The purpose of this site is for information and a record of Gerry McCann's Blog Archives. As most people will appreciate GM deleted all past blogs from the official website. Hopefully this Archive will be helpful to anyone who is interested in Justice for Madeleine Beth McCann. Many Thanks, Pamalam

Note: This site does not belong to the McCanns. It belongs to Pamalam. If you wish to contact the McCanns directly, please use the contact/email details    

Dr Martin Roberts - 2009 *

Taking a closer look at the McCanns' media interviews.
Kate McCann
Analysis of McCann media interviews, 31 May 2009
Analysis of McCann media interviews

Gerry and Kate McCann

By Dr Martin Roberts
30 May 2009
The purpose of this exercise is twofold: to evaluate answers to specific questions, and thereby identify any statements which may be of relevance to issues beyond the immediate interrogative context.
When we answer a question, a great many thoughts pass through our minds of which we are unaware, as evidenced by 'freudian slips'. The more complex the context, the more 'considered' will be the utterance, deliberately or otherwise. Pauses, and the insertion of unnecessary elements (uhms, ahs, etc.) are instances of the brain's 'playing for time'. It follows that, in circumstances such as that under consideration here, things will inevitably be said which reference topics outside the realm of immediate relevance.
The situation may be likened to a Venn diagram, where a given intersection is defined by two or more overlapping sectors. At these points of semantic overlap, we catch a glimpse of the alternative entailment(s). It is not a question of hidden meanings, coded responses or the like. The emphasis is on semantic clarity and logical consistency, not subjective interpretation.
Due account must be taken also of things which remain unsaid, as in aborted phrases and sudden departures from the anticipated syntax. When we say anything at all, we plan each phrase beforehand. This is evidenced by spoonerisms, where transpositions can occur across as many as seven syllables. An aborted phrase should therefore be viewed as 'not completed' in the active sense, rather than incomplete, the voicing of the terminal aspect being prevented by the speaker, and not simply 'missing'. Though unspoken, it will have been there, as will the thought behind it.
Above all, statements should be taken at face value. People will strive to tell their truth, however idiosyncratic, at interview. Put simply, they will avoid lying and the stress it causes them. Importantly, even if what they say fails to answer the immediate question, it may provide an answer to another question altogether.
All but one of the transcripts examined here are of interviews given to the broadcast media. They provide direct and verifiable evidence of statements by the principals, with no appeal whatsoever to reported speech.
The presentation that follows is topic-centred. Quoted sources are therefore partial and cross-referenced on occasion.
1. Time of Departure
There is a wealth of witness testimony regarding events at the Ocean Club, Praia da Luz on 3rd May, 2007, in the light of which it is strange that neither Kate nor Gerry McCann appears able to discuss their last recollection of daughter Madeleine, on that fateful day specifically.
Q (For Spanish broadcaster, Antena 3): "Allow me to take you both back to the 3rd May. What's the last thing you remember about Madeleine?"
KM: "Just a happy little girl. A beautiful, happy little girl"
Not: 'She was sleeping beautifully' or 'was sound asleep'.
GM: "Just think of all the times... the nice times that we've had with her in our house, and in her playing, in the playroom with her... with her... the twins."
Note that the question sought to elicit the last thing remembered, not a lasting remembrance. GM could not even place Madeleine in Portugal. He describes happy times at home in Leicester. The interviewer tries again later.
Q: "...Some questions concerning that night, the 3rd May. What's the last thing you remember of Madeleine that day?"
KM: "It's a little bit like as I mentioned before, she was very happy, errm... and very loving and, you know, I know Madeleine was very happy with her life. She's special."
Still no specific recollection regarding May 3rd however.
Q: "Kate, you were the last to see her weren't you, because Gerry was playing tennis I believe, isn't that right?"
KM: (Struggles to answer. Fails to answer).
GM: "I saw her. I saw her and, errm... I thought how beautiful she was and how lucky I was to be the father of three children."
Note that this was in answer to the immediately preceding question of who was the last to see Madeleine, the date reference having now been dropped.
To accompany this non-specificity of date, there is elsewhere an adjustment of time. KM is understood to have raised the alarm, upon discovering Madeleine's absence, around 10.00 p.m. GM et al are reported to have been at the Tapas restaurant at that time.
The BBC's Jane Hill asks: "And then on the Thursday night, Kate, when you realised that she wasn't in her bed where you'd left her, did you think, even momentarily perhaps that she'd just woken up, wandered off of her own accord perhaps?"
KM: "Not at all, no." (long pause)
GM: "No, I mean, that, I think, was absolutely certain but, you know, before you raised the alarm, we double and treble checked, but we certainly had no doubt in our mind that she'd been taken."
So, GM appears to have been aware of Madeleine's absence earlier than 10.00 p.m. on May 3rd. (This circumstance is further alluded to under a subsequent topic heading – 'point of departure').
2. Sleeping arrangements
Jane Hill, we notice, spares the interviewees from having to describe the situation in apartment 5A that Thursday night, by telling them what happened herself! But is her supposition confirmed? No, it is not.
KM (interviewed for BBC Breakfast TV): "Is it right for somebody to go into your apartment and take your child out [of] your bed?"
During an interview for commercial television we get the following exchange:
Q: "...everyone's been asking each other the question: 'Would you have left them?' and I've asked myself the same thing... But there must... you must look back and think: 'We did the wrong thing.'"
KM: "I mean, the restaurant where we were eating, errm... is on the complex where we're staying and I think the... diagrams that were maybe shown at the beginning of all of this, don't really portray how close it actually is. Errm... I mean, we've said before, it was a little bit... we think it was quite similar to – on a summer's evening at home – eating in your garden, while the children are in your bed, you know, it's that close, errm... you know."
To Jane Hill again, in response to a question about adverse comments, comes this from GM initially:
GM: "...No one will ever feel more guilty than us for the fact that we were not with Madeleine at that time when she was abducted and whether we'd been in the bedroom next door we would still have felt as guilty, I'm sure, but, you know, you've seen the proximity of the restaurant."
For the moment we should focus attention on the phrase 'whether we'd been in the bedroom next door.'
The distribution of accommodation inside 5A was such that there was no 'bedroom next door.' The two bedrooms were separated by a communal living space. Was GM hypothesizing about themselves, the parents, sleeping in an adjoining apartment? Maybe he was alluding to proximity in terms of their all being in the 'next' bedroom together. A more pragmatic interpretation is suggested by GM's contribution on this subject to ITV.
3. Point of departure
The response on ITV about 'doing the wrong thing' is:
GM: "I think, you know, the messages of support, errm... and from the thousands of people who have said they would either do the same, or have done the same, have helped us, but it will not take away the feeling of guilt – that we will have with us forever – that at the moment Madeleine was abducted, we were not there. And I've tried to rationalise it. We do not think that what we did was irresponsible but it won't take away the guilt but equally, if we'd been in the adjacent bedroom and it had happened, I'm sure we would have felt equally as guilty and, of course, that we're not, but, you know, what has happened is done and we are absolutely focussed from the minute that we discovered her gone, that we have done, and will continue to do, everything in our power to find her."
We shall examine the emphatic references to guilt a little later. For now we observe, once again, mention of another bedroom, this time adjacent. But the only area that either bedroom was adjacent to was the lounge. One need only interpret GM’s previous 'next door' reference as meaning within the apartment, to arrive at a coherent picture. Even had they been in their bedroom at the time, the McCanns would still feel guilty for Madeleine’s having been 'taken' from the adjacent lounge (and then into the bedroom in question, whence she was later removed, as already pointed up independently by KM). There is, in addition, confirmation here that the McCanns together discovered Madeleine was 'taken' ('from the minute we discovered her gone'). Indeed, GM will later claim (for Antena 3): "…nothing that's happened to us in this time…has come close to upsetting us the way we felt when we discovered Madeleine missing."
4. Abduction – means, motive, opportunity
Much has already been made by the McCanns concerning the first two of these aspects which can be briefly summarised as 'through the window by a paedophile.' But what of the third?
Speaking on 'Panorama' KM confirms:
"Yeah, you're right, there was only a small window of opportunity, but..."
Whilst earlier in the same interview she says:
"They've been watching us over a matter of days, I'm sure."
Now, bearing in mind that people are much less likely to lie under interview, we can pass on from this statement (deliberately qualified by uncertainty - I'm sure, I believe, I'm convinced etc.), to what the McCanns had to say about stalkers to Ian Woods of Sky News:
IW: "Looking back, I mean, did you see anything suspicious in the days leading up to her abduction? Did you notice anything? Have you been racking your brains to try and think whether people might have been watching?"
KM: "We didn't."
GM: "If we did we wouldn't tell you because it may be important information, but we didn't."
This is both emphatic and equally important information.
IW: "Is there a lesson, do you feel, to other parents?"
GM: "...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."
Contrasting what GM himself tells us is an extreme unlikelihood, with the fact that the majority of so-called 'stranger abductions' actually involve the parents or a close relative/acquaintance, we see immediately that any criticism of the PJ's evolved line of inquiry is nothing short of perverse. GM concludes his response to BBC's Jane Hill and her question regarding adverse comments thus:
GM: "If you thought for a minute that someone could abduct your child, of course, you would never have left them but, you know, that was the furthest thought from our mind during... what really was, up until that point, the most idyllic holiday."
In other words, the McCanns thought someone could not (or no-one could) abduct their child. Anything might happen to anyone in principle, but specific misfortunes can only befall us if we are exposed to those particular risks. That’s why insurance is such big business. The McCanns clearly took the view that Madeleine was not available for abduction; that she was secure. Why? Because the apartment was locked, perhaps?
5. Dead or alive
The likelihood of Madeleine having been abducted is vanishingly small when assessed in terms of mathematical probability, and we must therefore consider an alternative fate. A lengthy statement by GM to ITV on 25th May, 2007 opens the door somewhat.
GM: "We truly believe that a member of the public holds the information to unlock where Madeleine is being kept. They either will have seen something, that will lead to the abductor being traced, or they will notice suspicious behaviour from someone, and we truly believe that and I think, you know, we cannot have imagined how successful our campaign to keep the publicity going, regarding her disappearance, has been, but it's because people have seen that and with information technology, the world is so much smaller, we believe that there truly is a feeling here that the people will not allow this to happen and they want Madeleine to be found and everyone is acting, some in big ways; every small piece of action here helps the search."
We begin by discovering Madeleine's fate on departing 5A. She was locked up inside something or somewhere (by the way, how does GM know that a key is required to access his daughter?). A few months later (October) KM tells us it's a house:
Q (Antena 3): "Do you still maintain the hope, that is, genuinely believe that Madeleine is still alive?"
KM: "I do, maybe even more so, I strongly believe that Madeleine is out there, errm... I think she's probably in someone's house. I don't know why, errm... and I... I suppose it's a feeling but I feel, as Madeleine's mummy, I feel in my heart really that she's there and I don't believe Madeleine's been taken from us permanently. I don't believe that; don't feel it."
(n.b. I believe = I am uncertain. I strongly believe = I seriously doubt. I don't believe (x) = I am more certain of (y) than (x)).
Superficially, it seems KM is clinging to the hope that Madeleine is 'on loan' somewhere. The underlying logic of her final remark suggests otherwise, as do her various lapses into the past tense when speaking of Madeleine, e.g. the October observation, "I know Madeleine was very happy with her life", and earlier with Jane Hill.
JH: "And what sort of activities does Madeleine like doing? Does she get in and muck around with all the other children, that sort of thing?"
KM: "She likes running, she played tennis as well, didn't she?"
We should also look very carefully at the statement, "I don't believe Madeleine has been taken away from us permanently."
It sounds as though KM is referring to a visit from Social Services. Whilst it is tempting to speculate about a subliminal anxiety, that would perhaps be straying too far afield. The sentence structure is subtle and complex even so; altogether more elaborate than necessary ('I don't believe Madeleine will be missing forever' would have sufficed).
Once more, bearing in mind a universal propensity to avoid telling lies on camera, it is noticeable how KM steers clear of the ambivalent constructs 'taken'/'taken from us' (references, in common parlance, to someone's passing away) by expedient insertion of the preposition 'away', implying abduction. Her intention is to suggest that Madeleine's absence is a temporary state of affairs, 'permanently' being a part of what KM does not believe. However, the phrase 'from us' presents an obtrusive and, one might contend, altogether superfluous extension to her argument, as the protagonists in this drama have been identified long since.
Leaving aside the expressions of relative certainty and permanence, the residual antithesis of KM's statement is neither 'Madeleine has been taken from us' (is dead), nor 'Madeleine has been taken away' (removed), but a personalization of the latter.
Let us consider theft for a moment. When describing something we've lost to a thief we might say, 'it was stolen'. If more detail were required we might add 'from my car' (house, handbag etc.) none of which necessarily implies that we were present at the time. The statement 'it was stolen from me', on the other hand, immediately makes us a party to the act.
It is something of a puzzle as to how, given our instinctual avoidance of telling lies, GM was able to make his unforgettable homecoming statement on the airport runway without showing any obvious sign of discomfort ('...except to say that we played no part in the disappearance of our lovely daughter Madeleine.'). Although he substituted 'disappearance' for 'abduction', the opening disclaimer, 'we played no part in', remains troublesome. If this was not lying, might that have been because GM privately and deliberately misconstrued 'no part' as 'no active part', thereby dismissing any connection with the contributory negligence of child abandonment? Or was he being absolutely truthful? There may be sufficient evidence to confirm that Madeleine was not the victim of a 'stranger abduction', but how do we know someone else did not make her 'disappear'? We do not. And if the McCanns were not directly responsible for any injury to the child in the first instance, then GM's statement is entirely valid and entirely truthful into the bargain.
What this brings us to, I believe, is the very real possibility that the McCanns had help in squaring the situation, and that KM's statement ("I don't believe Madeleine has been taken away from us permanently.") is alluding, literally, to a handover.
Tacit confirmation of Madeleine's demise comes from both parties at around 25th May, barely three weeks after Madeleine's reported disappearance, when interviewed for ITV.
Q: "What do you think happened to her?"
GM: "All I can say is that, you know, the information is that she's been abducted. We don't know who's done it and it doesn't help... speculation really doesn't help us. We know that she's gone, we do not believe that, err... she's dead. I truly believe that she's alive and we will not give up looking for her."
This brief episode is richly informative. The opening remark is a classic. GM is only prepared to reveal what he can say. There is without doubt something that he cannot. The information (only - not the actuality necessarily) is that she's been abducted. In the next sentence we need to appreciate that the second instance of the pronoun 'it' does not represent the noun 'speculation', which follows an interruption. If it did, GM would simply have continued with 'to speculate'. There is clearly something else to be added to the phrase 'it doesn't help'; something which GM deliberately cuts off. The mere insertion of the word 'anyway', for example, would have put a completely different complexion on things.
There is an interruption in the next sentence also. Whatever it was that GM was prepared to announce as something they did not believe, it was not that Madeleine was dead. There is a conspicuous pause for thought, with the result that 'she's dead' becomes dissociated as a stand-alone remark.
Adopting the argument that belief equals uncertainty, GM first declares the child dead, the phrase 'she's dead' being divorced from the antecedent 'We do not believe that', then reaffirms this statement by saying he 'truly believes (he strongly doubts) she's alive.'
Q: "And you've said that you won't go home either but at some point you may have to go home. Whe... At what point do you decide: 'Our lives must continue, we've got two other children, we have to get on?"
KM: "I mean, at this... at this moment in time I cannot think about going home without Madeleine, errr... and we certainly have no plans at all to go home with Madeleine... without Madeleine."
This last, telling remark, is complete in itself. 'Without Madeleine' is a corrective addendum.
Madeleine's death would of course imply that the 'abduction' is a charade, just as GM tells us when he says, "everyone is acting, some in big ways." Superficially it seems as if GM is expressing gratitude for the magnanimity of the general public, but to suppose that everyone refers to the entire population of planet earth would be presumptuous in the extreme. Everyone ought also to 'take action' if they genuinely mean to help. GM is clearly not referring to the world as a whole, but to a discrete group of actors, some with bigger parts to play than others.
6. How did it happen and who was responsible?
Q (Antena 3): "There is a theory developed in the press that there could have been an accident on account of the children being sedated. You have denied repeatedly ever giving sedatives to your children to make them sleep, being doctors yourselves...?"
KM: "You know, I'm not even going to answer that question I'm afraid."
Is the question beneath her dignity to answer? No. KM refuses to discuss it because there is something she does not wish to reveal (an echo of the 48 perhaps). But GM is more sure of himself.
GM: "I mean, that... it's ludicrous and, you know, these sort of questions, and the publishing of them, are nonsense and we shouldn't be giving them the time of day. There is absolutely no suggestion, errm... that Madeleine (n.b. there is a very deliberate disjuncture/correction to the answer at this point) or the children were drugged and it's outrageous."
The first thing to notice about GM's reply is that it does not properly answer the question put to him. He says nothing about any previous denial of published comments. But there is something else.
At the break in his final sentence, GM does not correct himself so as to conclude with the phrase 'Errr... the children.' Instead he reinforces the distinction between Madeleine and the children in clearly saying 'Or the children'. Despite Madeleine being a child herself, there are two categories defined here, and it is the latter (the children, as distinct from Madeleine) to which GM affixes his vague negation of drugging. This leaves the question of Madeleine's sedation open. Furthermore, GM never refers to the act of sedation, only to the suggestion of it. It is patently not true that there was 'absolutely no suggestion' that drugs were administered. It had already been suggested by a number of people – hence the question. So how can this in itself not be a lie? GM is probably referring to his internal lexicon, wherein 'suggestion' is synonymous with 'evidence.' In the absence of evidence, there can be no suggestion.
Innocence, of a sort, is elsewhere expressed in the course of this same interview when the McCanns answer a question concerning their faith in their friends.
Q: " you have full confidence in them?"
KM: "One hundred percent. One hundred percent."
(voice off camera – 'of everyone?')
KM: "Of our friends, yes."
This tells us that there is at least one person (not a holidaying friend) in whom KM does not have full confidence. Recollecting the discussion of Madeleine having been 'taken away from us permanently', this is a further indication of third party involvement.
GM: "Absolutely... and... but... you know, the same way that we will be eliminated, they will, as well. No doubt in my mind about that we are much more optimistic about what Mr Ribeiro, the national director, and Mr Rebelo are saying that all lines of enquiry are open and we know because of our... we know because we are innocent, we know that she was taken."
What do they know and how do they know it? They know that 'all lines of enquiry are open' (including, of course, abduction) and they know this because of their... police contacts perhaps? They also know, because they are innocent, that Madeleine was taken. Innocence in relation to what misdemeanour exactly is a pre-requisite for knowing that Madeleine was taken or abducted? The question concerned the McCanns' confidence in their friends.
We have already seen from statements presented under section 3 that the McCanns felt guilty for not being present 'at the moment Madeleine was abducted' (which would, in effect, have prevented her 'abduction'), but were not equally guilty, apparently, for what happened. A semblance of equivocation in May, 2007 then, but none whatsoever come October.
Q (Antena 3): "Investigators are expecting publication of the results of DNA tests which it is thought might incriminate you. How do you deal with that?"
KM: "Well, they're not gonna show anything to implicate us, so I'm not... you know, I'm not concerned, If I'm honest."
And if KM were not honest, what then?
Q: "Since that day, in all this time, nearly six months, is there anything you regret, anything you think you didn't do properly?"
GM: "Not from the moment we found her gone."
7. A question of paternity
Having no regrets once she was gone seems an unbelievable thing for a parent to say about a missing child in this situation, but there appears to be a reason for it, which we may move toward via GM's response to the October question regarding DNA evidence.
"We're certainly not scared, you know, if there is anything in the DNA results and we don't know them and we... we cannot know them, and I don't believe anyone in the press knows them either, but there is nothing in those DNA tests, related to Kate and I, that will show anything other than completely innocent."
Besides the break in the statement indicating a suppressed idea, GM's choice of words is intriguing. Turned on its head, the claim is that 'anything incriminating will not be related to Kate and I.' The reports concerned traces of Madeleine's DNA found in both the apartment and the McCanns' hire car. Why should Madeleine not be related to both parents?
It was in this same interview that GM struggled for a recollection of Madeleine on the 3rd May.
GM: "Just think of all the times... the nice times that we've had in our house, and in her playing, in the playroom with her... with her... the twins."
Look at the end of this sentence. Madeleine in the playroom with what? Her toys? Her guinea pig? No. With the twins. Why did GM fight desperately to articulate, or rather not to articulate, the phrase so obviously synonymous with 'the twins', i.e. 'her brother and sister.'? People strongly resist lying under interview, remember. Would this identification have been a lie despite GM's considering how lucky he was "to be the father of three children."?
What a strange thought this is to have arisen spontaneously whilst on a family holiday, emphasising, as it does, the three aspect? The notion of children is not qualified in any way. They are not 'fine', 'beautiful', 'adorable' – 'challenging' even. They are simply 'three.' And, taking up from the lack of any regret from the moment of Madeleine's disappearance, we can additionally observe that they were not three after all, but two plus one.
Jane Hill, for the BBC, again; concerning the twins: "How do you look to the future for their sake?"
GM: "Yeah, I mean, without doubt, they... they help us to continue, you know. This is every parent's worst nightmare and everyone can feel and imagine what we've gone through but, you know, if we'd had discovered all three of the children had gone or if something else had happened, then, you know, we... we'd not have had the same strength and resolution and determination to find Madeleine that Sean and Amelie give us, as well, because we know that they're there, errr... life continues but we need to bring them back... bring Madeleine back as much for them, as for Madeleine, as for us."
This is a particularly revealing statement. First we encounter a definition of the situation as 'every parent's worst nightmare.' Parents are invited to ponder exactly what their worst nightmare might be. A parent myself, I venture to suggest that kidnap might come a close second, but would not top the poll. However, it is the hypothetical scenario following that really raises the red flag: All three children missing – 'we need to bring them back'. But 'them' does not include Madeleine, because the McCanns know that 'they' (Sean and Amelie) are 'there' (not here), and Madeleine is referred to separately. GM does not say, simply, "bring them all back."
And whose interests are served by Madeleine's return? Best served are the twins, least served – the parents, with Madeleine in-between. That's the declared order of priority.
8. Qui bono?
If the parents are least likely to benefit from Madeleine's return, what might they benefit from? GM provides a clue in his own on-line diary (parentheses mine):
"There's still money in it (the fund). I can't give the exact figure but we have spent, and continue to spend a lot of money with the aim of trying to enhance the chances of finding Madeleine."
As we know, it costs a lot to search for Madeleine (13% of the gross at least). Or does it? GM is fond of telling anyone who will listen that "all it takes is that one 'phone call'", in which case the true cost of finding Madeleine is a few euros. But the diary entry raises further suspicions. The objective, as stated, does not conform to any of the principles supposedly governing recourse to the fund. I refer specifically to the aim of 'trying to enhance the chances' (of finding Madeleine).
In the world of advertising this phrase would be recognised for what it is; a collection of 'weasels'. The clearest illustration that comes to mind is that of treasure hunting on a farmer's field. One person with a metal detector stands a chance of finding it. Two people working together stand a better chance – but only if the treasure was buried there in the first place. The McCanns might hire Interpol if they could afford to, but to what purpose exactly?
GM graciously expands on the purpose of the fund for Jane Hill (BBC).
GM: "Well, you know, the fund, errm... was really... really evolved to provide an outlet for people who wanted to contribute financially, and their offers, errr... will help us and are helping us and that has helped us to bring in quite a comprehensive legal team and independent sector, errr... consultants as to what we could and should be doing."
First: The money is to help the parents.
Second: The money has paid for a legal team and consultants (recruited within days of the child's disappearance).
Third: There is absolutely no mention of funding search activities per se.
Abduction is most unlikely. Madeleine appears to have been sedated and to have died prior to May 3rd, 2007, in which case her parents discovered her in the lounge of the apartment and put her in their bedroom, whence she was later removed by, or with assistance from, an as yet unidentified third party, then taken to a safe house. The parents feel guilty for not being present when Madeleine was taken from them. By 25th May, 'everyone is acting.' There are clear indications that Madeleine was not directly related to both parents and that she was the least favourite child, hence a lack of genuine concern or regret over her disappearance. The fund is principally for the parents' benefit.
This synopsis, virtually identical to that of Gonçalo Amaral, is derived from the McCanns' own statements entirely.
Martin Roberts
Video transcripts by Nigel Moore
Update comment:
Martin Roberts
04 June 2009
It has been suggested that GM's comment about the 'key to unlock where Madeleine is being kept' is no more than a confused metaphor. Well it's all of that, and more besides.
GM is, we are supposed to believe, an articulate professional. So why does he stumble over something as straightforward as, 'to unlock the mystery of where Madeleine is being kept?' I would contend that the phrase 'the mystery of' was suppressed because GM knew the answer. For him there was no mystery, and by not alluding to it he avoided lying.
Philomena McCann's interview with the BBC on 04 May 2007, offers up another gem:

"Gerry and Kate knew instantly - which is why Kate responded by being hysterical - that someone had snatched her daughter."

So they both realized simultaneously (Gerry did not have to be told) that her daughter was gone.

"There's nothing to say that she's not out there alive", 27 June 2009
"There's nothing to say she's not out there alive"

Gerry McCann, 'Madeleine Was Here' documentary

By Dr Martin Roberts
27 June 2009
Gerry McCann: "She's out there or she's not, and there's nothing to say that she's not out there alive. So it's simple. She's out there until proven otherwise."
The expectation appears to be that, in order to prove she's not 'out there' one must establish her alternative whereabouts. That this is extremely unlikely is reflected in Gerry McCann's confidence that the current situation is "indefinite".
Unfortunately for Gerry McCann, the situation isn't the straightforward dichotomy he supposes. There is an equally stark alternative reality, summed up as: 'Either an intruder entered 5A on the night of May 3rd, 2007, or Madeleine is dead.'
In embellishing his own 'straw man', Gerry McCann has himself unwittingly introduced a patchwork of possibilities. Two contingent factors are involved: 'whereabouts' and 'state of being'. Organizing these into a simple matrix presents four distinct conditions, one of which must define Madeleine's situation post May 3rd, 2007.


