Mrs K. McCann: Oh, God!Mr McCann: What?K. McCann: I'll kill her. Maria washed Julie's pillow!Mr McCann: I washed it.K. McCann: You washed it? Mack, you ruined it. The smell's gone, you can't get it back.
Tennis On A Clay Court - 13.09.009
Such was the narrow window of opportunity, only agile, sharp-witted people well-practised in breaking and entering properties could have pulled this off. You mean reasonably healthy, maybe even youngish people with a decent IQ? Not dying geriatric paedophiles. We may forget about the requirement for an NVQ in breaking and entering because no-one broke in, as we know, Donal. Over the past week I have conducted a cold case review of most of the available evidence relating to the abduction and had lengthy discussions with numerous Portuguese sources who cannot be identified. That's a lot to take on board in a week, as confirmed by some of the evidence at least having escaped attention altogether/ Crucial to unravelling the whole case is establishing what precisely took place from 8pm to 10.15pm on the night Madeleine vanished. Again, the PJ thought so too. And again it can be seen as unhelpful, to say the very least, that the Tapas 7 elected not to assist with a reconstruction of events. In my view too little attention has been paid to what I believe was a key sighting. Opinion based on supposition is hardly a cocktail of clarity. A dark-haired woman was observed standing near a street light at a road junction that overlooks apartment 5A. What was she doing in the eerily quiet area, which is not near a bus stop, taxi rank, cafes or shops. What was Jes Wilkins doing in the 'eerily quiet area...'? She was seen looking at the apartment as the late evening gloom descended. Was she also watching to see the movements of Kate and Gerry McCann and their holiday friends, the so-called Tapas Seven? I think so. Oh, you think so. We‘re on solid ground here then. The same witness who saw the mystery woman also saw a gold or brown Nissan car driving erratically past the woman. The connection between them being what exactly? How many models do Nissan distribute in Europe, I wonder? And after all the gold editions have been ruled out, say, it only remains to investigate the brown ones. Despite appeals neither the woman nor the driver of the car has come forward. To confess? I wouldn't hold my breath on that score. Was this Nissan the getaway car and was its driver conducting a dry run at this very time? Again, I think so. Was this Nissan a private hire car, late in fetching a take-away pizza. I think so. Although we do not, sadly, have a minute-by-minute breakdown of the events that took place, this is the scenario that I believe unfolded.
Well it wouldn't take too much effort by the cast of protagonists to achieve the requisite minute-by-minute breakdown; somewhat preferable to your beliefs. Having settled Madeleine, then three, and their two-year- old twins, Sean and Amelie, Gerry and Kate, from Rothley, Leicestershire, have a glass of wine before heading off to the tapas bar, a minute's walk away, to join their friends Jane Tanner and her partner Russell O'Brien, Rachel and Mathew Oldfield, David and Fiona Payne and Diane Webster. At about 9pm Gerry leaves the table and walks over to the apartment to check on the twins and Madeleine. Like it's only across the road. Except that you've just told us it was a minute's walk away He enters the apartment and then goes to the toilet. He checks on his children and savours a proud father's moment as he stands by the doorway looking into the back bedroom where they are all soundly asleep. The twins are in cots and Madeleine in bed, holding her favourite toy, Cuddle Cat. Gerry spends up to 10 minutes in the five-room apartment and will only later reflect that he felt there was someone else there at the same time. You must have been an estate agent in a former life. Two bedrooms, a communal lounge-diner, bathroom, and toilet don't constitute five (habitable) rooms, at least where I come from For the kidnap to have taken place I believe Gerry's gut instinct was sound. Further belief in third-party supposition. Standards in the world of investigative journalism are clearly slipping. So we must assume that a few minutes before Gerry arrived, the abductor walked along the public road beside the apartment, opened the gate, walked up 10 steps to the patio and entered through the open patio doors. Sorry, we're not obliged to assume