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)

11 - JAN à JUN - Dr M. Roberts 5

Lies, Damned Lies And Statistics – 12.01.2011

Such are the hallmarks, regrettably, of the McCann case, the first two in particular. But let's begin by allowing the McCann with a professional interest in epidemiology to dispense with the third.

Gerry McCann (to Ian Woods of Sky News): 
...If you think about the millions and millions of British families who go to the Mediterranean each year, really the chances of this happening are in the order of a hundred million to one.
Or more than seven times the odds against winning the U.K. national lottery jackpot (1 in 13,983,816). Are the McCanns really that unlucky? 
Now to more current affairs. At last, for anyone hoping the McCanns would be brought to book, that wish is on the verge of being granted. A recent facebook statement by the pair explains: 
We have pushed back the release of our book to Madeleine's birthday. May 12, 2011. We need as much exposure for the book so we can get Madeleine home. 
As much exposure as what, may I ask?. 'So that' = 'in order to.' Hence the purpose of book exposure is to 'get Madeleine home.' Put another way, the return of Madeleine McCann is dependent upon the number of people aware of / the number who will have purchased / the number who will have read the McCanns' forthcoming opus. How does that work? How many individuals are required to read the Book of Revelation before its prophecies are enacted? Clarification appears to be in order. Clarence Mitchell (to Stephen Nolan, BBC Radio Five Live, 7.1.2011): 
No, it's going to be Kate's story. Kate is writing it. Gerry, of course, is... is helping her but essentially it will be Kate's work. For... virtually from the first day it happened, errr... I was coming under pressure from various publishers, some of them very polite, but very persistent, saying they should write a book, or it should be ghost written. Kate and Gerry always said they didn't want to do that, they didn't feel the time was right, they had far more important things to do in the search for their daughter. They've now decided, and it's largely been driven by the need for funds for the... for the search to continue, that the time is right for the book to be written. Kate has been writing it for some months. She's probably finished about sixty to seventy thousand words and, errm... it's coming out on May 12th which is Madeleine's eighth birthday. It is designed to keep the search for her going. That is the simple reason.
Jolly noble of Clarence to withstand pressure from the publishers from 'the first day it happened.' Experience being a great teacher, he doubtless found the subsequent days when it happened rather easier to deal with. Whatever. The official line, via that ubiquitous 'source close to the McCanns' is clearly that the book is being written to raise money (no surprise there then), not as some catalytic precursor to Madeleine's safe return, which would hardly be contingent upon 'Kate's story' in any case. Clarence Mitchell: 
Errr... All sorts of enquiries, interview requests, suggestions for features, sightings of possibly Madeleine. All sorts of things. They all have to either be passed on to the private investigators or we take decisions as to how we deal with them.
The search for Madeleine must be maintained. But notice how the vigilant are now to be accredited, not with the likelihood of sighting Madeleine, whose feasible presence was previously a given, but the categorical sighting of someone who might be Madeleine. It is a subtle shift in emphasis, but 'possible' is less an attribute of sightings per se than of the object's very existence. There are clearly two principal agents in this investigative process, private investigators and the decision-making 'team.' No other body is included in the rosta. How therefore can Mitchell go on to make the following claim? Clarence Mitchell: 
Anything that develops a profile, errr... as high as this case has, does attract all sorts of people. You're quite right. Errm... most of them, the vast majority, are well meaning and if information can be checked out and is credible or potentially credible then it goes through, not only to the British police, it goes through to the Portuguese police, and it goes through to the private investigators to be assessed; prioritised. It's very much a police operation. It's former British policemen that are working on it and then they will act upon it. Now amongst those, of course, there are the occasional slightly more lunatic things that are said.

Here the 'private investigators' are third in line, and yet they do the assessment and prioritise the information. Neither the British nor Portuguese police receive information before it is 'checked out' and adjudged to be credible or even potentially so. Hence primacy is still vested in the private enterprise. The batting order has been cunningly inverted. This was made clear previously elsewhere (to Peter Levy - BBC Radio Humberside - 6.1.2011):

But currently, errm... it's the... the investigation is a private investigation being led by Dave Edgar, who's a former RUC officer, errr... retired, errr... and he calls in assistance, errr... from his colleague, former colleagues in various police forces, as and when he needs it. Errr... And there is work going on in Britain and in Portugal at different times but, because of the sensitive nature of it, obviously I can't go into any detail, but it's very much ongoing.

It is very much not a police operation, and its conduct by former members of the RUC does not make it so. 'Follow the money' say some. For now we should follow the grammar - the logic.

Stephen Nolan: "How possible do you think it is though, Clarence... how possible is it that Madeleine is still alive given that level of publicity?"

Clarence Mitchell: "It is still possible that she is alive because there is no evidence to suggest that she isn't and that's the whole basis on which the investigation, the private investigation, continues to this day. In the absence of anything to suggest that she has been harmed or, as you suggest, has been killed, and there is no evidence to suggest that, then not only Kate and Gerry but everybody working with them will continue to keep going until an answer is found."

Let's not forget that this is a media interview, not a court of law, hence the word 'evidence' should carry rather fewer constraints; one is entitled to consider indicators beyond the wholly tangible. That being the case, Mitchell's opening statement here is false and the 'whole basis on which the private investigation continues' is in turn a falsehood. Mitchell goes on to re-iterate the logic of the absurd - and more than once.

Stephen Nolan: "What's your gut instinct now as to what's happened? Are you comfortable sharing that?"

Clarence Mitchell: "My instinct has been, and remains, that there is a chance that she's alive and that's the basis we're all doing this. We wouldn't... if we thought there was no hope, you know, what would be the point of going on? But, because there is that absence of anything to suggest what's happened, it is just as logical to keep going. That's certainly what keeps Kate and Gerry going. Obviously, as her parents, they will maintain that. But for all of their supporters, people who are trying to help them, myself included, I honestly don't know what happened and therefore I've got to keep going, and as long as they want me to keep helping them then I'm happy to do that."

'Evidence' has become 'anything to suggest' and anyone who has followed this case with even a degree of care will know that there is plenty to suggest what didn't happen as well as what did. Something happened. Something didn't happen. Kate McCann is on record as telling all-and-sundry that she 'knows what happened' because she was there. Perhaps Mitchell has been out of the loop for too long.

Peter Levy: "What do they (the McCanns) believe, what do they think is the strongest possibility of... of what happened to little Madeleine?"

Clarence Mitchell: "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. The only assumption they can make is that somebody took her out of the apartment. That is the working hypothesis on which the private investigation is also based. That there is somebody, perhaps one, or just two or three people out there who know what happened and that there was an element of pre-meditation, pre-planning went into it. Possibly because of the location of the apartment; it was on a fairly remote corner of that particular resort. Errm... Children would have been coming and going over months/weeks beforehand and there... it... the private investigation believes there was a degree of pre-meditation and planning, errm... and the very fact that nothing has been found of Madeleine since, not a trace, tends to suggest that she has been taken somewhere else and has been... hopefully, is being looked after, or at least cared for, errr... with someone. Errr... That is... that is the working hypothesis. In some cases, if... if God forbid, she had been harmed, she probably would have been found long ago but she hasn't been and that's why they keep going."

Have you ever heard such nonsense? The McCanns, who know what happened ("I knew immediately, she'd been taken" - Kate McCann) are reduced to making a solitary assumption, which in turn becomes the fulcrum for the private (British police) investigation, and the belief that an element of planning is entailed, on account of the comings and goings of children in Praia da Luz weeks and months beforehand! ("They'd been watching us for several days I'm sure" - Kate McCann). Oh, and "the very fact that nothing has been found of Madeleine since, not a trace, tends to suggest that she has been taken somewhere else." You don't say.

Peter Levy: "So the belief is that she is... she is alive and being looked after, and probably still in Portugal?"

Clarence Mitchell: "As... as Kate and Gerry have always said, until they have the answer as to what has happened and until they are presented with incontrovertible proof that she has been harmed, they will continue to believe - just as logically, without any evidence to the contrary - that she could still just as easily be alive."

Surely someone with professional credentials sufficient to have seen him seconded to the Foreign Office should realise that 'belief' and 'logic' are not stable mates. Clarence Mitchell probably does realise that. Just as probably he, as well as the McCanns, is banking on the rest of us not doing so.

Clarence Mitchell: "...To this day there is a very small but highly vocal minority online; the joys of the Internet. The Internet is a wonderful thing but it has its downside, as we all know. There is a very vocal but very small minority of people who believe Kate and Gerry were negligent and to this day they rail and rant against them. They are powerless, they know nothing and it... it's totally irrelevant. But we keep a... a weather eye on what they're saying and if action needs to be taken, in certain cases, then it is."

Oh what wishful thinking! Mitchell's Lurkio moment ('Woe, woe and thrice woe.') may well return to haunt him. The 'very small minority… are powerless (wrong), know nothing (wrong), and it's totally irrelevant.' (wrong again).

And so we progress from the disingenuous to the downright deceitful.

Stephen Nolan: "Did the campaign cost a lot of money?"

Clarence Mitchell: "...It was all spent in terms of the investigation and running a private investigation in two countries, sometimes in several continents where if things have to be followed up around the world, is a very expensive business. All of that's been spent on various contracts, on various private agencies, errm... since... since it happened."

Lawyers with expertise in extradition and libel were most certainly contracted after 'it happened', the latter having spent rather longer in the crease to date, although the innings is far from over and the tail-enders may yet get to take their turn.

Stephen Nolan: "And presumably, Clarence, you're on the phone to the editors of those newspapers warning them about legal threats. The lawyers are on the phone. You're on the phone trying to stop them doing this and continuing to do this?"

(We interrupt this broadcast to bring you a previous exchange on the subject of 'negligence,' a factor defined earlier to Stephen Nolan as 'irrelevant'):

Peter Levy: "Why did it capture the imagination so much?"

Clarence Mitchell: "Oh, how long's your programme? There are all sorts of reasons but essentially, errm... it... it played into the... every parental nightmare of losing your children whilst on holiday, errr... it raised the whole question of parental responsibility. Kate and Gerry felt they and their friends were mounting a perfectly correct and proper checking system on the... on the... given the... the lack of resources available to them, at the time, but they made a mistake and they... they got it wrong.”

"...there's a very small vocal minority online who... who attack them for being negligent. That is completely misplaced and entirely wrong."

How come the case raised such an 'irrelevant' question? That the parents opted not to pay for additional child minding does not imply a lack of resource - the same resource they'd availed themselves of on a daily basis. And if a stranger steals a child, how is that the parents' mistake? Unless, of course, they made the mistake of 'contributory negligence.' But then the subject would not be altogether irrelevant, misplaced or entirely wrong, would it?

(We return you now to Clarence Mitchell answering Stephen Nolan)

Clarence Mitchell: "...the whole thing was a nonsense but it was driving sales of papers…obviously there were legitimate questions about child safety and, errr... parental responsibility….We would talk to journalists on the ground and we would talk to editors. It made a difference sometimes. Overall, in certain cases, it made not jot... not a jot of difference."

Well I take back what was said earlier about Mitchell's awareness of belief versus logic. Anyone capable of equating the general with the specific in such an ad hoc manner is likely not to appreciate the difference between empiricism and blind faith after all. Rather more importantly, CM makes it abundantly clear that questions pertaining to child safety and parental responsibility, i.e. questions of negligence, were both legitimate and inevitable. And in case you should have missed this devious operative's earlier remark on the subject, here it is again: "...there's a very small vocal minority online who... who attack them for being negligent. That is completely misplaced and entirely wrong."

Not misplaced then. And when one takes into account the parents' own admissions, e.g. 'extraordinarily we went to the Tapas bar', by way of explanation for their leaving three children under five alone and unattended for more than an hour, 'entirely wrong' doesn't seem to fit the subsequent questioning either. Still, something should be done about maverick reporting shouldn't it? Let's conclude with the authoritative view of a PR professional, as adept at employing 'weasels' as any other in his line of work.

Stephen Nolan: "So, Clarence, what... what needs to happen? Does... does the PCC work, the Press Complaints Commission? Errr... Does there need to be a change of legislation? What needs to happen?"

Clarence Mitchell: "Well, we... we tried to resort to the PCC, at times, and they were very helpful in terms of logistical things, like keeping photographers away from the McCann's home. There were photographers camped outside their house, at the end of their drive, for six months. We even had paparazzi photographers, who normally do celebrity jobs in... in Los Angeles, turning up looking for them. And, you know, we had to patiently explain the McCanns were not celebrities, they didn't warrant this sort of intrusion and these photographers needed to be moved. Now the PCC were fantastic in that case, they were really helpful. But in terms of making the news desks and the editors in certain papers sit up and really listen, I'm afraid we had to, reluctantly, pick up the rather large hammer of defamation action and say, 'You will apologise, you will settle this, errr... on our terms, or we will go further'. And thankfully, after a lot of discussion - the Express group being the best example - finally agreed with us. Errm... But it was a reluctant action. You know, it shouldn't have got to that stage. But it wasn't of our making."

For those unfamiliar with the copywriter's technique, 'We tried to resort to the PCC at times' means exactly what it says. Most of the time they did not resort to the PCC at all, and on those occasions when they might have done so they only tried.

The PCC for their part have long since explained that their role is not to pre-judge the outcome of reportage but to take action in the event that they receive a complaint. The McCanns did not complain to the PCC about the Express group coverage, for example. The 'large hammer of defamation' was not an instrument of last resort, except in the chronological sense. The majority of what was written in the press during the torrid period for which the McCanns claimed damages could easily have been nipped in the bud by them early on. It wasn't. Kate's 'story,' all important for bringing Madeleine home, could have been written and published long before now, there being a sense of urgency attaching to any child's disappearance, or that of an adult. It wasn't.

Four years on. We have journeyed with the McCanns and their spokespersons from 'jemmied shutters' to wanting the case re-viewed (as a pre-cursor to its being re-opened). And still they are no nearer telling the truth.

Early Doors – 25.01.2011

All the world's a stage (including the Portuguese Algarve where, according to Gerry McCann, 'everyone is acting, some in big ways.'). And all the players have their exits and their entrances - doors and windows to you and me.

The Telegraph of 5 May, 2007 quoted Trish Cameron, Gerry McCann's sister, who candidly relays information passed to her by Gerry.

"They had put the kids to bed at 7pm and checked on them every half an hour as they had dinner nearby with the rest of the party. Gerry said the window was open, the shutters broken and the door, which had been locked, hanging open."

The Sun of May 5 offered a corroborative account, helpfully extended to provide additional justification for a locked apartment:

"Kate went back at 10pm to check. The front door was lying open, the window had been tampered with, the shutters had been jemmied open and Maddie was missing."

"He (Gerry) said, 'Maddie's been abducted, she's been abducted'. Nothing else was touched in the apartment, no valuables taken, no passports."

The window was obviously an aperture on the world outside. But so too was the door in this case. It had been locked. And since it was found 'hanging open' it must have been the front door hanging on its hinges, not the patio door, which slid on rails, or an interior door which did not lock at all. The merciless abductor must therefore have broken in through the window and taken the easy route out via the front door.

Several paragraphs on from Trish Cameron's regurgitation of Gerry McCann's tale, the Telegraph offers Jon Corner's complementary regurgitation of Kate's:

"She just blurted out that Madeleine had been abducted. She told me, 'They have broken the shutter on the window and taken my little girl.'

"They had left the apartment locked while they were having their meal, but when they went back the last time they saw the damage.

"First they saw one of the window shutters had been forced, and then they saw the door was open and the bed was empty - and Madeleine was gone."

The McCanns' friends and relatives were not at all reticent when it came to sharing the information given them directly, and separately, by the McCanns themselves. As both accounts appear to converge, the reader has reason to accept their accuracy. Well of course we have long known that the claim of damage to the window fittings was false, although both parents made that claim independently (John Hill, boss of the Ocean Club complex, was reported by the Sun to have insisted there was NO physical evidence Maddie had been abducted from the apartment. He said: "We are still hoping Madeleine is asleep under a bush and we'll find her soon.").

Then there is the issue of the patio doors having been unlocked after all, sparing the abductor the tedium of breaking and entering, whilst allowing him (or her) to 'get out of the window fairly easily.' But even the most cortically challenged of intruders is unlikely to enter via a door then leave through a window. Hence we have since been treated to a post hoc supposition by Kate McCann that the window may have been opened by the abductor as a 'red herring.' And the front door 'hanging open'? What was that - a blue whale?

Corner's repetition of Kate McCann's version of events is additionally problematic.

"First they saw one of the window shutters had been forced… (So they must have entered the apartment from the front, not the rear, using a key if the door was locked).

… and then they saw the door was open …(Suggesting that the front door was indeed ‘hanging open’).

…and the bed was empty - and Madeleine was gone.”

But in-between the front door and the empty bed was the bedroom door which, as we have since been told, 'was open much further than we'd left it.' Did this obvious interference with the apartment's interior pass unnoticed therefore, or was Kate, through Jon Corner, referring to the bedroom door in the first place? That must be it. The McCanns entered through the rear of the apartment, noticed the door to the children's bedroom was open and then saw the empty bed. But if that's what Kate reported then they can only have seen the damaged window shutter last, not first. Not only that. On seeing the open bedroom door (from across the apartment) they then approached the bedroom itself, but without noticing the open front door, which must have been closed after all, leaving the abductor to skidaddle through the patio doors, carrying a prostrate Madeleine across both arms (as described by Jane Tanner).