As there's 'nothing to say she's not out there alive' we can place a cross in the bottom left quadrant. (Both the syntax and the speaker's vocal inflection indicate that the phrase being negated in this statement is 'alive', not 'out there', an appropriate paraphrase being 'she's not alive out there'. This is easily confirmed by substituting alternative, less emotive phrases, e.g. 'she's not at home, asleep').
We can confidently place a cross in the upper right quadrant also, as this condition represents Madeleine safely with her parents, which is self-evidently not the case. That leaves two conditions, one of which must apply.
Gerry McCann has been hiding behind the obvious difficulty in 'proving the negative'. But it's really not necessary, because one can test the remaining positive condition independently by other means. Simply disproving it alone exposes the remaining condition to be true - body, or no body.
The original investigation found no evidence of a break-in. Could an abductor have just walked into the apartment? Consider the following statements:
"...that's exactly what I felt like, you know, a few minutes before our world was shattered and probably 3 or 4 minutes before Madeleine was taken."
"Part of the reason we ended up coming through the back was the noise coming through the front door."
Notice that they 'ended up' coming through the back, apparently. They did not decide to do so 'early on.' So when was this decision arrived at? It must have been after 9.05 p.m., because Gerry McCann used his own front door key on that occasion, according to his original statement to police. The intruder then had just 3 - 4 minutes to enter via the patio and leave with Madeleine via the window, opening the shutters in the process, while Gerry McCann and Jeremy Wilkins were standing outside (if the abductor didn't open them to get in, he must have opened them to get out. Not only did Gerry McCann and Jeremy Wilkins not hear this commotion but Matthew Oldfield did not report the shutters/window open following his visit to the apartment at 9.30).
Subsequent sightings of two different men (as described) moving in different directions, and at different times, counteract each other as candidates.
It did not happen. It could not have happened. And if no unauthorised person accessed the apartment, then Madeleine was not abducted from it.
Thus Madeleine McCann is dead, confirmed by the '100 days' statement, in which Gerry McCann refers to 'the belief that Madeleine was alive when she was taken'. What could possibly have happened for the child to have died within 3 minutes of having been witnessed asleep by her father?

Analysis of McCann media interviews II, 06 July 2009
Analysis of McCann media interviews II

Kate McCann on The Oprah Show

By Dr Martin Roberts
03 July 2009
Whether they are being interviewed for American TV or documenting their personal experiences for a domestic audience, contradictions and revelations continue to loiter on the lips of the McCanns. The 'Oprah' dialogue, for example, exposes an alarming self-contradiction by Kate McCann:
KM: "...there's no evidence at all to suggest that Madeleine's come to any harm."
Yet later we hear:
KM: "I mean the last thing I want obviously is to cause any extra further harm to Madeleine..."
Kate clearly knows something about harm done to Madeleine that we do not. Should anyone construe abduction per se to be harmful, they may be comforted to learn that "there's no evidence at all to suggest (it)." But what, then, is the nature of the initial harm for which evidence is lacking? We lack Madeleine after all, but that does not mean she was never there.
A liberal sprinkling of 'justs' in their statements is questionable in itself. 'Just' this, that, or the other, deliberately limits the scope of the observation, whilst 'truly', 'really', 'honestly' are attempts to enforce a sense of veracity.
KM: "It's obviously quite hard thinking about it... sorry. She was just really good company, you know, just, errr... she just, I mean... she just... she's like my little friend, sort of, all the time...
"...the ones that Madeleine has done I just can't pull down to be honest."
GM: "Can I... Can I just say, I think the worst thing about, you know, the fact that many people have blamed us and vilified us, and with hindsight you know it was clearly a mistake, with hindsight, but the worst thing for me about that is there's an abductor out there and that person stole our child and went into an apartment and took a child and he's anonymous and blameless."
Given a world population in excess of six billion, there are no doubt more abductors 'out there' than the one singularly responsible for stealing the McCanns' 'child' (a conspicuously impersonal turn of phrase). This person is also responsible for going into an apartment and taking a child (not our apartment and our child, notice). And for all of these misdemeanours he is blameless. Perhaps he did not do it really, or maybe Madeleine was taken without malice.
Elsewhere, Gerry and Matthew Oldfield each have further 'just so' stories to tell.
GM: "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. It's terrible because, I , errm... had one of those really proud father moments, where I just thought, you know. I just thought, you're absolutely beautiful and I love you and I just paused for a minute and then, I just pulled the door closed again and just to about there and, errrr... I felt incredibly proud standing there and having, you know, three beautiful children."
MO: "Pretty much from the approach down here, you can see straight into the room. So you can see the cots as you are walking in. So it never really felt like there was any real need to, sort of, go all the way into the room. Errm... you could see both cots and see into them from there. I, sort of, ummed and ahhed about the angle and things. All I just know is that I had an unimpeded view and it was just dead quiet, and just... why I didn't take those extra couple of steps in..."
A couple of extra steps in from where, exactly? This contribution of Matthew Oldfield's, to the reconstruction that wasn't, is made from half-way across the living room of 5A, from which point he did not have an unimpeded view of very much; only the cots occupied by the twins, which were visible, apparently, through the crack in the door at some distance. According to his earlier police statement, he did not see Madeleine, whose bed was positioned behind the partition wall. It is certainly not out of place to conjecture that, in terms of unimpeded views, Matthew Oldfield’s visual surveillance that Thursday night would have been scarcely less effective from outside the patio doors.
Gerry McCann takes up the story:
GM: "Part of the reason we ended up coming through the back was the noise coming through the front door. We didn't want to disturb them (sighs)... stupid, now, isn't it?"
What was the other part of the reason they 'ended up' coming through the back? It must have taken until 9.06 p.m. at the earliest for Gerry to arrive at this decision, since he used his own front door key to enter the apartment at 9.05. With the window long since relegated from 'point of entry' to 'point of exit', one is left to ponder how an intruder might have entered via the patio door before Gerry had even unlocked it, or why, on the other hand, Gerry should walk a long way round and knowingly make a noise coming through the front door, if the back door was already open.
We interrupt this sentence to bring you...
Aborted statements are intriguing as they invariably reveal the subsequent constructs to have been other than at the forefront of the speaker's thoughts.
GM (to Oprah): "...Jane went to check on her children and it was at that point she was just past me going up to the corner and she saw a man carrying a young girl with almo... she described independently the pyjamas that Madeleine had on and she didn't see the child's face. She didn't, you know, she saw me there, she'd seen that I'd just been in the apartment and so she... at the time she thought it was something odd, but it didn't raise enough alarm bells to challenge the person or anything."
Mention of a young girl with 'almost the same pyjamas' would have been rather less convincing than describing one with the very same pyjamas. If it were not the same child however, they are most unlikely to have been the same pyjamas. The replacement clause avoids any untruth, substituting instead a comment lacking temporal specificity, and therefore significance, i.e. 'She described independently the pyjamas that Madeleine had on.' The description coming well after the putative event, its author could simply have been provided with the details in the meantime. She 'didn't see the child's face', so the child was not identified as Madeleine. 'She'd seen that I'd just been in the apartment' is an unwarranted assumption, unless she (Jane Tanner) actually saw Gerry McCann leave the apartment, which she never claimed to have done; so too is the clause we are denied by Gerry's change of syntactic direction.
During a 'piece to camera' on home soil, Gerry McCann offers up another tell-tale moment of interrupted thought.
GM: "There'll always be a hope, you know, we're living with a carrot, that potentially she could come back and, I think, that makes it more painful, that you don't know and that she's... she's... she's out there and separated from you. It's less raw, errm... less painful on a day to day basis, errm... but it's still pretty painful, (sighs) errm... it's different."
Gerry claims to be living with a vegetable, when in fact he's living with a 'weasel'. 'Potentially she could come back' (of her own accord, maybe). 'Potentially', anything is possible, and Gerry seems unclear as to Madeleine's circumstances. 'She's... she's... she's out there...' Why the false starts? What is it that GM wishes to say but cannot bring himself to articulate? He even distances himself from the situation through the expedient substitution of subject pronouns (you for we).
Kate too offers up a moment of potential significance:
KM: "I mean, how many people carry their children on a cold night, not covered, you know. Nothing on their arms or their feet, no blanket? (probably the same number as leave their infants to fend for themselves while they go out for dinner).
"Now, either there's been two people carrying children that way, who haven't come forward to eliminate themselves, or potentially they're related."
Note that Kate refers here to the suspects themselves, not the sightings, describing them not as 'one and the same person', but 'potentially related'. To whom? Each other, or the child they were supposedly abducting?
Family ties
Madeleine seems a precociously independent child, with a considerable propensity for 'coming back' unassisted, as evidenced by her very first entry into the McCann household.
KM: (discussing family photos) "...well this one I think is really sweet and it's Madeleine just when she arrived home from hospital, erm, to our house."
Kate speaks of her daughter much as one might a dial-up pizza! Mother and new baby typically arrive home together. In Madeleine's case she just turns up at Rothley from the hospital, to the parents' house.
Further relationship questions are prompted by Kate's description to Oprah of the 'last few hours'.
KM: "In the last, kind of, few hours that I spent with Madeleine were lovely. Errm... she was really tired... very, very tired, errm... after she'd had tea, dinner, errm... we went back to the apartment, errm... bathed all the kids, and then we... we sat on the couch and we read some stories and had a few little treats and we were all cuddled in and it was nice. It was, errm... it was warm and loving and... and I can remember it quite vividly. Mmm... Yeah, I can visualize it as I'm speaking."
There are several incongruous aspects to this statement, the first being that the opening word 'in' doesn't belong. Grammatically unnecessary, its inclusion lends a morbid tone to the opening phrase, echoed shortly afterward by the emphasis on tiredness; a notion which has no causal connection whatsoever with subsequent observations.
Then one encounters the distributed pronoun 'we', without ever being told its referent. Unless these last few hours occurred at some time other than Thursday evening, as is generally supposed, the initial 'we' could not have included Gerry, who had remained on the tennis court and asked David Payne to look in on Kate for him. Nor could it have included Madeleine (if these are the same people who go on to 'bathe all the kids', of whom Madeleine was one). In fact it is not clear that 'we' (that is including KM herself) bathed the kids at all, as the pronoun is dropped following an interruption to the statement. Someone clearly did so according to this account, but who exactly? There is a hint of inappropriate language here also. In lieu of 'tired out' we have 'really tired... very, very tired', and instead of 'cosy' we're told the situation was 'warm and loving'. And this is followed on video by a self-satisfied smirk.
Madeleine's journey home is likely to take longer than her parents' return from the Algarve. Like Odysseus she will hardly be recognisable:
GM: "I glanced (at the photographic age-progression image). It's a different child and that is really important. It's not the four-year-old, or nearly four-year-old little girl, and it's hard, because, in our memory, we remember her the last day she was in Portugal and what she looked like"
GM: "It's really important we get this image out, as far and as wide as possible. Because ultimately, we don't know where Madeleine is, and if she was moved out of Portugal quickly, she could be anywhere."
How odd that Gerry should be pleased with an age-progressed image of a different child, and that the parents do not simply remember Madeleine, but remember her 'in their memory' - less a spontaneous act of recall, more a reference to a stored proposition. And how does Gerry know it was Madeleine's last day in Portugal? After two years she could indeed be anywhere, even if she'd travelled by donkey. Given the elapsed time, speed of removal is neither a necessary condition, nor one which supports the argument, hence we may reasonably infer that Madeleine was removed from Portugal, and quickly, this last being extra information. And this begs the question as to why private detectives working for the McCanns should now believe the answer lies in Praia da Luz. However, if the 'answer' is dissociated from Madeleine herself, they may yet be right.
Risk of side effects
During early encounters with the Spanish media, the McCanns steadfastly refused to be drawn on the question of sedatives. Two years later and they persist in replying to such questions without actually answering them.
Oprah W: "And then, there were the... the hurtful rumours that you drugged Madeleine or that you gave her sedatives; that you accidentally caused her... her death..."
KM: (After a long pause) "I mean we know it's all lies." (what is?)
GM: "It's just nonsense you know, there's no... that people can have theories and that's all it is, there's no evidence to suggest any of that and it's absolute ludicrous, you know, and it's..."
Again we have a litany of pronouns with the potential to reference virtually anything other than the subject in question. There is an aborted phrase early on. Might it have been 'no suggestion' (untrue), 'no evidence' (self-incriminating) or 'no chance' (improbable)? Gerry plays safe by veering off topic. Reinstatement of his favourite disclaimer, 'no evidence', occurs in logical relation to people's theories, not the McCanns' capacity to administer drugs.
Revisiting the scene of the crime, Gerry offers further food for thought.
GM: "That's the... I think, the worst thing of the lot, that, momentary pause I had at that door, that's actually what it felt like. You know, a few minutes before our world was essentially shattered and probably, three or four minutes before Madeleine was taken and we obviously... absolutely, errr... what's the word? 'Persecuted' ourselves for not being here and, errm... there is no doubt, that not being here at that moment, errm... increased the risk of it."
So, their world was essentially shattered, not by Madeleine's being taken, but as well as. And Gerry was there a few minutes beforehand in both instances. The two occurrences are clearly dissociated, as the time before Madeleine's being taken is not identified with the few minutes leading up to the previous event.
GM: "...there is no doubt, that not being here at that moment, erm increased the risk of it."
What risk? Gerry is on record, repeatedly, as saying that if they'd thought for one moment there was any danger in leaving their children unattended, they would not have done it. They considered the situation safe. All of a sudden their momentary absence enhances a known risk.
GM: "She's either out there or she's not and there's nothing to say she's not out there alive. So it's simple. She's out there until proven otherwise."
Well, it's not quite that simple. The revealing paradigm which Gerry unwittingly introduces is discussed elsewhere (see Essentially, disproving entry into apartment 5A by any unauthorised third party leads to the inescapable conclusion that Madeleine is dead.
KM: "...often, you know, police do say the name's in the files. It was always there, but you just need other bits of information, really, to come in; to basically highlight the name. At the moment there isn't a big arrow and an asterix (sic) by the name."
But it is there nevertheless, isn't it? So whose name might it be?
GM: "Someone knows the information and someone knows who took Madeleine and someone knows where she is."
Is Gerry referring here to three separate individuals, or one and the same person? Compare this statement with something he said during an interview for ITV on 25 May, 2007:
GM: "All I can say is that, you know, the information is that she's been abducted."
From the outset then, Gerry McCann 'knew the information'. One could be forgiven therefore for contemplating a connection between Gerry McCann and the 'trinity' to which he himself has alluded.
Interviewed for SKY Television 100 days after Madeleine's disappearance, Gerry made the following extraordinary statement:
GM: "Everything we have done during the last hundred days has focussed on the belief that Madeleine was alive when she was abducted."
The implication is quite clearly one of uncertainty; an uncertainty which dictates that Madeleine was not alive when removed from the apartment, since she would not have been abducted unless she were alive. We all experience speech errors from time to time and this may indeed be one, in which case we should hardly expect Gerry to repeat it. Yet, when interviewed for the BBC's Panorama programme, The Mystery of Madeleine McCann (broadcast on 19 November, 2007), he did exactly that, and more:
GM: "Kate and I strongly believe that Madeleine was alive when she was taken from the apartment. Obviously we don't know what happened to her afterwards..."
Not only is the uncertainty shared, but it is exacerbated (they strongly believe). Furthermore, this uncertainty pertains unequivocally to Madeleine's well-being inside apartment 5A. Their knowledge is restricted to circumstances within the apartment because they 'don't know what happened to her afterwards'. So, why might Madeleine have been dead while still inside? This is a question only the McCanns can answer, and no amount of looking for clues 'outside the window' can help them do so.
Martin Roberts
3 July, 2009
Transcripts by 'Stevo' ('The Oprah Show') and 'Mitts' ('Madeleine Was Here').

Blinking Liars, 18 July 2009
Blinking Liars

Kate and Gerry McCann, 09 August 2007

By Dr Martin Roberts
18 July 2009
Blinking is a subconscious activity, necessary for the on-going maintenance of the eye. Under normal circumstances a person can expect to blink between 15 and 20 times per minute, or about 15,000 times per day; rather less if engaged in activities requiring concentrated visual attention, rather more if experiencing negative arousal, such as may be occasioned by nervousness or stress.
Since deceptive behaviour is allied to negative arousal, one might reasonably suppose a relationship to exist between a person's degree of veracity and their blink rate, attempts at deception being accompanied by higher blink rates than truthfulness. Such a pattern has been formally demonstrated, in several separate studies, inviting the conclusion that the influence on blink rate of the stresses associated with deception, is a reliable effect and not a coincidental phenomenon. Put simply, a liar will blink more frequently than if they were telling the truth.
At the commencement of the McCanns' interview with Amanda Walker of Sky News (9 August, 2007), we are not given an adequate view of either Kate or Gerry's face, but from 15 seconds in, until the end of the first full minute (i.e., 45 seconds in total), we see Gerry blink no fewer than 40 times whilst engaged in answering the first of several questions. That's more than double the normal blink rate. Kate blinks 25 times in the same period.
If what the McCanns do with their eyes should tempt one to call their words into question, so too do the words themselves.
An interview such as this is no platform for displaying a politically correct 'erudite yet evasive' demeanour, but that is what is attempted here. Little if anything the McCanns say is straightforwardly said, in consequence of which we encounter moments of linguistic confusion betraying a chaos beneath. For example, in attempting to justify leaving his children unattended, Gerry cites the following hypothetical circumstance:
GM: "Whether it be you're downstairs or the child's upstairs..."
These are not 'either/or' situations, but one and the same state for goodness' sake.
Elsewhere Gerry enthusiastically embraces the use of technology to advance the search for Madeleine:
GM: "We've used the Internet to try and raise Madeleine's awareness."
Raise her awareness of what? What's going on in her absence presumably. Instead of claiming the attention of other people, we have Madeleine described as a latter day Lazarus. And the confusion does not end there. He goes on to target other missing children inappropriately later.
GM: "...give renewed interest to other missing kids"
That's it then. Give them something to occupy their minds while they wait to be discovered. Similarly inconsistent logic on Gerry's part is revealed when he refers to 'our own kids', without having previously mentioned other children; a disjuncture which places a curious emphasis on the phrase in question.
This interview is by no means the McCanns' first exposure to the media, although it did come at a time when they were subject to increasing scrutiny. If it wasn't the novelty of the situation giving rise to internal conflict however, what was it? Probably the same dilemma that prompted immediate substitution of the word 'misery' for 'grief' shortly after the repetition of a rather dubious statement:
GM: "Madeleine is missing and we're just doing our absolute best to maximise the chances of her being found."
This reprises a closing remark made in answer to an earlier question, viz:
GM: "...everything we have done is to increase the chances of her being returned."
Not to be outdone, Kate too sheds a revealing light on the McCanns' collective thoughts:
KM: "We still strongly want to do what we believe's the right thing to do; what's the right thing for Madeleine; what's the right thing for us..."
What do we have here? The answer is best couched in terms of what we do not. 'We're doing the best we can to find her' is spurned in favour of a 'weasel' and a migration into passive language (a deceptive device which dissociates the speaker from the action in question). Essentially, we are not trying to find her, just improving the chances that someone else might. The same claim could be made by someone handing out torches to the search party. The natural hope that a missing child might be discovered alive is nowhere expressed.
Added to this we have Kate's 'strongly' wanting 'the right thing for Madeleine', then 'the right thing for us...' That she doesn't merely want to do the right thing seems hardly comforting. Equally unconvincing is that the right thing for Madeleine is not unambiguously identified with the right thing for her parents. Still, we do have Kate's moment of unalloyed contrition:
KM: "We're just sorry we weren't there at that minute."
Now which minute was that? The one during which the abductor entered 5A, the one during which he picked Madeleine up from her bed, having already waited inside while Gerry came and went (Gerry was there for that minute, at least), or the one he took to open the shutters and carry Madeleine out through the bedroom window?
We know how sensitive Gerry McCann can be to questions which allude in any way to 'the investigation'. Here too he cites the investigation as his reason for avoiding the subject of customarily leaving the children unattended in the evenings, but when asked for his feelings about the more recent upsurge of negative opinions expressed in his own local newspaper, he is more forthcoming:
"I haven't read the comments."
"I have no idea who's written them."
"I don't know who the people are or what they have written."
In other words, he doesn't give a tinker's cuss.
And when, in conclusion, Kate is invited to say something to Madeleine, for the child's benefit, she cannot bring herself to talk to her daughter, only about her little girl, who seemingly disappeared in the blink of an eye.

Amanda Walker, Sky News, interview video/transcript can be viewed here

In The Mind's Eye, 19 July 2009
In The Mind's Eye

Gerry McCanns' first media statement, 04 May 2007

By Dr Martin Roberts
19 July 2009
The following extract is taken from an obituary article on Professor Martin T. Orne (Feb. 18, 2000) by Los Angeles Times Staff Writer Elaine Woo:
"Orne's expertise in hypnosis played a pivotal role in the 1981 trial of Kenneth Bianchi, the former security guard who confessed to killing five women in the Hillside Strangler case of the late 1970s.
"Attorneys for Bianchi argued that he suffered from multiple personalities that emerged during hypnosis by several trained experts.
"Two of the experts told the court that Bianchi was faking. One of them was Orne, then director of Pennsylvania Hospital's Institute for Experimental Psychiatry.
"Orne had tricked Bianchi using a so-called double hallucination test when Bianchi appeared to be under hypnosis. It involved introducing Bianchi to his attorney, who was not actually present. Nevertheless, Bianchi shook hands with the imaginary attorney and engaged him in conversation.
"Then Orne had the actual lawyer enter the room, which flustered the admitted serial killer and caused him to explain that the imagined attorney had disappeared. His anxiety and statement that one of the "two" lawyer figures had inexplicably vanished convinced Orne that he was not telling the truth.
"The Los Angeles County Superior Court judge assigned to the case, now state Supreme Court Justice Ronald M. George, subsequently ruled that Bianchi had faked hypnosis and feigned his multiple personalities. He said he based his ruling in part on Orne's testimony, citing his credentials as the most impressive of the six specialists who examined the murderer."
This case is particularly fascinating for another of Orne's insightful 'tests', which the LA Times author does not describe, and which serves as an intriguing pointer to certain behaviour exhibited by Gerry McCann.
Orne had his doubts about Bianchi from the outset. Realising the difficulty in exposing his psychosis as fraudulent, he proposed an experiment to the Prison authorities, which he later went on to conduct during interview.
As Elaine Woo's article explains, Bianchi sought to evade the ultimate penalty on account of his 'personality' disorder, claiming it was an unruly alter ego which had carried out the murders of which he stood accused. Orne’s wonderfully inventive approach was to exploit something he knew to be true from his many years studying behaviour under hypnosis; something he knew that Bianchi did not - information fed to the conscious mind does not find its way through to the sub-conscious as represented under hypnosis.
Whilst discussing Bianchi's condition openly with him, Orne let slip that, in his experience, multiple-personality disorder was precisely that, i.e., the sufferer was likely to be playing host to several competing selves. So far only one had revealed itself. Bianchi fell for it, and the next time they met displayed, while seemingly under hypnosis, the emergence of an additional persona.
And so to the matter of Madeleine McCann.
The ITV programme Tears, Lies and Videotape, first broadcast, on 18 May this year, reminded us very clearly of the Shannon Matthews case:
(Voiceover) "24 hours after she made the 999 call, the distraught mother, Karen Matthews, comes out of the house to make an appeal before the TV cameras."
KM: "Shannon, if you're out there, please darling, come home. We love you so much. Me and your Dad. Your brothers. Your sisters. Everybody loves you. Your Dad's missing you so much, Shannon. He's even out looking for you. Please come home, Shannon. If you're out there, come home. If anybody's got my daughter, my beautiful princess daughter, please bring her home safe. I need her home."
Compare this statement with one made in Praia da Luz, 24 hours after the apparent disappearance of Madeleine McCann, as featured in a Sky News report of 5 May, 2007:
(Ian Woods - Voiceover) "Last night the family emerged to make a brief appeal for help from the public:"
GM: "Words cannot describe the anguish and despair that we are feeling as the parents of our beautiful daughter Madeleine. We req... request that anyone who may have any information related to Madeleine's disappearance, no matter how trivial, contact the Portuguese Police and help us get her back safely. Please, if you have Madeleine, let her come home to her mummy, daddy, brother and sister."
In closing, reporter Ian Woods informs the viewer "At the moment this is still a missing person enquiry rather than an abduction."
The two situations are directly comparable. The first announcement, an unscripted statement, opens with the mother, Karen Matthews, addressing her daughter emotionally and directly. She continues to do so until closing with an appeal to any possible captor.
For the McCanns, in contrast, it is the father who speaks. Reading from a prepared statement, he first of all refers to the parents' suffering. He then proceeds to appeal for information which might lead to Madeleine's return. Finally he speaks directly to Madeleine's potential captor. Madeleine is not addressed directly at all.
There is a further subtle, yet telling difference between these 'appeals'. Karen Matthews asks of any abductor that they 'please bring her (Shannon) home safe.' Gerry McCann on the other hand asks for help to 'get her (Madeleine) back safely.' The first is an adjectival reference to the person, the second an adverbial qualification of an action. Someone receiving their late lamented pet intact from the taxidermist would consider the delivery to have been accomplished safely, for example.
Hindsight is, as they say, 20/20, and we all now know the truth behind the disappearance of Shannon Matthews. But if we wind the clock back and treat these opening salvos equally, what do they tell us?
A priori the circumstances are the same: distraught parents appealing, within 24 hours, for the safe return of a missing child. On the face of it, neither knows the status or whereabouts of the missing person. Karen Matthews speaks directly to her daughter. Gerry McCann speaks about his.
This discrepancy has nothing to do with individual optimism. Interviewed for SKY Television a little later in the year, Gerry goes on to say, "Everything we have done during the last one hundred days has focussed on the belief that Madeleine was alive when she was abducted." The ramifications of this particular remark have been discussed elsewhere ( Suffice to say here that, according to Gerry McCann's own beliefs, there was no apparent reason for the McCanns to be pessimistic as to the outcome of initial searches for their daughter.
What do we deduce from these comparisons therefore?
Simply by re-inserting into the equation the wisdom of hindsight, we can say with confidence that Karen Matthews was emotionally able to speak to her daughter, because she knew full well that Shannon was alive. The concomitant explanation of Gerry McCann's completely and utterly impersonal approach to the very same situation, is that he already knew Madeleine was dead.
The irony in all of this is that neither Karen Matthews nor Gerry McCann could be said to have made an overtly deceptive statement at the time. Each was an accurate, albeit less than honest reflection of the relevant circumstances. Crucially, in the case of Madeleine McCann, it is this very matter of circumstance which continues to resist resolution.