anything. The McCanns told the world at first that the intruder(s) had broken in through the bedroom window. Why should we have disbelieved them? Maybe the forensic evidence has something to do with that. At this stage he or she is a heartbeat away from being caught. But where could the abductor have hidden? Gerry walked through the front room, used the bathroom and looked in on the children – but did he check anywhere else? Where else was there for Gerry to check? Ah yes, the children's bedroom, where you have already told us: "he stands by the doorway looking into the back bedroom where they are all soundly asleep" My view is that the abductor was probably in the children's bedroom, possibly behind the door or crouching behind furniture. Probably. Possibly. And not seen at all by the father standing erect in the doorway. The only 'furniture' anyone else could have crouched behind were the twins' cots - every other item was stationed against a wall. You‘re not suggesting this individual was 'vertically challenged' by any chance, i.e. small enough to be occluded by a crib? As Gerry strolls out of the patio doors, closing but not locking them, he leaves through the same small gate facing the road where the abductor has entered minutes before. Just outside, he meets television producer Jes Wilkins on the way back to the tapas bar. There is not another soul on the street. Not even Jane Tanner. So how can she spot the fleeing abductor only moments later? Back inside the apartment the abductor must be breathing a sigh of relief as Gerry leaves, then realises his exit route is blocked and plan B has to be put into operation. How does he know his exit route is blocked? Has he or she just opened both the window and shutter to see, horror of horrors, Gerry and Jes on the street outside? Neither Gerry nor Jes heard anything like window shutters going up unexpectedly. The intruder could simply have left through the patio doors and turned right instead of left. Anyway, let‘s continue with Plan B - something devised beforehand, notice. For this, help is essential. The abductor inside the apartment passes Madeleine – probably put to sleep with chloroform – through the open window into the accomplice's arms. The accomplice, realising help is required before even it is called for - this being a contingency plan remember - is already waiting outside the bedroom window of 5A for their partner in crime to raise the shutter - it can only be done from the inside - and pass the dormant Madeleine through the window. All this while Gerry walks straight past down the steps and remains at the bottom talking to Jes Wilkins. In the distance, the voices of Gerry McCann and Jes Wilkins waft through the air. It's more like, 'at the foot of the stairs', according to Jane Tanner, who claims she was there at the time. But what does she know compared to a journalist two years later
What trauma would Madeleine suffer if, terrified and forcibly kept silent, she hears Dad's voice as she is being bundled into the hands of dangerous strangers? At the same time – about 9.10pm – and unnoticed by Wilkins and Gerry, Jane Tanner observes them chatting. What trauma? Absolutely none! She's already been "probably put to sleep with chloroform." So, neither terrified nor forcibly silenced at this moment in time, she hears - nothing! And while we're at it, let's recall to mind how it was that GP Kate, with some training in anaesthesiology, knew her daughter had been abducted. It was 'the way the scene was left.' No mention, either at the time or since, of any identifiable trace odours. You have to take the top off the bottle to administer chloroform don't forget. Being charitable one might concede that any alien aromas had been dispersed by the time of Kate's return to the apartment, fresh air coming in continuously through the window left open by the fleeing abductor - as Donal is about to inform us. So be it. But it was chilly enough that night for Jane Tanner to borrow a fleece for her own tour of duty, and to register concern that the child in arms she believes she saw was dressed only in pyjamas. Now here's the strange thing. The door to the childrens bedroom in 5A only slammed shut when Kate entered the apartment. It must therefore have been open for three quarters of an hour. The window was opened for exit purposes around 9.15. Yet Kate has never ever commented that the apartment felt cold when she re-entered it at 10.00 p.m..