Why, indeed how, did the intruder close the patio door behind him? Matthew Oldfield, doing his post abduction check, went in through an unlocked patio door not a wide open one. Nor did he spot that 'the door, which had been locked' (according to Gerry McCann), i.e. the front door, was 'hanging open.' Though he claims not to have entered beyond said bedroom door himself, he will at least have noticed if it was open. But even if it was this door which was 'hanging open' it couldn't previously have been locked, and could not therefore have been the door to which Gerry McCann had earlier referred.
Matthew devrait avoir vu ce que Kate a vu, puisqu'il n'a touché à rien (si ce n'est fait glisser la porte-fenêtre dans un sens, puis dans l'autre). 

All of this inconsistency is entirely consistent - with equally inconsistent statements made to the police. In fact they are so inconsistent, both within and between deponents, that one or more must be false. The following extracts pertain to events of the Thursday unless otherwise indicated:

Gerry McCann (4 May, 2007)

'at 9.05 pm, the deponent entered the club (sic), using his key, the door being locked.'

'At around 9.30 pm, his friend MATT … went into the deponent's apartment, going in through a sliding glass door at the side of the building, which was always unlocked.'

'KATE ……went into the apartment through the door using her key.'

'The side door that opens into the living room….was never locked, was closed.'

'Reads, confirms, ratifies and signs.'

Kate McCann (4 May, 2007)

'She went into the apartment by the side door, which was closed, but unlocked.'

'Reads, confirms, ratifies and signs.'

Gerry McCann (10 May, 2007)

(Sunday) 'They left the house through the main door, that he was sure he locked, and the back door was also closed and locked.'

'Dinner ended at around 23h00.... On that day (Sunday), only the deponent and his wife entered the apartment. He is sure that they always entered through the front door, not knowing if they locked it upon leaving.'

(Wednesday) 'Apart from the deponent and his wife, he thinks that DAVID PAYNE also went to his apartment to check that his children were well, not having reported to him any abnormal situation with the children. On this day, 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.'

(Thursday) 'He walked the normal route up to the back door, which being open he only had to slide.'

'Three to four minutes later MATHEW returned… having entered through the back door, given that he did not have the key and it was usual for them to enter in that way.'

'22h03, he again alerted KATE that it was time to check the children. She immediately made her way to the apartment by the usual path, having entered through the back door.'

'Reads, confirms, ratifies and signs.'

Kate McCann (6 September, 2007)

'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.'

'GERRY was the first one to check on the children, this was decided on the spot, at around 9-9:05 p.m. He got up from the table and entered the apartment through the balcony door.'

'At 9:30 p.m. ...MATTHEW...said he could check on her children...After less than ten minutes MATTHEW returned...she assumed he had checked on her children, entering through the balcony door which was closed but not locked.'

'At 10 p.m. she got up from the table, as it was her turn after having been replaced by MATT. She entered the apartment by the balcony door which was closed, but as already said, not locked.'

Reads, confirms, ratifies and signs, as do the interpreter and the defence lawyer.

One could be forgiven for thinking that police questioning was a 'multiple-choice' exercise and that, given the same template on separate days respondents may reasonably be expected to opt for different answers. A typical question might be set out as follows:

'McCanns exit the apartment leaving the front door (a) locked (b) unlocked? On their return they each enter via (a) the locked front door (b) the unlocked front door (c ) the unlocked patio door (d) separate doors?

(Hint: Be careful to take account of the day of the week in your answer. The patio door, for example, was locked on Sunday).

Some will no doubt wish to conclude that the lion's share of all this confusion is the result of misunderstandings on the part of distant interlocutors. As strange as it may seem, that different second-hand accounts should err in the same direction despite having been derived from separate independent sources, i.e. Kate and Gerry McCann, perhaps one should allow a 'casting vote;' an account by someone other than the McCanns, who was herself present in Praia Da Luz and at the end of a buffet table as opposed to a telephone. Martin Fricker and Rod Chaytor of the Daily Mirror gave this person a public voice on 5 May, 2007, barely 48 hrs after the initial announcement of Madeleine's disappearance:

A woman friend of the McCanns - one of their holiday party of nine adults and eight children - said: "We went for dinner at 8.45 p.m. in a restaurant near the apartments as we've done every night.

"A parent from each family went back to check on the children every half hour.

"Someone checked at 9.15. But when Kate went later Madeleine had gone.

"The window shutters, which had been closed since we arrived on Saturday, were open along with the window. They can be opened from the outside.

"The window opens on to a car park. The door to the room was shut. It looks as if someone has come through the window and possibly left through the door."

Well it gets no better does it. Window shutters, although merely open, (not 'smashed', as Jon Corner goes on to describe Kate as having told him later in this same report) 'can be opened from the outside.' Not when the winding mechanism's an interior fitting they can't. Unless Corner/Kate are right and the shutters were 'smashed.' But they weren't. And the door to the room was? 'Shut.' So not 'open much further than they'd left it' then.

As early as 5 May therefore, and courtesy of an anonymous member of the Tapas group, an unsuspecting world was given all the information it and the Portuguese police needed in order to progress the search for Madeleine:

'It looks as if someone has come through the window and possibly left through the door.'

The characteristics of a well executed Trompe-l'oeil are also that 'it looks as if...' In other words, a beguiling illusion.

A Payne in the Glass – 30.01.2011

'While the children were eating and looking at some books, Kate had a shower which lasted around 5 minutes. After showering, at around 6:30/6:40 p.m. and while she was getting dry, she heard somebody knocking at the balcony door. She wrapped herself in a towel and went to see who was at the balcony door. This door was closed but not locked as Gerry had left through this door. She saw that it was David Payne, because he called out and had opened the door slightly. David's visit was to help her to take the children to the recreation area. When David returned from the beach he was with Gerry at the tennis courts, and it was Gerry who asked him to help Kate with taking the children to the recreation area, which had been arranged but did not take place. David was at the apartment for around 30 seconds, he didn't even actually enter the flat, he remained at the balcony door. According to her he then left for the tennis courts where Gerry was. The time was around 6:30-6:40 p.m.

'After David left, Kate dressed and sat with the children, Madeleine on her lap. She was wearing a top, she doesn't remember what colour it was, a green long-sleeved t-shirt, blue denim trousers. Sports shoes and white socks.'

The above is a true reflection of a significant interaction between David Payne and Kate McCann on the evening of Thursday May 3, 2007. It has to be true because it forms part of Kate McCann's statement to Portuguese police on 6 September that year; a statement signed by both herself and her lawyer.

The following extract includes analogous statements by David Payne, covering the same event; statements which feature among his responses recorded during a Rogatory Interview with Leicestershire Police on 11 April 2008. It is discrepant as regards a key material fact, and therefore false. It cannot be otherwise if Kate McCann's statement is true which, being a signed statement put before the police, it ought to be. And that alone raises the question as to how much credibility, if any, may be attached to other statements of apparent fact made by David Payne.

"So I walked back err from the tennis courts, err back to err you know Kate and Gerry's apartment and the time you know looking at, you know we've looked obviously at photographs since then and you know the time that we've got that I was you know going to Kate's about six thirty, err and I went into their apartment through the patio doors. The three children were all you know dressed you know in their pyjamas, you know they looked immaculate, you know they were just like angels, they all looked so happy and well looked after and content and I said to Kate, you know it's a bit early for the you know, for the three of them to be going to bed, she said ah they've had such a great time, they're really tired and you know err so I say, you know I can't remember exactly what, what you know the night attire, what the children were wearing but white was the predominant err colour, but you know just to reinforce they were just so happy, you know seeing you know obviously Gerry wasn't there but they were just all, just so at peace and you know they looked like a family who'd had such a fantastic time."

This episode alone is replete with highly questionable observations and we shall return to each of them in due course, but first another of David Payne's 'moments' must be introduced:

1485 "How long did you spend in your apartment?"

Reply "I mean again, we've you know, we've chatted about the timings and everything and you know looked at the photographs and you know, you know we were leaving about quarter past six from the err restaurant, we'd gotta walk up there, ten, fifteen minutes, conversation with Gerry, conversation with Kate, you know that's another five, ten minutes on to your ten, fifteen minutes walk."

Kate, it should be recalled, had David Payne outside the apartment for 30 seconds, whereas Payne places himself inside ('I went into their apartment through the patio doors') for 3 - 5 minutes.

1485 "I'm gonna pin you down and ask you how long you think you were in there for. I know you say minutes."

Reply "In their apartment, it, it, I'd say three minutes, five maximum."

1485 "Three to five?"

Reply "Yeah."

In absolute terms the difference in time appears negligible, but when one considers that 30 seconds would be just about long enough for Payne to announce himself, put a question, then depart having been given the answer, it hardly represents an opportunity for conversation. Three minutes, on the other hand, is about the duration of a chart single (the rule there being if you can't say it in under three minutes don't expect a 'hit'); clearly time in which to see more and say more. And still we have a disagreement over the door.

KM: 'She saw that it was David Payne, because he called out and had opened the door slightly.'

1485 "Did you open the door, slid door? Or was it already open? Or..."

Reply (DP): "Err I think it was already open, I think it was already open."

But this is not about doors. Although the patio door was transparent, so too is Payne's witness strategy.

30 seconds spent outside 5A would be insufficient to support the testimonial which Payne goes on to deliver. In order to furnish all the unnecessary details he parades in answer to the investigating officer's questions, he, like Matthew Oldfield, had to be inside the apartment, his visual attention not monopolised by someone standing directly in front of him in a doorway. No sooner is he inside than he notices:

"The three children... dressed... in their pyjamas,... all looked so... well looked after and content... I can't remember exactly... what the children were wearing... white was the predominant err colour, but just to reinforce they were just so happy, you know seeing you know obviously Gerry wasn't there... they looked like a family who'd had such a fantastic time."

The three (repeated for emphasis) well looked after children, were dressed in the (predominantly white) pyjamas which Payne could not then recollect having seen. The family looked like they'd had a fantastic time (What does someone who's had a fantastic time look like exactly?). But no-one gets away with a perfect life, and the McCann family happiness was not without its compromises.

"...they were just so happy... seeing you know obviously Gerry wasn't there."

This statement may be read in one of two ways. Neither interpretation is at all reassuring.

Were the children happy 'seeing as Gerry wasn't there,' i.e. on account of his absence, or seeing (i.e. given) Gerry wasn't there were they happy nonetheless? Whichever way one views it, one or other parent is associated with unhappiness. Such implications are due entirely to David Payne's statement in this instance, and he proceeds later to support this viewpoint:

"...but you know it, it wasn't many minutes that I was, was there."

1485 "Yeah."

Reply (DP): "But err certainly enough time just to see, you know, certainly the apartment, there was nothing that was untoward, that was you know err the children all looked extremely happy, there was no, you know signs of any problems with err you know Kate, you know or indeed the relationship that Kate had got with any of the three children. None of the children had been told off, none of the children looked like they were you know in trouble for anything, you know they were err still all talking and playing around. Err so you know it was just a very err transient you know that I'd gone in there, but as I say it just struck me how well they all looked."

Why should David Payne have been struck by how well the three children looked? For a child to look well, especially while on holiday in a Mediterranean climate, should not be exceptional.

Those with first-hand experience of police interviewing techniques will know better than I whether topic repetition is a device utilised for revealing inconsistencies, but to judge from the separate references to this brief visit, it certainly seems to have worked in David Payne's case. Here's how Payne summarises the subject, twice more, in the course of this same interview:

"I walked up there, Kate was you know I say looking very relaxed and err I say a comment to her I said well crikey it's early, early for them to be getting ready you know for bed, as I say she said ah no, I've had such a good, you know such a good day and afternoon err so you know, and Gerry's just obviously finishing off playing tennis and err so you know hopefully try and get them down and as I say we were just, you know I, I know, it does sound bizarre but I just looked at the three of them and I couldn't, you know they were just so well presented and so clean and immaculate it was, you know I was, and you know they just looked such healthy children, err you know, there's, there's you know nothing that normally..."

1485 "Yeah."

Reply "Triggers in my mind like that but it was just how well that they looked and err..."

1485 "Try to remember where in, where they were in the apartment."

Reply "Err, I mean the, the time that I was there err you know all, all of them err all the children and Kate were in the, err as soon as you go through the patio doors err you know they were all in the immediate area you know in front of you, err that was the area that they generally, you know when I saw them, so I didn't, no I didn't go any further into the apartment, you know it was just a conversation that I like, you know walked into the, you know through the French doors, I went into the lounge err you know the open plan area and err you know just had a brief conversation, you know things started off by as I say, saying about the, how well they looked and you know, it's early to get them ready for bed and then I said oh Gerry's, you know just finished over there, we're going over to play a bit of tennis, err I probably said is there any problems with that and she said ah no, no fine, you know carry on, and err you know perhaps a bit more of a conversation err but you know it, it wasn't many minutes that I was, was there."

1485 "Yeah."

Quite a few words have spilled from David Payne's lips in-between Kate's first being quoted as saying 'they've had such a good time' (referring to the children) yet later on being reported to have said 'I've had such a good afternoon.' It is Kate also who goes on to mention how 'Gerry's just obviously finishing off playing tennis' in the context of her preferring to prepare the children for bed rather than joining him at Payne's invitation, whilst barely minutes later David Payne re-attributes this observation, slightly modified, to himself: 'I said oh Gerry's, you know just finished over there, we're going over to play a bit of tennis.' Far from Gerry just finishing with tennis, he and Payne were apparently about to start playing.

Again the interviewer is treated to a testimonial on 'threeness' and health, with a conspicuous linguistic frailty at the opening of Payne's reply here:

"Err, I mean the, the time that I was there err you know all, all of them err all the children and Kate were in the… immediate area you know in front of you..."

Supposing, for the sake of argument, that there was never any doubt as to who was in the apartment at the time David Payne claims to have seen them, there should have been no doubt expressed in Payne's own description of the encounter either. 'They were all (in the lounge)' should have sufficed. But Payne finds it hard to be precise. First he hesitates over what the word 'all' should signify then, having decided to use it, he does so within a phrase adequate for everyone except Payne himself. He simply cannot resist clarifying for the listener that 'all' meant 'all the children,' an entailment which, if it were true, and there were doubts as to the number of infants to be accounted for, should have been made clear at the outset, not tacked on as an afterthought.

But there is one thing above all else which points to the truth of David Payne's Rogatory Interview responses being highly questionable, and it is not that they differ conspicuously from Kate McCann's supposedly truthful version of the same events. The definitive exchange is surely this:

1485 "Okay, so now what I'm gonna try and ask you to recollect, what everybody was wearing."

Reply (DP): "I'm afraid that is, you know I'm, I cannot recall at all. I know that's, you'd think that'd be an obvious thing to remember, I cannot remember. As I say the, from the children point of view predominantly I can remember the, you know, white, but I couldn't say exactly what they were wearing. Err..."

(He has previously identified 'night attire' aka 'pyjamas' don‘t forget, having commented that it was early for the children to be preparing for bed).

1485 "But could you remember what Kate was wearing for example?"

Reply (DP): "I can't, no."

Now, it makes not the slightest bit of difference whether one considers Kate McCann to have represented Venus incarnate or the whore of Babylon, at the time of David Payne's impromptu visit to 5A she had just emerged from the shower and, according to her own (6 September) statement, answered his knock at the Patio door draped in a bath towel. She did not dress until 'After David left.'

If David Payne could not remember that then his recollections are not worth a candle.


Since completing this essay my attention has been drawn to a covering letter, written by D.C. Marshall of Leicestershire Police during October 2007, addressed to Ricardo Paiva, and intended to cover statements made by the doctors Gaspar; statements forwarded belatedly to the P.J. A translation of this letter (into Portuguese) is among the contents of the official files since released to the public.

The first full paragraph of this letter constitutes comment, not on the Gaspars or their statements, but on the responses given by David Payne to a prepared questionnaire, these responses having been read 'very carefully,' by D.C. Marshall. Among them, and singled out for special attention, is the 'declaration' by Payne that he saw Madeleine for the last time at 17.00 (5.00 p.m.) on the 3 May, 2007 in the McCanns' apartment. Also present were Kate and Gerry McCann. The relevant sentence in Portuguese is not complex and, given its point of origin, the original English will have been no more so.

This one sentence, whether read in Portuguese or English is highly significant. It attests to awareness on the part of Leicestershire Police of the issue of 'last sighting', the timing of David Payne's 3 May appearance in 5A and the possibility that both McCanns were present. These data were therefore already a matter of official police record by the time D.C. Mitchell wrote his covering letter. So what action was taken in this regard once David Payne's Rogatory Interviews were concluded in April the following year?

Insofar as David Payne's various accounts of his brief sojourn in 5A not only diverge from Kate McCann's but are discrepant within themselves, it is perfectly clear that David Payne lied to Leicestershire Police. Either he last saw Madeleine at 5.00 p.m. in the company of both parents, or he last saw her in the presence of Kate McCann alone approximately an hour-and-a half later. A last sighting cannot be made twice.

