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 - 2012 *

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

See also: 
Washed Up?, 05 January 2012
Washed Up?

Kate McCann doing the laundry


By Dr Martin Roberts
05 January 2012


Cleanliness is next to godliness, they say. What with a 'hands on' papal greeting and countless other blessings along the way, Kate McCann should be about as close to God already as any mortal might expect to get. But if the proverb should be at all reliable, her actions in Praia da Luz, five years ago now, ought to guarantee her a seat at High Table. The various instances of showering and child bathing though are not nearly so interesting as the one occasion on which she chose to wash a pyjama top belonging to her daughter Madeleine.

The context is brief and familiar. On 3 May, during breakfast, 'she noticed a stain, supposedly of tea, on Madeleine's pyjama top, which she washed a little later that same morning. She hung it out to dry on a small stand, and it was dry by the afternoon. Madeleine sometimes drank tea; nevertheless the stain did not appear during breakfast, maybe it happened another day, as Madeleine did not have tea the previous night and the stain was dry.' (KM witness statement, 6.9.07).

This little cameo, despite not having made it to the top of the rostrum in time for the McCanns' first statements to police on May 4, was nevertheless worthy of mention the second time around. And the third, as it is given an equally meritorious mention in 'Madeleine,' Kate's book of remembrance:

'I didn't think of it at the time but the day Madeleine disappeared I noticed what I thought was a tea stain on her Disney pyjama top,' she says. 'I washed it without thinking but looking back, the children hadn't drunk any tea that day and I can't remember her mentioning that she'd spilt anything.'

The obvious discrepancy in these accounts has been pointed out previously (see article: Accounts of the Truth, McCannfiles 8 May 2011). Kate's retrospective use of the pluperfect tense in her book places the washing at the end of the day rather than the beginning. On the one hand therefore we have spontaneous garment washing shortly after breakfast; on the other, it would have occurred nearer tea-time.

The second performance naturally leads one to re-examine the first, when Kate, after having noticed the offensive stain, 'washed it a little later that same morning' so that 'it was dry by the afternoon.'

The parameters bear re-iterating:

Breakfast 8.00 - 8.30 a.m. Pyjamas washed a little later (not somewhat, or much, later). Pyjamas dry by the afternoon (not mid-afternoon or late afternoon).

Now watch closely as we skip through a heavily redacted version of Kate McCann's statement of 6 September, 2007:

'On the 3rd of May .... They washed the children and had breakfast at the apartment between 08:00 and 08:30 a.m .... During breakfast .... She noticed a stain .... on Madeleine's pyjama top, which she washed a little later that same morning. She hung it out to dry on a small stand .... it was dry by the afternoon .... Madeleine did not have tea the previous night and the stain was dry.

'After breakfast they .... left the apartment.

'After leaving the apartment they left the twins at the crèche .... she supposes that Gerry took Madeleine to the crèche.

'Once the children were delivered, they went to the tennis courts .... Kate's group lesson was at 9:15 .... When her lesson ended at 10:15, she went to the recreation area next to the swimming pool to talk to Russell until Gerry's lesson was over. Afterwards .... they went back together to the apartment until close to 12:15 when she went to Madeleine's crèche to pick her up, together with Fiona Payne.

'... they went to the apartment for lunch .... This would be around 12:35/12:40 .... Lunch lasted around 20 minutes. After finishing lunch they stayed for a while at the apartment, then they went to the recreation area .... They remained at this area for about an hour, maybe more, then they left the twins at the crèche next to the Tapas and both of them took Madeleine to the other crèche.

'After leaving Madeleine at around 2:50 p.m., they both had, once more, a tennis lesson.

'She doesn't remember if they were already wearing appropriate clothes or if they went to the apartment to change.

'The lesson ended an hour later, at around 4:30 p.m. Gerry continued playing tennis .... while she went for a jog .... for around half an hour .... She cannot confirm whether she went to the apartment between the tennis game and the jog.

'When she finished jogging, at around 5:20/5:30 p.m., she went to the Tapas area. Gerry was there, as well as the twins and Madeleine .... Her parents were required to sign the register when the meal was over, at around 5.30 p.m .... Madeleine .... asked Kate to carry her back to the apartment.

'They arrived at the apartment at around 5:40 p.m .... At the apartment they both bathed the children.

'After the children's bath .... she put pyjamas and nappies on the twins, and gave them each a glass of milk and biscuits.'

First things first. Kate McCann was due on the tennis court at 9.15. Once breakfast was concluded they still had to dress the children (all three of them), before leaving the apartment ('On the 3rd of May .... They washed the children and had breakfast') in time to take the infants to their creche before the tennis lesson(s) began. They did not return to the apartment until Gerry's tennis lesson had concluded (11.15) and left it again at 12.15, giving Kate about half-an-hour in all during which to wash Madeleine's pyjama top, three hours and more (a little later?) after she first noticed the stain.

But now it's around noon, by which time the pyjama top was said already to have been dry.

Perhaps Kate meant that it was dry by mid-afternoon or later. That's as maybe. But how can she possibly have known what time the clothing was dry since, having remained in the apartment for a twenty minute lunch (12.40 - 13.00) and 'a while' thereafter, she spent an hour or so at the recreation area before proceeding to the creche(s) once more with the children, then onto more tennis, jogging etc., with no confirmation of any visit to the apartment in the meantime, until they all returned at 5.40 p.m.?

So, unless Kate exploited her 'window of opportunity' between 11.30 and 12.00 in order to wash Madeleine's pyjama top (which could not possibly have been 'dry by the afternoon'), she could not have washed it until the evening (according to her own verification of events). And whilst this interpretation would sit more conveniently with her later description of proceedings (in 'Madeleine') it must, at the same time, suggest that Madeleine was put to bed in wet pyjamas! ('They arrived at the apartment at around 5:40 p.m .... At the apartment they both bathed the children. After the children's bath .... she put pyjamas and nappies on the twins, and gave them each a glass of milk and biscuits.').

Perhaps that accounts for Kate's earlier apparent reluctance to describe exactly how they dressed Madeleine for bed after her bath.

A liquid post-script

'It is believed the entire Portuguese case rests on DNA evidence from body fluids which allegedly suggests that Madeleine's corpse was carried in the boot of the McCanns' hired Renault Scenic. (The Daily Mirror,19.9.2007)

'But the McCanns say the fluids probably came from Madeleine's unwashed pyjamas and sandals which were carried in the boot when the family was moving apartments.'

(These are the very fluids Kate McCann told the Leveson Inquiry did not exist).

A Tense Situation, 20 January 2012
A Tense Situation

(l.) Photograph of 'Shearwater' boat given to D.C. Markley by Kate McCann and (r.) photograph of the same boat taken by the PJ on 18 May 2007


By Dr Martin Roberts
20 January 2012


Time is of the essence. It is so important to each of us in our daily lives that, in the course of mankind's cultural history, every effort has been made to quantify it - pictorially, mechanically, electronically; even relatively.

What did the McCanns do with their precious time in the immediate aftermath of Madeleine's disappearance, first announced on Thursday night, 3 May 2007? Kate McCann has told us (parentheses mine).

Friday 4: Virtually the entire day was spent at PJ headquarters in Portimao. They travelled there with police at 10.00 a.m. (p.88) returning to Praia da Luz 'some time after 8.30 p.m.' (p.92).

Saturday 5: 'Alan Pike (trauma psychologist)... was at the door of our apartment by 6.00 a.m... we talked... for several hours... it turned out to be a bewilderingly busy day for Gerry and me...' (p.99-101). 'Three family liaison officers (FLOs) from Leicestershire force... came to introduce themselves.' (p.102). 'We had so many meetings that day...' (p.103). 'Neither Gerry nor I was functioning remotely properly... At lunchtime, over by the Tapas area, Gerry saw a crowd of departing guests... With a new batch of incoming holidaymakers, more of our relatives appeared.' (p.104) 'I remember slumping on one of the dining chairs in the apartment (4G)... I also felt a compulsion to run up to the top of the Rocha Negra... the sun set on another day and there was still no news.' (p.105).

Sunday 6: '...despite my fragility I was determined to go to Mass... We all, family and friends, went to mass at the local church.' (p.106). That first Sunday saw two further arrivals in Luz: my childhood friends Michelle and Nicky. Both wanted to be with me... Alan (Pike) planted in our minds the idea of reducing the size of our support group... Listening to Alan it all seemed so obvious... after giving the matter some thought' (p.109)... 'we ended up getting down to the nitty-gritty... that Sunday evening.' (p.110).

Monday 7: British expatriates living permanently in Praia da Luz organized a search of the area. The volunteers were joined by most of our family and friends... while Gerry and I were tied up with Andy Bowes and Alex Woolfall... When lunchtime came, Gerry and I were in the middle of another meeting... we had to go to the Toddler Club ourselves... Once we were left with our leaner support group, we allocated general roles... It had been suggested that I should record a televised appeal aimed at Madeleine's abductor, and this is what we had been discussing that morning with Andy and Alex... (p.111) Andy Bowes had proposed delivering part of my appeal in Portuguese, which I did. Gerry sat beside me...' (p.112). 'I was hugely relieved when it was over... Around teatime, Father Ze turned up...' (p.113). 'We were seeing the Leicestershire FLOs every day. That Monday evening... we lost it with the liaison officers.' (p.113-4).

Tuesday 8: '...we said an emotional goodbye to the family and friends who were leaving us... Later I went down to sit on the beach for a while with Fiona... We talked and cried and held on to each other... As we were walking up from the beach at about 5pm, I had a call from Cherie Blair...'

Well that about takes care of the McCann itinerary during the first five days immediately following Madeleine's reported disappearance.

I should apologize at this point for what next may seem to some like an overly complex version of an old trick, where, after being invited to count the passengers boarding and leaving a bus en route, the unsuspecting listener is suddenly invited to answer the question: 'How many bus-stops were there?' Because now I should like to ask when, in the course of all the activity Kate McCann has dutifully outlined for us, did she personally find the time for sight-seeing; in particular her visit to Lagos Marina, which she has previously described to D.C. 975 Markley of Leicestershire Constabulary? It was he who wrote, on a spare sheet of LC paper headed 'LEICESTERSHIRE CONSTABULARY Continuation WITNESS STATEMENT,' the following:

I spoke to Kate McCann on Tuesday 8th of May 07. She told me that a friend of her Aunt & Uncle from Leicester had a friend that had a strong vision that Madeleine was on a boat with a man in the Marina in Lagos.

This person arrived in Portugal and has spoke to Kate. They have visited the Marina and identified the boat as "SHEARWATER". They saw a man on the boat but this was not the same man that she had in her vision.

This is very important to Kate
. I spoke to Glen Pounder if he could make some enqs with regards to the boat.

He has done this and the boat is registered to a Canadian National called Bruce Cook. Glen has told me that George Reyes at the police stn is now dealing with the matter with regards to doing PNC checks etc.

I spoke with Kate today and she has given me photographs of the boat
. She has also given me a photograph of a man who had been on the boat. This is not the man that the woman had in her vision.

This matter is very important to her
and she is very pleased that we are making enqs into the matter.

Once the enqs have been completed can we please let her know the result.

This correspondence, concerning information provided by Kate McCann don't forget, has to be read very carefully. Although the page is undated, 'I spoke to Kate McCann on Tuesday 8th of May 07' is clearly a reference to a past action. Furthermore, the conversation to which it refers describes past activity itself, placing the vision, certainly, at a time prior to Tuesday 8 May (some time between May 4th and May 8th, no doubt). But what about that person's arrival in Portugal and their visit to the Marina?

DC Markley, writing whenever, does not say 'This person has since arrived in Portugal and spoken to Kate,' i.e. placing these actions at a time after his and Kate's 8 May conversation, although they may be misconstrued as having occurred later. Rather, these activities are referred to much as might be the subject matter in continuation of that very first conversation. DC Markley goes on to explain that he has 'spoke with Kate today' (i.e. the day of the memo) and that his colleague, Glen Pounder, had by that time already completed certain enquiries regarding a particular yacht. Completion (not commencement) at the time of writing necessarily implies that these enquiries must have been stimulated by an earlier Markley/McCann conversation.

Hence, by Tuesday 8 May, Kate McCann is in a position to inform DC Markley of a specific vessel moored at Lagos Marina. The visit which identified it must already have taken place, as DC Markley makes no reference whatsoever to any exchange of information in the interim, i.e. in-between the 'conversation' that occurred on Tuesday 8 May and the tete-a-tete meeting on the day he wrote his memo, when Kate 'gave him photographs of the boat.'

Ah yes, but it was Kate's anonymous informant who visited the Marina alone, took the photographs and passed them onto Kate ('This person arrived in Portugal and has spoke to Kate. They have visited the Marina'), 'They' in this instance being an impersonal reference to the individual in question.

Oh no it is not.

The subsequent sentence reads: 'They saw a man on the boat but this was not the same man that she had in her vision.'

The change of pronoun clearly distinguishes between the visionary (she) and her companion(s), 'They' being the third person plural.

Thus Kate McCann took advantage of a gap in her busy schedule to visit Lagos Marina, some time between 4 and 8 May; an event directly associated with a matter of considerable importance to her (DC Markley points this out twice); so important in fact that she fails to describe it in her book at all, whilst what she does mention specifically precludes its having happened, in that period of time at any rate. The nearest she comes to the subject is this: "There were a couple of 'visionary' experiences in particular I took very seriously. One of them had come through prayer which, at the time, gave it even greater credibility in my eyes. I begged the police to look into these." She does not elaborate further.

Kate McCann of course knows 'what happened.' She was there. Her book, 'Madeleine' is an account of the truth. How ironic then that the Leveson enquiry should vilify representatives of the UK press for implicitly trusting the presumed source of much of their information, in the form of the Portuguese police, when a serving UK Detective Constable has apparently made the very same mistake in trusting information provided to him by the missing child's own parent. If what Kate tells us in her book is true, then what she told DC Markley on 8 May, 2007, whether by telephone, e-mail or carrier pigeon, cannot be.

But we're not done yet.

On an indeterminate date, Kate McCann personally handed DC Markley a set of photographs taken during a visit to Lagos Marina; a visit that took place before 8 May. Kate's 'friend' may have had the vision, but did she take the photographs? In light of Kate McCann's self-confessed photophobia, she could well have done.

During an interview published on 27 May, 2007, Kate told Olga Craig (Sunday Telegraph): "I haven't been able to use the camera since I took that last photograph of her." ('her' being Madeleine). James Murray (Sunday Express, 9.8.09) interprets the situation a little differently however: "Kate went to Lagos Marina, a few miles along the coast from Praia da Luz where her daughter vanished on May 3, 2007, and photographed the boat and the man on board."

It's anybody's guess perhaps, but if Kate McCann is herself a reliable source of information, then identification of this photographer, an anonymous friend of an anonymous friend, is long overdue. Someone who has a 'vision' over the weekend (she couldn't have had a premonition before Madeleine was taken, surely?) flies out to Portugal immediately, then makes straight for Lagos Marina to photograph the vessels moored there, must have had an extraordinarily strong sense of purpose. Otherwise we are left with evidentially valid (if not exactly solid) statements by Kate McCann, which appear to suggest that this maritime photography was accomplished during her own free time, before 4 May even. Make no mistake, when it comes to anticipation Kate McCann has already demonstrated some 'previous form' in that regard:
"From the moment Madeleine had gone, I'd turned instinctively to God and to Mary, feeling a deep need to pray, and to get as many other people as possible to pray, too. I believed it would make a difference. Although in the early days I struggled to comprehend what had happened to Madeleine, and to us, I've never believed it was God's fault, or that He 'allowed' it to happen. I was just confused that He had apparently not heeded the prayer I'd offered every night for my family: 'Thank you God for bringing Gerry, Madeleine, Sean and Amelie into my life. Please keep them all safe, healthy and happy. Amen.' Please keep them all safe. It must be said that when I'd prayed for their safety I'd been thinking: please don't let them fall off something and bang their heads, or please don't let them be involved in a car accident. I'd never considered anything as horrific as my child being stolen. But I had kind of assumed my prayer would cover every eventuality." (p.106).
As an adjunct to the present discussion, it is interesting, albeit for unwelcome reasons, that Kate McCann should consider a child's being involved in a car accident and suffering trauma at least, serious, possibly fatal injury at worst, nothing like as horrific as she herself suffering the consequences of theft.

But back to the matter in hand - Kate's sense of timing.

The entire ritual quoted above is prefaced by the phrase, 'From the moment Madeleine had gone,' giving the impression that the tendency to enhanced spirituality, and the prayers that went with it, was consequent upon the events of 3 May, i.e. the 'abduction.' But Kate had clearly been genuflecting nightly long before. As she says, 'I was just confused that He had apparently not heeded the prayer I'd offered every night for my family.' (God had not been listening even before 3 May, never mind afterwards). Included in Kate's prayer was the exhortation to 'keep them all safe' which, as Kate goes on to explain, embraced various categories of danger, as she'd actually been thinking: 'please don't let them fall off something and bang their heads, or please don't let them be involved in a car accident,' although she'd never considered anything as horrific as her child being stolen.

God stands exonerated therefore. Since 'abduction' per se was not itemised among the supplications, He cannot be blamed for overlooking it. The omission was Kate's entirely. So if God did not heed her prayer it must have been another detail of Kate's appeal he ignored. And these were? Well nothing like as generally relevant to well protected pre-school infants as 'keep them from head-lice, chicken-pox, cuts, bruises, respiratory problems etc.' or, with their developing independence, the myriad other misfortunes that might attend them. No, none of that. Gerry, Madeleine, Sean and Amelie were religiously insured against car accidents and falling off things. Madeleine was not driving when she was taken. So what risk, exactly, did God's agency not cover?

Rumours, 24 January 2012

Gerry McCann, in Huelva, 24 hours after he claimed to have been incapacitated by a 'viral illness'


By Dr Martin Roberts
24 January 2012


"We'd never lied about anything – not to the police, not to the media, not to anyone else. But now we found ourselves in one of those tricky situations where we just didn't seem to have a choice." (Kate McCann in 'Madeleine,' pp. 205-6).

The McCanns have begun litigation against Tony Bennett for alleged defamation concerning, among a variety of other things, an earlier undertaking "not to repeat allegations that the Claimants are guilty of, or are to be suspected of...lying about what happened..."

At issue, in this specific instance, is not whether the McCanns have been unerringly truthful, but that Tony Bennett be prevented from alleging the contrary himself, or repeating such allegations by others, in any way shape or form. I.e., he may think what he likes provided he does not voice his own or others' opinion. 'A still tongue keeps a wise head,' so the proverb has it, although that particular stratagem didn't quite work for Sir Thomas More.

