed, as
the Mail recounted, 'The diplomat was sent to the holiday resort of
Praia da Luz in the days following the four-year-old's disappearance
and soon became concerned over "inconsistencies" in the
testimonies by her parents and their friends.'
'Over four months' has to
have been a date between May 4 and May 7.
'After visiting the
McCanns, the unnamed diplomat sent a report to the Foreign Office in
London, admitting his worries about "confused declarations"
of the McCanns' movements on the night of May 3.'
It matters not at all
whether the misgivings alluded to were expressed by Ambassador John
Buck or Bill Henderson, then British Consul in the Algarve. Rather
more interesting is that the diplomat responsible 'expressed his
fears after receiving instruction from the Foreign Office to provide
"all possible assistance to the McCann couple."' From which
it becomes apparent that the Foreign office were extraordinarily
quick off the mark in seizing the diplomatic initiative in this case,
since the representative in question was sent to Praia da Luz and did
not simply exercise personal initiative.
Far from the diplomat's
being instructed 'in the days following the four-year-old's
disappearance,' it appears that the wheels of officialdom turned
within hours, before the news had even broken. Sky News carried the
story in their 7.38 a.m. report, but Lisbon is a three-hour drive
from the Algarve. Is it reasonable to suppose that the Foreign
Office, having only just become aware of the situation, would
immediately have instructed 'their men in Iberia' to get themselves
to Praia da Luz with even greater immediacy? That certainly wasn't
Kerry Needham's experience. Although Greece is a touch more distant
than Portugal the telephones still work.
The Portuguese at the
time requested answers from the British authorities to specific and
highly pertinent questions in order to expedite their investigation.
Certain information was required as a matter of urgency. It never
materialised. Instead Praia da Luz was overrun with diplomats. The
frustration underlying Gonacalo Amaral's published remark ('Who are
these people?') is easy to see and to understand in such
In the same period when
Ambassador Buck was conveying the state position to the media, i.e.
five days after the 'disappearance,' Cherie Blair, wife of the then
Prime Minister, was in personal communication with Kate McCann. The
latter has told us so (Madeleine, p.118). Question one: How did CB
come to be in possession of Kate McCann's mobile phone number? Was it
through: [a] 118 Directory Enquiries [b] A McCann family member who
had the temerity to contact No.10 (that's certainly Auntie
Philomena's style) [c] Kate McCann previously leaving a message on
the Downing Street answerphone or [d] one or other diplomatic
channel? Or did she just 'phone a friend?'
Public announcements of
awareness and sympathy on the part of government representatives are
all well and good, and largely expected nowadays, but a personal
'phone call from one of the Prime Minister's family...? Anyway, Kate
was told at that time of a person who would become 'another valuable
source of information;' a Blair contact by the name of Lady Catherine
Meyer, 1999 founder of the charity PACT. Said charity's 'homepage'
"PACT has been
building and strengthening families across the Thames Valley since
Meanwhile Lady Meyer's
earliest known portrait, housed in the loft somewhere, remains
undiscovered. As does the nature of whatever advice she might have
given Kate McCann concerning how to operate a charity to best
Amid all this counselling
and consular effort there emerges another 'operative' - Special Agent
Clarence Mitchell. Like the origin of life on earth, Mitchell's
introduction into the process of barricading the McCanns is something
of a mystery in its own right.
According to Kate McCann
(Madeleine, p.148), Gerry first came into contact with Clarence
Mitchell late on Monday 21 May:
"On Sunday 20 May,
Gerry left for the UK...At Monday's meeting with the British police,
Gerry was told about plans to launch an appeal in the UK aimed at
holidaymakers who had been in the Algarve in the weeks leading up to
Madeleine's abduction...It was later the same day that Gerry met
Clarence Mitchell for the first time."
Gerry McCann's schedule,
according to BBC News (21 May) was as follows:
"Mr McCann arrived
at East Midlands Airport in the early hours of Monday morning...Mr
McCann will return to Portugal on Tuesday morning."
Kate places Mitchell's
introduction in-between these events. However, Hannah Marriott,
writing for P.R. Week (28.11.07) gives a somewhat different account:
"Mitchell was first
sent to meet Gerry McCann at East Midlands airport two weeks after
Madeleine's disappearance. The pair flew back together to Portugal."
Notice that "Mitchell
was sent" to meet Gerry at the airport, which can only have been
to greet him from the plane very early on the Monday or join him for
the Portugal bound flight on the Tuesday. Neither possibility is
accommodated by Kate McCann's version. Kate continues:
"Clarence, a former
BBC news correspondent working for the Civil Service was the director
of the Media Monitoring Unit attached to 10 Downing Street...he was
seconded to the Foreign Office to come out to Portugal to handle our
media liaison as part of their consular support for us."
A bit heavy on the
'consular support' don't you think, given that Tony Blair had
previously and personally dispatched Sheree Dodd to Portugal for the
very same purpose. And just how instantaneous are such 'secondments'
anyway? Who oversees the cuttings office while the editor-in-chief is
en vacance? Decisions with respect to Mitchell's enforced shift in
allegiance, the identity of his understudy, to say nothing of his own
personal concerns as to how big a bag he should pack, had to be taken
in advance of his meeting Gerry McCann and boarding the plane. The
Portuguese investigation had been on-going barely a fortnight, if
that. Nevertheless, Mitchell, who at a given point in time is
attached to No.10, is seconded to the Foreign Office (not by them) at
the instigation, one presumes, of the 'club' that still held his
registration, i.e. No.10. So Cherie Blair and Kate McCann have a
convivial tete-a-tete on the 8/9 May and Mitchell is filtered into
the mix at Downing Street's behest shortly thereafter.
Marriott further informs
us that, once in Portugal, Mitchell "spent an intense month of
fifteen-hour days with the family."
What! To explain that
your daughter's been seized by a person or persons unknown and that
you're 'sorry you weren't there at that minute' would not take
fifteen minutes, let alone a month of fifteen-hour days. Forgive me.
I'm trivialising the fact that Madeleine McCann was, for some reason
yet to be discovered, the most important child on planet earth, who
happened to be a British citizen requiring state back-up that stopped
just short of mobilising the armed forces, as Mitchell himself goes
on to reveal (within Marriott's account):
"He had to return to
his government role, and others handled the McCann PR. But even then,
he says, the family still called him for advice in his own
time...'But I couldn't help them beyond the odd 'phone call, because
officially the government couldn't be seen to be involved.'"
If this isn't Mitchell
simply 'bigging up' his early role in the affair, then further
scrutiny of this remark is definitely called for. The catalogue of
Mitchell's manoeuvers since on behalf of his clients the McCanns is
sufficiently extensive to warrant examination of its own.
No sooner had the McCanns
become associated with Mitchell (May 21/22), through the intervention
of No.10, than they were in telephone contact with the man-next-door,
Gordon Brown (May 23). And then someone turned the kaleidoscope. The
pieces remained the same but shifted into different places. On June
27, a month after the introduction of the pink catalyst, the Blairs
were suddenly obliged to leave Downing Street so that Gordon Brown
could have their apartment, having just been given Tony's old job.
At the spearhead of 'New
Labour' throughout their ultimately successful election campaign,
Gordon Brown was a true 'conviction politician,' long on strength of
belief and short on prudence. In his first speech to The Labour Party
as Leader, on 24 September 2007, he declared, "I stand for a
Britain that defends its citizens and both punishes crime and
prevents it by dealing with the root cause." It's not at all
difficult to see how the new Prime Minister's position would be
somewhat compromised were he to be faced with a situation in which
these very principles were found to be in conflict.
There is an arresting
(pun intended) video on YouTube which poses a number of very germane
questions regarding the McCanns' behaviour throughout the
investigation into their daughter's disappearance. It concludes with
the question of why, when a convincing sighting of Madeleine was
reported from Belgium, the McCanns' reaction was to visit Huelva, in
Spain. Strangely, this type of counter-intuitive behaviour is not
unique to the McCanns.
Later in his party
address as PM, Gordon Brown stated: "Two thirds of deaths from
gun crime occur in just four cities. In the last few weeks Jacqui
Smith and I have focussed on the specific areas in these cities..."
In the year 2006 - 2007
just over half of all firearm offences occurred in areas covered by
just three major forces - the Metropolitan Police in London, Greater
Manchester and West Midlands. The situation remained unchanged two
years later, as noted by The Independent of 8 January, 2009 which
reported, "Most of the 42 gun-related deaths last year took
place in London, the West Midlands Manchester or Merseyside. There
were six deaths in the West Midlands, four each in Manchester and
Merseyside and two each in Kent, Shropshire and West Yorkshire. Other
deaths were recorded in Cornwall, Derbyshire, Glasgow, Hertfordshire,
Humberside, Northumberland and South Yorkshire."
This was 2008 don't
forget. But 2007, the year in which the Brown possee visited areas in
each of the four most fatal cities, must have seen the statistical
ice-berg topple over, for on 12 September 2007, no doubt as a feature
on their crime-prevention itinerary, Brown and Smith visited a police
station in - Beaumont Leys, a suburb of Leicester.
This is the same Gordon
Brown, who the following month was dutifully advised that Goncalo
Amaral had been removed from his role as co-ordinator of the 'Maddie'
investigation in Portugal, before even Amaral himself was notified.
There has to be some explanation as to why the then Prime Minister
should have maintained a personal level of involvement in the McCann
case once the parents had returned home as suspects in their own
daughter's disappearance. After all, the government had apparently
ordained that Civil Servant Clarence Mitchell could no longer speak
for them for that very reason, according to Kate McCann (Madeleine,
p.255). Defence of the citizenry overseas is scarcely appropriate
when the subjects are safely on British soil. And he needn't have
entertained thoughts of pre-empting extradition. The McCanns took
care of that aspect themselves with their 'appointment' of Michael
Caplan Q.C. Or did they?
Joshua Rozenberg, the
Daily Telegraph's legal editor, commented for BBC News Magazine on 14
September, 2007, "When he (Michael Caplan) went to see the
McCanns last Sunday, he went in through the front door." Whilst
he might not have been waiting at the foot of the aircraft steps like
Clarence Mitchell, Caplan clearly did not have to wait for an
invitation from the McCanns. According to BBC News Magazine, he was
waiting for them on arrival. 'As Kate and Gerry McCann headed back to
their Leicestershire home for the first time since their daughter
Madeleine disappeared, they were visited by a man few recognised.' On
this account he as good as followed them home from the airport!
