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 - 2010 *

Continuing look at the McCanns' media interviews, and other issues related to Madeleine's disappearance, by Dr Martin Roberts

See also:
Dr Martin Roberts - 2009
Dr Martin Roberts - 2011
Libel To Become Unstuck, 09 January 2010
Libel To Become Unstuck

Oscar Wilde / Adam Tudor


By Dr Martin Roberts
09 January 2010


What price legal lunacy? Well, it's probably an outlay best estimated with reference to Carter-Ruck's fees menu, or the hourly charge-out rate of partner Adam Tudor.

Whatever the fiscal damage, there is unquestionably an element of lunacy (a large element in fact) attaching to next week's showdown at the 'not O.K.' corral in Lisbon.

First, a couple of relevant observations regarding libel: (i) Repeating another's libel, however unwittingly, is no less a libel for that. (ii) When Oscar Wilde went unwisely to court to challenge the Marquis of Queensbury's insinuation that he was homosexual, it was on the strength of words written for, and ultimately delivered to, Wilde himself, on the reverse of a calling card left for him at the Albermarle club ('To Oscar Wilde, posing as a somdomite.' [sic]). Although 'Bosie's bullying father may well have made his adverse opinion of the flamboyant Oscar even more well known among London society, he did not otherwise commit himself to print on the matter. Hence, although he may have slandered his adversary on any number of occasions, his libel was precisely targeted and thus limited in its published scope.

Goncalo Amaral's putatively libellous book (published), followed the official police report containing exactly the same data and interpretation (unpublished). On the basis of historical precedent however, publication for the benefit of a wider audience is, as we have just seen, not a necessary criterion in cases of libel. Thus, Goncalo Amaral's book, if held to be libellous, cannot be considered so independently of the assessment upon which it draws, but only on account of its repeating an earlier libel by whichever member(s) of the PJ signed off on the original report. And yet Goncalo Amaral is the only party now required to defend himself.

Stranger yet is the circumstance which has led to the forthcoming 'showdown'; one which prompts recollection of a personal anecdote from childhood.

During a verbal altercation with a rough character in the school playground, a school prefect with a perfect set of teeth was overheard to say, 'Go on, hit me then.' That this instruction was, shall we say, imprudent, can be decided on the basis of the event which took place immediately afterwards, and the rather expensive orthodontic treatment which followed that.

And what does this have to do with Kate and Gerry McCann?

Until their legal representatives secured the lifting of their arguido status and release of the process files, there can have been no act of libel entailed in Portuguese police procedures. No one at the time had taken it upon themselves to 'publish' accusations of any kind. But just like the impetuous prefect, the McCanns got exactly what they asked for. Public access to the police files came about largely because they had demanded it.

If, therefore, Goncalo Amaral's writing is libellous, then it constitutes a repeated libel, predicated upon comparable conclusions previously written and attested by Portuguese colleagues. But this set of primary conclusions cannot be construed as libellous either. The material was written to record an investigative process. This record was in turn 'published' at the instigation of the individuals discussed within it; individuals so oblivious of the 'sauce for the goose' epithet that they arrogantly supposed 'public access' to be a term applicable to themselves uniquely. If Goncalo Amaral, or anyone else, should choose to include such findings within a general discussion of the investigation in question, are we now to subscribe to the view that statements, once written, can be rendered libellous merely through their repetition by others?

Of course, Goncalo Amaral has made money from the sale of his book. So what? The McCanns have made money from the continued sale of T-shirts and other ephemera. Profits from the sale of a book cannot be interpreted as confirmation of libel. A book sale after all is transacted before the purchaser reads the contents (otherwise the book would not sell at all). Reference to Goncalo Amaral's commercial success as an author is completely and utterly irrelevant therefore. Sales/circulation figures could perhaps be taken to indicate the extent of any influence which might be ascribed to libellous remarks, but the precedent afforded by the Wilde case allows us to conclude that libel is absolute, not relative. Unjustified derogatory remarks are not rendered more or less libellous depending upon the number of persons who might read them.

So we await then the impending presentation at the theatre of legal lunacy, Carter-Ruck no doubt directing the production. One wonders exactly what proportion of FindMadeleine Fund resources will have been diverted in support of this particular pantomime, and whether it will be itemised in accounts for the end of the current financial year. In the same column as 'leaving no stone unturned' no doubt.

Would You Trust A Diagnosis By This Man?, 15 January 2010
Would You Trust A Diagnosis By This Man?

Gerry McCann, 13 January 2010


By Dr Martin Roberts
15 January 2010


Not without questioning his motives for offering it, I wouldn't.

A man whose ego is betrayed by his mouth - who sues for libel, then proceeds to accuse a police officer of perjury, impugning the reputation of an entire national police force in the process. Surely he can't have all his dogs barking (although he's experienced notable success with someone else's).

As reported by the Daily Telegraph on 12.1.10:

'Police Inspector Ricardo Paiva, who acted as a liason between the McCanns and Portuguese police in the days following their daughter's disappearance told the court he had received the phone call in late July 2007.

'"Kate called me, she was alone as Gerry was away and she was crying," he said. "She said she had dreamt that Madeleine was on a hill and that we should search for her there.

'"She gave the impression that she thought she was dead – it was a turning point for us."'

As reported direct from Lisbon the following day (5.04 p.m.):

'He (GM) also rejected the testimony yesterday that Kate had a dream about Madeleine lying buried somewhere, saying "that never happened..."

Now he would know of course, having not been present when the all-important 'phone call was made.

Subsequent press reports express it thus: "I'd like to make it absolutely clear that Kate has never had a dream that Maddie has been buried somewhere, and I don't know if something's been lost in interpretation, but that didn't happen – not with those words, that's for sure."

So it did happen, except that burial was not mentioned. Indeed not. Inspector Paiva's evidence referred to a description of Madeleine lying on a hill not in one. The latter scenario is a figment of Gerry's own imagination therefore. Now I wonder where he might have got the idea from?

Back to the evidence.

"A thesis without evidence is meaningless." Says Gerry. Really? Ever heard of Fermat's Last Theorem? Three hundred and fifty eight years before a proof was elaborated, yet the stimulus for many a mathematical development in the meantime. And what exactly is the 'evidence' for abduction in this instance - An empty bed? An open window? If these are sufficient criteria for a conclusion to be reached, then we must accept that countless persons are abducted by their employers every day of the year, any time between, say, 6.00 and 8.00 a.m.

"I think it's particularly disappointing that the police officers who considered us responsible for Madeleine's disappearance are the same officers we are depending on to carry on the search for Madeleine," he said.

"The question, of course, is: 'who is looking for Madeleine and who has been looking for Madeleine over the last two years' and that is us and our investigation team."

When was this case re-opened then? Do remind us Gerry, otherwise we're all liable to overlook your dependence upon the Portuguese police as part of your 'investigation team.' Simplistic though it may be, it rather looks as though the Portuguese came to an informed conclusion quite a while ago, and there has been nothing to sway them from it since.

"...there is absolutely no evidence that Madeleine is dead and there is absolutely no evidence that we were involved in her disappearance. That is the conclusion.....of the process and that's what we are here debating; the conclusions of the process versus the conclusions of the book."

Err, Earth calling. There's been a court hearing in which a DVD, containing the relevant process files, has been admitted into evidence, including all documentation and official conclusions. Do you not think, Gerry, that the reporters you are attempting to brainwash are smart enough to read these for themselves in due course, if indeed they have not already done so? The conclusions you are so concerned with have been widely broadcast on the Internet for months, you know.

One principal signatory, among others, Tavares de Almeida has already stated in evidence that "The conclusion that was arrived at was that Madeleine McCann died at the apartment and the McCann couple simulated the abduction to hide the fact that they had not taken care of their children.

"There was a tragic accident in the apartment that night and they neglected the care of their children. It was the conclusion of both Portuguese and British police."

An echo of the document he himself signed off, and no mention of the 'absolutely no evidence' stance. Surely not a another instance of Portuguese perjury!

Tavares de Almeida went on to claim that the McCanns concealed the body of their missing daughter Madeleine. Courtrooms and legalities aside, it is a legitimate statement of fact, under any circumstances, that a temporary resident of apartment 5A concealed evidence of a death; evidence lodged within the apartment itself.

Traces of human blood and cadaver odour were signalled by two different sniffer dogs at a point (the same point) on the living room floor that could not be accessed, even by the dogs, until handler Martin Grime pulled the sofa away from the window, to a position nearer that in which it must have stood for the deposits to have accrued in the first place. With the sofa relocated since, the contaminated zone was thereby concealed.

If the occupant concerned had a good reason for moving the sofa from beneath the window initially, they must have had an even better one for moving it back again. And that could not possibly have been to confound the investigation of a historical event, of which neither they nor any intrusive 'abductors' could have had any knowledge. (There is no record of any such incident).

A further veritable gem of McCann self-contradiction opens with a claim made to the impromptu press gathering on the steps outside the Lisbon courthouse:

"The search for Madeleine is ongoing. We don't have any leads and we need to keep searching."

This is followed by a report for The Sun (whose Antonella Lazzeri, in an act of rash impetuosity, would proceed to lay the newspaper open to a future charge of defamation by scurrilously mis-interpreting a gentlemanly comment in Portuguese as an abusive remark in Anglo Saxon. It's Gerry who swears in front of women and children when on camera Antonella - do your research dear):

"Gerry claimed the Portuguese cops' blinkered view that Maddie was dead - for which there was NO evidence, making it "meaningless" - was damaging the search for her.

"And he said they were STILL ignoring leads passed on to them by the family's private investigators."

So what leads might these be Gerry - the ones you don't have? Why does Portuguese disinterest seem suddenly unsurprising? NO leads, NO confirmed sightings, NO evidence. That's meaningless in my book.

"This is a legal process that we're going through to protect our daughter and our family."

Which begs the real $64,000 question. What meagre process exactly did you go through to protect your daughter on May 3rd 2007, from abduction or anything else? None. On your own admission you, the parents, abandoned her on consecutive evenings for an hour at least, in an apartment you admit was not secure against intruders. 'No evidence that you were involved in Madeleine's disappearance'? Well it is certainly true that you're not responsible for her now. You passed that particular buck to the High Court in double quick time. But you were her parents when she was 'taken'. Of course you were 'involved'. How could you not have been 'involved'? Or maybe parental involvement was, as you saw it, merely a diurnal contract, terminated once you had closed the bedroom door and left for your night out.

Your collective attitude toward your own daughter is adequately summed up by a contemporary comment of Kate's:

"It's still been difficult, it's been emotive, because I know what's in the case files, I know what the conclusions are. So it's difficult to hear something that's incorrect and inaccurate. At the bottom of all this is a little girl, and I think it's important that we don't forget that."

Madeleine has been at the bottom of your thought pile from the very beginning.

And if I were your lawyer (which most thankfully I am not), I think I'd be minded to look over my own shoulder every now and then.

It cannot have gone unnoticed (and it did not) that Ms. Duarte misled the court on two separate occasions; behaviour of rather more relevance to the 'search for Maddie' I would contend than whether Goncalo Amaral infringed a publication dateline.

A Tanner In The Works, 19 January 2010
A Tanner In The Works

Jane Tanner during the filming of 'Madeleine Was Here' documentary


By Dr Martin Roberts
19 January 2010


If lies are two a penny, then a 'tanner' should give you at least a dozen.

Jane Tanner is the invisible woman, able to pass two people standing in an otherwise deserted street without herself being noticed; not even by the one facing her at the time.

Her visual acuity is such that, under sparse artificial lighting, at night, and at a distance of some fifteen feet plus, she was able to resolve at a glance the small pattern on a pair of recumbent child's pyjama trousers (which she could see), as well as suggesting the colour of the matching top (which she could not see), despite the orange cast imposed by street lamps ("I feel, I thought I saw pink pyjamas and I thought I could see colours but I don't know, it was fairly orange so I don't know"). And yet the child was being carried by an adult with seemingly no discernible facial characteristics whatsoever; not even in profile.

However, the official PJ account of Tanner's first witness statement, taken on 4 May, 2007 records that 'when asked, she says she would probably be able to identify the individual she saw, being able to identify him from the side and from his manner of walking.' Hence Jane Tanner managed to extract sufficient information from her encounter to allow her to identify the nocturnal pedestrian she saw crossing the street ahead of her. She believed it to have been one Robert Murat.

Understandably keen to assure themselves that Jane Tanner would subsequently recognise Robert Murat as the individual she saw on the night of Madeleine McCann's disappearance, Portuguese police execute a modest 'stake out'. They place Ms Tanner inside an unmarked car, whose tinted windows allow her to see out without being seen herself, and park the vehicle at the very spot where she claims to have been on the night of May 3rd. As Robert Murat, loosely accompanied by plain clothes police officers, passes up the road in the same way as the party previously spotted by her, Jane Tanner is adamant that it was Robert Murat whom she saw that night. She recognises his gait.

Robert Murat, I am sure, would not take offence at anyone remarking on his defining feature, which is not the disposition of his feet. Owing to an unfortunate motorcycle accident as a young man, he now has only one viable eye. Spectacles are essential and he wears them constantly. Whilst he has an understandable bias in his eyesight therefore, it is not mirrored in the action of his limbs, which are perfectly normal. Surely someone with night vision so acute they can describe the pattern, cut, and hue of a small area of textile glimpsed at a distance, would have noticed if the child carrier himself wore glasses, even seen from the side. He didn't. Therefore he was not Robert Murat, whom Tanner recognised simply on the basis of his walking 'purposefully.'

Tanner's memory has the extraordinary characteristic of becoming clearer with time and encouragement. Cognitively 'induced', she sees the child in pyjamas for what they were, rather than the amorphous textile bundle they might have seemed previously. It just took that extra stimulus for things to fall into place. She herself has said that she didn't remember the pyjamas until she was put under a cognitive 'spell' several hours after the original sighting. On 20 November, 2007 she told The Sun newspaper that "at around 11.15, two policemen arrived and I told them. Later CID arrived. They did this thing called a cognitive technique, where they put you back in the moment, and it was then that I remembered the pyjamas." But what did she tell the two policemen who arrived first?

One of the officers in question was Nelson Filipe Pacheco da Costa (GNR Patrol), who afterwards reported that '...his colleague went to check the area around the apartments and the Tapas Bar, while the witness remained next to the apartment, just outside it. At that moment a female individual... who was in the neighbouring apartment, said that she saw an individual carrying a child, running, and that because of the pyjamas she was wearing it could have been Madeleine.

There are already cases on record of psychopaths feigning hypnosis (e.g. Albert Bianchi), so coming forward with the notion of pyjamas (having previously articulated the same), when given a gentle nudge to the psyche by a police inspector, is hardly original.

You know who your friends are with Jane. Or do you? On 8 April 2008 she had the following to say, inter alia, to a detective constable from Leicestershire Police who was interviewing her at the time:

Jane Tanner: "Errr... so, yeah... so, David... so, we said... we decided, oh yeah, we'll go and it'll be nice to see everybody, and we know Kate and Gerry, we'd sort of socialised with them but not as well probably as the other... as the other two couples."

Leicestershire Police: "Mmm..."

JT: "Errr... but they'd been on holiday with David and Fiona before and so... and they've got children the same age as well, you know. Obviously Madeleine's the same age as E***, so a bit of a nice group."

LP: "So you knew them all but you hadn't all been on holiday as a group before?"

JT: "No, we've been with Matt and Rachael and David and Fiona. And David and Fiona had been with Kate and Gerry but we hadn't been, not the eight, or the nine of us including Fi's mum, we hadn't been on holiday before."

A year earlier and the information she disclosed might have been a little different.

'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).

Neither David nor Fiona Payne is Italian. Hence, six friends found themselves at the wedding of two further friends, and all of them together in a foreign country. That sounds very much like eight people on holiday to me, and if a trained doctor cannot arrive at 'eight' as the sum of six plus two then something is seriously wrong with our educational system. (o.k., so we know that to be the case, but no one would suspect standards to have sunk quite that low).

This is, by any measure, a shameful catalogue of deliberate falsehoods. But if you can tell a man by the company he keeps, as well as acknowledging equality of the sexes, then Jane Tanner was not alone in her mendacity; not by a long chalk. Gerry and Kate McCanns' duplicity is risibly blatant. Matthew Oldfield talks of his activities inside an apartment as though his perspective view were from outside. Is it any wonder that these were the star players in the McCann inspired documentary 'Madeleine was Here'?

Whether by accident or design, the 'Tanner sighting' has become the maypole around which all the other colourful threads in the McCann fairytale are entwined. Yet there are more sides to it than a threepenny bit, suggesting that design might have played a role, and that this isn't quite a case of the tail wagging the dog.

Jane Tanner's seemingly coincidental sighting is but one of a medley of events itemised, for the benefit of the PJ in the first instance, by Tapas 7 members. So scrupulous were they concerning the chronology of the sequence overall, that they saw fit to annotate it twice, with small, and on the face of it insignificant, amendments. As is the case with so many things, the process itself turns out to be as interesting as the result.

The informational specifics are as follows:

The first list:

8:45 Everyone meets at the pool for dinner
9:00 Matt Oldfield listens at the windows of apts 5A,B,D
ALL blinds are closed
9:15 Gerry McCann goes to the room? bedroom door open
9:20 Jane Tanner checks 5D, sees a stranger carrying a child
9:30 Russell O'Brien in 5D, child is sick
10:00 Alarm given after Kate

The second list:

8:45 Pool
Matt returns 9:00-9:05 - listens at all, the 3 all have closed blinds
Gerry 9:10-9:15 - goes to room? bedroom door open
9:20/5 Jane checks apt 5D. Sees stranger with a child
9:30 Russell and Matt check the three
9:35 Matt sees the twins
9:50 Russell returns
9:55 Kate sees Madeleine is missing
10:00 Alarm

These lists, drawn up at the time the first GNR officers arrived on the scene, each include one entry shared almost verbatim: 'Jane (Tanner) checks apt 5D. Sees a stranger carrying a child.' The subject of this observation would later experience angst and remorse in equal measure; angst that inhibited her, so we are told, from telling the parents of Madeleine McCann, at the earliest opportunity, that she had personally seen someone who might have carried off their child, and remorse over not having done so until several hours later, once she had recalled the pyjamas; the same pyjamas she had previously mentioned at 11.15 p.m. when she thought her sighting important enough to bring to the attention of the GNR. So why should she not wish to inform the McCanns, even under duress? It is clear from her statements to police, both in Portugal and in retrospect, that her 'close encounter of the abduction kind' came as a surprise to Gerry McCann when first he heard mention of it.

Angst, remorse, and a revelation or two

From Jane Tanner's rogatory interview we glean the following:

Jane Tanner: "I didn't want to say to Kate at that point, which might sound odd now, you know, 'Oh, why wouldn't you say straight away to Kate', but, you know, the thought of telling the mother of a child that you might have seen being carried away is, it's too horrible to even say. So I just said to Fi, errm... you know, 'I think I might have seen somebody a bit odd when I came back to do one of the checks'. And I don't know whether she, I mean, she was just sort of like... I don't know whether she took it in properly, but, errm... and then they just carried on... carried on the searching."

News too sensitive for Kate's ears is therefore confined to Fiona Payne. Or is it? Way back in time (4 May, 2007) Jane Tanner gave a witness statement to the effect that 'As she (sic) concerns the man she saw, she only spoke to Gerald about this, not entering into details, and to the police.'

So it wasn't Fiona Payne she spoke to after all, but Gerry McCann. Well, maybe that depends on whether there’s an 'R' in the month. Jane Tanner's testimonial record is analogous to the lady who confesses adultery twice - once with the neighbour and once with the Rugby club's first XV, as further scrutiny of her Rogatory interview reveals:

LP: "Who else did you speak to?"

JT: "I'm trying to think of the order... it was, sort of like... it was Rachael first, then it was Fi and I can't remember when Russell and Matt came back, they came back at, errm... tut, I don't know whether they came back first or I told them or who else was there, but as soon, the police... when the police came, I know Rachael went straight away to get them to say, so that I could tell the GNR, I think... yeah, the GNR, what I'd seen, but I do'’t know if I told anybody else. I can't remember when people like Sylvie, who was the translator... I'm not sure when she arrived whether it was before the Police arrived or after the Police arrived or whenever, but..."

LP: "But you told the Police when they came?"

JT: "Yeah, when they arrived, Rachael, I think, went and got the GNR and I told the GNR chap and then when the PJ actually arrived they came and got me to go and talk to the, the PJ".

The actual sequence of disclosure is confirmed much later on in the interview:

"Rachael was the first person I told. And then Fiona and then I think when Russell and Matt or Russell and Dave, whoever it was that came back, I then, then told them."

Like the cuckolded husband, Gerry McCann is conspicuously absent from the roll call. Rachel Oldfield's own witness statement of 11 May, 2007 confirms:

'Further to that, about 10 minutes after Kate raised the alarm about the disappearance, the deponent was with Jane in the apartment of the latter. While talking, Jane told her that when she came to see their children, and passed Gerald talking to "Jez", she saw a man with a child, supported in his arms, which would not be a baby and could have been more or less the age of Madeleine... Asked, says that, initially Jane focused more on the description of the man and, only a few days later, did she make reference to the clothes that the child would have worn, which would be pyjamas.

So the world and its neighbour knew about Tanner’s sighting of 'man carrying child' almost from the outset, but 'child with pyjamas' was a later development; unless of course you happened to be GNR patrolman, Nelson Filipe Pacheco da Costa.

LP: "So when you went into Gerry and Kate's apartment who else was there?"

JT: "Errm... I think there was Russ... I think Russell came with me and there was Sylvie who was the translator.

"I can't remember which... there was some... there was a PJ chap was sitting on the... by the table. And there was Gerry who was standing by the... the bedroom door."

LP: "And how was Gerry at that point?"

JT: "Oh he was just, well obviously, obviously distraught..."

LP: "And what was Gerry's reaction to what you said?"

JT: "Well I don't even know whether he took it in, I mean, he was just... he was, you know, obviously just standing there looking absolutely horrified, so..."

So, despite Gerry McCann's being in the immediate vicinity as Russell O'Brien writes out the timeline featuring Jane Tanner’s sighting (indeed, as others have established, he was sitting at the table at the time), he appears to have been taken aback by Tanner's personal revelation. A sympathetic view of this reaction would be that Gerry was alarmed to discover that an opportunity for intervention appeared to have passed them by. A more quizzical interpretation rests on the supposition that GM actually furnished O'Brien and Oldfield with the details for the timeline, as well as the child's book on which they might write it (the latter is highly likely, the book having been Madeleine's own after all). Yet there is another possibility.

Gerry McCann's acting skills are, shall we say, noticeably underdeveloped. He cannot conceal his own discomfort when fielding awkward questions in public, for instance. Is it likely then that he would have feigned surprise for Jane Tanner's benefit? If not, and his surprise was therefore genuine, why should he have looked 'horrified?' Surely if his child had not long been spirited away, his face ought to have conveyed something more akin to relief, possibly even a certain animation, given that someone might be in a position to identify, or at least help identify, his daughter's abductor.