The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, by Erving Goffman, was a groundbreaking book on the subject of social interaction. Here, in the context of 'reputation management,' we have a clear example of how society functions on the basis of pretences, albeit false ones.

The McCanns have lied. Kate McCann has admitted as much in her very own book, as she goes on to say, talking about the passage of information to the media, "As it happened, Gerry had a mild stomach upset which we used as an excuse to postpone the trip." (to Huelva).

The sales figures for Kate's book, 'Madeleine,' if they are to be believed, suggest that the book's overall circulation probably rivals the number of individuals who might have read any or all of Tony Bennett's apparently repeated allegations 'that the Claimants are guilty of, or are to be suspected of...lying about what happened...,' the global reach of the Internet notwithstanding.

So we have this altogether bizarre paradox in which, for the sake of 'keeping up appearances,' what people do or say, whether alone or in company, is not quite so important as how many other people know about it (the presentation of self, if you will).

But that in itself is not the paradox. The real, and quite extraordinary contradiction in this instance is that Tony Bennett's apparent act of defamation consists of his having broadcast 'allegations' of lying to a wider public; allegations which carry a kernel of truth given Kate McCann's own published admission, to a wider public, that they, the McCanns, were prepared to lie - and did so, however 'badly' they may have felt about it afterwards. Remorse is relative in any case, as 'Madeleine' itself harbours various inconsistencies, and Kate McCann has continued to offer 'accounts of the truth' since.

It would be inappropriate, on several levels, to 'allege' anything at this point but, following upon Kate McCann's unequivocal declaration ('We'd never lied about anything – not to the police, not to the media, not to anyone else.') one has to wonder quite how to describe the ever expanding catalogue of 'errors in recall' on the McCanns' part, and whether such a euphemism is itself legally acceptable. Or whether the preferred option (much preferred no doubt) would be to silence discussion completely.

To friends and family members

'The shutters were 'jemmied open'/'smashed.' (They were not even tampered with).

There was a 'system' in place as regards 'checking the children'
For example, Jeremy Wilkins' third (Rogatory) statement to British Police (08.04.08): 'I assumed that Gerry was off to dine with the group in the Tapas bar, but I cannot precisely say this came from him or if I figured this out from our previous conversations regarding the checking system for the children.'

(The witness testimony of Mrs Pamela Fenn and responses during Rogatory interview of Fiona Payne and Matthew Oldfield indicate that there was no 'system' in place at all).
To the police in Portugal

(Thursday). When her lesson ended at 10:15, she went to the recreation area next to the swimming pool to talk to Russell until Gerry's lesson was over. Afterwards... they went back together to the apartment

The more recently published 'account of the truth' reads:

"I returned to our apartment before Gerry had finished his tennis lesson and washed and hung out Madeleine's pyjama top on the veranda." ('Madeleine,' p.64).

To the general public

(Tuesday) "We dropped the kids off at their clubs for the last hour and a half, meeting up with them as usual for tea." ('Madeleine,' p.59).

(Creche records archived among the case files show all the children signed in at 2.30 p.m., the younger twins signed out again at 5.20 p.m., nearly three hours later).

"Friday 4 May. Our first day without Madeleine. As soon as it was light Gerry and I resumed our search. We went up and down roads we'd never seen before..." ('Madeleine,' p.83).

(Kate McCann can be clearly heard, during an early filmed interview with the BBC's Jane Hill, explaining away the fact that the McCanns themselves did not physically search for their daughter).

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

(Leicestershire Police have stated in writing (June, 2011) that they view the investigation as 'on-going.').

"...they commented that the man didn't look comfortable carrying the child, as if he wasn't used to it." ('Madeleine,' p.98)

('They' made no such comment. One Smith family member alone described the child as being 'in an uncomfortable position;' uncomfortable for the child, that is).

Under Oath (to Lord Justice Leveson)

'There were no body fluids.'

(This statement refers specifically to media reports of biological material retrieved from the McCanns' hire car (for which hypothetical explanations are advanced on p.264 of 'Madeleine') and virtually denies the existence of a forensic report concerning an analysis of 'body fluids' conducted by the FSS in Birmingham, which is again on record and discussed, at some length, on p.331 of 'Madeleine,' by Kate McCann).

Influence, 28 January 2012

Gerry McCann, BBC Newsnight with Jeremy Paxman


By Dr Martin Roberts
28 January 2012


Gerry McCann's televised meeting with Jeremy Paxman features several quizzical moments on the part of the interviewee, but one in particular stands out:
JP (on the subject of media attention in Portugal): "Do you think, to some degree, you reaped a whirlwind?"

GM (after an initial verbal fumble): "We had very clear objectives, what we wanted, and any parents would take the opportunity of trying to get information into the investigation, that might help find their daughter, and that's what our clear objectives were..."
Even an uninformed listener is likely to have wondered why Gerry McCann should have found such a straightforward question apparently stressful, his answer being peppered with speech errors initially. If they took the time to think about it, they might also have wondered how this statement answered the question, since 'getting information into the investigation' and airing it before the media are not at all the same pursuit. To simplify the issue however, we may classify this semantic confusion straightforwardly as resulting from the stress hitherto observed. The real cause of curiosity resides in the first clause, which concerns the taking of a very particular opportunity.

The Paxman interview was included as part of a BBC Newsnight programme broadcast early in March 2009, and covered the unprecedented media activity surrounding the McCanns in the wake of Madeleine's disappearance; activity which Gerry 'fully expected to die down' after the parents' European 'trips.' These junkets, to Germany, Holland and Morocco, occupied Kate and Gerry and McCann until mid-June, travelling to locations 'where we felt there might be information relevant.' (relevant to what exactly is not made clear). After which time the parents remained in Portugal where, emotionally unprepared to leave, they felt closer to their missing daughter.

So much for context. Now let us return to the issue engendered by that one all-too-meaningful clause.

As vague as Gerry makes it sound, it is entirely reasonable to suppose that the 'information' the McCanns toured Europe in search of was relevant to the quest for their missing daughter and would, should it have materialised, have been introduced into the investigation. What class of useful information might this have been? Much as the McCanns and others would have sought at the outset most likely, e.g., sightings, of the 'where,' 'when,' 'how' and 'with whom' variety; perhaps even the odd remark overheard in conversation, such as take place on the boardwalks of the Barcelona marina.

But the significance of the media in all of this can be discounted. Whereas they formed the topic of the Paxman discussion, they were nothing like appropriate agents for 'getting information into the investigation.' That role belonged to the family liaison officers from Leicestershire Constabulary and the PJ. 'Getting information into the investigation' should not have involved the media at all, however concerned the informant(s) may have been. In the McCanns' case the media, having invited themselves to Praia da Luz, albeit at the McCanns' instigation, were there, in principle, to comment upon the investigation, not to influence it. We all know of course that certain of its representatives exceeded their remit in that respect, and it is a moot point as to whether that might have been an intended outcome, but the media were essentially present as observers, not agents provocateurs.

Leaving the headlines, both good and bad, aside, let us consider one very obvious aspect of this much discussed 'information.' Come mid-June, i.e., four weeks or so after Madeleine had been 'taken,' there was not very much of it. And what of those sightings which had already come to the attention of the Portuguese authorities without the benefit of McCann intervention at all? What importance did the parents attach to any of those? None whatsoever. And that puts a whole new slant on the idea of there being 'very clear objectives' as regards 'getting information into the investigation.' If sightings were of no apparent interest from the outset, why travel around Europe in an attempt to encourage them? Widening a search is one thing, spreading confusion quite another. And all the while Madeleine stands to be seen by everyone from Turks to the Tuareg (Germany has long hosted a substantial population of Gastarbeiter), hope springs eternal.

'Sightings' seem not to have represented the class of information the McCanns themselves were concerned to 'get into the investigation,' in which case it will have been information of a different sort they were desirous of introducing. And suddenly we have an altogether inappropriate state of affairs. Because even those of us whose culinary skills extend no further than the micro-wave cooker understand that whatever ingredients a chef adds to his or her recipe will directly affect the outcome. Yeast will make the dough rise. If you want banana bread you add bananas. What you put into the mix will influence the result.

Having had every opportunity during interview to inform the PJ of as much relevant detail as they possibly could, the McCanns should have largely met their 'clear objective.' Obviously they did not meet it entirely, since they went jetting off looking for further information, of a type they had previously disregarded. Objective not totally fulfilled therefore. But in the absence of information worth passing on to investigators, 'taking the opportunity of trying to get information into the investigation' would necessarily require initiative.

It fell to Kate (who couldn't bear to use her camera after taking the 'last photo') to get information into the investigation, and via the proper channels of police liaison, thereby giving the attendant matter of mysticism an air of respectability. And it came to pass that the PJ diligently investigated the ownership and movements (not) of the yacht 'Shearwater.' Just as they had diligently held a press conference to announce inclusion in their 'missing persons' bulletin of an official photograph, of pyjamas identical to those being worn by Madeleine at the time of her disappearance.

Interfering with a police investigation is a crime in the U.K. and, I dare say, in Portugal also.

Inferences and Deductions, 04 February 2012
Inferences and Deductions

Lagos Marina


By Dr Martin Roberts
04 February 2012


"The book is full of inferences and deductions," said Isabel Duarte, two years ago, of former lead detective Goncalo Amaral's book, The Truth of The Lie. And for that stunning inference a deduction will inevitably have been made from the Find Madeleine Fund. (Love me, love my invoice).

Like a football match staged on a land-fill site, there are so many obstacles in the McCann case (that of the missing child, not the satellite legal productions of the McCanns), a simple intuition or two about the best route to goal could prove just as effective as any in-depth knowledge of waste categories. Participants are always likely to fall over debris left by others in any event.

An associate member of the McCann legal team at the same Lisbon Court hearing, speaking on the McCanns' behalf, made it perfectly clear that they were in no way responsible for obstructing the path to justice. As Sky TV's Jon di Paolo reported at the time (12 Jan, 2010):

12:24: The McCanns' lawyer makes the point that 'evidence' usually sightings – has suggested Madeleine is still alive.

12:25: He says that the McCanns are not responsible for generating any of this 'evidence' that their daughter is not dead.

As previously observed (see article, 'Just Like That,' McCannFiles, 22 March 2011), according to the advocate concerned, evidence suggesting Madeleine is still alive usually took the form of sightings, implying that on occasion it might take some other form. Whatever form this 'evidence' took however, the McCanns were not responsible for generating any of it (an inference followed by a deduction wouldn't you say, Ms Duarte?). Curiously this defence of the McCanns appears to have been in rebuttal of an accusation that had not even been made.

'Generating' evidence in the manner alluded to by the McCanns' lawyer would constitute interference with a police investigation, surely? Which is no doubt why said lawyer pre-emptively denied the unannounced allegation. But while he 'majored' on sightings far and near (those reported by David Payne and Jane Tanner fall into this very category), he overlooked those of a more spiritual variety.

Kate McCann generated photographs of a boat, on board which Madeleine was supposed, by a clairvoyant friend, to have been sequestered following her abduction (i.e., she was alive and not dead).

While Kate McCann has not personally laid claim to the pre-cognitive 'sighting,' she was reportedly present at the marina when the photographs were taken and has never denied taking them herself.

The photographs constitute evidence in support of a 'sighting,' albeit a phenomenal one; evidence that Madeleine was not dead, and generated by Kate McCann; evidence which proved, on further investigation, to be worthless. The 'vision' was of a boat that didn't sail anywhere throughout April or May 2007!

The statement: 'The McCanns are not responsible for generating any...'evidence' that their daughter is not dead.' is therefore false. It was made by a legal advocate speaking on behalf of the McCanns in open court during proceedings in January, 2010. Professionally highly dubious, it is on a level par with Kate McCann's own perjury before the more recent Leveson Inquiry ('There were no body fluids.').

But just as one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, supporters of the McCanns, be they vigilantes or 'hired guns,' would most likely champion the view expressed by Gerry McCann, to Jeremy Paxman, that they merely get information into the investigation, that might help find their daughter.

All well and good if the child existed to be found. And if not?

In the final analysis, whether these initiatives were born of an earnest desire to locate a missing child or an ulterior motive of some kind, serves only to colour an inescapable fact: That the McCanns, contrary to an unambiguous statement made on their behalf by a legal representative in open court, generated evidence their daughter was not dead.

And in the complete absence of even a 'grain of proper evidence' that Madeleine McCann was the victim of a stranger abduction, one has to question the true purpose of such evidence generation.

Bad Day at Black Rock, 07 February 2012
Bad Day at Black Rock


By Dr Martin Roberts
07 February 2012


Thursday 3 May, 2007

Parental duty

"Yeah, I mean, I was saying this earlier, that at no point, other than that night, did I go stick my head in. That was the only time, because the door was like that. I mean, I knew how I'd left it." (Gerry McCann, in 'Madeleine Was Here.')

"Part of the reason we ended up coming through the back was the noise coming through the front door. We didn't want to disturb them." (Gerry McCann to Matthew Oldfield, in 'Madeleine Was Here.')

"...on the whole, people checked their own children. Erm, and, again, on the actual night Madeleine was taken, that was, was very much different, I think, to, to previous nights, in that, there was probably more cross checking that night." (Fiona Payne - Rogatory Interview).

"...on the first few nights it all seemed, erm, fairly well spaced... Erm, whereas, again, that differed on the Thursday night, in that, it seemed more, erm, out of, people were more out of synch." (Fiona Payne - Rogatory Interview).

"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, (Rogatory Interview)


"I know there was a conversation about, oh we've started nipping in that way rather than going the long way round. Erm, so, I suppose, at that point, that's when they, because you couldn't lock the French doors from outside, that's when they weren't locking it." (Fiona Payne - Rogatory Interview).

"No, as I say, it came up at that, that conversation, which I think was on the, on the, on the Thursday night, about, erm, you know, whether I would feel happy leaving, leaving a door unlocked, but that was the only time I'd heard Kate sort of almost saying, question whether they should do it or not." (Fiona Payne - Rogatory Interview).


"I haven't been able to use the camera since I took that last photograph of her." (Kate McCann to Olga Craig, writing for the Sunday Telegraph of 27 May, 2007. The photograph in question is said to have been taken mid-afternoon on 3 May).

All these 'first time of asking' decisions taken, before Madeleine, on the Thursday.

Not since the sinking of the Titanic have so many coincidences formed the prelude to a catastrophe. Even the elements conspired. Gerry McCann left the door to the children's bedroom in a 'slam shuttable' position. He must have done, because that's what the door did on Kate's arrival into the apartment at 10.00 p.m. that Thursday night apparently. Matthew Oldfield, who, like Kate, was oblivious to the cold night air entering through the open bedroom window, was frightened to touch it. It was perhaps a blessing in disguise therefore that the door waited fully three-quarters of an hour before closing in Kate's very presence, otherwise she might just have turned around there and then and Madeleine's absence would not have been noticed until breakfast the following morning. As Kate herself has said:

"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." ('Madeleine was here').

Was Rocha Negra ever mentioned in the holiday brochure?

Above the Law, 26 February 2012
Above the Law

Kate McCann, Rachael Oldfield and Gerry McCann


By Dr Martin Roberts
26 February 2012


No one is above the Law. Except perhaps for what's-his-name upstairs, and a few consultants of one complexion or another.

Hence we have perjury, interfering with an investigation, and the obstruction of justice (so far). All perpetrated in the name of innocence.

The McCann affair, whatever its eventual outcome, will no doubt provide Law faculties worldwide with study material for years to come, for however tight one's research net, some piece of plankton is always likely to escape attention. How many of us remember, for instance, the episode where a recruitment consultant was 'consulted' with a view to recruiting a handful of her close associates to help out with a modest charade in Portugal?

On April 17, 2008, Stuart Prior of Leicestershire Constabulary, sent a rather 'pally' e-mail to Rachael and Matthew Oldfield c/o Rachael Oldfield. The message closed thus:

'I trust that these answers will assist you and the others in reaching a decision as to whether you intend to participate in the proposed re-enactment.

'If you wish to discuss this further then please do not hesitate in getting in touch with myself.'

The author signed off as 'Stu'

Almost a week later (23 April) Ms Oldfield responded on behalf of herself, her husband (to whom she copied her text) and, one imagines, several of her erstwhile holiday companions.

Her self-righteous message is bracketed by the opening:

'We remain unconvinced that this reconstruction is necessary.'

And closing:

'We just need to be properly convinced of the reasons for doing a re-enactment.'

In between is a catalogue of unbridled arrogance, setting out the terms under which they would consider participating in the re-enactment requested by the Portuguese authorities.

Since when on God's green earth does a recruitment consultant, having manifestly failed to recruit the necessary personnel in this instance, have the right to dictate conditions of attendance at a police reconstruction?

Can you imagine the 'revenue' standing for an epistle, in lieu of a cheque, stating that the author needed to be properly convinced of the reasons for paying their taxes? Mind you, a letter to H.M. Treasury suggesting they 'claw back' as much as possible of the £3.5 m. 'McCann Review' subsidy recently allocated to the Metropolitan Police might not go amiss.

That two individuals can have been allowed to cause mayhem on the international stage and instigate expenditure of truly epic proportions, all in the name of a child whom they both acknowledge to be dead, simply beggars belief.

What's that? Whenever did either of the McCanns admit or suggest that Madeleine is dead?

They have each done so on separate occasions during broadcast media interviews, so what sounds like an admission is exactly that, and not an apparent error attributable to over zealous reporting or an editorial 'angle.'

First, Kate McCann (to Sara Antunes de Oliveira, SIC, 9 March, 2010):

"We're not going to sit here and lie and be totally naïve and say she's one hundred per cent alive."

Well, less than 100% alive equals 'dead' (as a light is either 'on' or 'off'). Furthermore, according to Kate, they would be lying if they claimed Madeleine was 100% alive. The truth therefore can only be that Madeleine is less than 100% alive, i.e., that she is 100% dead. Interestingly Kate McCann does not talk of 'speculating Madeleine is alive,' as one might if the child's fate were to be undetermined, but lying about her being so, which reflects a categorical knowledge on Kate's part.

And now Gerry McCann (to Nicky Campbell, Radio Five Live Breakfast, 1 May, 2008):

"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 acknowledgement of that."

Couldn't be much clearer could it? The McCanns know of no evidence to suggest Madeleine is anything other than dead. Yet should any member of the public acknowledge said fact, as the McCanns would have them do, they run the risk of being invited to defend themselves against a charge of defamation.