It is undeniably tempting
to speculate as to whether the Brown-Smith excursion to Beaumont-Leys
three days later afforded the opportunity for someone to ask, en
route and personally, "How did you get on with Michael?" Of
course Kate McCann has an alternative explanation for the sudden
introduction of Michael Caplan Q.C.
September. We were on tenterhooks all day, waiting to hear whether we
would be allowed to go home. Rachael had found a couple of criminal
lawyers in London she was sure could help us...Gerry gave them a
call. They discussed Madeleine's case in detail, what had happened so
far and how Kingsley Napley might be able to assist us."
(Madeleine, p. 254).
Things need to be put
into some kind of perspective at this point. On Saturday, September
8, Gerry decides, on the spur of the moment almost, to 'phone a pair
of London based lawyers from Portugal and, after discussing
Madeleine's case in detail, what had happened so far etc., etc., by
phone, a deal is struck. So Messrs. Caplan and McBride were able to
assimilate over the 'phone the detail of five months in a matter of
minutes, whereas it had taken Clarence Mitchell face-to-face
interaction for a month of fifteen-hour days to get to grips with the
history of a fortnight?
Rachael - former
corporate tax lawyer now working as a recruitment consultant -
Oldfield, was not of course in evidence at the time of the McCanns'
panic 'phone call. (Make no mistake, the pair who were made arguidos
on September 7 and who 'resisted the temptation to flee' across the
Spanish border on the Friday night, only to catch an early flight
back to the UK on the Sunday, were in a hurry).
This is Chapter 17 and
Rachael who had found the two lawyers (quite fortuitously it would
seem) had previously gone home (Chapter 9) briefly to return to
Portugal on Thursday 11 July (Chapter 13) in order to meet the PJ's
request for further questioning. She did not stay on until September
8, meaning that if she had been responsible for identifying the
suitability of Kingsley Napley, incorporating extradition supremo
Michael Caplan, she discovered them through diligence, not by chance,
and weeks (if not months) earlier. And yet Gerry McCann waits for the
car to crash before he tests the brakes?
They escape nevertheless.
"On the advice of
the lawyers, we decided to get out as soon as possible. We would go
the next day rather than leaving it until Monday." (Madeleine,
We are clearly expected
to believe that this was a minor adjustment to new circumstances.
("Finally, and very reluctantly, I agreed to set a date for our
departure. Monday 10 September it would have to be." Kate
decides - two chapters earlier). But - "Then it was all hands on
deck to pack everything up and clear the villa. Michael volunteered
to stay on for a couple of days to organize the cleaning, hand back
the keys and arrange for our remaining belongings to be shipped home
by a removal company." (p.254-5). Isn't that leaving things a
tad late if the departure date has been decided for weeks already?
Back to reality
(following touchdown at East Midlands Airport).
"For us, it was
straight down to business. Michael Caplan and Angus McBride arrived
that afternoon for a thorough discussion of our situation."
Clearly Gerry's anxious call the day before had not quite covered all
the details. Then - "On Tuesday 11 September we had an 8.00 a.m.
conference call with Michael Caplan, Angus McBride and Justine."
Let’s summarise at this
Early May, 2007: A
channel with No.10 is opened, and maintained thereafter.
September 7: The McCanns
are officially made 'persons of interest' in connection with the
disappearance of their own daughter by Portuguese authorities.
September 8: Gerry
McCann, 'phoning from Portugal apparently, discusses their situation
with Angus McBride and Michael Caplan Q.C., without knowing whether
Portuguese authorities will even allow the McCanns to leave the
country. They are cleared to depart later that afternoon and, on the
advice of the (same) lawyers, elect to leave the following day.
September 9: The McCanns
return to their home in Rothley, Leicestershire, where they meet with
Michael Caplan Q.C., having spoken with him by 'phone little more
than 24 hours earlier. (Fortunately for them he works Saturdays and
is happy to give up his Sundays for the cause also).
September 11: An 8.00
a.m. 'conference,' again involving Michael Caplan Q.C.
September 12: Prime
Minister Gordon Brown and Home Secretary Jacqui Smith visit Leicester
- definitely not one of the more dangerous cities in the UK if
assessed in terms of gun-related deaths.
October: Prime Minister
Brown is given the news of Amaral's removal.
Five years and the
'stonewalling' of many an FOI request later, the crime balance sheet
for the McCann account is not at all encouraging. Millions of pounds
sterling have been spent by the exchequer, directly or indirectly (on
top of the Portuguese millions in euros), with nothing whatsoever to
show for it. No child recovered, alive or dead, no culprit
prosecuted, or even apprehended. And while UK limited has seen the
loss of significant assets in the form of important forensic
expertise (specialist dog-handler Martin Grime and his expert canines
are now in the USA working for the FBI and the Forensic Science
Service is closed for business), the only books to show a healthy
inward cash flow are those belonging to the McCanns, until some
rather extraordinary expenses outweighed the donations that is. Of
course the case review, since placed in the lap of Scotland Yard,
remains incomplete. But with an interim dividend amounting to a heap
of dead-end reasons why the Portuguese should waste yet more of their
time and money pursuing illusory abductors, the long-term projection
seems equally un-profitable. The Labour government's inaugural
commitment to being 'tough on crime and the causes of crime' has not
since, unfortunately, included 'getting to the bottom of crime,'
certainly as far as the disappearance of Madeleine McCann is
As Billy Joel
insightfully put it:
"When you've heard
lie upon lie, there can hardly be a question of 'why.'"
Threatening Gestures –
Having followed the
'Maddie' case from the outset, and commented publicly upon it for a
number of years, recent events have caused me to view the affair from
an altogether different perspective. No, I have not been 'got at.' Of
course I have been incensed by the blatant injustices on many fronts.
I would not have devoted so much time to analyses of the case
otherwise. But there is only so much to be learned, so much to be
accomplished by continually patrolling the base of a pyramid. To
really appreciate the significance of its dimensionality it is
essential to adopt a different point of view. And I am not talking
about succumbing to the idea of a swarthy abductor or cabal of
unidentified child molesters.
I do not shrink from
admitting that I too was initially astonished by the 'safeguarding of
international relations' argument brought forth to justify the
withholding of intelligence in the face of several FOI requests.
There have been numerous astonishing developments over the years.
However, those of us who throw up our hands in disbelief at
officialdom's use of the phrase 'international security' or the like
are perhaps guilty of a singular and significant oversight; namely,
that the very disappearance of Madeleine McCann was itself an
international incident, with potential consequences on several
Self-preservation as a
principle is a given among homo sapiens. But in any hierarchically
organized society, 'looking after number one' is sometimes best
accomplished by acting (or at the very least appearing to act) in the
interests of others besides. The successful conduct of International
Relations demands that players on the international stage see the
So what picture should we
be looking at in the McCann case? I would suggest that the government
then (and the government now) have acted in the ways they have, not
despite 'early warning signs' that the parents of Madeleine McCann
may have been involved themselves in a misdemeanour, but because of
Only the other evening I
listened to a rather smart comedian who pointed up the absurdity of
the concept 'War on Terror.' "What results from a declaration of
war?" he asks of a hypothetical advocate for the Bush/Blair
position. "Terror," they reply. "So you're waging war
on the consequences of your own actions then?" Such humour
immunises us against depressing acknowledgement that world leaders as
often as not depend on the gullibility of the masses for their own
survival. And if the masses cannot be misled they can be subdued.
This is, I accept, a cynical point of view, but one has only to flip
through the pages of history to see how deception via propaganda has
a long track record. A tried-and-tested method for keeping one's
place on the throne, as it were, is that of convincing those outside
the palace that the other man is the enemy.
As society has evolved,
so too has this 'threat,' becoming increasingly abstruse in the
process. Hence post-war generations in the west have been warned
against (among other things) 'communism,' 'alien invasion,' 'nuclear
attack' and, of course, 'terror,' the last being a real 'doozy.'
A-specific to a fault, it can be blamed on any disaffected minority
whatsoever, and at any time. Thus it can never be neutralized.
Largely as a direct
result of 'war debt' to our erstwhile transatlantic colony, the
British Isles have long since become USS UK, an aircraft and cruise
missile carrier permanently stationed in the North Atlantic. It
doesn't matter much who gets to captain the ship, since they are
never going to command the 'battle group' of which it is a member. In
similarly subordinate fashion the Westminster government has been
honour-bound to adopt the same cautionary attitudes toward the same
perceived enemy as that determined by the White House. This state of
affairs is reliably reflected in manifestations of the public
consciousness (think Quatermass, The War Game, and the long-running
Blair case for WMD).
But what has this to do
with Madeleine McCann?
An explanation as to why
those 'major threats' conceived across the pond have had a relatively
short shelf-life on this side of the water until now would be a
little tedious, as the reasons are pretty obvious (a visiting Martian
would surely aim for a larger tract of land, for instance). So, if we
may simply accept it to be the case, we can open up the need for
others to come quickly off the substitute's bench. There's nothing
like the threat of an epidemic, for instance, to get healthcare
professionals excited. The pharmaceutical industry is wholly
indifferent to whether it originates in birds, pigs or cattle, as
long as the claim is made that the disorder can, and therefore will,
cross the species divide. Mass vaccination is a real money-spinner.
Then there's the threat
of global warming, and related environmental considerations. Nowadays
the cost of a UK road fund licence is determined by the level of
carbon di-oxide emissions from the vehicle in question (the lower,
the cheaper). Is this really to encourage drivers to become
environmentally conscious through their operation of smaller cars
boasting lower levels of fuel consumption and associated emissions?
Or is it to provide yet another boost to the automotive trade, by
encouraging the widespread purchase of newer vehicles through
financial coercion? Well, it seems to have worked, as the current
government is now in not-quite-secret talks with motor manufacturers,
in an attempt to establish how best to recoup the revenue loss
consequent upon the widespread switching of owners to cars in lower
I have deliberately saved
the most relevant, Maddie-related threat for last.
Followers of the case
will not need to be reminded of the frequency with which the spectre
of paedophilia has been introduced into the media commentary. As
threats go this one is by no means new (this particular deviance is
chronicled as accompanying imperial decadence in ancient Rome), but
the threat has grown in perceived importance down the years. In the
more recent past, cases of fatal child abuse, such as those involving
Myra Hindley and the Wests, have occasionally erupted into the public
spotlight. But the eruptions have since become more frequent,
including false-positives to help sustain levels of public attention.