Simply playing devil's advocate and supposing that, whatever else, Madeleine was not abducted, provides an immediate explanation for Gerry's astonishment. For how can Jane Tanner be in a position to know something about the detail of an event that did not take place? That someone should come forward with independent validation of a lie must have been unsettling to say the least. Even more unsettling for Gerry McCann was Jane Tanner's continued insistence subsequently.

Other commentators have previously pointed out how the McCanns have been careful to disseminate their opinions/claims etc. among close friends, family members and various 'sources', making it the more difficult to lay blame for any misrepresentation at their door; a deliberate dissociation. Under the circumstances pertaining in the early hours of 4 May, 2007, one might reasonably expect the McCanns to have embraced Jane Tanner's revelation wholeheartedly from the outset. Yet they appear not to have done so. Although they each made mention of the Tanner 'sighting' during their respective police interviews, Gerry, rather than elaborate the description advanced by Tanner when given the opportunity, simply referred the police to her for details. Not a desperately committal attitude really, suggesting that Gerry had not quite immersed himself in Jane Tanner's representation of events.

Whilst this may appear to be stretching a point, or reading too much into the situation, the point is inexorably enlarged by examples of the McCanns' later behaviour toward their star witness and what she had to say. Isolated these may be. Contradictory they are not.

Under interview (and there have been quite several), Jane Tanner's confidence in her story, even if not her degree of accuracy, has been unwavering. From the outset she was sure she could identify the man she had seen in the darkness (from a distance of 50 metres according to Kate McCann). Is it not therefore a little odd, to say the least, that the McCanns seem not once to have encouraged the production of a 'visual' for the benefit of all those people they presumed to be searching for their daughter? That task was left to the Pinkertons. It was not the McCanns but Spanish detective agency Metodo 3 who commissioned the understandably derided artist's impression of 'Bundleman', fully five months after Madeleine's disappearance.

So much for urgency. How about faith in one's friends? The obvious illustration in this case has to be the documentary, 'Madeleine Was Here', and the reconstruction that wasn't. Which of us, having seen this production, can forget the confluence of Gerry McCann's and Jane Tanner's 'evidence' - the certitude; the unimpeachable unanimity? What we recall, as clear as crystal, are the disagreements, the McCann dogma, and the tears that flowed immediately afterwards. Now what was that all about? Without question, Gerry McCann's dissociation from Jane Tanner's story was apparent, even after an interval of two years.

If attention needed to be focussed on the evil abductor crossing the road ahead of all three bystanders (Gerry, Jane and Jes Wilkins), what difference did it make on which side of the road Gerry and his Tennis buddy were standing at the time? As far as the 'abductor' goes, nothing at all, since one or other of the conversationalists ought to have noticed him, whichever side of the road they were on. But Jane? Common sense dictates that, had she passed them on the same side of the street (as she claimed), she must have been nigh on unmissable. The chances of her not being recognised (or better yet, passing completely unnoticed) are somewhat improved when the parties are physically separated.

So why should Gerry McCann have been so determined to irrigate the seeds of doubt? Because Jane Tanner's so-called sighting was, and is, a double-edged sword, as keen along one edge as the other. On the plus side 'Bundleman' represents confirmation of the story. On the other, his reported presence on the street at exactly the same time as Gerry McCann implies, inevitably, that he must have gained access to apartment 5A before Gerry himself had done so. He could not have accomplished all he has been credited with otherwise. That being so, Gerry is faced with little choice but to entertain, albeit in retrospect, the likelihood that the intruder had hidden himself from view once Gerry had followed him inside, and that, as we know, was simply not possible (unless for some reason the intruder was in the process of abducting Madeleine from her parents' bedroom), since Gerry personally visited the children's bedroom, via the lounge, before leaving (he also visited the toilet). If Matthew Oldfield was able to see the twins breathing through a crack in the door, then Gerry McCann couldn't have missed an adult trying in vain to conceal himself.

Consistently (and conveniently) Gerry McCann fails to notice the abductor both inside and outside the apartment. Yet at the same time he is loathe to pass up the opportunity of capitalizing upon Tanner's 'evidence'. So what does he do? Exactly what he has always done - reap whatever benefit is to be had from favourable observations delegated to others, who then find themselves, knowingly or otherwise, to be the focus of attack should the information turn out to be questionable.

Thus has Jane Tanner been pilloried, even here, for her 'unreliability' as a witness, whilst Gerry has positioned himself strategically, such that he cannot be called upon to offer support. After all, he cannot even confirm that their paths crossed in the street. In truth it is not in his interest to do so. Cynically, he is prepared to accept the credibility that the sighting of an 'abductor' confirms, but should the story go 'belly up', then it was nothing to do with him was it?

That Key Bit Of Information, 24 January 2010
That Key Bit Of Information

Gerry and Kate McCann, 22 May 2007


By Dr Martin Roberts
24 January 2010


According to the Archiving Dispatch in relation to the McCann investigation, the McCanns had no known friends or contacts in Portugal apart from those on holiday with them. How then are we to make sense of Gerry McCann's reply to reporter Sandra Felgueiras when asked whether he knew Robert Murat? ("I'm not going to comment on that."). The absence of a firm denial makes the positive answer much more likely to be correct. In contrast, Robert Murat's own answer to the question of any prior meeting with Gerry McCann is unequivocal:

"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).

This is distinctly odd. McCann hints at acquaintance. Murat denies it. The statements are as contradictory as are Kate McCann's indirect contention that Madeleine was not left asleep when 'it happened under other circumstances' versus Gerry McCann's account of how he last saw all three children together, asleep, at 9.05 on that fateful Thursday night. Any one of these statements is seemingly innocuous in itself. It is only when they are matched together with their cognate that suspicion is aroused, since logic dictates that semantically they should each point in the same direction and clearly they do not.

There is a Spanish riddle which tells of a hungry traveller who chances upon a cherry tree and neither eats cherries nor leaves cherries; a seemingly impossible state of affairs. The riddle has a solution however, just as do those associated with the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

The question prompted by the paradox attending Messrs McCann and Murat is this: How might Robert Murat have been previously known to Gerry McCann, despite their never having met?

Progress toward a possible answer is suggested by the McCanns' constant, almost monotonous reference to that 'key bit of information' held by a member of the public, and which Gerry McCann has long since suggested would 'unlock (the mystery of) where Madeleine was kept.' During an interview for ITV, as early as 25 May 2007, Gerry used these words exactly. However, he failed to include the phrase in parentheses, rendering his reference literal rather than metaphorical. ("We truly believe that a member of the public holds the information to unlock where Madeleine is being kept."). In October 2007 Kate told her Spanish interviewer from Antena 3, "I think she's probably in someone's house."

Forward in time to the following year (1 May, 2008) and an interview with Nicky Campbell for Radio 5 Live Breakfast. What do we hear?

"Madeleine's still missing and we need to get that key bit of information from somebody, errm... which will lead to us finding her."

Now let's consider some further commentary from this same interview, not in the sequence in which it occurred necessarily, but one which has a certain explanatory power nonetheless (the first exchange at least is intact).

"Yeah. I mean, clearly, we haven't got the key bit of information that will lead us to finding Madeleine but, I think, the way we try to, errr... think about it is, it's like a jigsaw."

Do you have... do you have theories that you're working on?

You know, clearly, the investigators are looking at all options and scenarios and that... that's the key thing; there are a host of scenarios here, errr... and there... in very many of those scenarios, Madeleine is alive in them.

'Very many' maybe - but not all. En passant, it is revealing that Gerry McCann should invite public acknowledgement of there being no evidence Madeleine is alive:

We have contact with the Foreign Office, errm... from predominantly a consular basis. We do put requests in, that we do want to get as much information as possible and, I think, what we've asked, and will ask repeatedly, is: 'what evidence does anyone have to suggest that Madeleine is dead?' because we know of no evidence to suggest otherwise and we would like a public acknowledgment of that.

Our primary concern however is with 'keys.'

We do want to remind people that, obviously, the key thing here is Madeleine.…... Errm... and we're in a... we're here, we're appealing, errr... we know we've been criticised for doing media. This is only the second appeal Kate and I have done in seven months, errr... so it's not like we're in... out there on a regular basis but we are in a very difficult situation because we believe someone - a member of the public - holds the key.

Attention is drawn again to 'the key', a topic accompanied not so much by a slip of the tongue as an irresistible intrusion by the brain (we'll allow Gerry McCann the benefit of the doubt on that score. Given his working environment, I imagine a colleague would have noticed by now if something were missing, but you never know). Early on in his reply Gerry suppresses an urge to say something which, despite his best efforts in that regard, forces its way through his mouth barely seconds later: "We're in a very difficult situation." And why are they in a 'difficult situation' exactly? "because…a member of the public…holds the key."

Now, this declaration merits a touch more than a moment's thought. According to the McCanns since 3 May 2007, a member of the public holds Madeleine, never mind a key. She is the one in a difficult situation. One can think of a host of separate descriptors for the parents of an abducted child, but the phrase 'difficult situation' would not, I suspect, leap to mind. Their situation is ostensibly straightforward. They are minus a child and presumably doing whatever they can to recover the missing person.

So, what is it about a member of the public's holding a key that represents a difficulty for the parents? The obvious, and naïve, answer would be: 'Person (a) is in possession of something that person (b) wants or requires', and that's all there is to it. Personally, I believe the significance to be rather more subtle, and that turning the key in question could open the door to a clearer understanding of earlier events in Praia da Luz. Perhaps the following remark (made again to Nicky Campbell) will at least put the key in the lock:

"We don't know what's been done, what hasn't been done, who's been eliminated, who hasn't, what grounds they have been eliminated on."

If the intention is to isolate and identify an individual from a population P by a process of elimination, viz I = P - (P - 1) that's a lot of people to be eliminated before the individual is singled out. Gerry's statement reads rather as if he already has a sub-set of the population in mind. That sub-set, one imagines, would not number very many at all; it might include the McCanns themselves even, as well as that person holding the key. Thus the 'difficult situation' arises in consequence of the McCanns being members of a relatively small group of people, along with our mystery key holder. Members of the same set, it has to be acknowledged, must have something in common or they would not belong to the set in question. This, not the key, is at the root of the McCanns' 'difficulty.'

If we briefly consider the key as a metaphor, it represents information; information which the McCanns are desperate to acquire. This information in turn is presumed by the McCanns' media audience to reflect knowledge of Madeleine's whereabouts and, metaphorically speaking, could be in the hands of anyone either acquainted with or related to 'the abductor.' But looking anew at Kate McCann's reference to this very situation, it is noticeable that completion of the metaphorical allusion is something of an afterthought:

"Madeleine's still missing and we need to get that key bit of information from somebody, errm... which will lead to us finding her."

So, 'that key bit of information' is not necessarily to be construed as a 'lead' connected with finding Madeleine.

To come to the point, the metaphor itself appears to be a red-herring. Revisiting now the very early statement of Gerry’s ("We truly believe that a member of the public holds the information to unlock where Madeleine is being kept."), if we invert the previous exchange (of information for a key) and now substitute the idea of a key for that of information, the claim then becomes 'a member of the public has personal access to wherever Madeleine is (or was).' Importantly, they might not be aware of it.

is the McCanns' dilemma. They want, indeed need to know what this person knows of Madeleine's previous whereabouts, for as sure as eggs are eggs she's not there now, and she wasn't there when this householder reclaimed their key either. The individual in possession of 'the key' is no abductor, but the proprietor of an as yet unidentified domicile somewhere in the vicinity of Praia da Luz, where Madeleine was temporarily installed (Even Jane Tanner's 'Bundleman' had to abscond to a destination within walking distance, as there was absolutely no sign of any urgent vehicular departures from the scene). This is the person the McCanns are anxious to eliminate from their enquiries, and one only need postulate a little knowledge on their part to appreciate why, as we recall to mind Kate's answer to yet another question put to her during the interview for Spanish Broadcaster Antena 3:

" you have full confidence in them?"

"One hundred percent. One hundred percent."

(voice off camera – "of everyone?")

"Of our friends, yes."

Clearly, someone outside of her immediate circle does not enjoy Kate's full confidence.

If this 'scenario' is to be entertained, one has further to consider how it might be possible, outside of breaking and entering, for a person to gain access to a foreign household; one that is not their own, and to which they do not have a key? According to recent pronouncements in Lisbon by Gerry McCann, "A thesis without evidence is meaningless." This statement is not universally true, but to avoid too great a compromise of the hypothesis under discussion, here are a few constituent aspects for which there is ample experiential evidence:

1. Enquiries purporting to be in respect of property purchases are typically put to estate agents and / or property developers.

2. Potential purchasers are usually invited to inspect a property or properties in which they express interest.

3. Depending on individual circumstances, inspection visits can be unaccompanied.

4. Where an inspection with a view to purchase is agreed and the agent's representative is not required to be present, a key is collected and returned.

See where this is going?

Robert Murat was a property developer who will have had contacts and knowledge with respect to vacant properties for sale or let in the PDL area. He has a reputation for being helpful and accommodating; instincts which led to his translation endeavours on behalf of the PJ.

If a key were borrowed, either from, or owing to the intervention of, Robert Murat, and returned in due course, Murat may not have met the borrower. The borrower however must at least have known of Murat in order to have made their enquiry in the first instance.

This framework, then, is capable of embracing the contradiction which stimulated this discussion initially: Robert Murat never having met Gerry McCann - Gerry McCann unprepared to comment upon whether or how he knew Robert Murat.

Hypothetically speaking, if Robert Murat had any reason to suspect he'd been deliberately misled into unwittingly aiding and abetting a crime, would he not be understandably circumspect if invited to discuss it subsequently? Just as hypothetically, if a vendor/lessor were later to discover that his/her property had been inappropriately used to facilitate an 'abduction,' might he or she not be at least a little interested in the detail of the trespass, especially if entry to their property were gained before 9.00 p.m.? And if we were Kate and Gerry McCann, would we not be oh-so-interested in that key bit of information, its custodian, and ensuring they were kept on-side? Small wonder that the search for 'Madeleine' continues.

Leave No Turn Unstoned, 29 January 2010
Leave No Turn Unstoned

Kate McCanns' appeal, 07 May 2007


By Dr Martin Roberts
29 January 2010


In the course of the recent appeal hearing in Lisbon vis-à-vis the injunction on Goncalo Amaral's book, The Truth of the Lie, mention was made of the McCann's lies during the initial stages of the Portuguese investigation into Madeleine's Disappearance. John Blacksmith (The Blacksmith Bureau) has now eloquently and forthrightly reminded us that the McCanns have lied from beginning to end; a statement he feels able to make without fear of being challenged for libel because the claim proves to be true.

The abduction of Madeleine McCann is, in fact, a 'sky lantern' and with the business end of the McCanns' libel action now approaching, here is an 'over' of 'spin bowling' which Goncalo Amaral and his team would be perfectly entitled to deliver:

1. Cuddle cat found abandoned on high ledge (report carried by several newspapers and attributed to Kate McCann).

Cuddle cat was actually photographed by the police alongside the pillow, on what is supposed to have been Madeleine’s bed.

2. Interviewed by Paris Match, 4.9.2007:

: We have replied to all the questions that have been put to us and we will continue to do so, whatever the new information might be.

Of course, we shall be completely honest.

: We have said everything we know and responded to everything that we have been asked.

Replied? Responded?

Police questions unanswered by KM: 48

(clearly graduates of the Mitchell school of political circumvention).

3. KM: "If what happened hadn't happened I would not have thought it important."

But Kate thought 'it' important enough to have already discussed 'it' independently with two witnesses at least, before 'what happened' had happened at all.

4. Madeleine only ever answered to that name. Use of 'Maddie' coined by the press to fit headlines. "We never called her that." (KM).

"But she hated it when we called her 'Maddie'. She'd say, 'My name is Madeleine', with an indignant look on her face." (Woman's Own, 13 August 2007).

5.(a) GM Witness Statement 4 May, 2007: Thus, at 9.05pm, Gerry entered the apartment using his key, the door being locked

(b) GM Witness Statement 10 May, 2007: He effected his normal path until the back doors, which were closed but not locked.

The last delivery of the over has to be the 'jemmied shutters' story put about by Philomena McCann and other family members, none of whom were any nearer Portugal at the time than their own front doors and all of whom had been contacted directly by either Kate or Gerry McCann immediately after the first alarm bells were rung in Praia da Luz.

That story was a myth. The reality was articulated subsequently by Clarence Mitchell:

6. (a) Jon Corner, godparent to the McCanns' twins, said: "She was in an absolutely hysterical state - very, very distressed. She blurted out Madeleine had been abducted.

"Kate said the shutters of the room were smashed."

(b) Brian Healy Grandfather:

"Gerry told me when they went back the shutters to the room were broken, they were jemmied up and she was gone,"

"There was no evidence of a break-in," said Mr Mitchell (The McCanns' spokesperson - Irish Independent, 25 October 2007).

The Heart Of The Matter, 04 February 2010
The Heart Of The Matter

John McCann and Brian Kennedy


By Dr Martin Roberts
04 February 2010


When Uncle John sat down to write his Chairman's Report on the fiscal activities of Madeleine's Fund for the last trading year, one person was certainly not uppermost in his mind. Clearly focussed on his schoolboy pun, he managed to omit Madeleine's name from the rosta of previously nominated litigants in the libel case against Goncalo Amaral. The date on which Madeleine was 'taken' seems also to have been forgotten, as elsewhere (the Director's Report, signed off by Brian Kennedy, Madeleine's great-uncle), the 3rd May 2008 is referenced. Not just 'a day late and a dollar short', but a full twelve months.

Perhaps Messrs. McCann and Kennedy do not quite attach the same importance to their niece/great-niece as do her parents. But if we look for evidence of how Madeleine stands in their regard, she seems to fare little better.

"So it's difficult to hear something that's incorrect and inaccurate. At the bottom of all this is a little girl, and I think it's important that we don't forget that."

Madeleine is not identified as being at the heart, or even centre of events. But that shouldn't surprise us unduly, since she never was.

Interviewed by Jane Hill (BBC):

"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."

There is no ambiguity here. It is Sean and Amelie who imbue the parents with the determination to find Madeleine. Were they to be missing as well, then so would that determination. In such an event the twins need of rescue comes first ('them' does not include Madeleine initially. She is mentioned separately). The need to bring Madeleine back is then measured in terms of the twins first, Madeleine second.

Announcing their intention to suppress Goncalo Amaral via a libel action, Gerry again puts Madeleine in her place.

"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."

Suddenly Madeleine is not so much one of the children as an afterthought.

And, with thanks to Anna Andress for bringing the following to light, according to a statement by Katherina Gasper (a doctor who holidayed with the McCanns and their friends in 2005):

"During our stay in Majorca, Dave and his wife, Fiona, accompanied by their daughter Lily, took Madeleine with them to spend the day, in order to give Kate and Gerry a bit of rest and time to be with the twins."

Amongst the questions Kate McCann refused to answer when made arguida, is one which raises more questions concerning Madeleine's place in the family:

"When asked whether or not it is true that in England she considered the possibility of handing over Madeleine's guardianship to a relative, she did not reply."

Perhaps we should not be too surprised at Uncle John and Great-Uncle Brian's errors and omissions after all.

Author Unknown, 07 February 2010
Author Unknown

Jane Tanner


By Dr Martin Roberts
07 February 2010


Okay, so 'everyone is acting, some in big ways.' (Gerry McCann on ITV, 25 May, 2007).

Jane Tanner is undeniably a member of the cast, as is crystal clear from what follows. The question is, who wrote the script? What you are about to read is not the result of a 'cut and paste error' but the literal flow of Jane Tanner's verbal responses during her Rogatory Interview with Leicestershire Police.

JT: Madeleine, if she's dead or alive, whatever, you know... maybe it is too late to find her but there's somebody out there that's done this and it's not Kate and Gerry; it's not us, you know... they can do it again and that is the... you know, they're laughing their socks off; they've just got away with this scot free and, you know... and I think it's... the thing is, they are there, then it's not us and that person is out there and, you know, could do it again and, as I say, it might be... we obviously hope not, but it could be too late for Madeleine; but a lot of other kids out there that might not be too late for, and it's just... and to sit and see, and I know... I can quite understand why that time and effort has to be put into looking down that route and... but, you know, I can't say any more but it's not... well, it's not us; it's not Kate and Gerry and it's something happened which to Madeleine that night and none of us are involved and, you know, I just don't know what else we can do to make them believe us and I think that's the... you know, and I think that's the... you know, I think that, and I don't think there is anything else we could do to believe us but, you know, we're not (inaudible), we were normal people that made a really stupid decision because we were lulled into a false sense of security from previous holidays where baby listening was offered, so I don't know."

4078: "But you have a sinking feeling inside that it was?"

JT: "Yeah, and I... yeah, and I just think, you know, they just... and, you know, at the end of the day, this person is still out there. Somebody did this and it wasn't Kate and Gerry and it wasn't any of us, you know, and it just... that is the worse thing, that person is out there; could do it again. He's absolutely, you know... they must be laughing their socks off... well... not, you know, they, so I think that's, you know... that's all we can... and I think it's just that frustration and, as I say, I mean, I can't make them believe us, and they might still not believe us, but, you know, like I say... so I'm just begging, really, that they believe us, I think it's a..."

Jane, poor tortured soul, 'can't say any more.' (For 'can't' read 'won't').

Wake Up And Smell The Coffee, 18 February 2010
Wake Up And Smell The Coffee

The McCanns in Lisbon, 10 February 2010


By Dr Martin Roberts
18 February 2010


What does any business, any family even, do in the face of an economic recession and dwindling income? They cut their costs.

Madeleine's Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned Ltd. is a registered company; a business suffering a dramatic fall in income year-on-year. Its schedule of expenditure is so limited however, even a novice accountant would have no difficulty in identifying target areas for cut-backs: Directors' honoraria ? (Please, no!). Legal fees? (Not open to negotiation, I'm afraid). Costs associated with 'the search'? (Now you're talking!).

Recent events have provided further insight into the litigants' scheming, wrapped up, as always, in clouds of specious nonsense. Blow away the smoke however, and the long-term cunning becomes suddenly clearer.

First, some of the not-so-nonsensical nonsense.

Coming hot-on-the-heels of Carter Ruck's suggestion that Madeleine could have been abducted, Gerry McCann is quoted by the Daily Express (11.2.10) thus:

'In a thinly veiled criticism of the Portuguese police investigation, Mr McCann added:

"All possibilities have to be considered but one theory was pursued much more aggressively than any other possibility."' (possibility = theory).

Mrs McCann added: "I think this will truly help the search for Madeleine and that is why we have gone through with it. It hasn't been easy but if it helps we will go through anything." (Anything except a reconstruction requested by the investigating authority. Fire and brimstone, maybe. Certainly the discomfort of a few 'home truths' being made public on account of the injunction hearing).

So, Gerry gently steers into the wind together with Carter Ruck, and Kate explains how any indignity is a price worth paying if it helps 'the search.'

Cue Clarence Mitchell.

Their spokesman said they were "determined to stop Amaral repeating his rubbish." (Daily Star 11.2.10).

Speaking on air to Jon Gaunt (9.1.2008) the Grand Panjandrum said this:

"Even if you send a cheque or anything in an envelope to 'Kate and Gerry in Rothley it'll get there. People from around the world are doing that and we're very, very grateful for every penny and we will maintain the use of that money, fully, for the finding of Madeleine, to bring her back home where she belongs."