Who were you with last night?, 31 July 2009
Who were you with last night?

Kate's appeal, 07 May 2009

By Dr Martin Roberts
31 July 2009
"...out in the pale moonlight."
"It wasn't your sister, it wasn't your pa..."
So goes the old music-hall song. In the context of the McCann case come 7th May, 2007, we may add, without fear of contradiction, "it wasn't your ma either." If it were, then Kate McCann should not have found herself in such an 'appealing' position on that date. Between them however, the McCanns succeed in turning 'appeal' into 'reveal.'
In a previous analysis for McCannfiles, I touched on the possibility of third-party involvement in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. The pointers, though obscure, are there, and this brief episode as good as confirms it.
Kate no sooner gets her piece to camera underway than Gerry casts a critical glance in her direction. This confirms two things: an error of verbal judgement on Kate's part, and awareness of it by Gerry. What did she say that was so wrong?
"We would like to say a few words to the person who is with our Madeleine, or has been with Madeleine."
Half a century or so ago the phrase 'been with' would have had a sexual connotation. Given speculation on the part of some observers as to the predilections and peccadilloes attributable to this holidaying fraternity, a similar interpretation might seem a propos in this instance, but the basis of the remark is, I believe, more Machiavellian than sadistic.
We all know the mantra by now: "There is an abductor out there..." But Kate is not addressing herself to an abductor. An abductor, like a thief, is someone who actively takes things, i.e. people. Instead Kate is deliberately intent on saying a few words to someone who is, and has been, passively accompanying their daughter.
This is no David Copperfield look-alike, who opens locked doors in no time at all, has the patsy immediately under his spell, and whisks them away in a puff of smoke through an improbably small orifice, unnoticed by all and sundry (except the one member of the audience who wasn't paying proper attention to the trick in the first place). This is not a 'take charge kind of guy', but a passive agent, who didn't need to take the initiative because it was taken for him.
Not exactly the public message the McCanns intended. And Gerry is clearly not happy about it.
As most students of this sordid affair will appreciate, there are very many facets to it with which legal practitioners would have a field day, given the opportunity. But whilst the McCanns' private detectives are spuriously looking for an abductor, perhaps other investigators should be looking for this passive agent to break the case.
The conclusion that Madeleine is dead follows inescapably from evidential dismissal of any illicit entry into apartment 5A (see previous McCannfiles article - 'She's out there or she's not', for discussion). Although it is not a crime, necessarily, to keep company with a corpse (it happens daily, in funeral parlours worldwide), body-snatching is another matter, as I rather suspect it is still on the statute book. One thing is certain, since the McCanns ceaselessly remind everyone of the fact, this person is still 'out there.'
Kate McCann has elsewhere informed us that she has 100% confidence in her friends, but in such a way as to signal that there is someone, other than a friend, in whom she places rather less trust. Since this person is not a member of the McCann coterie, then he must be in somebody else's pocket, metaphorically speaking.
We are informed through the Archiving Dispatch in this case that "...apart from the English friends that were with them on holiday there, they had no known friends or contacts in Portugal."
Yet when asked by reporter Sandra Felguerias whether he knew Robert Murat, Gerry McCann replied without hesitation: "I'm not going to comment on that."
He does not say 'no', neither does he wish to say 'yes', the absence of a firm denial making the positive answer much more likely to be the correct one. As the following quote illustrates, the press, at least, appear to have put the converse question to Robert Murat, i.e., was Gerry McCann previously known to him?
"I've never met the man before and the idea that I'd met him when he was campaigning for the Labour Party is laughable. I've been a Conservative all my life."
(Robert Murat on Gerry McCann, Daily Express, 14 September 2007).
If it should transpire that Murat was, in some sense, previously known to Gerry McCann, even though they might not actually have met, who else might the McCanns have known? In answer to a question put to him shortly before the second anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance, Gerry says (of Praia da Luz):
"We've wanted to go back for a long time. I think that's the first thing to say. We've got, errr... a lot of friends in Praia da Luz. We've had tremendous support, particularly from the community and the... and the Catholic church and a lot of ex... also, ex-pats who we got to know reasonably well while we were there..."
No known friends in Portugal then?
The final aborted phrase here, submerged beneath deliberate relegation of 'ex-pats' to the status of recent acquaintances, indicates that there were probably brits in PDL whom Gerry McCann had come to know before his family's most recent visit. The fact that the McCann social circle was closed to the PJ tells us nothing of its circumference.
The McCanns themselves are doubtless in possession of the key to Pandora's (or should that be Madeleine's) box. There are clear indications, however, that a duplicate exists.

The McCanns' 2-year anniversary statement, 05 August 2009
The McCanns' 2-year anniversary statement

The McCanns, 18 May 2009

By Dr Martin Roberts
05 August 2009
"As the second anniversary of Madeleine's abduction approaches, there is much still to be done. We continue to remain focussed on our aim - to find Madeleine and bring her back home safely. As Madeleine's parents we cannot and will not ever stop doing all we can to find her."
Notice the unnecessary extension in the last sentence of this opening paragraph. 'Cannot and will not' would have said it all. Nor does the embellishment make the sense intended by the author. Instead of the word 'never', which could convey the colloquial significance of emphasis (e.g., 'we can never stop looking...'), 'not ever' has rather more the sense of an open-ended, i.e. ceaseless commitment.
"The search for Madeleine continues with the same strength and determination, and thankfully, there are many people who are continuing to help in a variety of ways. The reduction in media reporting does not signify a lack of effort – far from it! If anything, the search for Madeleine goes on with renewed vigour and great experience. We have quietly and persistently been working very hard - exploring all possible avenues in order to get that key piece of information. Someone somewhere knows where Madeleine is."
There is here an oblique reference perhaps to the likelihood that the McCanns' apartment was securely locked on the night of May 3, 2007. Gerry McCann has, over time, made a number of references to 'that key piece of information.' He used his key to enter at 9.05 p.m., despite claiming subsequently that the patio doors were unlocked to an abductor, who is supposed to have entered the apartment before he did – one is reminded of the Hitchcock film 'Dial M for Murder' in this context.
"It is impossible for us to ignore the day to day heartache of missing Madeleine but there is however, a very important and positive fact that remains….. In spite of all the investigative work done, there is still absolutely nothing to suggest harm to Madeleine and therefore, a very real likelihood that Madeleine is alive and well. You only have to recall the cases of Elizabeth Smart, Shawn Hornbeck and Natascha Kampusch to appreciate that children can seem to disappear 'off the radar' for very long periods of time. The return of these children to their families not only gives us great hope but also starkly emphasises that perseverance is essential, and surely what every such child deserves."
First, there is denial of the only inference that can sensibly be drawn from the behaviour of the cadaver dog. No one died in apartment 5a before or after the McCanns occupied it. A member of the McCann family is inexplicably missing, presumed dead unless one can reasonably ascribe their absence to abduction. We know, of course, that this is far from a reasonable explanation. Second, the wording of the sentence, "In spite of the investigative work..." again fails grammatically to reflect precisely the meaning its author wishes to convey. The intention is to imply that there is 'still a very real likelihood that Madeleine is alive and well', but omission of the word 'still' from this closing phrase renders its relationship to the foregoing somewhat equivocal. Assumed repetition of the phrase 'absolutely nothing to suggest' would be equally valid, the interim comma notwithstanding.
Many of us would, I think, rather recall to mind the cases of JonBenet Ramsey, Caylee Anthony and Joana Cipriano, but of more immediate importance here is the remark 'children can seem to disappear off the radar'. Even allowing the contemporary metaphor, unless one is a practising illusionist, things either disappear or they do not. 'Perseverance' is 'what every such child deserves'. This begs the question as to whether Madeleine is indeed such a child or belongs, actually, to some other category.
"It is vital that we never, ever give up on Madeleine."
Note the re-appearance of 'ever'.
"Can you imagine a little girl or boy out there, hoping and waiting to be found but for people then to 'write them off', forget about them, just because there's been no 'news'? For that child never to be reunited with their family because everyone had given up on them? Just imagine……………"

This seems an altogether sinister paragraph. The scenario of a missing child is doubly emphasized as an imaginary one, where the subject is 'written off' for want of news. Anything 'written off' is, of course, comprehensively terminated.

"And so, we will never, ever give up."
Repetition again of the open-ended 'ever'.

"We urge you to remember Madeleine as a real, living and findable little girl."

'Remember Madeleine...' Remembrance is something we accord the dead, not the living!

"Our most sincere thanks go to everyone who is helping us in our efforts. You know why we must keep going."

'Helping us in our efforts' – to do what exactly? 'You know why we must keep going.' Yes, I think we do. And unless they change the direction of their efforts there may be no end in sight.

"Please don't give up on Madeleine."

On that front at least there is little cause for concern.

A Whiff Of Scandal, 13 August 2009
A Whiff Of Scandal

Eddie and Keela

By Dr Martin Roberts
13 August 2009
A week is a long time in Politics and, in our fast-moving information age, in the case of missing Madeleine McCann. Matters discussed, statements made, arguments hither and yon, are all too easily obscured in the mists of time. A modicum of clarification from time to time can be beneficial therefore.
One issue in particular remains controversial, largely due to a lack of clarity on the part of certain commentators. And all the while confusion reigns there are others only too pleased to hide behind the resultant smoke-screen. The time is perhaps ripe then to re-visit the topic of canine involvement. I say re-visit, since it was a factor previously addressed in an earlier article of mine ('Goldilocks', originally published in Ripperana, No. 66, October 2008).
One can deduce, from what the McCanns and others have said, that Madeleine was not constrained to sleeping in her own bed. On the basis of Locard's Principle (Every contact leaves a trace - the fundamental premise of forensics, and one to which Madeleine McCann was no exception), we may reason that residual evidence of Madeleine's existence will have been deposited on items with which she had come into contact, i.e. clothing, bedding, even her favourite soft toy; a deduction consistent with Kate's sniffing of 'cuddle cat' at press conferences throughout Europe.
If we are expected to believe that it was the scent of Maddie Kate craved (at least until she decided to wash the toy), then Maddie scent, if you will, is a sufficient common denominator of contact with the child, and thus ties 'cuddle cat' together with the parents' bedroom in apartment 5a, the verandah, various items of Kate's clothing and, crucially, the Renault Scenic hire car. All of these items were 'marked' by the same dog.
Two factors jointly make this connection of loci an ominous one: The fact that the dog was not offered something of Madeleine's to sniff beforehand, and the nature of the scent it was trained to detect, before ever it arrived in Portugal.
Immediately, in the eyes of some, one runs up against the question of reliability.
I, for one, do not profess expertise in the training or handling of dogs, any more than others who are quick to contradict what they appear to tell us. I do however have extensive experience of homo sapiens, and it is among this species that one should look for evidence of error.
First things first. The dog(s) under consideration are 'first division' animals from the outset. Any candidate trainees that show signs of being fickle, lazy, or otherwise unsuited to the task are simply screened out. Not every dog will have the X factor. That said, one must now address the altogether inconsistent attitude, not of the dogs, but their self-appointed adjudicators.
It is revealing how society applauds the deployment of specialist sniffer dogs when seeking to rescue those buried under avalanches of snow (or concrete, in the wake of an earthquake) as well as others differently attuned to the detection of plastic explosives, drugs, etc. These are all patently 'positive' applications that work in the defence of those under threat, i,e, the general public. Ipso facto the dog's capability is accepted as superior to that of the human. However, as soon as a dog is employed in a mode which might be said to be incriminatory, anthropomorphism kicks in, and immediately the genuine experts in the field are faced with having to defend themselves and their canine charges against accusations, veiled or otherwise, of unreliability, errors and incompetence.
Judges are on record as stating unequivocally that they would not accept a dog's evidence in preference to that of a human. Others have suggested verification by electro-mechanical or other means. The most blatant, ill-informed 'knee-jerk' reaction however, comes from those who simply 'cry foul', suggesting that the dog must have been mistaken. It is almost bewildering quite how many logical knots people are prepared to tie themselves into in order to defend a cherished position, and at the same time almost arrogantly seek to erase any concession of animal superiority.
We should be perfectly clear as to the requirement for consistency in this regard. One cannot acknowledge superiority, even animal superiority, on the one hand, then look immediately to qualify it at the first sign of inconvenience.
In terms of specialist dogs detecting specific scents, there can be no argument. The scent is either present or it is not. The dog will neither equivocate nor mislead, as conclusively demonstrated by experiments conducted by Police in Rotterdam (to which we shall return later). In the case of an EVRD dog such as the Spaniel 'Eddie', trained to pinpoint sources (not origins necessarily) of human cadaverine, a reaction signals a presence in the immediate vicinity, historically or currently, of human remains. The dog cannot be expected to identify the corpse in question.
The following statements form the body of a personal communication from the BBC, and reveal exactly the class of misconception to which people are prepared to appeal in order to justify manning the barricades.
"The programme [Donal MacIntyre on BBC Radio 5 Live]... was also an examination of the reliability of sniffer dogs generally. The programme also spoke with a handler who admitted that his dogs did get things wrong on occasion.
"It was specifically pointed out that Eddie is trained to find remains, and Keela to find blood; there were references to other types of sniffer dogs because ultimately, no matter what a dog is trained to detect, there is reliance on the training they have received - it’s a variable.
"It's thought that the piece of 'bone' found by Eddie on Jersey is not actually a bone, which would indicate that there is some room for debate about his reliability. It was however pointed out that Martin Grime believes that even if the 'bone' isn't real, Eddie could have detected the scent of remains in the area.
"Senior management at BBC News have been made aware of his concerns..."
Should it surprise us that Martin Grime himself has expressed concerns at this wayward interpretation? I think not.
The first paragraph announces that the concern was with sniffer dogs 'generally' and that one handler has admitted that his dogs get things wrong on occasion. The writer then goes on to say: " matter what a dog is trained to detect, there is reliance on the training they have received - it's a variable." Indeed it is, which is why, if scrutinising the performance of a particular animal, it simply does not do to compare it with another from a different school. Beware again the arrogance of species. If errors are made, they are far more likely to be errors of interpretation (human) than errors of detection (canine).
Nor is it true that Eddie is trained to 'find remains' and Keela to 'find blood'. Each is trained to react to a particular scent. Nothing more, nothing less. They have no knowledge of the implicit target of their endeavours. That Martin Grime may be heard to direct his dogs with 'find, find' from time to time does not contradict this fact. Neither Eddie nor Keela speaks English, as far as I am aware.
"It's thought that the piece of 'bone' found by Eddie on Jersey is not actually a bone, which would indicate that there is some room for debate about his reliability."
Well, of course it indicates no such thing. Eddie did not 'find' bone, coconut, or any other solid material. Had investigators excavated a car tyre, no one would have suggested that Eddie had discovered a car! Just as kitchen odours are no respecters of the household furniture they envelop, so the erroneous attribution of a traceable scent is a mistake to be laid at the door to the office, not the kennel.
The following extract is taken from the comprehensive overview of Forensics by Dr Zakaria Erzinclioglu (Forensics - True Crime Scene Investigations: Carlton/ Sevenoaks, 2004) and illustrates perfectly clearly how those with a professional concern for the appropriate deployment of dogs in law enforcement, have a rather clearer understanding of experimental verification and how to garner evidence than do their amateur critics. And in that category I do not hesitate to include members of the Judiciary.
"Cloths are handed to each of the people involved in the experiment; they handle them and then place them in special jars, with each cloth in a separate jar. The jars are placed in a row in the experiment room and the dog and handler come in. The dog sniffs each jar in turn and then identifies correctly the jar with the right cloth... the jars are moved around in the absence of the dog, who returns with his handler and correctly identifies the cloth.
"These results are very impressive, but, to my mind, the results of the next experiment are the most impressive of all. The jar with the 'right' cloth is removed completely, leaving all the other jars, plus another to keep the number constant. What will the dog do now?
"As with the other experiments, the dog is led by its handler into the room. The dog sniffs each jar in turn. It is puzzled. It starts again, sniffing each jar diligently. It stops and looks up at its handler and then looks back at the jars, It then starts to whine to its owner and walks away from the jar; no doubt it feels it has failed in its task.
"But it has not; it has succeeded brilliantly, for the dog has not chosen a second best, a nearest odour to the one it was seeking. The smell was either present in one of the jars or it was not. It is as simple as that. The dog would not identify a false jar even to please its handler; it would rather fail than do that."
This author goes on to say, "I believe that the use of dog evidence in British courts would be a great step forward in the fight against crime." He concludes the chapter thus:
"Attempts have been made to produce a machine - an electronic nose - that can do what a dog does. These devices have been very successful in determining whether a food product, such as wine or cheese, is fresh and in a fit condition to be consumed. However, their application to criminal investigation has not yet been demonstrated. A dog is still the more reliable tool."
There are those today who would bombastically denounce the admission of dog evidence in a court of law as verging on the scandalous. The fact of the matter as regards the McCann case however, is that they are rather more afraid of the dogs exposing a scandal than creating one.

What The Papers Say, 18 August 2009
What The Papers Say

Kate and Gerry McCann on Five News, 01 May 2008

By Dr Martin Roberts
18 August 2009
Anniversaries have been golden episodes for the McCanns in terms of engaging media interest in their situation, and they have studiously marked them accordingly. But there is also a downside, and in their case it is having to speak with a measure of spontaneity about something which, one suspects, they would rather not speak about under such circumstances, despite the more obvious benefits from doing so. A case of 'Give the Devil his due'.
Whereas filmed accounts can be made to mislead, albeit inadvertently, in the course of the editing process, press reports are rather more liable to error, owing to the scope for journalistic input between the saying and the printing. Bearing that caveat in mind, the McCanns' exchange with the Daily Telegraph on the occasion of the first anniversary (transcription by Nick Britten. Published: 7:00PM BST 01 May 2008) contains some interesting commentary.
Q: Is this the best hope now of finding Madeleine?
KM: I'm not sure about that but the media interest will wane without any developments and I guess you've got to use this opportunity. We need that information and we strongly believe that information is out there, somebody knows something.
A large slice of context must be assumed for this statement to make sense. We need that information is clearly the thrust of the first phrase highlighted here, but what, exactly, is this demonstrative adjective referring to? Is the subsequent ambivalent instance of the word 'that' adjectival, emphasising 'information', or not, in which case everything that follows, including the information, becomes non-specific.
GM (Dubbing today "May Day for Madeleine"): It's the last chance to capture a lot of the information that's gone into the investigation that we're not privy to and clearly we need to know everything that's been done. What we're asking people to do is if you've given information to police, Crimestoppers, Portuguese police, we're asking you to give it to us as well.
At the time of this interview the McCanns were still 'arguidos'. A lot of the information had already 'gone into the investigation', i.e. was held/known to investigators. Gerry is clearly intent on 'capturing' it for himself. By what right does Gerry McCann presume an entitlement to information regarding the case, when he and his wife are still virtual suspects?
GM: It's about that key bit of information - someone has it but they might not necessarily put it together.
Put it together with what? Unless it's a fragment of a larger entity, that 'key bit' is surely complete in itself. As is his wont, the good doctor is speaking in illogical cliches.
GM: I personally don't think running stories on Madeleine makes that much difference. Her image is everywhere.
Kate clearly does not share Gerry's opinion. Just moments later we get:
Q: When the arguido status is lifted will this story go away?
KM: Being made arguido has not helped the search for Madeleine. I'm sure when the arguido status is lifted it will be a major development and huge headlines.
Q: There is lots and lots of media coverage but has it helped the search?
GM: A lot of people think Madeleine is dead. Today is about us stating our absolute categoric belief that there is no evidence that Madeleine has been seriously harmed.
It is noticeable that they share a belief in the absence of evidence, not in Madeleine herself being alive.
GM: There's a really good chance she is still out there, based on years of experience of missing and abducted children. What Earnie Allen's (national center for missing and exploited children in Washington) exact words were are there are a host of scenarios by which Madeleine could still be out there.
One has the feeling that 'dictation' was never one of Gerry's strong points. If these are Ernie Allen's exact words, then his grasp of English too is as flawed. 'There are a host of scenarios' is as poor as the preceding 'exact words were are...'
GM: The experts are saying there is a strong chance Madeleine is out there but it's back to what we need to do which is address the situation: Who took her? Is that person alone? If they are alone they don't live in isolation, they live in a town, in a holiday resort, they interact with people and they might have accomplices we don't know what motivates them.
'Write about what you know' they say. The same goes for anyone trying to make it up. This story involves a 'loner' who lives just down the road in a holiday resort (factoring in what Kate is about to say next). And despite his 'loner' tag he might have influential contacts (accomplices). Who might that be? No resident of Skegness that's for sure.
KM: Even people who are classed as loners are known as the loner down the road.
About Sean and Amelie:
??: Sean and Amelie talk about her constantly. They include her in everything. They ask about her. They essentially still play with her and that's really heartening for us. A year down the line, our three-year-old twins still see it as that and if Madeleine walked in the door tomorrow they'd say which one do you want and play with her.
How on earth can the twins play with Madeleine, essentially or otherwise? And what, or whom, would they offer up on Madeleine's return?
Explaining to them what has happened:
KM: I've got my journal but we took advice and have done everything that we thought was best for Sean and Amelie. A psychologist we spoke to said basically be honest. The problem is you haven't got a story to tell and can't fill in the facts.
Word order is important. 'basically' does not qualify how the psychologist gave his advice but the honesty he advocated. Is it not strange that two people with demonstrable powers of imagination cannot concoct a credible story for their own children. Taken at face value the statement could be interpreted as a summary of the McCanns' own position.
GM: I hope she's back with us before they're of an age when they're on the internet and searching. We will face difficult decisions down the line and we are not forcing information on them.
As they ask the questions, they are being told straight and the situation now is still they know Madeleine is missing. They have some understanding of the concept of being lost and that people are looking for them and they say heartbreaking things to us like they're going to find Madeleine and bring her home.
Just who might be lost here? Without a designated subject, the default becomes the twins themselves. Is the absence of a 'lost' subject significant, one wonders? There may well have been a deep-seated reluctance to predicate the status upon any subject, Madeleine in particular, on account of the analogy being fundamentally deceptive. Gerry McCann may not have known what he was doing necessarily, but omission of the subject (e.g., 'someone') within the phrase in question, suggests that the very idea was suppressed. What one hears/reads as a result is thus semantically confused, simply because a necessary part of the sentence structure is missing.
KM: They will say things like that because we talk about when Madeleine comes home.
'When Madeleine comes home'. That's being 'straight' alright. Preparing them for when they do their own internet searches no doubt.
GM: We have a right to information and what has been done to our daughter and if we are not given the information we will try and do anything. Anybody who has contacted any authority should contact us.
This is akin to a chess player asking his opponent, 'Would you please tell me why you made that move?' They also have a 'right to what has been done to their daughter'. Are they proposing to take ownership of what has been done then? Without the information they crave they will 'try to do anything'. In order to accomplish what exactly - find Madeleine or confound the investigation? Once again we are context driven. I personally spoke to an authority (the Inland Revenue) recently. Should I now contact the McCanns also? This may seem like an altogether frivolous observation, but the fact is that the more the McCanns can depend upon their listeners 'filling in for themselves' semantically, the less precise they need be.
Q: How do you see her?
KM: When you picture her it's memories. I don't speculate on what situation she's in. It's memories. I don't have any vision if where she is now. I just sense her still being there. It's hard to explain really. It's a sensation, a feeling. It is comforting, very comforting, that she's that bit closer.
No vision, but a sense nevertheless of Madeleine's still being 'there'; a location Kate cannot imagine. Comforting that Madeleine's 'a bit closer' - to whom, Kate McCann or God? If Kate cannot imagine her daughter's whereabouts, how can she assess her proximity?

The Return of the Non-Native, 24 August 2009
The Return of the Non-Native

Gerry McCann in Praia da Luz


By Dr Martin Roberts
24 August 2009


Kate McCann's prior claim of 'We'll return to Portugal often' was, as we now know, given tangible expression in the form of Gerry returning once to Praia da Luz, in the company of Jane Tanner and Matthew Oldfield, for publicity purposes only. Despite apparently asking his various collaborators to 'observe radio silence' in advance of the TV production Madeleine Was Here, so as not to create a media frenzy, Gerry still managed to say as much if not more about this project than he did in fulfilling his lead role within it. Never short of an answer when in front of the camera, Gerry McCann is equally and revealingly forthcoming in his April interview with Brendan de Beer of Portugal News.

The interview, edited here, progresses thus:

On his return to Praia da Luz and the absence of his wife Kate, Mr McCann explained: "Kate and I have been desperate to come back to Praia da Luz, but we haven't done so due to the media exposure and the controversy such a visit would pose. We want to come back and meet the people, without it being highlighted. There is nothing bad about this resort, it is beautiful. In these difficult economic times we don't want to worsen things.
There appears to be a fusion of ideas here. Controversy is created. Questions are posed. What question might a return visit have posed?

But I do hope people understand why we are doing what we've done. This is a key factor in an investigation strategy. Madeleine is still missing. We need to do everything reasonable to get any information. The best thing for everyone is that she is found and that whoever took her is caught".
Yet another instance of conjoined ideas. Whether people understand what you are doing may or may not have a bearing on their understanding of what you have already done. Exerting oneself to acquire any information whatsoever is pointless. Specific information on the other hand could well be more difficult to come by. But, as is so often the case with Gerry McCann's statements, contextual aspects are assumed rather than included. These almost habitual omissions are important, since the meaning of what is said varies with the context, and a context assumed by the listener might not be that which the speaker has in mind. Crocodile tears of self-pity are just as wet as tears of genuine remorse, and just as easily mistaken for them.