Film makers profit from
being alive to 'topicality.' Note therefore a remake of the film 'The
Wicker Man' after a thirty-three year interval (the original was
released in 1973). In-between we had the infamous 1991 Orkney child
abuse scandal, characterized by its actually being a case of
widespread non-abuse, i.e. normality (the scandalous element was the
behaviour of the so-called welfare authorities). Needless to say,
mere suspicion of the demon provoked a witch-hunt, just as it did in
the case of Operation Ore, a turn-of-the-millennium persecution of
suspected child pornographers, modelled on an American precedent
(Operation Avalanche), and being both principal product and funding
sponge of CEOP (you know, the Jim Gamble vehicle that justified his
appearance in Praia da Luz alongside genuine investigators).
Yes, folks. In the
absence of an imminent national catastrophe occasioned by a nuclear
strike (the 2003 invasion of Iraq took care of that), or a widespread
disease epidemic, child abuse is a serious threat to society; a
threat which the British government not only acknowledged but
demonstrated a willingness to deal with decades ago. Such moral
guardianship is 'politically correct' in a big way; especially if you
are New Labour, the resurgent broom promising to sweep society clean
by being 'tough,' not just on crime but 'on the causes of crime.'
Fast-forward now to Praia
da Luz, Portugal on May 3, 2007. A little girl is reported missing
from her holiday apartment. Within hours the report is an
international one of a little British girl abducted from an apartment
in Portugal. In a demonstration of due diligence, ambassadorial staff
are dispatched to the scene of the incident, in order to offer
support to our distressed citizens overseas. UK police also arrive to
assist. A good thing. Within just a few days however, reports come
back of doubts attending the veracity of the parents' story. A bad
thing. And suddenly there is a serious and altogether unexpected
There will always be
unfortunate individuals who fall victim to crime, whether at home or
abroad. By and large, unless they invite the transgression, they are
afforded sympathy. On learning of a child abduction, and with no
grounds for other suspicion, it is entirely reasonable that people in
general should be sympathetic toward the parents. They were in this
case. So too was the government. For the vast majority of observers
nothing will have changed for quite a period. Even we sceptics, long
since allowed access to the Portuguese police files, can have had no
idea at the time of the precise details of the investigation outside
of the sometime contradictory accounts coursing through the various
media channels. Damaged shutters or no, no one was privy to anything
like the hard data sufficient to confirm any growing suspicions, even
remotely, never mind absolutely. No one, that is, save for the
investigating team, which included British police, and British
All the while the culprit
could be identified as an anonymous stranger, the stigma of his (or
her) motive could be brandished in support of sympathy for the
parents. But what if they themselves were involved in some way? That
would make them accomplices at least to an act of aggression against
a minor, child abuse if you will. And if there were no third-parties
involved? Then, in the light of there being no abduction, the parents
would have to be viewed as guilty of something altogether more
serious. And early 'intel' pointed to exactly that. So what was at
The exposure of a
homicidal doctor capable of doing away with their patients (or their
wife!), while not conducive to good image-building, is something from
which the NHS could always recover. Society has not lost its faith in
general medicine on account of Harold Shipman, any more than it did
in the wake of earlier cases (e.g. Palmer, Crippen, Buck Ruxton). But
a doctor (or doctors) culpable in the demise of their own child? That
one hadn't previously been tested. Furthermore this was not a
'domestic' incident, in the sense that neither it nor its
ramifications were confined to the UK. It happened (and was
developing) overseas, in the full glare of international publicity
(the McCanns themselves had seen to that). In addition, those at the
very centre of the investigation, the case being one of child abuse
whether abduction was a feature or not, were esteemed professionals,
not the sort of council estate refugees with whom one might more
instinctively associate such a crime. Worse yet, a clutch of others
just like them were quite possibly involved in some way. The
equation: A handful of UK doctors = one dead child, if valid, could
have an impact worldwide on the perception of the medical profession,
British society and, by extrapolation, the government, analogous to
A morally upright
government, ostensibly; one seriously concerned with combating the
child abuse they had already identified as a threat to society,
sponsoring the activities of CEOP and taking yet another lead from
the USA, was looking at the enemy, the very threat the executive
(police) were dealing with on our behalf, made manifest within the
ranks of its very own professional classes (remember the declaration
of 'war' on the consequences of one's own actions?). So when the
un-named member of our ambassadorial staff questioned the wisdom of
further government involvement in the case, he inadvertently placed
the following options on the table:
1. Cut the parents
adrift, let them take their chances and hope the investigation runs
2. Support the parents to
the hilt and ensure the investigation runs aground.
Now which of these
alternatives, do we suppose, offers a guaranteed outcome?
The McCanns and their
media allies have kept the case in public view for a long time. Had
the Portuguese pursued their investigation to the point of
prosecution, the McCanns, unlike the international media, would
probably not have been quite so keen to advertise the 'situation'
they would have 'found themselves in.' As we have seen since,
Portuguese justice is slow moving. A criminal case brought against
the McCanns, with the prospect of exposing an evil canker deeply
embedded in British society, the very threat against which the
British public were being warned and 'protected,' and at considerable
cost, would itself go on for an uncomfortably long time. Such
exposure would be blatant, widespread, and international.
Shortly after the
McCanns' return from Portugal, the world learnt that they held
certain legal insurance, in the form of the available services of
extradition lawyer Michael Caplan Q.C. Caplan had previously gained
an international reputation through his successful contribution to
the legal arguments that forestalled extradition, from the UK, of
General Augusto Pinochet, erstwhile dictator of Chile. Ironically, it
is this very case to which one may turn for a paradigmatic
explanation of the British government's treatment of the McCanns.
Under the auspices of a
Labour government, Pinochet was arrested and held, pending
extradition, in accordance with an international arrest warrant
issued in Spain. As things turned out, upholding the letter of
international law did the government no favours politically (Pinochet
had been a US 'transplant' originally and latterly a confidante of
Margaret Thatcher. Despite its declared neutrality, Chile played a
positive, albeit subtle role in the Falklands conflict, on Britain's
behalf). Following extensive legal wrangling in the House of Lords
(the prisoner was under 'house arrest' but not on trial as such),
Pinochet was not extradited to Spain after all. Instead, in March
2000, he was allowed by Home Secretary Jack Straw to return to Chile,
having been diagnosed as suffering from Alzheimer's disease, a
condition from which he appeared to recover appreciably once his
plane had touched down.
Less than a decade later
the young democracy of Portugal found itself upholding the letter of
the law within its own land, investigating and proceeding toward the
prosecution of two members from a coven of British doctors. The
Labour government, having previously learned an important lesson
about law, even international law, versus international relations,
could not fail to see this as 'not a good development.' There
followed protracted negotiations (cf. 'legal arguments'). The
Portuguese, no doubt reminded of the Pinochet case, as it was ignited
by their immediate neighbours, Spain, took the hint. Eventually the
suspect status of the McCanns was rescinded, the case shelved and the
oh-so-nearly-accused doctors allowed to return to the UK, with little
or no prospect of their emerging subsequently from the bunker.
So now where are we?
Unless or until a clear
case is made in a criminal court somewhere, the McCanns are legally
not guilty of involvement in their daughter's disappearance (it's
been said often enough). There is no case for them to answer, and
certainly not outside of a court of law. Whatever they might say to
the media, or however they choose to appear before them, there is no
risk of a conspicuous slur against the medical profession, NHS
appointments criteria, the more affluent echelons of society or the
The only snag for a
government sponsoring the McCanns' liberty is that, like victims of
their own blackmail, they would now have to maintain the new status
quo. In short, the McCanns would have to be kept out of court, at
least for the duration of the administration, if not for the duration
- period. The Serious Fraud Office won't be knocking on their door
any time soon therefore.
So, as 'the Fund' slowly
atrophies to the point where it is finally acknowledged that
Madeleine is dead and the 'search' need not continue, Kate McCann is
found a 'role,' at a level appropriate to the replacement of her GP
status, while Gerry can devote time - a lot of time - to writing up
the results of his many publicly funded studies. And the Portuguese?
Well, if they really must bow to internal pressure and re-open their
investigation, then there are hundreds of 'investigative
opportunities' they can occupy themselves with for the foreseeable
Such is the legacy of a
Labour government. But that party is now on the other side of the
House. Does this mean the new administration will 'do the right
thing' by all those who believe Madeleine McCann was not abducted,
not to mention the Portuguese, scoring party political brownie points
in the process? Unfortunately no. Any accommodation previously
arrived at between the two governments will have been by negotiation
and agreement, and since the Portuguese will have been equally party
to it (even if the terms were unequal) they would not appreciate this
being brought out into the open, as undoubtedly it would be. Also,
international relations transcend party politics. The 'special
relationship,' so-called, between Britain and the USA, for example,
is maintained, and generally workable, whatever combination of
Democrat-Republican-Conservative-Labour forearms engages in the
diplomatic hand-shaking. And that gives rise to a testable
If the Metropolitan
Police should exercise the investigative option contained within
their Operation Grange remit (as clearly they ought to), then we may
be sure that the current government in Westminster is genuinely (and
properly) distanced from the McCanns. If, on the other hand, they
conclude their review with nothing more to show for it than a 'to do'
list intended for the Portuguese, then we can be just as certain that
the Coalition Government is continuing a policy toward the McCanns
that was inaugurated by their predecessors, as whatever deals may
have been struck with the Portuguese were struck before the Coalition
Personally, I won't be
holding my breath.
The Lie of the Land –
Kate McCann tells us (in
'Madeleine,' chapter 17):
September. We were on tenterhooks all day, waiting to hear whether we
would be allowed to go home. Rachael had found a couple of criminal
lawyers in London she was sure could help us. Michael Caplan and
Angus McBride of Kingsley Napley had worked on several high-profile
cases, including the Pinochet extradition proceedings and the Stevens
inquiry. Gerry gave them a call. They discussed Madeleine's case in
detail, what had happened so far and how Kingsley Napley might be
able to assist us.
afternoon, we were notified by Liz Dow, the British consul in Lisbon,
that Luís Neves and Guilhermino Encarnação had declared us 'free'
to leave the country whenever we wished. Thank you, God.
"On the advice of
the lawyers, we decided to get out as soon as possible. We would go
the next day rather than leaving it until Monday."