How's that for rubbish? Matched, if not surpassed, by his remarks quoted in the Daily Mail (12.2.10):

'The tragedy of this case, which once again has been highlighted by this, is what little was done to find Madeleine.

'Kate and Gerry will have to do it themselves as they have been doing. They are the only ones looking for her.'

Instinctively one is tempted to rail against these remarks. Anyone who walks upright and eats with a knife and fork will have realised by now that the only persons the McCanns are looking out for are themselves (Kate McCann, for example, speaks of 'a missing child' not 'her missing daughter'). But take a step back from the broth, and include among the ingredients the considerations of the McCanns' Portuguese Lawyer, Isabel Duarte who, according to Vanessa Allen of the Daily Mail, said that they (the PJ) had not investigated any tip-offs since the case was officially shelved, in July 2008, when the McCanns were cleared as official suspects in the investigation (12.2.10).

Well, the McCanns, as we know, were not 'cleared', and if a case is rendered dormant by a judicial authority, then it can only be re-awakened by that same authority. It's not for the Police in Portugal, now otherwise engaged, suddenly to take it upon themselves to embark on 'awaydays' all over Europe in relation to a 'pending' issue. Ms Duarte's indignation, it should be noted, stems from a period in time commencing one year and more after Madeleine's disappearance. This issue itself has the capacity to divert us, as do so many that crop up, but rather than dwell on it just yet, we might do to better link it together with the seemingly unexpected concession on the part of Gerry McCann that the case could be re-opened.

Reactions to this posture have bordered on astonishment. Hardly surprising, given the interval of time during which the McCanns themselves could have re-invigorated the process but were singularly disinclined so to do, preferring instead to fund a stream of 'con artists' and incompetents. So why now, all of a sudden, might they countenance the very idea, not only mooted publicly by Goncalo Amaral, but by their very own lawyer during the closing stages of the recent appeal court hearing? No, it wasn't the McCanns bowing to the inevitable, or trying not to appear out of phase with their legal representation. Look again at Ms. Duarte's position, as cited by the Algarve Resident (11.2.10):

Isabel Duarte, representing the McCanns, who were in Lisbon at the hearing, said that there was "evidence that could compromise the Polícia Judiciária investigation" in Portimão and pave the way for "the reopening of the Madeleine Case".

What evidence is that exactly? We know, because we have been told: The PJ had not investigated any tip-offs since the case was officially shelved, in July 2008.

So, should the case be re-opened, Inspector Ricardo Paiva's portfolio of unexplored leads can come off the back burner immediately. And when does this backlog of 'leads' date from again? July 2008. After the original investigation had been shelved and the McCanns' arguido status lifted. What every right-thinking individual would welcome is the re-opening of the investigation into Madeleine McCann's disappearance. What the McCanns are angling for is the opening of an investigation into her whereabouts. All we have to do now is join the dots.

Remember Gerry's statement: "All possibilities have to be considered but one theory was pursued much more aggressively than any other possibility."

The implication here is that, one theory having been pursued unsuccessfully (so far), this theory should be put aside to allow pursuance of one or more alternatives.

And the comment of Clarence (for whom a vat of Malmsey could be supplied tomorrow):

'Kate and Gerry will have to do it themselves as they have been doing. They are the only ones looking for her.'

What could be more perfect for the 'cleared' McCanns than to retire from the public arena, continue to accrue 'information', as well as cash (passing just the first of these to the Portuguese as and when, if at all) while the Portuguese, for their part, spend the rest of their days (and their money), 'searching for Madeleine.' It's as good as operating a bank. Keep all of the profit - bear none of the loss. And for an indefinite period into the bargain.

Not for nothing are Brits abroad captivated by the aromatic novelty of a 'continental breakfast.' Being better accustomed to real coffee in the mornings, the PJ and their erstwhile colleague will, I trust, have smelt this chicory (or should that be chicanery?) coming.

And now that the result of the injunction hearing is known, one feels obliged to question, once again, whether the presiding Judge was actually listening to the evidence; whether, in fact, she had bothered to read the book at the centre of this legal jousting, or took any time to review the DVD that was admitted into evidence early in the proceedings. As Anna Andress makes absolutely clear, the putative libel is right there, in the police files, verbatim. If Goncalo Amaral has trespassed against the McCanns, he can only have done so by repeating the libellous summary of the joint Portuguese-British investigation. So what's next? Carter Ruck to sue the PJ and Leicestershire Police on behalf of the McCanns?

In absolute terms the McCanns themselves were not on trial in Lisbon; only a book which cast 'serious doubt on the suggestion that Madeleine McCann could have been abducted' (with thanks to Carter Ruck for the correct choice of words here), and defamed her parents by referring, as the original Police report had previously done, to Madeleine's death. Well the ambitious avian can lay claim to being a swan as much as it likes. If it waddles like a duck, quacks like a duck and defecates like a duck then a swan it ain't. So, although the process of law is prepared to navigate around the obvious, the obvious is, to most of us at any rate, inescapable.

The National Police Improvement Agency, through their expert associate, criminal profiler Lee Rainbow, gave it as their view that, "The family is a lead that should be followed. The contradictions in Gerald McCann's statements might lead us to suspect a homicide."

Coarsely graded, the sequence which then unfolds is:

The PJ are put on notice that they should be prepared to encounter a body. On the advice of their able British colleague Mark Harrison they introduce specialist dogs into the investigation. Lo and behold, the dogs indicate: First, the transient presence of a corpse. Second, the historical presence of a corpse in transit. Well, well.

So much of what the McCanns and their spokespersons present to the media is deliberately and scandalously misleading. However, in the light of recent reports concerning the efficacy of the Cadaver dog briefly seconded to the McCann investigation, they will all have a very difficult time indeed in convincing anyone that an animal with a 100% success record, before and since, could have been wrong on several occasions while in Portugal.

The appearance of a sudden 'notch' in the behavioural graph draws attention immediately to its being due to something other than performance factors; experimenter error maybe, or mistaken interpretation. Well, the dog was tasked with screening several vehicles and several apartments. For each and every experimenter error to bias the outcome in a single direction would be remarkable indeed (only McCann related items were 'marked'). Hence the performance 'downturn' must rather be due to mistaken interpretation. And by whom? By the personage with a penchant for opinion on matters he is least qualified to address. Perhaps, with the case re-opened (not 'reviewed', since our Donal's already done that), we might yet learn something more of matters in Portugal on 3 May, 2007, with respect to which our protagonist is only too qualified to speak.

God Is In The Details, 18 March 2010
God Is In The Details

Kate McCann in the church in Praia da Luz


By Dr Martin Roberts
18 March 2010


As the truth is in the dogs' tails, so Kate McCann's eulogistic affirmation of the all-knowing one reveals, subtly but surely, that her daughter Madeleine's existence has taken on a conceptually modified significance. In response to Aled Jones recent, and not unduly probing interview, Kate manages to expose a little more of the rich tapestry that is the tale of missing Madeleine, and her own peculiar brand of narcissism into the bargain.

Aled Jones:
"Do you think God's looking after Madeleine?"

Kate McCann:
"I do. I mean, to me, Madeleine was a gift. Most of our life is pretty public anyway but obviously we had quite a difficult time trying to have Madeleine and when she was born I really did believe she was a gift and I never took her for granted... You know, every day when I'd wake up and I'd see her, these huge eyes looking at me, you know, I'd thank God for Madeleine and I don't believe that He would stop loving her now or abandon her, I mean, I don't believe that at all and I do get a comfort in thinking that wherever she... she is; whoever she's with, that He's with her and protecting her, and protecting her spirit. She's got a lot of spirit."

Oh dear. As quick and astute as the correction appears, it results in nothing but a ridiculous malapropism, the omnipotent one suddenly entrusted with safeguarding Madeleine's 'joie de vivre.' Something of a pity, wouldn't you think, that He'd previously fallen down on the job of protecting Madeleine? There again, He'd not have been alone in that and, as we learn from the sanctimonious Kate herself, He was not to be held responsible, at least not for the well-being of little Madeleine. But why, oh why does he not show his hand in protecting the poor parents? Is that too much to ask?

Aled Jones:
"Are there ever times when you blame God?"

Kate McCann: "I've never blamed God for what's happened, at all. I don't think that that was anything to do with God. There are times when I've got angry with God and certainly the... the additional things that I've mentioned that have happened, where I just think, 'How can we have extra suffering put on us, at such an awful time?' And I just haven't understood it, and I've wondered why God hasn't interceded and tried to counter that. These are the times when I go off to church, to be honest. I mean I've got a key to the church; they've kindly given me one and sometimes I'll go in and, oh, its a bit of a sanctuary, its a bit of a refuge really. I'll go and I can speak out because, obviously, there's no-one there. Just get it all of my chest, really. I mean, I do wonder, you know, why should God help my prayers when there's millions of people with prayers which are equally as important around the world. I don't know. I mean, I just hope he does. My faith has sustained me a lot through all of this and there is a definite comfort there."

So Kate goes to church to be honest, getting it 'all off her chest' in the sanctuary of God's house, and clearly timing her visits to coincide with God's being out to work. If only she would share her honesty outside the confines of indifferent, empty spaces.

Of course others have equally important prayers competing for God's attention. Yet it doesn't seem to have crossed Kate's mind that He too has to prioritize on occasion, and that attention being drawn to more important requirements elsewhere in the world might occasionally mean He has to take his eye off the McCann ball from time to time (although He appears to have been observant enough at the Kensington Roof Garden Hotel not long ago - the raffle went well and it didn't rain). Perhaps the martyrdom of St Katherine (in the 'past historic' tense) will allow God that bit of free space He requires to get round to everybody's current issues.

Aled Jones:
"Because in a way what you are experiencing for many people would be hell on earth."

Kate McCann:
"No, it is. I think it is the worst thing that could happen to a parent or certainly one of the worst things. I mean, the pain was just... it's just incredible and it's a pain, you know, the pain of worry, for her, really. I mean, we live with the sadness of not having Madeleine in our lives but, you know, I'm her mum and I can't help but worry about her and I just want to be with her. When she has a sore tummy, I want to be there. When she's upset, I want to be there. And I just want to bring her back into the warmth and love of our family, really."

So, Madeleine, when next you're crying for 'Mummy,' make sure it's good and loud. She just might be a little further away than the foot of the garden. But she really will want to be there for you (provided, of course, it’s not one of your 'passing' moments).

Kate and Gerry McCann might have their faith fully invested in the Church of Rome, but that's about all they're likely to invest there (box marked 'meeting with Pope' already ticked - been there, done that). Promissory notes, of all denominations, delivered to Rothley, are all 'a/c payee only' I'm afraid, so the Vatican will just have to content itself with the knowledge that the donors themselves are catholic in their tolerance:

Aled Jones:
"Gerry said that his faith has been strengthened by the goodness generated by this ordeal. So there are positives that come out of it?"

Kate McCann:
"Oh, very much so. I mean we... we still get a bundle of mail every day from people, you know, willing us on and, you know, sending their best wishes. And children send pictures for Madeleine and stuff; you know, we have books of prayers sent for Madeleine that children have written. Its been amazing, its been a real eye-opener. I mean, I'd have never thought of sitting down and writing a letter to somebody I didn't know who'd suffered a tragic event and yet the strength it's give us has been amazing."

And yet there is a certain charity in Kate McCann’s demeanour; at least there appears to be:

"I pray for the people who have taken Madeleine."

Aled Jones:
"Do you think you'd ever be able to forgive the people that took Madeleine?"

Kate McCann: "It's a difficult one, isn't it. I guess, I don't know why they've taken her and I think until I know that it would be hard... hard to say. I mean, I'd like to hope that I could but its difficult."

So prayers for the people who have taken Madeleine might not quite be prayers of forgiveness. "It would be hard." Maybe if Kate understood their motives it might be possible, but I doubt it somehow:

Aled Jones:
"And what about your other children? How aware are they of what's happening?"

Kate McCann: "
Very aware. They talk about Madeleine every day. They know she's missing; they know she's been taken by somebody. They understand it a little bit like burgalry [sic] in that, even if you really want something, it doesn't mean that we can take it, because Madeleine belongs to us, you know, and it's not right that they've got Madeleine and need to find her."

Well, you can't always get what you want after all, however badly you want it. So, takers of Madeleine, take note: You needn't be in too much of a rush to disclose your motives. Forgiveness is not guaranteed.

We Are All Blighted, 07 April 2010
We Are All Blighted

Kate and Gerry McCann at the 50 day anniversary balloon launch


By Dr Martin Roberts
07 April 2010


A serial 'blogger' on the McCann case, 'Himself' is a tirelessly vitreolic critic of the parents and all those who have lined up behind them, coining the phrase 'a blight on humanity' in his heading up of a series of quotes attributed to the McCanns. These examples are drawn from diverse occurrences (media interviews) over time. In particular the set of utterances paraded in conclusion have the monotonous ring of scripted falsehood. Just as recently, a single early interview given by Gerry McCann has been 'exhumed' and transcribed by Nigel Moore, editor of McCannfiles. It is an interview with reporter Jenni Murray for the BBC World Service, recorded on 19 June, 2007 and broadcast on the 22nd - the 50th anniversary day of Madeleine McCann's disappearance. What is striking about this dialogue is that those apologetic cliches with which we are now all too familiar are here displayed, already present and fully formed, barely six weeks after little Madeleine mysteriously disappeared.

In the course of the interview Gerry McCann refers separately to the concepts of empathy and sympathy. The nearest I have come to 'losing' a child (as in suddenly not knowing their exact whereabouts) was over a decade ago, when one of our two infants 'detached' himself unnoticed in a bustling cafeteria within the grounds of a zoo. 'Frantic' would not be inappropriate as a description of the ensuing couple of minutes. I can hardly begin to imagine the feelings of a parent having to cope with the unintentional absence of their child for a protracted period of time; a day and you're traumatised, a week and you're in pieces.

If this is the class of sympathy to which Gerry McCann refers, then why can I not find it within myself to extend it to him? Could it be that the McCanns' behaviour, then as now, is not appropriate to the elicitation of such emotional confluence? If one takes this 50th anniversary interview as an example, it seems fairly clear that whatever emotions the McCanns may have been enduring, at that time and since, they are something other than those typically attributable to parents suddenly and unexpectedly deprived of a child by abduction. That our emotions can affect both what we say and how we say it is a common, if not universal, experience that does not require experimental demonstration. The influence can lead to 'spur of the moment' remarks, 'outbursts', even 'outpourings.' What emotion does not usually provoke is pseudo-intellectual detachment. For that we need Gerry McCann.

Jenni Murray:
……Gerry McCann has just returned to Portugal from a brief trip to Britain to appoint a campaign manager to coordinate their efforts to publicise the case; only the second time he's left Portugal since Madeleine's disappearance. But I spoke to him, while he was here, and asked him what stage the investigations were at now.

Gerry McCann:
The actual specifics of what happened and I think the key things here about, errm... who actually has taken Madeleine, errr... why they've taken her and where she is, errr... I don't think we're any the wiser. That's very much why we're having to continue our campaign on an international front to make sure that Madeleine's image and, errr... details of her disappearance are as widely spread as possible.

So a primary purpose of the campaign exercise is to broadcast information you do not have? (Message to interlocutor: The use of more and more words does not make a circular argument any less circular).

In very short order the interview proceeds to deliver up one of the sickest statements I can recollect having been attributed to either parent in this case. It comes after an evasive non-answer to a very straightforward question, where the 'need for secrecy' overrides a simple 'yes' or 'no.'

JM: Are there any leads at all? I mean, is there anything that the police are now following up, for example?

GM: There's a lot of, errr... information still coming into the inquiry and, errm... you know, there's a lot of hard detective work going on. We have to realise that if they were hard leads we wouldn't be telling, errr... the public because, errr... they would be handled in a very quiet, errr... fashion and, errr... investigated. The important thing, at this time, is that we don't have Madeleine and, errr... that's the only, errr... result that'll clearly make Kate and I happy, and the rest of the family.

I have previously commented on the manner in which both parents, Gerry in particular, phrase their statements so as to invite the application of a supportive context by the listener who, in so doing, inadvertently assumes this to be the framework within which the speaker himself is operating. Assume nothing. There is no justification for a supposedly literate doctor's being so cavalier with relative pronouns that we listeners have to 'slide them up and down' their respective clauses in order to extract the significance we suppose them to hold. Hence 'that we don't have Madeleine' is the result that will clearly make Kate and Gerry happy. And no, I did not say that. Gerry McCann did.

Now follows another non-answer, the justification for which is vacuous. Adequate knowledge of the personality of one's child would surely allow an opinion as to how that child might cope with unforeseen separation. Not in this case.

JM: How do you think Madeleine herself would be coping?

GM: You know, that's somewhere where we, errr... we can't really go because, errm... it's back to speculation and we've absolutely no idea who's taken her and where she is and, errm... you know, what sort of surroundings she's in, so there's just too many in... errr... errr... probabilities there to really consider it.

To lighten the mood but briefly, we also have pan-european traveller Gerry McCann referring to his map of Germany dating from before the Hanseatic League.

GM: The phase of the campaign now is very different to that which we, errr... have undertaken in the last few weeks with Kate and I, you know, travelling to different areas, errm... either to raise awareness in countries in close proximity to Portugal, such as Spain and Morocco, and also going directly to countries, errr... The Netherlands and Berlin to appeal for information.

But this is hardly the forum for levity and we progress via the interview into linguistically incoherent waffle (e.g., "there's no guarantees") that camouflages the authorised mantra, as well as a persistent displacement on the part of the interviewee.

JM: Has the campaign helped you and Kate to cope, in that, at least you feel you're doing something?

GM: It has helped us and it helped us stay positive, errr... perhaps when our, errr... we were feeling very negative. Yes, there's no doubt having a focus and diverting your energy, errr... into the campaign, it certainly does help us but, at the same time, when you don't achieve the... the end goal of getting Madeleine back, it... it's still, you know, very difficult as time goes on. We are determined and, errr... we certainly will not give up and I think, you know, parents would know that; they would do anything to find their child.

JM: You've had help from trauma counsellors. Has... has that actually helped you?

GM: Without a doubt, errr... and I think what, errm... the psychologists, errm... did was give us the tools, errm... to help us cope at the beginning. We could only imagine the worst scenarios and, errm... he helped us to consider other possibilities and that, you know, there's reasonably good possibilities, errr... that Madeleine, errm... has not been seriously harmed and that has helped drive us. We have tremendous hurt that Madeleine is not here and we've had to have, you know, 50 days now, errr... without her and, of course, when you think about Madeleine not being with her family, errr... it's very distressing.

JM: So, for you and... and for Kate, what actually keeps the hope alive? I mean, when... when you're together, can you actually bolster up each other? Is it... or do you simply find that when you're together you feel very depressed about it?

GM: Despite, you know, a huge investigation, there is no evidence, to date, that Madeleine has been, errm... harmed, errr... physically, errm... and that, errr... means that we will always have hope and, errm... the hope is what drives us on in our determination to be reunited with our daughter. So, errr... of course, there are... we have blips and, errr... moments where, errm... we're not quite as positive and that is difficult to deal with but we support each other; we get family support and the huge amount of goodwill.

JM: Are there other international cases you know about which give you hope; where the children were... were eventually found?

GM: There's been a number of cases, errm... where children have been found, after a long time, errm... that, when you think about these, you know, is a double-edged sword. Errr... You know about the case of the Austrian girl who was found after, I think, eight years, errr... and you think: 'Goodness me, 'you never want to be separated, errm... that long and, in fact, every day is too long for us and there's been another case earlier this year where a boy, errr... was found in America after four... four years; well. Errm... So, yes, you know, there are clearly, errr... cases where people are returned.

Every person gets a mention - except the first person; the one with greatest involvement yet least representation.

This 'blight on humanity', in my estimation, does not reside in an individual alone, but in all those affiliates that have coalesced in their private and public support for a dubious cause; one that has succeeded beyond measure so far in achieving highly questionable objectives, impoverishing the English lexicon in the process. No longer should we have need of terms like decency, honour and integrity all the while the governance of our society is entrusted to those who would either declare for the corrupt, or turn a blind eye to their existence.

Pop Goes The Weasel, 29 April 2010
Pop Goes The Weasel

The McCanns interview with Lorraine Kelly: Broadcast 28 April 2010


By Dr Martin Roberts
29 April 2010


Is the McCann bubble finally fit to burst? Given the McCanns' accusation of inertia on the part of police investigators in Portugal and the UK, the only recourse they, the McCanns have, it seems, is the further globalisation of 'brand Madeleine'. There is, after all, a limit to the number of stratagems any business can employ in order to increase its revenue: cut costs, raise prices or broaden the market base. The disingenuous 'pay peanuts, get monkeys' argument so often trotted out in defence of executive remuneration, most recently by the banking sector, rather mitigates against option (a) here, whilst raising the prices of T-shirts and wrist bands wouldn't go down too well on the PR front; hence plan (c) is favourite.

"We have targeted specific areas of the world to help further our search" announces the Director's personal assistant (it's quite an eye opener, by the way, to discover just how many PA's gain their exalted posts as a result of horizontal promotion). The minutes of this boardroom meeting however contain conspicuous contradictions.

"The court case in Portugal over the past ten months, which led to the injunction against Goncalo Amaral's book and DVD, has been a significant step forward.

"The damage caused in Portugal, by this book and 'documentary', to our efforts to find Madeleine may not have been apparent in the UK but we believe it has been highly detrimental."

Whilst libel is absolute, detriment, in this instance, is cumulative. Our Oscar didn't wait for a year and more before calling his adversary to account (although, with the benefit of hindsight, he might have wished he had). The McCanns were clearly advised that it would be best to allow some detriment to accrue before they did anything about the libel. No 'nipping it in the bud' for them.

For a period in history the Portuguese were the world's navigators, with more than a few colonies to show for their efforts eventually. That the rather far-flung former Portuguese territories will have been influenced by the opinions of Goncalo Amaral, encouraging or discouraging citizens to go out looking for Madeleine, is unlikely. Madeleine in East Africa or elsewhere vaguely tropical is something of a long shot anyway, given no evidence whatsoever that she was 'taken' from Praia da Luz even, never mind Portugal.

So what's with the targeting of areas around the world, when set against the overriding concern with public opinion in Portugal? Well, a yen's as good as a buck to a blind economist. What the McCanns want is not people's vigilance but their cash, to pay for the two-man search team already on the ground and, more importantly, the campaign directors' expenses. For people to donate to a good cause they have at least to be under the impression that it is a good cause, and Goncalo Amaral's critical book was simply bad PR, even in Portuguese. It would have been even worse PR had it made it into English, as it was on the verge of doing before the McCanns were granted their injunction.

"We don't think it is right that, as parents, we have to drive the search." says Gerry, but that being the case, then someone has to pay for it don't they.

For once I agree with Gerry. It is not right that the McCanns have to drive a search - any search. But they are doing so because the police forces of two nations have, so we are given to understand, previously decided that it is not right for them to drive the search either. Now what would have been the basis for those prior decisions, I wonder? Have the British too taken the view already adopted by the Portuguese, that the 'search' for Madeleine is futile, or are we to suppose that, like some position in a three-dimensional game of chess, the disappearance of a child from her bedroom is a puzzle of such complexity as to defeat the combined intellect of a handful of investigative agencies (with due allowance for the fact that certain of these agencies were disposed to making more of a contribution than others)?