A little knowledge… a dangerous thing, is it not? How many times has Gerry McCann made the statement, 'Kate and I strongly believe Madeleine was alive when she was taken?' Quite several, in one variant or another. But on one particular occasion he glibly added, 'obviously we don't know what happened to her afterwards.' Obviously. So any knowledge they might have had concerning Madeleine's state of health can only pertain to a time before she was 'taken,' ostensibly between 9.00 and 10.00 p.m. on the night of Thursday 3 May, 2007.

For Kate McCann to resist any temptation to claim that her daughter is 100% alive and, in so doing 'lying' about it, she has to 'know' that such a claim would not be truthful. Yet that knowledge cannot have come from any evidence as to Madeleine's whereabouts or well-being since she was reported missing. There isn't any. And we have already been informed that the McCanns obviously don't know what has happened to Madeleine since the magic hour. On what basis therefore does Kate presume to know that Madeleine is less than 100% alive? Her knowledge can only derive from Madeleine's status prior to being 'taken,' not afterwards.

In sum, the McCanns have given us two 'key pieces of information:' That Madeleine is dead (not 100% alive - there is no evidence to suggest otherwise) and that she is known by Kate to have been less than 100% alive (i.e. dead) prior to the time when Kate raised the alarm (Kate would not lie about something she cannot have ascertained later).

Never mind elephants in the room, someone's having a giraffe! One that has already cost any number of people their livelihoods and continues to soak up tax-payers and others' cash like an unsupervised siphon, while various agents of justice, one Lord Leveson among them, continue to cow-tow to a pair of self-proclaimed martyrs.

A Line in the Sand, 19 March 2012
A Line in the Sand

Colonel William B Travis asks his comrades to step over the line and face certain death


By Dr Martin Roberts
19 March 2012


When, according to legend, Colonel William B. Travis invited comrades to step across a line he had just scored in the San Antonio dirt, he was offering them a stark choice: Exit the Alamo ahead of the impending battle, or stay and face certain death - an unenviable decision for anyone to have to make. The sad and inexplicable disappearance of Madeleine McCann is not something to be either trivialised or dramatised, but the story, as we understand it, incorporates an equally decisive moment - the moment when, it is said, she was 'taken.'

The McCanns' declared belief that their daughter Madeleine was alive until 'that minute,' after which time they 'obviously didn't know what happened to her,' places Madeleine's fate squarely in the hands of whomever is deemed to have taken her - at that minute. But, as previously discussed (see articles: 'There’s nothing to say she's not out there alive,' 2009; Consequences, 2011 ), the McCanns have a great deal riding on the wager that Madeleine was abducted. For wherever there is an effort at expansion, be it of a physical body or conceptual position, the repercussions following a collapse are just as extensive. An empire, a galactic star or Enron - it makes no difference. The same principle applies and it is one from which the McCanns are not exempt.

All the while the roulette wheel is spinning and the ball in play, 'abduction' is a candidate explanation for Madeleine's disappearance. But should someone grab the spokes and the ball settle in 'zero' then matters would take a very different turn. If Madeleine McCann was not abducted, then she is unquestionably dead. People do not just disappear off the face of the earth. And if Madeleine met her death inside apartment 5A, then her parents must know that is what happened. How could they not? But the question is not quite the straightforward one of 'alive or dead,' depending on which side of the window one places a potentially fatal event. It is altogether deeper than that. If Madeleine McCann was not abducted then the repercussions would be grave indeed.

Like Hercules keeping the world aloft on behalf of Atlas, an entire apparatus of socio-legal machinery has, for five years, propped up the abduction hypothesis; a hypothesis for which there is not 'a grain of proper evidence' (to quote Messrs. Carter-Ruck), making it 'meaningless' in the McCanns' very own terms. A child's bare feet being carried in one direction, followed, three quarters of an hour later, by a little girl, wearing the wrong pyjamas, being carried in the opposite direction, are altogether insufficient as indices of a single child abduction. The 'thesis' has nothing else to commend it.

The situation appears disconcertingly unresolved; dangerously so for the McCanns all the while the possibility exists that, somewhere in the case files, there might be evidence which links them directly to their daughter's disappearance. Of course they and their lawyers would contend otherwise, but the issue, as we know, remains open.

The hypothesis that Madeleine was abducted is no more valid than the hypothesis that she was not. And that, hypothetically speaking, does more than open a window. It opens a whole can of worms. Madeleine McCann's 'non-abduction' would invalidate completely the statements of the McCanns and their holiday associates, since, as Gerry McCann has previously explained, all of their depositions, without exception, are bound by an 'abduction' context:

"Clearly at the time we felt what we were doing was quite responsible. If we were going to be down and further away or round the corner we would never have left the kids, and with hindsight... everything with hindsight is all taken in the context of your child being abducted." (BBC Panorama - The Mystery of Madeleine McCann, 19.11.07).

Hence a 'non-abduction' hypothesis would require us to dispense entirely with seemingly evidential statements, and go where the impartial evidence alone leads. No more stories of dining out; no more checking on the children; no more milk and biscuits at tea-time, and neither tears nor stains washed away in the morning. When viewed in this light, the Portuguese authorities' insistence that a reconstruction alone would offer the McCanns the opportunity of exoneration they claim is theirs by right, is much easier to understand. The McCanns, however, have dug themselves an even deeper pit in the interim, since some things, even in hindsight, cannot be 'taken in the context of your child being abducted,' Kate McCann's extraordinary statement as to 'circumstances,' for one:

"I know that what happened is not due to the fact of us leaving the children asleep. I know it happened under other circumstances." (Daily Mail, 17.9.07).

This tells us quite clearly that something happened at a time when the children were awake and/or one parent at least was present. Kate does not mention Madeleine's being 'taken.' Indeed, the concept of a nocturnal abduction in the parents' absence is totally inconsistent with this more 'knowledgeable' observation.

For his part, Gerry McCann has contributed the following:

"So. An' if she died when we were in the apartment or fell injured, why would we... why would we cover that up?" (Interviewed for Seven on Sunday (Australia), 2011).

Compounding the two perspectives one might justifiably re-iterate Gerry's very own question: If either parent was present in the apartment when 'it happened,' why should they cover it up? But we are entertaining the hypothesis of non-abduction, don't forget. If there was no abduction, then the parents, knowing what happened, have failed to reveal what they know. Instead, therefore, of subscribing to an interpretation along the lines of, 'We did not cover up an accident. Why should we?' if faced with the actuality of a cover up, one would inevitably have to explore the question of 'why?'

We have already moved, hypothetically it must be said, backwards in time from a nocturnal abduction to a diurnal event of some kind; an accident earlier that Thursday, perhaps? Yet Kate McCann, writing in her book, 'Madeleine,' with even greater clarity of exposition than when discussing the 'circumstances,' takes us back further still:

"Wednesday, 2 May 2007. Our last completely happy day. Our last, to date, as a family of five."

The abduction hypothesis sees Madeleine removed from apartment 5A on Thursday night, in which case that very day, May 3, would have been the McCanns' 'last, to date, as a family of five.' Even accepting that Kate seems to have had a problem with dates elsewhere in the book, there can be no doubting her accuracy in this instance. 'Wednesday, 2 May 2007' she says, clearly and completely, Thursday 3 May no doubt etched indelibly in her memory. If the McCanns were no longer a family of five on the Thursday, then something pretty serious must have happened beforehand. Tellingly, she had earlier stated (to Oprah):

"You know I look back and think oh why can't we just rewind the clock and it takes you back to really happy memories you know, things that you really enjoyed and it's just a reminder really of what isn't here anymore."

Perhaps 'what isn't here anymore' went missing between Wednesday 2 and Thursday 3 May, 2007? That would account for the sudden reduction in family size alright.

All of this of course hinges on a hypothesis of non-abduction; a hypothesis which cannot be confirmed simply on the basis that abduction remains unproven. In that sense Gerry McCann's repeated reference to the impotence of a negative outcome is correct, and the McCanns appear to be on eternally solid ground. Unless or until the abduction hypothesis is disproved. The very possibility of that happening would give anyone in the McCanns' position cause for concern, since a logical proof of the kind envisaged need only be accomplished once to be conclusive. Small wonder then that attendance at a reconstruction, which might determine once and for all whether an abduction was even feasible, has never been high on the McCann agenda.

Clear as Crystal, 19 March 2012
Clear as Crystal

Bedroom window in Apartment 5A


By Dr Martin Roberts
19 March 2012


Police training, no less than that of a criminologist or any other variety of crime analyst, will doubtless point up the significance of the early stages in any felony, when mistakes on the part of the guilty party are most likely. It's a characteristic of crime that has fuelled many a plot of Agatha Christie's and features heavily in the Hitchcock classic, 'Dial M for Murder.' Even Thomas Hardy's Mayor of Casterbridge is undone in the end by an error of judgement early on in the story. No matter how much time has elapsed, or how many embellishments have been added to the account of Madeleine McCann's disappearance, the solution to the puzzle most probably resides somewhere near the beginning of events as they are known to have unfolded.

Criminals are not necessarily unintelligent. They are human, however, and subject to error like anyone else. Kate McCann, in her book 'Madeleine' confirms just how smart she considers the anonymous abductor of her daughter to have been:

"It wasn't until a year later, when I was combing through the Portuguese police files, that I discovered that the note requesting our block booking was written in a staff message book, which sat on a desk at the pool reception for most of the day. This book was by definition accessible to all staff and, albeit unintentionally, probably to guests and visitors, too. To my horror, I saw that, no doubt in all innocence and simply to explain why she was bending the rules a bit, the receptionist had added the reason for our request: we wanted to eat close to our apartments as we were leaving our young children alone there and checking on them intermittently."

If not a speaker of Portuguese, he will have done remarkably well to have garnered the significance of this dining schedule, written in Portuguese, from a glance inside a staff notebook.

Persistent references over time to Paedophiles and 'rings' thereof implies that the suspect was felt to have had some 'previous,' and not to be confused with opportunists. Indeed they had been studying the McCanns' every movement apparently. According to Kate McCann, 'They'd been watching us for several days, I'm sure.' Anyone capable of adopting a methodical approach such as this is unlikely then to go on and do something absolutely dumb subsequently.

In just the same way that cardiologists are trained to recognise symptoms of cardiac disorder, so investigative police, whatever their nationality, know and understand the hallmarks of a crime. It's what they do. Just as the bed-ridden patient is not called upon to interpret the trace of the oscilloscope to which he or she is attached, police judgement in matters of criminal investigation should be respected. They can tell, for instance, if they are looking for a 'seasoned pro' following a burglary, or a rank amateur, simply from the way in which a set of drawers has been rifled (the practised burglar will waste no time, 'working' a chest of drawers from the bottom up, not top down).

So then, we have a shrewd suspect with a reasonable I.Q. But even intelligence has its limitations. No amount of studying the McCann family at play would have told him which of two bedrooms the children occupied. Smashing his way in via the wrong window would not be the smart thing to do. And since the shutters were always down he could not have known, unless he had been invited in previously, who slept where exactly.

(Kate McCann (6 Sept., 2007): "The window to Madeleine's bedroom remained closed, but she doesn't know if it was locked, shutters and curtains drawn, and that was how it remained since the first day, night and day. She never opened it. If somebody saw the window shutters in Madeleine's room open, it was not the deponent who opened them, and she never saw them open." ).

Is it possible that manipulation of the window was the culprit's first and biggest mistake? Kate and Gerry McCann both confirmed on 4 May that Kate had discovered it disturbed the previous night:

"At 10pm, his wife Kate went to check on the children. She went into the apartment through the door using her key and saw right away that the children's bedroom door was completely open, the window was also open, the shutters raised and the curtains drawn open. The side door that opens into the living room, which as said earlier, was never locked, was closed." (Gerry McCann).

"At around 10pm, the witness came to check on the children. She went into the apartment by the side door, which was closed, but unlocked, as already said, and immediately noticed that the door to her children's bedroom was completely open, the window was also open, the shutters raised and the curtains open, while she was certain of having closed them all as she always did." (Kate McCann).

It seems so obvious. Until, that is, one gives more careful thought to the practice of abduction in this instance and the simple logistics of breaking and entering.

Kate McCann again, in 'Madeleine:'

"For a long while we would assume that the abductor had entered and exited through the window of the children's bedroom, but it is equally possible that he used the patio doors or even had a key to the front door. Perhaps he'd either come in or gone out via the window, not both; perhaps he hadn't been through it at all, but had opened it to prepare an emergency escape route if needed, or merely to throw investigators off the scent. He could have been in and out of the apartment more than once between our visits."

No one but an idiot would struggle to get in through a window only to struggle out the same way. The suspect was no fool and would have left by a door. The bedroom window was either a haphazard option or chosen because it lay on the elevation furthest from where the parents were dining. Then again so did the front door. Clarence Mitchell's remark, 'he got out of the window fairly easily,' said with all the certitude of an established fact, was a lie. Anyone attempting to climb through that window, in either direction, with or without the impediment of a child in his arms, would have had difficulty in doing so, as the police quickly established. It is also appropriate that we deal here with a few of Kate McCann's 'suppositions.'

'He could have been in and out of the apartment more than once between our visits.'

He could have made himself a cup of tea, sat and watched football on the television.

Such wild speculation flies in the face of common sense. How many 'visits' does it take to abduct a child? There was not the time in-between Gerry's 9.05 check and Jane Tanner's 'sighting' minutes later for an abductor to have made several trips to the premises. Given the window as integral to the undertaking, Gerry would have noticed this himself had it been opened earlier. By 10 May, Gerry McCann was 'fully convinced that the abduction took place during the period of time between his check at 21h05 and Matthew's visit at 21H30.' Except that in his earlier (4 May) statement to police this interval of time was punctuated mid-way by the activities of Jane Tanner:

"It is stressed that when one of the members of the group, Jane, went to her apartment to see her children, at around 9.10/9.15 pm, from behind and at a distance of about 50 metres, on the road next to the club, she saw a person carrying a child in pyjamas. Jane will be better able to clarify this situation."

So, one visit - a 'smash and grab.' But without the 'smashing' as it turned out.

'For a long while we would assume that the abductor had entered and exited through the window of the children's bedroom.'

'For a long while,' after the police had established to their satisfaction that no-one had passed through the window at all, seems to reflect a certain stubbornness on the McCanns' part. And yet, 'it is equally possible that he used the patio doors or even had a key to the front door.' Rather more likely, all things considered. But if there's an easy access way in, why contemplate a problematic way out?

'Perhaps he'd either come in or gone out via the window, not both; perhaps he hadn't been through it at all, but had opened it to prepare an emergency escape route if needed, or merely to throw investigators off the scent.'

It is at this point that involvement of the window becomes even more paradoxical. Although 'Elvis' is supposed to have left the building after Gerry McCann, he must have been present inside before him, otherwise he would surely have been noticed approaching the patio, with evil intent, by either Gerry or Jez Wilkins standing opposite the gate outside. There is no other way of accommodating Jane Tanner's 9.15 sighting of him. But if our man had some nefarious purpose in mind for the window then, being something of a forward thinker, he would have carried that purpose in with him just as assuredly as he carried Madeleine out. This means that he could either (a) open the window etc. on first entering the apartment, then pick Madeleine up from her bed, or (b) lift Madeleine up, then draw back the curtains, open the window and raise the shutters with Madeleine in his arms all the while.

It doesn't take much thinking about. But once the window was opened it would have been as obvious to Gerry as it was to Kate. More so in fact, as Gerry stood over his children while they were asleep. Kate's attention was only drawn to the room by the slamming door. If 'Elvis' had prepared an emergency escape route, it would have been done first, not last, and Gerry would have seen it, as the two are supposed to have been in the apartment at the same time, i.e., the window would already have been opened.

For the moment, however, let us play devil's advocate and rescind Kate's attribution of intelligence to the supposed felon, who simply refuses to take the easy route. He waits for Gerry to leave 5A, then springs into action, quickly opening the window, curtains and shutters (audibly to anyone outside) before snatching Madeleine up and marching out through the door (with her body back to front, according to Jane Tanner's description); not forgetting that he tidied Maddie's bed before leaving.

And he opened the window because? Gerry had left, 'Elvis' remained undiscovered, the emergency had passed and intruders do not waste time leaving 'red-herrings.'

But the window served some purpose, surely?

According to Kate McCann ('Madeleine'), Matthew Oldfield was accused by Portuguese investigators of having passed Madeleine out through the window in question. Without drawing Oldfield unnecessarily into the debate, Madeleine's passage through the window in this way is the only rational explanation for the fact that her head and her feet had changed ends by the time she was seen by Jane Tanner. Let us therefore consider what might have happened next.

'Elvis' (who is indoors) hands Madeleine to an accomplice, who, punctual to a fault, is waiting outside the window. He (the accomplice) then marches off, stage left, across the road ahead of Jane Tanner. 'Elvis' himself now leaves the building through the front door, not the patio (he, like Jane Tanner, goes unnoticed by McCann and Wilkins standing outside) and bolts like Richard Branson in the opposite direction, having gently closed the door behind him. Jane Tanner did not hear a door slam as she approached her own apartment. Nor did she see anyone sprinting down the road ahead of her as she turned the corner, although why the person actually carrying the child should merely amble away is a mystery in itself.

There being no sighting of 'Elvis' fleeing empty-handed means that there was no hand-over either, no accomplice, and no reason for the window to have been opened after all. Yet Kate and Gerry McCann each affirmed (4 May) that that is how it was discovered on the night Madeleine is said to have been 'taken:'

'The window was also open, the shutters raised and the curtains open.' Additionally, Kate herself was 'certain of having closed them all as she always did.'

Let us go back to 'square one' for just a moment. The abductor having entered via the patio, has it in mind, at least, for Madeleine to exit via the window, which he opens for the purpose - fully, having drawn back the curtains - fully, and raised the shutters - fully. No self-respecting criminal is going to make a crime more difficult to accomplish by leaving obstacles in his own path. Now, as we cruise along exploring the hypothetical relevance of an open window to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, we might consider whether a sail is more likely to billow before a following wind or a lateral one, and whether a curtain bunched to the side of an open window will go 'whoosh' in a gentle breeze. Of course it's more likely to happen if the curtains are in the closed position as Kate describes in the opening scenes of the McCanns' very own documentary, 'Madeleine Was Here:'

" I went back in, the curtains of the bedroom which were drawn,... were closed,... whoosh... It was like a gust of wind, kinda, just blew them open."