Rachael Oldfield had
found a couple of criminal lawyers, obviously while she herself was
back home in England, and before Kate and Gerry McCann were
re-interviewed prior to being declared 'arguidos.' "Rachael, a
lawyer by profession, was working in recruitment." (Kate McCann)
One might reasonably
wonder why Rachael had earlier thought a couple of UK criminal
lawyers might be useful in connection with a child abduction inside
Portugal. But that's the least of it. Just how and where did she find
this 'nap hand?' (Messrs. Caplan and McBride both worked for
Solicitors Kingsley Napley). Her own legal experience, several years
distant, had been in Corporate Taxation.
Following Euclid, 'the
shortest distance between two points is a straight line.' Might there
perhaps be a more direct 'straight line' connection between the
McCanns and Michael Caplan QC than one involving the speculative
research of Rachael Oldfield?
"Michael Caplan and
Angus McBride of Kingsley Napley had worked on several high-profile
cases, including the Pinochet extradition proceedings." (Kate
Indeed they had. So too
had the barrister instructed to argue Senator Pinochet's case before
the House of Lords: Clare Montgomery QC. Miss Montgomery is an
associate with Matrix Chambers of Gray's Inn, London, a founding
member of which is Cherie Booth QC, otherwise known as Cherie Blair
QC, who we are told was in telephone contact with Kate McCann
personally. ("As we were walking up from the beach at about 5pm,
I had a call from Cherie Blair, in her final days as wife of the
prime minister." - 'Madeleine,' chapter 8).
Once again, "Saturday
8 September...Gerry gave them a call" and "On the advice of
the lawyers, we decided to get out as soon as possible. We would go
the next day rather than leaving it until Monday."
The following information
comes courtesy of 'Yahoo! Answers:'
Q: Do solicitors open on
Does anyone know of a
solicitors either in the Portsmouth or Chichester (England) area that
would be open on a Saturday?
'I need to sign some
documentation relating to a divorce in their presence but can't seem
to find anyone open on a Saturday.'
[5 years ago (i.e. 2007)]
Best Answer - Chosen by
'Solicitors do NOT open
on Saturday. They are ONLY open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.'
I used to work for a
solicitor, one friend is a secretary in a solicitor's office and
another IS a solicitor.'
[5 years ago (2007)]
So, five years ago (8
September, 2007), Gerry McCann took advantage of a contact previously
established by ex-Corporate Tax Lawyer Rachael Oldfield, supposedly,
and made a spur-of-the-moment telephone call to the offices of UK
Solicitors Kingsley Napley, managing to speak at some length to
criminal lawyers Michael Caplan QC and Angus McBride, both of whom
(unlike their colleagues) just happened to be at work all day that
Saturday. The lawyers first discussed how they could be of
assistance. Then, later that same afternoon, they advised the now
'free-to-travel' McCanns to leave Portugal at the earliest
I too believe in Santa
As Writ – 16.08.2012
Readers are indebted to
the Sunday Mirror (12 July 2009) for the following information
relevant to the McCanns' forthcoming court action against Goncalo
Amaral in Portugal:
lawsuit...accuses Amaral of being a self-obsessed, manipulative
money-grabber with no morals"
Altogether unlike author
Kate McCann, whose own best-selling (money-making) book 'Madeleine'
reveals her to be... a self-obsessed, manipulative money-grabber with
'Madeleine' is a work
comprising 23 chapters. The subject is 'written out' of the story
after chapter 5, the remainder of the book being concerned with
events after her disappearance. The book includes:
921 instances of the word
'Madeleine' (the 'subject' of the book)
2063 instances of the
1781 instances of the
562 instances of 'us'
'Madeleine' includes both
an admission of earlier lying and further examples. The author has
since committed perjury (before Lord Justice Leveson).
The McCanns claim Mr
Amaral's repeated insistence that their daughter is dead has
discouraged people from looking for her, whereas what it actually
discourages is contribution to the corporate fund of which the
McCanns are both directors, Kate with particular responsibility for
What kind of mother
answers the door to their apartment wearing nothing more than a
bath-towel and describes her three-year-old daughter's genitalia in a
book targetting a general readership?
"In a 36-page writ
handed to the Sunday Mirror, they lay bare in painful detail how
Gonçalo Amaral's accusations left them "totally destroyed"
and caused them "irreparable" damage."
For examples of the
McCanns' 'total destruction' see photos of the 1000 day anniversary
dinner at the Rooftop Garden Hotel, London, and a clearly enjoyable
holiday in Holland subsequently.
'Out, damn'd spot' –
"Out, damn'd spot"
is a prime example of "Instant Bard," tailor-made for
ironic jokes and marketing schemes. But the "spot" isn't a
coffee stain, it's blood. One motif of Macbeth is how tough it is to
wash, scrub, or soak out nasty bloodstains."
On 3 May, during
breakfast, Kate McCann 'noticed a stain, supposedly of tea, on
Madeleine's pyjama top, which she washed a little later that same
morning. She hung it out to dry on a small stand, and it was dry by
the afternoon. Madeleine sometimes drank tea; nevertheless the stain
did not appear during breakfast, maybe it happened another day, as
Madeleine did not have tea the previous night and the stain was dry.'
(KM witness statement, 6.9.07).
Whether one favours Kate
McCann's 6 September (2007) account, as above, or her more recent
version, adapted for 'Madeleine' (they differ in respect of the
timing of events), what is puzzling about her decision to wash her
daughter's pyjama top is not so much the nature of the stain, as why
she bothered to wash the clothing when she did. As Kate herself
explains, the 'tea stain,' or whatever it was, was a day or so old.
Additionally the soiled top had already been slept in at least once,
with no ill effects.
Why, with Madeleine's
having three pairs of pyjamas (apparently), and with less than 48
hours of the holiday remaining, should Kate have been so determined
to wash the middle pair - the pair that got abducted - but not the
first that was later 'thrown' into the back of the scenic, and with a
clean pair as yet unused? (see article: 'Dormant Issues,' McCannfiles
29.4.11 ). Stain removal was obviously paramount. Furthermore, how
did she know the pyjama top was dry by the afternoon, when she did
not return to the apartment until 5.40 that evening, having spent
twenty minutes (12.40 - 13.00) in the apartment for lunch not long
after she'd actually done the washing? (See article: 'Washed Up?'
Kate gets around this
last difficulty by changing her story. Instead of :
'When her lesson ended at
10:15, she went to the recreation area next to the swimming pool to
talk to Russell until Gerry's lesson was over. Afterwards... they
went back together to the apartment'
In Madeleine we read:
"I returned to our
apartment before Gerry had finished his tennis lesson and washed and
hung out Madeleine's pyjama top on the veranda." ('Madeleine,'
Thus giving the pyjamas
double the drying time. In any event it seems they were dry enough
for Madeleine to have worn them again that night.
But that still brings us
no nearer to understanding why, with no history of 'wash and wear'
that holiday, Kate felt it necessary to wash that pair of pyjamas
specifically, coincidentally on the day of Madeleine's disappearance.
Those of a more macabre
persuasion would no doubt wish to argue that Kate, like Lady Macbeth,
was concerned to eradicate any vestige of biological fluid, e.g.,
blood, which might be considered incriminating in itself.
Hypothetically, if the McCanns, despite their reassurances, were a
party to Madeleine's disappearance that Thursday night, then there
really ought to have been no need to wash her pyjamas at all, however
suspicious the brown stain may have been, since anything untoward as
regards stray items of clothing discovered after Madeleine had left
the apartment could simply be ascribed to her 'abductor.'
The issue then is why
Kate should have elected to wash the visibly soiled half of a pair of
pyjamas when she did? Why not simply consign 'Eeyore' to the same
metaphorical laundry basket as the first pair (later to be
unceremoniously jettisoned in the boot of the car), wash them both on
return to the UK, but break out the clean spare pair in the meantime?
Unless, of course, there was no clean spare pare. Could she really
not bear the thought of Madeleine's wearing a stained pyjama top for
just two further nights (she'd slept in it once at least don't
forget)? It all seems rather unnecessary; as if the Eeyore pyjamas
were actually the only pair available to Madeleine that week. And
then, irony of ironies, with Kate having made a special point of
washing out a seemingly innocuous stain, the pyjamas are abducted,
never to be seen again.
preoccupation with those Eeyore pyjamas may have been indicative of
nothing more than a concern for 'keeping up appearances,' although
few, if any, outside of Madeleine's immediate family, would have
expected to see the garments, clean or dirty. And, if David Payne's
testimony is anything to go by, they probably wouldn't have noticed
the difference anyway. Kate clearly did not see the day old stain
herself when she dressed Madeleine for bed on the Wednesday night.
And, if her own suppositions are eventually borne out ('maybe it
happened another day'), she may even have had yet further
opportunities to record the blemish, without in fact doing so.
The pyjama washing
episode was therefore of no real importance (on May 4). Yet it
acquired a significance in the meantime, prompting its inclusion in
the narrative come September. As we have already seen however, the
remaining elements of the story left no time for it to be
accomplished, so that, with the publication of 'Madeleine,' Kate has
had to create a space in her busy holiday schedule actually to get
the job done, contradicting her earlier statement to police in the
Some time that Summer
therefore it became necessary for Kate McCann to explain why she had
washed Madeleine's pyjama top. And with that essential established,
it became just as necessary to place herself in the family apartment
for the purpose, rather than be out and about, as she had earlier
intimated. Kate was doing something in the apartment 'later that
morning.' Washing pyjamas as it happens. She was still in the
apartment (or back again, before 5.40 p.m.) doing something else,
when she realised that the pyjamas were dry.
Kate clearly felt obliged
to inject this episode of domestic trivia into both her later police
statement and her subsequent, rather different, account of the truth.
In what possible way could Madeleine's disappearance have been
contingent upon clean pyjamas?
Give them an inch... -
"There will be a
point at which we and the Government will want to make a decision
about what the likely outcome is." (Bernard Hogan-Howe -
Metropolitan Police Commissioner).
So what exactly is the
'likely outcome,' and why the need for a 'Government' decision?
The following is reported
verbatim at www.keepyourchildsafe.org:
Child Abduction &
Murder Facts & Statistics
1. Yearly around 750,000
children are reported missing in the United States, around 2,000
2. Most of these are
runaways or kids taken by a family member.
3. Around 100 children
are abducted and murdered in the U.S. each year. Around 60% of all
child-murder abductions are at the hands of someone the child knows,
not a stranger.