Mr McCann ruled out any other visits to Portugal in the near future and as for Madeleine's mother, said: "She'd love to come back. But we will not be returning for the anniversary. We wanted to come here and do this as quietly as possible and not to disrupt", with last weekend's media attention not aiding this desire.
Gerry McCann seems conveniently unaware that his spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, had already declared to Portuguese journalists, on arrival in Praia da Luz, that Kate "is not ready to return to Portugal yet". A situation seemingly further worsened by Gerry's reception, the day prior to this interview, which led to the Daily Mirror's 6 April announcement: Kate McCann vows never to return to Portugal as husband Gerry is heckled

"The reason we are doing this documentary is that it should be about Madeleine. I can understand why people don't like it or that our level of child care was not to their standard, but the focus should be on an innocent child and that someone has taken her.
An innocent child. Gerry McCann's recurrent reference to childhood innocence is curious. After all, any genuine victim of abduction is an innocent participant in the process. Here we have attention seemingly being drawn to Madeleine, but in reality Gerry is distancing himself from her. The focus is not on 'our innocent child' but 'an innocent child'. Madeleine is missing. That much can be taken for granted. That someone has taken (i.e. abducted) her is conjecture, unless of course the taking in this instance is of a different nature.

"There's one thing that has been revealed in the case files which is that there is no evidence that Madeleine is dead and there is no evidence to suggest that Kate and I were involved in any theories. It's about Madeleine. As her parents, I hope people understand that we have to do what we are doing", argued Mr McCann.
One thing is revealed. Gerry McCann cites two. Scrutiny of the case files has uncovered rather more than that, but it is indeed true that neither of the McCanns were involved in the construction of any theories pertaining to Madeleine's death, for which Gerry tells us there is no evidence. (Would he point to evidence of Madeleine's death under any circumstance?). Such apparent lack of evidence would, in Gerry's view, also contribute to countering suggestions that the McCanns were involved in the execution of these theories. Is there really no evidence to suggest the McCanns' involvement in developing other classes of theory, i.e. abduction? This statement clearly and deliberately overlooks all of the details which, singularly and severally, suggest that abduction, whilst theoretically admissible, was not feasible. It can only have been a theory. And who were its first and loudest proponents? The McCanns. The evidence for their involvement in the construction of that theory is now perfectly clear. Frankly, many people fail completely to understand why the parents of Madeleine McCann must 'do what they are doing'. Far too many wonder why the McCanns are not doing what they should be doing.

But Gerry McCann refused to answer a question on whether or not Madeleine's room has been left unchanged in the event she is found.
Maybe the fund has paid for its redecoration. Who knows?

What have they (the twins) been told about where Madeleine might be?

"They completely understand she is missing and they understand someone has taken her. There is not a lot more. We had counselling on how to cope with the twins, given to us by a child psychologist who has dealt with child abduction who said we should fill in the gaps as they get older. But, with us, the psychologist said the problem you have is that there is very little to fill in. The fact remains, she was there one minute and gone the next".
Once again the McCanns are a special case, with a special problem. They have little to fill in. Madeleine was 'there one minute, gone the next.' Except that we have all been led to believe that Madeleine was there for a couple of hours at least before she was 'gone.' A characteristic of deceptive accounts is truncation of the story. Whereas a genuine tale will extend comfortably beyond the focal act, to describe events in the immediate aftermath, a deceptive account is much more likely to come to a relatively abrupt halt, the coda, so to speak, being shorter. Why then do the McCanns find themselves with insufficient material with which to 'fill in'? Because, apart from describing irrelevant visits to the Vatican and various international press conferences, they cannot explain to their remaining children how they 'searched high and low that night, again the following morning, the next week and beyond.' They have no such detail to confide as they did no such thing.

Mr McCann also admitted that their approach to raising their other two children has been significantly altered by Madeleine's disappearance. "I am undoubtedly much more aware of potential danger or a threat to the kids now and things which we previously considered safe, and probably still are, are no longer.
Well, are they safe or not? Or are they safe, yet no longer (+verb), e.g. 'practised'.

"It's a horrible balance we as parents now face between being cosseting and allowing the kids freedom, and at what age. I grew up in a very child-orientated environment, playing in parks, with minimal adult supervision. I think that's healthy", he explains as he leads up to the question about regrets they have over their actions as parents on the evening Madeleine went missing.

"Obviously what we did (leaving the children alone while dining at the nearby restaurant) we thought was safe.
Here is yet another instance of the listener being called upon to provide the context. The interviewer assumes Gerry is referring to 'leaving the children alone'. But how does he know that Gerry is not himself referring to something else entirely, such as 'sedating the children'? He does not.

"The whole aspect of a foreign child being abducted while on holiday never entered our thought process for even one moment, because if it had, we wouldn’t have done what we did," he said.
Every parent considers their own child 'special'. It is perfectly natural, as on a personal level they clearly are. But individuals are only considered special by others when they merit such deference, for one reason or another. What Gerry McCann fails to appreciate is that, in elevating Madeleine's misfortune to 'special' status at every turn, he is describing something, in this case an abduction, that is ever more remote. And would the possible abduction of a Portuguese from a Portuguese holiday resort not also have influenced their thinking? Child abduction does not represent various degrees of felony each defined by nationality. If one has to ask why Gerry McCann's view of abduction should exclude native residents, then one has to question whether it is 'abduction' per se which underlies his retrospective reservations about 'doing what they did'. And what was that exactly? As is apparent earlier in the interview, when Gerry is referring to what was done, the precise topic is not at all clear.

On returning to the apartment last Saturday and how he felt re-entering it almost two years after last being there, Mr McCann said:

"The apartment doesn't hold any bad karma. It was just a couple of thoughts really, it was about re-enacting (the events on the night of her disappearance) and it was where I last saw Madeleine. But actually, I felt more emotional at church this morning (last Sunday) with the support and seeing the photograph of Madeleine with the words 'Help me' along with the green and yellow ribbons around it was more difficult to cope with."
Yet again, one would rather have the context clarified by the interviewee than substituted by the interviewer. Re-enactment societies exist to recreate historical events in which members were not actually involved. With the majority of 'moving parts' in the McCann production given to actors, it stood to be no more accurate than Mel Gibson's 'Patriot' (a historical film notorious for its misrepresentations). Is it not strange that Gerry who, by his own admission is not especially religious, should be more affected by a visit to church than the scene of his daughter's last known whereabouts?

Gerry McCann explained his involvement with the documentary, which will be aired next month and shown in several European countries including Portugal shortly afterwards, was purely aimed at finding Madeleine.
Which could just as reasonably be read as 'aimed at consolidating the abduction hypothesis.'

He also recalled that failed attempts to stage a police reconstruction were not of their doing.

"We would have been obliged to come back (due to their status as arguidos that was only lifted last July). It did not fall on us to do it, but other people. Don't get me wrong, we had major concerns as to why the reconstruction was being done. As opposed to this reconstruction, which will be broadcast with a view to getting new information, the police reconstruction was not aimed at finding Madeleine, but rather to look for inconsistencies. There were 12 or 15 people involved and it is inevitable there would be inconsistencies", he said. A response which led to the question over his disagreement with Jane Tanner (a member of the so-called Tapas 7) over where he was standing as Miss Tanner walked past him the night she spotted what she believed to be a man carrying a child:

"In my mind, I am 100 percent certain I was on the other side of the road, though Jane Tanner and Jez Wilkins said I was on the side closest to the apartment. I can't resolve that, I remember making a conscious decision to cross the road".
Are we talking mind-body duality here? Which aspect of Gerry McCann's own being is certain, the real or the imaginary? And since when was it standard practice for suspects in a crime to negotiate their response to Police requests for information, or assistance with their inquiries (which is what a reconstruction amounts to). Would Gerry consider it appropriate for nursing staff to evaluate his work as a cardiologist and advise patients accordingly?

Mr McCann also revealed that the family has made peace with the fact they might never see Madeleine again, but would never give up the search for her.

"We have always known that's a possibility and that is why we have to rely on other people. And we have that incredibly difficult balance between doing this [filming the reconstruction] and the human interest aspect. While we also want our lives to be private and normal for the sake of Sean and Amelie, we also need to do as much as we can. It's a possibility we might never see her again, but until we have absolute definitive evidence of what happened to Madeleine, we can't stop searching."
Can't stop? They never commenced searching for Madeleine. Searching their hearts perhaps? Now that's a different matter altogether. Again, because Gerry denies us the object phrase, the statement is ambivalent.

Do you think the Portuguese PJ police did everything within their powers to find Madeleine?

"I think the way you are asking the question is right. PJ did more in this case than on many other occasions and worked extremely hard. And there were many different pressures. If you look back there were probably mistakes made on all sides."

As for the role of private investigators and reconstructions, Mr McCann said it was a way of ensuring no stone is left unturned in the search for his daughter.
Just how presumptuous can a person get? Suddenly Gerry McCann is an expert on the history of the PJ. Imagine a hospital outpatient claiming that the doctors did more for them than for many others. A preposterous comment. The 'many different pressures', on the other hand, is a factor that Gerry would certainly have known something about, having introduced several of them himself.

The Find Madeleine Fund, which has received around 2.5 million pounds since it was set up shortly after Madeleine's disappearance in 2007, now appears to be running out of financial resources.

"There's still money in it", says Mr McCann, adding: "I can't give you the exact figure, but we have spent and continue to spend a lot of money with the aim of trying to enhance the chance of finding her.
Instead of 'cutting to the chase' ('We continue to spend a lot of money trying to find Madeleine') we are treated to weasels galore: 'the aim of' (we might miss the target) 'trying to enhance' (attempts at improvement not guaranteed) 'the chance of finding her' (the foregoing qualifications notwithstanding it is still a hit-or-miss affair)

On the chances of the Fund drying up completely he responded: "It won't dry up in the next few months, but probably by the end of the year, at the rate we are running."

He concluded that fundraising is presently being considered as an option to boost funds and thus ensure an ongoing interest in finding Madeleine.
Other options being law suits for libel no doubt.

Sands of Time, 27 August 2009
Sands of Time

Kate McCann, 05 May 2007


By Dr Martin Roberts
27 August 2009


In the opinion of BBC interviewer Anne Davies, "the facts can be changed for anyone." Ms Davies is clearly the kind of suggestible individual Jed Rubenfeld had in mind when describing a character named Banwell early on in his bestselling mystery, The Interpretation of Murder:

"Mr Banwell had mastered the great truth that truth itself, like buildings, can be manufactured."

Many things in life are indeed open to interpretation. 'One man's meat...' etc. Context is often called upon to reconcile ambiguity. The weight of expert opinion is brought to bear upon issues of legal uncertainty. And, in the wake of scientific advance, old tenets are re-assessed, occasionally having to forfeit their status in the light of more recent findings. True, we inhabit a world of uncertainty. Yet we depend, no less than did the ancients before us, on the stability of certain concepts; certitudes around which we organize our lives; facts, if you will, that cannot be changed for anyone: things falling to earth, action and reaction, night and day, are all issues that we hold immutable, and all embodied in the hour glass.

Even Anne Davies would surely not dispute the sublime sophistry of Omar Khayyam. 'The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, moves on.' 'Yesterday', 'Today' and 'Tomorrow' are coarse-grained units of time that, together with more finely tuned measures, afford a frame of reference against which to observe events - temporal facts, with calendars their incorruptible custodians.

May 3rd 2007 was not May 2nd nor was it May 4th. Like every other day of the year it had a specific, factual identity; an identity which, as the Rubaiyat reminds us, cannot be changed for anyone either. And on that day - that day alone, little Madeleine McCann disappeared - from view, from her parents' apartment, from Praia da Luz, Portugal, the face of the earth. To this day no one seems quite sure.

The child was last seen asleep in apartment 5A, where she had previously been left, and would soon be so again, by her father, shortly after 9.05 p.m. on the date in question. Some fifteen or twenty minutes later, while he was engaged in conversation at the foot of a flight of external stairs, a holiday companion of his witnessed an adult carrying, across the street ahead of her, what appeared to be a dormant child dressed in pyjamas not unlike those of Madeleine McCann. It was dark and the street lights were no more than adequate to their purpose. The father had his back turned to the incident and saw nothing. It was left therefore to his wife to discover their child missing, approximately three quarters of an hour later.

The distraught mother knew what had happened. She knew her daughter would not have walked out by herself. She knew that Madeleine had been abducted because of how things had been left in the bedroom, a conclusion confirmed by her husband subsequently. And when questioned by police the following day she even had the presence of mind to tell them of a fleeting conversation with her daughter at breakfast that previous morning, during which Madeleine had asked her mother why she had not come to her room 'when the twins were crying'. She thought it important to mention as it might have been evidence of a prowler, but, as she later stated, 'if Madeleine hadn't been abducted we'd never have thought of that comment again'. All in all, useful facts for the police to ponder: a sleeping child, abducted from her bed at night, virtually from under her parents' noses. That is what happened. Or did it?

It stands to reason that, several months later, Madeleine's disappearance having been publicly discussed by her parents on any number of occasions already by this time, the facts of the matter would remain as previously established. All those involved knew what had happened. Except that on September 17th that year, Kate McCann saw fit to denounce the known facts completely. They were, in Anne Davies words, 'changed', for anyone and everyone:

"I know that what happened is not due to the fact of us leaving the children asleep. I know it happened under other circumstances." (Source: Flash! magazine (Portugal)/The Daily Mail)

What happened was not, after all, due to the children having been left asleep. The circumstances, when it happened, were different. In what way? In that the parents were with their children, in which case abduction was entirely preventable, or that the children were not asleep? Kate McCann, it should be noted, did not say, 'due to the fact of us leaving the children alone', but 'leaving the children asleep.'

Night will always ease gradually into day, and vice versa, but, as far as human experience is concerned, if we are not asleep then we are awake. Madeleine McCann was abducted from her bed, where she was last seen, asleep, by her father not ten minutes earlier. That is the father's view, supported by a third-party witness; a view to which the mother is now diametrically opposed. She knows that what happened to Madeleine happened when the child was awake, in which case she could not have been abducted immediately after her father’s 9.05 return to the apartment.

In the apparently safe embrace of such a family oriented holiday resort as Praia da Luz, there was only a 'small window of opportunity', on May 3rd, for an abductor to seize his prey. That opportunity presented itself shortly after 9.05 p.m., we were told, after 'they had just seen Gerry had been in the apartment' and when the McCann children were asleep. But we have since been told, quite clearly, and by a first-hand source, that what happened to Madeleine happened while she was awake. Clearly, the opportunity for abduction had not yet presented itself. Something else must have happened therefore.

Is Anne Davies vindicated? Can facts be changed after all? If so then they were never facts in the first place. In the real world the title 'fact' is reserved for those demonstrations, events, states and observations that illustrate a dependable consistency. What Kate McCann thought she knew in May of 2007 is not what she knew in September of that year. Her facts, drawn from these periods, are mutually exclusive, like the constituents of a binary number, which are categorically 1 or 0, never something in-between. The one unassailable fact is that she failed completely to account for the 'Moving Finger.'

As Edward Fitzgerald's wonderfully evocative translation continues: "nor all thy Piety nor Wit shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it."

Her Story Repeats Itself, 07 September 2009
Her Story Repeats Itself

Sally Field: Eye for an Eye/Kate McCann with Cuddle Cat


By Dr Martin Roberts
07 September 2009



Mrs K. McCann is a happily married mother with a satisfying job and good friends. Life is rewarding; her world makes sense. K. has played by the rules, and she lives secure in the assumption that things always turn out for the best. Suddenly, however, her safe, ordered existence is shattered when a stranger enters her home and kills her daughter.

Mrs K. McCann: Oh, God!
Mr McCann: What?
K. McCann: I'll kill her. Maria washed Julie's pillow!
Mr McCann: I washed it.
K. McCann: You washed it? Mack, you ruined it. The smell's gone, you can't get it back.

It was a very different K. McCann who, on 1 August 2007, 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." (Timesonline Report, 5 August 2007).

Jon Corner, godfather of the McCanns' twins, said: "The Cuddle Cat was reeking with Madeleine's DNA." (Timesonline, 9 September 2007).

According to The Sunday Mirror Report of 13 September, 2007, Kate washed the Cuddle Cat five days after Madeleine went missing, saying it was smeared with sand and sun cream. Gerry's sister Philomena said it was cleaned again in July because it was filthy after being carried around.

A former Scotland Yard detective said: "It's the last thing I'd expect a mother who is devastated at losing her child to do."

Of course not. Because it was 'reeking of DNA' and 'special'. So what brought about this dramatic change in Mrs. K. McCann?


The opening episode, including the background, is a brief extract from a Hollywood movie (Eye for an Eye, released in 1996 and starring Sally Field as Karen McCann with Ed Harris as her husband Mack). Following the loss of her daughter, Karen McCann is furious at her husband for having washed her pillow. The story is fictional.

The subsequent episode concerns Kate McCann who, in 2007, could hardly wait to wash Cuddle cat, her own missing daughter's favourite toy, ostensibly. She washed it again for good measure later. This story is factual.

So did the former Scotland Yard detective have things back to front? It seems only fictional grief expresses itself in a desire to cherish the scent of a loved one.

Tennis On A Clay Court, 13 September 2009
Tennis On A Clay Court

Gerry McCann - Press conference, 09 September 2009


By Dr Martin Roberts
13 September 2009

(not a firm surface - needs grassing up)

The warm up

Gerry McCann:
"I'd like to read this statement on behalf of Kate, myself and our three children."

"...,the other action is about the damage that's caused to ourselves, our children and Madeleine, obviously."

So Madeleine's no longer their child then?

Proceed to serve

"It took us a long time to get the files translated so we knew exactly what was in them and by the time we'd... we had done that completely we were in to January and we... we did take advice and, to be honest, we were advised to, errr... issue proceedings at that point."

So the development of proceedings against Sr Amaral was largely, if not entirely contingent upon conclusion of a mammoth translation. And yet it appears all that was required was the thrust of the Judicial summary:

"We had hoped that everyone would have had the opportunity to see what was in the file and to see the Portuguese judiciary's verdict of what is in the file and they are very clear; there is no evidence that Madeleine is dead."

And later:

"I think the judiciary's summary of what has been done is very clear."

Which court are we playing on again

(There seems to be rather a lot of balls lodged in the net).

Were the process files ever on trial? No. So the judiciary did not pass a verdict upon them, only an opinion (verdict in McCann parlance) of them. In fact it's a summary of contents isn't it, rather like Sr Amaral's book; a book which, as a source of information, is to be banned, in favour of people reading the files; files to which they may well not have access and which would, for speakers of languages other than Portuguese, require considerable translation that will doubtless introduce errors of all sorts.

Clearly it's not the book as a reflection of the process files which is causing the McCanns concern, but Sr Amaral's interpretation of the evidence accrued up until the time the case was shelved. The case has not been irrevocably closed. The McCanns were never formally accused. They have never, therefore, been declared innocent for want of evidence. They have not been charged. Hence nothing of this case has been tested in a court of law, only the court of public opinion.

Service return

The backhanded stroke here is that the Amaral 'thesis', by no means his uniquely but a shared conclusion arrived at on the part of the original investigating team, is inadmissible. So too is reference to his book. It follows that similar conclusions arrived at by others studying the process files in any official capacity, must be equally inadmissible. Put another way, the only admissible conclusion ever is one that the McCanns, former arguidos in relation to this case, deem to be so.

Except that the injunction does not cover baseline returns; references to Madeleine's death supported by information not in the process, not reflected by Sr Amaral's book, and not therefore similarly suppressible. Like Madeleine, it is 'out there'.

Time Fault

"Mr Amaral's central thesis has no evidence whatsoever to support it."

A lie pure and simple. There was a missing child, no evidence of abduction whatsoever, then an EVRD dog gave indications left, right, and centre, of a corpse having been in the immediate vicinity of the McCanns and no-one else.

"To claim, as he did, that Madeleine is dead and that we, her parents, were somehow involved in her disappearance has caused our family incredible distress and continues to do so."

To say nothing of the considerable distress caused to unwitting anitpodeans by totally unwarranted media intrusion into their lives; an intrusion provoked by the McCanns, and their investigators who were no more concerned properly to 'investigate' before their big media announcement than following it.

"Without doubt Madeleine will have suffered as a result of the negative effect this book and DVD will have had on the search for her."

Starting when? Today? Has it not already had a negative effect then?

David Crabtree:
"David Crabtree, from Sky News. How much do you think this has damaged your campaign and is there anything you can tell us which suggests it has actually been damaged?"

"I think there's a lot of people in Portugal who believe that there is evidence, errm... and further afield, that Madeleine is dead and if people believe that they won't search for her; and they may have information; and they may not come forward with that information; and we know for a fact that people have been told that... that Madeleine is dead; and there is no evidence to support that; and that is unforgivable."

In other words, David, the answer to your question is 'No.'

David Crabtree:
"Has it slowed down the number of leads coming in, do you think?"

"I believe so; Dave Edgar believes so; and if people believe that Madeleine's dead then why would they come forward with information?"

To be pedantic, David, one cannot 'slow down' a number, but we get your drift. Unfortunately you asked Gerry whether he 'thought' there had been this negative consequence and, predictably, he did. But while there's plenty of belief there's no certainty. Just as much belief was invested in tales of Australian yachts and Barcelona streetwalkers not long ago.

Second service

Following a supplementary question from David Crabtree we hear:

"We want to work with the Portuguese and we will continue to work with the Portuguese authorities to try and find Madeleine."

Since when? The Portuguese authorities are not currently looking for Madeleine (Gerry has previously complained about that), much less are they enjoying co-operation from the McCanns, which was conspicuous by its absence at the time it was required (48 unanswered questions and non-compliance with a request to return to Portugal as participants in a 'reconstruction', for instance). If they genuinely wanted the Portuguese to 'try and find Madeleine' they need only request that the case be re-opened. That must be on tomorrow's agenda - after first dealing with the much more important issue of ensuring Goncalo Amaral's book not be available for translation into English.

New balls please

"I guarantee that if we are awarded damages they'll certainly be used, errm... to continue the search for Madeleine and we'll certainly look at other worthy causes, errr... within that."

So a 'disgraced Portuguese police chief' (according to the Sunday Express of 13 September) can find himself paying for McCann staff salaries, no doubt their Christmas bonuses, and probably the mortgage.

Samson and Dilemma, 16 September 2009
Samson and Dilemma

Gerry and Kate McCann in Praia da Luz


By Dr Martin Roberts
16 September 2009

An allegory for our times

According to the Old Testament and Cecil B. DeMille, Samson, rakish prince among the Danites, despatched a lion with his bare hands whilst journeying to serenade a daughter of the Philistines. Demandingly, for Victor Mature's stunt double, DeMille saw fit to pit him against an adult male for dramatic effect. The Old Testament version of events however tells, somewhat more credibly, of 'a young lion', perhaps no older than four years of age.

'And after a time he returned to take her and he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion; and, behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcass of the lion.

'And he took thereof in his hands, and went on eating, and came to his father and mother, and he gave them, and they did eat; but he told not them that he had taken the honey out of the carcass of the lion.' (Judges 14:8,9).

Now Samson's behaviour, whether toward animals or people, was not exactly what you might call politically correct. He rent the lion 'as he would have rent a kid', later tying firebrands to the tails of three hundred foxes. Keen to display alpha-male status at his stag night, he set the thirty or so guests a riddle based on his earlier experience with the lion, both when it was alive and after it was dead, and bet them they could not solve it. Had his bride-to-be not given the game away Samson stood to make rather a lot of money.

Being something of a ladies man, Samson was no doubt happy to make capital out of his triumphant encounter with a live lion. It was the sort of story he could be sure to dine out on for some time to come. However, as evidence of his invulnerability, a source of sustenance, and the basis of an odds-on wager, the lion was rather more useful to Samson dead than alive.

The Old Testament and Hollywood each take Samson’s story to its unfortunate conclusion in the temple of Dagon, but had things not gone quite so badly awry, on account of, shall we say, female weakness, he might have enjoyed a protracted taste of honey and a new suit for every week of the year.

To dress himself in donated robes Samson found it necessary to allude to the dead creature, but his imminent affluence depended heavily upon the source of the honey remaining undiscovered ('Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness'). His invitation to the assembled partygoers was clear enough and may be paraphrased as, 'Look into it by all means, but once you have decided you cannot solve this riddle - pay up!'

If the wily Philistines hadn't put the frighteners on Samson's bride-to-be, who knows how many parties he might have attended, how many game individuals might have been invited to pursue a solution to the same riddle, and how many sheets of suiting Samson might have won as a result of their predictable failure? Only he knew where the dead lion lay, but he risked being jilted if he did not divulge the secret to his betrothed (who promptly used the information to buy off the Philistines who were threatening her).

Did Samson make the right judgement call? His options were: to evidence love and affection by giving away his 'secret', or keep it closely guarded and be accused of insensitivity, whilst being sure to profit long term.

Well, we know what Samson chose to do, and what befell him in consequence; twice, in fact. He opened to Delilah subsequently which prompted an even greater debacle (clearly a slow learner our Samson). With the benefit of hindsight it must be said that silence was/is indeed golden.

I Know How Madeleine Was Taken, 20 September 2009
I Know How Madeleine Was Taken

Forensic dusting for fingerprints


By Dr Martin Roberts
20 September 2009

Donal MacIntyre

MADELEINE McCann was abducted by at least two kidnappers who must have carried out several dry runs in the days leading up to her disappearance.
and repeatedly came within seconds of capture - see below
After spending a week on the ground investigating the case and the methods used by the kidnappers, I can only conclude that they must have entered the apartment to carry out a rehearsal, because they were working to an incred­ibly tight schedule.
There are other conclusions available. And why only one rehearsal among 'several dry runs'? Presumably they entered via the patio doors. So why didn't Gerry do the same?
The three-minute time frame they allowed themselves left no margin for error.
I think you'll find, Donal, that after studying the movements of the McCanns for several days and noticing that their conscientious return visits to the apartment were regular as clockwork at twenty minute intervals, the criminals would have allowed themselves fifteen minutes, not three
But even though they did their homework with meticulous care, they still came within seconds of capture.
and on more than one occasion
I believe the focus of the investigation for the private investigators hired by Madeleine's parents should be on a breakdown of who was in and around the Mark Warner Ocean Club in Praia da Luz throughout their holiday.
The PJ thought the same. Unfortunately, the Tapas 7 begged to differ. On the plus side, we do have a collection of Rogatory Interviews, and the private investigators don’t have to travel all over Europe to question them further.
It is more than probable key witnesses would have seen the kidnappers in the days and nights leading up to the abduction on May 3, 2007.
See preceding
Such was the narrow window of opportunity, only agile, sharp-witted people well-practised in breaking and entering properties could have pulled this off.
You mean reasonably healthy, maybe even youngish people with a decent IQ? Not dying geriatric paedophiles. We may forget about the requirement for an NVQ in breaking and entering because no-one broke in, as we know, Donal
Over the past week I have conducted a cold case review of most of the available evidence relating to the abduction and had lengthy discussions with numerous Portuguese sources who cannot be identified.
That's a lot to take on board in a week, as confirmed by some of the evidence at least having escaped attention altogether
Crucial to unravelling the whole case is establishing what precisely took place from 8pm to 10.15pm on the night Madeleine vanished.
Again, the PJ thought so too. And again it can be seen as unhelpful, to say the very least, that the Tapas 7 elected not to assist with a reconstruction of events
In my view too little attention has been paid to what I believe was a key sighting.
Opinion based on supposition is hardly a cocktail of clarity
A dark-haired woman was observed standing near a street light at a road junction that overlooks apartment 5A. What was she doing in the eerily quiet area, which is not near a bus stop, taxi rank, cafes or shops?
What was Jes Wilkins doing in the 'eerily quiet area...'?
She was seen looking at the apartment as the late evening gloom descended.