What the world's police forces clearly need in order to maximise their effectiveness is an under-employed G.P. or two:

"Mrs McCann, a GP who gave up work to concentrate on the search for Madeleine, said: 'We do this in medicine. You know, if there is a case that you don't seem to be getting the diagnosis, somebody will come in and review it. They'll go back to square one... and that's where you find out what else needs to be done and it will help point you in the right direction.'

Unfortunately, those 'not getting the diagnosis' in this instance appear to have been the on-looking orderlies. The patient certainly knew what had befallen her and the diagnosticians were in agreement. Doctors, it seems, have a problem being consistent within themselves in any case.

She (Kate McCann) said: "I wasn't expecting it because all I could see was our daughter has been taken and she is being subjected to something terrifying."

As they say on "There is absolutely nothing to suggest that Madeleine has been harmed" (only 'being subjected to something terrifying,' which, for a young child, is a notch more harmful than witnessing something terrifying as it befalls someone else).

But these doctors, at least, do share a degree of consistency. They consistently rely upon the media to disambiguate their various non-committal statements, and to employ constructions culled from the Madison Avenue school of English, to the extent that their two remaining young children are now being schooled in the very same evasive logic:

Gerry said: "They believe it was a man that took her. It was a naughty man and we need to try and find them. So part of what they say is that mummy is working to try and help find Madeleine."

Not 'to find', nor 'help find', but 'try and help find.' Hence any failure in the attempt is one remove at least from the task in question. Mummy is clearly capitalising on all the prior experience she has gained in 'helping to fight the symptoms of...'

Nor is there a logic quite so fuzzy as Gerry McCann's. The following remark, made recently to Lorraine Kelly and quoted in the Sun Newspaper, was not made in the context of any dialogue on the subject of abandonment or anything like:

"But I think probably, more than anything, I'd say if we could turn back the clock and change what happened then obviously we wouldn't have done it."

From this one can only infer that the McCanns themselves did whatever ‘happened.'

Concerning production of a pack for Brits travelling abroad, Gerry said: "It is very much about keeping her image out there. Who knows who will end up seeing her. But if you don't have an image of her out there it is less likely."

Well, it's no wonder that doctors repeatedly find themselves 'going back to square one' if this is any indication of their perspicacity. The likelihood of Madeleine McCann's being 'seen' by anyone at all is as much related to the distribution of her picture as it is to the time you or I might get up in the morning. 'Recognised', maybe. But that is not what Gerry says.

However, the 'weasel of the week' accolade belongs, on this occasion, to Kate McCann, and her response to Lorraine Kelly‘s inevitable question as to whether they really thought that Madeleine was still alive.

Kate said: "Certainly, in my heart, I feel she is out there.

"There is nothing to say she isn't. So we carry on working and thinking like that."

Rather than discuss, yet again, Gerry McCann's own juxtaposition of the phrases 'out there' and 'alive,' we might focus our attention on Kate's significant omission of the complement, 'alive', and remind ourselves of Kate's previous assertions, as recorded in the Sunday Mirror of 5 August, 2007:

"I never thought for one second that she'd walked out. I knew someone had been in the apartment because of the way it had been left.

"But I knew she wouldn't walk out anyway. There wasn't a shadow of a doubt in my mind she'd been taken."

There's no doubt whatsoever. Madeleine had been taken (away) and was therefore 'out there.' Three years on and the only certainty Kate McCann appears able to express is that, in her heart (not her mind any longer) she 'feels' Madeleine is 'out there.'

How in heaven's name can Kate McCann not be certain that her daughter is 'out there.' Having been exported from the holiday apartment, where else can she be? Of course she's 'out there.' What remains to be determined is whether she is 'out there alive.' So, unless or until it is established, beyond all reasonable doubt, that Madeleine McCann is not out there, the 'search for Madeleine' operation can continue, masterminded from a Head Office in a UK suburb somewhere (Knutsford, Cheshire by all accounts) where a two-man team can co-ordinate the international (nay global) campaign, when they're not quite so busy exploring, evaluating and pursuing their more recently acquired file full of 'leads;' something, of course, neither Portuguese nor British police forces are particularly interested in doing. Which is where we came in.

Half a pound of tuppenny rice...

Knowing, 14 May 2010

The McCanns outside the court in Lisbon, 10 February 2010


By Dr Martin Roberts
14 May 2010


Several decades ago I was introduced to a fascinating research paper entitled 'Knowing About Things We Do Not Know We Know About.' That I can recall it to mind after all these years says something about the impression it made upon me. Lately, papers of an altogether different kind have been making an impression of their own; and not only papers either.

The following (incomplete) text is of a threatening letter recently despatched by McCann lawyers Carter-Ruck to those responsible for a certain Internet web-site. (Phrases of particular interest are italicised):
Dear Sir

Gerry and Kate McCann

As you will no doubt be aware, the disappearance of our client's daughter Madeleine from a holiday resort in Portugal in 2007 has been the subject of considerable media attention, including a number of false allegations that Mr and Mrs McCann were themselves responsible for Madeleine's disappearance or death. Our clients have from the outset vigorously denied any such suggestion.

You may also be aware that a number of newspapers have since apologised publicly to our clients for making these false allegations, and that in 2008 the Portuguese authorities confirmed that there was no evidence whatsoever to implicate our clients in their daughter's disappearance.

Defamatory, threatening and harassing content

Suffice it to say that the page repeatedly alleges that our clients caused the death of their daughter and have subsequently engaged in a criminal conspiracy to cover up her death.

As well as being highly defamatory of our clients, these allegations are completely and utterly untrue. Our clients had no involvement whatsoever in the disappearance of their daughter, and there is not one grain of proper evidence to implicate them in Madeleine's disappearance.

Yours Faithfully
The possible typographical error attributing Madeleine to but one parent, though curious in itself, is not quite so fascinating as the collection of references to the McCanns' personal responsibility in the matter of their missing daughter. 'Denying' (rather than refuting) a suggestion is likely also to be an example of Carter Ruck's questionable use of English. The 'no evidence whatsoever' line is, as we know, a strategic exaggeration. Being unprepared to proceed against the McCanns on the basis of the evidence recorded at that time is by no means tantamount to declaring the complete absence of evidence.

Drawing the remaining key phrases together however illustrates the care taken by the letter's author to emphasise that the McCanns were not personally involved in Madeleine's disappearance. At the same time there is an apparent concern to iterate, if not re-iterate, that there is no evidence attesting to their implication in said disappearance.

What we should be clear about here is the distinction between 'involvement' and 'implication', a distinction made within the letter itself and not an artificial by-product of any overly fastidious analysis on my part. In the face of 'untrue' allegations, the declaration of 'no involvement whatsoever' is absolute. It should be sufficient in and of itself. Yet we are treated to a caveat concerning evidence in relation to 'implication.' It's as though the Carter-Ruck legalese here is drawing a wafer-thin distinction similar to that understood by Bill Clinton in his notorious dissociation of sexual 'acts' from sexual 'relations'. And what is one to make of the reference to 'proper' evidence? Are we to suppose that any evidence implicating the McCanns is 'improper'?

The proposed absence of proper evidence notwithstanding, if one accepts, willingly or otherwise, that the McCanns had no involvement whatsoever in the disappearance of their daughter, the door to considering their implication remains ajar, casting its own angular light on various McCann statements dotted about the publicity map; statements such as that made by Kate McCann on 10 February this year, the final day of the court hearing in respect of the injunction against Goncalo Amaral.

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

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

This suite of observations alone is worthy of examination.

Evidence of abduction exists in the form of Kate herself, who 'knows,' because Kate was there.

Yet she was quoted in Sunday Mirror of 5 August, 2007 as saying: "I feel desperately sorry to her that we weren't there."

So neither parent was there. Had they been present at the moment of Madeleine's disappearance of course they might have become involved. As it is, Kate reported to Oprah Winfrey: "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." For the McCanns, then, it remains a case of implication at worst.

'In knowledge there is light' and Kate McCann continues to illuminate our understanding of things, telling a news reporter outside the same Lisbon court house, in no uncertain terms, 'I know more than you do.' To be sure, a former G.P. and erstwhile anaesthetist is quite likely to know more than a humble hack about, say, the sedative effects of over-the-counter medication, just as a staff 'newshound' will probably recognise the makings of a good story before Kate McCann. However, if we level the playing field to accommodate plain old-fashioned common sense, we quickly discover that Kate McCann's style of knowing is somewhat deficient.

During the McCanns' recent interviews for Spanish T.V. (Mananas de Cuatro) Kate offers up an unbelievably naïve justification for the consensus refusal to assist with the P.J.'s proposed reconstruction of events on the night of 3 May, 2007:

Kate McCann: "We also asked about the possibility of actors being used, which is obviously what we do in our reconstructions. I mean, certainly in the UK we have a programme called Crimewatch, which uses actors and I think [unclear]. Errm... it's probably detrimental to ask people who have been through something traumatic to live it again."

Either it hasn't dawned on Kate McCann that televised reconstructions by actors are for the purpose of jogging the public memory, whereas those required by police investigators serve an entirely different purpose altogether, or she imagines that this glaringly obvious distinction is completely lost on the rest of us. Whichever is the case it doesn't exactly commend Kate McCann's knowledge as a primary resource. There is, however, a much earlier appeal to wisdom on Kate's part, that reflects an act of prescience almost. I refer to her unwavering certainty at around 10.00 p.m. on that fateful Thursday night:

"I knew immediately she'd been taken."

Leaving the patio unlocked in case of fire would have been rather pointless if one, at least, of those trapped inside were incapable of making their way to the door and opening it. So, faced with an empty but otherwise undisturbed bed, how did Kate 'know' her daughter had been taken? Madeleine McCann was not inanimate after all, at least not at the commencement of the holiday.

Does this point perhaps to 'improper' evidence of implication? It would require no more than immobility on Madeleine's part, plus a modest degree of expectation on Kate's, to convert the child's status from 'absent' to 'abducted' and confer certain knowledge into the bargain. Kate McCann, from the very first, did not fear Madeleine might have been abducted. Remarkably, even with no sign of unauthorised intrusion (Gerry McCann and Matthew Oldfield both claim to have entered the apartment before her), she knew.

For someone who purports to know so much, it is noteworthy that Kate McCann shares little of her wisdom, even though she has long since been freed from the constraint of 'judicial secrecy.' Never mind. One or two of us at least know about things that others don't know we know about.

Carter Ruck letter, page 1

Carter Ruck letter, page 2

A Crying Shame, 02 July 2010
A Crying Shame

Kate McCann: "What d'you mean you woke up?"


By Dr Martin Roberts
02 July 2010


Just when you think there's nothing more to add, that all of the inconsistencies have been thrashed out like grouse from the undergrowth, up pops another. Admittedly it's not totally new inasmuch as the topic in general has long since come to the media's, and hence public attention. However, the emergence of one extra, small, yet significant detail makes the overall picture just that little bit clearer.

For an en passant remark, adjudged (and so nearly dismissed) as whimsical, Madeleine McCann's question to her parents about why they didn't come when she was crying, must rank as one of the most widely reported quotes to have emerged from the McCann family's Portuguese holiday. It was reported by the McCanns themselves in their 'one year on' documentary of 30 April, 2008, and in their interview with Dermot Murhaghan for Sky News a day later. Further back in time it was repeated by Kate to Fiona Payne, Rachael Oldfield and Jayne Tanner on the evening of May 3, 2007 and by Kate and Gerry independently to the Portuguese police on the occasion of their initial interviews, as revealed by an apparent 'leak' to the media after a year had elapsed.

The bruhaha this 'leak' created when first reported arose on account of there being two implications entailed by the comment in question. The McCann stance was that the question was considered, with the benefit of hindsight, to be of potential significance, suggesting as it did that something or someone made Madeleine cry the night before she was reported missing. The alternative implication to be brought to the fore however was that Madeleine's crying, and hence Madeleine herself, was unattended for some time. This was the unspoken accusation which the McCanns' champion, Clarence Mitchell, stentoriously defended them against when answering questions put by to him by Anna Jones of Sky News, on 11 April, 2008. Clarence very helpfully confirmed that Rachael Oldfield, who happened to be in her own (adjoining) apartment that Wednesday night, heard no crying whatsoever, so slight and transient it must have been. When one considers that the partition walls within the Ocean Club complex are sufficiently insubstantial as to have allowed the Oldfields to hear their immediate neighbours in the shower, it seems rather to have been a case of 'silence is golden', i.e. Rachael Oldfield heard no crying, because there was no crying.

Already there is a chink in the curtains here. Had Madeleine been crying on the Wednesday night she would undoubtedly have been heard by Rachael Oldfield nearby, just as certainly as infant crying from 5A was heard by Mrs Fenn, resident in the apartment above, on the Tuesday night. And those episodes of retelling in hindsight? They took place at the dinner table on Thursday night, i.e. before Madeleine's absence had been noted. That is not hindsight at all, but foresight, the all-important observation being made to friends first, the police afterwards (by both parents on 4 May, Gerry again on 10 May, Kate once more on 6 September and Gerry on the 7th).

We see this particular chink widening further, with the uncovering of a witness statement by Leicestershire Police Officer Stephen Markley, made on 25 April, 2008, in relation to his activities as family communication officer while working in Portugal with the McCanns. The key aspect (for present purposes) of his statement is as follows:

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

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

There is something distinctly unsettling about the McCanns' various bouts of selective amnesia in relation to events surrounding their daughter's as yet unexplained absence from apartment 5A (an unsubstantiated hypothesis, even one of abduction, is not an explanation). When interviewed for Spanish broadcaster Antena 3 they were each unable to offer up any recollection of their last sighting of Madeleine. And yet they attached such importance to one off-hand comment by her, a comment latterly reported as having no importance at all for the child herself, that they repeated it to several friends, and then, on several occasions, the Portuguese Police. They have, as we know from the intervention of their professional mouthpiece, vigorously refuted the implication of child abandonment, whilst publicly expressing the view that it is the implication of some unidentified intruder which drove them to alert the PJ to Madeleine's unusual tale of crying. These are the obvious alternatives. But there is a third, rather less obvious motive to consider; one which might offer a more convincing justification for the McCanns seeking to 'over-egg the pudding' than their calling attention to the possibility of prowlers in a sleepy holiday complex.

On the face of it there's nothing unusual about the McCanns 'wanting the PJ to be aware' of Madeleine's revelation concerning the Wednesday night. It's only when this desire is set against the fact that they had already (4 May) twice told the PJ themselves about the incident, that their request to Officer Markley on the 5th appears overly insistent.

It is noteworthy that, in terms of recollection, Wednesday 2 May in Praia da Luz represents something of a 'black hole' as far as the McCanns and their friends are concerned. We might then ask ourselves this question: As a bare minimum, what does Madeleine's mention of her being unattended confirm? Simply that she was able to refer to it subsequently. If 'the night before' is assumed to have been the Wednesday then the conversation in question can only have taken place on the Thursday morning, and Madeleine was in a position to be 'taken' that night. But there was no crying on the Wednesday to speak of, so why would Madeleine have spoken about it? Or are we to suppose she was referring to the Tuesday? (I ask you, does a 3/4 - year-old carry such issues forward over 30 hours? Certain adolescents of my acquaintance have difficulty in remembering something for 30 minutes).

What stands out most from this determination to bring Madeleine's transient unease to everyone's attention, is that Madeleine herself is portrayed as having drawn attention to it, on the Thursday, from which one is invited to conclude that she must have been in a position so to do - on the Thursday. Hence, verbal 'signs of life', promulgated, of course, by the McCanns, as was the untruth about 'jemmied shutters.'

The Land That Time Forgot, 26 July 2010
The Land That Time Forgot

kate McCann, Panorama documentary


By Dr Martin Roberts
26 July 2010


Foremost among those organs of intellectual cleansing that for three years have sought to portray Portugal as a backward country, The Sun is seldom found wanting when it comes to the exercise of derogatory language, especially with reference to a people who, centuries beforehand, showed the world how to navigate the oceans surrounding them. Far from being backward, our Iberian neighbours are rather better placed to say 'been there, done that' than the self-opinionated writers employed by our red-top comics. Rome ruled these shores remember, not vice versa, and a Spaniard by the name of Trajan fared rather better than Russell Crowe's 'Gladiator', becoming Emperor. So, on an international level, the Iberian peninsular is most definitely not a region of the world overlooked by the passage of time. And yet...

In a small corner of the smaller nation, there exists a sparsely populated location known as Praia da Luz, where extraordinary examples have come to light of events (and, by implication, time) proceeding backwards. The Bermuda Triangle, we know, has gained international notoriety as a zone within which strange occurrences have been experienced by some and believed by others, but who would have thought that a single apartment within this holiday resort would assume the characteristics of Dr Who's legendary Tardis, an enclosure within which all things are possible. Never mind a child abductor squirming, octopus-like with his prey, through an improbably small aperture, or windows opening and closing as if directed by a poltergeist, the behaviour even of the apartment's occupants can be, indeed has been, seriously affected by their proximity to the pivot of paradox that is 5A of the Ocean Club complex.

Victims of abduction are either awake or asleep at the time they are 'taken.' They are not usually in both states at once. In the mysterious arena of the Ocean Club however, Heisenberg's 'uncertainty principle' is given full rein.

Eileen McCann, mother of Gerry McCann, told the Derry Journal (14.9.2007 and later picked up by the Sunday Mirror) "If she was taken when she was sleeping by somebody she did not know she would have screamed the place down.

"I really believe they gave her a drug. There is no way they carried her out of there without her wakening," she said.

There was no time for the administration (to all three children) of any fast-acting sedative such as chloroform, and none was detected in turn by either Gerry McCann, Matthew Oldfield or Kate McCann, as their various Rogatory Interviews confirm. So, could a sleeping Madeleine have been carried out of the apartment after all?

Gerry McCann, ostensibly the last person to have seen all three children at around 9.00 p.m. on Thursday 3 May, 2007, claims they were asleep.

According to Kate McCann on the other hand (interviewed by Flash! Magazine), she knew that "what happened is not due to the fact of us leaving the children asleep. I know it happened under other circumstances." (meaning 'different circumstances.' Kate had previously said (reported in the Independent 5.8.2007): "You don't expect a predator to break in and take your daughter out the bed. It could have happened under other circumstances and there would still be the regret.")

So if 'what happened' is to be interpreted as 'abduction', then it did not happen while the children were asleep. Or did it?

No-one has ever been abducted from the same location twice in 24 hrs., but even Gerry McCann is prepared to accept that the case of his missing daughter Madeleine is exceptional. He says the children were asleep. Kate says 'it happened under other circumstances.' Either Madeleine was not abducted at all or she was abducted twice; asleep on one occasion, awake on the other. The first interpretation is plausible, the second ridiculous.

Yet various members of the Tapas fraternity (Matthew Oldfield, Fiona Payne, Dianne Webster) confirm in their Rogatory Interviews that Kate returned to the Tapas area calling out "she's gone, Gerry, Madeleine's gone" thereby indicating Gerry's presence at the table. They all then follow Kate and Gerry back to the apartment.

Compare this representation with a statement of Gerry McCann's, broadcast on Oct. 5, 2007 by CBS News (The Early Show, from an interview in late August and held in Lisbon, with reporter Mirna Schindler of Chile's Television Nacional, for "Informe Especial").

What, Schindler asked, was the first thing that crossed their minds when they came back to the room from dinner and realized that Madeleine wasn't there?

"I knew straight away she'd been taken," Kate replied.

"At the first moment?" Schindler asked.

"Well," Kate responded, "put it this way: I mean, she hadn't walked out of the apartment."

"When I got there," Gerry said, "and Kate told me, and when I looked at the scene as well, I had absolutely no doubt."

The order of events described by Gerry McCann is the reverse of that portrayed by the Tapas 7. 1. He gets to the apartment 2. Kate tells him.

This is reflected also in an answer given by Gerry McCann to a question put by Jane Hill of the BBC:

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

Without question, the same event occurred twice. Or was Gerry McCann already 'looking for Madeleine' before he knew she'd been 'taken'?

No better indication exists that time, as experienced in and around apartment 5A that Spring, slid backwards and forwards, than Gerry McCann's comment not so long ago during an interview for the Spanish broadcast, Mananas de Cuatro, referring, as he clearly did, to "the night we found her."

Madeleine mysteriously disappeared, we are told, on the evening of Thursday 3 May. That cannot have been 'the night we found her', because it was the night when no-one was able to find her. 'The night we found her' must therefore have been an earlier point in time. Hence we have Madeleine being found before she is lost. These 'déjà vu' experiences are so clear-cut that one wonders what else might have happened before 'what happened', happened - or did not happen, as the case may be.

It is to Messrs. Carter-Ruck that we owe the following legally acceptable definition of Madeleine's last known circumstances:

"...the suggestion that Madeleine could indeed have been abducted".

The suggestion that she 'could have been' of course invites the possibility that she 'might not have been'. But that door, like those to apartment 5A, is closed by Gerry McCann who, doing a piece to camera while driving, intones:

"How can you prove a negative? The answer is, you can't!"

Door closed then - but not locked.

Just as was the case with 5A, where the occupants appear to have used their keys at random, this door is not secure either.

In the Land That Time Forgot, Gerry invites us all to suppose that, like the laws of physics, the elementary rules of logic also fail to apply and, given the straightforward proposition 'If not p then q', q is insufficient, of itself, to allow the conclusion not p.

Lucky for the development of number theory then that Pierre de Fermat was not born Portuguese, in the sleepy hollow of Praia da Luz. His was a negative postulate which he proved to his own satisfaction, although it was left to Professor Andrew Wiles to prove it to everyone else's centuries later. And the case for Copernicus (the earth is not at the centre of the solar system)? Proven long since.

For we mere mortals, there are abundant examples of how it is perfectly possible to 'prove a negative', e.g., to prove a chocolate box is empty (i.e. contains no chocolates), open it and look inside. To prove it is empty without opening it just pick it up and shake it.

You see, Gerry McCann has been overly influenced by his occupancy of Stargate 5A. He enthusiastically misconstrues the scientific tenet that a hypothesis cannot be verified or rejected on the basis of a negative experimental result, i.e. one in which the data are not clearly indicative of an experimental effect one way or the other. Hence a negative result is unlikely to provide useful evidence either for or against a particular hypothesis. All of which goes some way toward explaining the posture of the Foreign Office as regards the McCann case: "Both this and the Needham case are categorised as a missing persons, rather than child abduction cases, as there is no evidence in either case to support whether the children were or were not abducted."

Foreign Office ostriches aside, it is perfectly possible to establish, from evidence available, that something did not happen, especially when the 'something' and the evidence are incompatible, like the claim of a violent injury in the absence of any marks or a 'break in' in the absence of any breakages (as in 'jemmied shutters' remaining untouched and intact).

Locard's principle (every contact leaves a trace) is the forensic analog of Newton's third law (for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction). Maybe the constraints of space-time genuinely do not apply to 5A of the Ocean Club Complex. On the other hand, no trace evidence of abduction should allow us at least to question, even if not refute "...the suggestion that Madeleine could indeed have been abducted."