If the curtains were in his way at all then 'Elvis' did not pass either Madeleine's body or his own through the window, which he would not have opened simply to let the air in. Nor would he have bothered to reset the curtains afterwards, just as he didn't close the window or lower the shutter, apparently.

Despite the presence of her fingerprints alone, Kate McCann is adamant that she did not open the window. Which leaves a Portuguese speaking visitor to the Ocean Club, who checked on a staff notebook earlier in the week, paid several visits to 5A, then checked to see that the McCanns were actually at the Tapas restaurant on the Thursday night (wouldn't you?) before arranging the scenery at their apartment that night.

As for who actually 'abducted' Madeleine McCann, and when... Well, that's another story.

Another Story, 25 March 2012
Another Story

Front door of apartment 5A, from inside / outside
Front door of apartment 5A, from inside / outside


By Dr Martin Roberts
25 March 2012


A primary objective for both believers and non-believers in Madeleine McCann's abduction has long been one of establishing that someone (or no-one) broke into 5A on Thursday night, 3 May, 2007. The evidence however, coupled with various statements to police, is sufficient for us to conclude that no-one actually left the apartment around the time of the Tanner sighting. Whoever crossed the road in front of Jane Tanner, if indeed anyone did so, they had not just emerged from 5A. Furthermore, if no-one of an abduction persuasion left the apartment at any time before 10.00 p.m. that evening, it can only have been because they were not inside it in the first place!

A contingency explanation might be that Madeleine was 'taken' after Matthew Oldfield's 9.30 p.m. 'check,' not before. Hence the Smith sighting nearer 9.50. But whoever it was that members of the Smith family actually saw being carried, it could not have been Madeleine McCann in her Eeyore pyjamas. The child seen by Aiofe Smith was said to have been wearing a long-sleeved top. If one is prepared to accept that Jane Tanner can discern the colour of a garment from some distance away, in the dark, when she cannot even see the item in question, then it is even more reasonable to accept the accuracy of Aiofe Smith's close-up description.

As previously discussed (Crystal Clear: McCannFiles, 19 March), Jane Tanner's sighting of only one individual means that there was no accomplice. The window becomes completely irrelevant therefore. No-one climbed through it in either direction. No-one exited via the patio at the time of the Tanner sighting (Gerry McCann or Jez Wilkins would have seen them) and, in any case, 'the abductor' was spotted further up the road. That leaves 'Elvis' with just the front door at his disposal.

Since the Tanner-approved artist's impression confirms the 'abductor' was not wearing gloves (that topic was visited long ago), he might well have left his fingerprints on the door handles, both inside and outside, when opening and closing it. The door opened inwards and could not have been 'kicked shut' from outside. It was not reported open.

Although no fingerprints were actually recovered from the front door to the apartment, one or two additional details remain to be accounted for.

The front door was recessed. If the intruder were left-handed, he would have struggled to open the latch had he been carrying a prostrate, sleeping child, who might easily have awoken when her feet and legs inevitably came into contact with a solid vertical surface. If he were right-handed he would have struggled to pull the door closed without risking contact with the child's head; both of these possibilities being governed by the position of the child's body on removal from her bed, where her head would have been to the right. Of course the 'abductor' could have overcome this small problem to some degree by operating the door with the opposite hand on one or other occasion.

But the smarter solution, surely (and the culprit has been recognised, by Kate McCann at least, as smart), would have been to carry the child vertically, as described by the Smith family, freeing either hand at a stroke. This small matter of orientation alone confirms that Jane Tanner's 'suspect' did not set off to cross the road from apartment 5A.

Since the child was not passed through an open window, any re-positioning would have been entirely (and literally) in the hands of the one person who had entered the apartment and picked Madeleine up directly from her bed. Notwithstanding the problems associated with opening and closing the front door thereafter, whichever way round Madeleine may have been facing, one has only to ask the simple question of why anyone should alter the position of something they are carrying? The equally simple answer is: To make their grasp of the object more secure and/or more comfortable.

No 'abductor,' in the circumstances envisaged, would transfer his burden to a less comfortable position. Had Madeleine been picked up in a 'fireman's carry' initially, her remaining in that position would have enabled her captor to open and close the exit door straightforwardly. And from the door to the head of the road, where the pair were apparently seen, is a distance of just a few steps - hardly far enough for the porter, a decently proportioned individual by all accounts, to want to re-think his carrying style.

In any event the 'abduction' was accomplished with little or no time to spare. One has therefore to picture the perpetrator seizing Maddie in his arms from where she lay, her head to the right, then making his way out, albeit awkwardly, through the front door. A 'change of ends' in the interim would not have made escape any easier. Nor would a similar manoeuvre, once outside, have resulted in a more comfortable position. Since such a switch would not have been advantageous by any measure, it would not have been made. Madeleine would have been carried out directly, her body in exactly the same position throughout. Which renders Jane Tanner's sighting of her impossibly back-to-front.

Thus it is that Jane Tanner's insistent account of a child, clad in pink, being carried through the streets of Praia da Luz, actually negates the possibility of its having been Madeleine, since the physical circumstances of her holiday accommodation mitigate against, rather than support, Tanner's claims. The child, if she saw one at all, could not have been Madeleine McCann. But she saw no-one else. And if no-one is known to have left 5A, carrying a child, at any time between 9.00 and 10.00 p.m., it is because there was no-one inside to have done so. Apart, that is, from Gerry McCann at 9.05 and Matthew Oldfield at 9.30.

It's a lock-out

There is yet another important aspect to the fugitive's dilemma. The front door, the only exit he could conceivably have availed himself of that night, was locked. And he did not have a key. Let us allow Messrs. McCann, Oldfield, O'Brien and Payne to explain the situation more fully:

First, Gerry McCann:

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

At 10pm, his wife Kate went to check on the children. She went into the apartment through the door using her key.' (Statement to Police, 4 May, 2007).

'... he fully confirms the statements made previously at this police department on 4 May 2007, being available to provide any further clarifications.' (Statement to Police, 10 May).

Hence Gerry first states that he unlocked the front door with his key (he didn't simply 'open' it) then later confirms his statement. He goes on (10 May, italics/parentheses mine):

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

'On this day (Wednesday), the deponent and KATE had already left the back door closed, but not locked, to allow entrance by their group colleagues to check on the children. He clarifies that the main door was always closed but not necessarily locked with the key.'

(The last, it should be noted, is a general observation, not specific to Wednesday).

'Back to Thursday, after breakfast, about 09h00, KATE and the children left by the back door, the deponent having left by the front door, which he locked with the key, having also closed and locked the back door from the inside.'

So far the account has been consistent throughout. When recalling specific instances of departure, Gerry McCann affirms that he locked the front door using his key, an observation of some significance as it turns out and one to which we shall inevitably return. But then he has a dramatic change of heart:

'Despite what he said in his previous statements, he states now and with certainty, that he left with KATE through the back door which he consequently closed but did not lock, given that that is only possible from the inside. Concerning the front door, although he is certain that it was closed, it is unlikely that it was locked, because they left through the back door.'

This aspect of his 10 May statement is questionable on two counts. The first is the certainty with which McCann seeks to override his earlier testimony. Memories do not improve over time, they deteriorate (that's been tested scientifically, Sandra). Hence Gerry McCann's immediate recollections will have been more accurate than those he decided to advance a week later. The second doubtful observation is that concerning the front door ('although he is certain that it was closed, it is unlikely that it was locked, because they left through the back door.').

The doors to apartment 5A were logically and physically independent of each other. They did not operate in tandem. Hence it makes no sense to claim that 'it is unlikely that it (the front door) was locked, because they left through the back door.' Even if the statement is taken to be an imprecise reference to the McCanns' behaviour rather than the doors' function, it still fails to convince.

The McCanns claim to have adopted a policy of patio door access for their own convenience, not to jeopardize security unduly ('Part of the reason we ended up coming through the back was the noise coming through the front door. We didn't want to disturb them.' - Gerry McCann in 'Madeleine Was Here'). The fact is, they say they could see the patio, even if only just, from where they claim to have been dining. They could not see the front entrance at all. Under these circumstances it is inconceivable that a professional couple would adopt the attitude of, 'We're leaving the back door open, so we might as well leave the front door unlocked too.' Notice also that Gerry's observation concerning the degree of front-door security does not flatly contradict his earlier statements in that regard. He merely says it is 'unlikely' the door was locked. Not a categorical statement of fact at all.

It is important to understand the significance of 'locking' the main entrance doors to the Ocean Club apartments. As others of the Tapas fraternity will go on to explain, the mechanisms were not of the Yale variety, although Kate McCann (6 September), knowingly or otherwise, gives the impression that a Yale type lock was in place:

'They left through the balcony door, which they left closed but not locked. Main door was closed but not locked. She thinks it could be opened from the inside but not from the outside.'

Matthew Oldfield, on the other hand, appears to have been rather more observant:

"Okay. Did you leave by the patio door?"
Reply "Yeah, back the same way, because this door would have been locked and that's the shortest way anyway of coming through there, so I would have gone back out the same door."

What Oldfield tells us here is that, supposing the front door to have been locked, he would not have been able to unlock it and exit that way had he wanted to. Never mind shortening the distance of his journey, he would have been unable to unlock the door, despite being on the inside.

Further into his rogatory interview, Oldfield has more to say about locking doors, his own patio for example, and helpfully concludes with:

"So at night times you'd always have that door locked when you'd exit?"
Reply "The patio door would be locked and you'd go out through the..."
4078 "Gone through the other..."
Reply "Main door and lock that one."
4078 "Which then you locked behind you."
Reply "Yeah."
4078 "After you went."
Reply "You had to lock it because it would open on the, it wouldn't shut through like a Yale lock it would close just on a, on a handle that opened it."

The front door locks, it appears, did not operate on the commonly understood Yale principle therefore.

In the course of his skirting the issue as far as the McCanns' practices were concerned, Russell O'Brien, in his rogatory interview, makes the function of their respective front door locks absolutely clear:

"On Sunday I recall I checked Kate and Gerry's apartment as well as Rachael and Matt's. I had taken Matt's keys and I believe that their (Rachael and Matt's) door was deadlocked the same as ours and that I would have needed to turn the key two times.

"I needed Matt's key to check on their room and I had it, but I didn't need Kate and Gerry's key because they went through the patio door', erm, we went through the patio door to cross in and look into the children's bedroom. So, at the time, I have to say, I didn't really think that, you know, about the differences in how, in how we were, the security in the, in the rooms was, but, erm, I definitely did not go in through Gerry's and Kate's main, you know, double locked door or anything, I'm sure I went through the patio."

And now the focal point:

"We were conscious that, that, erm, if you, you only do one lock on the main door then it can be opened from the inside but if you double lock it then, then, then you need the key to get in or out.

It is noticeable, on reading this episode of his rogatory interview in full, that Russell O'Brien is panicked somewhat by the possibility of the interviewing officer's interpreting his observations of other peoples' careful security measures as applying to the McCanns also. He is at pains, on several occasions, to re-iterate that he did not avail himself of their door key in order to enter 5A at any time, as they were behaving differently to everyone else in leaving their patio door unlocked. Thus is he, O'Brien, supporting the McCanns' contention that they left their patio door unsecured, whilst at the same time avoiding any specific reference to the status of their front door. The following is typical:

"...on one of the visits at least, erm, I went back to five 'D' and checked on our children, but I also went to five, erm, 'D' on Matt's and I, I'm pretty sure that I needed Matt's key to do that, so I think they were doing the same as us. But when, for Kate and Gerry, I just went in through the patio steps and, and just across to the room."

O'Brien's filibustering aside, what we can very reasonably conclude from all of this is that if the front door to 5A were double locked, then a key would have been necessary if one wished to get in or out. Importantly, three 'witnesses' (McCann, O'Brien and Oldfield), albeit not truly independent, all alluded separately to the locked door at the front of 5A, one of them being the occupant himself who, as we know, later modified his account. O'Brien in particular refers to the McCanns' 'double locked door.' How would he have known (why should he have assumed even) that was the case, given his claims not to have used it? And why should anyone be particularly 'conscious' that 'if you, you only do one lock on the main door then it can be opened from the inside'? Surely the focus of concern should be with intruders breaking in, not occupants getting out!

For his part, Oldfield, without explicitly stating that the McCanns' front door had been 'double locked,' nonetheless intimated that he could not have opened it from the inside. This despite the McCanns supposedly having left their apartment that night via the very same patio door through which he claimed to have entered. Oldfield says he eventually left via the patio door himself 'because this door (the front door) would have been locked.' With a key, obviously, and from the inside no doubt.

Oldfield's enterprising 9.30 visit to 5A holds further clues. Many question whether he even set foot inside the McCanns' apartment that night. Ironically, in this instance, it might have been better for them had he not done so, but peered through the patio doors from outside instead. That way he need not have known, or assumed, anything about either door - front or back. Once inside however, he, like the abductor, has to get out and, again like the abductor, would have done the obvious thing, i.e., exit the way he came in (which leads directly to where he intended to go next) without a further thought, for the front door in particular. Not only does he give it further thought. He cites it as the primary reason for leaving via the patio door, despite not even being asked about it! The question was, 'Did you leave by the patio door?' not, 'Why did you leave by the patio door?'

One should not overlook the fact that Oldfield's explanation for his actions is retrospective. His rogatory statements were made well after the event, by which time he will long have known that the McCanns had left 5A via their patio on the night in question. And yet, even in hindsight, he still sees fit to proffer the explanation, 'because this door would have been locked,' in the knowledge (?) that the McCanns, atypically, did not exit through this door themselves and might therefore have merely closed it without locking it, as Kate McCann had contended eighteen months earlier.

Since Oldfield has consistently asserted that he entered 5A on that fateful occasion, his statements concerning the interior, including the doors, shift logically from supposition and toward reliability. From outside he can only assume certain things. Once inside his actions are governed more by knowledge than assumption (unless of course we're talking about safeguarding children. There again, he was outside the room). Be that as it may, his justification, 'because this door would have been locked,' given in hindsight, warrants additional consideration.

If the statement is interpreted as having been expressed in a tense the classical grammarian would describe as 'future perfect in the past,' then it simply reflects the timing of a situation or event, not its degree of certainty. In that case 'The door would have been locked' is a statement of fact with regard to a past moment in time, not a conditional suggestive of doubt. The continuation (understood) might be, for example: The door would have been locked by the time I arrived.

If, on the other hand, the statement is construed as a conditional one, it must obey two constraints (in this case): It must still make sense if appropriately expanded. But what it tells us must also conform to what else we know. Does it succeed on both counts? Let's examine a few more hypothetical possibilities:

1. The door would have been locked as usual.
2. The door would have been locked on that occasion.
3. The door would have been locked by Gerry.
4. The door would have been locked had the McCanns left the apartment that way themselves.

All make sense, but only the last actually introduces an element of doubt. It is also the interpretation which best fits the circumstances as we have been given to understand them. Nevertheless, although the situation described, as well as Oldfield's concomitant action, is in the past, the statement describing it is made in the present (accepting, of course, that Oldfield's 'present' was April, 2008). We know, as Oldfield knew, that the McCanns had not left the apartment that way, making the statement under consideration (version 4 above) superficially pointless. We are obliged then to turn our attention to Oldfield's thoughts at the time of the action, not when he made his statement. And these too are suddenly portrayed as vaguely absurd.

Following a quick 'recce' (or hasty abduction) the protagonist would instinctively go out the way they came in, or otherwise take the line of least resistance. For Oldfield the patio gave onto the path leading directly to the Tapas bar, as he himself pointed out. The front door did not. The obvious answer to the question 'Did you leave by the patio door?' therefore is something akin to 'Obviously.' As simple as that. The front door has no role to play in proceedings, and certainly should not feature as the primary motivation for leaving via the back entrance.

What this points to is Oldfield's knowing, at the time he made his statement, that the front door was locked - at the time of the incident, i.e. 9.30 p.m. on May 3, 2007. In which case it will have barred the passage of an aspiring abductor fifteen minutes earlier.

At last we may properly understand why Gerry McCann, having introduced the open patio door into the equation, thought it expedient to add that it was 'unlikely' that the front door had been locked. Because he had previously, and consistently, distinguished between 'closing' and 'locking' the front door and first described locking and unlocking this door with his key (not closing and opening, or closing and unlocking); implying that a key would afterwards have been required to open it - from either side. As an anonymous commentator speaking unofficially for the McCanns has observed: "The front door has two locks - one which is self-locking. When they are referring to 'locking' the door, they are referring to locking the deadbolt with the key as opposed to the springbolt (latchbolt) which was self-locking." Exactly.

No worries though. From the catalogue of possibilities offered up by Kate McCann in 'Madeleine,' they need only select the 'duplicate key' option. Here it is again:

"For a long while we would assume that the abductor had entered and exited through the window of the children's bedroom, but it is equally possible that he used the patio doors or even had a key to the front door."


As David Payne explains in his rogatory interview:

"...essentially you needed the key you know, to use, if I remember to gain access into the, err into the apartment, and you know generally it was difficult because there was, you know we'd ask about more than one key, there was the only one key to the apartment."

So unless we're looking at some particularly disgruntled member of the OC staff who, one supposes, might have had a master key, and despite a lengthy holiday season ahead decided that it simply had to be Madeleine McCann on 3 May, 2007, what we're faced with is an abductor who enters 5A much like an insect enters a pitcher plant. He comes in through the unlocked patio doors and then - fails to emerge. He is not seen to exit via the patio. He does not exit via the window. He cannot exit via the front door. And yet Jane Tanner is convinced she saw the newly hatched 'abductor' carrying Madeleine, back-to-front.

Through the looking glass

Co-incidentally, we have evidence, in the form of an 'off the record' statement by Gerry McCann, that he was aware (or had been made aware) of this conundrum. During a recent interview for Portuguese television, Goncalo Amaral revealed the following:

"There is a report from Control Risks, the first private detective agency which was brought to the case [by the McCanns] in the very first days, where they state, after speaking with Gerald McCann and other witnesses in that group [Tapas 9], that the key that Mr Gerald McCann alleges to have used had in fact been left in the kitchen, on the kitchen's counter. Right away, the lies started." (Interview on SIC, 17 February 2012).

Why, one might ask, is such a crucial observation absent from Gerry McCann's own statement to police on both 4 and 10 May?

Reporters David Brown and Patrick Foster, informed readers later that year:

'Mr McCann first contacted private investigation companies less than three weeks after his daughter was reported missing on May 3.' (The Times, September 24, 2007).