Was she also watching to see the movements of Kate and Gerry McCann and their holiday friends, the so-called Tapas Seven? I think so.
Oh, you think so. We‘re on solid ground here then.
The same witness who saw the mystery woman also saw a gold or brown Nissan car driving erratically past the woman.
The connection between them being what exactly? How many models do Nissan distribute in Europe, I wonder? And after all the gold editions have been ruled out, say, it only remains to investigate the brown ones

Despite appeals neither the woman nor the driver of the car has come forward.
To confess? I wouldn't hold my breath on that score

Was this Nissan the getaway car and was its driver conducting a dry run at this very time? Again, I think so.
Was this Nissan a private hire car, late in fetching a take-away pizza. I think so
Although we do not, sadly, have a minute-by-minute breakdown of the events that took place, this is the scenario that I believe unfolded.
Well it wouldn't take too much effort by the cast of protagonists to achieve the requisite minute-by-minute breakdown; somewhat preferable to your beliefs
Having settled Madeleine, then three, and their two-year- old twins, Sean and Amelie, Gerry and Kate, from Rothley, Leicestershire, have a glass of wine before heading off to the tapas bar, a minute's walk away, to join their friends Jane Tanner and her partner Russell O'Brien, Rachel and Mathew Oldfield, David and Fiona Payne and Diane Webster.

At about 9pm Gerry leaves the table and walks over to the apartment to check on the twins and Madeleine.
Like it's only across the road. Except that you've just told us it was a minute's walk away
He enters the apartment and then goes to the toilet. He checks on his children and savours a proud father's moment as he stands by the doorway looking into the back bedroom where they are all soundly asleep.

The twins are in cots and Madeleine in bed, holding her favourite toy, Cuddle Cat. Gerry spends up to 10 minutes in the five-room apartment and will only later reflect that he felt there was someone else there at the same time.
You must have been an estate agent in a former life. Two bedrooms, a communal lounge-diner, bathroom, and toilet don't constitute five (habitable) rooms, at least where I come from
For the kidnap to have taken place I believe Gerry's gut instinct was sound.
Further belief in third-party supposition. Standards in the world of investigative journalism are clearly slipping
So we must assume that a few minutes before Gerry arrived, the abductor walked along the public road beside the apartment, opened the gate, walked up 10 steps to the patio and entered through the open patio doors.
Sorry, we're not obliged to assume anything. The McCanns told the world at first that the intruder(s) had broken in through the bedroom window. Why should we have disbelieved them? Maybe the forensic evidence has something to do with that
At this stage he or she is a heartbeat away from being caught. But where could the abductor have hidden? Gerry walked through the front room, used the bathroom and looked in on the children – but did he check ­anywhere else?
Where else was there for Gerry to check? Ah yes, the children's bedroom, where you have already told us: "he stands by the doorway looking into the back bedroom where they are all soundly asleep"
My view is that the abductor was probably in the children's bedroom, possibly behind the door or crouching behind furniture.
Probably. Possibly. And not seen at all by the father standing erect in the doorway. The only 'furniture' anyone else could have crouched behind were the twins' cots - every other item was stationed against a wall. You‘re not suggesting this individual was 'vertically challenged' by any chance, i.e. small enough to be occluded by a crib?
As Gerry strolls out of the patio doors, closing but not locking them, he leaves through the same small gate facing the road where the abductor has entered minutes before.

Just outside, he meets television producer Jes Wilkins on the way back to the tapas bar. There is not another soul on the street.
Not even Jane Tanner. So how can she spot the fleeing abductor only moments later?
Back inside the apartment the abductor must be breathing a sigh of relief as Gerry leaves, then realises his exit route is blocked and plan B has to be put into operation.
How does he know his exit route is blocked? Has he or she just opened both the window and shutter to see, horror of horrors, Gerry and Jes on the street outside? Neither Gerry nor Jes heard anything like window shutters going up unexpectedly. The intruder could simply have left through the patio doors and turned right instead of left. Anyway, let‘s continue with Plan B - something devised beforehand, notice
For this, help is essential. The abductor inside the apartment passes Madeleineprobably put to sleep with chloroform – through the open window into the accomplice's arms.
The accomplice, realising help is required before even it is called for - this being a contingency plan remember - is already waiting outside the bedroom window of 5A for their partner in crime to raise the shutter - it can only be done from the inside - and pass the dormant Madeleine through the window. All this while Gerry walks straight past down the steps and remains at the bottom talking to Jes Wilkins
In the distance, the voices of Gerry McCann and Jes Wilkins waft through the air.
It's more like, 'at the foot of the stairs', according to Jane Tanner, who claims she was there at the time. But what does she know compared to a journalist two years later
What trauma would Madeleine suffer if, terrified and forcibly kept silent, she hears Dad's voice as she is being bundled into the hands of dangerous strangers? At the same time – about 9.10pm – and unnoticed by Wilkins and Gerry, Jane Tanner observes them chatting.
What trauma? Absolutely none! She's already been "probably put to sleep with chloroform." So, neither terrified nor forcibly silenced at this moment in time, she hears - nothing! And while we're at it, let's recall to mind how it was that GP Kate, with some training in anaesthesiology, knew her daughter had been abducted. It was 'the way the scene was left.' No mention, either at the time or since, of any identifiable trace odours. You have to take the top off the bottle to administer chloroform don't forget. Being charitable one might concede that any alien aromas had been dispersed by the time of Kate's return to the apartment, fresh air coming in continuously through the window left open by the fleeing abductor - as Donal is about to inform us. So be it. But it was chilly enough that night for Jane Tanner to borrow a fleece for her own tour of duty, and to register concern that the child in arms she believes she saw was dressed only in pyjamas. Now here's the strange thing. The door to the childrens bedroom in 5A only slammed shut when Kate entered the apartment. It must therefore have been open for three quarters of an hour. The window was opened for exit purposes around 9.15. Yet Kate has never ever commented that the apartment felt cold when she re-entered it at 10.00 p.m..
The kidnapper holding Madeleine retreats to the adjacent car park before heading on to the same footpath where, a short distance downhill, Gerry and Wilkins are talking.

The accomplice makes his way out of the window
and into the darkness.
Within sight and earshot of both Gerry and Jes who are still in the street. Jane Tanner's account places them simultaneously with the abductor. Why didn't the accomplice just walk out of the patio door, whence they came, and disappear 'into the darkness'?
The kidnappers think they have got away with it, but they are on the brink of being caught.

Despite hearing the voices of Madeleine's father a short distance away, the kidnapper holding the girl plans to cross the road junction just above them.

As he hits the footpath, he sees both men chatting and Jane Tanner heading his way – three potential witnesses to the abduction, including the father of the child.
He hits the footpath - is that jumping down from the walkway? - making a sound that neither of the nearby conversationalists hear.
Why choose such a potentially disastrous course? My belief is that he had to make a rendezvous with the getaway driver.
As ever Donal, you are welcome to your opinions and 'beliefs'. Just don't parade them before us as 'facts' or worse yet, 'evidence'
The seven seconds he took to cross the road were either well-planned, foolhardy or a sign of breathtaking confidence. In any case, the kidnapper never faltered and was never seen again.
neither before nor since really
Jane Tanner says he was carrying a child. She believes it was Madeleine and her theory is supported by the McCann investigators.
That's it then. Belief in an untested theory, shared by others remote in both time, space, and their attention to detail - remember the yacht story, Donal?
The timing of the statements from the key witnesses suggests that there was a maximum of three to five minutes for the abduction to be executed.
Do you mean that, had the witnesses spoken more slowly the abductor(s) would have had more time at their disposal, or did that depend upon the lateness of the hour when the witness statements were given, or indeed the order in which they were given?
In such circumstances only good planning and co-ordination could make this possible. It would be an extraordinary effort, needing an astonishing degree of luck, if this had been done on an opportunistic basis.
We'll go for planned then
The clean execution of the kidnap, without a hint of a DNA trace or any useable evidence, means it was highly professional and planned with precision.
Oh really? Suddenly I'm intrigued
Such precision is the hallmark of fixated, obsessive sexual predators. There were 20 known paedophiles living on the Algarve at the time including one with a flat near the McCanns' apartment but all have been eliminated as possible perpetrators.
Not sure about that one Donal. The category you define includes Bundy, Sutcliffe and The Boston Strangler - all rather opportunist practitioners as I recall...
However, the area must be a magnet for sex offenders. It has a creche, school and nursery. Add a transient population of young holidaymakers and you have a lot of attractions for sexual predators.
Now hang on a minute! Take away the population of young holidaymakers and you've just described where I live. Quick missus! Dial 999!.
With its road access the McCann apartment was the most vulnerable in the complex and it is easy to see why a paedophile would make it a target.
Wrong again. It was no more vulnerable than the Oldfields' pad next door.
The McCanns' decision, formed by the semi-secure nature of the holiday complex, to use a check-in system for their children rather than have babysitters allowed the abductors to strike. In hindsight, that unfortunate decision left their children vulnerable to an abductor.
Check in and prepare for take off - as in 'flight through the window' - eh? You don't suppose, by any chance, that they might also have been vulnerable to fear of isolation had they woken up?.
Last week I walked unchallenged on to the property in the company of another journalist. We were both unsuitably dressed and surrounded by children and parents. We had a drink and left. Two hours later I returned and again was not challenged.
So the parents, aware by now of how PDL has become internationally recognised as a magnet for sexual predators, neglected to point out how unsuitably dressed you were in front of their children. Have all parents suddenly become slipshod in the wake of the McCann precedent, or could it have been because they were totally unconcerned about your choosing to wear a jacket and tie at the bar in High Summer?
Today there is more lighting around the complex but little else has changed. Until the kidnappers are caught, the unspoken fear will remain that Praia da Luz is a sunny place for shady people.
So, as a thank you to all those concerned Portuguese citizens who devoted considerable time and effort to looking for Madeleine while her parents were, shall we say, otherwise engaged, just don't expect to live off tourism for too much longer, you'll get nothing but a bad press from us from now on
All that remains visible of the Madeleine McCann campaign there is a touching shrine in the beautiful church on the sea front.

Pray For Me, the heart-shaped poster pleads. Below it, 10 electric candles flicker in her memory. Many more will be lit before this mystery is solved.
Maybe not as many as you think Donal. A lot of candles have already been extinguished, by people whose own answers to the many questions owe rather more to the evidence than to blind faith.

In conclusion, it is pertinent to recall that Donal MacIntyre has previously fronted a BBC radio programme (Radio 5 Live), which deliberately questioned the merits of sniffer dogs, the EVRD spaniel 'Eddie' in particular, on the basis of one trainer's comments to the effect that his dogs 'do get it wrong sometimes.' This says more about the trainer really, but playing 'Devil's advocate' here is equally enlightening.

Following the line that sniffer dogs get it wrong sometimes leads one to conclude that they must also get it right sometimes. Let's assume, no more than for the sake of argument, that Eddie's success in PDL was 50 - 50 (maybe he was wrong about the Renault Scenic). He wasn't wrong about Kate's clothes or cuddle cat was he? The stale nappies / rotting meat hypothesis could not deal with that and we were offered what by way of camouflage? Dead bodies! Six of them! (by all accounts); deceased persons who had unwittingly kept company with cuddle cat in the UK and exported their sad residues to Portugal via Kate McCann's working clothes - a pair of loud (black and white) check beach trousers and T-shirt!

Coming In From The Cold, 29 September 2009
Coming In From The Cold

Kate McCann in the 'Madeleine Was Here' documentary


By Dr Martin Roberts
29 September 2009


Kate McCann concludes a recent 'blog' entry with the remark, "…we will never forget the great benefit of simple human kindness."

The following transcript (by 'Mitts') is of Kate McCann's opening statement from the Channel 4 documentary 'Madeleine Was Here'.
KM: "I did my check about 10.00 o'clock and went in through the sliding patio doors and I just stood, actually, and I thought, 'oh, all quiet', and to be honest, I might have been tempted to turn round then, but I just noticed that the door, the bedroom door where the three children were sleeping, was open much further than we'd left it. I went to close it to about here and then as I got to here, it suddenly slammed and then as I opened it, it was then that I just thought, 'I'll just look at the children' and I could see Sean and Amelie in the cot and then I was looking at Madeleine's bed which was here and it was dark and I was looking and I was thinking, 'is that Madeleine or is that the bedding?', and I couldn't quite make her out. It sounds really stupid now, but at the time, I was thinking I didn't want to put the light on cos I didn't wanna wake them and literally, as I went back in, the curtains of the bedroom which were drawn,… were closed, … whoosh … It was like a gust of wind, kinda, just blew them open and cuddle cat was still there and her pink blanket was still there and then I knew straight away that she had, errr... been taken, you know."
Does the benefit of 'simple human kindness' not extend, surely, to concern for very young children left unnecessarily exposed to the elements?

Once Madeleine's abductor had climbed out through the window of apartment 5A it will have remained wide open - for three-quarters of an hour by the time Kate returned. The outside air temperature was cold enough on the evening of May 3rd 2007 for Jane Tanner to wear a borrowed fleece when walking back from the Tapas bar to her own accommodation, and for her to register the significance of a child in arms, that she claims to have seen, having been dressed in nothing more than pyjamas.

So, when Kate McCann enters 5A through the patio doors, does she notice or remark on how cold it is inside? No. But she must have realised immediately that indoors was no warmer than outside, because "the bedroom door where the three children were sleeping, was open much further than we'd left it." Not a little further, notice. The combination of a well open door and a wide open window can only have resulted in a really cold apartment, especially since there was a draught through the window sufficient both to slam the door shut and, shortly thereafter, cause the curtains to billow into the room (the door could not have slammed shut beforehand, or Kate would not have encountered it open 'much further' than the parents had previously left it).

Under the circumstances a predictable reaction might have been twofold: On entering the accommodation - 'It's cold in here. Where is the draught coming from?' On nearing the unexpectedly open door - 'Oh dear, the children are sleeping in a draught.'

Did Kate harbour any of these thoughts? Apparently not. Had she not been slightly perturbed by the open door she might have been tempted to turn round (and leave the apartment directly). As it was, her immediate purpose became that of closing the door, not looking in on the children. So she must have been perfectly prepared to leave the children unattended in the cold for another half an hour at least, i.e., until the next pointless inspection. Matthew Oldfield had himself been inside apartment 5A around 9.30 p.m. we are told - he didn't notice the cold either and, for all we know, it may have been he who opened the bedroom door and exacerbated the situation. He certainly didn't close the window, because he did not enter that room and did not therefore see Madeleine.

Even after the wind had blown the bedroom door shut, Kate's reaction, upon re-opening it, was: "I just thought, I'll just look at the children and then I was thinking, is that Madeleine or is that the bedding?"

Far from being concerned about three children asleep in a cold and draughty room in the dark, she merely fails to distinguish her eldest daughter from the bedclothes.

And when the wind made a more immediate impression by causing the curtains to billow in her presence, what did Kate notice straight away - the cold, or that Maddie was missing? No, 'that she had, errr... been taken.'

Chinese Whispers, 08 October 2009
Chinese Whispers

Gerry McCann, The International Bar Association Conference, 06 October 2009


By Dr Martin Roberts
08 October 2009


Many, I am sure, will be familiar with the old joke that has its origins in the novelty of Trench warfare: An urgent message is passed 'up the line.' It starts out as "Send reinforcements, we're going to advance." By the time it arrives at H.Q. it is relayed as "Send three and fourpence, we're going to a dance."

A communications error can equal disaster. Remember the charge of the Light Brigade? "Magnificent. But it's not war!" commented a Russian general, as the hapless horsemen charged toward the wrong guns (In fairness, the despatch was a touch ambiguous). Much nearer in time one can point to major air disasters arising from confusion in the cockpit over messages broadcast by air traffic control (Tenerife has an unfortunate notoriety in that regard). Clarity counts for a lot therefore. The downside however (there is always a downside, isn't there?) is that gains can often be made in the opposite direction, through deliberate obfuscation.

What literate resident of the UK did not raise at least one eyebrow when it became obvious that the justification for Britain's invasion of Iraq resided in intelligence data garnered from a student thesis posted on the Internet, as well as the repeated 'editing' of reports passed between the intelligence community and 'the committee', prior to being handed to 10 Downing Street as evidence of Sadam Hussein's clandestine accumulation of "WMD!"

How the likes of Bush, Powell, Blair and Prescott kept a straight face when addressing their respective audiences of the influential, in establishing their 'coalition of the willing,' is frankly beyond belief. No doubt the troops in occupation are still keeping a 'weather eye' open for the occasional glimpse of concealed SAM missiles jutting out just above the surface of the terrain. But that will be of no comfort to the widow of Dr David Kelly, whose integrity got the better of him (as did the establishment).

One wonders if, after all this time, there are still western representatives in Iraq who believe in the X Files dictum: 'The truth is out there somewhere.' If so they share the same misinformed mindset as those 'searching' for Madeleine McCann, for make no mistake, the McCanns, in cahoots with their various spokespersons, are attempting slowly to talk their way toward innocence.

From the recent Media Law Committee Sessions of the International Bar Association Conference, we glean the following opinion:
Wrongly accused

"Of course, no prosecution was ultimately brought against the McCanns; having protested their innocence throughout, the Portuguese Prosecutor finally exonerated them on 21 July 2008 when their 'arguido' status was lifted and it was confirmed that there was no evidence whatsoever to suggest that they had played any part in their daughter's disappearance."
Was it really the Portuguese Prosecutor who 'protested their innocence throughout,' or the McCanns themselves? Ah, the subtleties of punctuation. Turn a comma into a semi-colon, a full-stop into a comma and voila! You have innocence - as 'protested.' Notwithstanding which, exoneration comes as a win bonus; an entailment of the suspension of 'arguido' status apparently.

Well, I would not presume to speak for others, but if I decline the offer of an egg for breakfast, that does not make me a vegan. This case has yet to be examined in a court of law. The McCanns have not been formally charged. Nor have they been exonerated. And by whom was it confirmed that "there was no evidence whatsoever to suggest that they had played any part in their daughter's disappearance?"

This is a script that recognises everything except the facts, as laid out in the conclusion of the Intercalary police report (translated from the original Portuguese by 'Astro'):
"From everything that is exposed, the process files result in the following:

A) The minor Madeleine McCann died in apartment 5A at the Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz, on the night of the 3rd of May 2007;

B) A simulation of an abduction took place;

C) In order to render the child's death impossible before 22h00, a situation of checking of the McCann couple’s children while they slept was made up;

D) Kate McCann and Gerald McCann are involved in the concealment of the cadaver of their daughter, Madeleine McCann;

E) At this moment, there seem to be no strong indications that the child's death was not the result of a tragic accident, yet;

F) From what has been established up to now, everything indicates that the McCann couple, in self-defence, doesn't want to deliver the cadaver immediately and voluntarily, and there is a strong possibility that it was moved from the initial place of deposition. This situation may raise questions concerning the circumstances in which the death of the child took place.


Therefore, we suggest that the case files are sent to the Republic's Prosecutor, in the Lagos legal district, for:

G) A possible new questioning of the arguidos Kate and Gerald McCann;

H) An evaluation of the measure of restraint to be applied in this case;

During the house search at the McCann couple's residence, a diary style manuscript was found, already photocopied, possibly authored by Kate McCann; admitting that it may contain information that may help to reach the material truth of facts, WE PROPOSE THAT:

I) The photocopies of said document are presented to the illustrious Judge for the purpose of its apprehension, if legal, its translation and eventual collection of information to be included in the process files, as necessary for the investigation.

At this date, I subject the case files to your appreciation, for you to determine whatever you may see as convenient, hence I open:


On the tenth of September, two thousand and seven

Chief Inspector

(Tavares de Almeida)"
If the Public Prosecutor, or anyone else, ever expressed the view that "there was no evidence whatsoever to suggest that they (the McCanns) had played any part in their daughter's disappearance," then, knowingly or otherwise, they were speaking in ignorance of the facts, as does the principal former 'arguido', at almost every turn. "There is absolutely no evidence that Madeleine has been seriously harmed..." he says to the assembled press, fresh from delivering his keynote speech to said conference.

Well, we've heard it all before. But look now at the subtle shift in emphasis that is introduced within those of Dr McCann's comments reported by Spanish publication, El Confidencial:

'there is also "absolutely no indication that she suffered any hurt or harm..."'

Here we have an unmistakable instance of a statement that, contrary to the combatants' wartime plea for help, has actually gained in translation; from the verbal statement in English, to its written expression in Spanish, and back again into English. Not only is there 'no evidence', there is not even an 'indication.' Shades of the M.O.D. under Tony Blair or what?

In truth, the English rendition from the Spanish is accurate enough. It is the Spanish reporter's understanding of what Gerry McCann actually said that is somewhat freer than one might wish. But will the McCanns complain? Unlikely.

A Breath Of Fresh Air, 12 October 2009
A Breath Of Fresh Air

Kate reconstructs her check for 'Madeleine Was Here' documentary


By Dr Martin Roberts
12 October 2009


That's what the 'Maddie' case needs! "New Scotland Yard must step in" comments the Sunday Express of October 11. "Home Secretary Alan Johnson should now ask Scotland Yard to set up a cold case review team..." A pity really that the McCanns opted for Leicestershire constabulary in the first instance. The 'Yard' would have had it sewn up by now. Well, let's face it, given what we know (as opposed to what the McCanns' various spokespersons keep telling us), Inspector Clouseau couldn't fail to close the case. Whoever comes on board, they should be grateful to Express Group newspapers, and Donal MacIntyre, for anticipating the necessary 'cold case review' with - a 'cold case review.'

The 'cold' factor having already been discussed not long ago (McCann files, 29 Sept.) we now have further theoretical paradigms to assess (isn't it exciting? Every few weeks a new theory!). But let's begin by re-establishing the thrust and significance of MacIntyre's contribution. According to the Daily Star of 21 September "The McCanns' investigators say they are already probing MacIntyre's findings and agree with most of his theories." Most, I take it, being 51% plus. Unfortunately we don’t know exactly with which points they are in agreement. With the benefit of hindsight we might suppose the following to belong to the 49% minority - except, that is, for the parenthetic introduction into the argument of an anaesthetic compound.

1(a) Donal MacIntyre (In the Sunday Express): "So we must assume that a few minutes before Gerry arrived, the abductor walked along the public road beside the apartment, opened the gate, walked up 10 steps to the patio and entered through the open patio doors."

(b) Sunday Express Oct. 11: "A theory emerging is that the kidnapper had a duplicate key to apartment 5a, which could have been used on the night to enter by the front door."

2(a) DM: "The abductor inside the apartment passes Madeleine – probably put to sleep with chloroform – through the open window into the accomplice's arms."

(b) SE Oct. 11: "Mr Edgar and Mr Cowley do not believe Madeleine was taken through an open window."

3(a) DM: "The accomplice makes his way out of the window and into the darkness."

(b) SE Oct. 11: see preceding.

And yet, from the ashes of contradiction, arises the phoenix of chloroform!

"The kidnapper of Madeleine McCann drugged her and her twin brother and sister so they would all be quiet while she was snatched."

Eureka! Now we know why the window was opened. It wasn't to let people out, but fresh air in, an important consideration when the nature of chloroform is taken into account. Chloroform is a colourless, sweet smelling liquid, which easily forms a vapour. Its sweetness is estimated to be 40 times that of table sugar. It's obvious now though why Kate didn't smell anything untoward, as the window had been open for some 45 minutes before she returned to the children's bedroom. Plenty of time for any alien odour to dissipate. But hang on a minute! The window was closed when Gerry made his rounds at 9.05 p.m. and the abductor was still inside. So was the smell of chloroform if he'd only just administered it to all three children.

In the context of its historical application as an anaesthetic, the effects of chloroform inhalation may be categorised into five stages:

1. The patient became insensible but retained consciousness.
2. The patient entered a lethargic state in which some pain could be felt.
3. The patient was physically incapable and could feel no pain.
4. The patient exhibited strenuous breathing and complete muscle relaxation.
5. The patient suffered an (often fatal) paralysis of the chest muscles.

Stage 3 was recommended for most surgical procedures. Contrary to popular belief, it was very difficult to chloroform a patient to that extent. A skilled anaesthetist could take 5 minutes to render a patient suitable for surgery.*

Now, even though his targets were very young children, the abductor still had three of them to deal with, so the air in their bedroom should have been pungent when Gerry stood in the doorway thinking how 'lucky' he was. The wine must have really dulled his senses however. Not only did he fail to spot another adult in the room, with nowhere to conceal himself, but the sickly smell of chloroform, recently administered within a metre or so of where Gerry was standing, escaped detection also. You'd think someone with serious medical training would notice that.

At this point the apologists leap to their feet in unison. 'Gerry didn't smell chloroform or anything because it was administered to the children as soon as he'd left.' Oh, really? I beg to reiterate:

"The kidnapper of Madeleine McCann drugged her and her twin brother and sister so they would all be quiet while she was snatched."