According to Kate McCann, in her statement to police in Portugal (6 September, 2007), the McCanns themselves did not arrive back at their apartment until 5.40 p.m. that evening. (Gerry McCann, in his earlier statement of May 10, 2007 puts the time at 'after 5.30').

Given this three-way discrepancy, only one deposition can be true. (That is not to say that it must be so. They could all be false). That Payne has lied is beyond dispute, but if it should transpire that his 'questionnaire' declaration is the truthful one, then a case of lying, and hence obstructing the police, can legitimately be made against the McCanns also, since a 5.00 p.m. encounter with David Payne in 5A presupposes that the parents had already returned to their apartment by then, not dallied in the 'meal area' with others.

The Gaspar Statements : Cover Letter from Leicestershire Police - 24.10.2007

Processo 201/07.0 GALGS, pages 3909 and 3910 (Volume XIII)

From: DC 1756 Mike Marshall

Dept.: Leicestershire Police, Phone nr. 0116 2484409

To: Ricardo Paiva

Ref.: David Payne


Please find enclosed Arul and Katherina Gaspar's statements, as requested.

I have carefully read the written questionnaire that was handed over by David Payne, but I was unable to extract any other information apart from what is already known.

He states that he saw Madeleine, for the last time, at 5 pm on the 3rd of May, 2007, in the McCanns' apartment. Kate and Gerry were equally present then. He did not state the reason why he was in the apartment at that time, or what they were doing. He does not state for how long he stayed there, either.

When he was asked with who he was in the evening of the 3rd of May, he states that he has already given that information to the police and that he cannot remember if he was aware of anyone else.

He cannot recall what he was wearing that afternoon.

In fact, he participated in the search, but for most of the time, he was alone. Sometimes he was accompanied by Matthew Oldfield.

He did not participate in the searches that took place on the 4th of May, because he spent most of that day at the police station.

To many of the questions there is no full reply, stating merely and he has already supplied the Portuguese police with the information / statements.

I have again examined Fiona Payne's information. In her statement, she says that she went to the McCanns' apartment at around 7 pm on the 3rd of May, along with Kate. She states that the husband arrived 10 minutes later; it is unclear what husband she is referring to, whether it's Gerry or her own husband.

Her replies to the written questionnaire are vague, as she replies to the questions saying "according to my statement" or using a similar expression.

Just Listen – 05.02.2011

During a filmed interview, the great violinist Zino Francescatti said, "When I say something I expect people to listen." That was of course a metaphor for his music making. Francescatti's stern countenance in performance totally belied his simple charm as a person. He was more gardener than governor. Another great 'fiddler,' about whom debate rages, even today, was Jascha Heifetz. Did his near static posture in performance and unchangeable facial expression indicate a man devoid of emotion? The pragmatic answer to that question is the one accepted by most nowadays - 'Just close your eyes and listen.'

Similar questions have of course been raised in discussions pertaining to the McCanns: Where are the tears? Are they crocodile tears? Are they telling us the whole truth? Are they keeping something back? Etc., etc. Whether intentionally or otherwise, they appear to have been remarkably adept at confounding their audience, contradicting themselves and each other over time, so that, with only polar opposites to choose from, there is no really 'happy' medium which one might adopt as a consensus view. Consequently, in the public arena at least, the inquisition is suppressed by constant uncertainty. Analogous to the situation in Egypt currently, all the while there is venomous dispute between the factions there can be no resolution. And that suits the McCanns just fine, thank you very much.

'He lies with all the teeth he has in his head' opined Carlos Anjos of Clarence Mitchell. Well I don't know about that. Unless a person is a malevolent psychopath, it's not at all easy to lie both spontaneously and convincingly. Furthermore, paid 'mouthpieces' such as Mitchell and the McCanns' various 'legal eagles' use language very judiciously. They have to. It's their job. They are perfectly well aware, far more so than your average Joe Motormouth, of the consequences of not doing so. Since what they say is largely 'right' therefore, albeit expressed in words carefully chosen for the purposes of mis-direction, one cannot be mistaken in looking for the truth among their various emissions. And since the McCanns themselves have enjoyed any number of meetings, both with Clarence Mitchell and their legal representatives, one ought to be reasonably justified in looking for evidence (examples if you'd rather) of their following the same script.

Taking another's lead, there is something to be said for adopting a qualified view of the legal system's approach to 'truth,' especially when one encounters remarks such as these by the McCanns' legal co-ordinator (and millionaire property developer), Edward Smethurst:

"Part of the reason why we're here disclosing evidence to you today as opposed to keeping our powder dry is a recognition that there were two strands to this case, part of it is the criminal case, but part of it is the media speculation and the media perception, and we see it as incumbent upon us to portray the truth to the media and in particular to try and expunge any ill-founded theories about Gerry and Kate's involvement so that the media attention can focus back onto the abduction and therefore onto the fact that we have a missing little girl out there."

Frankly, if someone were to come to me with 'the truth' I'd rather they presented it, warts and all, than 'portray' it. A portrayal is a representation not a presentation, and has no absolute basis in reality. Did Smethurst know exactly what he was saying? You can bet your life he did. And Mitchell, cropping up more recently in a brace of radio interviews, knew full well what he was saying also, to Peter Levy on this occasion:

"...To this day there is a very small but highly vocal minority online; the joys of the Internet. The Internet is a wonderful thing but it has its downside, as we all know. There is a very vocal but very small minority of people who believe Kate and Gerry were negligent and to this day they rail and rant against them. They are powerless, they know nothing and it... it's totally irrelevant. But we keep a... a weather eye on what they're saying and if action needs to be taken, in certain cases, then it is."

My initial interpretation of this relative clause was, not unreasonably, that it was used to qualify the activities of the 'vocal minority online.' There is, however, an alternative association - with the belief that 'Kate and Gerry were negligent.' And if the correct reading is that Kate and Gerry's 'negligence' is totally irrelevant, then what? Given that, by all accounts, the abduction of Madeleine McCann could not have occurred had Kate and Gerry not been negligent to some degree, what does that portend? Kate has herself expressed regret, and on more than one occasion, that she was not there 'at that minute.'

And yet Kate may well have been there when 'it happened.' She intimated as much outside the Lisbon courthouse following the notorious injunction hearing. It was there that she chided the inquisitive reporter standing alongside. "I know more than you do. I know what I saw." (I doubt anyone would consider an empty bed to be particularly informative. While it announces its status, it does not explain it. Kate must therefore have seen more than this, and I do not mean open doors and/or windows). A dress rehearsal for being both truthful and scathing, you might say.

If the irrelevance of negligence is indeed the truth, then it is indeed unsettling. As much as one might be taken aback by Gerry McCann's more recent faux pas in referring to 'the night we found her,' Kate's claim to primacy in these matters puts her in a more pivotal position. And how might they have 'found her?' 'Missing' would of course be the naïve retort. But one cannot find something that is nowhere to be found, only traces of its former presence perhaps (except, of course, in Madeleine's case).

There will doubtless be those who will argue that the McCanns' occasionally slipshod use of English means that what they mean is not necessarily what the listener/reader thinks they mean. If only the McCanns would disambiguate their various inadvertent double entendres. Some hope! Yet there is one topic at least where we can strip the wallpaper for ourselves.

Clarence Mitchell (to Peter Levy once more): "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."

If we dispense with the camouflage of tautology we're left with the following:

Kate and Gerry know Mad…(eleine) didn't wander out of the apartment, as has often been speculated.

How did they know? If we follow the trail of evidence in reverse, and 'evidence' it must be because the McCanns et al. have provided it, we arrive at a more disturbing question altogether than whether Madeleine McCann did or did not exercise her option of leaving 5A on account of fire or some other emergency.

The patio door to the apartment was left 'closed but not locked.' It would have been no more difficult for a determined child to open the sliding door than a hanging one. It didn't even need a handle, as evidenced by the comings and goings of Kate and Gerry McCann, Matthew Oldfield, and David Payne, all of whom successfully opened (and in most cases closed) the patio door from the outside, without being able to reach the integrated handle and lock, which was on the inside. Hence the impediment to Madeleine's exit was not the door per se.

Nor was there any hazardous obstruction between the children's bedroom and the rear of the apartment. Matthew Oldfield, although unfamiliar with the layout of the apartment (his previous checks had been confined to external listening at the window), made that incoming journey on the night of May 3 in near darkness, and without falling over anything. The door to the childrens' bedroom was 'open much further than we'd left it' according to Kate McCann, so Madeleine would not have struggled to open that door either. We also know that she was not averse to crossing the floor of the living room to get to her parents' bedroom. In his 'arguido' statement Gerry explains that it could have been Madeleine who had opened the (bedroom) door after waking and getting up, eventually to go to her parents' room. We are also given to understand however that Madeleine was last seen asleep by him in her room, so there can be no question as to where she would have had to depart from.

That puts Madeleine in her room with no obstacles between herself and an unlocked patio door. And yet, as Gerry has vociferously pointed out, "there's no way she... she could have got out on her own." What was there to stop her? Not even the bedclothes, since Madeleine was left asleep on the bed, with the covers turned down, not in it. The apologists' chorus, "No, no, Gerry didn't mean 'could not,' he meant 'would not,' as in 'she knew better,'" i.e. knew not to leave the apartment unaccompanied. In which case she would have fried in the very fire for which the McCanns had adopted the contingency of leaving the patio door unlocked in the first place, together with her siblings, for whom she alone would have been responsible in the absence of her parents.

It doesn't work, does it. Especially when alert pre-school toddlers are capable of dialling the emergency services telephone number in the event of a domestic emergency. Are we to infer that the McCanns would have expected Madeleine to commit suicide through obedience?

The overarching question then, and one which can only be answered by Kate McCann, since she alone claims, indirectly, to have been there when 'it happened' (in circumstances other than the children being asleep one might add) must be this:

Why are we to accept that Madeleine McCann could not have got off her own bed and walked out of apartment 5A unassisted, i.e. 'woke and wandered?' To do so requires us to suppose, either that Madeleine was unable to get off her bed and walk or, worse yet, that she could not even wake up.

The 'complete mystery of Madeleine McCann' is neither complete nor a mystery. Mitchell, who laid it on the line for Peter Levy, has confirmed as much.

"That is the working hypothesis on which the private investigation is also based. That there is somebody, perhaps one, or just two or three people out there who know what happened and that there was an element of pre-meditation, pre-planning went into it."

A couple of people (one at the very least), know what happened, and what happened was planned. But hasn't Kate as good as told us already that she knows what happened? ("I know that what happened is not due to the fact of us leaving the children asleep. I know it happened under other circumstances." - The Daily Mail, 17.9.07. To be capable of attributing cause and effect in this way the author must know what happened). If she were to be viewed as one of the 'two or three people' then who might the other(s) be? (Dial 01 for Gerry McCann, 02 for Clarence Mitchell. Lines do not close at midnight tonight).

Albeit piecemeal, the McCanns and their entourage have given us the truth behind Madeleine's disappearance, and have done so from the very beginning. People just haven't been listening. There is no mystery to be solved, because 'two or three people' already know the answer. We are not obliged to regard her disappearance as mysterious on account of these few people remaining tight-lipped. The McCanns, for their part, are no longer constrained by judicial secrecy and could perfectly easily quash every item of speculation in an instant by elucidating the truth as they know it, and as they have told it. If there is a mystery attaching to this affair, it resides in the fact that they do not - ever. As the world awaits the McCanns' 'truthful' account of events in Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007, what's the betting the word 'abduction' appears significantly more often within its pages than the word 'because?'''

Still Listening? - 07.02.2011

As previously discussed, Madeleine McCann was unable to leave apartment 5A unassisted on the late evening of Thursday 3 May 2007, not because there was a locked door or any such similar physical obstacle to her doing so, but because she herself was incapacitated. There can be no other explanation for Gerry McCann's unequivocal declaration in June of that year: "there's no way she... she could have got out on her own."

Whatever this preventive circumstance, it must have existed before Madeleine was 'taken,' otherwise Gerry could not have invoked it in support of the third-party involvement hypothesis. Why then does it not feature in any of his references to those last few minutes, shortly after 9.00 p.m., when he claims to have seen Madeleine and the twins sound asleep? And exactly how far back in time might Madeleine's incapacity extend?

If we take David Payne's Rogatory Interview story at face value, then the 'situation they found themselves in' must have arisen sometime after 7.00 p.m. that evening. But David Payne, as we know, wanted his cake twice over. He simply cannot have seen someone for the last time at 6.45. or thereabouts if, as he has elsewhere stated, he'd already seen them for the last time at 5.00. Circumstances can, as we know, change in an instant, hence four hours is more than enough time for Madeleine to have become immobile, and for the McCanns to establish, to their complete satisfaction, that there was 'no way she could have got out on her own.'

There's no smoke without fire they say, although we may, on occasion, experience these phenomena in reverse, just as we see lightning before we hear the thunder, on account of light travelling faster through the atmosphere than sound. So, whatever led to Madeleine's not being able to walk out of the apartment happened pre- and not post-'abduction.' Gerry himself has said: "We don't know what happened to her afterwards." As obvious as it is (or should be), time does not flow regressively, nor do the events it embraces along the way. We would have every right to be puzzled by, and indeed to question, any preparations for announcing Madeleine's 'abduction' before Kate McCann had 'discovered her missing.' The McCanns are not clairvoyant.

What we (or rather the McCanns) have to deal with, without a shadow of a doubt, is that Madeleine's incapacity, arising before she was 'taken,' must have occurred after something else, i.e. whatever caused it. We must not allow the lightning fast 'abduction' to blind us to the fact that its occurrence did not precede the thunder of impairment, but is associated with it, thunder and lightning alike being sparked by the same event; an event which remains to be specified, though the shadows from its debris are clearly visible.

Are You Listening, Mr Policeman? - 16.02.2011

When practising with a purpose, whether as an aspiring body-builder or concert pianist, repetition is the route to success. It even helps us remember things. Conversely it can help others remember things. That's what advertising campaigns do. Perhaps that's why the various 'witnesses' to the McCann case thought it such a good thing to do also. On the other hand they possibly felt obliged to repeat themselves on account of their own unintelligible gibberish, and on the assumption that it would all be clear in the end. Just have a look at the following 'statement' (as in unfinished sentence) by Jane Tanner, for which she deserves to be sentenced (indefinitely) - for crimes against the English language. It is not untypical.

"So err but I don't know, I mean I think it was, I'd have been, I was thinking in there I was trying to remember again what you know how dark it was or how you know and it was, I really can't remember, but twilight definitely, it'd had twilighted to dark and err as I say with the pink part of the pyjamas..."

We have already seen (A Payne in the Glass) how David Payne told the same story three times, modifying the details along the way. Clearly he misunderstood the brief, which was to say the same thing as frequently as possible, not different things at every opportunity. Jane Tanner though got it right when it mattered. And no, I am not referring to her multi-faceted waffle about her walk up and down the road that night, where exactly Gerry McCann was standing when she passed him, the faceless (yet later recognisable) 'abductor' or the length of his hair. I mean, specifically, the pink pyjamas.

Admittedly I'm going over old ground somewhat, but is it not curious, to say the least, that an eye-witnesses perception of a pair of gent's trousers should be compromised by the orange colour-cast of nearby street lighting, whilst her appreciation of a small pair of trousers he appeared to be carrying should be enhanced by it?

"I don't know, I've often thought quite a bit, purely because the colours seem quite horrible in terms of, I say the trousers are horrible, they didn't, they were quite a nasty err yeah they weren't a nice colour trousers."

Horrible trousers. Nasty colour. What an unpleasant spectacle. What colour was that again, Jane? Oh, you forgot to mention.


4078: "And, overall, what colour would you say the pyjama bottoms were?"

Reply: "Erm, I can't, I can't remember, I mean, I, I can't remember, well I can't remember now, but I think they were sort of whitey but with this, with this pattern on, but then some pink. That’s, that's what I thought at the time."

And just to confirm:

"So I don’t know, I feel, I thought I saw pink pyjamas and I thought I could see colours but I don’t know, it was fairly orange so I don't know.”

So, orange illumination notwithstanding, Jane Tanner manages to see pink represented in largely white trousers (the McCann children were 'attired' for the night in predominantly white something or others - maybe even pyjamas - according to David Payne).

Remarkable in itself. But nothing like as remarkable as Ms Tanner's insidious insistence that P.C. 4078 take particular account of what she is telling him.

"I can think that I would think 'Oh maybe a little girl would be wearing pink pyjamas', so, you know, if you were subconsciously putting things in your head, I can think pink pyjamas, yes, but I wouldn't think of some detail around the bottom of the pyjamas as a specific thing to, to mention."

Got that, 4078? The structural detail's unimportant. It's the 'pink' bit you have to remember. Put it into your head subconsciously - pink!

This remark just shouts off the page. If Tanner were considering her own subconscious disposition she would have said so. As it is she makes a glaring and undeniable distinction between 'you' and 'I,' juxtaposing them within the same sentence. And if one should feel, whether aggrieved or charitably inclined, the need to defend poor Jane against having made 'a mere slip' once, then can they please be so good as to explain why she should have made it twice!

"and err as I say with the pink part of the pyjamas I've always wondered whether that was a little girl, is it, are you going to plant into your head the pink pyjamas."

You're quite sure you've got that 4078? You will remember the pink pyjamas, won't you?