Less than three weeks in this instance is more than two weeks, or Brown and Foster would have written 'less than a fortnight.' The relevant data gathering by Control Risks Group was therefore carried out after Gerry McCann had made his statements to police, when, unsure of what exactly to reveal about the status of the front door to the apartment, he opted for the non-committal 'likelihood' of its having been unlocked on the Thursday night and 'not necessarily' locked on other occasions, despite every itemised departure being accompanied by the rigorous locking of both doors, front and back. And locking the front door, don’t forget, meant a key would be required if one wished to go through it afterwards, in whichever direction.

It does rather look as though someone 'wised up' to the implications of conscientious adult behaviour on this occasion and subsequently left a key at someone else's disposal; or would like others to believe they did. An earlier discussion (Reinforcements: McCannFiles, 10 April, 2011) examined how and why elements are introduced into a story to compensate for a weakness of some kind. Since the two are inter-related (the element and the weakness) consideration of the one should help identify the other. If the front door key left in the kitchen was an accommodation to circumstance, then the front door will have been the weakness.

But the story of Madeleine McCann's 'abduction' is not Alice in Wonderland. Nor is Gerry McCann Scotland's answer to Lewis Carroll.

An intruder unfamiliar with the Ocean Club apartments, who is in a hurry to enter one such, and just as eager to depart, will have their 'eyes on the prize.' Even if they enter through a window they will seek to exit through the nearest available door. So, having had to await the disappearance of the Lone Ranger, 'Elvis' (who, we should remind ourselves, is anything but 'tonto') snatches Madeleine up and makes for the front door. Finding it locked, what does he do? Well, if he came in through the window his attention would immediately turn to the patio door which, as he would quickly discover, he could open. Had he come in that way he would of course have known that already and not even have considered leaving via the front door, unless it were in some way advantageous so to do. Anyway, out he goes. Except he didn't. Why not?

He could not possibly have known there were people standing in the street opposite the gate to the steps until he was outside the door. So what if there were? He could not have known either that one of them was the tenant of 5A, whom he had neither seen nor heard speak during the brief time they were in the apartment together. Maybe he just didn't feel like taking a chance on being seen. But what choice did he have? How was he to know the two conversationalists were blind to passers by? He had no choice it seems. Unless he realised that the key on the kitchen counter - the one with the 'Use Me!' label attached - was his means of escape.

The abductor had entered an apartment in darkness, looking for a child, not a key. He had crossed the main floor with his attention directed towards the bedrooms, not the kitchen (had he come in through the window he could not yet have noticed the kitchen even). Suddenly he hears someone else slide open the patio door ('Not another one after this little girl!' he thought) then hid from view somehow. After he'd heard the toilet flush and the patio door slide shut, he reasoned that the 'coast was clear' and carried his prize anxiously to the front door, when the kitchen counter would have been out of view, or the patio door, if that is how he came in. But then the kitchen counter would still not have been in his line of sight. It would only have been so on first entering, or if he had gone out through the patio door, turned round and come back in again! (the 'I must avoid those witnesses' decision). So now, if he has not already done so, he tries the front door.

Whether or not Elvis's attempts at escape are front-then-rear or rear-then-front, he's in a tight spot and needs to leave in a hurry. The minutes are ticking by. Tarzan is standing outside and Jane's just leaving (or left) the restaurant. Thinks he: 'Surely whoever's staying here will have left a key to the front door lying around somewhere.' Don't they all? (He hadn't previously met Messrs. O'Brien, Oldfield or Payne) But where? Oh! What's that I can almost see among the clutter on the kitchen counter? (from just inside the patio door, in the dark, Madeleine cradled in his arms (see forensic photographs of 5A interior). Or, if standing at the locked front door, 'Damn! I'll have to go out through that bedroom window after all! Mustn't forget to close the curtains behind me!' It looks like it might be a key. I wonder if it fits the front door? Let's take a closer look. If I can pick it up without this child's body skittling everything else on the shelf and waking her up, I might just make it out in time for the next 'check on the children,' due any second now.'

Instructively, the Control Risks observation on behalf of Gerry McCann, that a key had been left on the kitchen counter, does not address the inevitable question of where exactly this same key was found subsequently, after the abductor had perhaps made use of it. Was it discovered in the door, for instance? It was fortunate for the McCanns that the intruder did not take it with him. That could really have spoiled their holiday, since there was only the one. The point is, if it hadn't moved from the kitchen counter, then it would not have been employed by an abductor desperate to exit the apartment (unless, perhaps, 'Please return to kitchen counter.' was written on the reverse of the 'Use me!' label intended for Alice). This shortcoming probably explains why the story came and went like Halley's comet. Gerry McCann no doubt felt it safer not to include it in any further statements he might make to the police; in September, say. So he didn't.

In the real world, being unconstrained by the timing of Jane Tanner's anticipated 'sighting,' the criminal waits quietly out of sight at the top of the patio steps, until McCann and Wilkins wander off - and so does he - carrying Madeleine. And a change of pyjamas.

The situation is cut-and-dried. If Madeleine McCann's so-called abductor did not leave 5A in time to be spotted by Jane Tanner at 9.15 p.m., then he could not have been seen by her. He might perhaps have left later (via the patio) in time to be seen by the Smiths, but only with a different child, or Madeleine in a change of clothes, and having successfully hidden himself from Matthew Oldfield's view in the meantime (Not difficult. He had only to sit silently on Madeleine's bed. But he would not have known that!).

In any event Gerry McCann was 'fully convinced that the abduction took place during the period of time between his check at 21h05 and Matthew's visit at 21h30.' Notwithstanding which, he and the abductor were in each other's company, apparently, just before 9.10 p.m. Why would the culprit wait twenty minutes or more before leaving the scene? They wouldn't. And even if they did, is it not highly improbable that two significant sightings, the only two in fact, should have been of innocent parties, whilst the individual actually carrying Madeleine through the streets of Praia da Luz went unnoticed?

No mysterious unforeseen abductor can have emerged from 5A between 9.00 and 10.00 that night. The only people to do so were those that actually entered the apartment.

It has been pointed out before now (A Line in The Sand: McCannFiles, 19 March) that the one thing neither the McCanns nor their legal representatives would be able to fend off would be a proof, evidential or logical, that their daughter Madeleine could not have been abducted during the one hour in which they suppose it to have happened. Such a conclusion would lead, inevitably, to a chain of postulates: 'Not abducted' between 9.00 and 10.00 p.m. would mean 'not abducted at all,' since she was reported alive at 9.05 and her parents were present in the apartment after 10.00. 'Not abducted' would mean Madeleine is dead and her parents are aware that that is so. Parental awareness of Madeleine's true fate would reveal subsequent, unremitting emphasis on abduction to have been a ploy. An effort to conceal Madeleine's death, having been publicly acknowledged by the parents as unnecessary in the event of an accident, would mean that, rather than accidental, something deliberate may have occurred to bring about fatality.

For its own sake Society owes it to victims past, and as an endeavour to safeguard those who might become victims, to demonstrate that the avoidable death of a child is unacceptable, much less that those responsible should go on to profit from it with their continued liberty or, worse yet, financially. Whether inspired by the McCanns or not, a spate of recent 'abductions' is evidence of a disturbing trend in peoples' perception of what they might get away with. It cannot be allowed to continue. Otherwise we are as good as signing the death warrants of 'at risk' children everywhere.

The door handle/lock on apartment 5A PJ Files

Processo 09 Volume IXa, page 2318

From: Processo 09 Volume IXa, Page 2318

Finally, there also proceeded the detailed analysis of the door and of the windows of the target apartment there not being detected the existence of any clues/traces of break-in/forced entry on them.

Photos 38 to 40: Detail of the lock of the door of the apartment front entrance where the non-existence of break-in/forced entry was verified.

Epilogue, 26 March 2012

Gerry McCann enters apartment 5A by the front door


By Dr Martin Roberts
26 March 2012


Have you heard the one about the man intercepted at the airport, just prior to boarding, with a bomb in his luggage? When asked to explain himself he says calmly, 'the odds of there being a bomb on board the plane are 100,000 to one. The odds that there are two bombs are double that.'

Unfortunately a double indemnity does not necessarily make a situation twice as safe.

In the course of their most recent public outing (on Swedish T.V. this time), the McCanns, not asking for money (cough!) but, like students sitting their 'mocks,' and with script nicely rehearsed, repeated their by now well practised answers, which included Kate's "Yeah, absolutely, there's no way a young child could have got out."

This is clearly an agreed position, as Clarence Mitchell, representing both parents, has previously suggested:

"Kate and Gerry know Mad... know their daughter well enough to know she didn't wander out of the apartment, as has often been speculated."

Gerry McCann has said exactly the same thing, using exactly the same pivotal phrase ('no way'):

"there's no way she... she could have got out on her own."

'No way' is the contemporary equivalent of 'impossible' (not 'unlikely,' 'with difficulty,' or any other imprecise term). It is absolute.

Over a year ago now the question of Madeleine's impediment was discussed (see article: Just Listen, McCannFiles, 5 Feb., 2011). It turns out not to have been the open patio door per se. That being so, we can offer the McCanns 'double indemnity' and, hypothetically lock that door for them without changing the situation. There is still 'no way' Madeleine could have got out on her own.

Why not? What was there to stop her turning left instead of right and leaving through the unlocked front door, as opposed to the supposedly unlocked patio door, even if the latter had been locked? Nothing in principle, as the considered thoughts of Russell O’Brien confirm:

"We were conscious that, that, erm, if you, you only do one lock on the main door then it can be opened from the inside."

In practice however, leaving through a locked door without the key would have been impossible. There is 'no way' Madeleine McCann could have left 5A spontaneously under such circumstances. So, supposing that she was perfectly well, as the McCanns have insisted all along, then the only true obstacle to her freedom was the locked front door, not the open patio. And that of course means, as has most recently been argued, that the abductor was stuck inside also.

A Picture of Innocence, 29 March 2012
A Picture of Innocence

The 'last photograph', with Gerry, Amelie and Madeleine


By Dr Martin Roberts
29 March 2012


As any half awake reader of 'Madeleine' will have discovered, the McCanns appear to have an answer for everything. Even though there may be questions yet to be put for which they might struggle to offer a convincing response, there is one in particular that they have already demonstrated they cannot answer. They could not answer it when it was put to them in 2007. And they still cannot answer it five years later. It surely does not require a clinical psychologist to point out that there is something seriously wrong when a parent deprived of his or her child cannot adequately recall that child's last moments with them.

When interviewed in 2007 for Spanish broadcaster Antena 3, the McCanns were asked:

"Allow me to take you both back to the 3rd May. What's the last thing you remember about Madeleine?"

KM: "Just a happy little girl. A beautiful, happy little girl"
(Not: 'She was sleeping beautifully' or 'was sound asleep').

"Just think of all the times... the nice times that we've had with her in our house, and in her playing, in the playroom with her... with her... the twins."

The father could not even place Madeleine in Portugal. Instead he describes happy times at home in Leicester.

Fast forward now to 2012 and a very recent interview for Swedish Television:

Fredrik Skavlan:
"Errm... If we could start by going back, errm... to... to May, errr... 3rd 2007. What's your strongest memories of Madeleine from that day?”

Gerry McCann:
"I think the strongest memory I have is of really, the photograph that was the last photograph we have of her and, errr... you know, we'd had a lovely holiday. Madeleine was having a great time and just after lunch we went over to the pool area and, errr... she was sitting there paddling in the pool and I was sitting next to her and she turned round and she's just beaming. And then the... the last time I saw her, which was probably minutes before she was taken, when she was lying asleep, and it's terrible how... I've said this a few times but I had one of those poignant moments as a parent where... I went into her room, and the door was open, and I... I just paused for a second and I looked, and she was sound asleep, and I thought how beautiful she was. The twins were asleep in the... in their cots and I thought how lucky we were. And within, you know, minutes that was shattered!"

However intriguing one might find Gerry McCann's reference to his reverie being 'shattered,' or the verbatim repetition of his 'proud father moment' anecdote, the more revealing aspect of his response to the interviewer's question is the opener; the description, ostensibly, of his strongest memory of Madeleine from that day, which turns out not to be a particularly vivid memory of Madeleine at all, but the description of a photograph in which both Gerry McCann and his daughter Madeleine appear. As Gerry says:

"I think the strongest memory I have is of really, the photograph."

The 'last photograph we have of her' gives nothing away as regards the date it was taken but that is not the crux of the matter.

When Gerry speaks of his strongest memory being of a photograph he means exactly that. He does not describe his memory of accompanying two children by the pool and being photographed at the time. Oh no. He describes the photograph, from the onlooker's point of view:

"...just after lunch we went over to the pool area and, errr... she was sitting there paddling in the pool and I was sitting next to her and she turned round and she's just beaming."

Look at the photograph in question. Gerry is staring directly at the camera from behind a pair of sunglasses. Madeleine, a sun hat shielding her face, has turned away to her left with a broad smile. But from their relative positions at the time the shutter was pressed, Gerry would not have been able to tell whether Madeleine was beaming, frowning or crying. 'She's just beaming' is a description of what Madeleine looks like to anyone viewing the photograph. It is not a personal recollection of Gerry McCann's, the father who, despite attempts at convincing the PJ that his memory actually improved with time, has, five years on, a stronger memory of a photograph (its details, by virtue of the photograph's very existence, do not need to be remembered) than he does of a later interaction with Madeleine; an interaction which, in keeping with well-documented 'recency effects' in memory (last item(s) in a series best recalled), should constitute the stronger recollection, being nearer in time and, by definition, the last experience of its kind.

Amnesia apart, there are two reasons in particular why anyone should be unable to recollect the fundamental detail of a significant personal interaction: They have either forgotten all about it (it was not that significant after all), or the memory was not established in the first instance, i.e., what was supposed to have happened did not.

The McCanns have been propped up by two classes of supporter over the years: The enthusiastic subalterns with their own political and/or professional agendas, and the cohorts of the gullible. Head of the Portuguese Lawyers Order Dr. António Marinho e Pinto, a witness for the McCann couple in the forthcoming libel action against Dr. Gonçalo Amaral, the first co-ordinator of the investigation to Maddie's disappearance, belongs in the former category, as illustrated by a recent statement of his on Portuguese Television:

"I am highly critical of the options taken by the Judiciary Police officers, namely of Dr. Gonçalo Amaral [MeP seems oblivious to Paulo Rebelo's role as coordinator of the 'second part' of the investigation that lead directly to the archival]. I believe that it is absurd to attribute... first of all to conclude that the child died, secondly to attribute that death to the parents. I believe that an English couple that is holidaying in the Algarve did not come here to murder their daughter. And if indeed she died, due to an accident, the first thing they would do, obviously, wouldn't be to hide the cadaver, it would be to try to save her, to take her to a hospital. A couple that sees their daughter in that situation, in that situation..."

Dr. António Marinho e Pinto (and anyone else sharing his belief in the seemingly absurd) is cordially invited to read/re-read as appropriate, 'There's Nothing to Say She’s Not Out There Alive' (McCannFiles, 27 June, 2009). Anyone capable of playing the game 'noughts and crosses' should be able to interpret a matrix of four possibilities. If they cannot do that then they have no right to opine as 'experts' in front of a T.V. camera. Assuming they can recognise four discrete conditions, then what is it about the following pairing the likes of Dr. António Marinho e Pinto currently fail to understand?

If Madeleine McCann is not 'out there alive' then she is dead.

Abduction is the only route to being 'out there alive,' all other possibilities having been dismissed by the parents. Hence 'out there alive' equates to 'abducted.' So if Madeleine McCann was not abducted then, as surely as night follows day, she is dead - and then some. The statements by Jane Tanner and Aoife Smith tell us, in effect, that Madeleine McCann cannot have been abducted, unless she was tossed in the air like a pancake just before being witnessed (sighted, call it what you will) by Tanner, or else changed out of her Eeyore pyjamas 'on the hoof' before being spotted by the Smiths.

The abduction story more than verges on the ridiculous. It is ridiculous. It most certainly does not deserve to be called a 'thesis.'

As for the second of Dr. António Marinho e Pinto’s 'beliefs,' it too has already been addressed ('A Line in The Sand:' McCannFiles, 19 March). So it's 'back to the drawing board' for April then...?

A Norse! A Norse! My Kingdom for a Norse!, 09 April 2012
A Norse! A Norse! My Kingdom for a Norse!

The McCanns in Sweden


By Dr Martin Roberts
09 April 2012


Assuming of course that Madeleine McCann is in the hands of a not-so-swarthy Scandinavian, secluded in a land where, 'with her looks, she could blend in fairly easily.'

And so the McCanns went off to 'do media' in Sweden, where a journalist, who had no doubt been told she was to meet and interview Kate and Gerry McCann, was greeted by the pair with 'Hi, Gerry.' 'Hi, Kate.' As if she might for some reason have had difficulty deciding who was who. (Making allowance for Swedish sexual liberalism perhaps?). But don't get your hopes up. The dialogue was no more convincing once they were all sitting comfortably:

Gerry McCann [voice over]:
I don't think you can give up, even when we've been exhausted to the point of saying 'I just want this to end', you go to bed, you get up the next day and you think, 'she's still missing and we still need to find her' and I think most parents understand that.

And what, exactly, would Gerry like to end? Not the search for his missing daughter, surely? That's what they travelled to Sweden to promote, as Kate will later confirm. But first we hear from her:

Kate McCann [voice over]:
I mean, I... I feel she's out there. I feel that there's... there's more to come. I just need it to be soon.

Well of course she's 'out there.' Where else could she be? (No, don't answer rhetorical questions, on the grounds that, etc., etc.). Yet 'there's more to come' You betcha!

Annika Widebeck [voice over]:
How convinced are you that she is still alive then?

Gerry McCann:
Well, I try to look at it as logically as possible. What we do know is that there's no evidence, at all, to suggest that Madeleine's dead and that means there's a good chance that she's alive, and as a parent I couldn't accept that she was dead without irrefutable evidence that she is, so...

We'll do the logic bit in a moment. First the lie: 'there's no evidence, at all, to suggest that Madeleine's dead.'

No evidence at all to suggest, eh? Viva Zapata!

'...that means there's a good chance that she's alive.' No it does not. If I may quote from an entry in Wikipaedia (on a completely different topic - substitute 'that Madeleine is dead' for the phrase in parentheses):

'The argument that there is no evidence (of Shakespeare's authorship) is a form of fallacious logic known as argumentum ex silentio, or argument from silence, since it takes the absence of evidence to be evidence of absence.'

So, a bit more effort on the logic front required there I think, Gerry.