In very straightforward terms, 'if not p then q' represents, in this instance, the proposition that, in the absence of any evidence of abduction (not p), we are consequently faced with something else (q). Similarly, if Madeleine McCann was not abducted then she is dead. In the scheme of the world adopted by the McCanns and their entourage however, there is 'no evidence that Madeleine has come to any harm' and, in the absence of any such evidence, Madeleine must be missing, considered alive, and at the mercy of her abductor. But abduction is the very hypothesis we are concerned to test. Unlike other evidential relationships, it does not hinge uniquely on Madeleine's being harmed or unharmed. In principle she could be either, abducted or not.

The invalidity of negative results, previously discussed, explains at a stroke the McCanns' concern to negate (or at least attempt to negate) any evidence which points away from their official position. When taken jointly into consideration, the absence of 'phone records, DNA traces, credit card data, medical histories etc. describe a suspicious coalition of coincidence. Positive indicants in the form of sniffer dog alerts are somewhat more difficult to counter (calling into question the reliability of a completely different set of dogs doesn't quite do it somehow - a bit like blaming the Irish F.A. for England's failure in the recent World Cup).

So, in this altogether quirky environment, where time stands still or even, on occasion, travels backwards, Kate McCann, one imagines, is prompted to get down on all fours and scrub the floor clean whilst wearing the unwashed clothes she had brought with her to Portugal; unwashed after six visits to the mortuary that is. (How else are human cadaver odour and blood traces supposed to have arrived on the floor tiles?).

It would be altogether wrong to speak of such activity as forensic cleansing since, if it took place at all, it took place before Madeleine herself was 'taken', the McCanns themselves being removed to another apartment on the morning of May 4. Even though Gerry McCann is known to have emerged from a brief return visit to their original apartment on the 5th, carrying a bucket and spade, the prospect of his having swiftly played the role of cross-dressing char lady is somewhat unlikely, although, given the capricious ambience of 5A, one can never be entirely sure.

But such inversion of 'action' and 'reaction' would be entirely consistent with those examples previously discussed. Even little Madeleine, it seems, was given to crying before she was hurt. The question 'Mummy/Daddy, why didn't you come when we were crying?' voiced on the Thursday morning, implies a protracted period of isolation on the Wednesday evening, when we know the McCanns, with their diligently calculated schedule of 'checking', could not have been away from their children for any length of time, otherwise the abductor (who had been watching the family all that week according to Kate) would have struck then. Either that or one of the other nominated 'checkers' would have heard the crying. Anyway, none of the near neighbours reported hearing Madeleine, or anyone else, cry on the Wednesday.

What a topsy-turvy place it was. When a child went missing the parents 'phoned people a thousand miles away to ask for help, yet told a nearby temporary resident there was nothing he could do. They contacted the news media almost immediately, the police not quite so immediately, then later declined to assist with a police reconstruction on account of the likelihood of a media presence. It's all so 'cart before the horse', especially the tidying up before the crime. With both parents convinced by 'the way the scene was left' that their daughter had been forcibly removed from her bed, one can only suppose that the bed was made again afterwards, there being no sign of the child's occupancy visible in the photographs taken for the police record, much less disturbance. If not, then it must have been made beforehand and the child removed without the least protestation.

Such are the mysteries to have confronted the PJ at the time of the incident. Given the seemingly supernatural aura of the location, it should come as no surprise to anyone that they appeared guilty of shining their torches at the heavens when they ought to have been studying the ground beneath their feet but, like looking through the viewfinder of a twin-lens reflex camera, they 'got the hang of it', in the end. Keeping the camera steady they saw where to look for the clearest image, despite being forced to view things upside down.

Despite the pervasive, arguably malevolent influence of apartment 5A on all those who have experienced that environment, the PJ are not, as one might be tempted to imagine, on the 'down train' going up. On the contrary. Parked in a siding somewhere within Portimão is Thomas the Tank Engine, ready to be rolled out at a moment's notice; that's if the fat controller can cease to be influenced by all those bigger engines who think they can do a better job. The PJ already know where the answer lies. They are sitting on the evidence, plain as day. They also know that time doesn't really travel backwards and that, in the real world, carts do not precede horses.

Another Place and Time, 02 August 2010
Another Place and Time

Constance Kent


By Dr Martin Roberts
02 August 2010


The place is a solidly middle-class establishment in Victorian Wiltshire. The time, Friday 29 June, 1860. Head of the household, Samuel Kent, is asleep with his second wife in their first-floor bedroom. Three younger children and live-in nursemaid Elizabeth Gough have likewise retired for the night. Several older children from a previous marriage, including a teenage son and daughter, are installed on the floor above. At 5.00 a.m. on the Saturday morning, the nursemaid notices one of the younger children, Saville Kent (3 yrs.,10 months), is not in his cot, but assumes he has been taken by his mother into her own bed. After a couple of hours she is disabused of her supposition and a hunt begins for the missing infant.

With no immediate sign of Saville, attention is drawn to an open window in the downstairs drawing room. The assumption that an intruder had absconded with the child quickly gains widespread support. Until, that is, the young boy's body is found lodged against a 'splash board' in the shaft of an outside 'privy.'

At this point the research and narrative skills of author Kate Summerscale must be fully acknowledged. Her 2008 publication 'The Suspicions of Mr Whicher or The Road Hill House Murder' is the complete source for this story as well as the quotes which follow, the first of these taken from The Morning Post of 10 July, 1860:

' spite of all these proverbial sanctities, a crime has just been committed which for mystery, complication of probabilities, and ludicrous wickedness, is without parallel in our criminal records...the security of families, and the sacredness of English households demand that this matter should never be allowed to rest till the last shadow in its dark mystery shall have been chased away by the light of unquestionable truth...The secret lies with someone who was within...the household collectively must be responsible for this mysterious and dreadful event. Not one of them ought to be at large till the whole mystery is cleared (or more) of the family is guilty.'

Given the seriousness of the crime and the mysterious circumstances in which it had been committed, local magistrates saw fit to solicit the Home Office for assistance. Despite initial reluctance, come 14 July, Detective Inspector Jonathan Whicher of the Metropolitan Police was assigned to the case.

A time-served member of the constabulary and senior representative of the more recently established detective arm, 'Jack' Whicher was not your everyday copper, even for the age in which he lived and worked. As unprepossessing as he may have been physically, his efficacy as a detective was the stuff of legend. Indeed, it formed the basis of later detective fiction. In one of his earliest reports on this case to Commissioner Sir Richard Mayne, Whicher wrote of the drawing room window:

'This window which is about ten feet high, comes down within a few inches of the ground and faces the lawn at the back of the house, and opens by lifting up the bottom sash, which was found up about six inches at the bottom. These shutters were fastened with a Bar inside, consequently no entry could be made from the outside...Therefore it is quite certain that no person came in by that window...I therefore feel quite convinced that the window shutters were merely opened by one of the inmates, to lend to the supposition that the child had been stolen.'

Consistent with Whicher's documented interpretation, Summerscale informs her readers that "At first Samuel (Kent) did his best to point the police away from the rooms of his family and servants. Like Elizabeth Gough, he insisted that a stranger had killed Saville."

D. I. Whicher's 'nose' led him to a fairly swift conclusion. Pursuing both the evidence, such as it was, and the behavioural characteristics of the various members of the Kent household, on 20 July he reported his suspicions to Wiltshire magistrates, who in turn required that he arrest the suspect in question; an act which would inevitably go against the grain of Victorian society with its much vaunted faith in family and the social order.

Through shrewd background enquiries, Whicher had elicited a telling fusion of character references, but more immediate physical evidence, that he knew to have been a feature of the crime, was conspicuous by its absence, namely a nightdress seemingly unaccounted for. "Then as now, many clues were literally made of cloth - criminals could be identified by pieces of fabric."

Frustratingly for Whicher and the watching world, it was this very omission, together with eloquent appeals from the accused's legal representative, Barrister Peter Edlin, which decided the Magistrates against committing the suspect for trial after all. The accused had held out and was unexpectedly well positioned to exploit the situation. Summerscale describes a relevant precedent thus:

"Madeleine Smith had shown that by being cunning and immovable a middle-class murderess could become a figure of glamour and mystery, a kind of heroine. And if she kept her nerve she might never be caught."

The situation rebounded on Whicher directly, as Summerscale again explains:

"On 15 August...Whicher was denounced in Parliament. Sir George Bowyer, the leading Roman Catholic Spokesman in the Commons, complained about the quality of Britain's police inspectors, using Whicher as an example. 'The recent investigation with regard to the Road murder afforded striking proof of the unfitness of some of the present officers', he said."

And it didn't end there.

"Petitions were sent to the Home Secretary asking for a special commission to investigate the Road Murder - a Bath solicitor was appointed to conduct an 'investigation.'"

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher is an extraordinary book, dealing with an extraordinary historical event, and it would be inappropriate here to reveal the denouement of the story. Suffice to say however that 'what goes around comes around.' There was a comeuppence, and Summerscale is later able to inform us:

"The Somerset and Wilts Journal reminded its readers of the 'merciless and almost universal...censure' to which this 'able and experienced' officer (Whicher) had been subjected."

Art reflects life - reflects art - and Summerscale repeatedly includes examples of the influence this real-life case had on the development of detective fiction subsequently.

"In 'The Moonstone', as at Road Hill, the original source of the crime was a wrong done in a previous generation: the sins of the father were visited on the children like a curse."

In her postscript to the paperback edition, Summerscale postulates, with some justification, that Samuel Kent, the father, was already 'plotting the first book about the murder of Saville Kent' in the winter of that same year, 1860.

Was it not Aristotle's contention that there are only seven basic plots?

On The Other Hand..., 12 August 2010
On The Other Hand...

McCanns BBC breakfast interview, 01 May 2008


By Dr Martin Roberts
12 August 2010


There is a well-known puzzle based upon a mythical search for two independent villages buried deep in the jungle, the inhabitants of which tell only the truth on the one hand, lies on the other. An intrepid explorer encounters a pair of natives, sitting, one on either side of a fork in the pathway ahead, where each new route leads to one or other village. Our adventurer is a seeker after the truth and the puzzle is enshrined in the one and only question he is permitted to put to either stranger. That question must lead him to his desired destination, and it is this: "Which path would the other man suggest I take?"

This little tale is a classic example of logical consistency; one paradigm the McCanns have conspicuously failed to adopt from the outset.

A number of the McCanns' (and others') inconsistencies have been repeatedly discussed already but, like a bottomless pit almost, there are always new examples to be discovered it seems. Furthermore, and with reference both to the anecdotal tale of jungle exploration and the inescapable fact that certain statements were not only made to the police but signed off as being true, one would be wholly justified in pointing up any flagrant discrepancies as lies, pure and simple. Like the villages, they are not difficult to find.

Let's first of all examine Gerry McCann's witness statement of 10 May, 2007. (I rather wish I had re-read this particular script before submitting an earlier contribution 'The Land that Time Forgot', as the narrative flows peculiarly from a discussion of Tuesday, to Thursday, then Wednesday, and back to Thursday once more). In all of the examples which follow, the statements underlined are the focal points for present purposes:

'On the day that MADELEINE disappeared, Thursday, 3 May 2007, they all woke up at the same time, between 07H30 and 08H00. When they were having breakfast, MADELEINE addressed her mother and asked her "why didn't you come last night when SEAN and I were crying?" That he thought this comment very strange given that MADELEINE had never spoken like this and, the night before, they had maintained the same system of checking on the children, not having detected anything abnormal. When he questioned her about the comment, she left without any explanation.

'On Wednesday night, 2 May 2007, apart from the deponent and his wife, he thinks that DAVID PAYNE also went to his apartment to check that his children were well, not having reported to him any abnormal situation with the children. On this day, the deponent and KATE had already left the back door closed, but not locked, to allow entrance by their group colleagues to check on the children.'

All very organised it would appear. Except that there was no regime of inter-apartment checking at all.

'He (GM) adds that he did not enter any other part of the residence, where he was for only two or three minutes, leaving yet again through the back door, that he closed but did not lock. He clarifies that he returned without checking any other couple's children, even because he had not been asked to do so.'

'Concerning the half-hourly checking of the children, it had been inspired by the MARK WARNER system called "baby listening", as referred to previously.'

The 'half-hourly checking of the children' is a mythical schedule pertaining to the McCanns and the McCanns alone. From Kate McCann's witness statement of 6 September we learn:

'Concerning the checks on the children, she said that Gerry was the first one to check on the children, this was decided on the spot, at around 9-9:05 p.m. He got up from the table and entered the apartment through the balcony door. He came back to the table ten minutes later; he implied that the children were asleep and that he'd met a tennis friend by the name of Jez, with whom he had a chat. During this check, she thinks that Gerry did not check on the children of any other couple, because it was usual just to check on their own children. She never checked on any other child, other than her own.'

The question this raises of course is why the McCann children should have been considered so special as to entail their invigilation by others whose own children clearly did not benefit from any concern shown by the McCanns? The reality is that each was responsible for their own - exclusively. Nothing is confirmed by apologetic supposition, whether on the part of witness Kate in September:

'At 9:30 p.m. she got up to go and check on her children at the same time as Mathew, who said he was going to check on his daughter Grace in apartment 5B, and could check on her children. She hesitated, however he said not to worry as he was going anyway.

'After less than ten minutes Mathew returned to the Tapas, saying all was quiet. At that time she did not ask him if he went inside the apartment, however she assumed he had checked on her children, entering through the balcony door which was closed but not locked.'

Or arguido Gerry in September:

'The second person to go and check on the children should have been Kate, but Matt offered to go as he was going to check on his own daughter. When Matt returned to the restaurant the arguido asked him if all was well; Matt replied that all was quiet. The arguido is not absolutely sure, but he is under the impression that he asked Matt if he entered their apartment, to which Matt replied yes.'

And circumstancial checker, Matthew Oldfield - what has he to say on the matter? The truth had to wait for his Rogatory interviews:

"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

"Had you been into their apartment before?"

Matthew Oldfield
 "Errm... I don't think so. It's hard to remember now, at this point, because I know what it looks like. I mean, we certainly knew the back, where their patio was. And it may have been on the first day that we actually looked at everybody's apartment, because we had the smallest, errm... apartment, because we only needed one bedroom and they needed two, errm... so we may have had a brief walk through, or as far as the kitchen. But I can't say with any certainty that I'd been in".

And later:

"Okay. So take me through from there then, what happened after that?"

Matthew Oldfield
 "So, errm... back to the table, errm... we have... oh, back to the table, Gerry got up to go and... to go and check on his kids, I mean, and I'd come back and said, you know, 'I didn't hear any noise when I listened outside your room', so I thought it was a little bit odd that, you know... not kind of a wounded pride, that he sort of didn't trust me but errm... I just thought, 'oh', you know, 'I've just checked, you don't really need to check and...' sort of, you know, sort of, 'go back', but, errm... he sort of got up and went back to check on, errm... on his kids. But, you know, you don't... you know, we're all sort of responsible for our own children and you wouldn't sort of say, you know, 'you don't need to do that', I just sort of felt, 'oh I've listened', you don't need to do that because I've kind of just done it, but I hadn't gone into the apartment, so, errm..."

"Was that the first time that you had taken it upon yourself to check on somebody else's child?"

Matthew Oldfield
 "Yeah, I'd not done it before, it was only because, you know, I was there and I was... and it may not have happened if I'd actually gone in and checked on Grace through the room, you know, I might not have just been next to their shutter in terms of to actually have a listen, you know, I was just there, it was only like four steps further. But, no, I didn't, even though we now knew each other for the week and I felt a bit more comfortable about their kids knowing me, as I said before, errm... I wouldn't normally sort of impose that sort of check on somebody else unless they'd, errm... unless they'd suggested it. It'd be almost like a step, not a step too far, but, errm... it's not really our place to, you know, to do that".

Here we have Matthew Oldfield discussing events on the Thursday evening and announcing, quite unequivocally, that he had not 'checked' on anyone else's child beforehand. That would, of course, have included the Wednesday - the day when, according to Gerry McCann's signed statement to the police, 'they had maintained the same system of checking on the children. On this day, the deponent and KATE had already left the back door closed, but not locked, to allow entrance by their group colleagues to check on the children.'

Which group colleague(s) would that have been exactly? Certainly not Oldfield, who would not take responsibility for checking up on other people's children unless they themselves suggested it. But hasn't Kate already told a different story? Indeed she has:

'At 9:30 p.m. she got up to go and check on her children at the same time as Matthew, who said he was going to check on his daughter Grace in apartment 5B, and could check on her children. She hesitated, however he said not to worry as he was going anyway.'

Here it is Kate who is hesitant at the other's suggestion, and Oldfield who is mildly insistent.

Oh dear. What path would the other person suggest again?

As for the 'system of checking on the children', Kate McCann (6 September statement)

'thinks they went to the flat four times, one every half hour: Gerry twice and herself twice, at around 9, 9:30, 10, and 10:30 p.m.' That was on the Tuesday night. What about the Wednesday?

'On that night they also checked on the children every half hour; however she thinks that 45 minutes had gone by from the time of the last check to when they arrived, as exceptionally they went to the Tapas' bar. On this day she thinks that Gerry arrived at the apartment around 23:50 and she arrived 5 minutes later.'

Dear Kate. The interval of time elapsed between 10.30 p.m. (your last 'check') that Wednesday night and husband Gerry's return to the apartment at 23.50 p.m. is precisely one hour and twenty minutes. Matthew Oldfield was nowhere to be seen in the meantime. He's said so himself.

This shameful interval is construed by Kate as the window of opportunity for Madeleine's crying episode:

'Regarding this night she said that none of the children cried, which she would have noticed as she was in the room
. Regarding the fact that on the next morning, Thursday, during breakfast, Madeleine said to both of them that she had been crying and that nobody had come to her room, she presumes that this crying must have been before she and Gerry returned to the apartment.'

Odd then that Rachael Oldfield, who was in her own apartment all night, from before 9.00 p.m., and could hear the McCanns in their bathroom next door if she chose to listen, heard nothing at all. Mrs Fenn on the other hand, from the floor above, reported hearing crying from the McCanns' apartment on the Tuesday night, and for almost exactly the same period of time, i.e. one hour and fifteen minutes. She did not report hearing any crying on the Wednesday night either.

Tuesday night. Wednesday night. Crying for more than an hour. And no one comes?

More now from Kate on 6 September:

'When asked about the fact her daughter had been crying on Tuesday night for one hour and 15 minutes, between 10:30 and 11:45 p.m., she says that is not true. She says that on that night, after midnight, Madeleine went to their room and said that her sister Amelie was crying, so she stayed to sleep with her and Gerry in their bedroom. She says that before Madeleine appeared in her bedroom, she had already heard Amelie crying, however she did not go to the room, as Madeleine came into the room almost at the same time she heard the crying. She does not remember if afterwards she, or Gerry, went to the children's room, however she asserts that Amelie cried for a short time.'

Gerry, in May:

'He cannot say exactly, but he thinks that on Monday or Tuesday MADELEINE had slept for some time in his bedroom, with KATE, as she had told him that one or both twins were crying, making much noise.'

And almost, but not quite, the same story from arguido Gerry in September:

'When asked, he says that on one night, he cannot say which, Madeleine slept in his room and in his bed. He thinks it might have been shortly after their arrival at the apartment. Madeleine came to his room saying that Amelie was crying and she couldn't sleep. He thinks that he didn't hear the crying before, and was alerted to this by Madeleine. He does not know if it was him or his wife that comforted Amelie. That night Madeleine slept in his bed.'

On one night (say, Tuesday) Madeleine arrives at her parents' room to report Amelie crying, which Kate had already heard but Gerry did not. She stays to sleep with Kate. Or does she? That's what she did according to Gerry in May. September's version of events has her sleeping with him, in his bed. Neither parent can recall which of them, if any, attended Amelie in her distress. (Which bed would the other person say Madeleine slept in?)

One gets the distinct impression that Madeleine McCann was the progeny of parents who literally did not know the time of day, or even what day it was. Intriguingly, Kate nowhere denies the reported crying incident, but instead goes on to make great play of it herself, at dinner on the Thursday night and afterwards. She places it on the Wednesday night - when absolutely no one heard it - and quite independently of the bed-hopping antics attributed to the Tuesday. But two consecutive late night visits to the Tapas bar would make that particular experience something other than 'exceptional' and, frankly, unforgivable into the bargain. Yet maybe it didn't happen like that. Maybe we are really being presented with an account of the one night, Tuesday, sub-divided for convenience; the convenience of not having to account separately for the Wednesday.

Kate on 6 September:

'Back to the description, the deponent says that on the 3rd they left the apartment leaving the children sleeping. Knowing that Madeleine sometimes woke and got up, she did not worry about leaving her alone, because when this happened, and it wasn't always, it was around 2 – 3 a.m., at which time they would be back in the apartment already.'

Gerry tells it somewhat differently, also in September:

'When questioned, he says that Madeleine usually sleeps well at night. During the first months of her life she had some difficulties sleeping, due to feeding problems. After moving to their house in Rothley in April 2006, twice a week Madeleine woke up, left her bed and went into their room; this sometimes happened between 23:00 – 24:00 for no apparent reason, maybe because she was used to sleeping with [* blank *].

'When asked about a chart highlighting the characteristics of the children, at the house in Rothley, he says that he does in fact have such an object, where several stars show the nights when Madeleine did not get up, as she was rewarded this way.

'When questioned if it was therefore safe to leave Madeleine in the apartment, given the fact that she woke and got up at night, he says that this rarely happened, and then only after her parents were in bed.'

So Madeleine had a tendency to wake in the night, 'not always' according to Kate, 'rarely' according to Gerry. And yet at home in Rothley it occurred twice a week and the 'several stars', which one would understand to be relatively few in number, represented those nights when Madeleine did not wake up. All of which rather suggests that she woke more often than not, sometimes, and ominously, between 11.00 and 12.00 p.m. On the anniversary, almost, of Madeleine's disappearance, Kate McCann was interviewed by Dermot Murnaghan on behalf of Sky News (1 May, 2008). The relevant exchange is recorded as follows:

Dermot Murnaghan:
"Was Madeleine upset the night before, about being left alone. Had she... had she had a moment and got out of bed and started crying and started looking for you?"

Kate McCann:
"I mean, I don't want to dwell on it too much, I mean, I don't know if you saw the documentary last night, so, I mean, I have talked about it, errm... Madeleine made a comment, errm... in passing, that, errm... 'Where were you when I cried?' Not just to mummy, by the way, just generally, errm... and it just seemed a bit odd. I mean, it was a very, kind of, passing remark and we just thought, 'Oh, she doesn't usually wake up' and, she woke up; that means that, you know, she must have fallen back asleep very quickly, errm... and then she moved on… you know, she moved on."

On the strength of what both parents earlier stated as fact to the police, how could they possibly think 'Oh, she doesn't usually wake up'? Is a doctor's diagnosis usually arrived at by ignoring the symptoms?