4. In around 75% of all
murder-abductions, the child is believed to be dead within 3-6 hours
of the abduction.
5. Nearly all murdered
children are killed by a family member, most often a parent.
6. Most murdered children
are not killed by pedophiles (sic) or sex-offenders, but by physical
abusers, drug addicts, drug dealers, alcoholics, sadists (those who
kill for thrill), and lain old otherwise ordinary people.
7. For every successful
stranger abduction, there are many more failed attempts. It's hard to
know the exact number, as many cases are disregarded by parents and
never reported, and record keeping is spotty at best. But based on
our own monitoring of news reports, we would estimate around 20
failed attempts for every successful abduction. So while only around
100 children are kidnapped and murdered each year (most by friends
and family), countless others are tested! Make sure your child is
8. Women are the culprits
in 68% of all child abduction cases worldwide.
9. Seven in ten children
will walk away with a stranger despite being warned, according to the
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. This is because
merely telling kids "don't talk to strangers" isn't enough.
They need more substantial training in stranger danger.
1. U.S. Department of
Justice Statistics, 2007
4. National Center for
Missing & Exploited Children
5. Collins, K.A.,
Nichols, C.A. (1999) "A decade of pediatric homicide: a
retrospective study at the Medical University of South Carolina."
American Journal of Forensic Medical Pathology, 20, 169-172
6. Global Children’s
Fund (2009) Child Risk, Castle Rock, Co: GCF Publishing
8. The Economist, "Money
in Misery," 2-7-09, p. 21
Doctoring the Results –
Talk about a good deed
coming back to bite you. Our David's got a dilemma on his hands and
no mistake. The family friendly PM who scored on everyone's card with
his instant decision to support the Metropolitan Police review of the
McCann case is faced, almost eighteen months later, with the need for
another politically significant decision regarding this very same
process, now that Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe
has given the game away.
So what's it to be:
Appear a skinflint by terminating the review, or ignite protest in
these times of recession by giving the Met. the 'green light' to go
over-budget, leave no stone unturned, and identify enough
'investigative opportunities' to keep Portugal's police in work for
the foreseeable future?
Well it's not quite as
simple as that, is it? It never is.
Immersed in the
Commissioner's recent comment is the clue that the Met. already know
where the train is going, and that the branch lines are closed. If
his political masters would rather the police did not announce any
such conclusion at this point in time, then they will have to fund
the drudgery at Scotland Yard into an as yet unspecifiable future.
'Just paint the sides of the ship a different colour until we work
out whether we should actually float it,' sort of thing. The stark
alternative is simply to 'tell it like it is.' But that carries a
major down side. What's worse, the slope of this escarpment could
actually get steeper with time, so the cost of doing nothing would
That's enough euphemism.
The issue now bouncing around like a ping-pong ball in a squash court
is the NHS.
UK limited is in dire
financial straits. We may have spawned the Industrial Revolution, but
we're no longer a manufacturing hub by any stretch of the
imagination. Our financial services sector has propped up the
balance-of-trade account for decades. Like selling off the family
silver, we have survived by exporting 'unseens,' and must continue to
do so if we are to survive at all. Even at a parochial level, that of
the street-corner shop, say, no business transaction is an overnight
affair. Major proposals therefore will take a long time to prepare, a
long time to consider, and a long time to enact. So the idea of
internationalising the NHS brand is not something that popped into a
Civil Servant's head in a dream one night last week. It took four
years to prepare for the London Olympics and there, centre stage,
before the athletes had even entered the arena, we saw the message
written in CAPITAL LETTERS: A proud industrial heritage, the solid
foundation of reliability and progress; qualities manifest in
post-war Britain and, in particular, the NHS.
For the McCanns to be
exposed now would be like letting an amateur artist loose on a
renaissance fresco. The problem is that she's prepared to camp out
with brushes in hand until the barriers are removed.
How is the government's
own PR machine, while extolling the virtues of an internationally
recognisable UK brand, to camouflage the likely involvement of NHS
doctors in the disappearance of a young child overseas? If that's the
degree of trust on offer, then future clients, who are likely to see
things a lot clearer than the average mis-spelling resident of these
shores, might think the NHS capable of issuing hospital care bills
for a patient who died on the operating table months beforehand, like
Monty Python's parrot.
And let us not overlook
significant others present at the negotiating table; a certain
entrepreneur whose investment interest in healthcare will not have
been affected by the recent derailment of his train, but who would,
one suspects, rather not see the McCanns in the news for reasons
other than promotional ones.
So, David. What's it to
be? Do we launch the brand on a choppy sea now, or push the boat out
into calmer water, whilst ignoring the storm force warning of
Why the tumult? -
There is a Spanish
proverb which says, "If you're in a hurry, dress slowly."
The gist of the advice is similar to that of film director Michael
Winner's advertising catchphrase of "Calm down dear, it’s only
a commercial." There are many benefits to keeping a cool head in
a crisis, not the least of which being that careful, considered
thought is more likely to yield an appropriate solution than
reactionary behaviour - under almost any circumstances. Wyatt Earp
did not survive the brutal experience of the O.K. corral by being
'the fastest gun in the West.' He was deliberate instead - and
deadly. The inquiry into the Challenger shuttle disaster was given
its critical direction, not by NASA and other corporate apologists
passing the buck between them, but by the cool thinking, literally,
of Physics professor Richard Feynman, who convincingly demonstrated
the now infamous 'O-ring problem' using the beaker of iced water on
the desk in front of him!
And in the context of
When I was about 10 or 11
and unusually absent from home one day, my mother voiced her concerns
to a local neighbourhood 'bobby' (of the sort that existed in those
days). A middle-aged family man, he understood people, children
especially. Rather than scurry back to the station just a short walk
away, to raise a hue and cry, he simply asked my mother whether I had
been anywhere particularly interesting in the last week or so, in
adult company or otherwise. When she told him that I had, and where,
he calmly replied, 'Then don't worry. That's where he'll have gone.'
And he was right.
The McCanns' behaviour in
the immediate aftermath of their daughter Madeleine's disappearance
was, one might suppose, just as predictable and naïvely spontaneous.
Or was it?
It is entirely reasonable
to assume that any parent faced with the inexplicable disappearance
of their child would instinctively hope for the best, yet fear the
worst. Once Gerry had told Kate he'd 'already started remembering
cases of other missing children...acknowledging the horrific
possibility that Madeleine might not be found' (Madeleine, p.80),
'the fear of Madeleine being dumped somewhere and dying of
hypothermia started to hijack (her) thoughts.' (p.81).
Naive and spontaneous, it
would appear; especially as the McCanns themselves have, after due
consideration, come to an altogether different conclusion about
abductees (Kate McCann: "And I think we do know of so many cases
now of children who have been abducted and have, you know, been away
for years and sometimes decades."). In fairness they cannot be
blamed for not realising at the time that innocent pre-school infants
are not typically snatched for the sexual gratification of
paedophiles. And we have been reminded on any number of occasions
that Madeleine was 'innocent' have we not?
So the McCanns' reactions
were genuinely instinctive, like Gerry's burying his head in his
hands, while those at the table with him formulated a written
justification or two of their own recent actions (What on earth did
they have to worry about?), or Kate's desperation for the
intercession of God (as she tells us on p.78) or home (p.77). A child
was missing, 'out there' somewhere, so Kate duly insisted that Gerry
should go looking for her, while Gerry, for his part, delegated
Matthew Oldfield as a 'runner,' charged first with asking Ocean Club
staff to 'phone the police, then later, to check on progress. One
minute they're in pieces, the next they're exercising their 'crisis
management' skills. Instinctive or what?
Who wore the trousers?
If we accept the story of
Madeleine's abduction to be true, then by the time her mother raised
the alarm the child would have been missing for three-quarters of an
hour, or more. Within half an hour, "All the screaming and
shouting...alerted other guests and staff that something was amiss."
(p.73). This will no doubt have included Kate McCann's own screaming
at resort manager John Hill to "do something!" Meanwhile
her personal contribution was to hit out at things and bang her fists
on the metal railings of the veranda (p.74). And yet...
"Despite the horror
of the situation, some sense of the necessity to approach the crisis
calmly and methodically appeared to kick in among our friends as they
tried to exert a modicum of control over the chaos." (p.74).
There you are, you see.
Even Kate McCann recognises the importance of keeping calm under
fire. So why didn't she? Why didn't they? 'Well how would you behave
if it was your child that was missing?' Like Kate, 'at about 11.00
p.m.' I should probably have told the inquisitive Mrs Fenn that 'my
little girl had been stolen from her bed.' (p.75) if I told her
anything at all. I'm not sure however that I would have reacted quite
as Gerry did, half an hour earlier.
(From the statement to
Police of Mrs Pamela Fenn): "...almost 22H30 when, being alone
again, she heard the hysterical shouts from a female person, calling
out "we have let her down" which she repeated several
times, quite upset. She then saw that it was the mother of little
Madeleine who was shouting furiously. Upon leaning over the terrace,
after having seen the mother, she asked the father, GERRY, what was
happening to which he replied that a small girl had been abducted.
When asked, she replied that she did not leave her apartment, just
spoke to GERRY from her balcony, which had a view over the terrace of
the floor below. She found it strange that when GERRY said that a
girl had been abducted, he did not mention that it was his daughter
and that he did not mention any other scenarios. At that moment she
offered GERRY help, saying that he could use her phone to contact the
authorities, to which he replied that this had already been done. It
was just after 22H30.
"She said that after
the mothers shouts, she had seen many people in the streets looking
for the girl.”
The mother was not among
them you'll notice. Half an hour after discovering that her daughter
had disappeared and the mother had not moved, 'urged' by husband
Gerry to remain in their apartment, while he was 'running from pillar
to post.' Eventually Kate and Diane Webster 'just sat staring at each
other.' And with a non-relative given responsibility for the
all-important communication with local police authorities, Gerry
makes a number of 'phone calls home to the UK, including, at 11.52
p.m. precisely, one to Kate's 'Uncle Brian and Auntie Janet.'
Following which the call Kate had been putting off (p.77) 'now had to
be made' - to her parents.
Susan Healy: "I
think it would be about half eleven - and I'm guessing now, I might
be wrong - there was a phone call and it was Gerry on the phone."