Kate McCann:
And I think we do know of so many cases now of children who have been abducted and have, you know, been away for years and sometimes decades.

Was that two, or three rediscovered in the last five years? I forget.

Annika Widebeck:
Like when you're walking in like a Swedish beautiful weather, do you think about now, at this very second, she can be some place and wonder about where?

Kate McCann:
I do... It's funny you mention about the weather because it's days like this when I think 'oh, what a lovely day' and that's when I think 'but this would be a lovelier day, if Madeleine was here', errm... (big sigh) I do... I mean... I don't... I try not to speculate too much. I really don't know where she is, all I hope for is that whoever's with her is looking after her and that she's happy, and even that is... is, errm... is sad because, you know, the thought of her being happy with somebody else, when she should be with us, and being happy and, you know, there's no doubt that a child's best place is with their family.

The weather. A singularly British pre-occupation. And on days when the weather is good and it is therefore 'a lovely day,' Kate thinks about how much lovelier the day could be, i.e. how much better even, the weather could be, if Madeleine were there. Apart from the occasional Welshman who believes himself to be a native American Indian, I don't know of too many Europeans who would place any faith in a 'rain dance.' The weather locally (to me, to you, to Kate McCann) is wholly unaffected by Madeleine's exact whereabouts. So in what sense could Madeleine's 'being here' enhance the day's loveliness?

The question to Kate McCann is about Madeleine. All Kate 'hopes for,' primarily, concerns whoever is with her (Madeleine, that is). This strange turn of phrase made its first appearance during the McCanns' very first televised appeal, causing Gerry to cast an irritated glance of disapproval in his wife's direction. It describes guardianship, not captivity. Furthermore, if the subject of the observation is a missing child, then one might expect to hear the phrase, 'whoever she's with' used as an adjunct to any discussion. Here, once again, the child is replaced as the topic by her 'abductor.' Why should Kate prefer/find it easier to discuss anonymous individuals rather than her own daughter?

Gerry McCann:
You know, there was a very clear strategy at work that was, errr... trying to convey to the world that, errr... there was strong evidence that Madeleine was dead and we were involved and, in fact, thankfully the prosecutor's final report makes it absolutely clear that, you know, there is no evidence that Madeleine is dead and there's certainly no evidence to link us, errr... to implicate us is any way. So...

So... there's that same old misrepresentation again. Followed by a remark that swerves to avoid danger like a frightened charioteer in the film Ben-Hur: '...there's certainly no evidence to link us, errr... to implicate us is any way.'

Might that have been, 'no evidence to link us to her disappearance,' perhaps? (At which point, those who enjoy a good 'stand-up' routine might picture another notorious Glaswegian, standing all of six feet, one hand on his hip the other stroking his beard, replying, 'Oh, you b****y think so?').

Kate McCann:
The damage, errm... that was done with all the media reporting with the lies and speculation and fabrication and being made arguido. I think the damage was ongoing. We've had this in other countries, outside the UK and Portugal. Unlike the UK and Portugal, where the story carried on, some... in other countries it stopped, so it stopped at the dramatic, 'oh, the parents are involved' and then, you know, they moved on to another story really, and all I can say to people is please, please read my book.

Not, '...please be vigilant and look out for my daughter.' 'Please read my book’ (available at the usual retail outlets), where you will find an ‘account of the truth,' comprising lies, speculation and fabrication to counter that of the media referred to earlier.

Gerry McCann:
Madeleine could have easily been taken out of Portugal within the first two hours and that's the problem. We have no idea where she is, we don't know who's taken her and we don't know why, so unfortunately for us we want as much awareness as possible that Madeleine's missing and obviously with her looks she could (laughs) blend into Scandinavia fairly easily.

'Madeleine could have easily been taken out of Portugal within the first two hours and that's the problem.' A problem exacerbated by the McCanns having given the abductor a two hour head start (Madeleine 'taken' at 9.15 or thereabouts, local police first contacted at 10.50 p.m., arriving at the scene some 12 to 15 minutes later).

Note also the categorical statements of ignorance. The McCanns apparently have no knowledge of 'where,' 'who' or 'why.' Really?

Gerry McCann:
I think certainly there's been remarkably few child abductions since Madeleine was taken.

Remarkably few genuine child abductions to be sure. Coupled with an equally remarkable upsurge in the number of faked ones. Trend analysis anyone?

Annika Widebeck:
Tell me how far away was this restaurant?

Gerry McCann:
I mean it was incredibly close. I think if you had to draw a straight line from the restaurant to the apartment it was 50 metres. It never entered our head for a second that somebody would steal your child, it was the furthest thing from your mind, so...

Two metres might be 'incredibly close.' Fifty metres is like the other side of the dual carriageway. Just think of 'cross the bridge for motorway services.' And by the way, Annika's child, if she has one, was never at risk, so there was little point in Gerry agonising on her behalf.

Annika Widebeck:
And still you hear this all the time why did you leave them... right?

Kate McCann:
I mean, there's only so many times we can answer the question and, you know, I've had to... you know, I've persecuted myself with that, you know, obviously... (sigh) I can't change it, I know how much we love Madeleine, you know, and at the end of the day the person who has taken Madeleine is the one who has committed the crime and, errr... and that's who we need to find.

Basically, 'there's only so many times we can answer the question,' ('Why did you leave them?') and Kate's not going to answer it now either as it turns out.

All in all another media moment that's as transparent as cellophane. Still, it did provide some pictures to remind us all of how 'destroyed' the McCanns have been by others opinions of them.

('As he walks along the Bois de Boulogne with an independent air, you can hear the girls declare, 'He must be a millionaire...!').

Same Beans, Different Grounds, 27 April 2012
Same Beans, Different Grounds

DCI Andy Redwood


By Dr Martin Roberts
27 April 2012


A little over two years ago a deep and disturbing strategy was detected as underpinning the McCanns' half-hearted inclinations toward a Portuguese re-opening of the archived investigation into their daughter's disappearance (Wake Up and Smell the Coffee - McCannFiles, 18.2.2010).

Central to the plan was a collection of new 'leads,' which the McCanns' Portuguese advocate, Isabel Duarte, crowed about in Lisbon, before, during, and after the court hearing at which the McCanns sought the imposition of an injunction upon Goncalo Amaral's book, The Truth of the Lie. This was a civil case don't forget, the litigation involving no agencies other than those representing either the McCanns or Goncalo Amaral. Hence it is entirely reasonable to conclude that the stratagem concerned was, by whatever measure, a McCann initiative.

That strategem was to induce the Portuguese to re-open the Maddie case on the strength of these new 'leads;' leads that had already been dismissed as being without merit and which had accrued after the primary investigation had been set aside. Had it succeeded, the Portuguese police would have been saddled, indefinitely, with the obligation and interminable expense of an open-ended inquiry. The former arguidos, on the other hand, could bask in the knowledge that they were comfortably outside the new frame of reference, while continuing to seek sponsorship of their 'search.' The ruse was subtle and turned essentially upon the substitution of 'recommencement,' for 're-opening,' the new starting point being post-archival.

All the while the original investigation sits on the shelf, with the McCanns resident inside the box marked 'not exonerated,' it festers as a wound, against which all the PR in the world is ultimately no more effective than band-aid. Unless they are able to demonstrate their innocence to general effect through legal channels, other than initiating actions for defamation of course, then the only way forward for the couple is to amputate the offending limb. That was, and remains, the objective.

After one or two false starts, the current 'review' sprang from the traps like a desperate greyhound, following a very public appeal to Prime Minister David Cameron by The Sun newspaper. Now if there is one thing to be learned from the evolution of the McCann case, it is that it could be a mistake to take things at face value - whatever their point of origin. Despite, therefore, others' very reasonable belief in the impartiality of the on-going Met. Police review, the air of deja-vu, like the odour of decomposition, is more than faintly detectable. Even those whose ears are closest to the ground may have been fooled, by the more obvious tremors, into overlooking the deeper, long-wave seismic activity.

Much as expected, DCI Andy Redwood personally, and one suspects deliberately, delivered an empty envelope during the recent BBC 'Panorama' broadcast (Madeleine: The Last Hope?) But to whose advantage? Why mount the soap-box if you've nothing to say? Madeleine might be alive. There again she might be dead. Oh, and we believe she was taken from the apartment illegally. Splendid. Now please refund the Police allocation from my Council Tax bill! If that's what £2m. buys I'd as soon shop elsewhere.

But this is no laughing matter. Besides assiduously (or so we are led to believe) addressing themselves to 40,000 pieces of information gathered by the PJ and other agencies, the Met. have apparently identified 195 avenues ripe for further exploration, on which basis Redwood and colleagues are hopeful that the Portuguese might, at some future date, re-open the Maddie case. And that's with three-quarters of the work remaining, as far as the review is concerned. On a conservative estimate therefore, the Met. could find themselves nursing some five hundred pointers for the PJ to go on and explore. That's rather more than the number of 'leads' which Isabel Duarte considered, and considers still, to be pivotal to her own argument, which she personally re-presented for the benefit of 'Panorama' viewers.

There is an anecdote concerning the CEO of Coca-Cola who, when requiring a new initiative from the incumbent ad agency, was told: 'We'll put ten writers on it immediately.' To which he laconically replied: 'Why not one good one?' Goncalo Amaral has voiced the same pragmatism very recently with regard to the '195' suggestions for further investigation. Five should be enough. If they're genuinely worth pursuing, that is.

The right thinking view that the Met. must stand aloof in all this is sadly compromised by their acknowledgement of collaboration with the McCanns, in producing yet another instrument in support, not of their own official review duties but the parents' 'appeal' activities. Pleas for information, accompanied by photographs varying in their currency, have been heard loud and long for the past five years. It does not now require another evolved image to be purchased at the taxpayer's expense. As cynical a question as it may appear, how important is Madeleine McCann anyway? For £2m. (or more), the BBC could recruit an established personality to present a weekly five-minute appeal on behalf of all the UK's missing children - perhaps Kate McCann even. That would give her something to do and spare her the agony of running round the equivalent of Hyde Park every so often.

I digress. We should, I believe, be concerned that the Met. have been in liaison with McCanns at all. Although the Portuguese have seen fit to rescind the status of 'Arguido,' Leicestershire Police, when it counted, were absolutely clear that there were no demonstrable grounds for ruling them out of the inquiry as it stood, even after it had been 'archived' abroad. What consultation, beyond 'What do you think of this one?' might we not have been appraised of by DCI Redwood?

This point of view will no doubt be considered melodramatic by many, but 'a source close to the McCanns' has already provided a useful hint as to its accuracy. According to The Mirror online (April 27th, 2012):

'Last night a source close to the McCanns said: "Kate and Gerry agree with what Scotland Yard said on Wednesday. They will speak publicly next week."'

And in The Sun:

'Kate and Gerry McCann had been given fresh hope by a Met review of the investigation.

'Yesterday a source close to them said: "They were hoping the Portuguese would see sense and agree. But it seems not.

'"There is a little girl missing — that is all that should matter. They feel the best hope of finding Madeleine lies in the case being reopened."'

Which, in a nutshell, tells us that Scotland Yard and the McCanns are 'singing from the same hymn sheet,' their common purpose being to convince the Portuguese to re-open the investigation - on their terms. But now, instead of the eight/eighty/eighty-eight leads tendered by Isabel Duarte two years ago, we have one hundred and ninety-five (and counting) clues, coming from no less an authority than Scotland Yard. And why should the McCanns, after years of 're-opening' avoidance, be particularly disappointed at the immediate and negative reaction from Portugal? Because the Portuguese are simply not prepared to buy what the they and the Met. are proposing to sell them! And why should they.

The peoples of the Iberian peninsular are generally cheerful and abundantly open-hearted; characteristics which, unfortunately, tend to invite deception. They are not, however, anyone's fools. Like the last number played aboard the sinking Titanic, the melody in this instance may differ according to which side of the Pond you're from, but the lyrics remain the same regardless. Under the terms of reference proposed originally by Isabel Duarte and latterly by the Metropolitan Police, the McCann case would become the police equivalent of a Mandelbrot set. The investigating authority (i.e. the Portuguese) could amuse themselves indefinitely exploring the same function in ever decreasing degrees of magnitude (or clairvoyant sightings of infinitely varying clarity if you'd rather), whilst the McCanns alone would have the luxury of admiring the full picture.

The current situation is either the result of an unholy alliance, or else the consequence of 'political correctness' deriving from what might be termed the 'balloon effect;' something the McCanns recognised and exploited very early on. The more a balloon is inflated, the louder the 'bang' should it burst. Hence fewer people are inclined to rupture it. The McCanns, through their new mouthpiece the Met., are trying to blow yet more air into the Maddie balloon, but the Portuguese, having already thrown a net over it, see no reason for it to expand further. And who would blame them? For all the mutual stroking going on in the UK, Portugal has no vested interest in anything other than rigorous police work in this instance. Their politicians have to be mindful of their voters after all. Alan Johnson’s talk of a 'charm offensive' is a day late and a dollar short. Five years has passed and too many people now know too much for any more wool to be pulled over their eyes.

So we arrive at a peculiar stalemate, with no-one in authority on either side of the water prepared to cut the Gordian knot. It simply is not in their interest to do so. Anyone in the UK who occupies any kind of public or 'visible' corporate office (in the media, say), were they to denounce the McCanns, would become, overnight, as popular as the Plague (Isabel Duarte would vouch for that). From the Portuguese standpoint, simply re-opening the case would plunge them straight back into the quicksand from which they have only recently emerged, since the investigation has but one direction it can take.

The breakthrough, if there is to be one, is more likely to arise out of left-field, instigated by someone with nothing to lose. It is not beyond the realms of feasibility. But, as Robert Redford discovered toward the close of the film Three Days of the Condor, damning revelations can only be effective if others are allowed to read them. The victim of this crime herself having set an unwarranted precedent, it is therefore entirely possible that Madeleine McCann will not be unique in having disappeared without trace. 'Evidence' can do that also.

A Matter of Trust, 15 July 2012
A Matter of Trust

Gerry returns to PDL with Clarence Mitchell


By Dr Martin Roberts
15 July 2012


The title of this piece is borrowed from Billy Joel, arguably one of the greatest songwriters of the last century, and a line from this very song will be used in conclusion. But first a quote from Kate McCann: "As a lawyer once said to me, apropos another matter, 'One coincidence, two coincidences – maybe they're still coincidences. Any more than that and it stops being coincidence.'" According to this reasoning, three or more coincidences within a given context are unlikely all to be chance occurrences. With this in mind, certain historical aspects of the McCann affair may perhaps be viewed with more than a hint of scepticism. To begin at the very beginning...

At 10.00 a.m. on the morning of May 4, 2007, the British Consul arrived in Praia da Luz from Portimao, less than twelve hours after Portuguese police had been alerted to the unexplained absence of Madeleine McCann from her holiday accommodation. Who, one wonders, made the suggestion (or issued the instruction), either late on Thursday night or early the following morning, that the Consul's presence at the scene would be a good idea? Perhaps the same source coincidentally prompted the arrival, also that morning, of Ambassador John Buck from Lisbon, considerably further away. Ambassador Buck himself announced to the assembled media on 8 May:

"Ladies and gentlemen, good evening. As you know I spent quite a lot of time with the McCann family on Friday and over the weekend..."

The Daily Mail once carried a report (the on-line version since deleted) of how an unnamed British diplomat expressed personal doubts about the McCann case directly to the Foreign Office, 'over four months before Gerry and Kate were named arguidos (suspects) on September 7.' Indeed, as the Mail recounted, 'The diplomat was sent to the holiday resort of Praia da Luz in the days following the four-year-old's disappearance and soon became concerned over "inconsistencies" in the testimonies by her parents and their friends.'

'Over four months' has to have been a date between May 4 and May 7.

'After visiting the McCanns, the unnamed diplomat sent a report to the Foreign Office in London, admitting his worries about "confused declarations" of the McCanns' movements on the night of May 3.'

It matters not at all whether the misgivings alluded to were expressed by Ambassador John Buck or Bill Henderson, then British Consul in the Algarve. Rather more interesting is that the diplomat responsible 'expressed his fears after receiving instruction from the Foreign Office to provide "all possible assistance to the McCann couple."' From which it becomes apparent that the Foreign office were extraordinarily quick off the mark in seizing the diplomatic initiative in this case, since the representative in question was sent to Praia da Luz and did not simply exercise personal initiative.

Far from the diplomat's being instructed 'in the days following the four-year-old's disappearance,' it appears that the wheels of officialdom turned within hours, before the news had even broken. Sky News carried the story in their 7.38 a.m. report, but Lisbon is a three-hour drive from the Algarve. Is it reasonable to suppose that the Foreign Office, having only just become aware of the situation, would immediately have instructed 'their men in Iberia' to get themselves to Praia da Luz with even greater immediacy? That certainly wasn't Kerry Needham's experience. Although Greece is a touch more distant than Portugal the telephones still work.

The Portuguese at the time requested answers from the British authorities to specific and highly pertinent questions in order to expedite their investigation. Certain information was required as a matter of urgency. It never materialised. Instead Praia da Luz was overrun with diplomats. The frustration underlying Gonacalo Amaral's published remark ('Who are these people?') is easy to see and to understand in such circumstances.

In the same period when Ambassador Buck was conveying the state position to the media, i.e. five days after the 'disappearance,' Cherie Blair, wife of the then Prime Minister, was in personal communication with Kate McCann. The latter has told us so (Madeleine, p.118). Question one: How did CB come to be in possession of Kate McCann's mobile phone number? Was it through: [a] 118 Directory Enquiries [b] A McCann family member who had the temerity to contact No.10 (that's certainly Auntie Philomena's style) [c] Kate McCann previously leaving a message on the Downing Street answerphone or [d] one or other diplomatic channel? Or did she just 'phone a friend?'

Public announcements of awareness and sympathy on the part of government representatives are all well and good, and largely expected nowadays, but a personal 'phone call from one of the Prime Minister's family...? Anyway, Kate was told at that time of a person who would become 'another valuable source of information;' a Blair contact by the name of Lady Catherine Meyer, 1999 founder of the charity PACT. Said charity's 'homepage' reads:

"PACT has been building and strengthening families across the Thames Valley since 1911."

Meanwhile Lady Meyer's earliest known portrait, housed in the loft somewhere, remains undiscovered. As does the nature of whatever advice she might have given Kate McCann concerning how to operate a charity to best advantage.

Amid all this counselling and consular effort there emerges another 'operative' - Special Agent Clarence Mitchell. Like the origin of life on earth, Mitchell's introduction into the process of barricading the McCanns is something of a mystery in its own right.