McCann confederates Jane Tanner and Matthew Oldfield were, as we know, called upon to play supporting roles in the ensuing Rothley Towers production of Madeleine Was Here, a documentary account of the affair. A third ally, not offered a speaking part, was David Payne. His 'little angels' description of the McCann children has a comforting ring to it, whereas reference to their being 'at peace', strangely, does not. Moving forward in time to the evening events of May 3, the saga of his doorstep encounter with the scantily clad Kate McCann is well worth examining.

Of that early evening, May 3, Kate explains (in her 6 September interview):

'After the children's bath, already alone, she put pyjamas and nappies on the twins, and gave them each a glass of milk and biscuits. Before bathing the children and because it was early, they had thought of taking them to the recreation area, but then decided against this because of tiredness.'

How, one wonders, did Kate dress Madeleine? Both parents being quick to tell the PJ exactly what pyjamas Madeleine had been wearing when she was 'taken', one would have thought her inclusion in the pyjama dressing and milk rosta would have been a formality.

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

In his own Rogatory interview, David Payne offers up a slightly different version of events:

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

Payne speaks of three children in pyjamas, then proceeds to admit that he couldn't remember exactly what they were wearing. Might this be because he only glimpsed them across Kate's shoulder, while speaking to her briefly at the patio door, as she had stated beforehand? Payne's statement has a curiously confirmatory air about it: His entrance through the (unlocked) patio door - unannounced and uninvited (I bet he and Kate were both rather surprised), and definitive reference to 'the three children.' The 'predominant colour' being white rather suggests that Payne's eyes were predominantly focussed on Kate's bath towel, as the distinctive colour worn elsewhere ought to have been pink.

If Jane Tanner can see, at night, at some distance, and under a near sodium light, that a pair of child's pyjamas, although glimpsed in transit, are largely pink (even though the top is not visible and the trousers are, in fact, white), then David Payne should have had no difficulty in recalling this same colourway to mind, especially as it would have been sported by two of the three children.

It was Amelie's 'Eeyore' pyjamas that were later to tour Europe. They were not retrieved from Rothley to that end (Gerry's first trip home being on May 21st) as they had already been used for photographic purposes in order to aid the investigation. With two children therefore cavorting on a sofa and dressed in exactly the same, largely pink pyjamas, you'd have thought David Payne's memory would scarcely need jogging. If, however, the pyjamas on view were predominantly white, then one would have to suppose that Amelie at least was wearing a second set. Madeleine must have been wearing the pink pyjamas she was later 'taken' in after all. Amelie then has two pairs of pyjamas on holiday, in a climate where pyjamas washed in the morning are dry by the afternoon, as demonstrated by Kate that very Thursday.

Why should Kate have found it at all necessary therefore to dress little Amelie in her sister's pyjamas subsequently?

According to John McCann: "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).

If Kate ('I know the truth, Sandra') McCann is to be believed, then David Payne is another destined to beat a path toward the village of liars. He will not travel unaccompanied.

There's a hoary old Christmas cracker joke which reads: 'When is a door not a door?  Answer: When it's ajar.' The McCanns' early police statements usefully reveal the extent to which Madeleine's bedroom could be said to have incorporated a receptacle as opposed to an obstacle.

Gerry McCann, on May 10:

'He walked the normal route up to the back door, which being open he only had to slide, and while he was entering the living room, he noticed that the children's bedroom door was not ajar as he had left it but half-way open, which he thought was strange, having then thought that possibly MADELEINE had got up to go to sleep in his bedroom, so as to avoid the noise produced by her siblings. Therefore, he entered the children's bedroom and established visual contact with each of them, checking and he is certain of this, that the three were deeply asleep. He left the children's bedroom returning to place the door how he had already previously described, then went to the bathroom. Everything else was normal, the shutters, curtains and windows closed, very dark, there only being the light that came from the living room.'

The situation is clear. Door left 'ajar' initially. Later discovered half-open. Returned to original position before departure. Madeleine present and asleep.

Later Gerry asserts:

'The deponent ran into the apartment accompanied by the rest of the group who, at the time, were seated at the table. When he arrived at the bedroom he first noticed that the door was completely open, the window was also open to one side, the shutters almost fully raised, the curtains drawn back, MADELEINE's bed was empty but the twins continued sleeping in their cots. He clarifies that according to what KATE told him, that was the scenario that she found when she entered the apartment.'

Both parents report (Gerry to the police and Kate to Gerry beforehand) having discovered the door completely open.

Remember this from the opening salvos of the McCann's own documentary?

Kate McCann:
"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'"

Two people had previously entered the bedroom to check on the children, as far as Kate was aware, but we know (because Gerry has told us) that on finding the door 'half open' he returned it to its preferred position, i.e. 'ajar.' Now, if we can just bring Clarence Mitchell in at this point ('There was no evidence of any break in. They got out of the window fairly easily.') he will remind us of the hypothesis that Madeleine's abductor escaped with her through the window. Hence the door will have remained untouched once Gerry had reset it. In carrying out his 9.30 check Matthew Oldfield stopped half-way across the living room, from which vantage point he claims to have been able to see both twins breathing, but not Madeleine, whose bed was immediately behind the partition wall. And this through a chink, not a yawning gap don't forget (an impossibility, as anyone can verify for themselves. There is nothing magically transparent about the doors inside apartment 5A of the Ocean Club complex).

Since Oldfield did not so much as touch the bedroom door, it would have remained ajar after he had left the apartment also, unless, that is, the wind caught it before Kate's arrival, when it would have closed, just as Kate herself claims to have experienced, not 'opened much further than we'd left it.'

And yet we have Kate McCann only 'just noticing' that the door is now completely open.

With an ever widening market for tourism, safaris have become quite commonplace. Jungle tours are no doubt now on offer too, including, I dare say, day trips to 'liars' village.'

All aboard!

Varieties Of Honesty, 22 August 2010
Varieties Of Honesty

Kate McCann


By Dr Martin Roberts
22 August 2010


A search of 'McCannfiles' for the phrase 'To be honest', preceded by 'Kate McCann', has yielded a total of 57 instances (Google returned with 7 pages-worth). Whilst the citations are not all attributable to Kate, her own usage of the phrase is disconcertingly frequent nevertheless:
Kate McCann: And obviously I can't talk too much about the investigation, umm, but, just trying to get through one day at a time to be honest Jenni. ...

9 Mar 2010 ... Kate McCann: It does and it doesn't. I mean, every day, to be honest, is... is quite difficult. I guess Mother's Day is another reminder ...

Kate McCann
says she searches the flat three times before raising the alarm. .... KATE: To be honest I don't actually think that. It's a case. ...

Kate McCann
: To be honest, I don't actually think that is the case. I think that's a very small minority of people that are ...

Kate McCann
: I mean, I'd like to go back but… not for this, to be honest, it's kind of just below the surface, and I, just you know… I'd be scared, I think, ...

Sarah Montague: Could you consider going back to work, Kate? Kate McCann: Errr... not at the moment, it just doesn't... doesn't feel right, to be honest. ...

Kate McCann
: I mean, to be honest... SIC Reporter: Do you still have the hope to tell them of a story in the future? Kate McCann: Oh, you know. ...

Kate McCann
: I mean, the main thing for us is knowing if the sighting is credible or not, really. Errm... to be honest we don't go through that,

Disappointed: Gerry and Kate McCann believe police should be doing more to find their ... "To be honest, most people were just really glad to see me. ...

It is the first time Kate McCann has left Portugal since Madeleine's abduction. .... I can't really think about that at the minute, to be honest." ...

Latest news on Madeleine McCann, Maddie, Kate McCann, Gerry McCann, Goncalo Amaral, ... and to be honest, I might have been tempted to turn round then, ...

...the ones that Madeleine has done I just can't pull down to be honest. ...... Distraught Kate McCann broke down in tears on Oprah as she made a TV appeal

Gerry and Liverpool-born Kate McCann need the signatures of 393 members - that is more .... Kate: I think perhaps you are avoiding the issue to be honest. ...

Kate McCann
: Well, they're not gonna show anything to implicate us, so I'm not... you know, I'm not concerned, if I'm honest.

20 Feb 2010 ... His wife added: "It's heartbreaking, to be honest.

Gerry and Kate McCann have given their first interview since their daughter Madeleine was abducted. ..... KM: I can't think about that Ian, to be honest. ...

Kate McCann: Errr... not at the moment, it just doesn't... doesn't feel right, to be honest. I mean, I'm very busy at the moment, there's a lot going on, ...

1 May 2008 ... Kate and Gerry McCann are set to take part in an ITV documentary marking the .... I felt like I was going to fight the world to be honest. ...

and Gerry McCann interviewed by Telecinco, 23 August 2007 ..... and we switched off and, to be honest, we stopped reading the newspapers. ...

Kate McCann
: "I do, maybe even more so, I strongly believe that Madeleine is out there, ...... These are the times when I go off to church, to be honest. ...

Tapas Seven Friend Flies Out To Kate McCann, 14 January 2010 ..... "If I'm honest, our daughter's been taken and nothing's ever going to be as bad as that," ...
In chapter 5 of his illuminating book, 'I Know You Are Lying' (2001: The Marpa Group), Mark McClish has the following to say in discussing an example of 'honesty':

'The applicant stated "You know..." The problem is we do not know if he is being honest. He has to tell us he is being truthful. Even if he were to say, "You know I am being honest" we still have a deceptive statement. He has not told us he is being honest. He expects us to take his honesty for granted. Believe what people tell you. If he tells you he is being honest, believe him. If he doesn't tell you he is being honest, you have to believe that too.'

Chapter 9 (Words And Phrases That Indicate Deception) and McClish is even more specific:

'In an effort to get you to believe their answer, people will sometimes use words or phrases designed to emphasise their truthfulness. However, studies have shown that when people use these words or phrases they may be giving you a deceptive answer. The following is a list of some of the more common deceptive words and phrases:

"Honest to God."          "Truthfully"
"To be honest."            "I swear to God."
"To tell the truth."        "I swear on my mother's grave."

'...when you hear these words or phrases in a statement that light bulb in your head should go off. You should pay even closer attention to what the person is telling you.'

The point in relation to the above catalogue of Kate McCann's 'honest' remarks is that, in every instance, it is an 'in principle' honesty to which she refers, not her own exactly. 'To be honest' is not 'being honest' necessarily. Language offers us different structures for different logical purposes and, whether we are conscious of it or not, we choose the one which best fits the circumstances, or what it is we wish to convey exactly.

This catalogue of Kate McCann's pronouncements makes for an interesting archive when one considers that, in every instance, the statement in question may be negated by the very caveat intended to promote it.

Be Careful What You Wish For, 14 September 2010
Be Careful What You Wish For

Gerry and Kate McCann


By Dr Martin Roberts
14 September 2010


In much the same way as the 'Tommies' of 1914-18 turned to their copies of The Wipers Times for relief from the grim absurdity of their trench-bound circumstance, we in our intermittent moments of gloom have our own paper-based comforters. It must have been a comfort to the McCanns when John Bull's various rags adopted their conclusion that Madeleine had been skilfully extracted from the family's holiday apartment by agents of paedophilia. If the unbiased opinion of academics followed suit then it had to be right, didn’t it?

On behalf of the Telegraph, Caroline Gammell in Portimao and Nick Allen in Amsterdam, announced in August of 2008:

Madeleine McCann 'snatched by international paedophile ring'

'British police believe Madeleine McCann was snatched by an international paedophile ring after she was photographed three days before she vanished, files have disclosed.

'The concern was raised in an email sent by the Metropolitan Police's intelligence unit dealing with Clubs and Vice, CO14 on March 4 this year.

'It said: "Intelligence suggests that a paedophile ring in Belgium made an order for a young girl three days before Madeleine McCann was taken.

'"Somebody connected to this group saw Maddie, took a photograph of her and sent it to Belgium. The purchaser agreed that the girl was suitable and Maddie was taken."

'The astonishing revelation supports Kate and Gerry McCann's theory that their eldest child may have been taken by a child smuggling ring

'Written by a police officer called John Shord, it was sent to DC John Hughes at Leicestershire Police and passed on to Portuguese detectives.'

Well, the story seems to have been something of a 'slow burner', but Mademoiselles Smith and Lazzeri each remained convinced nearly a year later, both publishing in May 2009, with Lazzeri turning to none other than a top criminologist, Professor David Canter, in support of her own faith in the McCann postulate.

Paedo Shame - News of the World

Anna Smith

'The more I hear about the Algarve, the sicker I feel. Investigators hunting for Madeleine McCann say the area is awash with paedophiles, with seven sex attacks on kids in the last 4 years.

'Perhaps that's why those thicko cops pointed the finger at the McCanns - by blaming them and moving on, nobody would dig up their dirt. They continue to ignore new evidence and hope what they always hoped - that this case would just go away.'

If Maddie is alive she may not answer to that name or remember who she was - The Sun

By Antonella Lazzeri
Published: 04 May 2009

Britain's top criminologist Professor David Canter….

'After studying the case closely, Prof Canter, director of The Centre for Investigative Psychology at the University of Liverpool, concluded Maddie was taken by a gang of traffickers.

'She had been left in the family holiday apartment with her twin brother and sister Sean and Amelie while her parents went to dinner with friends.

'The professor said: "Child traffickers are very quick at hiding a child's identity. In one case they managed to drug a girl, dye her hair and dress her as a boy within an hour of taking her.

"She was quickly found in the arms of an abductor but her parents barely recognised her.

"I believe Maddie was skilfully targeted. It is very unlikely that someone would break into the apartment on the off-chance.

"I don't believe it was a lone paedophile. They're very unlikely to carry out a crime like this.

"Child trafficking is a growing, very profitable industry. There is a good chance Maddie is alive."

Eventually then, a degree of credibility is bestowed upon the McCann view. But is it a starred first, garnered through diligent research, or a hasty third scribbled after 'last orders' at the local?

Representatives of diverse religious communities have, as we know, spoken out recently in opposition to certain views expressed by Professor Richard Dawkins. It is a moot point as to whether they fear the wrath of their Gods more than the prospect of redundancy, but here is one of Dawkins' sage (and televised) comments concerning 'evidence':

"We must favour verifiable evidence over private feeling. Otherwise we leave ourselves vulnerable to those who would obscure the truth."

Dawkins' concern for the primacy of evidential argument is widely shared. One discovers, deep in vaults of the internet, such comments as the following:

"The Casa Pia court ruling has given fresh venom for all those primarily concerned with their disgust at Madeleine's parents. With no evidence to support their hatred, they are blind with rage and remain a fixated darker side to the internet that can only be usurped by the criminal activities of the paedophiles they willingly defend in preference to admitting to themselves that they are wholly wrong." (Dr Stein's

Venomous hatred is surely an emotional state of mind, hardly governed by 'evidence.' Unlike the author here I would rather only speak for myself, but my primary concern is not with my own disgust, however manifest. If it were I'd be in serious need of a 'shrink'. Nor does any failure on my part to admit that I am in error as regards my understanding of the McCann case, or anything else, imply that I am a willing defender of paedophiles. Like so many others, I am simply reluctant to accept an explanation of events for which there is no evidence, especially when there is evidence to support an alternative interpretation.

Anyway, so long as we're all agreed that evidence is paramount, let us turn now to the Sunday Express story of September 5.

Paedophile ring with link to Madeleine McCann jailed

By James Murray

"One of the abused boys, Pedro Namora, is now a lawyer and was a key witness in the case.

"He wants Portuguese detectives to continue their probe as he believes the ring may be connected to the disappearance of Madeleine at the Praia da Luz resort on the Algarve in May 2007."

In Dr Stein's opinion:

"This recent criminal convictions (sic) in Portugal opens up the question as to how endemic child abuse rings actually are, not just in Portugal but in other countries as well. The parents of missing British child Madeleine McCann will take little comfort in learning that such prominent figures have been involved with child abuse. In a somewhat guarded comment, Clarence Mitchell, the McCann's official spokesman said that they had been following this case but had found no link to Madeleine's disappearance and a paedophile gang."

Well, well, well.

So there are sophisticated paedophile networks operating in Portugal after all. It wasn't just a figment of the McCanns' imagination. How could they have guessed?

There is a hint here of the McCanns having pinned their theoretical prospects on something in the ether, which, now that it has been publicly distilled, has suddenly become a politically dangerous association, and one from which they are better off 'distanced'. Retreat brings with it its own problems however.

There is apparently no evidence of any link between the Casa Pia investigation, Madeleine's disappearance and a paedophile gang. Clarence says so. It must be true. But James Murray's 'header' clearly refers to the accused in the Case Pia case as having a link to Madeleine McCann (is that libellous?). Unless we've all been seriously misinformed, those prosecuted in Portugal were not simply 'linked' with a paedophile ring, they formed one. So the Mitchell claim here that there is nothing to link the Casa Pia case with a paedophile gang is nonsense. But is that part of what he said? Not really. Mitchell's remark appears to imply that there is no connection between the child molesters of Casa Pia notoriety with 'the gang', (i.e. another gang) that took Madeleine.

Are we here contemplating a paedophile analog of the mafia, with several 'families' in contention for the available business, or territories of abuse, defined like the protected 'trading patches' in the vicinity of football stadia known to have provoked 'hot dog wars' in the past? It all seems a bit extreme somehow, inclining to the rife end of the endemic spectrum. And yet... these are the words of a commentator after all - a paraphrase of some remark or other made by Clarence Mitchell, which could just as easily have taken the form employed by a genuine journalist, James Murray, in his on-line version of events published Sept. 5:

"Clarence Mitchell, spokesman for Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, said they had been closely following the Casa Pia case but did not have a lead linking Madeleine's disappearance to the paedophile ring."

On this view there is only one ring - the ring. And Madeleine's disappearance is not connected with it.

Since we know from the testimony of an acknowledged expert in his field that Madeleine would not have been taken by a 'lone wolf', the most reasonable conclusion to be drawn, based on the available evidence, is that Madeleine was not abducted by or on behalf of any paedophile whatsoever.

Which brings us necessarily to the question of motive. If someone abducts a child it is for a reason, and the case of missing Madeleine is unquestionably one of abduction, by definition (O.E.D: abduction, n. Illegal carrying off, esp. of a child, ward;). There can be no doubt in anyone's mind that Madeleine McCann, alive or dead, was illegally carried off. And now that we may dispense with the paedophile hypothesis as an obscuration of the truth, we can justifiably contemplate some alternative explanation(s) as to why, even at the risk of igniting venomous hatred.

Big Yellow Taxi, 24 September 2010
Big Yellow Taxi

Kate McCann in footage from The Oprah Show


By Dr Martin Roberts
24 September 2010


A description of the vehicle believed by some to have ferried a couple and a child from Praia da Luz, perhaps? Not this time. It's that Joni Mitchell song. You know - the one with that rapier of a one-liner: 'Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'till it's gone.'

When talking to someone about something you've lost, it makes sense, surely, to reference the object in question, grammatically speaking. For Joni Mitchell it was her 'old man', among other things. It would be a very odd conversation indeed that migrated mid-sentence from topic to topic; from the fire in the living room to the unfinished washing-up in the kitchen, say. (Trust me. Like Kate McCann, 'I know'. Conversation under such circumstances is very difficult).

Anna Andress has recently revisited the verbal detachment of the McCanns from their eldest daughter, focussing on their persistent objective, and distant, references to 'the child', as opposed to, for example, their 'daughter Madeleine'. To support her point Anna makes visual reference to the Oprah programme in 2009, which includes some Portuguese TV footage of Kate given reasonably free rein during an interview filmed on domestic location, and who says something really quite astonishing in consequence:

"I never had a day where I took my children for granted, errm... having been through what I'd been through. But you actually forget how precious life is, errm... until something awful happens, and you realise just how perfect... our life was."

Look at (or listen to) this statement carefully, the second sentence especially. 'You actually forget how precious life is - until something awful happens.'

There is no ambiguity here. The reference topic is quite clearly 'life.' Like so many of nature's wonders, life is a binary phenomenon, the opposite state being, of course, death. Logic dictates that for 'something awful' to call one's attention to the sanctity of life, that something would have to be either life-threatening, or death itself.

Had Kate been more personal in her attribution of 'precious', e.g. 'You actually forget how precious your child is ....' then, paradoxically, the 'something awful' need not be anything like as severe as one is led to infer from her actual statement, since, as parents, we are naturally concerned at any injury to our offspring, even relatively minor ones.

Part two of this verbal faux pas consists of the manner in which the statement is concluded - 'you realise just how perfect... our life was.'

There is a conspicuous pause before the final phrase, 'our life was.' The past tense comparison seems, on the face of it, to be a reasonable one to make. After all, the McCanns' life together can hardly be more perfect now than hitherto, whatever the circumstances attending the change. The pause however is of the utmost significance.

Kate McCann, the Mrs Malaprop of our age, hesitates before finally specifying what she wants the listener to understand as the topic of the sentence ('our life'); a topic which did not feature in her original line of thought or it would not have followed a pause. This is made equally clear by the fact that it does not sit, grammatically or logically, with its antecedent phrase ('You realise just how perfect...') either. 'You' cannot intuit about 'me or mine', only about some concept or experience we have in common.

The McCanns, both of them, are by now well practised at this sort of verbal subterfuge, which in itself testifies to their conscious monitoring of their own output. Spontaneous it is not. Take, for instance, the mother of the year's pious interview with Aled Jones; how God was looking after Madeleine's spirit... 'she's got a lot of spirit.' Instant (well almost) correction of the implication that Madeleine was dead and gone to heaven, with God's role strategically extended to include that of playground supervisor.

'Something awful' happened to make Kate McCann realize 'how precious life is'; not their 'lives' as individuals, nor their 'life' collectively, but life in the abstract. The phrase 'our life', which she tacks on in an attempt to append an altered sense to her statement, is nothing like as appropriate as she imagines. One only need substitute the phrase 'our daughter' for the term 'life' to get an altogether clearer idea of where this train of thought was going before it was deliberately derailed.

Tidying Up, 27 September 2010
Tidying Up

Policia Judiciaria photograph of the bed Madeleine is alleged to have been taken from


By Dr Martin Roberts
27 September 2010


In October last, an astute observer of McCann inconsistency (we'll call him 'H') noticed something remarkable about the Portuguese police photographs of Madeleine McCann's holiday bed: It had been made. This is the only interpretation that can be placed on the pictures, since the obvious state of the bedclothes was other than that described to the police by Gerry McCann.

Gerry's recollection of his daughter Madeleine's last 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 Gerry is 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).

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."

The topic of this bed, like so much of the detail pertaining to the immediate aftermath of Kate McCann's 10.00 p.m. revelation, is old news; news which doubtless the McCanns and others would consider well and truly submerged beneath the ocean of time that has washed over the case since. And yet nothing was washed away completely, not even, as we know, the traces of various biological deposits in the lounge area of apartment 5A; behind the sofa - on the floor, on the walls and on the curtains.

That the bed did not, nor does not, appear 'slept in', is unquestionably a first-order inconsistency, catalogued by the watchful H, along with so many other discrepancies. But there is another, second-order aspect to this particular state of affairs, which speaks to the issue, not of immediate circumstance, but the very sequence of events that Thursday, 3 May, 2007.

The question that one might reasonably, if not obviously, ask in connection with a newly made bed is, 'Who made it?'