Yes, Susan, you were
And all the while chaos
(From Jez Wilkins'
statement to Leicestershire police, 7 May, 2007) "The doorbell
woke us up at about 1 am. It was the resort manager who I knew to be
John and one of Jerry's friends. I think his name was Matt. He is
white, slim, tall with greying hair. From previous conversations I
knew him to be a diabetic specialist. We met him on the plane on the
way to the destination. Matt said words to the effect that Jerry's
daughter had been abducted, and that Jerry said he had seen me and
wanted to know if I had seen anything. I said 'You're joking'. I
offered help but they said there was nothing that could be done at
that stage. We remained in the apartment but could see people around
the pool and at the front with torches."
Since 'nothing could be
done' Jez Wilkins was well advised to go back to bed. What a pity
no-one thought to explain the situation more fully to the torchlight
search party. While even later on the morning of May 4, "Gerry
and Dave went out again to look for some sign of Madeleine. They went
up and down the beach in the dark, running, shouting, desperate to
find something; please God, to find Madeleine herself." And all
on Kate's insistence. (p.80). We know Gerry was desperate to find
something alright. There is a later photograph of him looking for it
at the seashore in daylight. And, as the former co-ordinator himself
has remarked, he probably wasn't looking for crabs.
We have a certain media
craftsman to thank for drawing together the indices of Kate McCann's
true nature that have been distributed over time, and for revealing
how so much of what the pair have said and done over a five year
interval has been anything but spontaneous. 'Calculated' would in
fact be the appropriate descriptor. Furthermore, the sequence of
cynical conduct towards the Portuguese extends, like a long-chain DNA
molecule, back to the very first day, which implies that if there was
a stratagem it was not an evolved one. It did not metamorphose into a
winged insect overnight, but arrived into the world on May 3, 2007
like a foetus, fully formed.
During a telephone call
to her 'best mate' Michelle (at about 3.00 a.m. on May 4) , answered
by her partner Jon Corner, Kate quotes herself (p.79) as having said,
"No one's listening! Nothing's happening!"
"The next thing I
knew the PJ officers were heading for the front door."
Public denigration had
begun with the first salvo of the couple's 'phone calls to the UK
And all that earlier
hullabaloo? Well, why were POW escapees so keen to arrange community
singing and other noisy pursuits? To mask the sound of digging. The
cacophony surrounding apartment 5A on the night of May 3, 2007 simply
made it all the more difficult for anyone to detect where the real
melody was coming from.
Defensive Wounds –
On p.74 of her book,
'Madeleine,' Kate McCann describes how she was...'hitting out at
things, banging (her) fists on the metal railing of the veranda,
trying to expel the intolerable pain inside.' This is no doubt the
same railing atop the same veranda at which Kate was afterwards
pictured coyly holding Madeleine's 'cuddle-cat' where the media
photographers stationed below could see it. It's about two inches
wide and appears more wooden than metallic, but that's beside the
point, which is that Kate unswervingly describes herself as hitting
the limited target area with her fists. Twenty pages (less than 24
hours) later and, for the first time, Kate 'noticed the ugly purple,
blue and black bruises on the sides of (her) hands, wrists and
forearms...Gerry reminded her of how she'd been 'banging her clenched
fists on the veranda railing and the apartment walls the night
before.' She could 'only vaguely remember it.' Well you wouldn't,
would you? After all, twenty pages is history.
'Madeleine' by Kate
McCann is nothing if not a littany of explanations, many of which
deal with seemingly trivial details - seemingly. When it comes to
describing her other 'bruising' encounter, with the PJ on September
7, she has this to say, among other things, regarding the video of
Martin Grime and his dogs at work (p.249): 'The dogs ultimately
alerted. I felt myself starting to relax a little.'
You did what?!
It makes absolutely no
difference whether the child in question is three or thirty-three. If
a mother whose child is missing, and who 'believes they were alive'
when they left home (or were taken), is suddenly and unexpectedly
told by someone in a position to know that indications are the child
is dead, what is she most likely to do? Faint is what. Like the
innumerable mothers of young servicemen lost during the two world
wars, when they received their 'special telegrams.' Only on
recovering their composure would they want or even be able to deal
with, a more detailed explanation, like 'You're telling me my
daughter possibly died in the apartment before they took her away?'
It would take more than
an aspirin to help a compassionate mother cope with that.
And how did the other
half of this scientifically sophisticated partnership react when he
heard the news?
'When researching the
validity of sniffer-dog evidence later that month, Gerry would
discover that false alerts can be attributable to the conscious or
unconscious signals of the handler.' (p.250).
This statement is replete
with significance. As is the one that follows it:
'From what I saw of the
dogs' responses this certainly seemed to me to be what was happening
here. We would later learn that in his written report, PC Grime had
emphasized that such alerts cannot be relied upon without
So, 'When researching the
validity of sniffer-dog evidence later that month...'
Valid under what
circumstances, might one ask? A court of law perhaps? And why on
earth should anyone desperate to find their missing child be
pre-occupied with the legal weight of evidence, indicators,
suggestions or arguments? The status of Madeleine McCann was, and is,
wholly unaffected by such considerations. The only people genuinely
concerned with 'validity' in this context were the parents, because
the dogs did not confine their intelligence to one place and corpses
are not noted for moving around unassisted.
Gerry went on to answer
reporter Sandra Felguieras with: "I can tell you that we've
obviously looked at evidence about cadaver dogs, and they're
GM: "Cadaver dogs,
yes. That's what the evidence shows, if they're tested
As Kate was saying,
Gerry's pre-occupation 'later that month' was with sniffer-dog
evidence. Obviously. Well I for one fail to see the obvious necessity
for questioning such things outside of one specific context, and that
is not the endeavour to locate a missing Madeleine McCann.
would discover that false alerts can be attributable to the conscious
or unconscious signals of the handler.'
background knowledge, given that it had already been explained to
Kate that the dog(s) involved in elucidating the circumstances of her
daughter Madeleine's disappearance had yet to make a false alert.
Unless of course medical practitioners are accustomed to dismissal on
account of their colleagues' mis-diagnoses.
We must replay this
little excerpt from Kate's book in its entirety now, in order to
highlight her cunning juxtaposition of tense.
The author, don't forget,
is in the throes of recounting her experience of being interviewed
under caution and faced with video footage of a sniffer-dog at work.
She proceeds with 'When researching...later that month, Gerry would
discover that false alerts can be attributable to the conscious or
unconscious signals of the handler.'
So, at the time of Kate's
interview as 'arguida,' Gerry hadn't discovered anything. And yet,
'from what I saw of the dogs' responses this certainly seemed to me
to be what was happening here.'
Not for the first time
are we treated to an example of Kate McCann's clairvoyance. She
obviously felt able to 'relax a little,' not solely on account of
what she perceived to be an inexact science, but because she was able
to discern a class of behaviour in Martin Grime's animals that Gerry,
in his future research, hadn't identified yet.
Other mothers in such
circumstances would be climbing the walls in desperation. Not Kate.
Her account of the truth portrays her as having been cool, calm,
collected and pre-cogniscent. Or maybe she was in a state of panic.
Perhaps she'd looked into the future and seen both herself and her
husband going to the dogs; before they'd considered the matter
scientifically of course.
Seventeen Come Sunday
"There could be two
key bits of information that individually don't seem key but put
together could give you some valuable information that could take you
one step closer to finding Madeleine." (Kate McCann, 2010).
Seventeen Come Sunday is
the title of an old English folk song and regular 'Proms' favourite.
It's a simple statement. Looking forward toward a birthday event, it
is as good an example as any of thinking ahead. Birthday celebrations
are customarily planned in advance and, certainly when children are
young, usually recorded for posterity. Madeleine McCann's
disappearance was not such a happy eventuality, but Kate McCann has
nevertheless seen to it that a record of the immediately preceding
period exists. Hence we may read in her book ('Madeleine,' p.57):
"In the afternoon
Gerry and I decided to take the children down to the beach. To be
honest, I think they'd have been just as happy to go back to their
clubs, but we wanted to do something slightly different with them,
just the five of us."
And, two pages later:
"We dropped the kids
off at their clubs for the last hour and a half, meeting up with them
as usual for tea," (p.59).
The 'afternoon' in
question was that of Tuesday, May 1st 2007.
So much for what was
done, and why possibly no one else saw Madeleine early that
afternoon, because she was in her parents' company outside the Ocean
Club perimeter at the time.
Coincidentally, on the
same page in her book, Kate McCann reinforces the importance of
record keeping. As she tells us:
"Gerry and I would
soon be painstakingly trying to extract from our brains every tiny
incident, no matter how small, that might have been significant.
Armed with notebook, pen and dated photographs, I would be
challenging myself to piece together as comprehensive an outline of
the sequence of events as I could."
During that fateful first
week in May, the McCanns were on holiday. They had not signed up for
a conference or sponsored training, hence their presence, and that of
their children, at any venue, and at any particular time, was
entirely optional. They were under no obligation to attend anywhere
at all and could have spent the entire week in their apartment had
they so wished. Kate's description of the spontaneous beach trip
makes the situation perfectly clear. As for the Ocean Club 'nannies,'
they could not have cared less if Madeleine McCann never appeared at
the Kids' club at any stage. Their responsibility was guardianship of
those actually present, not preoccupation with absentees. And it is
in this context that we should consider the function of 'registers.'
In any school or
kindergarten the register serves a two-fold purpose. Like an
accounting 'day book' and journal combined, it shows who is present
on the day and, by implication, who might need to be contacted in the
event of emergency. It also serves as a vehicle for future analysis,
when the benefit of good record keeping becomes abundantly clear,
albeit in retrospect. While the Ocean Club junior staff needed to
observe the first function, they would have had no interest at all in
the second - a casual register kept in respect of an optional
Besides telling readers
of 'Madeleine' what the family did that Tuesday afternoon, Kate's
explanation of the beach trip tells of something that was not done.
Madeleine did not join her young 'lobster' group friends at the Kids'
club immediately after lunch. Whatever her innate charms or talents,
she was physically incapable of being in two places at the same time.
The same anecdote, embellished as it is with angst over the ice
creams, tells us, inadvertently perhaps, of something else the
McCanns did that afternoon - They deliberately falsified, personally
or vicariously, entries in the Kids' club registers for the second
period of the day.
There can be no doubt
that is what happened, since Kate's 'account of the truth' explains
with impeccable clarity how the whole family went to the beach that
afternoon to do 'something slightly different;' in Madeleine's case
different from – going to the beach, which is what 'lobster' group
attendees at the Kids' club that afternoon were scheduled to do.