Our murky marauder is considered to have drugged all three children on account of his experience the previous evening, when checking out the layout of the apartment (which can only be accomplished from the inside of course, so he must have exercised his duplicate key on the Wednesday night as well). Simply by moving about (perhaps he flushed the toilet) he disturbed Sean who, in turn, disturbed Madeleine. "Drat!" he thought to himself. "I must come back tomorrow night and make sure they're all asleep." This begs the obvious question of why he didn't simply abscond with Madeleine there and then, having already gained access undetected. What more did he need?

I digress. Wednesday night being the dress rehearsal, we must focus on the act of sedation perpetrated on the Thursday, after Gerry had turned and left. And why was it done? To prevent the children from waking each other. The anaesthetist has three children to deal with simultaneously. On a previous visit his very presence set them a-crying. So how does he know which one to sedate first? Maybe he just got lucky, after Gerry had turned and left don't forget. But by that time he had already been in the bedroom (playing peek-a-boo behind a wardrobe door not wide enough to hide him, adopting the foetal position behind the cribs, or possibly hanging from the ceiling like Spiderman, who knows?). There he was, waiting like a coiled spring to leap into action and flourish the chloroform, whilst from the children, who the night before had cried at his very presence, was heard - nothing at all. Maybe they'd simply arrived at their own consensus of unconcern ('nothing to worry about, it's only the abductor') and couldn't be bothered to wake up a second time.

And after this heartless character has aggressively put the children to sleep, what does he do? Why, he very considerately opens the window, before leaving through the front door with Madeleine in his arms. That's why neither Matthew Oldfield nor Kate McCann noticed the aroma.

I don't think so somehow.

The bottom line is that this new theory, expounded by McCann detectives and authorised by McCann media liaison, has unwittingly resurrected the earliest conundrum of all, that of who opened the window? There being no forensic trace of any kind to indicate that anyone was daft enough to try and climb through it, there has to be a justification for the 'whooshing' curtains. But no chloroform-wielding abductor is going to stop to open a window just to let the smell out! So the window was closed and the vapour detectable when Gerry stood in the doorway. Or the window was closed, and the sleeping draught yet to be administered, when Gerry stood in the doorway without noticing the abductor, who, in turn, had failed to wake the children, so the chloroform was in fact surplus to requirements. Or the window was closed, Gerry had just left, and the abductor chloroformed the kids for good measure, leaving behind an odd smell. Oldfield was too timorous even to enter the bedroom, so he presumably thought one of the twins had filled their nappies and left it to Kate to aerate the dormitory. And whose fingerprints were found to be on the window, opened from the inside?

Kate McCann has, for more than two years now, been peddling the story that the window was open when she 'did her check.' Since her own detectives have circuitously arrived at the same conclusion as the PJ in that respect, an unravelling appears to be in prospect. And not before time.

*Thanks to Stephen Belding, University of Oxford, for this information.

Chapter And Verse, 14 October 2009
Chapter And Verse


By Dr Martin Roberts
14 October 2009


"I disagree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."

This statement, attributed to Voltaire and first articulated over two hundred years ago, is no cliché. As a cornerstone of democratic practice its significance is timeless. The principle it enshrines, however, is one to which some clearly find difficulty in subscribing, as illustrated by the following (translated) comments posted recently on a Spanish 'blog', beneath an article discussing the injunction against Gonçalo Amaral; an injunction banning both his book and any future comment thereon by himself and, in effect, outlawing his thesis (which, it is prudent to recognise, is not his uniquely, either in origin or derivation).

Manuel Carballal: Prohiben en Portugal el Libro sobre Madeleine McCann (Book on Madeleine McCann banned in Portugal).

"The police might perhaps be unable to find the girl, but what is clear is that they should have found those responsible for her disappearance.

"The Portuguese police were prevented from doing so on account of clear interference by the British government.

"What I find shameful is that people bend over backwards to defend a couple of parents who left their children alone every night in order to go out with their friends.

"To defend such negligent parents who have since refused to return to Portugal in order to reconstruct their actions, a mother who refused to answer 48 questions put to her by the police, despite being told that her refusal was compromising an investigation, the purpose of which was to find her daughter.

"This book is based on an official summary made public by a judge, but it seems there are still people more intent on defending negligent liars than freedom of expression."

Justice for Madeleine Beth McCann


Anonymous said...

"Manuel Carballal, I am both sorry and disgusted that you allow your interesting web site to host comments by people who still attempt to call the McCanns' suffering into question, and further to suggest they killed their own daughter. I do not propose to revisit your site while you permit these comments."

This is clearly one reader who would not shrink from censoring what they have just read or, given the opportunity, prohibiting its publication. Draconian enough perhaps, but what makes this dogmatic posture all the more alarming is that the type of comment to which 'anonymous' objects is nowhere represented among the observations they are criticising. Reactionary, yes. Illogical, certainly. And, if taken to extremes, dangerous.

Such is the case with The Truth of the Lie, a book banned in Portugal and thereby legally denied a readership elsewhere (Britain especially, since a version in English was on the cards).

Legal jousting aside, prohibition of this publication has no logical basis whatsoever. The ideas it contains, having first been made public by the Portuguese authorities themselves, have since been broadcast by numerous internet sites, including those maintained by the national dailies. Can it really be the case that a book written in the Portuguese language is capable of causing personal distress to two people who seem scarcely in command of their own, which is English? It has been claimed that widespread dissemination of the belief expressed by the author, i.e. that Madeleine McCann is dead, would jeopardise the on-going search for the child. But how can this be so, when the 'search' is being co-ordinated by private detectives; mercenaries contractually immunised against adverse opinion. And, as the Portuguese police have long since desisted in this case, what possible difference can a Portuguese publication make to their contribution? A thousand or more new leads, offered by the general public in the wake of a recent press conference by the parents, gives the lie to any notion that this book, or any like it, would have the effect of discouraging people from coming forward with information.

Hypocrisy is an insult to anyone's intelligence, but when dressed in lawyers' silks it becomes offensive. The following extract is taken from an interview, given by Gerry McCann to Vanity Fair magazine's Judy Bachrach, and published as a 'web exclusive' on September 10, 2008:

"Portuguese attorney general Fernando Pinto Monteiro suggested that one way or another the McCanns were responsible for their child's death. Specifically he said that if indeed Madeleine had been kidnapped, it was the carefully contrived publicity engineered by her parents that likely sealed her fate. 'With the whole world having Madeleine's photo,' he observed, any abductor would have been pushed to such a degree that 'there's a greater probability of the little girl being dead than alive.'

"And with this last devastating conclusion—namely that Madeleine will likely never reappear—Madeleine's own father haltingly agrees."

As far as the recent injunction is concerned, armchair strategists are bound to argue about motives and purposes, such as paving the way for libel action, pre-empting publication of an English Language version specifically, destroying the author personally etc., etc. In public at any rate, the objectionable core of the work is held to be the hypothesis of Madeleine's death - Chapter 16. But like so much of this case, this too may prove to be misdirection, on a grand scale. The casual observer, unfamiliar with prior examples of conceptual leger de main, such as forced/unforced entry, soft toys in the autopsy room and invisible passers by, may well be inclined to take this particular stance at face value. Others might rather consider whether the truly sensitive material in this publication resides elsewhere.

Gonçalo Amaral, author of The Truth of the Lie, has been widely vilified in the British press. 'Disgraced', 'bungling', 'incompetent' are three epithets which spring to mind. But what, exactly, precipitated his fall from grace? There can be little doubt that the Portuguese authorities were pressured by Gordon Brown to remove Sr. Amaral from office, as his dismissal was notified to our Prime Minister before even it was made apparent to the then PJ co-ordinator himself. Suddenly, the team leader had become persona non grata. Why? Because he obstinately refused to renounce the hypothesis that Madeleine had not been abducted, but was instead deceased? Not at all. That hypothesis had become a collective opinion in relatively short order, following scrutiny of the circumstances by British expert Mark Harrison, who had as good as said, 'Start looking for a body.'

No, Sr Amaral was not removed on account of any intransigent anti-McCann stance. His abrupt dismissal followed directly upon comments to a journalist criticising the English police and, by implication, the Leicestershire Police, since it was they, rather than Scotland Yard, who had become directly involved in the investigation; an involvement sought by the McCanns from the outset apparently.

Whilst the off-hand remarks may have drawn unwelcome attention to the British investigative contingent at the time, they were by no means as revelatory as the observations published since. If impounding, with a view to destruction, copies of The Truth of the Lie is reminiscent of the role of the Fireman in the story Fahrenheit 451, i.e. to start (book) fires not extinguish them, then it is not an altogether surprising development, given other precedents in this case.

The fundamental role of the police in any developed society is that of crime prevention and detection, in which context it is by no means unknown for individuals to take their personal contribution to extremes, even going so far as to falsify evidence in an attempt to ensure a conviction. Ironically, whilst this is something Gerry McCann voiced as a suspicion of the Portuguese, during a September 2007 conversation with Ed Smart (father of abductee Elizabeth Smart), it is, perversely, a charge that might be laid at the door of the British, whom Amaral portrays as having introduced false evidence, not with a view to securing a conviction, but forestalling one. How else might one describe investigative attention being suddenly and deliberately drawn to a video purporting to show Madeleine present at an orgy engaged in by wealthy arabs, when the video in question had been in police hands since February/March of that year, weeks before the announcement of Madeleine's disappearance on May 3! Whilst Chapter 16 may be significant, Chapter 18 is truly revealing.

As a younger man I once enjoyed the company of a mathematically adept colleague, whose principal out-of-hours interest was the 'Sport of Kings'. He would study The Sporting Life assiduously, and wasn't so much in the habit of placing a bet as making a calculated investment. When assessing the odds, this individual typically thought 'outside the box', well before that phrase was ever coined. He had a sharp eye for the unusual, and one memorable observation of his has stayed with me ever since: 'You won't find a trainer in the North of England sending his horse all the way to a small track in the South if he doesn't have a very good reason for believing it will win.'

Now, this is not quite the irrelevant anecdote it may appear. Soon after attending at apartment 5A of the Ocean Complex on the night of May 3, 2007, the GNR decided they were out of their depth and called in the PJ, an organisation the McCanns would go on to criticise in no uncertain terms, Gerry making it perfectly clear that, in his view, the British had more experience in handling child abduction cases. So there he was, a visitor to the Iberian peninsular, whose child was inexplicably missing from a resort of little consequence and, as the local police, recognising the potential seriousness of the crime, defer instinctively to their senior investigative colleagues, what does Gerry McCann do? By way of bringing the full resources of the more experienced British police to bear, he encourages the PJ to collaborate, not with Scotland Yard, but a provincial constabulary.

Are we to suppose that the expertise to which Gerry McCann was necessarily appealing was particularly well represented by Leicestershire Police? Simply observing the law of averages, as well as the highly skewed distribution of the UK population, specialist expertise in all manner of things is most likely to reside in or around London and the South East. So was experience in the handling of missing child cases a Leicestershire forte or the criterion which singled them out as the most appropriate authority to co-ordinate the UK contribution? If not, what made their affiliation to the enquiry so important for the McCanns? Like the horse being sent a long way to compete in a small race meeting, the specific engagement of a provincial police force on a case with international parameters cannot have been without purpose. And that purpose cannot have been simply facilitating subsequent liaison back home in the UK, since no-one, outside of the protagonists, can pre-determine the length of time for which a missing person might remain so. It could all have been over inside a week. Still, there is no denying the quality of the liaison, with guidance, in the form of police manuals, later finding its way onto Gerry McCann's bedside cabinet.

Experience being the culmination of prior knowledge, perhaps one should enquire as to the class of prior knowledge which recommended the Leicestershire Police in this instance and, if it was not missing persons related, what was it? Logic dictates that no wisdom could have been applied to the problem before the problem had arisen. Knowing how best to go about searching for a missing child is clearly only an advantage after a disappearance has occurred. Surely, in this case, there wasn't something of importance that might have been known beforehand. There was no 'beforehand', was there?

Perhaps we should turn our attention from Chapter 18, to Chapter 12; not of the Truth of the Lie this time, but the Old Testament's second book of Samuel. There, is recounted the story of how King David, having put the Hittite Uriah to death, takes his widow for a wife, incurs the wrath of God in so doing, and is punished by the death of the one child to have resulted from the unacceptable union (verses 15 - 19). PJ investigators discovered a Bible in the apartment to which the McCanns had adjourned, following the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine from 5A of the Ocean Club complex, and this is the episode retold at that point where its pages were noted to be marked or crumpled.

Kate McCann summarily dismissed the PJ's view that this passage was of significance, referring as it does to the death of a sick child. In truth, there does appear to be little more than coincidence attaching to the seemingly allegorical connection. Madeleine McCann had inexplicably disappeared. She had not fallen ill and died as a consequence. But there is something more to the biblical scribe's story. Not only is the reader told that a child of David dies, but we are also told why; not in terms of causality, but God's justification for inflicting the punishment: Avarice, Lust, Adultery - take your pick. David had wives enough.

Careful scrutiny of the telecomms traffic around the time of Madeleine's disappearance has previously yielded an indication that, on the night of Tuesday 1st May, Kate McCann was actually back in the family apartment some 14 minutes before Mrs Fenn claims she heard a child start crying. This is the night when aerobics instructor and sometime quiz hostess, Miss Najoua Chekaya, was on duty for the Mark Warner resort, and the only night when an invitation to join the McCann table can have been extended to her (she did not work on Thursdays). There has to have been a reason, therefore, why the impression was freely given that Miss Chekaya joined the Tapas diners at their table on that fateful Thursday night, when she clearly could not have done so. There has also to be a reason why a young child should cry for "Daddy" in "Mummy's" presence.

When interviewed for Expresso TV, on 6 September 2008, Kate and Gerry collaborated in circumnavigating a question put to them regarding the deletion of 16 text messages, which Gerry was known, through police analysis, to have received. Their joint answer was unconvincingly dressed in an explanation of Gerry's own reticence about sending text messages prior to Madeleine's disappearance. While the content of communications sent and received is perforce of interest, even a skeletal call history has a tale to tell, being a record of who was in contact, even if not what information was shared. The devil, as always, is in the detail.

One has to question why, in such alarming circumstances as the disappearance of their daughter, both Kate and Gerry saw fit to engage in some electronic 'pruning' when there was no casual need to do so. It does rather raise the suspicion that there was a need, and not a casual one at that, to protect the identity of earlier contacts which might, upon later scrutiny, appear to have been untimely, inappropriate or both. In much the same way as the ready availability of photographic enlargements was perceived by the PJ to have been premature, there is at least a hint here of 'prior knowledge', i.e., that there was a 'beforehand' after all, and that someone outside of the McCanns' immediate circle knew what it was.

That ubiquitous 'source close to the McCanns' told the Daily Mirror ( News, 29 May, 2008) that, as far as Gerry was concerned, "The only time his phone rang was when work called and he explained he was on holiday. There are no mystery texts. Gerry has nothing to hide. It's yet more nonsense coming from Portugal."

When one surveys the data sheet itemising Gerry McCann's deleted text messages, two things at least become immediately obvious: that this source is lying, and that another forensic 'shadow' is clearly visible.

Having discovered that Gerry McCann was on holiday, 'work' is unlikely to have called repeatedly thereafter. And whilst 'Work' may not have sent Gerry fourteen text messages on May 2nd somebody clearly did. There was a constantly changing situation somewhere of which Gerry McCann was being kept informed via messages transmitted in close-knit batches, approximately hourly at first, then precisely two hourly. The tell-tale timings are:

8.07.12, 8.07.17
9.10.45, 9.13.01, 9.18.15
10.35.50, 10.47.56
13.46.23, 13.48.33, 13.59.32

The phrase 'regular updates' comes readily to mind. The mendacious 'source close to the McCanns' would no doubt try to convince people that these calls were unrelated to each other, but the timings between salvos, as well as the tight proximity within them, tell us otherwise. Of course we may never know who this mystery contact was, but being unusually optimistic for once, I should like to think that the word 'never' does not apply in this instance.

A Magical Mystery Tour, 17 October 2009
A Magical Mystery Tour

John Buck: British Ambassador to Portugal at the time of Madeleine's disappearance


By Dr Martin Roberts
17 October 2009


The Beatles were responsible for so much that was, and is, good in our lives, it seems almost a sacrilege to adopt their lyrics as metaphors for the distasteful on-going farrago that is the McCann case. Nevertheless, I trust that those remaining warm-hearted Liverpudlians, messrs. McCartney and Starkey, would not object if their words were used to promote ease of understanding, in a case where complexity has been piled upon complexity, deliberately obscuring Occams razor almost to the point of invisibility. For we are all being encouraged to dance around the totem pole, while the tribal chief and his Shaman sidekick creep off into the darkness with the magic fleece. We might have the egg man but he is the Walrus.

'Imagine all the people... looking for our child.' And how was she taken from you? 'He came in through the bathroom window...'

At this point a complete rendition of Yesterday would sum the story up nicely.

Early on in his Beatles career, the dear departed George Harrison penned what could now be interpreted as a liar's libretto. Taken to No.1 in the UK charts by Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas, it runs:

'Listen.! Do you want to know a secret?
'Do you promise not to tell? Whoa, oh, oh,
'Closer. Let me whisper in your ear.
'Say the words I long to hear.
‘My secret's safe with you.'

O.k., so I've altered the last line a touch. But the stanza can otherwise be adopted 'as is' in relation to what follows.

"Three may keep a secret if two of them are dead."

Already a century-old before Benjamin Franklin utilised it, this proverb still carries some weight, although there are less dramatic options open to us these days, e.g. 'three may keep a secret if:'
(a) one is your local Catholic priest and the other his Cardinal


(b) one is your country's overseas Ambassador and the other resides in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
On March 19 this year the FOI News reported thus:

'Sensitive e-mails concerning the hunt for missing child Madeleine McCann will remain secret for fear of offending the Portuguese authorities who were tasked with finding her.

'A request for the disclosure of 13 e-mails and one letter, which were written in the two months after Madeleine went missing, was refused by the Information Commissioner.'

And later, discussing an appeal by the requester to the Information Commissioner's Office:

'The complainant said the release was in the public interest in order to uphold public confidence that British authorities do everything possible to help find missing children, reassure people the authorities keep in close contact with the police involved in the search and ensure public funds are used effectively to help find missing children.

'But the Commissioner said in his decision that the disclosure would offend the Portuguese authorities.

'He went on to say: "...even now, to disclose full information about the then ambassador's communications with the Portuguese authorities then, on a balance of probabilities, substantial damage to the international relationship would result."

'He added: "The Commissioner is mindful of the need for the UK authorities to be seen to be worthy of trust by their foreign counterparts in Portugal and elsewhere in the world.

'"He sees significant risk that disclosure of confidences or of other sensitive material would have damaging implications for any possible further developments on this matter and any relevant future investigations in Portugal or elsewhere in the world. This would not be in the best interests of the McCann family, including Madeleine, or of other UK citizens travelling to Portugal or elsewhere outside the UK."'

In sum therefore, the Commissioner took the view that, if the UK authorities were perceived as prepared to 'tell tales out of school' we would no longer be internationally respected for our integrity. Hence he felt it inappropriate to divulge 'sensitive material' or 'disclose confidences.'

It all sounds very paternal, very proper, until one discovers just what 'confidences' are being protected. I invite you, dear reader, to peruse in disbelief, as I have, comments recorded within the 3 March Decision Notice under Reference FS50188322:

Findings of fact

13. On May 3 2007 the child Madeleine McCann went missing: at the time of the information request the investigation into her disappearance was high profile and continuing. In determining to withhold certain information under the section 27 exemption, FCO consulted with the British Embassy in Lisbon and with two relevant authorities in the UK - Leicestershire Police and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

14. FCO told the Commissioner that a family member had made clear to FCO staff that all comments made by that individual to FCO had been made in strict confidence and were not intended for disclosure to third parties. FCO did not approach the family member again during the Commissioner's investigation but told the Commissioner that they were confident the individual would not appreciate being contacted regarding disclosure of the relevant personal information, a position the Commissioner accepted.

So, in part at least, an international incident is averted by not betraying the confidence of a family member, who would not appreciate being contacted.

Even as I write this I stare with complete and utter incredulity at these statements. If members of the UK Parliament viewed Carter-Rucks' attempt to suppress discussion of the Trafigura report as an affront to democracy, what on earth are we supposed to make of this?

'Dear Sirs at the FCO. Something rather unpleasant has happened to my daughter whilst on holiday in Portugal. A couple of us involved in the incident are prepared to tell a few lies to the media, to keep them at bay (in fact we've already done so), but we're not prepared yet to divulge all the details. Fortunately for all concerned, the Portuguese justice system obliges us to keep stum anyway, so our backs are covered there. Now this is all in strict confidence you understand, so you won't tell anyone will you?'

Is this how it goes? Is this the measure of sheer lunacy practised by the British Government and its unquestioning Civil Service? When, in Heaven's name will someone have the conviction and moral principle to point out that the Emperor is naked?

Madeleine Must Be Found, 22 October 2009
Madeleine Must Be Found

Maddie in Snow White outfit


By Dr Martin Roberts
22 October 2009


With more than a 1000 new leads generated in the wake of the McCanns' Lisbon Press conference, to be added to the unknown number previously accrued via the FindMadeleine website and a publicity drive in Portugal imminent, a team of two private investigators, however experienced, cannot possibly keep abreast of developments, much less get ahead sufficiently to follow through on the more promising reports. And there are likely to be significantly more of these now that an injunction has prevented the distribution of discouraging information in the form of Goncalo Amaral's book The Truth of the Lie.

As the backlog of information builds up, so the date of Madeleine's return to her parents becomes ever more remote, her suffering ever more protracted. Decency alone requires that the British Government and/or the McCanns themselves request the case be re-opened, so that the necessary resources can be legitimately brought to bear on finding the child, now believed to be ensconced in the hinterland beyond Praia da Luz. With the Leicestershire Police continuing to pass information to their erstwhile colleagues in Portugal, the PJ must be given the mandate to act vigorously upon it. Since no one, including Madeleine's parents, knows whether she is alive or dead, the remit must include a topographical survey, to investigate sites of perceptible disturbance to terrain. The parents are of the opinion that Portugal is where 'the information lies,'  hence that is where it should be sought.

A thorough trace should also be made of evidence, germane to the enquiry still, which appears since to have been mislaid, in order to discourage false reports and prevent the waste of time and resources that would be expended in following these up.

Now that the Portuguese Civil court is on the verge of impounding 1.2 million euros on behalf of the McCanns, there can be no grounds for protesting that the necessary extensive and exhaustive enquiry is beyond the collective means of both Portuguese and British Police forces. Whatever it costs to leave 'no stone unturned' these costs can surely now be met, since the McCanns own search fund is about to be replenished very substantially and their legal expenses, we are reminded, are met from other sources besides. A substantial reward for information, from within Portugal especially and contingent upon the little girl's recovery, should also be put up and widely advertised. After more than two years, whoever holds that 'key piece of information,' clearly requires more than a pang of conscience to divulge it.

The only thing Jaycee Dugard can be truly thankful for over the last eighteen years is that she is still alive. This in no way confers a guaranty on abductees everywhere. Quite simply, the longer a person is missing, the greater the potential for suffering.

Madeleine must be found, and the sooner the better for all concerned.

The Pyjama Game, 24 October 2009
The Pyjama Game

Gerry and Kate McCann with pyjamas, Crimewatch appeal


By Dr Martin Roberts
24 October 2009


The progressive improvement of Jane Tanner's memory, and the concomitant evolution of her eye witness account of Madeleine McCann's hypothesized abduction, have been widely discussed already. In her witness statement taken on 4 May, 2007, Jane Tanner 'reports having seen a man carrying a child, with a hurried walk, it being this detail together with the fact that the child dressed in pyjamas, without being wrapped up in a blanket, that caught her attention. The child appeared to be older than a baby. She was barefoot and was wearing what appeared to be cotton pyjamas of a light colour (possibly white or light pink). She is not certain, but has the impression a design on the pyjamas, possibly a floral pattern, but she is not certain.'

Fundamentally, the more diffuse her recollection of any blanket (none were said to be missing from apartment 5A at the time), the more precise becomes the description of pyjamas.

For a week's holiday in self-catering accommodation (dining out optional) one would surely 'travel light' - one week, one pair of pyjamas each; there are laundry facilities after all, so you can quickly take care of unexpected mishaps such as 'tea' stains, especially in a warm climate conducive to quick drying.

So it is then, that we read an account of understandable parsimony in the sharing of resources while abroad:

'As the family waited fearfully for news, they faced the agonising reality of trying to explain to their toddler twins why their big sister was no longer there.

"That was terrible for them," says John McCann, Mr McCann's elder brother, who has also travelled to Portugal to help search for his niece.

"Kate dressed Amelie in her sister's pyjamas and the baby said: 'Maddy's jammies. Where is Maddy?' But she is too young to understand. And how do you explain? All we know is that Madeleine needs her family. She loves us, we love her. It is time for her to come home."' (Sydney Morning Herald, 15 May, 2007).

Thus, in an article published twelve days after the announcement of Madeleine's disappearance, John McCann, speaking in the past tense, informs us that shortly after the little girl went missing, 'Kate dressed Amelie in her sister's pyjamas.'

How was this possible? Madeleine had been wearing her pyjamas when she was carried off! Amelie was not dressed in Madeleine's spare set. There wasn't one. Had there been they would have been advertised as such for the benefit of the BBC's Crimewatch audience on 4 June, 2007, as well as to the Berlin press pack two days later. Brandishing a 'slightly smaller' edition belonging to Amelie should not have been necessary ('Smiling wanly, Mrs McCann looked down at the pyjamas in her lap and added:

"These are virtually identical, but these are little bit smaller because they are Amelie's."') (Daily Mail, 5 June, 2007).

And if Amelie possessed her own pyjamas 'virtually identical' to those of Madeleine, why on earth should Kate have dressed her in her sister's version of the same, spare set or no? The blatant contradictions here suggest either ghoulishly morbid behaviour on Kate McCann's part or a devastating hole in the McCann dyke.

For Amelie to have worn Madeleine's pyjamas within days of her elder sister's being 'taken' there can be only one explanation; that her pyjamas had, as if by magic, re-appeared.