Oh please!

Almost a year after Madeleine's disappearance (Jane Tanner was interviewed by Leicestershire Police on 8 April, 2008), and the only definitive description of the pyjamas Madeleine was wearing when 'taken' remains that owing to the McCanns. Not one of the three ostensibly independent witnesses in a position to do so, albeit in principle (Matthew Oldfield saw everything in the dark except Madeleine), is able to confirm the pink top and conspicuous dormant donkey design characteristic of those Disney 'Eeyore' pyjamas.

Now We're Talking – 23.02.2011

During a recent interview with Peter Levy, for BBC Radio Humberside (broadcast 6.1.11), Mr Clarence Mitchell, official spokesperson for the McCanns, said the following:

"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. The only assumption they can make is that somebody took her out of the apartment. That is the working hypothesis on which the private investigation is also based."

Gerry McCann's own previous announcement ("there's no way she... she could have got out on her own") leaves us in no doubt about the first of Mitchell's observations.

Even PJ inspector Joao Carlos, quoted within the PJ's final report, seems to have been of the same opinion:

'As a remote hypothesis, the possibility of the minor leaving the apartment by her own means was explored – that would be highly unlikely physically – and after, because of an accident or by a third person intervention, she would have disappeared.'

And that given a situation in which all the child had to do was get off (not out of) her bed and walk across a familiar floor space to an unlocked sliding door!

'Physically unlikely?'

So why did Kate McCann torment herself over whether she should leave the patio door unlocked or not? According to Fiona Payne, she was rather keen on a second opinion regarding the risk/benefit attaching to an unlocked apartment, when she had already decided in favour of leaving the patio door unlocked that Thursday night, 3 May.

Fiona Payne: "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".

1485 "Did she say that she actually left it unlocked then?"

Reply "Yeah, she must have done, because I knew that it wasn't locked. And I was a bit".

We might easily become sidetracked at this point, wondering why the question of access versus security should only have arisen after five days at the resort, and even then as an afterthought. But we won't. We'll just marvel at the neurosis underlying such soul-searching, when Kate must have known that the child couldn't get out of the apartment in any case. According to subsequent claims, as above, whether the patio door was locked or unlocked apparently made no difference. If Gerry knew that, and the PJ knew that, then surely Kate would have known that. Maybe the McCanns were not on speaking terms that Thursday either.

'Physically unlikely' it is then.

Might Madeleine McCann have been confined to bed running a high temperature? Nursing a broken arm? A broken leg? We know the McCanns believe she was alive when she was 'taken,' but what swarthy pervert, or emissary of some obscene cartel, is going to walk away with damaged goods when there are pristine examples available in the surrounding accommodation? There is no doubting that had Madeleine been abducted and died soon afterwards her body would have been unceremoniously dumped. Had she been seriously injured prior to the intrusion of any stranger, then that stranger would have left empty-handed. They certainly wouldn't have cared for her at any stage. Paedophiles are not noted for acts of compassion.

And yet 'the only assumption they (the McCanns) can make is that somebody took her out of the apartment.' A deduction of which Poirot himself might have been proud.

So who would remove, from her holiday apartment, a young child who was 'physically unlikely' to get up, walk a distance of 20' or so and push open an unlocked, unlatched sliding door - someone who did not care about her, or someone who did? It's the sort of thing a paramedic might be called upon to do for instance and, to quote Rachael Oldfield, 'there were plenty of people there who could of you know, tried to revive a child.'

What are emergency rescue services for if it is not to rescue those that cannot save themselves? Firemen don't rescue people from burning buildings in order simply to achieve a performance target. Somebody took Madeleine McCann out of apartment 5A, not for any ulterior motive, but an altruistic one; perhaps because she, never mind her younger siblings, could not physically escape in the event of a fire after all - even via an unlocked and easily manageable door. Except there was no fire. So Madeleine McCann must have been removed solely on account of whatever made it 'physically unlikely' that she could save herself should circumstances have warranted.

So, Talk Me Through It – 26.02.2011

From the mouths of the horses that once shared a stable, we bring you...

Rachael Oldfield: "Yeah I was just going to say that, you know Kate and Gerry are both Doctors and you know there were three other medics in the group, erm four others actually sorry, four others, erm you know so if by any chance they'd accidentally done anything to Madeleine or she was ill or erm you know something wasn't quite right, I mean they wouldn't have just left her and sort of tried to cover it up as an accident or you know, they would of sort of you know, come and got Matt and Russell and Dave and Fi, erm I mean you know, not just because they are Doctors, because you know they're parents and you'd kind of go to anyone to see who could help but if you've got, you know Doctors as friends who were there as well, erm you know there were kind of six people there who if Madeleine had accidentally been bumped on the head or you know whatever the theories are supposed to be, erm you know, there were plenty of people there who could of you know, tried to revive a child, erm."

Reporter (to Kate McCann): "What evidence do you have that there was an abduction? Can I ask this question because you say that Amaral doesn't have..."

Kate McCann: "Because I know. I was there, I found my daughter gone. I know more than you do. I know what I saw."

Kate McCann: "I know that what happened is not due to the fact of us leaving the children asleep. I know it happened under other circumstances."

Gerry McCann: "Early on I had said to Kate I wonder how long it will be before someone says 'I wonder if he had anything to do with this'. The circumstances are such that physically it is impossible that I was involved," he said.

So, Kate knows. The children were not asleep. And Gerry wasn't physically involved.

Consequently, 'the minor leaving the apartment by her own means would be highly unlikely physically.' (PJ inspector Joao Carlos).

Remember, "...if Madeleine had accidentally been bumped on the head (passive voice) or you know whatever the theories are supposed to be, erm you know, there were plenty of people there who could of you know, tried to revive a child."

So, if something (or someone) had accidentally bumped Madeleine on the head (active voice - not appropriate to inert things, e.g. window sills), there were those present who could have tried to revive a child (but without necessarily succeeding).

Russell O'Brien: "You're far more likely to get clobbered by your uncle or your neighbour than some', you know, 'random stranger'. Erm, which in light of the way that the Police investigation has gone, erm, it feels like, you know, erm, a real kick in the nuts"

1578 "'Far more like to get clobbered by'?"

Reply "You know, you're far more likely to have, you know, you know, to have a problem with somebody, from somebody you know, and we actually said, and that was actually sort of said, you know, we all worry about, you know, a small number of fairly kind of sick perverts".

1578 "Rather than a stranger?"

Reply "Rather than a stranger, yeah, but, huh, erm, which of course, you know, of course statistically is true, erm."

Common sense would of course dictate that they worried more about 'a small number of sick perverts' than a stranger. You only need one rotten apple in a barrel after all…

To reiterate: "If by any chance they'd accidentally done anything to Madeleine... they wouldn't have... tried to cover it up as an accident."

Thus, if Madeleine had met with an accident or, as Russell O'Brien so succinctly put it, been 'clobbered', the parents would not have attempted to 'cover up' this accident as an accident. Instead they would have consulted their fellow medical professionals (Matt, Russell, Dave and Fi) - and agreed to what? Attempt to revive the child? Cover up the accident as something other than an accident? That's one hell of a serious hypothetical accident don't you think? Serious enough for two, at least, of the four named health professionals to have given false statements to police in the aftermath.

Kate knows. Gerry wasn't physically involved.

'A spokesman for Kate and Gerry McCann said an investigator (amateur sleuth, Marcelino Italiano), had done "absolutely the right thing" by going to police with his suspicions.' [The Telegraph, 18.2.11].

The McCanns ought not to be surprised therefore should others do 'absolutely the right thing' also.

"I Wanna Tell You A Story" - 16.03.2011

As Max Bygraves would say.

According to the tabloid press, Kate McCann 'wants to give an account of the truth on Madeleine.'

Second only to common abuse of the apostrophe in English must come the inappropriate preposition. Supposing this 'account' to be even vaguely coherent, since we know that it is already complete (384 pages, according to the Daily Express) why, besides concerning itself with the truth 'on Madeleine,' rather than about her or of her disappearance, is it represented as a future desire, when it is already a fait accompli? 'I want to' (as in, 'I would like to') has the rather dubious tone of an as yet unfulfilled intention. Instead of 'In my book I give (or 'have given' even) a full (or truthful) account of events...' etc., etc. we have a futuristic intention to present a version of the truth.

To the casual observer, the McCanns' behaviour, as well as their idiosyncratic turns of phrase, must appear altogether bizarre. Here, the author of what purports to be a substantial book, in volume at least, on the subject of her daughter's disappearance while on holiday, is the very same individual who once berated a journalist with the claim 'I know. I was there,' having previously expressed public regret that she 'wasn't there at that minute.'

On the basis of the various accounts so far delivered up in evidence by the McCanns and their holiday associates, this latest variation need not, indeed could not extend to 384 words, much less 384 pages.

'Madeleine was asleep while we were out drinking and when I looked she'd gone. I didn't look after that.' THE END.

A short story, but nothing to rival Maupassant.

There's another short story lodged within the Daily Express advertisement for the McCann book, with a gist as ambiguous and misleading as Kate's declaration, 'Every penny we raise will be spent on our search,' where emphasis should be placed on our rather than search. 'Within weeks of Madeleine being from the public poured in to help fund the massive search for her.'

From the perspective of the charitable public that is indeed why people parted with their cash - to help fund the massive search for Madeleine. But the scale of our search, i.e. the company, is not to be misunderstood as 'massive' in any respect whatsoever. Nor should it be mistakenly associated with the massive search undertaken by the Portuguese in the immediate aftermath of Madeleine's disappearance - the largest search operation ever mounted in Portugal and one in which even the citizenry willingly participated. And what did they get from the McCanns in return? Bountiful thanks? No. Just criticism. Certainly not money. Nowhere in the published accounts of the Madeleine Fund will you see an entry covering disbursements to the Portuguese.

Gerry's story

Those who have followed this case in any detail will by now be familiar with how these quizzical ingredients find their way into the reportage, passing almost unnoticed among the stream of tedium surrounding them. Such is the nature of the McCanns' story-telling. And such are the details of Gerry McCann's eventful trip home on 19 June, 2007. You know, the one during which he offered medical assistance to a passenger on the airplane. The plane was met by an ambulance and the unidentified passenger taken for assessment of his unknown condition, to an indeterminate hospital. He has not been seen or heard of since. Now you'd think one of our red-tops at least would have been interested in running an 'I owe my life to Gerry McCann' story. An opportunity lost then.

A characteristic of McCann story-telling is that the whole family quickly becomes involved, to the extent that the principals are able, like Marcel Marceau, to take centre stage without saying a word, while explanation, commentary etc. issue forth on their behalf. In this particular instance the story has two exciting chapters, the second concerning the loss of a wallet (and they say lightning never strikes twice...).

Gerry McCann's behaviour at Waterloo station, with his rucksack, his wallet and 'something else', is reminiscent of that schoolboy riddle of animal husbandry, where a gamekeeper is charged with crossing a river in a boat together with a fox, a lamb and a duck, and in three trips or less. He can take no more than two animals with him at any one time, bearing in mind that the fox will eat either of the other two creatures if left alone with them. The McCann version of the puzzle is, as usual, articulated by everyone except the author.

First, here's the Daily Mail's synopsis:

"Madeleine McCann's father was left distraught after a thief stole his wallet that contained precious photographs of his missing daughter.

"The pickpocket struck as Gerry McCann withdrew cash from an ATM, just an hour after he arrived in London for a brief visit to organise the campaign to help find the four-year-old."

In other words, while in the process of withdrawing cash from an ATM, Gerry has his wallet stolen. (He is standing at the ATM therefore).

The Mail then offers us family corroboration:

"Susan Healey, mother of his wife Kate, said it was 'yet another kick in the teeth'.

"She added: 'Gerry is not clear exactly how his wallet was stolen.'

"'He did not see them take it.'"

How are ATM's operated again? With credit/debit cards. And where do we gents typically keep our plastic shopping coupons? In our wallets. So if you find yourself in the process of drawing cash from an ATM, the card is in the machine and the wallet in your hand, until you are about to grasp the money, when all three will be in your hand(s) (four items if you include the receipt).

But 'Gerry is not clear exactly how his wallet was stolen. He did not see them take it.'

So it clearly didn't happen 'as Gerry McCann withdrew cash from the ATM', did it?

Following the Mail's example, let's bring in another commentator at this point - Philomena McCann:

"She said: 'Gerry was at the bank to get some British currency, because he didn't have any at all.

"'He took out £100 from a hole in the wall machine, put it in his wallet then popped it in his back pocket.

"'He bent down to put something in his rucksack and some dirty animal had the wallet out of his back pocket.'"

The sequence of events here has Gerry concluding his transaction with the ATM before putting his wallet, now containing the card he has just utilised, together with the only English currency in his immediate possession, into his trouser back pocket, whence it is lifted while our hapless tourist is busy putting something else into his rucksack (using the hands he has just had full of wallet, plastic card and folding stuff). What was this 'something' and where did it come from. If it was at all sizeable it could not have been in Gerry's hands at the same time as he was fiddling with the other items. Still, if your wallet goes walkies from a back pocket, it stands to reason that you wouldn't see the 'dip' actually taking it. But you would know exactly how it was taken, even if only in hindsight.

Ever the man for a crisis, Gerry, who did not know how his wallet was no longer in his back pocket, acted spontaneously in the face of an emergency, just as he had done on the airplane earlier. As Philomena herself told the Daily Mail:

"It's what you're trained to do, it's who you are. He didn't make a big deal out of it because it's the kind of thing that he does all the time at work."

Quick thinking Gerry immediately cancelled his credit cards ("He was forced to delay the series of meetings he had planned while he cancelled his credit cards." - Daily Mail).

Presumably the pickpocket in question thought twice about feeling inside Gerry's other trouser pockets for his mobile 'phone (or maybe it was this that got stowed away in the rucksack). Lucky really. It meant that Gerry could 'phone his bank immediately and report his loss. But where was he when he did so? And how did he get there? Or was the ATM immediately outside a branch of Gerry’s bank? You see, the only negotiable currency in Gerry's recent possession had just disappeared with his wallet (that's what Philomena said) in an incident of theft that the victim did not notice at the time (that‘s what Susan Healy said). So Gerry was aboard the taxi travelling to one of those meetings he was destined to be late for, when he realized he could not pay the fare, but at least he had each of his banks' 'phone numbers stored on the memory of his cell phone (well you wouldn't erase those, would you.?). Or he was summarily ejected by the taxi driver just outside a relevant branch office and arranged to cancel one at least of his several cards over the counter. And the others?

Or he was in fact about to board the bus and discovered he had no money to buy the ticket, so went back inside the Waterloo station complex, where he reported the theft, first to a duty constable (who couldn't care less. The police apparently have no record of the theft) then to a cashier at his bank there. And, like Gregory Peck when he flashed his million pound note during the film of that title, on production of his passport and uttering something like 'Do you know who you're dealing with missy', Gerry was immediately given an over-the-counter loan to see him through the day.

Or maybe he just happened to have a copy of The Big Issue handy and a passing stockbroker took pity on him.

"Just Like That" – 22.03.2011

So there was Gerry McCann, at the computer, doing his Kojak impression, as the PJ were trying to interest him, somewhat unsuccessfully, in an apparent sighting of his daughter. Busy planning the marketing strategy no doubt. 'Like this and like that' (momentarily taking the lolipop from his mouth). Even the seemingly hapless illusionist prepares his performances. Who can forget the late lamented Tommy Cooper (a contemporary in 'variety' of Max Bygraves) and his hysterical 'Glass-bottle. Bottle-glass' routine, when he suddenly found himself unable to control the persistent emergence of concealed bottles from inside the same cylindrical container - 'just like that.' Kojak and Cooper each dealt in evidence; the one keen to establish what was true, the other to demonstrate what wasn't. While Gerry McCann may aspire to be some sort of Kojak, in reality he leans more toward Tommy Cooper.

'You can't prove a negative' said Gerry, once upon a time. There speaks the voice of experience. Although it wasn't for want of trying. Like the illusionist, Gerry set his stall out to convince the world of something that was not. Sky TV's Jon di Paolo, reporting live from the court in Lisbon in January of last year informed us:

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.

(Quote) Now there's two things there (unquote). Evidence suggesting Madeleine is still alive usually takes the form of sightings, implying that, on occasion it might take some other form. Whatever form this 'evidence' may take however, the McCanns are not responsible for generating (i.e. fabricating) it - says the McCanns' lawyer, defending against a charge that has not even been made. No surprises then if one should inquire into the possibility, surely?

'Kate and I strongly believe Madeleine was alive when she was taken from the apartment.' That’s encouraging, although it's difficult to see why Madeleine should not have been alive at that time, whenever it was. She was left asleep after all. Yet every belief carries an element of uncertainty - it wouldn't be an act of faith otherwise, but a conviction based upon fact. Given the scenario so often outlined in the past, this indeterminate belief invites two questions simultaneously: Was Madeleine alive? Was Madeleine asleep? Since Kate and Gerry McCann themselves could not be absolutely positive, it stands to reason that they would have anticipated a degree of circumspection on the part of their audience also, and the best way of dispelling doubt is, of course, to offer evidence in support.

All together now: The McCanns are not responsible for generating any of this 'evidence' that their daughter is not dead.