The kidnapper holding Madeleine retreats to the adjacent car park before heading on to the same footpath where, a short distance downhill, Gerry and Wilkins are talking. The accomplice makes his way out of the window and into the darkness. Within sight and earshot of both Gerry and Jes who are still in the street. Jane Tanner's account places them simultaneously with the abductor. Why didn't the accomplice just walk out of the patio door, whence they came, and disappear 'into the darkness'? The kidnappers think they have got away with it, but they are on the brink of being caught. Despite hearing the voices of Madeleine's father a short distance away, the kidnapper holding the girl plans to cross the road junction just above them. As he hits the footpath, he sees both men chatting and Jane Tanner heading his way – three potential witnesses to the abduction, including the father of the child. He hits the footpath - is that jumping down from the walkway? - making a sound that neither of the nearby conversationalists hear. Why choose such a potentially disastrous course? My belief is that he had to make a rendezvous with the getaway driver.
As ever Donal, you are welcome to your opinions and 'beliefs'. Just don't parade them before us as 'facts' or worse yet, 'evidence. The seven seconds he took to cross the road were either well-planned, foolhardy or a sign of breathtaking confidence. In any case, the kidnapper never faltered and was never seen again. neither before nor since really Jane Tanner says he was carrying a child. She believes it was Madeleine and her theory is supported by the McCann investigators.That's it then. Belief in an untested theory, shared by others remote in both time, space, and their attention to detail - remember the yacht story, Donal? The timing of the statements from the key witnesses suggests that there was a maximum of three to five minutes for the abduction to be executed. Do you mean that, had the witnesses spoken more slowly the abductor(s) would have had more time at their disposal, or did that depend upon the lateness of the hour when the witness statements were given, or indeed the order in which they were given? In such circumstances only good planning and co-ordination could make this possible. It would be an extraordinary effort, needing an astonishing degree of luck, if this had been done on an opportunistic basis. We'll go for planned then The clean execution of the kidnap, without a hint of a DNA trace or any useable evidence, means it was highly professional and planned with precision.
Oh really? Suddenly I'm intrigued. Such precision is the hallmark of fixated, obsessive sexual predators. There were 20 known paedophiles living on the Algarve at the time including one with a flat near the McCanns' apartment but all have been eliminated as possible perpetrators.
So the parents, aware by now of how PDL has become internationally recognised as a magnet for sexual predators, neglected to point out how unsuitably dressed you were in front of their children. Have all parents suddenly become slipshod in the wake of the McCann precedent, or could it have been because they were totally unconcerned about your choosing to wear a jacket and tie at the bar in High Summer? Today there is more lighting around the complex but little else has changed. Until the kidnappers are caught, the unspoken fear will remain that Praia da Luz is a sunny place for shady peopSo, as a thank you to all those concerned Portuguese citizens who devoted considerable time and effort to looking for Madeleine while her parents were, shall we say, otherwise engaged, just don't expect to live off tourism for too much longer, you'll get nothing but a bad press from us from now on
All that remains visible of the Madeleine McCann campaign there is a touching shrine in the beautiful church on the sea front. Pray For Me, the heart-shaped poster pleads. Below it, 10 electric candles flicker in her memory. Many more will be lit before this mystery is solved. Maybe not as many as you think Donal. A lot of candles have already been extinguished, by people whose own answers to the many questions owe rather more to the evidence than to blind faith. In conclusion, it is pertinent to recall that Donal MacIntyre has previously fronted a BBC radio programme (Radio 5 Live), which deliberately questioned the merits of sniffer dogs, the EVRD spaniel 'Eddie' in particular, on the basis of one trainer's comments to the effect that his dogs 'do get it wrong sometimes.' This says more about the trainer really, but playing 'Devil's advocate' here is equally enlightening.
Following the line that sniffer dogs get it wrong sometimes leads one to conclude that they must also get it right sometimes. Let's assume, no more than for the sake of argument, that Eddie's success in PDL was 50 - 50 (maybe he was wrong about the Renault Scenic). He wasn't wrong about Kate's clothes or cuddle cat was he? The stale nappies / rotting meat hypothesis could not deal with that and we were offered what by way of camouflage? Dead bodies! Six of them! (by all accounts); deceased persons who had unwittingly kept company with cuddle cat in the UK and exported their sad residues to Portugal via Kate McCann's working clothes - a pair of loud (black and white) check beach trousers and T-shirt!