But we grown-ups do not 'do magic.' Taken together with the subsequent disappearance of Madeleine's real comforter, her pink blanket, the conclusion this migration of clothing and bedding invites is obvious; as obvious as it was to those investigating the case originally, including Goncalo Amaral, and Chief Inspector Tavares de Almeida, who saw fit to sign off on the following:
"From all that has been exposed, it results from the file that:

a) The minor Madeleine McCann died in apartment 5A of the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz, on the evening/night of the 3rd of May 2007;

b) an abduction was simulated;

c) in order to render the child's death before 10 p.m. impossible, a situation of checking on the McCann couple’s children, while they slept, was made up;

d) Kate McCann and Gerald McCann are involved in the concealment of the cadaver of their daughter, Madeleine McCann;

e) at this moment in time, there seem to be no strong indications yet that the child's death was not the result of a tragic accident;

f) from all that has been established up to this moment, everything indicates that the McCann couple, in auto defence, does not want to hand over the cadaver immediately and voluntarily, and that there is a strong possibility that it was moved from its initial location. This situation may raise questions concerning the circumstances under which the child’s death occurred."

(in: Process 201/07.0GALGS, volume XVII, page 2601)
Now when commentators speak of this case as being 'shrouded in mystery,' they little realise perhaps, quite how appropriate an expression this is.

Or how even gold/brown Nissan cars can simply 'disappear off the radar'

Excerpt from Jane Tanner's Rogatory interview on 8 April, 2008:

4078: "And again I am going to ask about cars"
Jane Tanner: "Yeah"
4078: "Were there any? Did you notice any cars around?"
Jane Tanner: "There were cars around but, phew... because you've often got them, say, sort of down this bit here. But I can’t remember what they were or I didn't notice anything that looked odd, you know, no car that seemed to be standing out from anything else, so..."
4078: "No?"
Jane Tanner: "No"
4078: "So you didn't notice any car headlights or noises from cars?"
Jane Tanner: "No, no, because I think, you know, if I'd heard sort of a car screech off quickly at that point, I probably would have... would have taken notice, I think"


'In September 2003, the McCanns and their friends Matthew Oldfield, Rachael Mampilly, Russell O'Brien and Jane Tanner spent a week in Umbria in Italy, where they went to attend David and Fiona Payne's wedding.' (The Forbidden Investigation).

A Considerate Criminal, 28 October 2009
A Considerate Criminal

The bed from which it is claimed, by the McCanns, that Madeleine was abducted


By Dr Martin Roberts
28 October 2009


No, not the ocean-going child trafficker selling his prey on to a comfortable life in the Antipodes. Nor yet the dark-skinned Algerian (mafia boss, drug dealer, child snatcher), who apparently could not have cared less whether Madeleine was 'placed' with paedophiles, a family, or even a family of paedophiles. The title concerns the individual who went to such extraordinary lengths, not simply to do his master's bidding, but to comply in a manner more thoughtful even than that of the parents whose child he was intent on appropriating.

The burglar's principle is akin to that of the professional boxer: Get in. Get the job done. Get out. No messing. Someone stealing a child from its own domicile (the rarest of child abduction scenarios) would surely not embellish the proceedings unnecessarily, any more than might a jewel thief. And yet, in the case of Madeleine McCann, we have a child removed from her bed, some would say by a stalker, in pursuance of an almost apologetic crime.

A 'cold case review', conducted for the Daily Express not long ago by Donal MacIntyre, found favour with investigators working for the McCanns. MacIntyre postulated that Madeleine's eventual abductor carried out a 'dry run' the evening beforehand, disturbing the children in the process. Thus was the felon's conscience pricked at the outset, for on the Thursday evening he was as quiet as a church mouse, cautiously entering the darkened apartment, most probably through the unlocked sliding patio doors to the rear, and shortly before Gerry McCann himself entered more obtrusively through the front door, even though he knew it made enough noise to disturb the sleeping children in the bedroom adjacent (which is why, according to his 'Madeleine Was Here' documentary statement, he and others 'ended up coming through the back.' Except, of course, he didn't. He persisted in coming through the front).

So there they all were between 9.10 and 9.15 p.m., sound, if not altogether safe, inside apartment 5A: Gerry, the lurking yet inconspicuous abductor, and the children - all still asleep. Madeleine, in particular, was sleeping almost 'al fresco.' Gerry's less than photographic memory of her dormant position is reflected in his arguido statement, given on 7 September, 2007:

'Moreover, he says that with respect to Madeleine she was in the same position where he had left her at the beginning of the night. Madeleine was lying down on her left side, completely uncovered, i.e. lying on top of the covers with the soft toy and blanket, both pink, next to her head; he does not know if they were in the position that can be seen in the photograph attached to the files.'

Two years later, and after much greater consideration of the evidence, Gerry feels he can be a touch more precise:

"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." ('Madeleine Was Here' documentary, broadcast 07 May 2009).

To the abductor's advantage then, Madeleine did not have to be lifted out of her bed, merely off it. But how far, exactly, were the covers turned down?

According to the PJ's report of Gerry McCanns' witness statement, made on 10 May 2007, and which Dr McCann signed as an accurate record of the interview:

"Also relevant to the bed where his daughter slept is how it was found on the night of the disappearance. States that his daughter slept without the covers, as was normal, due to the heat, with the bed sheets folded towards the foot of the bed."

So Madeleine, unencumbered by the bedclothes at her feet, could be lifted straight off the bed.

Once Gerry had turned and left, this is eventually what the perpetrator must have done; but only eventually. First he took care to minimise any trauma to the children by sedating them, with chloroform by all accounts (this must have been after Gerry had left the apartment or he would have smelt it). Next he lifted Madeleine up and either placed her temporarily on the other (vacant) bed in the room, or carried her into the lounge and set her down on the sofa while he (re)turned to make her bed! Unbelievable? Well, someone must have pulled the covers back up to the position in which they were photographed by the PJ, tucked neatly in at the side by the wall and with just the one corner turned back. Matthew Oldfield did not enter the room subsequently and the McCanns, we know, were very conscientious about not touching things, having due regard to 'the way the scene was left.'

We can only suppose therefore that the abductor made the bed after removing Madeleine from it. And that's not all. While still in the room he drew back the curtains, then opened the window and shutters to release the tell-tale aroma of chloroform. Never mind that no-one heard him do so, he must have aerated the room somehow because Oldfield, arriving barely twenty minutes later, did not detect any unusual odours either. He mistakenly thought the window was closed also. Perhaps it was. Perhaps the sedative-wielding abductor, on opening the window, realized how chilly was the night air and thought, 'I'll just give it a minute or two,' then closed it again. Kate McCann, in contrast, appears later to have been oblivious to the cold, despite the window having been open after all; for fully forty-five minutes in that case. Some abductors simply cannot make up their minds it seems. They also seem unable to leave fingerprints of any kind on doors or windows, despite opening and closing them repeatedly.

The following is an excerpt from Matthew Oldfield's Rogatory interview with Leicestershire police:

4078: "The curtains were drawn and weren't blowing around?"

Matthew Oldfield:


Matthew Oldfield: "No, no, we've talked about that before, I didn't smell anything, I mean, I could see the children breathing, but I didn't clock it as abnormal, errm... it'd be completely to speculate to say whether their breathing was fast or... I couldn't say, I mean, they were breathing and that's what, you know... and that was what I was there to check, errm... no, no funny sort of smells, no sort of funny draughts, no sort of funny sort of noises, no, errm... nothing that I can think of for that. I mean, it was a complete... just a shock out of the blue when, you know, I'd been in and then suddenly somebody's saying Madeleine's missing, there was nothing that made me think: 'Oh'."

Kate McCann's concern for her children's health expressed itself in surreptitious attempts on the night to ascertain that they were still breathing (holding her fingers beneath the twins nostrils), and a suggestion, some three months later, that their little bodies be tested for the presence of foreign chemicals. Why the twins' breathing was not as obvious to her as it was to Matthew Oldfield is something else she might care to explain (Let that be question 49). She didn't even need Oldfield's night vision, because the lights in the apartment were on by this time.

But to return to our industrious abductor. Having picked Madeleine up once more, he pursued one of two courses of action. He either (a) Made his way to the front door of the apartment, opened it with one hand whilst supporting the child with his other arm (see, for example, Gerry McCann carrying one of the twins down the steps from their homecoming aeroplane), exited the apartment, then stopped, turned, and closed the door behind him, or (b) Passed Madeleine through the open window to a waiting accomplice, who had shrewdly anticipated his help would be needed, then followed her through the same aperture, some three feet off the floor, without so much as grazing the lichen on the sill, and somehow drawing the curtains together again, from outside now, allowing them to conceal the window from Matthew Oldfield and afterwards to billow instructively for Kate McCann.

'He who hesitates is lost,' as the saying goes. Our conscientious abductor almost precipitated his own downfall by devoting so much of his time to being considerate. Had Jane Tanner been better informed when she spotted him at 9.20 p.m. (according to the timeline as originally constructed by the committee of diners) he, or his assistant, might even have been apprehended. Still, his accomplishments in the time available were quite remarkable. Gerry must have spent at least a couple of minutes inside the apartment himself, staring down at his three children, visiting the bathroom etc., so abduction activities could not have commenced until 9.12 p.m. at the earliest. And yet the miscreant is on the street at 9.20 p.m., by which time he has: 1. Chloroformed three children individually. 2. Moved Madeleine from bed to bed (or into the lounge). 3. Made her bed, not forgetting to turn back the covers a little. 4. Noiselessly (i.e. slowly) opened the bedroom window and shutters. 5. Retrieved Madeleine, either from the spare bed or the sofa, and made his way out, all inside eight minutes at most (or virtually no time at all if the first of the Tapas group's timelines is to be believed), his thoughtful deeds bracketed as if by bookends. Having closed the patio doors behind him on the way in, he drew the curtains (or closed the front door) behind him on the way out, leaving no trace of his presence save the visible record of his own domesticity.

I ask you, would an opportunist kidnapper, aware that he had but a 'small window of opportunity' within which to operate, do any of these things? A 'grab-and-go' abduction it clearly was not.

'Mad Cow' Legislation, 02 November 2009
'Mad Cow' Legislation

John Buck in Praia da Luz


By Dr Martin Roberts
02 November 2009


The Freedom of Information Act has revealed itself of late to be an indisputable contradiction in terms. Yes, members of the British public are completely at liberty to provide all the information required of them when submitting a Tax return, or seeking state aid of any kind. (Quite ridiculously different government departments each have their own form of what is, in effect, the same questionnaire, given they solicit the same information and ultimately share it among themselves anyway). How many of us have been greeted by an automated telephone exchange announcing that 'this conversation may be recorded for training or security purposes?' But put the boot on the other foot and what happens? The phrase 'We cannot confirm or deny' is already to 'officialese' what 'tailored to your requirements' is to 'ad-speak' - an overworked cliché. The fact is that information flow between the UK public and official bodies created to serve it is as uni-directional as a lemming's last leap.

The law of unintended consequences has beset, in every case, the imposition of performance targets, whether by Ofsted, the Home Office or the NHS. Almost inevitably, the 'duty of care' becomes subordinated by employees, whose own survival instinct necessarily obliges them to give primacy to the attainment of targets. In like fashion, aspects of the Freedom of Information Act, designed to enable access whilst at the same time protecting the individual from data snoopers with ulterior motives, have, albeit unintentionally, provided the government and its various agencies alike with a hatful of 'get out clauses'. In terms of successful acquisition of information held by official bodies, the exception proves the rule, because the exemption has been proven to rule. Never mind the question, if the organisation concerned can find an exemption to fit the genuine answer then the only one likely to be forthcoming is that of the Foxtrot Oscar variety.

There can be no more blatant an example of this tactic in action than the FCO response to a request, lodged on 9 October, 2007, for the content of e-mails, on the subject of Madeleine McCann's disappearance, exchanged between John Buck (former UK Ambassador to Portugal), the Portuguese authorities, and the FCO itself. Consider the following sequence of events, distilled, for the sake of brevity, from the final decision (and explanation thereof) delivered by the office of the Commissioner for Information:

•  6 November, 2007: FCO indicated that exemptions from the act applied under sections 27 and 31

•  3 December, 2007: Some information released but other information withheld under exemptions contained in section 27 (1)(a), section 31(1) (c and section 40 (2) and (3).

It is worth noting, even at this early stage, that Section 27 of the FOIA covers International Relations, Section 31 situations where disclosure would be prejudicial to Law Enforcement, and Sections 40 (2) and (3) Personal Data. Information provided in confidence is covered under section 41.

Unsurprisingly the enquirer appealed the original decision of the FCO, his request subsequently receiving the scrutiny of the Commissioner of Information (or his staff at least) who considered application of section 27 and the public interest as well as application of section 40 to some relevant personal information being held by FCO.

•  12 November 2008: FCO maintained section 27, 31 and 40 exemptions for some information held.

•  FCO continued to withhold some relevant communications along with a small amount of personal information.

•  13 November 2008: The Commissioner's staff examined the information being withheld.

•  24 November: FCO release some information but continue to withhold other information, relying on 27(1)(a) exemption

So, in respect of the original request, all information being withheld at this time is now bracketed under this same exemption, applicable under section 27.

Next from within the Commissioner's response comes a highly significant 'finding of fact', one of two such recorded; a point-by-point analysis in respect of the various decisions as announced is offered thereafter. Salient points of particular significance are brought forth here, edited and underlined for the sake of clarity.

Finding of Fact

•  14. FCO told the Commissioner that a family member had made clear to FCO staff that all comments made by that individual to FCO had been made in strict confidence and were not intended for disclosure to third parties. FCO did not approach the family member again during the Commissioner's investigation but told the Commissioner that they were confident the individual would not appreciate being contacted regarding disclosure of the relevant personal information, a position the Commissioner accepted.


•  19. Inappropriate disclosure (of information still being withheld) would cause overseas governments and public authorities in Portugal and elsewhere to lose trust in the reliability and discretion of UK government and UK public authorities.

Section 27 exemption is therefore engaged. The argument is that disclosure of Ambassador Buck's communications with Portuguese authorities could cause substantial damage to international relations.

•  26. Concern that 'disclosure of confidences or of other sensitive material would have damaging implications for any possible further developments on this matter and relevant future investigations in Portugal or elsewhere. This would not be in the best interests of the McCann family, including Madeleine.'

•  27. Section 27(1)(a) exemption therefore maintained.

But confidences are covered under section 41 of the FOIA, not section 27.

•  28. Since the decision is that information was correctly withheld under section 27, the Commissioner did not go on to consider Section 31 exemption, also relied upon by FCO in refusing to disclose the information to the complainant.

•  29. FCO had a small amount of personal information which had been provided to FCO staff in strict confidence. FCO said that the provider did not wish the information to be disclosed to third parties and that disclosure would be unfair and so would breach the second data protection principle. It would thereby be exempt under section 40 of the act.

•  31. In this case FCO stated that the requested information constituted the personal data of third parties and was therefore exempt under section 40 (2) of the Act.

•  The Commissioner has had to consider whether this constitutes personal data. Section 1 of the Data Protection Act 1998 defines personal data as information which relates to a living individual who can be identified:
From that data, or

From that data and other information in the possession of the data controller
Now this all seems very contentious. What is being discussed here, having already been described as fact, is personal information, not personal data. Data can be withheld if identification of a living person can be made from it. But so too, for the same reason, can 'other information', in which case said information is classified as data for the purposes of interpretation under the act.

So, all you have to do is append your own or someone else’s name to whatever observation you might make to anyone in officialdom and it becomes immune to public scrutiny?

Nevertheless the Commissioner does not even go on to consider this information under Section 41 - confidences.

In the specific context of the McCann case, critics of this and other examples of the FOIA at work (or not, as the case may be) run the risk of being accused of paranoia over any attempt to attribute Machiavellian motives to the ultimate decision makers involved. But 'Just because you're paranoid, it doesn't mean they're not out to get you!'

With particular reference to the so-called 'personal information' involved here, refusal of this application for disclosure is suspect on a number of counts.

The application was considered by the FCO and the COI subsequently to entail personal information relayed in confidence. But the matter of confidentiality per se was never once addressed, the Commissioner being satisfied that exemption under section 40 (personal data) was sufficient. Stranger yet was the FCO's prior assumption that section 27 would prove all-embracing (point 24 above). It is difficult to avoid forming the impression that, whatever this 'sensitive material' was, the FCO and COI made it their joint concern that an exemption would be found to fit.

From point 29 previously we have learnt that the FCO had a small amount of personal information provided to FCO staff in strict confidence, that the provider did not wish to be disclosed to third parties as that would be unfair and exempt under section 40 of the act.

If we place this statement within the overall context of an application for sight of correspondence between Ambassador John Buck, Portuguese authorities and the FCO, what does that tell us about confidentiality? If this personal information, never explicitly requested in the first instance, was entailed in the communications of others, then there are grounds for supposing that the constraint on disclosure required by the initial provider had already been overruled. If, on the other hand, we subscribe to the COI's own description of circumstances immediately post November 12, 2008, i.e. that 'FCO continued to withhold some relevant communications along with a small amount of personal information,' then why should the FCO have entered it among their list of concerns in the first instance? If your neighbour doesn’t ask to borrow your lawn mower you don’t worry about lending it to him.

Now let's consider 'unfairness' and protection under section 40, whereby personal data (or personal information) that may lead to the identification of a living person can justifiably be withheld.

The first thing to notice from the COI's own response is that said personal information is described as originating with a 'family member'. A child has gone missing. There is only one family directly involved. As a percentage of the UK population, even in its extended form, it represents hardly more than a string of noughts after the decimal place. The fact is that the FCO themselves have already narrowed down any search by the inquisitive to a very small group of people, all of whom are readily identifiable, having previously, and one might add deliberately, come forward and made themselves known to the general public. Upon which member of the clan might disclosure of the small amount of personal data have been unfair therefore, and why? Because they did not wish to be bothered afterwards by 'phone calls and further questions? This is not a reason, it is an excuse.

'Just imagine', as we are currently being exhorted to do, your child has gone missing. You sit by the 'phone waiting for news - any news, and take all calls regardless, even if they include the occasional appeal to your wallet by double-glazing salesmen operating out of Calcutta. You don’t, under any circumstances, hang a 'Do not disturb!' sign on your door.

Or perhaps the identity risk attaching to release of this 'personal information', initially subsumed under the 'jeopardy to international relations' argument, was that of Madeleine McCann herself. Again, we have been (and continue to be) encouraged to speak out, to come forward with that 'key bit of information.' After two years, indeed after two hours, the more precisely a missing person can be specified to the general public the better. He or she may have some behavioural idiosyncrasy, as opposed to any unique physical trait, which, under certain circumstances, might mark him or her out from the crowd. Basically the more the searchers know about their objective the better. One could be forgiven for harbouring the thought that someone who deliberately withholds information in such a case is less than keen on seeing the person discovered.

In sum, these decisions on the part of the FCO, and latterly the COI, smack of subterfuge.

"If you know something, say something" intones the FindMadeleine website currently, because, "If you stay quiet you're as guilty as those who took her." So, in order to salve my conscience I might 'say something', but to avoid any misunderstanding, accusations of slander, or questions later, I'll put a bucket over my head. That way the listener won’t be able either to understand or to recognize me. Strictly speaking I shall have done what was requested. But will I have done the right thing by Madeleine?

No, Mr Commissioner. Don't hand us tales of protecting the identity of those who have already identified themselves; or of little ones crying out to be identified. Nor claim an unwarranted respect for the convenience and confidentiality of an individual, who is disposed to sharing crucial information with the FCO, but not with anyone else; and that would include the very people in Portugal using their best endeavours to determine the fate of their young relative.

But remember, "It's never too late to do the right thing."

A Christmas Tale, 05 December 2009
A Christmas Tale

Gerry and Kate McCann


By Dr Martin Roberts
05 December 2009


O.K. Dr McCann, have it your way. Madeleine did not die inside your holiday apartment but disappeared while you were not looking.

Since, on their own admission, neither parent was present at the time of their daughter's departure, their own views as to how it came about are supposition at best, fabrication at worst. One thing we know for certain (and there is ample evidence of it) is that the McCann track record for answering questions is abysmal. Like a bad debt, it prompts further questions of interest which, when added unacknowledged and/or unanswered to the principal, serve only to augment the stock of suspicion.

Were we to join in this game of make-believe we should quickly become concerned that the small holiday resort of Praia da Luz is home to at least one child-snatcher whose domicile is within walking distance of the Ocean Club complex. After all, one or two candidates for such a role were reportedly witnessed on the night of May 3rd. But Madeleine has not been seen in or around the locality since her disappearance, so the perpetrator of her planned kidnap probably came from out of town; an itinerant, like Raymond Hewett for instance. In any event it’s hardly likely that they travelled in by bus. Anything from a private jalopy to a hire car must therefore be considered essential to the plot (gold/brown Nissans have been mooted).

Meanwhile, a significant non-essential is the existence of an aperture too small to be of practicable use as a mode of either access or egress. In relation to McCann style supposition, an open window is no more evidence of an intruder, necessarily, than the presence of a chimney breast is evidence for the existence of Santa Claus, since Father Christmas succeeds in delivering presents even to those modern houses that lack chimneys! But where does he park his sled? Come to that, where did his Algarve alter ego park on the night of May 3, 2007?

Driving while distracted (manipulating a mobile phone, for example) is unsafe. Attempting it whilst at the same time pacifying a screaming child, intent on giving their 'tuppence worth', would be inadvisable. Hence a getaway driver must also have been written into the plot. And how might such an operative facilitate a quick getaway - by waiting noiselessly in a public car park some distance away, or immediately outside with the engine running? A graphic, published by the News of the World shortly after the Madeleine story first broke, provides an elevated daylight perspective on the Ocean Club complex. It clearly shows several vehicles parked immediately adjacent to the apartments, including 5A. Proximity would not have been a problem therefore.

Some commentators, e.g. Donal McIntyre, have contended that an accomplice was at hand to receive Madeleine through the very window of the bedroom from which she was supposedly removed, in which case the original intruder would have driven them all away. Or did the two miscreants pass Madeleine back and forth between them whilst deciding who would sit at the wheel, like the two 'gays' from Khartoum who 'argued a lot about who would do what, how, with which, and to whom.' Jane Tanner certainly made no mention of any such on-street discussion, except for that between Gerry McCann and Jez Wilkins who, for all we know, might have been negotiating over who would push the buggy.

Was a sorcerer's apprentice really in evidence on the night? No, he was not. Neither Gerry McCann nor Jez Wilkins reported having seen any strange vehicles immediately after Gerry’s 9.05 act of responsible parenting. Come to that they did not see pedestrians who passed before their very eyes. Maybe the car was being driven by David Copperfield, or temporarily bedecked in Harry Potter's 'invisibility cloak.' Neither explanation is compelling. In fact further confirmation that there was no getaway car present on the night of May 3rd is provided, by Jane Tanner (she did not see any vehicles, only a rather oddly dressed man, apparently) and Matthew Oldfield, who followed in Gerry McCann's footsteps that night (and ever since, like the paige in attendance of Good King Wenceslas). See no evil, hear no evil, you might say.

From Jane Tanner's Rogatory Interview:

"Were there any cars around there?"
Jane Tanner: "Errm... umm... no, I don’t know. I don't remember. I don't remember walking past any, going up here, and I think I would have, probably, if there had been. I would have realised because that would have obscured my view of the person walking, so I can't think of... I can't think of any, no."

"And again, I am going to ask about cars."
Jane Tanner: "Yeah."
4078: "Were there any? Did you notice any cars around?"
Jane Tanner: "There were cars around but, phew... because you've often got them, say, sort of down this bit here. But I can't remember what they were or I didn't notice anything that looked odd, you know, no car that seemed to be standing out from anything else, so..."
4078: "No?"
Jane Tanner: "No"
4078: "So you didn't notice any car headlights or noises from cars?"
Jane Tanner: "No, no, because I think, you know, if I'd heard, sort of, a car screech off quickly at that point, I probably would have... would have taken notice, I think."

From Matthew Odfield's Rogatory Interview:

4078: "Hear any cars?"
Matthew Oldfield: "No. No, I mean, as I say, it was nearly always completely deserted, there was very few people in the resort, errm... you know, you only rarely saw, you know, occasionally people move about on the street and that was mostly during the day, errm... everybody else seemed to, sort of, eat earlier or, errm... used the baby sitting or whatever service. There were a few people about between and there wasn't really much of a thoroughfare for, errm... for traffic, so nothing that stuck out."

In sum therefore we have a suspected child abductor who, having planned his crime to the minute, considers it necessary to carry his victim personally from her bed to a getaway vehicle parked (a) immediately outside (b) across the street (c) out of sight around the corner. Since neither (a) nor (b) apply that leaves (c) as the option chosen by our practised felon.

As if!

A little more from the Oldfield Rogatory Interview:

"Have you been aware of any other noises from outside the apartment when you listened on that occasion?"
Matthew Oldfield: "No, I mean, there would have been, I mean, there was nothing that made me, you know, there could have been somebody around the corner, it's always possible, because I didn't look round there and you wouldn't see it, but there was nothing that, you know, that I seen, there was nobody, no. I mean, the sure answer to that is, no, there was nothing."

So, no option (c) either then.

In the complete absence of evidence to the effect that Madeleine McCann was immediately transported any distance from the scene of her disappearance, one is obliged to conclude that she was taken to a very local destination, about as far away as she could be carried. Is this something a hard-core out-of-town abductor would plan on doing? (Is Santa exclusively signed to 'Toys-R-Us'?).

We are led inexorably to the conclusion that Madeleine McCann was removed from apartment 5A and taken to a local stop-over. The person carrying her was admitted by the occupant at the time or else gained admission themselves through prior agreement. In either case, the sequestration and concealment must have been planned rather than spontaneous, arrangements having already been made with 'that person', whom the McCanns have so optimistically invited to come forward on more than one occasion, and whose existence they separately and insightfully recognised long ago:

Q (Antena 3):
"Do you still maintain the hope, that is, genuinely believe that Madeleine is still alive?"
Kate McCann: "I do, maybe even more so, I strongly believe that Madeleine is out there, errm... I think she's probably in someone's house."