They are not responsible for the sightings worldwide, discredited almost as quickly as they are put forward, nor, we are to understand, those reported in Portugal, Praia da Luz specifically, both before and after Madeleine was reported missing. These would include the 'evidence' attributable to Jane Tanner, the Smith family and, let us not forget, David Payne.

It is important to bear in mind that the McCanns and their friends put the seal on their incredibility very early on, in delivering up to the PJ a typed timeline that represented a statement made on behalf of a committee. It follows from this simple act of collusion, if nothing else, that the various statements made by these same individuals subsequently cannot in any way constitute 'independent' corroboration of anything at all.

So, should one decide to question the McCanns' 'belief' that Madeleine was alive at 9.05 p.m. that Thursday night, based on Gerry's claim to have seen her asleep, we cannot look to David Payne's reported last sighting of her for confirmation that she was in good health somewhat earlier that evening. Notwithstanding Payne's membership of the evidential 'committee' we have to consider the veracity of his account in the light of his claims to have seen Madeleine for the last time, twice - at 5.00 p.m. and later at around 6.40 p.m.! Thus there is no independent corroboration of Madeleine's being alive that Thursday night. We have only the McCanns' word for it, i.e. the word of a couple who, for the duration of the official inquiry, were considered suspects in their own daughter’s disappearance. Apparent sightings made later (e.g. those of Tanner and the Smiths) do not attest to the status of the child the witnesses may or may not have seen being carried through the streets. For one of the Smiths to have asked 'is she asleep?' confirms they did not know that to have been the case. Nor could Jane Tanner have gleaned as much from glimpsing a pair of dangling legs.

If Madeleine's physical condition that Thursday evening remains open to question, so too does her somnolence. 'We believe' is clearly not enough to alleviate all suspicion. But what to do about it? Well, if she were taken at night from her bedroom then she should, by rights, have been asleep. And if she were asleep she'd have been dressed appropriately, i.e. in pyjamas of some description. So, describing the pyjamas should go some way toward firming up the account, shouldn't it? Madeleine missing in these pyjamas paints, especially for an emotionally primed audience, an altogether more convincing picture of nocturnal kidnap.

First mention of Madeleine's distinctive pyjamas comes from the McCanns, during their respective witness statements of 4 May. For her part, the suggestible Jane Tanner quickly exhibits what can only be described as progressive enhanced recall, jumping through the gears like a car with a defective clutch; from man carrying something, through carrying a child in pyjamas, to carrying what is presumed to be a little girl, on the basis of a 'pinky' top, which is completely obscured from view despite an 'orangey' street light. She was equally determined the interviewing police officer should 'think pink' during her Rogatory Interview with Leicestershire Constabulary a year later.

Jane Tanner (Member of the evidence committee don't forget) sustains the story of the pink pyjamas after 9.05 but, for some reason known only to himself, David Payne fails to pinpoint this same detail. He'd like us to believe that Madeleine was perfectly well in the McCanns' apartment earlier that evening. In his Rogatory Interview he mentions having seen all the children, but dressed in 'night attire,' and predominantly white at that. Categorically pink pyjamas were there none. Interestingly Kate too declines to clarify what Madeleine was wearing at this time. In her own statement of 6 September 2007, she describes what she herself was wearing (a green long-sleeved t-shirt, blue denim trousers, sports shoes and white socks) as well as 'putting pyjamas and nappies on the twins,' but she does not reveal how, exactly, Madeleine was dressed.

Hence, once again, we have only one serious claim to the observance of a very significant detail. And once again it is attributable to the McCanns, who 'are not responsible for generating any of this 'evidence' that their daughter is not dead.'

Leaving aside the issue of whether Madeleine McCann was actually abducted on the Thursday night, there really is no evidence, in the shape of independent corroboration, that she was in good health earlier that same evening, or removed from the apartment while asleep, as the insistent reference to her pyjamas would have us suppose. And if you should think this is flying a kite, then do please recall to mind another of Kate McCann's notoriously ungrammatical banana skins:

"I know that what happened is not due to the fact of us leaving the children asleep."

"I know it happened under other circumstances."

The crux of this particular verbal contortion is that 'circumstances', in this instance, are not themselves causal. To leave a child asleep is not necessarily to commit an act of contributory negligence which brings about an undesired outcome. Parents do it all the time when they go to bed themselves (leave their children asleep, that is). Kate McCann clearly compares 'leaving the children asleep' to 'other circumstances.' Whatever 'happened' was independent of either. What she tells us, quite categorically, is that it did not happen while the children were left asleep. And if the children were not asleep when 'it happened' then Madeleine may well not have been wearing pyjamas either.

But the sightings...the sightings!

Very well then. The sighting (Jane Tanner's we can consign to the realm of Hans Christian Andersen). The only remotely credible reference to a very young girl seen out in the streets of Praia da Luz that Thursday night, May 3, 2007, is that provided by the various members of the Smith family who, for entirely selfless motives, anxiously contacted the Portuguese police regarding their collective experience, of which they gave a full account in due course - on 26 May 2007. Here are the three most pertinent statements concerning the little girl they saw being carried along at around 9.55 p.m.

Martin Smith

• She was wearing light-coloured pyjamas. He cannot state with certainty the colour.

Aiofe Smith

• She was wearing light trousers, white or light-pink, that may have been pyjamas. She does not remember if they were patterned as it was dark. The material was light and could have been cotton.

• She also had a light top, with long sleeves. She did not see well because the individual had his arms around the child. She is not sure if the child's top was the same colour as her trousers but the trousers were light.

Peter Daniel Smith

• He does not remember her clothing very well but believes it was light summer clothing, light in colour.

It would be bold, and frankly speculative, to conclude that the little girl seen by the Smiths in the dark was wearing pyjamas even, never mind pink ones, and much less pink ones resembling those supposed to have been Madeleine's, which, as the authorised press releases of the day reveal had short sleeves.

Was Madeleine alive when she was 'taken'? The McCanns believed so. Was she asleep when 'taken'? The McCanns have told us she was. Is there unequivocal confirmation from any independent quarter as regards either detail? No. Just like that.

Reinforcements – 10.04.2011

The purpose of reinforcements, whether of the military variety or the literal/logical structures one might put in place to shore up a building, or bolster an argument, is to counteract an acknowledged weakness somewhere. There is nothing to be gained from further strengthening an already secure position. Military historians are of course as interested in the reasoning behind strategic manoeuvres as the steps actually taken to advance a campaign. Similarly, it is of interest to examine the reasons underlying the McCanns' decision to reinforce certain of their positions; not so much the obvious calls for assistance, such as to the anonymous member of their legal team who came up with the 'Kate visits the mortuary' fairytale, but several other situations, in which the move is made more on the blind side, i.e. only noticeable in retrospect and not clearly identifiable as reinforcing a position in isolation. Taken together however they appear less like ad hoc behaviour and suggest the existence of a strategy.

The first is by now well known - the story of Madeleine's nocturnal crying and her subsequent complaint over breakfast. We're all now familiar with Kate's protestation that such a 'passing remark' would not have been accorded any real significance 'if what happened hadn't happened.' We are supposed to believe that Madeleine's disappearance placed her 'Mummy why didn't you come...?' appeal in a particularly meaningful context, making it inevitable that both McCanns would bring the incident to the attention of the police during their initial interviews on 4 May. Concomitantly we might suppose that they would have attached no great significance to the remark otherwise. Except that it was important enough for Kate to have discussed it at dinner, with Fiona Payne, Rachael Oldfield and Jane Tanner, before Madeleine's absence had been discovered, apparently. And having doubly informed the police at the earliest opportunity they afterwards stressed to P.C. Markley the importance of making sure the P.J. had got the message.

The naïve interpretation of such incidents will naturally be that, given the circumstances of Madeleine's absence, these details were extremely important, and one should not be in the least surprised at the McCanns' desire to emphasize them. But we have already been told, by Kate McCann personally, that the 'passing remark' was worthy of complete dismissal until Madeleine was 'taken.' So why discuss it beforehand? Well, if nothing else - and there is nothing else because, given our current state of knowledge, no infants were reported to have cried conspicuously on the Wednesday night - the subject's having been raised by Madeleine over breakfast on Thursday, confirms that she was in a position to do so - on Thursday; a position which would obviously benefit from additional, third-party, reinforcement.

Send in the Old Guard. Step forward David Payne.

David Payne clearly did not turn his head and blush with embarrassment when Kate answered the door to him early on the Thursday evening wearing nothing more than a bath towel (was the vista familiar, one wonders?). Had he done so he might not have noticed, as he clearly did, all three children being already dressed for bed. It is no less curious that Kate herself has described having prepared only the twins for sleep that night. But the real significance of Payne's Rogatory Interview account rests in his reinforcement of the main proposition (Madeleine was present), accomplished with some reinforcement of his own. In accordance with the overall schema he noticeably emphasises, repeatedly, the presence of all three children.

'Well of course he would!' shout the apologists. Well would he, really?

Madeleine's disappearance was a serious matter, under active investigation by police forces from two countries in an impressive combination of skills and experience (to suggest otherwise would be both arrogant and pretentious). Neither at the time nor since would investigators have been impressed by, or for that matter even interested in, statements of the obvious. They knew from the outset that Madeleine was one of three children and would not need to be unnecessarily reminded of the fact by David Payne or anyone else later in the day. Payne's repeated emphasis of the 'threeness' he encountered whilst looking over Kate's bare shoulder is suspicious. Had he referred to four children, or two dressed for bed and one for a party, then there would clearly be grounds for further interest, but there is little merit in re-stating a basic premise. Unless, of course, it is this very premise which requires reinforcement. Without Payne's 'sighting' there is no corroboration of Madeleine's healthy presence in 5A that evening.

Jane Tanner is the epitome of the volunteer reservist. Overly enthusiastic to a fault, she not only sights the enemy over the horizon (where her one-eyed colleagues see absolutely nothing) but later, like an ageing brigadier at the regimental dinner, embellishes her story, to encompass a female child, assumed on the strength of a colourway she could not even have seen. Afterwards she inverts the assumption, taking the opportunity to reinforce the colour concept for the benefit of the listening Leicestershire P.C. The importance of the colour pink was not to be overlooked. Volunteer reservist she may have been, but Tanner was still to be numbered among the allied ranks and evidently marched to the same drum. The pink banner had been raised long before though.

For the purposes of immediate comparison, and perhaps to achieve what photographers would describe as the 'third' effect, reference to instructions concerning the pink pyjamas will be preceded here by the relevant detail of Officer Stephen Markley's witness statement, made on 25 April, 2008, in relation to his activities as family communication officer while working in Portugal with the McCanns.

"At about 20.00 on Saturday 5th May 2007, I arrived at the apartment where Kate and Gerry were staying, with other officers. During the meeting Gerald and Kate had a number of questions to which they wanted follow up and responses from the PJ.

"One of these questions was that they wanted the PJ to be aware of was Madeleine's revelation about Wednesday night, when she said that she was left alone during the night. She told Kate and Gerry that she remembered the twins crying and that she wanted to know why neither her mother nor her father had gone to the room to see what was happening."

Notice that the McCanns were not requesting that Officer Markley remind the PJ of anything. They wished to be sure that the PJ were aware of Madeleine's 'revelation about Wednesday night...'

How could the PJ not have been aware, already, of Madeleine's revelation, when barely 24hrs earlier the McCanns had each told exactly the same story in that regard, verbatim almost? Did they suppose that all of the interviewing police suffered from chronic memory loss or, if they did, that they could not refer to the transcript of witness statements they themselves had recorded? This is tantamount to reinforcing a secure position. Unless, of course, the position were weaker than one might suppose. Nor was P.C. Markley the only runner charged with carrying the message to the Light Brigade.

The BBC, that very bastion of broadcasting probity, was recruited into the campaign within days. In The Editors of 10 May 2007 the statement is made that

"We passed on the accurate details of Madeleine's pyjamas, at the family's request, correcting the police's initial description."

There are two things to note here (that McCannism again).

First, it is the parents who request/instigate the passing of 'accurate details' to the PJ. The second point to note however is their objective, as announced by the BBC (on 10 May, don't forget), i.e. to 'correct the police's initial description.'

Turning to the Telegraph of two days earlier (8 May, 200) one reads confirmation that the police were not guilty of promoting any erroneous initial description at all:

"Madeleine was apparently wearing white pyjamas, possibly with an Eeyore motif, but this detail has not been confirmed by police."

In point of fact the police made no public reference to Madeleine's pyjamas until a press conference on 10 May (the same date as the Editors piece, which already refers to the passing on of details and 'initial descriptions' as past events) when they collaborated in the issuing of an official photograph to the media. The police had said 'No media!' from the word go remember, an instruction which the McCanns and their entourage studiously ignored, as they would others to follow. It was the McCanns themselves who promulgated descriptions of Madeleine's pyjamas, beginning, again in duplicate, with their own statements to the PJ on 4 May. Had the police then disseminated these details they would have been in possession of the full and correct description, according to the McCanns, of Madeleine's pink pyjamas. Initial descriptions, however questionable, were owing to misconceptions on the part of the media following contact with the McCanns, not the police.

Once again we are entitled to put the question 'why?' Why should the McCanns have been so concerned, from the outset, to ensure that the exact nature of Madeleine's pyjamas that Thursday evening be known far and wide? It’s no doubt 'obvious' to McCann acolytes. 'So that everyone would know what to look for.' Well, as is evident from the cross-posting behaviour of commentators on diverse internet forums, whereas we may control what we say on the internet, we have no control whatsoever over who reads it. So, having told the abductor exactly what Madeleine's distinguishing features were, the parents were equally desperate to tell him (or her) that their pursuers all knew what she was wearing. Hence, in their own interest, a change of clothes for the child should be pretty high on the kidnapper's agenda. And, from the seeker's perspective, who, in those early days, would have ignored a tiny out-of-place blonde child, resembling Madeleine, alive or otherwise, simply because she was dressed in something other than 'Disney' pyjamas? The spate of spurious 'sightings' from around the world is sufficient to confirm that this is not what people would do. So why the noticeable insistence on pink pyjamas?

In the absence of an intelligent reason for trumpeting this particular theme in the first instance, as well as its reprise by Jane Tanner, one is drawn to the conclusion that this too was the reinforcement of a weakness in the main proposition; one which the McCanns were again in a position to correct and direct. Madeleine was most definitely wearing pink short-sleeved pyjamas, as confirmed by the one eye witness who could not even see the pyjama top worn by the child, presumed female, carried in a man's arms, and in complete contradistinction to the claim of another eye witness who reported a girl being carried along the street at night, again by a man, but in completely the opposite direction and dressed in white with long sleeves. The phrase 'proving a negative' lurches inexorably forward at this point.

For adherents of the Kate McCann 'It was abduction because I say so' school of reasoning, these repetitive observations by the McCanns, Payne, Tanner et al. no doubt fall naturally into place. For others of us they also fall naturally, into a rather different place.

Dormant Issues – 29.04.2011

Like the first of the Tudors discussing the last of the Plantagenets, the McCann's spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, described the content of the Wikileaks revelations late last year as "a completely historical note." (Meanwhile artists and authors busily adjust their images of the deposed accordingly). A publisher favouring the use of footnotes might well find an account of the McCann case incorporated pages with as much commentary beneath the main text as within it, there being so many 'historical notes' of relevance, if not significance. Dangerous as a magician's chain of regurgitated razor blades, they are inevitably linked.

Take, for example, the historical documentary Madeleine Was Here. Supporting actor Dave Edgar is given the line: "It's like I said, there are, you know, inconsistencies, you know, in every major investigation." Whilst it may not be Shakespearean in eloquence, it is dramatic in implication. Whereas Kate McCann opens said documentary with "I just noticed that the door, the bedroom door where the three children were sleeping, was open much further than we'd left it," husband Gerry brings up the rear with "So, I actually came in and Madeleine was just at the top of the bed here, where I'd left her..."

A minor variation perhaps. A two-part invention possibly. There are a good many others in the volume.

It would be repetitious to discuss in any detail here the parents' conflicting early accounts of their own use of door keys, which can only be interpreted as suggesting that they were incapable, within 24hrs., of recalling whether they had last entered their holiday accommodation by the front door or the back. Togetherness was clearly not their strong suit.

Kate said in her (6.9.07) statement to the Portuguese police that on the Thursday, during breakfast, Madeleine said to both of them that she had been crying and that nobody had come to her room.

Gerry had previously told police (10.5.07) that when they were having breakfast, Madeleine addressed her mother and asked her "Why didn't you come last night when Sean and I were crying?"

Another slightly different story told slightly differently. Perhaps Gerry wasn't giving Madeleine his full attention at the time she made that 'passing remark' to her mother/her parents about what she/she and her brother had been doing.

There are 'inconsistencies' in this major investigation certainly, and whilst some test our belief to the limit others go beyond it.

So Kate continues (6.9.07) with: 'They also kissed Madeleine, who was already lying down. She was under the covers, she thinks, because it was a bit cold. She normally clutched the soft toy and if she wasn't holding it then it was next to her, on the left. She remained lying down on her left side, with the soft toy and a pink blanket, which she thinks was covering her.'