Equally unmistakeable is the signature of one G McCann in the Kids'
club register, alongside the name Madeleine, for 2.30 p.m. when,
according to Kate she only made it for the last hour and a half
(i.e., from 4.00 p.m.). The parents, by the way, are recorded as
being at Tennis or the Pool. Meanwhile Kate was busy elsewhere
signing in the twins at exactly the same time.
And yet the timing of
Madeleine's afternoon arrival at, and later departure from, the kids'
club that Tuesday afternoon (14.30 and 17.30 p.m. respectively)
appears to receive confirmation from information archived in the case
files and which derives in some measure from Ocean Club 'nanny'
Catriona Baker's (aka 'Cat nanny') statement to Police (Catriona
Baker, p.88 re: 01.05.07 in 12 Outros Apensos Vol. XII Annex 59),
although itself not entirely consistent with the original crèche
Such a small thing
perhaps. Then again, so is nuclear fission.
No doubt the likes of
that renowned 'source close to the McCanns' would bluster and 'pooh
pooh' these observations. 'Nothing to them. The creche records are
perfectly accurate. Kate merely got her days mixed up when re-telling
the story. It's been several years don't forget.'
Perhaps it is the
carefully constructed book which is in error and not the Ocean Club
records after all. A serious problem for anyone engaged in
maintaining a lie however is the obvious requirement to reproduce it
faithfully. The deceiver has to be sure to tell the same lie -
repeatedly. A sure-fire way of exposing oneself to an inevitable
truth on the other hand is to tell a similar, additional lie, since
this does not lessen the risk of detection but increases it. That is
exactly what Kate McCann has done in 'Madeleine.'
Talking about May 3rd
this time, she writes (p.66):
"Together we took
Sean and Amelie back to the Toddler Club at around 2.40 p.m. and
dropped Madeleine off with the Minis ten minutes later. Ella was
already there...Having arranged for Gerry to meet the children, I
opted to go for a run along the beach...I wondered whether Madeleine
had been OK about staying behind at Mini Club when Russ or Jane had
"I had finished my
run by five-thirty at the Tapas area, where I found Madeleine and the
twins already having their tea with Gerry."
There is no ambiguity
here. For Kate to meet up with the rest of her family at 5.30 p.m. at
the Tapas Bar, husband Gerry (or someone else at the very least) must
have collected all the children previously, Kate 'having arranged for
Gerry to meet the children.' The minis register for May 3rd does
indeed record Madeleine's arrival at 2.50 p.m., ten minutes after the
twins were deposited and with Ella already there. But who signed
Madeleine out again afterwards? Why, none other than Kate McCann - at
5.30 p.m. Exactly the moment when she tells readers of her chronicle
that she encountered Madeleine elsewhere, already in the company of
Gerry and the twins. And if anyone 'close to the McCanns' wishes to
insist that Kate merely failed to clarify her own collection of
Madeleine from the kids' club nearby, then perhaps they can also
explain how she managed to pick the twins up five minutes before
that, as her signature on the 'jellyfish' crèche register for May
The significance of these
duplicitous accounts resides, as ever, in the question 'why?'
venues/events was voluntary don't forget. So if a child would not be
present at one or other crèche facility, for whatever reason, then
no one would care over much (one less to worry about really). After
all, any child could succumb to a mild illness and be back in a day
or two. It certainly would not have been necessary to 'sign in' just
so as to secure immediate leave of absence. In a nutshell, there
would have been absolutely no point whatsoever, at the time, in
recording the presence of a child who was in fact absent. As an entry
in the 'day book' it was meaningless. In the journal however...
Since it is Kate McCann
herself who appears intent on calling both parents' registration
activities into question, one is obliged to face up to the
contradictions and consider exactly what set of circumstances might
have led either or both of them to lay a deliberately false trail.
Given that spurious register entries will have served no present
purpose, they could only make sense if they served a future one (see
also: The Cerberus Problem, McCannfiles, 13 August 2011).
Kate has, on more than
one occasion, coined the neologism 'findable' in respect of her
missing daughter. Deliberate falsification of the Ocean club's crèche
registers, not by any abductor but by the McCanns themselves, would
suggest that prior to the evening of Thursday May 3rd 2007, the
parents already knew Madeleine would not be seventeen come Sunday,
but 'findable' by Friday.
It Never Rains... -
...But it pours. And if
the heavens should open and God decides to 'pay a visit,' it's
helpful to have an umbrella...ella...ella.
When it comes to
'treasure maps,' the challenge of puzzle solving, for the characters
in the adventure story and the reader alike, is often to be found in
the attribution of significance to otherwise inconspicuous details –
the index finger of the long-dead mariner's beached skeleton pointing
in a given direction, the abandoned noose left swaying gently on the
makeshift gibbet of an overhanging shore-line palm, the unusual
granite rock with embedded iron ring that behaves like an impromptu
sun-dial – you know the sort of thing.
And so to accounts of the
truth; one in particular, that reads less like a biography and more
like a stenographer's record of a witness under cross-examination,
with its insistent inclusion of the seemingly pointless (p.66).
"Together we took
Sean and Amelie back to the Toddler Club at around 2.40 p.m. and
dropped Madeleine off with the Minis ten minutes later. Ella was
already there. Gerry and I had booked an hour-long couples' tennis
lesson with the professional coach at three-thirty, and as the courts
were unoccupied, we decided to have a knock-up for half an hour
first. Near the end of our lesson, as I strove desperately to improve
my substandard backhand, another guest appeared, and he and Gerry
decided to have a game together.
"Having arranged for
Gerry to meet the children, I opted to go for a run along the beach,
where I spotted the rest of our holiday group. They saw me and
shouted some words of encouragement. At least, I think that's what
they were shouting! I remember feeling fleetingly disappointed that
we hadn't known they were all heading for the beach, as it might have
been nice to have joined them, especially for the kids. I wondered
whether Madeleine had been OK about staying behind at Mini Club when
Russ or Jane had collected Ella. I wasn't to know at that stage that
in fact they had only just arrived when I ran by. It's hard work
being a mum sometimes, fretting about the possible effects of the
smallest of incidents on your children. I'm sure a lot of these
worries are unfounded but it doesn't stop us having them, and we'll
probably go on having them for the rest of our lives."
'Together we took Sean
and Amelie back to the Toddler Club at around 2.40 p.m. and dropped
Madeleine off with the Minis ten minutes later. Ella was already
Who cares whether Ella
was there or not? Ella, who is not mentioned in the previous
paragraph but at the close of three beforehand, when she is spotted
on the beach without Madeleine, was 'already there.' So what? And
shortly thereafter the author 'wondered whether Madeleine had been OK
about staying behind at Mini Club when Russ or Jane had collected
Ella.' Why the accent on Ella? Could it be perhaps to reinforce the
notion that Ella and Madeleine entered and left the Kids club at
different times that day, i.e. that they did not do so together, and
that there is nothing but friendship to link them?
Well, let's borrow
another of this author's observations:
'One coincidence, two
coincidences – maybe they're still coincidences. Any more than that
and it stops being coincidence.'
And in that context, does
it not seem just a touch odd that during the three days of 1 – 3
May, on two-thirds of those occasions (4 from 6) when the two
children are both recorded as being at the Kids club for the same
session, one or other parent (O'Brien or McCann) apparently fails to
sign their child out again? Appearances can of course be deceptive,
but the signature of 'Cat nanny' does not qualify as that of a parent
(what else is a girl supposed to do if she wants to close the shop
for lunch and she's run out of bodies to eject?). And Kate Healy,
that 'different person' who, on the Wednesday afternoon, collected
Madeleine on behalf of Kate McCann?
The oddities do not end
there. On the morning of May 1 Russell O'Brien resides in room '5B'
and thinks his daughter's name is Emma (visibly corrected to Ella in
the register). 24 hours later and he is somewhat uncertainly resident
in 'G5D' (a.m.) or is it '5D'? (p.m.). By May 3 he is sure it's the
former. Perplexing isn't it?
have opined on the difficulty of 'adjusting' registers after the
event. The visible amendments, crossings out, selective 'rubbings'
etc. would be fairly noticeable. Also, furtive attempts at
'shadowing' and absent person infiltration in the company of others
is an endeavour likely to raise an eyebrow or two at the very least.
Dispensing therefore with the unlikely, let's consider the entirely
Imagine four mutual
friends (John, Paul, George and Ringo, say). John goes to the local
nightclub one Saturday night and George, for whatever reason, wishes
Ringo to believe that Paul is there too. So he approaches the bouncer
toward the end of the evening and asks, 'Can I come in and speak to
my mate Paul?' (registering the supposition that Paul is inside).
Upon being given a response along the lines of 'Go forth and
multiply!' George waits around until John finally emerges at the
door. 'Hi John,' says George. 'Did you see Paul inside?' (not 'Was
Paul inside?'). 'Nah!' grunts John. 'Oh well. I can't hang around for
him all night. I'm off home.' So, as far as the bouncer and the
eavesdropping Ringo are concerned, Paul was supposedly inside the
Now let's move to the
carefree atmosphere of an easy-going day care centre at a holiday
resort. Two parents accompanying the same child can only register the
one without causing some obvious bewilderment. But any parent who
arrives with a child in tow is likely to think nothing of another
parent signing the register ahead of them, or after them come to
that, on the supposition that their child is already inside. They are
all on holiday after all, not busy playing I-spy. The register
itself, given its format and style of completion, is more akin to a
visitor's book than a register per se. Front-of-house staff at a
Hotel or Conference reception have, already at their disposal, a list
of paid for delegates/bookings. Their role at 'registration' is to
put a face to the name, so to speak. Unless one were deliberately
playing the role of impostor, there should be no one in attendance
who, according to the register, ought not to be. A visitor's book on
the other hand is a rather different matter; less rigorous and taken
And what might the
perspective view be of those working on the inside? Obviously on the
alert for any unauthorised removals, would they be just as aware of
phantoms attempting to get in? Would they even notice at the end of
day one if someone were signed in as Smith and out as Jones? Or day
two? And if by some chance they spotted that something wasn't quite
right on day three, would they link the anomaly to the sudden and
unexpected outbreak of fire in hut 17 and the inexplicable
disappearance of one of their former charges, with the
accommodation's being burnt to the ground, yet no sign of any charred
remains? It is a simple fact of life that our spontaneous view of
things is very largely governed by their immediate, rather than
broader, context (like the goldfish blissfully unaware that he is the
one in a bowl of water).
