Martin Brunt (Sky News) - 24.12.2007
David Barclay (VO) : There are two options. She came to harm at the hands of some member of the family or friends or it was some paedophile who happened to be passing by. Both are really very, very unlikely, but we know she's gone...
Martin Brunt : The mystery of Madeleine McCann's disappearance became the biggest or at least the most enduring new story of the year. Eight months on detective still don't know if Madeleine is dead or alive. What makes the case so perplexing is the lack of any trail of evidence beyond this point, the apartment in PDL rented by the McCanns for an early Summer break.
That night the search fell mostly to a volunteer force of holidaymakers and ex-pats like Claire G. They were searching this built up areas and here this is very different, there are lots of areas like this, what was the scene here at 3 o'clock in the morning that night ?
CG : There were about 20 of us.
MB : And how many torches did you have ?
CG : About 2 or 3.
MB : I don't suppose you could see very far...
CG : No (inaudible).
MB : There must be hundreds of these bins around Luz..
CG : There is and there were bins we looked into.
CG : We thought anything. A child never hides in a bin, so we were thinking of someone checking the child into the bin. (2)
MB : So even at that stage you were already thinking of the possibility that Madeleine had been killed.
CG : Yes.
TR : The child missing was four, it's a very young age, very vulnerable, it was late at night, the chances of that person was wandering off diminishes as a few hours go by. (4)
DB : I'm disappointed that the apartment wasn't kept, I honestly think in the UK, with a bit of luck we would have done it very differently.
MB : David Barclay is one of Britain's top forensic consultants involved in many cold cases reviews.
MB : I've been involved in cases in which murders happened in a house and the police have actually bought the house so they could keep the house until after the trial and in at least one of those we went back and we examined the crime scene after a year because we thought something had changed about our interpretation and we were able to find cast of blood on the ceiling of one in the bedroom that had never been spotted before. By working out what must have happened and then looking for confirmation on the roof...
DB : There are two methods to get into, one is through the window at the back overlooking the car park and I think it's impossible for somebody to get in through that window without leaving traces. (6) Apart from anything else, the window sills in that area is covered in green lichen, the minute you try and scrape over the window sill you would have left marks and we know that the crime scene lady the next morning was looking for exactly that. But the sliding door was left open, unsecured.
MB : What makes the case so mysterious is that as far as we know the police have no firm evidence of abduction. We've been told that a part of the investigation centres on a bag that went missing from the apartment, a blue hold all tied tennis bag belonging to Gerry MC, he had been playing tennis at the complex in the hours before Madeleine disappeared. (7)
MB : Police do have a witness, Jane Tanner, one of the seven friends holidaying with the McCanns. She said she saw a man carrying a child near the apartment 45 minutes or so before Madeleine was reported missing, but her description was remarkably vague (oeuf chevelu), she wasn't even sure at first the man was carrying a child and police considered her an unreliable witness. (8) Six months later, Ms Tanner helped produce another drawing of a suspect, more detailed even down to the pattern on the child's pyjamas that seem to match Madeleine's.
Tante RM : All the people that know Robert were out on that night in bars, restaurants, businesses they closed them to go and search for Madeleine, they were interviewed and questioned by the police and they all didn't see him. Of course they didn't, he wasn't there. But three complete strangers that never met him before say that they saw him in the dark, with his dodgy eye which actually is a detached retina, it is not a glass eye by the way. I can understand that question has to be answered...
MB : And those three people...
Tante RM : are friends of the McCanns.
MB : In a remarkable tactic, the detectives later invited the three friends back to the Portimao police station where they identified Murat. It's thought that the police have no forensic evidence linking Murat to Madeleine's disappearance, so who else could have taken her ?
PL : And then we started to think the unthinkable. You know, nobody wants to think that, nobody wants to think that this charming couple, professional, both doctors, particularly well presented, how was it possible they were involved ? Even now people don't want to think that, but why did they leave those children alone, what happened that night ? What is going on ?
We've established that the apartment is owned by a woman called Ruth McCann, a teacher from Liverpool. She and Kate and Gerry say they aren't related and the name is purely a coincidence. But it's enough to add one more conspiracy theory to the thousands that continue to circulate.
(4) C'est précisément pour cette raison que la police n'a pas de temps à perdre. La procédure suivie par la police portugaise, n'en déplaise à MB, est absolument réglementaire.
Toutefois MB a raison, les MC auraient dû être auditionnés séparément, or KMC l'a été avec GMC derrière elle, une main sur son épaule.