Kate's role in the production of the aforesaid documentary appears to have been in 'casting' (we see her in the process of liaising with Jane Tanner by 'phone over her forthcoming contribution). What a pity for the McCanns it wasn't in 'continuity.' Had it been we might not have had the benefit of Gerry's indelible piece to camera:

"So, I actually came in and Madeleine was just at the top of the bed here, where I'd left her lying and the covers were folded down and she had her cuddle cat and blanket, were just by her head."

So Madeleine was not under the covers after all, and her covers did not include the pink blanket either. How, therefore, did she arrive at this indeterminate state?

KM (6.9.07): 'After Gerry arrived the children went to brush their teeth and she then read them another story, this time all four of them sitting on Madeleine's bed. She thinks that Gerry entered the room, but does not recall him sitting on the bed. During the story Madeleine was lying on the pillow, but alert and paying attention to the story. Afterwards both twins kissed Madeleine, she thinks that Gerry was in the room, and each one of them, the deponent and Gerry, placed a twin in its cot at the same time, between Madeleine's bed and the bed under the window. They also kissed Madeleine, who was already lying down.'

You'd suppose, wouldn't you, that a mother would recollect whether she handled one or two of her infants on this particular occasion, and that, since the parents each put one down for the night, Gerry would have done so from within the bedroom, whether he had previously been sitting on the bed or not; although Gerry says he had been.

GM (10.5.07): 'At around 19H00, he made his way to the apartment, finding Kate and the children playing on the sofa. About 10 to 15 minutes later, they took the children to the bedroom and they all sat on Madeleine's bed to read a story.'

Gerry has indicated that he wasn't listening at times. Kate goes one better and gives the impression she wasn't even there.

Kate, again, on 6.9.07: 'They talked while they drank, until they left for the Tapas restaurant at around 8.30-8.35 p.m. Before leaving they checked on the children, she doesn't know who; however Gerry says it was him. She only knows the children were quiet. She doesn't know if they were in their same positions. She says she is sure that they were asleep, because Gerry told her so and all was quiet.'

If you don't know 'who' then you don't really know 'whether' either. That someone should tell you something offers grounds for assumption but doesn't evidence the fact (Believe half of what you hear, etc.). Being 'sure that they were asleep' requires a little more than 'Gerry told her so' before it can be regarded with certainty. And the basis of Gerry's confirmation was?

GM statement (4.5.07): 'At 20H35, they left the apartment towards the "Tapas." Before they left, and because the children's bedroom door was ajar as always, he opened it a little more, listening from the outside and, as there was complete silence, he did not even enter, returning the door to its previous position, with a space of about 10cm.'

It must have been Gerry who 'checked on the children' after all - Matthew Oldfield style. Matthew Oldfield, it should be remembered, is that individual with remarkable night vision, able to see in the dark and, from a distance of some ten feet plus, determine that an infant is in its cot (the opaque end nearest), and is breathing. There were three children breathing in the room that night, so we are told, all in complete silence.

Pursuing the subject of sleep, how many pairs of pyjamas might three small children need for a week's holiday, in a setting where laundry facilities are to hand and anything washed in the morning will be dry by the afternoon? Three (i.e., one pair each)? Six (two pairs each)? More? Madeleine alone had three pairs apparently.

We have long known of the pink Disney outfit Madeleine was wearing when she was taken from the apartment. Kate's washing of the top after breakfast that Thursday illustrates just how little time it took to dry. We know also that the McCanns had a duplicate set (for Amelie) with them in PdL. They were shown to UK viewers of 'Crimewatch' before being taken on a tour of the European capitals at the end of May/beginning of June. We have also been told, by Olga Craig, writing for the Sunday Telegraph (27.5.2007), that when the McCanns moved to an apartment near to the one from which Madeleine was taken they "unpacked their missing daughter's clothes...laying out her pyjamas on what would have been her bed."

Self-evidently these pyjamas were not being worn by Madeleine at the time of her disappearance. They couldn't have been or they wouldn't have come back. Equally self-evidently, for something to be unpacked it must first be packed. These pyjamas (that's two pairs so far) obviously travelled in the luggage and, since they awaited Madeleine's return, they would have been clean (would anyone welcome their lost child home with dirty pyjamas?) Hence these pyjamas were neither the recently washed pair since departed with Madeleine, nor the unwashed pair thrown hurriedly into the back of the Renault Scenic hire car at the time the McCanns moved house.

The Daily Mirror (19.9.2007) had the following comment to make: '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.

'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 apartments.'

To have been somehow soiled with Madeleine's DNA these unwashed pyjamas must have been worn earlier in the week. They could not have been worn by Madeleine after May 3, the day when Kate McCann saw fit to wash the pink pyjama top on account of an overlooked tea stain, whilst Madeleine's previously worn and unwashed pair remained - unwashed.

So far that's three pairs of pyjamas for Madeleine and one each, at least, for the twins (who have equal needs), making five pairs in all. Might that be seven? It might if one takes into account the fact that Amelie was denied the use of her Disney pyjamas all the while they were touring Europe. She must have had at least one spare set herself. If so then so too did Sean. Unless of course they were each dressed, once again, in 'Maddie's jammies.'

Madeleine - Accounts of the Truth – 08.05.2011

Is there an 'R' in the month? It might just determine which version of events gets presented today, the lie of the land governing the lie of the truth, so to speak. Messrs. Carter-Ruck having scrutinized Kate McCann's manuscript and, one supposes, given it the 'all clear' in terms of libel risk, does rather beg the question as to whether they, or any other legal authority, exercised anything like a similar measure of caution with regard to the facts as presented, or was the earlier observation by the BBC's Anne Davies assumed to be authoritative? ('The facts can be changed for anyone'). Perhaps Ms Davies might care to lend her expertise to an explanation of the following:

Speaking of her fateful 10.00 p.m. check, Kate McCann says:

"I noticed that the door to the children's bedroom was open quite wide, not how we had left it.

"I couldn't quite make her (Madeleine) out in the dark...I didn't want to switch on the light straight away...taking care to avoid waking the children at all I ran back into the children's room the closed curtains flew up in a gust of wind...I saw now that behind them, the window was wide open and the shutters on the outside raised all the way up."

This path has been trodden on countless occasions already during the last four years, but since these claims are being loudly repeated it is pertinent to do so once more, a step at a time for the hard of hearing, so there can be no doubt concerning the accuracy or otherwise of this account of the truth.

10.00 p.m. and 'the door to children's bedroom was open quite wide.'

Matthew Oldfield apparently encountered a similar situation at 9.30 p.m. that night as we learn from his Rogatory Interview:

"When you walk into the room, you could see straight into it, because the door was wasn't flat back against the was just sort of halfway open, so it seemed slightly unusual that it should be so wide open, because you could see straight into the middle of the room from the angle that you approach it."

During their 'Madeleine Was Here' documentary Gerry McCann nods in agreement with Oldfield's account saying, 'that's how it was for me too,' i.e. the door being conspicuously open. But he has already explained that, when he exited the children's bedroom himself, he returned the door to its near closed position, before Oldfield was called upon to do anything. The effort required to open a bedroom door is minimal and the abductor will naturally be credited by some with having done so in-between Gerry McCann's visit at 9.05 and Matthew Oldfield's at 9.30. Except that the evolved story requires the abductor to have been hiding in the bedroom before even Gerry had arrived there and subsequently to have escaped via the window ('They got out of the window fairly easily' - Clarence Mitchell). The door would therefore have remained in the position in which Gerry himself had left it. Matthew Oldfield did not touch it. And with a wide open window introducing gusts of wind from outside, the door, if it moved at all, could only have closed.

Kate's interpretation of what she saw (or didn't see) at 10.00 p.m. was formed in the dark, with the lights off. Specifically, "The window was wide open and the shutters on the outside raised all the way up." An hour or so beforehand and it wasn't quite that dark, as Matthew Oldfield again explained in his Rogatory Interview:

4078 "What was the lighting like around that area at that time?"

Reply "It's getting dusk, erm, by that time, but not completely dark, erm, it was not as dark as it got later on (inaudible) visibility."

He was however certain about the status of the shutters at this time, i.e. shortly before 9.00 p.m.

"And we talked a lot in the previous interviews about what state the shutters were in, whether they were, and they were all definitely down."

When, after barely a few minutes, Gerry McCann pops in, the shutters are still down:

(GM statement to police, 10 May, 2007): 'Everything else was normal, the shutters, curtains and windows closed, very dark, there only being the light that came from the living room.'

So, by the time Matthew Oldfield made his one not-quite-visual check on the infant occupants of 5A, the abductor had already left the apartment, via the window, having infiltrated during the very few minutes it took Oldfield to resume his seat at the Tapas restaurant half an hour earlier, and for Gerry McCann himself to pick up the checking baton immediately (to the consternation of Oldfield, who thought Gerry perhaps did not believe his account of the McCann children's security); hardly any time at all when one considers Gerry's own comment in the book that they were 'checking on their kids only metres away.' However, the certainty Oldfield expressed during his interviews with the Portuguese police, concerning the status of the window and shutters in the McCann apartment, eluded him somewhat when having to deal with these same issues back home in Leicestershire.

Nevertheless, Kate's account of the truth requires that the shutters were open:

Shortly after discovering Madeleine's absence "Gerry lowered the shutter at the open window. Rushing outside he made the sickening discovery that it could be raised from this side too, not just from inside as we'd thought."

This 'sickening discovery' has to be assessed against the fact(?) that the abductor used the window as his/her means of egress not access. The shutters must therefore have been opened from the inside to enable escape, not outside to enable entry, which the trespasser is supposed to have accomplished via an unlocked patio door (or a duplicate key, if one subscribes to the Sunday Express style of speculation). Hence Gerry's discovery is hardly 'sickening' and scarcely relevant.

After checking all the cupboards inside 15 seconds, Kate hurtled through the patio doors "down towards Gerry and our friends." As soon as Kate raised the alarm "Everybody sprinted back to our apartment."

Down towards Gerry and our friends.

A statement of Gerry McCann's, broadcast on Oct. 5, 2007 by CBS News (The Early Show, from an interview in late August and held in Lisbon, with reporter Mirna Schindler of Chile's Television Nacional, for "Informe Especial") would appear to place Gerry, not merely elsewhere, but actually in the company of Kate as she checks out the situation:

"No, I mean, that, I think, was absolutely certain but, you know, before you (Kate) raised the alarm, we double and treble checked, but we certainly had no doubt in our mind that she'd been taken."

Everybody sprinted back

Did they indeed?

Tapas diner David Payne gives the lie, both to this statement and Kate's claim that as soon as the table was in sight she started screaming, "Madeleine's gone! Someone's taken her!" The following is extracted from his Rogatory Interview:

"Kate came back just after ten o'clock, you know absolutely distraught err you know just, you know her face I'll never forget. It was a face of someone's child who had been taken and you know and very clearly said she's gone, she's you know, she's gone, you know and there was a disbelief on our face you know ah you know you must be mistaken, what, and then you know just looking at her we just all err left the table, rushed over to her and as we were walking up towards the flat she said err you know they've taken her and it was, you know, and I know there's been a controversy about what was actually said but you know that is very accurately what had been said."

From which one can only conclude that Kate's account of the truth is not quite so accurately what was said or, for that matter, what was done. It would certainly appear that her attempts at suppressing the 'negative voice in her head, tormenting her with the words "She's gone. She's gone"' were not entirely successful. Since these were the very words David Payne heard, they must have escaped Kate's head in order to have entered his.

Once the McCann entourage had variously walked, jogged or sprinted back to apartment 5A, Kate became concerned for her other children, twins Sean and Amelie 'lying on their fronts' in their respective cots, and seemingly oblivious to the pandemonium going on around them; something which 'seemed unnatural' to Kate, who placed the palms of her hands on each of their backs to check for chest movement - 'for some sign of life.'

What remarkable powers Matthew Oldfield had demonstrated barely three quarters of an hour earlier! During his Rogatory Interview he described his experience thus:

"So I approached the room but I didn't actually go in because you could see the twins in the cots and one of the, you could see the twins in the cots because they're in with, sort of the cots were in the middle of the room with sort of a gap of about sort of maybe a foot between the two, the cots had sort of got that fabric end and sort of a mesh side, so you could see the sides and you could see them, erm, see them breathing and there were two there and it was all completely quiet."

From outside a darkened room Oldfield was able to see both twins breathing. Had they, like a pair of synchronized swimmers, simultaneously rotated, so as to make the task that much more difficult for Kate, who was standing right alongside them - with the lights on!? For the book she describes her 'hands on' approach to the question of the twins' vital signs. An informed police source relates how a witness, who was present at the time, saw it somewhat differently:

" is certain that those children were sleeping, it is true that they did not wake up during all that noise and it is also certain that the mother, according to a witness, Fiona Payne, held her hand under the twins' noses to see if they were breathing."

In the grand scheme of things it makes precious little difference which way up the twins were sleeping, or quite what Kate McCann did with her hands in order to ascertain that they were breathing, although why she was incapable of seeing in the light what Matthew Oldfield clearly saw in the dark is something of a mystery.

So much for chapter one!

Based on Kate's earlier 'diaries' and other scripts ,'Madeleine' has been years in the planning and months in the writing, yet anyone expecting to be reassured or challenged by the revelation of significant, hitherto unreported facts is likely to be disappointed. That said, Kate's narrative will be helpful. In telling us what she wants us to know, she will inevitably tell us other things besides.

Clutching at Straws – 11.05.2011

The McCanns' high hopes for the book 'Madeleine' are what might be expected of a garlic necklace by a Transylvanian virgin. Indeed Kate's 'account of the truth' is already hanging about their heads, but has more the appearance of a large white sea-bird than a string of protective beads. Kate McCann's version of the terracotta army takes the form of a multitude of straw men. In the final analysis they should prove just as efficacious. For while her thoughts are regularly punctuated by the idea of paedophiles, she is probably misconstruing what her inner voice is telling her. Her secret fear is really the P.J.'s Files.

The archive which the McCanns had translated at considerable expense (an exercise no-one appears to have paid for by the way) holds a wealth of information. So much so that some data attributed to it can be very difficult to find; to the point of their seeming non-existence in fact. According to the Sunday Express, "Martin N bears a remarkable resemblance to the photo-fit of a man seen carrying a child in his arms near the McCanns' Praia da Luz hotel in 2007." The McCanns' Praia da Luz hotel of course does not exist. Nor, for that matter, is said photo-fit anywhere to be found in the official police files; something like it maybe (see PJ Files Vol. XV p.3986), but similarity is not congruence.

Paradoxically, the photograph of Martin N also bears a passing resemblance to one of Gerry McCann's friend, Jez Wilkins, who could in turn therefore be said to 'bear a remarkable resemblance to the photo-fit...' It would be of no little interest to discover whether someone was actually guilty of tampering with police evidence in support of the Sunday Express story.

As if to lend credence to this scurrilous speculation, Kate McCann herself offers an explanation as to how criminals at leisure in Praia da Luz can still have an eye for an opportunity. They could, for instance, read the notes made by a receptionist when taking orders for dinner and gain some understanding of the client's movements thereby; something Kate had discovered from reading the files. How careless can people be?

As straw men go this one is the pied piper!

Translating the P.J. files cost the McCanns approximately £100,000, apparently. They felt it necessary because they did not speak Portuguese, the native tongue of the receptionist who made the written observation (about the McCanns' intention to leave their children alone in their apartment) in a staff message book (kept at a pool-side desk if one believes the Daily Mail, the Tapas restaurant reception according to the Daily Mirror); the book that is not to be found archived among the Tapas reservation sheets recorded by the P.J., nor anywhere else among the files for that matter, whether one searches them using the word 'staff,' 'message,' or 'book.' Whatever is the case, Kate, who does not speak Portuguese, claims to have read it - in translation, surely.

That this intelligence might have come to the attention of an inquisitive predator can only have been a by-product of what was intended, i.e. an explanatory note, written by a Portuguese, for other Portuguese, in Portuguese. Had Kate herself noticed the original script in situ she would not have understood it, any more than would a German, even given that many Germans speak better Spanish than many Brits speak English. Portuguese is sufficiently unlike Spanish as to make even a single sentence quite unintelligible to the casual reader, who might otherwise be quite at home, linguistically, elsewhere on the Iberian peninsular. Kate McCann is perfectly clear on the point: "... the receptionist had added that we wanted to be close to our apartments as we were leaving our children alone there and checking on them intermittently." Not the simplest of sentences, and not specific to the McCanns either, as they only rented one apartment. The note, as translated, appears to reflect the collective approach to childcare.

So Madeleine was abducted - not by an opportunist passer-by, but a forward-thinking child-snatcher, able to garner information on his target's status from a glance at a hand-written note in a foreign language.

I don't think so somehow.

The Laundry – 06.06.2011

Speaking via the Times (5 August, 2007) to the great unwashed, Kate McCann said:

"I was desperately hoping that Madeleine would be back before the cat got washed. In the end Cuddle Cat smelt of suntan lotion and everything. I forgot what colour it was. It was special to Madeleine, she took it to bed every night. If she was upset or tired she had Cuddle Cat. It was special to her so it's special to me."

According to Madeleine's Godfather, Jon Corner, traces of Madeleine herself would have been included among the 'everything' that had impregnated Cuddle Cat with its distinctive odour. He told the Sunday Times on September 9, 2007) "The Cuddle Cat was reeking with Madeleine's DNA. That easily explains why DNA has been found in the hire car and on clothing that Kate bought after Madeleine disappeared."