Well it certainly wasn't an abductor. I think we may conclude with confidence that nowhere in the annals of crime against the person is there a record of anyone first ransacking a property then tidying up after them. Or of snatching a child from its bed then tucking the bedclothes back in. Kate and Gerry were both struck by 'the way the scene was left' as well as being scrupulous enough, according to them, to leave things untouched following Madeleine's disappearance. But might they not have allowed themselves just one little lapse, Kate manifesting maternal concern by fidgeting with the her daughter's bedcovers in the course of her vain search perhaps? Not at all.

Kate McCann has told us (during their first interview, with the BBC's Jane Hill on 25.5.2007) "The first 48 hours were incredibly difficult and we were almost non-functioning I'd say, but after that we got strength from somewhere."

'Non-functioning' is Kate McCann's chosen phrase to encapsulate the apparent catatonia the parents experienced on discovering their daughter's absence. While still in apartment 5A they were given to sitting on beds, but not making them. And within a matter of hours they were accommodated elsewhere.

So Madeleine's bed was not made by an anonymous intruder immediately after Gerry McCann's visit to the apartment at 9.05 approx. Nor was it made by the McCanns at any time after 10.00 p.m. Which means that the status of the bed, as confirmed by the official record, must have been imposed upon it either by someone else, or at sometime before the alarm was raised.

The only other person to have visited the apartment between Gerry's and Kate's 'checks', at 9.00 and 10.00 p.m. respectively, was Matthew Oldfield, who looked in around 9.30 p.m., or so we are told. But we cannot attribute any bed-making to him, because he did not even enter the bedroom in question. Nevertheless, Oldfield has something of pertinence to contribute to the discussion, which we shall come to a little later. First, let us be clear that, on 10 May, 2007, Gerry told the police 'his daughter slept without the covers, as was normal, due to the heat, with the bed sheets folded towards the foot of the bed.'

(This is not how the bed appeared when photographed. Turned back at one corner is not 'folded toward the foot of the bed').

And in September Gerry recalled that Madeleine was lying down on her left side, completely uncovered, i.e. lying on top of the covers.

So we have Madeleine uncovered and sheets folded back in May, then, once the evidence is in, Madeleine uncovered and positioned on top of the covers, which could not have been folded back or the child could not have been lying on them. Well, either the bedclothes were arranged as originally described or they weren't, but in the latter case there is nothing to inform anyone as to how, exactly, the occupant left the bed. It certainly would not represent a 'slam dunk' abduction scene. Factoring in one of Kate's early favourite public statements further complicates the issue. "You don't expect a predator to break in and take your daughter out of her bed" culminates in the prepositional phrase 'out of her bed'; a distinctly, and significantly, different construction from 'off of her bed.' To be taken out of something an object must first have been in it, not on it.

In any event, one is faced with a bed, the last recorded configuration of which is a state of readiness (for someone to get into) not a state of disarray, as might be associated with a hurried exodus. If the bed covers had been folded down toward the foot of the bed (Gerry McCann's first postulate) then they would have been found and photographed in that position. They were not. Instead, Madeleine was sleeping on top of the covers (Gerry McCann's second postulate) and the bed therefore in the state in which it might have been left by the McCanns before Madeleine was placed upon it, seemingly in an uncomfortable and fairly pointless position, since she'd have to be lifted up again should the temperature have dropped and the covers been called into service once more.

If this was 'how the scene was left', bearing in mind that there was not a shred of evidence otherwise to indicate the presence of an intruder in the McCann apartment, then it was left in that state before 10.00 p.m., not afterwards, and not by any child snatcher.

Turning now to Matthew Oldfield's evidence, the first thing to take on board is a significant contextual comment regarding curtains and which features in his rogatory interview :

"...and I can't see the shutters because the curtains were shut and, they're similar curtains to the ones you've got in there, and you just get an impression of just like green and yellow..."

It is important to bear in mind that Oldfield is here describing to the interviewing officer a pair of curtains positioned at the far side of a room he did not enter. Indeed he did not even stand at the relevant doorway. He can distinguish two colours - in the near dark (let's be charitable and suppose the street lighting infiltrated the room to a certain extent).

Now let's review what Oldfield had to say about Madeleine's bed specifically.

 "Errm... and there's another bed along here, which is where Madeleine was supposed to be, errm... and you could just maybe catch the... it was probably set back a little bit, so you could just sort of catch about sort of six or eight inches of the... so you could see the outside corner, the corner deepest into the room".

4078: "Okay. So concentrate, if you can, on what you saw of that bed and tell me what you saw?"

Oldfield: "Nothing, apart from that, it's just the end of the bed and that's... and that was it. And, so, it was just like the outside corner, there was no... couldn't see the whole length; couldn't see colours or legs or anything draping over it".

So the colour of the curtains was discernible, the colour of the bedding less so. And this item of furniture, let's not forget, was altogether nearer in Oldfield's line of sight than the curtains. Now here comes the $64000 question from the interviewing police officer followed by Oldfield's respective variations on the theme:

"Did it have bed clothing on it, can you remember, or was it just a plain mattress or some sort of mattress cover or (inaudible), can you remember?"

 "Errm... my, errm... this would be sort of a guess, I think what I could see was a sheet and I think it was a metal base coming round the corner, but I couldn't swear to that. There was only a small bit that was visible".

4078: "Okay".

Oldfield: "I don't think it was a bare... a bare mattress, I'm fairly sure there'd have been a sheet on it, but I don't remember anything sort of as bulky as a duvet over it".

"Okay. And is there anything else you can say about what you saw of that bed?"

 "No, errm... I don't remember there being a pattern on it, it was... it was just sort of a glimpse and I don't know how reliable my memory is for this. I think it was plain coloured, maybe, if I was to go for it, I'd say it was sort of a light blue, but I really don't recall anything specific about the end of that bed, apart from just registering that there was a bed against that wall and that's probably where Madeleine was".

After something of a lateral excursion, the curtains re-enter the dialog:

"Okay. And you saw the side of the cots and you saw the shapes and knew that they were both breathing?"

 "Yeah, I mean, you've got two cots, you know, along this side, you've got the short... the long axis along the long room and the short end, which I think is (inaudible). I think we had a similar in, errm... with G****, and there'd be a slight spacing and then netting and so, from the side, you'd see, errm... part of this one, slightly obstructed by this one, but enough to see through the grill, errm... and this one you'd see through the... through the mesh side, you'd see the kids".

"And the lighting was sufficient within the room that you could make out what it was?"

 "You could make out that it wasn't blankets and just something piled there, you could see the chest moving".

"Okay. Could you see anything else from where you were stood?"

 "The rest is just sort vague impressions of, errm... of the colour of the curtains, I couldn't tell what particular pattern, but I just remember green and yellow with that. And there may have been a duvet on the back bed behind the two cots. But nothing else specific".

Again, Oldfield is more confident about describing the more distant image, but leaves us with the impression of a bed covered by a light blue sheet, which is not quite the same as a gingham bedspread, colour co-ordinated with the curtains.

Accepting the accounts of both Gerry McCann and Matthew Oldfield leads to the inescapable conclusion that Madeleine's bed was made before her absence was announced. Now who would have been in a position to have done that?

Alternatively, one might question, with ample justification, whether Oldfield's observations concerning the bed can be relied upon at all, since, as other students of these issues have already pointed out, his description of the interior features of 5A better match the interior of 5D, this being the true location of green and yellow curtains! And if Oldfield's powers of recall in this respect are not to be relied upon, then what does that suggest as regards his supportive testimony in general, or that of any the Tapas 7, including their ringleaders?

It begins to look as if the stratagem of 'leaving no stone unturned' has come full circle, with its originators situate between a rock and a hard place. Ultimately that rock too must be accounted for.

It's A Jungle Out There, 23 October 2010
It's A Jungle Out There

Gerry McCann, GMTV, 28 aPRIL 2010


By Dr Martin Roberts
23 October 2010


Hindsight, they say, is 20 -20. On that basis I can place no interpretation upon McCann vs. Amaral that isn't more generally achievable. However, being products of our own uniqueness, we are each of us likely to have a view of events peculiar to ourselves; a view coloured by our own backgrounds and experiences. Personally, I am of an age that I remember schooldays pre-SATs, pre-GCSEs even, when unless or until you took the 11 plus exam you were little more than an anonymous junior. None of this 'year 1 through 6' nonsense to define time spent in the holding pen. No-one was chronologically categorised until they became 'first years' in the 'big school.'

I'm sure Glaswegian Gerry McCann knows all about life among the seniors; that age of uncertainty and trepidation, when youngsters are (or were) defined, not by their parents' homes or whether they owned a car (note: I am considering a period in British social history when car ownership was a matter of 'yes' or 'no', not which badge graced the bonnet), but the sports field and the playground. The natural athletes were admired and respected. Others who could not command respect through accomplishment demanded it through tyranny.

Lateral pecking orders are all very well, but in a seriously vertical hierarchy it pays to have friends in high places. Thus the more artful of the younger 'tough guys' would curry favour with older, more mature personnel. That way they could spread their own sphere of influence above as well as beneath their station, to the extent that, like a hermit crab secure in a new shell, they could intimidate juveniles a touch older than themselves even and rest safe in the knowledge that they were protected species themselves (this is indeed a 'primate thing' as adolescent chimpanzees behave in much the same way).

But hermit crabs outgrow their shells - and allies leave the field, or the school, as the case may be. So mortgaging one's influence against promises of support from those of a transient disposition is perhaps not the smartest of strategies in the long run. The term 'grudge' is a short word describing a long memory.

So we come to the McCanns.

In hindsight
, having engineered Goncalo Amaral's isolation from his professional power base, the ex-arguidos' subsequent actions against this man would most likely be perceived, by all and sundry, as personal. With the cushion of their 'fighting fund' they could afford to pursue their adversary through the courts and bring him to his knees if necessary, demanding fealty almost. But, like El Cid before him, this Iberian would not kneel. Like his medieval forbear, he too has been obliged to serve two masters; one his political superiors, the other the truth.

The pattern of events appeared clear. But then someone twisted the kaleidoscope. Brown the bully was expelled from school. His mate, big Jim, decided to leave without sitting his exam. And that has left the naughty children defenceless in the playground, the extent of their earlier bombast exposed for all to see.

What neither the McCanns, their cheerleaders, nor many others of us can have realised at the time, was the seriousness of the affront done by their earlier actions - not to an individual, in the form of Goncalo Amaral, but to a nation. The collective indignation can be sensed from the explanatory observations of the appeal judges responsible for recently lifting the ban on Amaral's published work.

The McCanns have so far revelled in throwing other people's weight around. Two middling medics from middle England have succeeded in riding roughshod over the constitution of a sovereign power, encouraged libellous criticism of its executive, and brought the same state's judicial system into disrepute. Did they honestly believe this could go on forever? If they did then, like as not, they are in for further surprises. This is the playground. It's payback time.

Cloud Cuckoo Land, 20 November 2010
Cloud Cuckoo Land

Isabel Duarte


By Dr Martin Roberts
20 November 2010


So, esteemed Portuguese lawyer Isabel Duarte, acting on behalf of the McCanns, is progressing with plans to 'appeal the appeal', so to speak.

Just as Gonçalo Amaral had to present grounds for calling into question a judge's decision to uphold an injunction against him, Duarte has to furnish an argument sufficient both to endorse the original decision and to outweigh, rather than merely counter, the basis of the appeal court's reversal of that decision. In talking openly to the press she gives the impression of being quite confident she can do exactly that. Her optimism is founded on her view that 'essential facts' had not been taken into account by the appeal court judges. And what might these 'essential facts' be? Ms Duarte helpfully goes on to clarify:

1. Gonçalo Amaral's book was published to make money.

2. Gonçalo Amaral's book had inflicted pain and suffering on her clients, the McCanns.

3. Gonçalo Amaral's book had impeded the search for Madeleine by entertaining the hypothesis that Madeleine in fact died on the night of her disappearance.

It is as well to bear in mind that we are not talking about a professional 'also ran' here. Ms Duarte is a pre-eminent legal representative and a candidate for election to the presidency of the Portuguese equivalent of our bar association. Any client of hers is entitled therefore to suppose her own grasp of Portuguese law to be complete. As far as is possible, subtlety of interpretation should position her advocacy several degrees above mere recourse to common sense. So what do the McCanns get for their money?

Gonçalo Amaral published a book to make money

Who doesn't? The McCanns themselves have just announced an intention to reap the benefit of their own 'account of the truth' in due course. Gonçalo Amaral is not a public information service. Even if he were, he would be entitled to recover his costs, surely. How is he supposed to do that without making money? Think of public transport services even. Buses, trains etc. carry passengers, but not before they've bought tickets.

Some years ago I bought my own daughter a 'teach yourself flute' video. She and I were both disappointed to discover that lesson one amounted to 'open the box and put the instrument together.' Isabel Duarte's 'essential fact' number one is itself so obvious, as well as irrelevant, that like the many such leads previously filed by the PJ, it scarcely warrants a second glance. Does Ms Duarte really suppose the Supreme Court in Portugal is likely to see it another way?

Gonçalo Amaral's book has inflicted pain and suffering on the McCanns

We might be dealing with a case of double entendre here, in as much as the hypothesis of Madeleine's death, be it right or wrong, might well cause the McCanns pain either way. However, supposing that said hypothesis is in error, and painful for that reason, it would have been painful when first put before the public. Amaral's book was published, in Portuguese, in July 2008. The McCanns libel action was commenced over a year later.

Pain and suffering is something we generally try to alleviate at the earliest opportunity. To suffer unduly over time is indicative either of a masochist or someone more fearful of the treatment than the malady. Self evidently the McCanns' pain and suffering was not sufficiently acute for them to do anything about it for a year at least. And in January this year they arranged and attended a society dinner, to be seen and photographed in the company of a variety of T.V. personalities. At £150 per head, this particular social gathering was a serious fund-raising event, not a vehicle for the relief of pain and suffering, of which there has been no public sign whatsoever since the McCanns 'got over' the first 48 hours, much less since publication of A Verdade da Mentira.

Question: Ms Duarte, could you please quantify, or at least evidence, the pain and suffering endured by your clients as a direct consequence of the material discussed in Dr Amaral's published work?

No? Then let us turn to 'essential fact' number three:

Gonçalo Amaral's book has impeded the search for Madeleine

The search for something lost carries a transitive connotation. Besides the person or object searched for there are the locations searched. It implies an active endeavour on someone's part. We may remind ourselves, ad nauseam almost, that searching, in these terms, is something the McCanns themselves have completely failed to do. We know also that their various investigative mercenaries have been remiss in this very same regard. Not so the host of Portuguese and others who dedicated their time and energy to that very task, in the immediate aftermath of the McCanns' protestations on the evening of May 3, 2007. They 'searched' alright.

Are the McCanns therefore concerned that Amaral is in some way inhibiting the actions of those who have already done their bit? Should all these good people, having once searched in vain, search anew? If so, how frequently? The McCanns, as we know, retain a team of staff whose job it is to search, co-ordinate the search, or raise money to fund the search, none of whom will have been in any way dissuaded by disparaging comments written in a foreign language. 'He who pays the piper...' and all that. Perhaps by 'searching' the McCanns really mean to describe the actions of the countless conscientious citizens worldwide who might be inclined to keep a watchful eye out for any child resembling Madeleine's description and who could conceivably be she. If so, then we are no longer talking about searching per se, but addressing behaviour which would not be influenced by third-party opinion in any language.

Consider, if you will, a rather outlandish analogy: A hypothetical team of 'Indiana Jones' types believe they are just a few clues from discovery of the Holy Grail, when along comes Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown and explains, in print, why they are all wasting their time, because the Holy Grail is not actually a drinking vessel after all. So, to a man, the intrepid archaeologists give up their search. Having invested time, money and energy in pursuing their quarry, they down tools and go home, on Dan Brown's say so. Do they indeed? And if one or other of them happens to discover, in a not inappropriate location, a goblet conforming to his or her understanding of what the Holy Grail should be like, is that person likely to dismiss it as 'not the Holy Grail' because it contradicts Dan Brown's theory? Similarly, would anyone catching sight of a young girl with a conspicuous coloboma in her right eye and answering to the name Maddie ('She hated it when we called her that' - KM) ignore her completely on account of Gonçalo Amaral's opinion? This is a little girl's life we're talking about remember.

Question (We've been here already): Ms Duarte, could you please quantify or evidence the extent to which the search for Madeleine has been impeded by Dr Amaral's published work?

No? Then why on earth has this court been convened? Give the man his books back and stop wasting our time! And while you're at it you might just review your own career objectives (Plan B could come in handy).

Pearl Harbour, 25 November 2010
Pearl Harbour

Gonçalo Amaral, 20 October 2010


By Dr Martin Roberts
25 November 2010


Faced with a new client brief, any IPA accredited author will have at the back of his or her mind the club motto: Legal, Decent, Honest and Truthful - a banner which has absolutely nothing in common with the court-room oath, 'I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth'. When it comes to writing promotional copy, the ground rules are simple: Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, and if you must mess with Mister (or Mrs.) in between, then keep it out of the office. (Once the lights are on nobody sleeps).

Unlike the academic arena, where published discussion is evidence-based and even handed, tending, but no more than that, toward whichever interpretation appears to be favoured by the most recent data, promotional work is nothing if not biased. Whatever the product, as far as advertising is concerned there is never a 'downside.'

With these considerations in mind, certain material, only now available on the internet, makes for intriguing reading. Unlike Robert Redford's undercover associates in the film Three Days of the Condor, I do not have the time to read everything written about the Madeleine McCann affair. Chance alone has led me to some recent contributions posted on a newly established 'blog' entitled Gonçalo Amaral, Fact of the Fiction. These would appear to be a mixture of comments 'lifted' from third-party sources and accompanied by contributions from the two principal authors, one of whom is identified as Vee8.

I do not propose to cross swords with these people, who may hold whatever opinions they wish of Gonçalo Amaral. Suffice to say that the recent 'Inside Out' broadcast by the BBC offers ample evidence of divergence in this regard, and how 'strength of feeling' can come across with as much apparent authority as authority itself. As stated, I do not have time to read everything, everywhere and, having skimmed the content of Gonçalo Amaral, Fact of the Fiction, I am disinclined to read everything there also. That is my prerogative. But several aspects of this particular blog have caught my attention nonetheless, not least the home page announcement of its creation in the immediate aftermath of the injunction against Amaral's book being overturned on appeal; that and the fact it is linked directly to the McCanns' own Facebook site.

The article of Vee8's to which I was unexpectedly directed was posted on 18 November. Entitled 'A Tale of Two Bookies' it presents, in common with the general thrust of the blog, a negative interpretation of Gonçalo Amaral's publishing endeavours. Now, that in itself is not a heinous sin. We are each of us entitled to hold an opinion after all, as forum members of all complexions should appreciate. They will also be aware (and I state this merely as a matter of fact, not in order to appear condescending) that some contributors are more eloquent than others (this is especially so given the number of those struggling to make their voices heard in a foreign language - an effort for which they are to be applauded, certainly not derided). My point is that, with so many people from so many different backgrounds joining in the debate, the population of contributors will inevitably include 'media types', and we know that to be the case.

When we read something by an author who writes for a living, it will have a practised 'ring' to it. Typographical errors will be few and far between and certain stylistic inflexions may hold sway. Whereas the observations made by others may express, coherently or otherwise, their 'strength of feeling', i.e. their emotional stance, something constructed with due regard to the use of language is likely to be as 'deliberate' in its preparation as in its execution.

So what am I driving at?

The Tale of Two Bookies is nothing if not deliberate. Apart from a series of emotive quotes 'bagged up' and dismissed at the outset, it contains no genuinely negative observations (none with the potential to negate the author's own argument, that is). In short, it has the ring of a PR exercise. It is also lodged in a resource linked directly to that of the McCanns themselves.

Let's then take a closer look at some of the arguments advanced by Vee8.
"We have reason to believe that Amaral stated that a portion, (I think I remember reading the figure of 10%) of his profits will go to children's charities. A noble gesture, if true. The McCanns, on the other hand, make it very clear that ALL the profits from THEIR book will go to the fund that is financing the search for their missing daughter."
Leaving aside the vague 'reason to believe', we have Amaral ostensibly donating a mere 10% of his royalties to charitable causes, whereas the McCanns will donate all of their profits to the fund. But the fund, as we know, is not a charity. So the truth to be understood (rather than that portrayed) is: Amaral's charitable giving 10%. McCanns' charitable giving 0%.

The author then proceeds as follows:
"'The truth of the Lie' by Amaral, has sold several million copies to date, netting him somewhere in the region of 1.2 million euros in royalties. The McCann's search fund, at one point, topped over two million pounds. Since then the McCanns have been completely open and transparent with the funds, publishing a full annual account in the press for the scrutiny of the public. Amaral, however, has yet, as far as I know, to do the same. If he did promise to make a payment to children's charities it has, so far, yet to be made good. So what HAS Amaral done with all his profits?"
What this offers us, first and foremost, is confirmation that the metric underlying the McCanns' libel action against Gonçalo Amaral is his profits, not their suffering. It can surely be no coincidence that they are seeking damages of 1.2 million euros! Beyond that however we have the McCanns portrayed as 'completely open and transparent'... 'publishing a full annual account in the press for the scrutiny of the public.' This is in contradistinction to Gonçalo Amaral, who has done no such thing.

Let us also be completely, rather than partially transparent. The McCanns do not publish accounts in order to salve their consciences. The 'Fund' is a public limited company. As such it is legally obliged to publish its accounts. Gonçalo Amaral is neither of these things. (Would you pay to have your P60 published in the local newspaper?). Unless Vee8 is intercepting Amaral's personal correspondence, how does he or she presume to know whether or not this author has made and/or honoured any pledges to charity? Perhaps it has something to do with the unspecified 'reasons to believe.'

The remainder of the piece is sheer 'school of Goebbels' propaganda - decently written, but naïve in its propositions.

What we have here is a McCann PR vehicle. Its establishment immediately post the appeal decision could be taken as an expression of the couple's fear that Amaral's book will indeed appear in the U.K. Why so? Well, in just the same honest-to-goodness fashion that a genuinely libelled party will take action immediately, in order to minimise any damage done to their public image, so anyone feeling 'hot under the collar' about Gonçalo Amaral in general and his book (in Portuguese) in particular, would have set up their blog and vented their spleen long since.

It has previously been suggested elsewhere that Amaral could not, in any case, publish A Verdade da Mentira in the U.K., for fear of infringeing U.K. libel laws. With the lifting of the injunction he clearly has a 'window of opportunity' and I would venture to suggest that, since any half-way decent translation would have to be typeset anew, any version to be put before an English speaking audience would be thoroughly vetted and edited to leave not so much as a hint of libel. Should an English edition of A Verdade da Mentira play strictly by the rules therefore, the McCanns would find themselves on a very sticky wicket indeed - and they know it.

What Gonçalo Amaral, Fact of the Fiction represents is a pre-emptive strike against a moving target. The Japanese, having learnt from an escapade by the British at Taranto a year or so earlier, learnt again, after Pearl Harbour, that such an action can only be truly effective if the whole fleet's at anchor. Had the American aircraft carriers been at home when the Japanese called, history would, no doubt, have taken an altogether different turn. Likewise, the best the McCanns can do in the face of an impending literary assault, is attempt somehow to discredit the author in advance. (They dare not wait until his book has been read the length and breadth of the country). The trouble is they know not what, exactly, might appear in print, nor when. And Gonçalo Amaral, I am reliably informed, is not one to broadcast his intentions.