And, from their first anniversary statement to the Telegraph:

Gerry McCann:
'The experts are saying there is a strong chance Madeleine is out there but it's back to what we need to do which is address the situation: Who took her? Is that person alone? If they are alone they don't live in isolation, they live in a town, in a holiday resort, they interact with people and they might have accomplices we don't know what motivates them.'

So the McCann sleuths working from home were right. The answer to the mystery of Madeleine McCann's disappearance does indeed lie within a 10-mile radius of Praia da Luz. Better yet, it lies well within a 10-minute walk of apartment 5A (Would anyone want to carry a dormant three year old for longer?). Poignantly this was obvious beforehand to the Portuguese police, who were in the throes of investigating this very 'angle' when their operation was decapitated, notably with the encouragement of those who now claim a readiness to co-operate with them. Talk is cheap, unlike the search for Madeleine. Imagine the sums of money that might have been saved if the PJ had simply been left to get on with their job unimpeded, and how much more secure the family pension, errr... FindMadeleine fund would have been in consequence.

If 'that person', that 'someone's brother, partner' etc. with a house in Praia da Luz, had any conscience, they would indeed come forward and save their fellow countryman Goncalo Amaral 1.2 million euros. There again, maybe they're not Portuguese, and they too expect to hear the sound of Jingle Bells before long.

Taking Liberties, 14 December 2009
Taking Liberties

Gerry McCann: "Ask the dogs, Sandra"


By Dr Martin Roberts
14 December 2009


For two years and more a significant number of people have been hanging on the McCanns every word. For just as long an equally significant number have remained surprised and bewildered that the McCanns have not themselves been hung by their every word. Taken at face value, much of what they have said has been, from the first, nothing if not self-incriminating, but one need not regress two whole years in order to make the point. More recent verbal outings serve to highlight this paradox just as well.

Questioned not long ago by redoubtable Portuguese journalist Sandra Felgueiras, Gerry McCann justified the current libel action against Gonçalo Amaral with typical display of hypocrisy:

GM: "There's... there's a difference between, I think, freedom of expression and evidence to support a theory. What the judges have said: there isn't evidence to support his theory so he shouldn't be saying it."

The logical pitfall here is obvious: If 'no evidence' implies 'no justifiable comment', then why have we all had to tolerate being bombarded ad nauseam with the 'abduction' of Madeleine McCann, something for which not a shred of evidence has ever been forthcoming. No evidence of intruder(s). No evidence of assault against the person. No evidence of kidnap, nor of flight from the vicinity. It is a theory without foundation which should never have been expounded publicly. But it was; at the earliest opportunity, and in direct contradiction of Portuguese police instruction not to engage with the media (an early example of McCann co-operation with the authorities).

Gerry McCann is of course adept at strategic oversight when it comes to offering glib responses to inquisitive journalists.

"That... that... that article that was written, in June, was directly as a result of a journalist phoning all of us and saying: 'what can you tell us about it'. And we were under explicit instructions that we were not to talk about, errr... the details of the case at... under judicial secrecy. So that's all that people did. And, errm... I don't think, you know, there should be considered a pact of silence. We were told, that's what we were to do. And you wouldn't expect witnesses in other cases, in any country, to be going out divulging information that may be useful to the perpetrator of the crime."

Or drawing international attention to Madeleine's coloboma, again contrary to police advice.

Kate McCann is herself only too happy to re-state this case of 'special pleading':

"You have to wonder why an ex-PJ inspector would want to convince the population that Madeleine is dead, with absolutely no evidence whatsoever."

The inevitable paraphrase is nothing if not self-explanatory. "You have to wonder why an ex-doctor and her husband would want to convince the population that Madeleine was kidnapped, with absolutely no evidence whatsoever."

A rather more extensive episode from this same interview, displays a veritable medley of self-serving cynicism (some might call it stupidity) on the part of the interviewees.

"This is the first time that you give us, errr... a big interview, errr... not being arguidos... not being arguidos, since then. Errr... So now I feel free to ask you this directly: How can you explain the coincidence of the scent of cadav... of cadaver found by British and not Portuguese dogs?"

"Sandra, maybe you should be asking the judiciary because they've examined all this..."

"But those were not an explanation for that."

(The question here, remember, is 'how do you explain the behaviour of the cadaver dog(s)?' The following comments by Kate McCann are of no relevance to that question, much less an answer to it, as the interviewer is subsequently quick to establish).

"I mean, we are obviously Madeleine's mum and dad and we're desperate for people to help us find Madeleine, which is why we're here today. The majority of people are inherently good and I believe the majority of people in Portugal are inherently good people and we're asking them if they'll help us spread this message to that person or people that knows something."

"So you don't have any explanation for that?"

"Ask the dogs, Sandra."

"Ask the dogs? No, Gerry. Now I think... well, I... I feel free to ask you. Errr...Don't you feel free to answer me?"

"I can tell you that we have obviously looked at evidence about, errr... cadaver dogs and they are incredibly unreliable."


"Cadaver dogs, yes. That's what the evidence shows, if they are tested scientifically."

Well, here we have an unforgettable comment; an arrogant absurdity which will no doubt be recalled by future commentators as a high water mark in this interaction between the critical and the crass: 'Ask the dogs Sandra.' (She just did Gerry, but they weren't paying attention).

If this is a reflection of a cardiologist's intellect, then his patients would be well advised to seek a second opinion before ever they are offered the first. The day a truffle gatherer expects his dog to describe the soil conditions in which these particular fungi are most likely to thrive is the day man ceases to be the masterful partner.

So, Gerudite McCann moves quickly toward his prior consideration of yet more 'evidence', this time of cadaver dogs' unreliability, 'if tested scientifically.'

That's what the evidence shows, does it? How about, 'Doctors are murderers, according to historical record' (evidence, if you will). Shall we name some names? William Palmer, Thomas Smethurst, Edward Pritchard, Buck Ruxton, Crippen, Shipman... Jack the Ripper!

Well, of course not all doctors are murderers, nor do they all feature in the historical catalogue of homicidal medics. Have all cadaver dogs been 'scientifically tested' in the manner alluded to. No they have not. Did Eddie and Keela take part in the 'experiments' Gerry McCann is so keen to refer to? No they did not. And what about those dogs that did? How exactly were they tested 'scientifically?' In a nutshell, they were tested in conditions akin to perceptual masking, where they were required to isolate an odour in an atmosphere contaminated with all manner of not-so-fragrant camouflage. So, maybe they made a mistake or two, just as road traffic accidents tend to happen in foggy conditions; the unsurprising fate of an experimental animal.

But what of Eddie and Keela? They were called upon to operate in an environment permeated, as far as they were concerned, with two ingredients only: the one they were trained to isolate, and regular Mediterranean air. Hardly a recipe for unreliability. The wide-ranging success of these specific animals in collaboration with numerous police authorities is itself testament to their reliability. That is the relevant evidence. If Gerry McCann's grasp of Medicine and Cardiology is as questionable as his understanding of scientific principles, then he must be perceived as a danger to his patients.

To return to Sandra Felgueiras' unanswered question therefore, do we yet have a satisfactory (as opposed to a 'perfectly innocent', i.e. spuriously hypothetical) explanation for the coincidence of cadaver odour with McCann clothes, the McCann domicile, the McCann vehicle, and other McCann artefacts (soft toy, car keys)? Or are we expected to subscribe to such fanciful notions as two-year olds with a penchant for sea bass, and GP's being wont to attend post mortems in their beach clothes when, in point of fact, the majority are loathe to attend post mortems at all?

So, let's cut to the chase.

Sandra Felgueiras later puts two unrelated questions to the McCanns, the first concerning Kate's personal distress at the time of her interview by the PJ, the second those explanations they might offer their remaining children in the future. The responses are paired together here as they focus on the same all-important issue - the truth.

"I did. I mean, I... I know... I know the truth, Sandra. Do you know what I mean? And all I wanna do is find Madeleine and I was upset..."

"Well, we'll answer their questions. So what they ask us we'll tell them, and we'll tell them exactly what happened and what information we know. And what they do know, is that we are continuing to look for their sister. They want people to look for their sister."

It is important to any understanding of this entire sorry tale that one simple, salient fact be recognised: The McCanns have always maintained that they were not present when their daughter Madeleine was 'taken.' (Kate McCann quoted in Sunday Mirror of 5 August, 2007: "I feel desperately sorry to her that we weren't there." And, subsequently, as a participant in 'Oprah': "I mean, errm... as you say, I know I can persecute myself everyday about that and I feel awful that we weren't there at that minute.").

They do not know what happened therefore. They were not there
, and no amount of retrospective supposition can qualify as knowledge without the evidence to support it. This is the very tenet that the McCanns themselves are using to justify their legal action against Goncalo Amaral. It begs the question as to how the McCanns propose to tell their twins 'what happened' to Madeleine in the context of abduction, when their continued protestation is, in effect, that they do not know. They cannot know. The twins already appreciate that Madeleine is missing and that's basically all that can be said. Yet Kate McCann is perfectly clear about knowing 'the truth.' The truth about what? Certainly not the truth concerning an abduction, around which there has been nothing but uncertainty from the outset. Anyone in possession of the truth in that respect would have dispelled such uncertainty long since. The fact that this has not happened indicates that the truth to which Kate McCann is alluding is something altogether different. It is the sort of truth that one hopes and believes will emerge in the course of a judicial process, perjury notwithstanding.

A Stocking Filler, 20 December 2009
A Stocking Filler

The McCanns outside the court in Lisbon


By Dr Martin Roberts
20 December 2009


And why not? Continuing the on-going theme of 'bloomers' by the McCanns and their various spokespeople, a stocking is merely more appropriate apparel for one's metaphorical foot than the oral variety preferred by the McCanns.

Just a few days ago we heard the not so edifying account of how a couple's foiled attempt at intimidation inside a court of law was transmuted into an act of piety, in the shape of a pilgrimage to Praia da Luz (well it justified the air fare at least). With the McCanns' penchant for comment unabated, the waiting world was treated to gaffes at both ends of their crusading compass.

The Sun newspaper of 12 December recalls the following:

'Gerry said: "There is an innocent child missing here and this is what this is about. It's not about freedom of speech but the search for our daughter."

'Standing by his side at the entrance to Lisbon's Palace of Justice an emotional Kate said: "Freedom of speech should not outweigh the rights of human beings."' (Especially since it is a right of human beings, Kate. Or are you wishing to imply that, like lesser species, the rest of us can do without it?).

Ironically, Kate informs us via the Daily Mirror (also 12 December) that "Freedom of speech should not include distortion of the truth, lies, fabrication and slander," all criteria from which her own speech acts demonstrably suffer. We have the evidence: 'Gerry hardly ever sent a text message until after Madeleine was taken' (But hardly ever sending any in no way accounts for deleting a baker's dozen previously received. Hence distortion of the truth). 'If what happened hadn't happened' it wouldn't have occurred to Kate to mention the crying incident to the PJ (Except she did mention it, three times, at dinner, before it had happened at all. Lies therefore). 'They were watching us, I'm sure.' (Fabrication). And as for Goncalo Amaral, he was simply 'a disgrace' both as a person and a professional wasn't he? (Slander). Yes, Kate McCann is well and truly conversant with behaviours inappropriate to Freedom of Speech.

Gerry's myopia takes the same form as that from which Admiral Nelson once suffered - deliberate monocular perspective. The injunction against Goncalo Amaral was granted in light of a claim that it was libellous, i.e. insinuating that Madeleine was dead and that the parents were somehow involved. As the Daily Mirror clarifies:

'Gerry, also 41, yesterday said the furore over Amaral's book threatened to obscure the fact that the McCanns were still searching for Madeleine.'

If the search per se is at risk of being overshadowed by the court case in question it can hardly be an aspect of it. Furthermore, in all the time the disputed book has been available to the public, has it ever interfered with the keystone cops' adventures in Europe and beyond, 'leaving no stone unturned' in Scandinavia, Iberia and the Antipodes? From the other perspective however, we notice a continuation of the McCanns' opening gambit: to subdue the one man who has not only cleared a path to the truth but is prepared to point it out publicly.

'He added: "There is an innocent child missing here and that's what this is about. We are here to fight for our daughter. We are the only people who will do it and continue to do it."‘

The only people who will fight for their daughter indeed? If Gerry sold his car, would he remain the only person entitled to drive it? Madeleine was made a Ward of Court remember, and at the McCanns' request ("I can state that, on the instigation of Gerry and Kate McCann, Madeleine is a ward of the High Court of England and Wales." - Clarence Mitchell, 20.6.2008). The application was made just weeks after Madeleine disappeared and, on the assumption that Madeleine was still alive, the wardship was eventually ratified prior to the lifting of the parents' arguido status; an act which accompanied suspension of the investigation into the child's disappearance. Far from being the only people who will stand up for Madeleine, the McCanns are not now responsible for her even. They have long since abrogated that responsibility to the High Court, a situation summarised within the following definition:

Ward of court
- A minor (under 18) who is the subject of a wardship order. The order ensures that the court has custody, with day-to-day care carried out by an individual(s) or local authority. As long as the minor remains a ward of court, all decisions regarding the minor's upbringing must be approved by the court, e.g. transfer to a different school, or medical treatment.

It is quite clearly the case that, as far as Madeleine's well-being is concerned, the buck no longer stops at Rothley.

So we must ask ourselves, not why the McCanns alone are able to 'fight for Madeleine', but why they alone will do so. Put another way, why did the High Court raise no objection whatsoever, via diplomatic or other channels, to the Portuguese desisting in their investigation. And why have they not since demanded, in the best interests of the child, that the case be re-opened in order for the 'search' to continue. Surely the central bastion of British justice has not already acknowledged the futility of that endeavour? If they have, then why are we the public paying the McCanns any attention at all?

Moving forward in time to Praia da Luz and associated pronouncements, the Daily Express (13 December) echoes the following observations:

"Although our pain feels much rawer here, it is comforting at the same time since we feel closer to Madeleine. (Granted, Praia da Luz is marginally nearer Australia than Lisbon).

"We then walked down to the rocks on the beach with its crashing waves and sense of vastness and freedom – another place where I have always felt able to reach out to Madeleine and find a little solace." (Should that have been 'a little crevice'?)

In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Express the McCanns' lawyer Isabel Duarte said: "She is eager to be in the place where she left everything. She told me it was very important for her to be in the place where Madeleine had disappeared."

Pardon me, Isabel, but have we been misunderstanding the situation for the past two years? Kate did not leave anything. Her daughter was 'taken', supposedly, and removed to another location altogether. And are we to infer that 'the place where Madeleine disappeared' is better represented by the sea shore, where Kate is happy to look for solace, than their former holiday apartment, which she is apparently too traumatised to visit?

The Daily Express (14 December) paints a similar picture in different tones:

'On Saturday night, the couple, both Roman Catholics, attended a service at the nearby Nossa Senhora da Luz church, which they regularly visited after Madeleine vanished.

'Kate cried during the entire memorial service...'

Now maybe I'm being a touch naïve here (either that or my grasp of English is now sadly out of date), but isn't attending a memorial service rather an odd thing for Kate to have done, especially when, according to Isabel Duarte: "She was crying but she very much believes Madeleine is still alive." What's next, a requiem for the resurrected?

Currently, again according to the Daily Express (18 December), 'Doctors Kate and Gerry, both 41, say in a new message on the Find Madeleine website: "There will be a spare place at the Christmas table again this year. If you know anything, do the right thing and help us fill it."'

If that's an invitation to Christmas Dinner I think I'll pass. The temptation to make mincemeat of others' mendacity would be too great. Still, if it found its way into the pies at least certain people would have the opportunity to eat their words, even if they might not yet know how to deal with the resulting indigestion. There's always Calpol I suppose.

Exit Strategy, 30 December 2009
Exit Strategy

Gerry and Kate McCann, 04 May 2007


By Dr Martin Roberts
30 December 2009


Those conversant with academic enterprises will be familiar with the term 'paradigm shift', where new data forces a theoretical re-appraisal. For the most part progress is made on the basis of modest adjustments, but every now and then the upheaval is cataclysmic, as with the discoveries of Copernicus, Newton, and Einstein for instance.

In as much as police investigation of a crime seeks consistency in any interpretation of the perpetrator’s actions, the requirement for a generally valid explanatory paradigm also pertains. Hence the importance of evidential inconsistencies which point to those corners of the room where, for whatever reason, the carpet appears not to fit; flaws in understanding which inhibit rather than encourage a solution to the problem overall.

In the case of Madeleine McCann, there exist, even after two years and more, unexplained inconsistencies, apparent from the outset, which may yet suffice to isolate the more appropriate of two competing paradigms, i.e. abduction or something else.

No more than cursory examination of the McCanns' initial statements to Portuguese police is needed to reveal a conspicuous lack of uniformity, the resolution of which may have wider explanatory power than one might at first suppose, as it opens the door to questions of a slightly different nature than the very many raised so far. As it happens, the opening of doors is the central issue here.

Gerry McCann's statement, made on 4 May 2007, records the following detail:

"Thus, at 9.05 p.m., Gerry entered the apartment using his key, the door being locked, and went to the children's room and noted that the twins and Madeleine were OK. He then took several minutes going to the toilet. He left the apartment and bumped into someone with whom he had played tennis and had a brief conversation. He then returned to the Tapas."

"At 10.00 p.m., Kate went to check on the children. She went into the apartment, using her key and saw that the bedroom door was completely open, the window was also open, the shutters raised and the curtains open. The doors were locked except the one at the back as already noted above" (a reference to Matthew Oldfield's visit in between: "he went through Gerry's apartment, going in through a glass door (the patio door) at the side of the building, which was always open").

Kate McCann's statement (again 4 May) echoed the detail of her husband's in respect of Matthew Oldfield's entering through the unlocked patio door, yet provided a contradictory account of her own access:

"Around 10.00 p.m., Kate went to check on her children, entering the apartment via the back lateral door which was closed but not locked."

We are faced, quite simply, with overlapping yet conflicting accounts - of doors locked, unlocked, then locked once again according to Gerry McCann. The concomitant status described by Kate McCann is that of 'unlocked throughout.'

Without progressing a single additional facet in this case, it is immediately apparent that someone is lying. The obvious questions ensue: Who? And Why? Paradoxically, addressing these in reverse order is the more advantageous approach, so, second things first, let’s consider the question 'why?' in both general and specific terms.

If a crime is committed against a person and identifying the criminal is the primary police objective, what would provoke a victim into lying about their own movements before, during or after the incident? Frankly, even concealment of 'contributory negligence' is counter-productive. Ethically speaking at least, a bicycle parked outside the supermarket ought not to be interpreted as an invitation to a bicycle thief (however much apologists might wish to argue otherwise). In such a case the police sensibly focus their attention on recovering the stolen property and prosecuting the culprit. Whilst covering one's own tracks might seem appropriate in something like insurance fraud, it is scarcely necessary otherwise.

If Madeleine McCann was abducted by an anonymous paedophile, as the parents have constantly invited everyone to believe, the prevailing purpose of all parties would or should have been to locate the child at the earliest opportunity. To assist in that endeavour anyone remotely connected with the situation should have explained themselves truthfully, warts and all. And yet we have the McCanns themselves irrelevantly lying about their own access to the apartment from which Madeleine disappeared; hence evidence, from the first, to suggest that the paradigm of stranger abduction is an inappropriate explanation for the child's absence.

Do these lies contribute to a 'cover' for an abductor (what parent of a missing child would do such a thing?) or camouflage for the teller(s)? If the latter, then the abduction paradigm may be discarded forthwith. What is equally apparent is that whilst 'contributory negligence' may have nothing genuinely to do with one's child being abducted (and need not be introduced into the equation therefore), it may have everything to do with some other condition or outcome. Thus the McCanns' readiness to lie points distinctly away from abduction by a person or persons unknown, and toward something else entirely.

So much for lying about locked doors in general. The specifics, no less puzzling initially, eventually point in the same direction.

The News of the World (May 11, 2008) explained: "The patio door could only be bolted from the inside which would have meant them having to walk around to the front every time they wanted to check on their children."

If the patio door could only be secured from the inside, it follows that it would not have been possible to unlock it from outside. This situation is confirmed by the evidence of Saleigh and Paul Gordon who, accompanied by their two children, occupied apartment 5A before the McCanns, between April 21st and 28th 2007. Paul also confirms that the couple always felt safe and that the front door was equipped with a double lock, while the one at the back only locked from inside the apartment.

Hence Gerry's use of a key must have been in relation to the front door. Kate's entering the apartment using her own key (according to husband Gerry) implies that the patio door was still locked at 10.00 p.m. (otherwise why not use it?) Yet both attest to Matthew Oldfield having entered their apartment via the unlocked patio door in between times, whilst Kate repudiates her own use of any key.

The McCanns' lies concerning door security extended beyond their own premises even. They early on ventured to suggest that they didn't lock their back doors, but left them unlocked in case of fire (Daily Mail, 11.8.2007). However, they did not include Matthew Oldfield, for one. If leaving their patios unlocked had been a consensus decision, Matthew Oldfield clearly broke ranks. As far as his own apartment was concerned, "… the patio doors would be shut and locked, errm... the outside, errm... shutter wouldn't have been down until we were in there." (Rogatory Interview).

Whether Matthew Oldfield ever entered the McCann apartment at all is a very real question. His own interpretation of what he saw once inside is so impoverished as to suggest that he is actually describing the view from outside the patio doors, rather than inside. Although we can be reasonably sure he made the claimed dormitory excursion at about 9.30 p.m., it is rather less certain that Kate McCann actually advised him to enter 5A via the patio, or that he acted upon the suggestion, since Oldfield was not alone. He was in the company of Russell O'Brien, the two of them having left the Tapas bar together.

Describing his interaction with Kate McCann at the Tapas table, Matthew Oldfield explains, "... she said that the patio door was open and go in through there. And there was me and Russell as well, so, errm... you know, it seemed, at the time, a very reasonable thing to do, even though it was the first time that we'd certainly done it." (Rogatory Interview).

According to O'Brien, they each entered their own apartment initially, Oldfield afterwards joining him in 5D. Oldfield's recollection in connection with 5A however is, as stated, that it was the first time he and Russell had entered the McCann apartment via the patio door. Furthermore, that "... there was a light behind us in the room."

Since Russell O'Brien makes no mention of entering 5A himself, one has to wonder, first, why Oldfield should have included him in his account of that act, and second, exactly when and how the two of them were positioned in relation to the light in question. Even if Matthew Oldfield did indeed enter the McCann apartment that night, are we to suppose that, having offered to check on the well-being of a group of sleeping children, he would step inside, then inexplicably stop before reaching the relevant bedroom?

These specifics tie in with the initial question as to which of the McCanns was lying when first interviewed by Portuguese police. Were it to be the case that Matthew Oldfield remained outside 5A all the while, then the answer would be simple: both of them. Which in turn leads to a development of the earlier argument, that stories of access, and of comings and goings during the evening of 3rd May, 2007 are irrelevant to any genuine case of stranger abduction.

If the McCanns, for whatever reason, were intent on 'setting people up' that night (as their various deliberate references to the notorious crying incident suggest they might have been), would they have as good as invited Matthew Oldfield to discover an empty bed? Unlikely. That would have meant Kate McCann opening the bedroom window and exposing the twins to the cold before leaving for the Tapas bar. Nevertheless, despite the virtual irrelevance of their associates' activities to any tale of child snatching, they were clearly intent on giving an impression of concerned parenthood and, with that in view, placing Matthew Oldfield inside their apartment. If Gerry simply inserted a fictitious reference between two more reliable book-ends, Kate must have realised that, having described Oldfield as opening the patio doors at 9.30, they would have been open to her as well. Six days later (May 10) and Gerry McCann is already rectifying his recollection, claiming to have exited and re-entered his own apartment via unlocked patio doors.

Despite indications to the contrary (e.g. Oldfield's initial claim when interviewed on May 4 that, during the meal, it was usual that every 15 minutes (as on all nights) one of the adults went to the apartments to check if the children were sleeping), there never was any rosta for checking on each others' children, either before or during May 3rd, as Matthew Oldfield subsequently informs us (Rogatory Interview):

"Well mainly all of your apartment and Gerry and Kate's obviously. Up until the Wednesday night, from what you have already said then, you didn't go into Gerry and Kate's apartment, well, sorry, you didn't check on Gerry and Kate's children?"

Matthew Oldfield:

Getting on for 9.00 p.m. on Thursday 3 May

MO: "
So I went and listened, I went... I found the time, because we'd only just been in there, about fifteen minutes ago, and I just listened outside her shutters, so I just passed along that wall that goes to the two, sort of to the McCann's apartment, so I listened outside our shutters and went along to their shutter and had a listen out there, not because I'd been asked to, but... or it's not the sort of thing you think about, it's just kind of, errm..."

Now, on the origin of Oldfield's 9.30 p.m. check:

 "Erm, so I went to check on G**** and I stood up and Russell stood up and said he was going to go and check as well, and Kate stood up and I said, you know, 'do you want us to go and check on...', errm... 'do you want me to go and check on your kids', errm... and she said 'yes'. And I think I offered at that point, just because we had been together all week and we had similar routines and it just kind of seemed like a nice thing to do that would save her a journey back up and, you know, it may or it may not have been different."

All very ad hoc you notice, even down to the open patio door reference quoted earlier, which should have been unnecessary if everyone were doing the same thing, i.e. leaving their patio doors unlocked.

What all this has to do with stranger abduction can be summed up in a single word - nothing. Hence we should subscribe to a paradigm shift and view the McCanns' mendacious behaviour in the light, not of their embellishing any abduction scenario, but of preparing their defences in respect of another unspecified matter altogether; an exit strategy in a rather different direction. It is as though, having set the hares running and provoked an inevitable inquisition, the McCanns instinctively addressed themselves to issues unraised and which had a direct bearing on something of which they were guilty, i.e. child abandonment, rather than something of which they were not, namely abduction. This being a reflection of their preoccupation at the time, it provides confirmation, if such were needed, that the cause of their immediate concern was neither Madeleine's abduction nor the subsequent desire for her safe return. And that conclusion alone renders the McCanns favoured hypothesis redundant.

Continued here: Dr Martin Roberts - 2010

With thanks to Nigel at McCann Files


Site Policy Sitemap

Contact details

Website created by © Pamalam