According to Kate McCann (Madeleine, p.148), Gerry first came into contact with Clarence Mitchell late on Monday 21 May:

"On Sunday 20 May, Gerry left for the UK...At Monday's meeting with the British police, Gerry was told about plans to launch an appeal in the UK aimed at holidaymakers who had been in the Algarve in the weeks leading up to Madeleine's abduction...It was later the same day that Gerry met Clarence Mitchell for the first time."

Gerry McCann's schedule, according to BBC News (21 May) was as follows:

"Mr McCann arrived at East Midlands Airport in the early hours of Monday morning...Mr McCann will return to Portugal on Tuesday morning."

Kate places Mitchell's introduction in-between these events. However, Hannah Marriott, writing for P.R. Week (28.11.07) gives a somewhat different account:

"Mitchell was first sent to meet Gerry McCann at East Midlands airport two weeks after Madeleine's disappearance. The pair flew back together to Portugal."

Notice that "Mitchell was sent" to meet Gerry at the airport, which can only have been to greet him from the plane very early on the Monday or join him for the Portugal bound flight on the Tuesday. Neither possibility is accommodated by Kate McCann's version. Kate continues:

"Clarence, a former BBC news correspondent working for the Civil Service was the director of the Media Monitoring Unit attached to 10 Downing Street...he was seconded to the Foreign Office to come out to Portugal to handle our media liaison as part of their consular support for us."

A bit heavy on the 'consular support' don't you think, given that Tony Blair had previously and personally dispatched Sheree Dodd to Portugal for the very same purpose. And just how instantaneous are such 'secondments' anyway? Who oversees the cuttings office while the editor-in-chief is en vacance? Decisions with respect to Mitchell's enforced shift in allegiance, the identity of his understudy, to say nothing of his own personal concerns as to how big a bag he should pack, had to be taken in advance of his meeting Gerry McCann and boarding the plane. The Portuguese investigation had been on-going barely a fortnight, if that. Nevertheless, Mitchell, who at a given point in time is attached to No.10, is seconded to the Foreign Office (not by them) at the instigation, one presumes, of the 'club' that still held his registration, i.e. No.10. So Cherie Blair and Kate McCann have a convivial tete-a-tete on the 8/9 May and Mitchell is filtered into the mix at Downing Street's behest shortly thereafter.

Marriott further informs us that, once in Portugal, Mitchell "spent an intense month of fifteen-hour days with the family."

What! To explain that your daughter's been seized by a person or persons unknown and that you're 'sorry you weren't there at that minute' would not take fifteen minutes, let alone a month of fifteen-hour days. Forgive me. I'm trivialising the fact that Madeleine McCann was, for some reason yet to be discovered, the most important child on planet earth, who happened to be a British citizen requiring state back-up that stopped just short of mobilising the armed forces, as Mitchell himself goes on to reveal (within Marriott's account):

"He had to return to his government role, and others handled the McCann PR. But even then, he says, the family still called him for advice in his own time...'But I couldn't help them beyond the odd 'phone call, because officially the government couldn't be seen to be involved.'"

And unofficially?

If this isn't Mitchell simply 'bigging up' his early role in the affair, then further scrutiny of this remark is definitely called for. The catalogue of Mitchell's manoeuvers since on behalf of his clients the McCanns is sufficiently extensive to warrant examination of its own.

No sooner had the McCanns become associated with Mitchell (May 21/22), through the intervention of No.10, than they were in telephone contact with the man-next-door, Gordon Brown (May 23). And then someone turned the kaleidoscope. The pieces remained the same but shifted into different places. On June 27, a month after the introduction of the pink catalyst, the Blairs were suddenly obliged to leave Downing Street so that Gordon Brown could have their apartment, having just been given Tony's old job.

At the spearhead of 'New Labour' throughout their ultimately successful election campaign, Gordon Brown was a true 'conviction politician,' long on strength of belief and short on prudence. In his first speech to The Labour Party as Leader, on 24 September 2007, he declared, "I stand for a Britain that defends its citizens and both punishes crime and prevents it by dealing with the root cause." It's not at all difficult to see how the new Prime Minister's position would be somewhat compromised were he to be faced with a situation in which these very principles were found to be in conflict.

There is an arresting (pun intended) video on YouTube which poses a number of very germane questions regarding the McCanns' behaviour throughout the investigation into their daughter's disappearance. It concludes with the question of why, when a convincing sighting of Madeleine was reported from Belgium, the McCanns' reaction was to visit Huelva, in Spain. Strangely, this type of counter-intuitive behaviour is not unique to the McCanns.

Later in his party address as PM, Gordon Brown stated: "Two thirds of deaths from gun crime occur in just four cities. In the last few weeks Jacqui Smith and I have focussed on the specific areas in these cities..."

In the year 2006 - 2007 just over half of all firearm offences occurred in areas covered by just three major forces - the Metropolitan Police in London, Greater Manchester and West Midlands. The situation remained unchanged two years later, as noted by The Independent of 8 January, 2009 which reported, "Most of the 42 gun-related deaths last year took place in London, the West Midlands Manchester or Merseyside. There were six deaths in the West Midlands, four each in Manchester and Merseyside and two each in Kent, Shropshire and West Yorkshire. Other deaths were recorded in Cornwall, Derbyshire, Glasgow, Hertfordshire, Humberside, Northumberland and South Yorkshire."

This was 2008 don't forget. But 2007, the year in which the Brown possee visited areas in each of the four most fatal cities, must have seen the statistical ice-berg topple over, for on 12 September 2007, no doubt as a feature on their crime-prevention itinerary, Brown and Smith visited a police station in - Beaumont Leys, a suburb of Leicester.

This is the same Gordon Brown, who the following month was dutifully advised that Goncalo Amaral had been removed from his role as co-ordinator of the 'Maddie' investigation in Portugal, before even Amaral himself was notified. There has to be some explanation as to why the then Prime Minister should have maintained a personal level of involvement in the McCann case once the parents had returned home as suspects in their own daughter's disappearance. After all, the government had apparently ordained that Civil Servant Clarence Mitchell could no longer speak for them for that very reason, according to Kate McCann (Madeleine, p.255). Defence of the citizenry overseas is scarcely appropriate when the subjects are safely on British soil. And he needn't have entertained thoughts of pre-empting extradition. The McCanns took care of that aspect themselves with their 'appointment' of Michael Caplan Q.C. Or did they?

Joshua Rozenberg, the Daily Telegraph's legal editor, commented for BBC News Magazine on 14 September, 2007, "When he (Michael Caplan) went to see the McCanns last Sunday, he went in through the front door." Whilst he might not have been waiting at the foot of the aircraft steps like Clarence Mitchell, Caplan clearly did not have to wait for an invitation from the McCanns. According to BBC News Magazine, he was waiting for them on arrival. 'As Kate and Gerry McCann headed back to their Leicestershire home for the first time since their daughter Madeleine disappeared, they were visited by a man few recognised.' On this account he as good as followed them home from the airport!

It is undeniably tempting to speculate as to whether the Brown-Smith excursion to Beaumont-Leys three days later afforded the opportunity for someone to ask, en route and personally, "How did you get on with Michael?" Of course Kate McCann has an alternative explanation for the sudden introduction of Michael Caplan Q.C.

"Saturday 8 September. We were on tenterhooks all day, waiting to hear whether we would be allowed to go home. Rachael had found a couple of criminal lawyers in London she was sure could help us...Gerry gave them a call. They discussed Madeleine's case in detail, what had happened so far and how Kingsley Napley might be able to assist us." (Madeleine, p. 254).

Things need to be put into some kind of perspective at this point. On Saturday, September 8, Gerry decides, on the spur of the moment almost, to 'phone a pair of London based lawyers from Portugal and, after discussing Madeleine's case in detail, what had happened so far etc., etc., by phone, a deal is struck. So Messrs. Caplan and McBride were able to assimilate over the 'phone the detail of five months in a matter of minutes, whereas it had taken Clarence Mitchell face-to-face interaction for a month of fifteen-hour days to get to grips with the history of a fortnight?

Rachael - former corporate tax lawyer now working as a recruitment consultant - Oldfield, was not of course in evidence at the time of the McCanns' panic 'phone call. (Make no mistake, the pair who were made arguidos on September 7 and who 'resisted the temptation to flee' across the Spanish border on the Friday night, only to catch an early flight back to the UK on the Sunday, were in a hurry).

This is Chapter 17 and Rachael who had found the two lawyers (quite fortuitously it would seem) had previously gone home (Chapter 9) briefly to return to Portugal on Thursday 11 July (Chapter 13) in order to meet the PJ's request for further questioning. She did not stay on until September 8, meaning that if she had been responsible for identifying the suitability of Kingsley Napley, incorporating extradition supremo Michael Caplan, she discovered them through diligence, not by chance, and weeks (if not months) earlier. And yet Gerry McCann waits for the car to crash before he tests the brakes?

They escape nevertheless.

"On the advice of the lawyers, we decided to get out as soon as possible. We would go the next day rather than leaving it until Monday." (Madeleine, p.254).

We are clearly expected to believe that this was a minor adjustment to new circumstances. ("Finally, and very reluctantly, I agreed to set a date for our departure. Monday 10 September it would have to be." Kate decides - two chapters earlier). But - "Then it was all hands on deck to pack everything up and clear the villa. Michael volunteered to stay on for a couple of days to organize the cleaning, hand back the keys and arrange for our remaining belongings to be shipped home by a removal company." (p.254-5). Isn't that leaving things a tad late if the departure date has been decided for weeks already?

Back to reality (following touchdown at East Midlands Airport).

"For us, it was straight down to business. Michael Caplan and Angus McBride arrived that afternoon for a thorough discussion of our situation." Clearly Gerry's anxious call the day before had not quite covered all the details. Then - "On Tuesday 11 September we had an 8.00 a.m. conference call with Michael Caplan, Angus McBride and Justine."

Let’s summarise at this point.

Early May, 2007: A channel with No.10 is opened, and maintained thereafter.

September 7: The McCanns are officially made 'persons of interest' in connection with the disappearance of their own daughter by Portuguese authorities.

September 8: Gerry McCann, 'phoning from Portugal apparently, discusses their situation with Angus McBride and Michael Caplan Q.C., without knowing whether Portuguese authorities will even allow the McCanns to leave the country. They are cleared to depart later that afternoon and, on the advice of the (same) lawyers, elect to leave the following day.

September 9: The McCanns return to their home in Rothley, Leicestershire, where they meet with Michael Caplan Q.C., having spoken with him by 'phone little more than 24 hours earlier. (Fortunately for them he works Saturdays and is happy to give up his Sundays for the cause also).

September 11: An 8.00 a.m. 'conference,' again involving Michael Caplan Q.C.

September 12: Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Home Secretary Jacqui Smith visit Leicester - definitely not one of the more dangerous cities in the UK if assessed in terms of gun-related deaths.

October: Prime Minister Brown is given the news of Amaral's removal.

Five years and the 'stonewalling' of many an FOI request later, the crime balance sheet for the McCann account is not at all encouraging. Millions of pounds sterling have been spent by the exchequer, directly or indirectly (on top of the Portuguese millions in euros), with nothing whatsoever to show for it. No child recovered, alive or dead, no culprit prosecuted, or even apprehended. And while UK limited has seen the loss of significant assets in the form of important forensic expertise (specialist dog-handler Martin Grime and his expert canines are now in the USA working for the FBI and the Forensic Science Service is closed for business), the only books to show a healthy inward cash flow are those belonging to the McCanns, until some rather extraordinary expenses outweighed the donations that is. Of course the case review, since placed in the lap of Scotland Yard, remains incomplete. But with an interim dividend amounting to a heap of dead-end reasons why the Portuguese should waste yet more of their time and money pursuing illusory abductors, the long-term projection seems equally un-profitable. The Labour government's inaugural commitment to being 'tough on crime and the causes of crime' has not since, unfortunately, included 'getting to the bottom of crime,' certainly as far as the disappearance of Madeleine McCann is concerned.

As Billy Joel insightfully put it:

"When you've heard lie upon lie, there can hardly be a question of 'why.'"

Threatening Gestures, 16 July 2012
Threatening Gestures

Gerry McCann and Michael Caplan QC


By Dr Martin Roberts
16 July 2012


Having followed the 'Maddie' case from the outset, and commented publicly upon it for a number of years, recent events have caused me to view the affair from an altogether different perspective. No, I have not been 'got at.' Of course I have been incensed by the blatant injustices on many fronts. I would not have devoted so much time to analyses of the case otherwise. But there is only so much to be learned, so much to be accomplished by continually patrolling the base of a pyramid. To really appreciate the significance of its dimensionality it is essential to adopt a different point of view. And I am not talking about succumbing to the idea of a swarthy abductor or cabal of unidentified child molesters.

I do not shrink from admitting that I too was initially astonished by the 'safeguarding of international relations' argument brought forth to justify the withholding of intelligence in the face of several FOI requests. There have been numerous astonishing developments over the years. However, those of us who throw up our hands in disbelief at officialdom's use of the phrase 'international security' or the like are perhaps guilty of a singular and significant oversight; namely, that the very disappearance of Madeleine McCann was itself an international incident, with potential consequences on several levels.

Self-preservation as a principle is a given among homo sapiens. But in any hierarchically organized society, 'looking after number one' is sometimes best accomplished by acting (or at the very least appearing to act) in the interests of others besides. The successful conduct of International Relations demands that players on the international stage see the bigger picture.

So what picture should we be looking at in the McCann case? I would suggest that the government then (and the government now) have acted in the ways they have, not despite 'early warning signs' that the parents of Madeleine McCann may have been involved themselves in a misdemeanour, but because of them.

Only the other evening I listened to a rather smart comedian who pointed up the absurdity of the concept 'War on Terror.' "What results from a declaration of war?" he asks of a hypothetical advocate for the Bush/Blair position. "Terror," they reply. "So you're waging war on the consequences of your own actions then?" Such humour immunises us against depressing acknowledgement that world leaders as often as not depend on the gullibility of the masses for their own survival. And if the masses cannot be misled they can be subdued. This is, I accept, a cynical point of view, but one has only to flip through the pages of history to see how deception via propaganda has a long track record. A tried-and-tested method for keeping one's place on the throne, as it were, is that of convincing those outside the palace that the other man is the enemy.

As society has evolved, so too has this 'threat,' becoming increasingly abstruse in the process. Hence post-war generations in the west have been warned against (among other things) 'communism,' 'alien invasion,' 'nuclear attack' and, of course, 'terror,' the last being a real 'doozy.' A-specific to a fault, it can be blamed on any disaffected minority whatsoever, and at any time. Thus it can never be neutralized.

Largely as a direct result of 'war debt' to our erstwhile transatlantic colony, the British Isles have long since become USS UK, an aircraft and cruise missile carrier permanently stationed in the North Atlantic. It doesn't matter much who gets to captain the ship, since they are never going to command the 'battle group' of which it is a member. In similarly subordinate fashion the Westminster government has been honour-bound to adopt the same cautionary attitudes toward the same perceived enemy as that determined by the White House. This state of affairs is reliably reflected in manifestations of the public consciousness (think Quatermass, The War Game, and the long-running Blair case for WMD).

But what has this to do with Madeleine McCann?

An explanation as to why those 'major threats' conceived across the pond have had a relatively short shelf-life on this side of the water until now would be a little tedious, as the reasons are pretty obvious (a visiting Martian would surely aim for a larger tract of land, for instance). So, if we may simply accept it to be the case, we can open up the need for others to come quickly off the substitute's bench. There's nothing like the threat of an epidemic, for instance, to get healthcare professionals excited. The pharmaceutical industry is wholly indifferent to whether it originates in birds, pigs or cattle, as long as the claim is made that the disorder can, and therefore will, cross the species divide. Mass vaccination is a real money-spinner.

Then there's the threat of global warming, and related environmental considerations. Nowadays the cost of a UK road fund licence is determined by the level of carbon di-oxide emissions from the vehicle in question (the lower, the cheaper). Is this really to encourage drivers to become environmentally conscious through their operation of smaller cars boasting lower levels of fuel consumption and associated emissions? Or is it to provide yet another boost to the automotive trade, by encouraging the widespread purchase of newer vehicles through financial coercion? Well, it seems to have worked, as the current government is now in not-quite-secret talks with motor manufacturers, in an attempt to establish how best to recoup the revenue loss consequent upon the widespread switching of owners to cars in lower tax categories.

I have deliberately saved the most relevant, Maddie-related threat for last.

Followers of the case will not need to be reminded of the frequency with which the spectre of paedophilia has been introduced into the media commentary. As threats go this one is by no means new (this particular deviance is chronicled as accompanying imperial decadence in ancient Rome), but the threat has grown in perceived importance down the years. In the more recent past, cases of fatal child abuse, such as those involving Myra Hindley and the Wests, have occasionally erupted into the public spotlight. But the eruptions have since become more frequent, including false-positives to help sustain levels of public attention.

Film makers profit from being alive to 'topicality.' Note therefore a remake of the film 'The Wicker Man' after a thirty-three year interval (the original was released in 1973). In-between we had the infamous 1991 Orkney child abuse scandal, characterized by its actually being a case of widespread non-abuse, i.e. normality (the scandalous element was the behaviour of the so-called welfare authorities). Needless to say, mere suspicion of the demon provoked a witch-hunt, just as it did in the case of Operation Ore, a turn-of-the-millennium persecution of suspected child pornographers, modelled on an American precedent (Operation Avalanche), and being both principal product and funding sponge of CEOP (you know, the Jim Gamble vehicle that justified his appearance in Praia da Luz alongside genuine investigators).

Yes, folks. In the absence of an imminent national catastrophe occasioned by a nuclear strike (the 2003 invasion of Iraq took care of that), or a widespread disease epidemic, child abuse is a serious threat to society; a threat which the British government not only acknowledged but demonstrated a willingness to deal with decades ago. Such moral guardianship is 'politically correct' in a big way; especially if you are New Labour, the resurgent broom promising to sweep society clean by being 'tough,' not just on crime but 'on the causes of crime.'

Fast-forward now to Praia da Luz, Portugal on May 3, 2007. A little girl is reported missing from her holiday apartment. Within hours the report is an international one of a little British girl abducted from an apartment in Portugal. In a demonstration of due diligence, ambassadorial staff are dispatched to the scene of the incident, in order to offer support to our distressed citizens overseas. UK police also arrive to assist. A good thing. Within just a few days however, reports come back of doubts attending the veracity of the parents' story. A bad thing. And suddenly there is a serious and altogether unexpected problem.