KM: "I did my check about 10.00 o'clock and went in through the sliding patio doors and 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. I went to close it to about here and then as I got to here, it suddenly slammed and then as I opened it, it was then that I just thought, 'I'll just look at the children' and I could see Sean and Amelie in the cot and then I was looking at Madeleine's bed which was here and it was dark and I was looking and I was thinking, 'is that Madeleine or is that the bedding?', and I couldn't quite make her out. It sounds really stupid now, but at the time, I was thinking I didn't want to put the light on cos I didn't wanna wake them and literally, 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 and cuddle cat was still there and her pink blanket was still there and then I knew straight away that she had, errr... been taken, you know."
The kidnapper of Madeleine McCann drugged her and her twin brother and sister so they would all be quiet while she was snatched.
The logical pitfall here is obvious: If 'no evidence' implies 'no justifiable comment', then why have we all had to tolerate being bombarded ad nauseam with the 'abduction' of Madeleine McCann, something for which not a shred of evidence has ever been forthcoming. No evidence of intruder(s). No evidence of assault against the person. No evidence of kidnap, nor of flight from the vicinity. It is a theory without foundation which should never have been expounded publicly. But it was; at the earliest opportunity, and in direct contradiction of Portuguese police instruction not to engage with the media (an early example of McCann co-operation with the authorities).GM: There's... there's a difference between, I think, freedom of expression and evidence to support a theory. What the judges have said: there isn't evidence to support his theory so he shouldn't be saying it.
GM: That... that... that article that was written, in June, was directly as a result of a journalist phoning all of us and saying: 'what can you tell us about it'. And we were under explicit instructions that we were not to talk about, errr... the details of the case at... under judicial secrecy. So that's all that people did. And, errm... I don't think, you know, there should be considered a pact of silence. We were told, that's what we were to do. And you wouldn't expect witnesses in other cases, in any country, to be going out divulging information that may be useful to the perpetrator of the crime.
KM: You have to wonder why an ex-PJ inspector would want to convince the population that Madeleine is dead, with absolutely no evidence whatsoever.
SF: This is the first time that you give us, errr... a big interview, errr... not being arguidos... not being arguidos, since then. Errr... So now I feel free to ask you this directly: How can you explain the coincidence of the scent of cadav... of cadaver found by British and not Portuguese dogs?KM: Sandra, maybe you should be asking the judiciary because they've examined all this...SF: But those were not an explanation for that.
KM: I mean, we are obviously Madeleine's mum and dad and we're desperate for people to help us find Madeleine, which is why we're here today. The majority of people are inherently good and I believe the majority of people in Portugal are inherently good people and we're asking them if they'll help us spread this message to that person or people that knows something.SF: So you don't have any explanation for that?GM: Ask the dogs, Sandra.SF: Ask the dogs? No, Gerry. Now I think... well, I... I feel free to ask you. Errr...Don't you feel free to answer me?GM: I can tell you that we have obviously looked at evidence about, errr... cadaver dogs and they are incredibly unreliable.SF: Unreliable?GM: Cadaver dogs, yes. That's what the evidence shows, if they are tested scientifically.
KM: I did. I mean, I... I know... I know the truth, Sandra. Do you know what I mean? And all I wanna do is find Madeleine and I was upset...GM: Well, we'll answer their questions. So what they ask us we'll tell them, and we'll tell them exactly what happened and what information we know. And what they do know, is that we are continuing to look for their sister. They want people to look for their sister.
Gerry said: "There is an innocent child missing here and this is what this is about. It's not about freedom of speech but the search for our daughter.
Freedom of speech should not outweigh the rights of human beings."' (Especially since it is a right of human beings, Kate. Or are you wishing to imply that, like lesser species, the rest of us can do without it?).