The McCanns' 'Official Find Madeleine Campaign' Facebook page, 25 November 2010

Above: The McCanns' 'Official Find Madeleine Campaign' Facebook page, displaying link to 'Gonçalo Amaral, Fact of the Fiction' blog.

Clicking that link leads to a further page...

The McCanns' 'Official Find Madeleine Campaign' Facebook page, 25 November 2010

Which leads directly to...

Goncalo Amaral, Fact of the Fiction, 25 November 2010

Lost In Translation, 07 December 2010
Lost In Translation

Daniel Webster stealing Henry Clay's thunder


By Dr Martin Roberts
07 December 2010


Linguistics is a fascinating and rigorous discipline. To understand how language works in the service of human communication is, in large measure, to understand what it is to be human. As those with even a modest degree of fluency in more than one language will readily appreciate, to move between them is not, as others might naively suppose, merely an exercise in syntactic reworking; a case of just making sure the grammatical rules of the target language are observed while plugging in the requisite parts of speech, duly converted according to the appropriate lexicon. That way lies, for example, the sort of 'Google translate' representation, in German, of a certain well-known English web-site. Properly accomplished, translation is an altogether more subtle and complex pursuit than that.

Not all exercises in translation are entirely 'linguistic' of course. Some scarcely invoke spoken language at all. One might reasonably identify a building as a contractor's 'translation' of an architect's plan, or describe the atomic bomb as a translation, into tangible form, of Einstein's remarkable equation (e=mc2). Then there are the half-way house sort of verbal exercises, where the interpreter remains within the boundaries of a sole language context, as it were, producing a more generally intelligible variant of an original work (book, lecture or whatever) otherwise impenetrable to a lay audience. One might refer to coded intelligence reports being 'translated' for the benefit of their political scrutineers, as was the case in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. And from the outcome of that enterprise we see with absolute clarity how crucial it is that semantic integrity is not violated. For the accuracy of any verbal reconfiguration reflects directly upon the integrity of the individual producing it.

This view is openly shared by commentators at the fledgling 'blog' Goncalo Amaral, Fact of the Fiction who, in supporting the McCanns in their time of distress, seem to favour libelling Amaral, in both his personal and professional capacities, over any positive steps that might be taken to procure an effective search for the couple's missing daughter. Specifically, an individual going by the sobriquet of 'Ines' is identified by one blog contributor as having 'a deserved reputation for accuracy and integrity of translation,' an observation I would not presume to contest. I would merely point out that the translations by Ines (those pertinent to any discussion of the McCann case at least) are between languages, i.e. Portuguese and English.

Though perhaps not so scrupulous in their eyes, Duarte Levy too is a capable multi-lingual and described equally, by said adherent of Ines, as a 'translator.' Indeed he has been credited by this same observer as having translated (and in so doing corrupted) Jane Tanner's rogatory interview, the effort being visible to all on McCannfiles. At this point I must needs quote a paragraph in its entirety in order for what follows to be properly understood:
"Less extreme, but nonetheless damaging and revealing of the calibre of the man, was his corruption of the Jane Tanner rogatory interview by Leicestershire police. It still exists on a resource, themccannfiles, run by another vehement anti, Nigel Moore. The resource itself is useful, but needs to be read carefully and discerningly to separate that which genuninely (sic) informs from that which blatantly misleads, as Levy's rendering of the Jane Tanner interview, displayed on that site, does. Not too much has been made of Levy's translation, perhaps because a more reliable version, produced by another Portuguese national, Ines, with a deserved reputation for accuracy and integrity of translation, exists elsewhere." (Emphasis mine. This author previously explains that Levy is, in fact, Belgian - 'a freelance Belgian journalist' is the phrase used. In addition, Ines is not a Portuguese national).
The article continues:
"From the Levy translation, we apparently learn…."
What is important here is that we focus on Levy's 'translation,' not what we may or may not learn from it. Note too, if you will, its prior description as a 'rendering.'

I should like to think that, in common with 'vehement anti' Nigel Moore and others, I might be numbered among those who hold to certain values, again picked out by the studious author under consideration here as being of some importance ("It seems that, among certain antis (I don't say all) qualities of honour, integrity and probity are observed..."), 'integrity' being explicitly numbered among several desirable qualities (we'll gloss over our sense of honour being portrayed as 'honour among thieves' and add simply that the bite of a snake is potentially as much a health hazard to its own tail as to other creatures).

Having spoken of integrity in the course of translation, since it has been placed in a broader context by our Levy critic, we ought now perhaps to consider integrity in the round.

The paragraph cited earlier unambiguously and unfavourably compares Duarte Levy's 'unreliable' translation of rogatory interviews, Jane Tanner's in particular, with the efforts of Ines, whose work is noted for its 'integrity'. But the common focus for comparison here is the English transcript of an interview conducted by Leicestershire Police, in English, of a native speaker. What was there to 'translate?'

This critic of Duarte Levy's verisimilitude is clearly implying that both Levy and Ines translated something from Portuguese into English, the latter making a more respectable job of it, whilst Levy, for his part, deliberately corrupted the script, so as to place Ms Tanner and her Tapas associates in a less than favourable light.

Something, dear reader, has been lost in translation, and that something is 'the truth'. But it was not lost by Levy. Not by a long chalk.

Duarte's "version" is a word-for-word, completely correct rendition of the Jane Tanner interview conducted and recorded for posterity in English. Ines' 'translation' simply purges meaningless interjections so as to produce a more coherent 'read.' There is only one written source for the rogatory interviews and it is in English, directly transcribed by Leicestershire police, unredacted and timed to match the accompanying visual recording.

The disingenuous defence of this unwarranted manipulation by the blog poster in question (Honestbroker) will doubtless be that by 'translation' was meant merely 'interpretation.' (A 'half-way house' class of exercise, remember?) Well, it's possible to be too clever on occasion. Like Duarte Levy perhaps, who is further credited with 'translation' thus:
"Here is the relevant extract from the Levy translation, and the corresponding version from the official translation..."
Ines' version is to be preferred apparently. It's 'official' after all.

Now, what was that again about anti McCanns with integrity sharing in 'honour among thieves'?

Note: The article by Dr Martin Roberts, above, was based on the following blog entry, entitled 'Team Amaral', which made a specific, and wholly untrue, attack against the integrity of information presented on this site:

'Team Amaral' (an extract), 03 December 2010
'Team Amaral' (an extract) Gonçalo Amaral, Fact of the Fiction

Extract from 'Gonçalo Amaral, Fact of the Fiction' blog entry
Extract from 'Gonçalo Amaral, Fact of the Fiction' blog entry

By 'Honestbroker'
Posted 03 December 2010

- Extract -

Less extreme, but nonetheless damaging and revealing of the calibre of the man [Duarte Levy], was his corruption of the Jane Tanner rogatory interview by Leicestershire police. It still exists on a resource, the mccannfiles, run by another vehement anti, Nigel Moore. The resource itself is useful, but needs to be read carefully and discerningly to separate that which genuninely informs from that which blatantly misleads, as Levy's rendering of the Jane Tanner interview, displayed on that site, does. Not too much has been made of Levy's translation, perhaps because a more reliable version, produced by another Portuguese national, Ines, with a deserved reputation for accuracy and integrity of translation, exists elsewhere.

From the Levy translation, we apparently learn that Jane Tanner identified another of the McCanns' friends, Dianne Webster, mother of Fiona Payne, as the heaviest drinker in the party, and we are apparently told that all the others in the party had more to drink on the night May 3rd than Jane Tanner. We are also asked to believe that the interviewing officer, Sofie Feargason, quipped that looking after all those children might be the cause of Dianne Webster drinking so much. Scurrilous rumours circulate in anti circles about how much was drunk by the party that night. Perhaps this is the source?

Here is the relevant extract from the Levy translation, and the corresponding version from the official translation:

Levy's version

"And because it will affect your recollection of what happened and things, how much had you drank that night?"

Reply "The thing is, that night I probably drunk less than a lot of the others, because I'd been at the table probably only for, well an hour, forty minutes at that, you know, not very long at all, by the time we all sat down and actually ordered the wine it was almost nine o'clock anyway because everybody was so late, so, you know, I wasn't, I hadn't had that much to drink and because we'd had more to drink the night before I think we were drinking more slowly anyway. And I hadn't had, whereas normally I would have probably had a beer on the beach, I can actually remember".

4078 "Orange juice".

Reply "It was an orange juice that we'd had on the beach. So, no, I wasn't, at that, at, especially, well, I definitely roaring drunk at that point?"

4078 "And what about the rest of the group, can you comment on what they were drinking?"

Reply "Erm, no, we just tended to stick with, because the wine was included, we tended to stick with just the, the wine that was given, so. I'll tell you, the person who drank most of the wine was actually Fiona's mum, Dianne was the, was the biggest drinker of the lot of us actually, which is quite".

4078 "It's coping with all those children around her".

Reply "Yeah, exactly. So, no, I mean, nobody was, nobody was that drunk that night at all".

Ines' version:

4078 "And you know you had said on the Wednesday, I think it was the Wednesday night, yeah, you said that you had stayed later and had more to drink than the previous nights?"

Reply "Umm".

4078 "Do you remember sort of roughly how much you'd had?"

Reply "No, I mean, we weren't, I mean, we weren't sort of like roaring drunk, it wasn't. But I think just because we'd been there longer we probably had, I mean, I'd say I'd probably had four glasses of wine and then maybe the, I think at the end, I can't remember what sort of a liqueur at the end, so".

4078 "That is not a lot in the course of the evening?"

Reply "No, I mean, over the, it wasn't, it wasn't loads, but, I mean, it was probably more than other nights probably".

From the Levy version, we also, apparently, learn that Jane Tanner expressed doubts about the sex of the child she saw the man carrying. No such reference exists in the Ines translation. I've never seen reference to that anywhere else.

- End of extract -

The truth about the lie of 'Gonçalo Amaral, Fact of the Fiction'

By Nigel Moore
08 December 2010

As already discussed in Dr Martin Robert's article Lost In Translation, 07 December 2010, there has only ever been one version of the rogatory interviews - that being in English. It has therefore been impossible for anyone to translate a Portuguese version when such a version has never existed.

The so-called 'Levy version' and 'Ines version' are identical apart from Ines' removal of interjections, purely in order to facilitate an easier read.

Under normal circumstamces, this kind of nonsense would not even be worthy of a response but this particular blog is provided as a link on the 'Official Find Madeleine Campaign' Facebook site and we must assume, in light of any contrary evidence, that it receives the blessing of the McCanns themselves.

Readers might also like to consider this particular blog entry in conjunction with Pearl Harbour - the previous piece by Dr Martin Roberts.

Comparison of the 'versions' quoted

On the question of drink:

'Levy version'

4078 "And you know you had said on the Wednesday, I think it was the Wednesday night, yeah, you said that you had stayed later and had more to drink than the previous nights?"

Reply "Umm".

4078 "Do you remember sort of roughly how much you'd had?"

Reply "No, I mean, we weren't, you know, I mean, we weren't sort of like roaring drunk, it wasn't.  Erm, but I think just because we'd been there longer we probably had, I mean, I'd say I'd probably had four glasses of wine and then maybe the, I think at the end, I can't remember what sort of a liqueur at the end, so".

4078 "That is not a lot in the course of the evening?"

Reply "No, I mean, over the, it wasn't, it wasn't loads, but, I mean, it was probably more than other nights probably".

'Ines version'

4078 "And you know you had said on the Wednesday, I think it was the Wednesday night, yeah, you said that you had stayed later and had more to drink than the previous nights?"

Reply "Umm".

4078 "Do you remember sort of roughly how much you'd had?"

Reply "No, I mean, we weren't, I mean, we weren't sort of like roaring drunk, it wasn't. But I think just because we'd been there longer we probably had, I mean, I'd say I'd probably had four glasses of wine and then maybe the, I think at the end, I can't remember what sort of a liqueur at the end, so".

4078 "That is not a lot in the course of the evening?"

Reply "No, I mean, over the, it wasn't, it wasn't loads, but, I mean, it was probably more than other nights probably".

Later, on the same subject:

'Levy version'

4078 "And because it will affect your recollection of what happened and things, how much had you drank that night?"

Reply "The thing is, that night I probably drunk less than a lot of the others, because I'd been at the table probably only for, well an hour, forty minutes at that, you know, not very long at all, by the time we all sat down and actually ordered the wine it was almost nine o'clock anyway because everybody was so late, so, you know, I wasn't, I hadn't had that much to drink and because we'd had more to drink the night before I think we were drinking more slowly anyway. And I hadn't had, whereas normally I would have probably had a beer on the beach, I can actually remember".

4078 "Orange juice".

Reply "It was an orange juice that we'd had on the beach. So, no, I wasn't, at that, at, especially, well, I definitely roaring drunk at that point?"

4078 "And what about the rest of the group, can you comment on what they were drinking?"

Reply "Erm, no, we just tended to stick with, because the wine was included, we tended to stick with just the, the wine that was given, so. I'll tell you, the person who drank most of the wine was actually Fiona's mum, Dianne was the, was the biggest drinker of the lot of us actually, which is quite".

4078 "It's coping with all those children around her".

Reply "Yeah, exactly.  So, no, I mean, nobody was, nobody was that drunk that night at all".

'Ines version'

4078 "And because it will affect your recollection of what happened and things, how much had you drank that night?"

Reply "The thing is, that night I probably drunk less than a lot of the others, because I'd been at the table probably only for, well an hour, forty minutes at that, you know, not very long at all, by the time we all sat down and actually ordered the wine it was almost nine o'clock anyway because everybody was so late, so, you know, I wasn't, I hadn't had that much to drink and because we'd had more to drink the night before I think we were drinking more slowly anyway. And I hadn't had, whereas normally I would have probably had a beer on the beach, I can actually remember".

4078 "Orange juice".

Reply "It was an orange juice that we'd had on the beach. So, no, I wasn't, at that, at, especially, well, I definitely roaring drunk at that point?"

4078 "And what about the rest of the group, can you comment on what they were drinking?"

Reply "Erm, no, we just tended to stick with, because the wine was included, we tended to stick with just the, the wine that was given, so. I'll tell you, the person who drank most of the wine was actually Fiona's mum, Dianne was the, was the biggest drinker of the lot of us actually, which is quite".

4078 "It's coping with all those children around her".

Reply "Yeah, exactly. So, no, I mean, nobody was, nobody was that drunk that night at all".

Doubts about the sex of the child:

'Levy version'

Reply "...I've always wondered whether that was a little girl, is it, are you going to plant into your head the pink pyjamas. It was the bottom bit of them that gives me the most thought in my own head that it was Madeleine. So I don't know, I feel, I thought I saw pink pyjamas and I thought I could see colours but I don't know, it was fairly orange so I don't know."

4078 "Okay, so you think it was pink but you accept that it may not have been, the colour may have been distorted or it might have been such the power of suggestion I suppose."

Reply "That could have been that for me because the pyjamas I really tried to, it was in the interview the next day when they really pushed me you know I think you call it cognitive interview or whatever, really pushed me to get an idea of you know more details about the person and it was then that you know sort of the description of the pyjamas was more in my head than I'd initial, it was mainly the feet as an initial thing."

4078 "Yeah."

Reply "But err so I don't know, I may, that is the one I don't know maybe that was power of suggestion but I thought I saw a pattern on the bottom."

'Ines version'

Reply "...I've always wondered whether that was a little girl, is it, are you going to plant into your head the pink pyjamas. It was the bottom bit of them that gives me the most thought in my own head that it was Madeleine. So I don't know, I feel, I thought I saw pink pyjamas and I thought I could see colours but I don't know, it was fairly orange so I don't know."

4078 "Okay, so you think it was pink but you accept that it may not have been, the colour may have been distorted or it might have been such the power of suggestion I suppose."

Reply "That could have been that for me because the pyjamas I really tried to, it was in the interview the next day when they really pushed me you know I think you call it cognitive interview or whatever, really pushed me to get an idea of you know more details about the person and it was then that you know sort of the description of the pyjamas was more in my head than I'd initial, it was mainly the feet as an initial thing."

4078 "Yeah."

Reply "But err so I don't know, I may, that is the one I don't know maybe that was power of suggestion but I thought I saw a pattern on the bottom."

Postscript Gonçalo Amaral, Fact of the Fiction

A confession from 'Gonçalo Amaral, Fact of the Fiction'

By 'Honestbroker'
09 December 2010

I confess to an error in this piece which has been excised from the original article. I suggested certain differences between offerings of the Jane Tanner statement on different sites that in fact weren't there. Obviously the easiest way to have compared the two statements would have been to run off hard copies, but my printer is unserviceable and I had to switch between the two sites reading on screen – difficult for a statement of that length – and I accept that aligned the relevant sections wrong.

As the article (as amended) makes plain, Levy is a fraud and it is also true that he got hold of copies of some of the rogatory interviews, including Jane Tanner's. On closer inspection I note that his name is actually associated with the statements on both sites. We must just hope that he hasn't tampered with the rogatory interviews as well.

And my final word!

By Nigel Moore
09 December 2010

The truth is simple: there never was, and never has been, a 'Levy version' of the rogatory interviews. That they have acquired such a name is simply because Duarte Levy published them on his site - to which people linked their blogs/sites. There is only one original version.

Letter to the Editor, 23 December 2010
Letter to the Editor

Gerry McCann


By Dr Martin Roberts
23 December 2010


Dear Gerry McCann

I should like to draw your attention to one or two comments made recently by your guest author (you know, the one who's just finished writing that book) in the context of a Christmas message posted on Facebook recently.

As far as I recall, Madeleine McCann is suspected by your lead investigator of being sequestered somewhere in the Badlands of the Portuguese Algarve, probably within a 10-mile radius of the point from which she so mysteriously vanished nearly four years ago. Very soon after her disappearance (four days afterwards in fact) you looked distinctly disapproving as your wife Kate said, during an appeal to camera:
"We would like to say a few words to the person who is with our Madeleine, or has been with Madeleine."
What, under other circumstances (to coin another of your wife's turns of phrase), might be considered an address to a baby-sitter, seems totally inappropriate as an approach to a vagrant, child-molesting abductor. You thought so then. Why do you not think so now?

“We hope with all our hearts that wherever she is, she is safe and well and whoever may be with her..."

Is it not a touch naïve, to say the least, to expect that someone presumed to have paedophile tendencies... "is treating her with the love and respect she so deserves."?

Now a word or two about 'injustice', if I may.

You have not seen fit, obviously, to question your author’s contention of 'pain by proxy.' Whilst I am sure your readers will readily understand the concept of empathy, and how we all of us will have experienced, to some degree, sympathy pains of one complexion or another, it is difficult to understand quite how such an affliction may be more onerous than the suffering endured by the actual victim. Unless, perhaps, one considers suffering from a somewhat metaphorical point of view.

At this time of year a suddenly destitute parent, unexpectedly unable to meet those inevitable requests from Santa, might not feel the absence of the latest 'must have' gadget quite so acutely as the youngster seemingly so badly in need of it. The 'knock on' effect of a cash-flow shortage, you might say. In cases of genuine hardship of course, the boot is more often than not on the other foot. Children, by and large, are remarkably resilient and adaptable. It is the hapless parent with a more complete grasp of the situation who feels for them, and in a way that they can appear oblivious to themselves. All in all it does seem rather as though the passing on of amplified 'suffering' is a phenomenon related more to money and expectation than genuine trauma. What you never had, you never miss.

An awareness of 'justice' is noteworthy nevertheless.

However, like so many concepts in life, it is easy to overlook the concomitant fact that justice is, in principle at least, a 'two way street.' Like a mathematical equation, if it doesn't balance out then something is wrong. With that in mind, might we consider Madeleine's suffering on account of injustice done to your goodselves from an alternative perspective, i.e. Madeleine's being the beneficiary of justice?
"Thank you to all those who have signed our petition calling on the UK and Portuguese Governments to conduct an independent review of Madeleine's case."
A review which, if carried out, could lead to a 're-opening' (your author's words on a previous occasion). That would indeed be a pursuit of justice and, following your approved line of argument, of direct benefit to Madeleine. And yet your Portuguese legal representative (an official of justice, if you will) has openly stated that there are circumstances in which you would not wish the investigation into Madeleine's disappearance to be re-opened. Does it not follow therefore, that with 'qualified' levels of justice there must be 'qualified' benefit to your daughter? As one concept is espoused then, another (unconditional love) is relegated.

A good editor, in my experience, will do more than simply correct aberrant punctuation. They will also question apparent statements of fact, for the very obvious and sensible reason that they might not be facts after all. Entombed within the following paragraph (concerned again with the author's own experience of 'suffering' and 'injustice') is one such.
"The Wikileaks 'news' this week has led to the repetition of many unfounded allegations and smears both in the UK and in Portugal in particular. This has been seized on as an opportunity by those who wish to compound our suffering and hamper our efforts, including the very person who was entrusted with finding our daughter. Those who could help Madeleine but choose to do nothing are also complicit in this injustice. Without the love and help from so many good people around the world we would not be able to find the strength to continue the fight to find our daughter."
Among those intent on compounding suffering and hampering 'efforts' is 'the very person who was entrusted with finding our daughter.' You know, if I were that person, I might consider this accusation of malicious interference to be libellous. It's a good job the writer didn't name the individual in question. Anyway, to set minds at rest, it cannot be Dr Goncalo Amaral, can it? He was the co-ordinator of an investigation into Madeleine McCann's mysterious disappearance, wasn't he? I don't recall his being at any time nominated for the role of (or 'entrusted with') finding your daughter, a pursuit which, somewhat strangely, has become a 'fight.' Is this the context in which we are to understand the 'efforts' previously alluded to by any chance?

I don't suppose your guest author fully grasped the ramifications of this next statement. Nor did you, since you let it pass.
"Those who could help Madeleine but choose to do nothing are also complicit in this injustice."
It's one of those observations, the truth of which is unaffected by a change of tense, i.e. 'Those who could have helped Madeleine but chose to do nothing are also complicit in (this) injustice.'

This must perforce include the likes of those who volunteered to 'look in' on Madeleine, yet deliberately saw nothing. The mother who, on entering a cold apartment (it must have been so if the window was open) had, as her first thought, closing the bedroom door without looking in on anybody, and leaving her children exposed to a draught, without so much as a thought for covering her eldest daughter; the same daughter who had been left asleep on the bed not in it, and who was subsequently, according to the mother, indistinguishable from the bedclothes. Then there are those who claim to have witnessed Madeleine's abduction yet did nothing at the time, either to prevent it or report it, and delayed commenting upon it to the parents for hours. And isn't silence in the face of repeated questioning an instance of 'doing nothing?'

All in all sir, a questionable piece by your approved scribe. Should you yourself be contemplating a career path similar to that of former editor Piers Morgan, you'd perhaps be well advised to consider avenues other than judging Britain's Got Talent hopefuls. That vacancy has already been filled.


With thanks to Nigel at McCann Files


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