Just a few days later and Kate reveals, via the Sunday Mirror this time (13 September, 2007) that she 'washed the Cuddle Cat five days after Madeleine went missing saying it was smeared with sand and sun cream.'

Has anyone ever wondered why the soft toy that was clean enough to have accompanied Madeleine to bed on the evening of May 3, should have been allowed out sunbathing immediately after her disappearance? And with whom? Or was that another escapade that lacked adult supervision? Cuddle Cat couldn't have gone to the beach with the McCanns, as they were busy moving apartments, being interviewed in turn by Police and the media, or out jogging. Even though Kate was strangely drawn to visit Lagos Marina, where there are boats and lots of water (but no sand), Cuddle Cat was already washed by then.

'Gerry's sister Philomena said it was cleaned again two months ago because it was filthy after being carried around.'

That would have been sometime in July, presumably, and coincidentally, shortly before the arrival in Portugal of the specialist dog team annexed to the investigation at the suggestion of British expert Mark Harrison. Still, I don't suppose the fact that the McCanns were warned about the imminent arrival of the dogs had anything to do with Cuddle Cat's personal hygiene, any more than on a previous occasion, when foresight might conceivably have played a part. Interviewed for the BBC's Panorama, Jon Corner said:

"Well this is the bizarre thing Richard because the police said to Kate and Gerry: "Yeah, we're going to be coming along, we want to do some forensics." And Kate and Gerry were massively optimistic about this. You've got to remember if your daughter is missing and the police phone you and say: "We want to do some forensics, that's a straw that you hang onto. That's a moment for optimism."

That statement following close behind this one:

"They took most of their clothing, they were taking even the wet clothes out of the washing machine. I was aware that the cuddlecat was boxed up and we were asked to leave the villa."

Gives new meaning to the phrase 'wash and go', doesn't it?

What it must be like to be so fastidious? Bringing us bang up to date with her book and follow-up interviews, Kate, who couldn't bear to answer the questions put to her by Portuguese police, has since conjured up a few of her own. Among the questions she asks herself is this one:

'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 anything.'

Yes, this is intriguing. Sufficiently so as to compare it with a relevant excerpt from Kate's statement to police on 6 September, 2007:

'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.'

According to this testimonial version of events, a dry stain was noticed during breakfast on the morning of May 3 which must have occurred more than twelve hours earlier because Madeleine did not drink tea the night before. The pyjama top was washed that same morning. Now let's look again at 'the question Kate asks herself.'

'The day Madeleine disappeared I noticed what I thought was a tea stain on her Disney pyjama top...' (No mention of breakfast. No mention of Madeleine's wearing the pyjamas at the time).

'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 anything.'

The children hadn't drunk any tea that day. Albeit in hindsight, Kate, in utilising the past tense, is describing something she noticed, not at the start of the day but at its conclusion. How could she have known, during breakfast, that the children would not go on to drink tea later in the day? Had she been describing a breakfast incident, she might have said something along the lines of 'the children were not drinking tea at the time (I noticed the stain).' And if Madeleine had felt the need to mention that she had spilt something, it could only have been with reference to an incident a day or so old; further back in time even than 'Mummy why didn't you come when (Sean and Amelie, Sean and I, we, the neighbour's cat) were crying?' Children that age live in the present. If Madeleine didn't comment on a breakfast spillage there and then she would not have said anything about its having happened before she'd gone to bed.

Practically speaking there are two occasions during any one day when Kate McCann would most likely have noticed a conspicuous stain on her eldest daughter's pyjama top: first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening, i.e., when the child would need to be changed either into or out of the pyjamas in question. Four years ago she told police of a morning discovery, followed by a prompt washing and wearing again that same evening (these pyjamas were abducted, remember). Now, however, with breakfast no longer a factor (the children 'hadn't drunk any tea that day,' not 'that morning' or 'with their cornflakes'), the washing as a conditioned reflex must have happened later on. If the stain was not in fact noticed in the morning, then it would not have been seen until the evening. And the washing that followed would have resulted in very wet pyjamas, with no time left in which to dry them for immediate re-use.

It is worth remembering that the idea of Madeleine's having been abducted whilst wearing a pair of Disney 'Eeyore' pyjamas is due to the McCanns entirely. There is no confirmation of this from either inside or outside their circle of acquaintance. David Payne was sure he saw all three children, but unsure whether they were dressed in pyjamas, pink or otherwise. Matthew Oldfield saw nothing. Jane Tanner's recollection was prompted by Fiona Payne, who mentioned what she had heard Kate McCann describe, not what she herself had seen. And the Smiths saw a child-in-arms dressed in a top with long sleeves.

There's no such thing as a free lunch, nor a free spin at the Launderette it seems.

As Kate has recently explained to Woman magazine:

"Even when there is only a couple of thousand pounds in the fund, it seems like a lot of money to me.

"But when the accountant told us last year that we only had enough to cover six more months of investigations, we organised three fund-raisers."

In fairness, Kate did tell a regional TV news reporter not so long ago that one of her roles as a fund director was 'income generation.' But when, throughout the four years of its existence, has the fund dwindled to just a couple of thousand pounds? Not so as you'd notice from the accounts it hasn't. And no, we are not being treated here to a fatalist premonition, or some other expression of Kate's anxiety for the future. In simple language that would have called for an 'if' not a 'when' in relation to the downturn in funds, followed by a future conditional 'would seem' (like a lot of money), given a circumstance yet to be encountered. But the 'when' here signifies 'whenever.' And, far from being either a one-off or conditional experience, it is an ongoing and continuous one, albeit possibly sporadic.

Look again at the sentence and ask yourself what manner of short-term cash-flow issue might result in the fund containing no more than a couple of thousand pounds. With the Bank of England base rate at less than half of one per cent, even lending a large sum of money on the open market is hardly worth the effort. Bear in mind also that this has to do with a current and not a historical situation.

"Even when there is only a couple of thousand pounds in the fund, it seems like a lot of money to me."

Keep talking Kate. You're doing a grand job.

You were saying, Kate...? - 06.06.2011

From 'Madeleine' by Kate McCann (edited and abridged by Antonella Lazzeri and Oliver Harvey for The Sun):

"He (Gerry) never made me feel guilty, he never pushed me and he never got sulky. In fact, sometimes he would apologize to me. Invariably, he would put a big reassuring arm around me and tell me that he loved me and not to worry."

"Occasionally, when I've been as low as it's possible to be, or afraid I was losing control completely, I've longed for a chance to talk it through, or even just to feel Gerry's arm around my shoulder, but he simply hasn't had the strength."

"Our apartment was 30 to 45 seconds away and largely visible from the restaurant."

Martin Brunt, for SKY News (The Mystery of Madeleine McCann, 24.12.07):

"The view from there (the tapas bar) to here is not a good one. It's partially obscured. And of course at the time, it was dark."

"The apartment is some distance away (from the Tapas Bar). It's beyond the swimming pool. There's a wall and a hedge and behind that is a path. It would be very difficult, from here, to see anybody going in and out of the apartment. Going to check on the kids wasn't easy...eighty paces as far as the gate, the distance between the Tapas Bar and the apartment. Not quite as Gerry McCann described it."

(With only the narrow, rear facade remotely within their field of view, the apartment, even in daylight, was largely invisible from the Tapas Bar.)

From 'Madeleine' by Kate McCann (edited and abridged by Antonella Lazzeri and Oliver Harvey):

"At the time my brain simply couldn't connect such cases with Madeleine's. These were abuse victims, and as awful as such crimes were, Madeleine's was much worse. Our child had been stolen."

(What crime did Madeleine ever commit? There being 'no evidence that she has come to any harm,' how can 'stolen' be considered a worse fate than 'sexually abused?')

"I was totally perplexed. If, as the PJ alleged, Madeleine's blood was in the boot of our car, which we had not rented until May 27, how on earth had it got there? Did this mean someone had planted it? I could see no other explanation."

"At that point Gerry began to feel a lot better. He realised that no one could have planted forensic evidence to implicate us..."

(Gerry at least must have known the PJ did not have Madeleine's body - or blood samples.)

"'They've got nothing!' he (Gerry) fired at Carlos. He began pointing out the many flaws in the PJ's 'evidence and the complete absence of logic."

"His emphasis suggested this was the gold standard. I just stared at him, unable to hide my contempt. These dogs had never been used in Portugal before..."

(And Benfica never win away from home).

"The dogs ultimately 'alerted.' I felt myself relax a little. This was not what I'd call an exact science. The film show continued. Now we were in an underground garage where eight or so cars were parked, including our rented Renault Scenic.

"It was hard to miss: the windows were plastered with pictures of Madeleine. In medicine we would call this an 'unblinded' study, one that is susceptible to bias."

('Ask the dogs, Sandra!' Not only are they bi-lingual they recognize pictures of missing children.)

"As we now know, the chemicals believed to create the 'odour of death', putrescence and cadaverine, last no longer than 30 days."

From a UTV news report of 8 March 2006:

"A murder trial heard today of the "distinct smell of decay" after a specialist police dog uncovered the make-shift riverbank grave of pensioner Attracta Harron four months after going missing walking home from Mass in December 2003."

(Same dogs. Same handler.)

From The Sun, May 10, 2011:

"A year had passed since Madeleine was snatched and the family went on holiday to Canada."

Followed later by:

" times it makes me sad that any-one else is capable of switching off when Madeleine is still missing." ('Madeleine' by Kate McCann - edited and abridged by Antonella Lazzeri and Oliver Harvey).

(It makes me sad that anyone should swallow this nonsense.)

'Lie With Me Mummy' – 17.06.2011

With you, for you, and about you petal.

For openers

Kate McCann's revelatory autobiography adds remarkably little to what was already known about daughter Madeleine, despite claims that it was written to help the search for her (helping 'the search' and helping others to search are not quite the same thing). What it does do, categorically and, one might add, rather usefully, is to confirm the falsehoods originally put in place over four years ago. It is an artfully choreographed confection, liberally sprinkled with lies, blatant and subtle, and topped of with a dash of hypocrisy.

Within the first couple of pages Kate McCann identifies herself logically with/as the 'abductor' of her daughter:

"I wanted to make sure that they (the children) would always have access to a written chronicle of what really happened." (p.1)

"Others have seized the opportunity to profit from our agony by writing books about our daughter, several of them claiming to reveal 'what really happened.' Which is extraordinary, given that the only person who knows this is the person who abducted her on May 3, 2007." (p.2)

It is important to understand that since the author's arguida status was lifted she has had the time and the money both to translate and to scrutinise the Portuguese police files made publicly available in the Autumn of 2008. Indeed she is careful to point out to her readers how she has invested many months and close to £100,000 in doing so, reading them in 'microscopic detail.' It follows that, quite apart from being the only person who knows what really happened, she has benefited from exactly the same access to accumulated background data as anyone else might. There are no excuses whatsoever for errors of fact appearing in this collaborative 'account of the truth.' If any should appear then they have been sanctioned so to do. That makes their inclusion deliberate. And a knowingly incorrect statement is, by definition, a lie.

Let the author lift the curtain on her own performance therefore:

"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." (p.328).

Not unreasonably, we might apply this same 'three strikes and you're out' rule ourselves, beginning with a small test of Kate McCann's numeracy. After all, her entry in the Dundee University yearbook when she graduated in 1992 concluded with the line: 'Prognosis: mathematician and mother of six.' (p.10).

1. "In January 2004, when Madeleine was seven months old, we rented out our house and moved for a year to Amsterdam..." (p.31).

2. "On the afternoon of 1 February 2005, Sean and Amelie made their appearance in the world...A few hours later, Gerry brought Madeleine in to meet her little brother and sister. Just twenty months old herself at the time, in she came in her cute lilac pyjamas and puppy-dog slippers." (p.37).

3. "On Madeleine's sixth birthday, 12 May 2009, I met Isabel Duarte for the first time." (p.338).

Taking last things first, why should readers need confirmation of Madeleine's date of birth so late on in the book? Could it be due to the uncertainty engendered by the author's earlier calculations? Unless one counts only to the last completed month, Madeleine would have been nearer eight months old in January. The same question arises in connection with statement no. 2. Even as early as the first of the month, Madeleine could not have been 'just twenty months' on 1 February 2005, if she were born on 12 May, 2003. She would have been well into her twenty-first.

May 12 is not the only date to give Kate McCann pause for thought. May 3 is another. And not only on account of its obvious associations with Madeleine’s being 'taken.'

Here are three further statements with a suggestive connection:

1. "She had addressed me as Kate Healy, and although this was the name by which I was always known before Madeleine's abduction, since then I'd only ever been referred to as Mrs McCann." (p.189).

2. "On 4 May 2007, I became Kate McCann. According to my passport, driving licence and bank account I was Kate Healy. I hadn't kept my maiden name for any particular reason - it was just who I was and who I'd always been. But when Madeleine was taken, the press automatically referred to me as Kate McCann, and Kate McCann I have been ever since." (p.349).

3. "One of the big changes in our life has been the loss of our anonymity...As Kate Healy, I could do what I liked, when I liked, talk to whoever I wanted to talk to, behave naturally without feeling I was being judged by those around me." (p. 356).

With a bank account in her maiden name of Healy, it seems only fair to suppose that Kate signed her cheques in that name also. She didn't 'become' Kate McCann until 4 May, after Madeleine went missing. And yet on several occasions, including May 3 2007, she signed the Ocean Club creche registers as K. McCann.

When do such anomalies cease to be coincidental?

"We'd never lied about anything - not to the police, not to the media, not to anyone else." Says Kate (p.205). Start as you mean to continue I suppose. 'Jemmied shutters' anyone?

By way of introducing some variation into the process, instead of telling three slightly different tales to encompass the same lie, you can always repeat one lie three times:

"...since there is no law enforcement agency at all actively inquiring into her (Madeleine's) disappearance." (p.4).

"...we have not been prepared to accept the platitude that work in Portimao continues when we know this is not the case." (p.364).

"Since July 2008 there has been no police force anywhere actively investigating what has happened to Madeleine." (p.364).

The Leicestershire Police position as at June 2011 is as follows:

"Anything in relation to the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann will not be released whilst it remains ongoing.

" is also necessary to look at the impact on the ongoing investigation of such disclosures. It is impossible to say until the operation is concluded which information may or may not be relevant to any future prosecutions."

"We are the only people looking for her." (p.364). That much remains true. I wonder why?

"If a review is declined, or indeed if no decision is ever made, we will be left with no alternative but to seek disclosure of all information possessed by the authorities relating to Madeleine's disappearance." (p.367).

They might as well save their energy, not to mention the legal fees, since the response to their request for disclosure can only be as quoted above.

More of the same

Let's deal with a little more of the blatant before we turn to the subtle, shall we?

Most informed readers are by now familiar with the 'Plea Bargain' myth; the offer that Kate claims to have been made 'indirectly,' despite its being a feature of U.S. legal proceedings not permissible under Portuguese law, nor the 'life sentence' a penalty recognised by Portuguese statute. Kate's indignation at such a tactic is amply covered on p. 243. Are we seriously to believe that Kate McCann was such a V.I.P. that time-served police, family men themselves, would collectively sacrifice their careers and their pensions just to 'cut her a deal?' She's clearly spent too much time in front of the television. And only a grossly over-inflated ego could arrive at the conclusion that there would be a riot in the streets of England owing to their being viewed as suspects in relation to a crime abroad. The next thing you know the British navy would be sending a gunboat to the Arade river!

An entire chapter (21, Closing The Case) is devoted to convincing readers that the investigation is history, with repeated reference to 'closure' and 'conclusion' on p.317.

Eventually we read:

"On 24 July 2008, three days after the inquiry was closed..." (p.320).

Three years later and no one seems to have told Leicestershire Constabulary. Strange that.

A number of Kate's little contradictions are rather less easy to spot, as she cunningly exploits the transient nature of Short Term Memory, separating details of relevance to each other by several paragraphs, pages - chapters even. It's a device she employs repeatedly. Nevertheless, despite the apparent success of her overall routine, not all of her 'one-liners' are flawlessly delivered.

"Gerry left to do the first check just before 9.05 by his watch...Madeleine was lying there, on her left-hand side, her legs under the covers, in exactly the same position as we'd left her." (p.70).

(GM statement to police 10 May, 2007: 'Concerning the bed where his daughter was on the night she disappeared, he says that she slept uncovered, as usual when it was hot, with the bedclothes folded down').

"The children were fast asleep and being checked every thirty minutes...We were going into the apartments and looking as well as listening." (p.54).

(GM: "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..." [from the McCann inspired documentary, Madeleine Was Here]. MO [rogatory interview]: "So I approached the room but I didn't actually go in because you could see the twins in the cots..." And Madeleine?).

"As soon as it was light Gerry and I resumed our search." (p.83).

Resuming something you have yet to start is a bit of a non sequitur if you ask me. How did the interview go again? Something about 'not physically searching, but working really hard really?'

"Back in the apartment the cold black night enveloped us all for what seemed like an eternity. Dianne and I sat there just staring at each other, still as statues." (p.81).

That's hard work alright.