But how is it possible to
posit such a notion with regard to the still serious matter of events
in Praia da Luz fully five years ago? The supervising nanny at the
facility attended by Madeleine McCann was quite clear about the
child's attendance that week. Indeed she was. But once we discover
that, in common with the McCanns and their Tapas associates, she too
appears to have been incapable, as early as 6 May (i.e., barely three
days after Madeleine's 'disappearance') of giving a fully and
verifiably accurate account of events. It would seem unwise to place
too much faith in such statements therefore.
Whether or not an
explanation as to why Cat Nanny was suddenly relocated and her
destination kept secret at the request of the McCanns should ever be
forthcoming, there is one thing at least that Cat Nanny Baker seems
to have done for Madeleine. According to her rogatory statement of 18
April, 2008 she 'got to know Gerry and Kate McCann on 29 April 2007,
in the minis club...' Previously she had 'written the children's
bracelets which included their name, allergies and relevant
So where was Madeleine's
bracelet? Strangely, for someone who is said to have spent the
majority of her daytimes under third-party supervision, she did not
wear it on her right wrist for tennis on the Tuesday (or perhaps the
Wednesday, depending on who genuinely took the photograph and when)
nor her left when sitting around the pool after lunch (on the
Thursday, for the sake of argument), both of which occasions were
well after April 30, by which time the bracelets would have been
issued. It's not the sort of thing one would remove just for a
lunch-break, although she might have had it taken off for comfort
overnight, in which case it will not have been 'abducted.' Perhaps
those helpful child-minders routinely removed the bracelets at the
end of the day. Even from those children who did not return for the
afternoon session! As Cat Nanny again has pointed out, there were six
other children present in the room with Madeleine at the Kids' club
on the Thursday morning, but only four (including Madeleine) in the
afternoon. Except the crèche register indicates that there were not
six other children in the room besides Madeleine. Only five. Was
someone unexpectedly missing perchance? Or were they simply hiding
under an umbrella somewhere?
Catriona And The Waves –
The cooler waters of the
Atlantic coastline with Iberia are beautifully clear in Summer, when,
at low tide, shoals of small fish can be seen just beneath the
surface. At the Portuguese corner of the peninsular however the
ambience is murkier. Things are altogether less clear there. Clarity
of understanding is fundamental to attainment of the 'helicopter
view;' that ability, beloved of management scientists, to envision
the 'broader picture,' and something which is not, for good or ill,
in everyone's gift. It is an accomplishment requiring a cultivated
imagination, as the eventual construct is, when all's said and done,
the perceiver's entirely. So what is one to make of a children's
nanny who, when questioned about her recent experience in the role,
exhibits such remarkable recall and awareness as to suggest that she
is (or at least was) grossly under-employed?
As an initial 'for
instance' we may take the psychological phenomena of 'recency' in
memory and failures in recall over time, both tested scientifically
(Sandra) and manifest in common experience. When our subject nanny
was asked about diurnal events three days previously she had very
little to say about them. When asked for those same recollections a
year later she was able to provide considerably more detail. Odd
It appears at first blush
that this was no ordinary nanny. But like the magical chess-playing
mannequin of yore there was, in all likelihood, a measure of, shall
we say, informative intervention, for in-between her first and second
attempts at recall she paid a visit to a soothsayer, who had rather
more details of the fateful day at their disposal. 'Never mind that.
Can she think 'outside the box?' What's her 'summative overview?''
'On Thursday the 3rd of
May 2007, I remember Gerry having accompanied Madeleine to the club
between 9h15 and 9h20 in the morning. I do not remember who came to
pick her up for lunch but after she returned in the afternoon for a
dive/swim. These activities were realized with the other children. On
this day I remember that we sailed and I saw friends of the McCanns
on the beach, David and Jane. Around 14h45 Madeleine returned to the
Minis Club on top of the reception but I do not remember who
accompanied her. This afternoon we went swimming. Kate went to get
Madeleine from the Tapas Bar area and according to what I remember
she was wearing sporting clothes and I assumed that she was
practicing some form of athletics. It was around 15h25/18h00. I think
that Gerry was playing tennis.'
We'll come to the
'helicopter' in a while. First let's check out the launch pad.
'On Thursday the 3rd of
May 2007, I remember Gerry having accompanied Madeleine to the club
between 9h15 and 9h20 in the morning.'
The tense is wrong. The
statement is literally describing the recollection of an activity
prior to 3 May, as though what she recalls now is what she recalled
then, and on that date precisely.
'I do not remember who
came to pick her up for lunch but after she returned in the afternoon
for a dive/swim. These activities were realized with the other
children. On this day I remember that we sailed and I saw friends of
the McCanns on the beach, David and Jane.'
The order of events is
inverted. Despite serial ordered recall being the more demanding
task, most people have no difficulty in dissociating morning from
afternoon, together with associated events. Although you might not
think so to read this, the afternoon 'dive/swim' (which took place at
the pool) was preceded by the sailing and greeting at the beach,
which occurred in the morning.
'Around 14h45 Madeleine
returned to the Minis Club on top of the reception but I do not
remember who accompanied her. This afternoon we went swimming.'
To be clear, Madeleine
returned to the Minis Club from the beach and, if she were among the
'we,' went swimming in the pool in the afternoon.
Boarding the helicopter
'Kate went to get
Madeleine from the Tapas Bar area and according to what I remember
she was wearing sporting clothes and I assumed that she was
practicing some form of athletics. It was around 15h25/18h00. I think
that Gerry was playing tennis.'
In isolation this
statement appears perfectly straightforward, apart perhaps from the
extraordinarily imprecise interval of time. But there is another
perspective viewpoint, on these details specifically, which obliges
us to examine the statement more closely. That perspective is Kate
McCann's ('Madeleine,' p.66):
"Together we took
Sean and Amelie back to the Toddler Club at around 2.40 p.m. and
dropped Madeleine off with the Minis ten minutes later. Ella was
already there. Gerry and I had booked an hour-long couples' tennis
lesson with the professional coach at three-thirty, and as the courts
were unoccupied, we decided to have a knock-up for half an hour
first. Near the end of our lesson, as I strove to improve my
substandard backhand, another guest appeared, and he and Gerry
decided to have a game together.
"Having arranged for
Gerry to meet the children, I opted to go for a run along the beach,
where I spotted the rest of our holiday group...I wondered whether
Madeleine had been OK about staying behind at Mini Club when Russ or
Jane had collected Ella.
"I had finished my
run by five-thirty at the Tapas area, where I found Madeleine and the
twins already having their tea with Gerry."
Now then, at some time
between 3.30 and 6.00 p.m., according to super-nanny, 'Kate went to
get Madeleine from the Tapas Bar area.' So where, exactly, was our
observant witness positioned when she saw Kate, who was 'wearing
sporting clothes,' make her way toward the Tapas Bar area? The
question is not quite as simple as it appears, and the reason is
this: 'Cat Nanny' signed Ella O'Brien out of the Kids' club at 4.30
p.m., the very time when the McCanns would conclude their tennis
lesson. Kate left the court 'near the end' of the lesson, not to 'get
Madeleine from the Tapas Bar area' but to 'go for a run along the
beach.' It is highly unlikely therefore that 'Cat Nanny' Baker was in
the vicinity of the tennis courts to witness Kate's departure
therefrom. Had she been she would not have had to make any
assumptions as to the purpose of Kate's 'athletic clothes' and would
have been in no doubt as to whether or not Gerry was playing tennis.
Kate, wearing sporting
clothes, must have been seen going to get Madeleine from the Tapas
Bar area ('Kate went to get Madeleine') from somewhere other than the
tennis courts therefore. Perhaps the reference is to what Kate did on
leaving the beach at around 5.30. It is Kate's signature on the
crèche register after all (although Kate claims in her book that all
the McCann children were already with Gerry by the time she arrived
at the Tapas Bar area).
OK, what was 'Cat Nanny'
doing on the beach at 5.30? After lunch that afternoon she would have
been with the children at the pool. At 4.30 p.m. she was present at
the club to sign them out. And since Ella O'Brien's was an unusually
early departure, she will have remained to supervise those three
children who had yet to leave – Madeleine McCann among them. They
must have been at the club by then, as Kate had 'wondered whether
Madeleine had been OK about staying behind at Mini Club when Russ or
Jane had collected Ella.' And 'Cat Nanny' must have been there to
'hand them over' at 5.30, in which case she will have been rather
more aware of Kate McCann's coming than going.
If Cat Nanny was not at
the tennis courts to observe Kate's movements, she was not at the
beach an hour later to see Kate leave for the Tapas Bar area either.
So how can she describe Kate as 'going' to get Madeleine? 'Getting
Madeleine' must be regarded as an assumption in any case, unless Kate
had announced her intentions to her personally. And yet 'Cat Nanny'
is perfectly at ease giving a first-person account of what she
herself apparently witnessed.
We have take off
'positivity,' despite not being present at either end of Kate
McCann's trajectory in the late afternoon of May 3rd suggests that
she has an overarching 'helicopter' view of the situation. However,
without being an extraordinary visionary, the only way she can have
acquired such a perspective is from someone else. And having been
given that perspective it will not have been formed in her mind as a
product of perception but of imagination. There is a world of
difference between 'according to what I remember' and 'according to
what I remember being told.' Does anyone even say, 'according to what
I remember?' 'As I recall' is the stock phrase. Accordances are at
In sum therefore we have
an important witness to events preceding the disappearance of
Madeleine McCann, whose initial recollection of significant details
appears defective. Madeleine's schedule of attendance at the crèche,
as represented verbally by her to police, is not that described by
corresponding entries in the register. Within three days of the
child's disappearance she fails to advance any detail with respect to
the Thursday itself, supporting the instinctive interpretation of
possibly the most significant thing she did say about that day - that
until Thursday May 3rd, the little girl came every day. Almost a year
later and with a domestic visit to the McCanns in the interim, her
memory of the relevant Thursday improves to the point where she can
describe Kate McCann's actions, motivations and dress code without
being in a position personally to observe or appreciate any of these
things (unless she 'copped a peek' at Kate's running shorts when
handing Madeleine over to Gerry, who left it up to Kate to sign the
register without collecting anyone at all).
In the final analysis the
only 'helicopter' Catriona Baker will have known anything about would
have been one that air-lifted her out of Portugal and transported her
across the waves to a secret destination known only to her employers
– and the McCanns.