Passing the buck

Ambassador John Buck receives a mention in despatches (several mentions actually), yet we're not concerned here with his passing through, although there is something to be read into Kate's passing Goncalo Amaral on the stairs of the Lisbon courthouse, which we'll come to later. Here we feature examples of the more colloquial meaning of the phrase.

Kate has some advice for anyone in a similarly 'sticky situation' to her own:

"A word of advice in case you are ever unlucky enough to find yourself involved in a criminal investigation in any country: always make sure that you read your statement, in your own language, after you've provided it." (p.126).

This counsel clearly has its origins in an unfortunate experience the author describes in some detail later. Her homily is also designed to give the impression that she neglected to take, or was perhaps even denied, the opportunity of verifying her own statement(s) at the time. She knows 'only too well,' from interviews with the PJ, how "words and meanings could get lost in translation..." (p.333):

"At one point early on, something was read out from my initial statement, given on 4 May. It wasn't quite accurate and I explained to the officer that the original meaning seemed to have been lost slightly in translation.

"To my astonishment, the interpreter became quite angry and suddenly interrupted. 'What are you saying? That we interpreters can't do our job? The interpreter will only have translated what you told her!' I was staggered. Quite apart from the fact that in this instance she was wrong - this definitely wasn't what I said - surely an interpreter is there to interpret, not to interfere in the process? My trust in her took a dive." (p.239).

Turning the page, however, we read of a certain procedural 'rigmarole' with which Kate is also familiar:

"It was 12.40 a.m. by the time the interview - and the attendant rigmarole of having it translated into Portuguese and then read back to me in English by the interpreter - was over." (p.240).

Throughout the case files one encounters records of witness statements, including those made by Kate and Gerry McCann, which conclude with the observation: 'Reads, confirms, ratifies and signs.' Kate McCann does not speak Portuguese. Obviously, therefore, she will have 'read her own statement in her own language after she'd provided it,' giving her the necessary insurance against any factual errors arising from mis-translation, the likelihood of which was, in any case, remote in the extreme. Hence the indignation of the interpreter on behalf of her maligned colleague.

A 'change of tune' neither implies nor derives from a mistaken interpretation of the original melody necessarily. Kate is attempting here to shoot the piano player when only the composer is to blame.

But Kate McCann, presumably on the advice of her editorial committee, can let no opportunity for misinterpretation pass her by it seems. Here's how she deals with the Smith sighting (p.98):

"Although, like Jane, this family (the Smiths) had taken this man and child for father and daughter, they commented that the man didn't look comfortable carrying the child, as if he wasn't used to it."

This is simply not true. The Smith family as a whole made no such comment, and the interpretation of it to imply that 'discomfort' demonstrated the man was not accustomed to carrying children (as a parent, say), is Kate's entirely. In point of fact, Aoife Smith (the Smith's daughter), states: 'The individual's gait was normal. He did not look tired and walked normally while carrying the child.' What Kate has done here is to deliberately over-interpret an observation made by Martin Smith, and Martin Smith alone, as part of his witness statement to police, given on 26 May 2007:

"He adds that he did not hold the child in a comfortable position."

It is the child who was seen to be uncomfortable not the carrier. No inference was or should be made concerning the adult's experience of carrying children, although non-parental status, were it to be established, would clearly rule out Gerry McCann (father to three children) as a 'possible' for inclusion among candidate suspects.

I said she was subtle. She's also read the files 'in microscopic detail.'

Kate McCann would probably wish to argue that some of these instances are really no more than teeny-weeny white lies, much as the McCanns' recruitment of private investigators Metodo 3 to operate inside Portugal was only 'technically illegal.' But such things are not to be considered on a sliding scale from one to ten. Child abduction is a serious crime, not a parlour game. In such a context there is no justification for putatively innocent parties to lie - at all.

However, we have tasted enough lies for the time being. Let's now sample some hypocrisy instead.

Do's and don'ts

"Dave asked if we should get the media involved to increase awareness and recruit more help. The reply was swift and unambiguous. 'No media! No media!’" (p.78).

"Dave, ... sent an e-mail to Sky News alerting them to the abduction of our daughter. (p.79).

"...Rachael had contacted a friend of hers at the BBC seeking help and advice..." (p.80).

"Jon Corner...was circulating photographs and video footage of Madeleine to the police, Interpol and broadcasting and newspaper news desks. This was in accordance with the standard advice of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in the US, which advocates getting an image of a missing child into the public domain as soon as possible." (p.86).

Of course by 4 May the troupe had all heard about NCMEC, an organisation whose advice as to the desirability of circulating an image would have been immediately familiar and acceptable to the Portuguese, who had already planned on doing so.

This degrading little episode of civil disobedience is supposed to reflect an urgent concern for the missing child, but speaks more of the arrogance of the participants, who seem to have been remarkably easily persuaded that little Madeleine would not turn up locally and quickly.

And there's more:

"We flew out to Portugal on 10 December.

"Not sure how I feel about seeing Mr Amaral - for the first time ever, I hasten to add! I know I'm not scared but that man has caused us so much upset and anger because of how he treated my Beautiful Madeleine and the search to find her. He deserves to be miserable and feel fear." (p.341).

"During a break in proceedings, I was going down the big stone staircase to the ladies' as Goncalo Amaral was coming up. Thoughts of what I ought to say or do to him flashed through my mind but I stayed strong and passed him without comment, our shoulders briefly coming within a foot of each other." (p.343/4).

Aggressive, vindictive thoughts on Kate's part when she and Goncalo Amaral have yet to meet. However:

"It is extraordinary that he (GA) could have said and written so many awful things about a person he had never met." (p.342).

I'd call that hypocrisy, wouldn't you? Just as I would these next examples:

"Other letter-writers took a warped pleasure, it seemed, in going into lurid detail which I couldn't bring myself to repeat here (p.310) about what might have happened to Madeleine 'because of you.'"

Lurid detail being reserved of course for page 129:

"Haltingly, I told him about the awful pictures that scrolled through my head of her body, her perfect little genitals torn apart..."

Under a more family friendly certificate we have:

"...the press know what her name is and yet to this day they insist on calling her Maddie or Maddy. I find it quite disrespectful." (p.349).

Perhaps then, Kate might at some time account for her own disrespect toward Madeleine's younger brother:

"For the rest of that day I would hear Seany wandering around the house." (p.270).

"Seany arrived in the early hours of the morning and positioned himself towards the middle of our bed, with me and Gerry then squeezed together on one side." (p.277).

9 May

"Seany is a big soft 'Mummy’s boy' which is nice." (p.304).

"'Hand him to me and walk away. He'll be fine,' she said confidently. I'm sure she was right, though it wasn't much fun having to watch my little Seany, all red faced, blotchy and sobbing." (p.359).

You couldn't make it up. But Kate McCann clearly has. From resisting the urge to 'flee' on 7 September 2007 to deciding a day later to 'get out as soon as possible,' leaving 'a day earlier than originally planned.' (p.256):

"We would go the next day rather than leaving it until Monday. 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.255).

So where does 'planning' feature in all this last minute activity?

For an accurate barometer of just how seriously Kate McCann has taken the search for Madeleine, one need only explore the issue of 'help.'

"While the officers looked around, Gerry called his sister, Trisha. As difficult as it was to tell our family, we knew we needed help from home, and quickly." (p.77).

"Everyone had felt helpless at home and had rushed out to Portugal to take care of us and to do what they could to find Madeleine. When they arrived, to their dismay they felt just as helpless - perhaps more so, having made the trip in the hope of achieving something only to discover it was not within their power in Luz any more than it had been in the UK." (p.109).

So what form could 'help from home' have taken? What could be expected of relatives abroad that the very parents of the missing child could not themselves deliver in the immediate circumstances? And when this charabanc party on a fool's errand discover they have embarked on precisely that, who is implied as being responsible? Not those who whipped up the frenzy, but the well-meaning pilgrims themselves.

Then we have the more individual cases:

"Emma Knights, Mark Warner customer-care manager... tried her best to comfort me, but my grief was so agonizing and personal that I wasn't sure whether I wanted her there or not. I didn't really want anyone around me but people I knew well." (p.75).

"A lady called Silvia, who worked at the Ocean Club, arrived to help out with translation... She was very kind and I was glad of her help and support." (p.76).

"A middle-aged British lady ... announced that she was, or had been, a social worker or child protection officer ... showing me her professional papers, including, I think, her Criminal Records Bureau Certificate. She ... wanted me to go through everything that had happened the previous night. She was quite pushy and her manner, her very presence, were making me feel uncomfortable and adding to my distress." (p.87).

"On the way I rang a colleague - another lady of strong faith. She prayed over the phone for most of the trip, while I listened and wept at the other end. I will forever be indebted to her for her help and support at that agonizing time." (p.88).

The pattern is simple and easy to interpret. Those in a position of some authority, with accreditation as regards their professional competence, are given short shrift. Others with a well-meaning but largely amateur slant on the affair are warmly embraced.

There is of course more that could be said - much more. But it wouldn't do to serve it all up in an instant. Gerry's dismissal of the sniffer dog video as 'the most subjective piece of intelligence gathering imaginable' (p.253) is but one such subject - a topic for discussion in its own right. One day soon perhaps we can do more objectivity, just for Gerry. Until then, and paraphrasing that familiar remark by a judicious teacher, while we may not have 'taught the McCanns all they know,' nor have we taught them all we know.

Fundamentally, there are two elementary questions concerning the disappearance of Madeleine McCann which remain unanswered; a basic compound to which Kate McCann has blithely added further ingredients:

1. Why should a couple directly related to the victim of a serious crime, and in no small measure victims themselves therefore, lie about their own actions around the time the crime was supposedly committed?

2. Why should others, not related to this victim of serious crime, lie about what they were doing before the crime was apparently committed?

'Madeleine,' by Kate McCann, does nothing to dilute the toxicity of this simple synthesis.

A False Alarm – 25.06.2011

It was with some reluctance, apparently, that Jane Tanner confided in her friends Rachael, Fiona, Russell, Matt, Dave, and ultimately the McCanns, concerning what she believed to be her sighting of an abduction in progress. This must have been something of a double-edged sword for Gerry, and possibly explains why he sat head bowed, at the table, while others discussed and annotated the all-important timelines (versions 1 and 2) around him. He was no doubt thinking through, even then, how best to incorporate this unexpected revelation into the account (see article, A Tanner in the Works, for discussion). The only detail of Jane Tanner's that need concern us here, however, is the approximate time of her 'sighting,' which we can allow her to fix for us with reference to her own witness statement to police on 4 May, 2007, when events will clearly have been freshest in her mind.

"She remembers that at about 21h10 Gerald left the restaurant to go to the apartment to check on the children. Five minutes later, the witness left, to go to her apartment to see whether her daughters were O.K. At this moment she saw Gerry talking to an Englishman called Jez...

"She passed by them knowing that Gerry had already been in the apartment to check his children.

"Meanwhile a man appeared, carrying a child...She noticed the individual's presence exactly when she had just passed by Gerry and Jez who were talking..."

Shortly after 9.15 p.m. then (a little earlier, a little later, it makes no difference really); comfortably after 9.00 p.m. in any event. This is the factor to register.

Gerry McCann too made a statement to police that day, and here is an excerpt from it:

" 9.05 p.m., the deponent entered the club, using his key, the door being locked, and went to the children's bedroom and noted that the twins and Madeleine were in perfect condition. He then went to the toilet, where he remained for a few instants, left the apartment, and then crossed ways with someone with whom he had played tennis."

Six days later (10 May) Gerry made a further statement, not dissimilar to his first as regards the invigilation of his children in their own bedroom, except for inclusion of the following:

"He adds that he did not enter any other part of the residence, where he was for only two or three minutes..."

Although an apparent afterthought, this caveat too will prove important in due course.

An astute commentator on the McCann case who is, shall we say, 'on furlough,' has previously drawn attention to the worthless nature of witness statements that include proxy observations of what others may or may not have said, or done, at any particular time. Unless the witnesses were present themselves, such reported details, second-hand at best, can otherwise represent no more than surmise.

Predictably there are quite a number of instances where Kate McCann, in her book 'Madeleine,' takes it upon herself to describe what others said, did, felt etc., including an episode on p.70 (paragraph 3), where she describes Gerry's 'check' at 9.05 p.m.

"He glanced into our room to make sure Madeleine hadn't wandered in there, as she was prone to do if ever she woke in the small hours. Seeing no little body curled up in our bed, he went over to look in on the children."

In his own (10 May) statement to police Gerry McCann is at pains to emphasize that he did not enter any other room (except the bathroom).

Now, under the guise of 'artistic licence,' Kate could quite easily have dressed this brief visit up in all sorts of thoughts attributed to husband Gerry, as he stared down at his 'three beautiful children' from the doorway to their bedroom (without going fully inside and tripping over the abductor of course). It would not have altered the basic facts as given by him to the Portuguese police, nor as discussed between them afterwards no doubt, in the course of the author's verification of detail to be included in the manuscript. But Kate does not do this. She adopts a different course entirely; one which gives rise to yet another question: In recounting an incident on Gerry's behalf and, one supposes, 'telling it like it is' (or was), why has Kate McCann seen fit to include an unnecessary embellishment; one that is not completely in tune with the facts one supposes Gerry might have confirmed to her? She had only to refer to his statements in the files after all.

This little side-step is clearly not predicated upon Gerry's knowledge. It is inaccurate. Ah, but then Gerry is only described as having 'glanced into' the room - not altogether a contradiction (he didn't go in, only 'glanced in'). Except that the orientation of the parents' bedroom and the disposition of the furniture (as represented by the diagram on p.46 of Kate's book) were such that one could not have 'glanced in' from outside the room and seen the complete surface of both beds - they would have been occluded by the door, even if open at a right angle. The best one could hope for might be sight of the bottom left-hand corner of the bed farthest away. In order to properly ascertain that there was 'no little body' at the pillow end of either bed (and what child is not going to go there), one would need to take at least one step inside, so as to see around the door, unless of course it was completely folded back against the wall, which it could not have been, as there was a wardrobe there.

Strange indeed. Stranger yet when one discovers that, despite having read the police files in 'microscopic detail,' Kate (no doubt prompted by her script consultant(s)) still manages to incorporate a diagrammatic floor plan of apartment 5A, the dimensions of which are at odds with those recorded by the police, incorporating a potentially significant error into the bargain.

In her diagram, Kate shows the door to their bedroom as hinged to the right, opening from the left. Although the police plan omits this detail, forensic photographs taken inside the apartment show quite clearly that this door is actually hinged on the left, opening to 90 degrees, in line with the bare wall.

This arrangement ought, in fact, to lend greater credibility to Kate's mention of Gerry's 'glancing in,' as an open door in this position cannot have obstructed his diagonal line of sight to the beds. And yet...

The very photographs which clear away the door from Gerry's hypothetical viewpoint, reveal that this is still obstructed; not by the door any longer, but by the wardrobe. In comparing the picture taken of the empty beds with the view looking out from the room it becomes apparent just how far inside the room the photographer had to stand in order to photograph (and hence to see) both beds in their entirety. Even if only to 'glance' adequately at both beds, in the dark, one would have to stand inside the room - beyond the reach of the door and clear of the wardrobe. This is confirmed by the Channel 4 documentary, 'Madeleine Was Here.' The camera (and lights) follow Gerry through the front door and into apartment 5A, passing the alcove to the right where both bedroom doors are located. The door to the parents erstwhile room is fully open and, at 28:57, as Gerry walks straight on into the main living room, the attentive viewer will just glimpse a portion of the far bed - but no more than that.

Kate's description of Gerry's behaviour does not draw on Gerry's knowledge, but can only be a product of her imagination, her knowledge. Quite apart from its being a contradiction, it has also forced its way unnecessarily into Kate's account of the scene, which attempts, impossibly, to alter the course of events in retrospect. If, as he has stated, Gerry visited the children's bedroom, then left the apartment without entering any other room save the bathroom, he cannot first have glanced into (i.e. entered) the parents' room, then moved to the bedroom opposite in consequence. And since Gerry would not have spoken to Kate of his going, or even glancing, into rooms he did not visit, then he would not have discussed the absence of 'a little body' from their bedroom either.

So how is it that Kate McCann knows there was 'no little body' on their bed for Gerry to see at 9.05 p.m. that night? I suspect the source of her information to be the same as that which prompted her to say, during an interview for BBC regional news a long time ago:

"You don't expect somebody to go into your apartment and take your child out (of) your bed."

Which brings us full-circle to the sighting, by Jane Tanner, of Madeleine McCann's supposed abductor at approximately 9.15 p.m. Regardless of whom Jane Tanner may or may not have seen carrying a child in arms at that time, the child could not have been Madeleine McCann if she were no longer in the apartment by 9.05. Of course Gerry McCann claimed he saw Madeleine in her own room that night, under the very conditions in which Kate would be unable to 'make her out' less than an hour later. Kate has however contradicted Gerry's account of his own visit, in giving everyone a somewhat altered 'account of the truth.' And she 'knows what happened.' Not only, therefore, is Gerry McCann's statement about his three children called into question, but it is appropriate to recognize that, if it took the various parents barely 45 seconds to return to their respective apartments from the Tapas bar, then it certainly did not take 15 - 20 mins. for someone to carry a 'little body' across the street.