There will always be unfortunate individuals who fall victim to crime, whether at home or abroad. By and large, unless they invite the transgression, they are afforded sympathy. On learning of a child abduction, and with no grounds for other suspicion, it is entirely reasonable that people in general should be sympathetic toward the parents. They were in this case. So too was the government. For the vast majority of observers nothing will have changed for quite a period. Even we sceptics, long since allowed access to the Portuguese police files, can have had no idea at the time of the precise details of the investigation outside of the sometime contradictory accounts coursing through the various media channels. Damaged shutters or no, no one was privy to anything like the hard data sufficient to confirm any growing suspicions, even remotely, never mind absolutely. No one, that is, save for the investigating team, which included British police, and British government representatives.

All the while the culprit could be identified as an anonymous stranger, the stigma of his (or her) motive could be brandished in support of sympathy for the parents. But what if they themselves were involved in some way? That would make them accomplices at least to an act of aggression against a minor, child abuse if you will. And if there were no third-parties involved? Then, in the light of there being no abduction, the parents would have to be viewed as guilty of something altogether more serious. And early 'intel' pointed to exactly that. So what was at stake here?

The exposure of a homicidal doctor capable of doing away with their patients (or their wife!), while not conducive to good image-building, is something from which the NHS could always recover. Society has not lost its faith in general medicine on account of Harold Shipman, any more than it did in the wake of earlier cases (e.g. Palmer, Crippen, Buck Ruxton). But a doctor (or doctors) culpable in the demise of their own child? That one hadn't previously been tested. Furthermore this was not a 'domestic' incident, in the sense that neither it nor its ramifications were confined to the UK. It happened (and was developing) overseas, in the full glare of international publicity (the McCanns themselves had seen to that). In addition, those at the very centre of the investigation, the case being one of child abuse whether abduction was a feature or not, were esteemed professionals, not the sort of council estate refugees with whom one might more instinctively associate such a crime. Worse yet, a clutch of others just like them were quite possibly involved in some way. The equation: A handful of UK doctors = one dead child, if valid, could have an impact worldwide on the perception of the medical profession, British society and, by extrapolation, the government, analogous to e=mc2.

A morally upright government, ostensibly; one seriously concerned with combating the child abuse they had already identified as a threat to society, sponsoring the activities of CEOP and taking yet another lead from the USA, was looking at the enemy, the very threat the executive (police) were dealing with on our behalf, made manifest within the ranks of its very own professional classes (remember the declaration of 'war' on the consequences of one's own actions?). So when the un-named member of our ambassadorial staff questioned the wisdom of further government involvement in the case, he inadvertently placed the following options on the table:

1. Cut the parents adrift, let them take their chances and hope the investigation runs aground.

2. Support the parents to the hilt and ensure the investigation runs aground.

Now which of these alternatives, do we suppose, offers a guaranteed outcome?

The McCanns and their media allies have kept the case in public view for a long time. Had the Portuguese pursued their investigation to the point of prosecution, the McCanns, unlike the international media, would probably not have been quite so keen to advertise the 'situation' they would have 'found themselves in.' As we have seen since, Portuguese justice is slow moving. A criminal case brought against the McCanns, with the prospect of exposing an evil canker deeply embedded in British society, the very threat against which the British public were being warned and 'protected,' and at considerable cost, would itself go on for an uncomfortably long time. Such exposure would be blatant, widespread, and international.

Shortly after the McCanns' return from Portugal, the world learnt that they held certain legal insurance, in the form of the available services of extradition lawyer Michael Caplan Q.C. Caplan had previously gained an international reputation through his successful contribution to the legal arguments that forestalled extradition, from the UK, of General Augusto Pinochet, erstwhile dictator of Chile. Ironically, it is this very case to which one may turn for a paradigmatic explanation of the British government's treatment of the McCanns.

Under the auspices of a Labour government, Pinochet was arrested and held, pending extradition, in accordance with an international arrest warrant issued in Spain. As things turned out, upholding the letter of international law did the government no favours politically (Pinochet had been a US 'transplant' originally and latterly a confidante of Margaret Thatcher. Despite its declared neutrality, Chile played a positive, albeit subtle role in the Falklands conflict, on Britain's behalf). Following extensive legal wrangling in the House of Lords (the prisoner was under 'house arrest' but not on trial as such), Pinochet was not extradited to Spain after all. Instead, in March 2000, he was allowed by Home Secretary Jack Straw to return to Chile, having been diagnosed as suffering from Alzheimer's disease, a condition from which he appeared to recover appreciably once his plane had touched down.

Less than a decade later the young democracy of Portugal found itself upholding the letter of the law within its own land, investigating and proceeding toward the prosecution of two members from a coven of British doctors. The Labour government, having previously learned an important lesson about law, even international law, versus international relations, could not fail to see this as 'not a good development.' There followed protracted negotiations (cf. 'legal arguments'). The Portuguese, no doubt reminded of the Pinochet case, as it was ignited by their immediate neighbours, Spain, took the hint. Eventually the suspect status of the McCanns was rescinded, the case shelved and the oh-so-nearly-accused doctors allowed to return to the UK, with little or no prospect of their emerging subsequently from the bunker.

So now where are we?

Unless or until a clear case is made in a criminal court somewhere, the McCanns are legally not guilty of involvement in their daughter's disappearance (it's been said often enough). There is no case for them to answer, and certainly not outside of a court of law. Whatever they might say to the media, or however they choose to appear before them, there is no risk of a conspicuous slur against the medical profession, NHS appointments criteria, the more affluent echelons of society or the government itself.

The only snag for a government sponsoring the McCanns' liberty is that, like victims of their own blackmail, they would now have to maintain the new status quo. In short, the McCanns would have to be kept out of court, at least for the duration of the administration, if not for the duration - period. The Serious Fraud Office won't be knocking on their door any time soon therefore.

So, as 'the Fund' slowly atrophies to the point where it is finally acknowledged that Madeleine is dead and the 'search' need not continue, Kate McCann is found a 'role,' at a level appropriate to the replacement of her GP status, while Gerry can devote time - a lot of time - to writing up the results of his many publicly funded studies. And the Portuguese? Well, if they really must bow to internal pressure and re-open their investigation, then there are hundreds of 'investigative opportunities' they can occupy themselves with for the foreseeable future.

Such is the legacy of a Labour government. But that party is now on the other side of the House. Does this mean the new administration will 'do the right thing' by all those who believe Madeleine McCann was not abducted, not to mention the Portuguese, scoring party political brownie points in the process? Unfortunately no. Any accommodation previously arrived at between the two governments will have been by negotiation and agreement, and since the Portuguese will have been equally party to it (even if the terms were unequal) they would not appreciate this being brought out into the open, as undoubtedly it would be. Also, international relations transcend party politics. The 'special relationship,' so-called, between Britain and the USA, for example, is maintained, and generally workable, whatever combination of Democrat-Republican-Conservative-Labour forearms engages in the diplomatic hand-shaking. And that gives rise to a testable hypothesis:

If the Metropolitan Police should exercise the investigative option contained within their Operation Grange remit (as clearly they ought to), then we may be sure that the current government in Westminster is genuinely (and properly) distanced from the McCanns. If, on the other hand, they conclude their review with nothing more to show for it than a 'to do' list intended for the Portuguese, then we can be just as certain that the Coalition Government is continuing a policy toward the McCanns that was inaugurated by their predecessors, as whatever deals may have been struck with the Portuguese were struck before the Coalition took office.

Personally, I won't be holding my breath.

The Lie of the Land, 18 July 2012
The Lie of the Land

The McCanns get out of Portugal "as soon as possible"


By Dr Martin Roberts
18 July 2012


Kate McCann tells us (in 'Madeleine,' chapter 17):

"Saturday 8 September. We were on tenterhooks all day, waiting to hear whether we would be allowed to go home. Rachael had found a couple of criminal lawyers in London she was sure could help us. Michael Caplan and Angus McBride of Kingsley Napley had worked on several high-profile cases, including the Pinochet extradition proceedings and the Stevens inquiry. Gerry gave them a call. They discussed Madeleine's case in detail, what had happened so far and how Kingsley Napley might be able to assist us.

"Late that afternoon, we were notified by Liz Dow, the British consul in Lisbon, that Luís Neves and Guilhermino Encarnação had declared us 'free' to leave the country whenever we wished. Thank you, God.

"On the advice of the lawyers, we decided to get out as soon as possible. We would go the next day rather than leaving it until Monday."

Rachael Oldfield had found a couple of criminal lawyers, obviously while she herself was back home in England, and before Kate and Gerry McCann were re-interviewed prior to being declared 'arguidos.' "Rachael, a lawyer by profession, was working in recruitment." (Kate McCann)

One might reasonably wonder why Rachael had earlier thought a couple of UK criminal lawyers might be useful in connection with a child abduction inside Portugal. But that's the least of it. Just how and where did she find this 'nap hand?' (Messrs. Caplan and McBride both worked for Solicitors Kingsley Napley). Her own legal experience, several years distant, had been in Corporate Taxation.

Following Euclid, 'the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.' Might there perhaps be a more direct 'straight line' connection between the McCanns and Michael Caplan QC than one involving the speculative research of Rachael Oldfield?

"Michael Caplan and Angus McBride of Kingsley Napley had worked on several high-profile cases, including the Pinochet extradition proceedings." (Kate McCann).

Indeed they had. So too had the barrister instructed to argue Senator Pinochet's case before the House of Lords: Clare Montgomery QC. Miss Montgomery is an associate with Matrix Chambers of Gray's Inn, London, a founding member of which is Cherie Booth QC, otherwise known as Cherie Blair QC, who we are told was in telephone contact with Kate McCann personally. ("As we were walking up from the beach at about 5pm, I had a call from Cherie Blair, in her final days as wife of the prime minister." - 'Madeleine,' chapter 8).

Once again, "Saturday 8 September...Gerry gave them a call" and "On the advice of the lawyers, we decided to get out as soon as possible. We would go the next day rather than leaving it until Monday."

The following information comes courtesy of 'Yahoo! Answers:'
Q: Do solicitors open on Saturday?

'Does anyone know of a solicitors either in the Portsmouth or Chichester (England) area that would be open on a Saturday?

'I need to sign some documentation relating to a divorce in their presence but can't seem to find anyone open on a Saturday.'

[5 years ago (i.e. 2007)]

Best Answer - Chosen by Voters

'Solicitors do NOT open on Saturday. They are ONLY open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.'


'I used to work for a solicitor, one friend is a secretary in a solicitor's office and another IS a solicitor.'

[5 years ago (2007)]
So, five years ago (8 September, 2007), Gerry McCann took advantage of a contact previously established by ex-Corporate Tax Lawyer Rachael Oldfield, supposedly, and made a spur-of-the-moment telephone call to the offices of UK Solicitors Kingsley Napley, managing to speak at some length to criminal lawyers Michael Caplan QC and Angus McBride, both of whom (unlike their colleagues) just happened to be at work all day that Saturday. The lawyers first discussed how they could be of assistance. Then, later that same afternoon, they advised the now 'free-to-travel' McCanns to leave Portugal at the earliest opportunity.

I too believe in Santa Claus.

As Writ, 16 August 2012
As Writ

Kate and Gerry McCann in Amsterdam, June 2011


By Dr Martin Roberts
16 August 2012


Readers are indebted to the Sunday Mirror (12 July 2009) for the following information relevant to the McCanns' forthcoming court action against Goncalo Amaral in Portugal:

"The lawsuit...accuses Amaral of being a self-obsessed, manipulative money-grabber with no morals"

Altogether unlike author Kate McCann, whose own best-selling (money-making) book 'Madeleine' reveals her to be... a self-obsessed, manipulative money-grabber with no morals.


'Madeleine' is a work comprising 23 chapters. The subject is 'written out' of the story after chapter 5, the remainder of the book being concerned with events after her disappearance. The book includes:

921 instances of the word 'Madeleine' (the 'subject' of the book)
2063 instances of the word 'I'
1781 instances of the word 'we'
562 instances of 'us'


'Madeleine' includes both an admission of earlier lying and further examples. The author has since committed perjury (before Lord Justice Leveson).


The McCanns claim Mr Amaral's repeated insistence that their daughter is dead has discouraged people from looking for her, whereas what it actually discourages is contribution to the corporate fund of which the McCanns are both directors, Kate with particular responsibility for 'income generation.'

No Morals?

What kind of mother answers the door to their apartment wearing nothing more than a bath-towel and describes her three-year-old daughter's genitalia in a book targetting a general readership?

"In a 36-page writ handed to the Sunday Mirror, they lay bare in painful detail how Gonçalo Amaral's accusations left them "totally destroyed" and caused them "irreparable" damage."

For examples of the McCanns' 'total destruction' see photos of the 1000 day anniversary dinner at the Rooftop Garden Hotel, London, and a clearly enjoyable holiday in Holland subsequently.

'Out, damn'd spot', 23 August 2012
'Out, damn'd spot'

Lady Macbeth / Kate McCann


By Dr Martin Roberts
23 August 2012


"Out, damn'd spot" is a prime example of "Instant Bard," tailor-made for ironic jokes and marketing schemes. But the "spot" isn't a coffee stain, it's blood. One motif of Macbeth is how tough it is to wash, scrub, or soak out nasty bloodstains."
( spot).

On 3 May, during breakfast, Kate McCann 'noticed a stain, supposedly of tea, on Madeleine's pyjama top, which she washed a little later that same morning. She hung it out to dry on a small stand, and it was dry by the afternoon. Madeleine sometimes drank tea; nevertheless the stain did not appear during breakfast, maybe it happened another day, as Madeleine did not have tea the previous night and the stain was dry.' (KM witness statement, 6.9.07).

Whether one favours Kate McCann's 6 September (2007) account, as above, or her more recent version, adapted for 'Madeleine' (they differ in respect of the timing of events), what is puzzling about her decision to wash her daughter's pyjama top is not so much the nature of the stain, as why she bothered to wash the clothing when she did. As Kate herself explains, the 'tea stain,' or whatever it was, was a day or so old. Additionally the soiled top had already been slept in at least once, with no ill effects.

Why, with Madeleine's having three pairs of pyjamas (apparently), and with less than 48 hours of the holiday remaining, should Kate have been so determined to wash the middle pair - the pair that got abducted - but not the first that was later 'thrown' into the back of the scenic, and with a clean pair as yet unused? (see article: 'Dormant Issues,' McCannfiles 29.4.11 ). Stain removal was obviously paramount. Furthermore, how did she know the pyjama top was dry by the afternoon, when she did not return to the apartment until 5.40 that evening, having spent twenty minutes (12.40 - 13.00) in the apartment for lunch not long after she'd actually done the washing? (See article: 'Washed Up?' McCannfiles, 5.1.12).

Kate gets around this last difficulty by changing her story. Instead of :

'When her lesson ended at 10:15, she went to the recreation area next to the swimming pool to talk to Russell until Gerry's lesson was over. Afterwards... they went back together to the apartment'

In Madeleine we read:

"I returned to our apartment before Gerry had finished his tennis lesson and washed and hung out Madeleine's pyjama top on the veranda." ('Madeleine,' p.64)

Thus giving the pyjamas double the drying time. In any event it seems they were dry enough for Madeleine to have worn them again that night.

But that still brings us no nearer to understanding why, with no history of 'wash and wear' that holiday, Kate felt it necessary to wash that pair of pyjamas specifically, coincidentally on the day of Madeleine's disappearance.

Those of a more macabre persuasion would no doubt wish to argue that Kate, like Lady Macbeth, was concerned to eradicate any vestige of biological fluid, e.g., blood, which might be considered incriminating in itself. Hypothetically, if the McCanns, despite their reassurances, were a party to Madeleine's disappearance that Thursday night, then there really ought to have been no need to wash her pyjamas at all, however suspicious the brown stain may have been, since anything untoward as regards stray items of clothing discovered after Madeleine had left the apartment could simply be ascribed to her 'abductor.'

The issue then is why Kate should have elected to wash the visibly soiled half of a pair of pyjamas when she did? Why not simply consign 'Eeyore' to the same metaphorical laundry basket as the first pair (later to be unceremoniously jettisoned in the boot of the car), wash them both on return to the UK, but break out the clean spare pair in the meantime? Unless, of course, there was no clean spare pare. Could she really not bear the thought of Madeleine's wearing a stained pyjama top for just two further nights (she'd slept in it once at least don't forget)? It all seems rather unnecessary; as if the Eeyore pyjamas were actually the only pair available to Madeleine that week. And then, irony of ironies, with Kate having made a special point of washing out a seemingly innocuous stain, the pyjamas are abducted, never to be seen again.

Kate's transient preoccupation with those Eeyore pyjamas may have been indicative of nothing more than a concern for 'keeping up appearances,' although few, if any, outside of Madeleine's immediate family, would have expected to see the garments, clean or dirty. And, if David Payne's testimony is anything to go by, they probably wouldn't have noticed the difference anyway. Kate clearly did not see the day old stain herself when she dressed Madeleine for bed on the Wednesday night. And, if her own suppositions are eventually borne out ('maybe it happened another day'), she may even have had yet further opportunities to record the blemish, without in fact doing so.

The pyjama washing episode was therefore of no real importance (on May 4). Yet it acquired a significance in the meantime, prompting its inclusion in the narrative come September. As we have already seen however, the remaining elements of the story left no time for it to be accomplished, so that, with the publication of 'Madeleine,' Kate has had to create a space in her busy holiday schedule actually to get the job done, contradicting her earlier statement to police in the process.

Some time that Summer therefore it became necessary for Kate McCann to explain why she had washed Madeleine's pyjama top. And with that essential established, it became just as necessary to place herself in the family apartment for the purpose, rather than be out and about, as she had earlier intimated. Kate was doing something in the apartment 'later that morning.' Washing pyjamas as it happens. She was still in the apartment (or back again, before 5.40 p.m.) doing something else, when she realised that the pyjamas were dry.

Kate clearly felt obliged to inject this episode of domestic trivia into both her later police statement and her subsequent, rather different, account of the truth. In what possible way could Madeleine's disappearance have been contingent upon clean pyjamas?

Give them an inch..., 26 August 2012
Give them an inch...

Bernard Hogan-Howe - Metropolitan Police Commissioner


By Dr Martin Roberts
26 August 2012


"There will be a point at which we and the Government will want to make a decision about what the likely outcome is." (Bernard Hogan-Howe - Metropolitan Police Commissioner).

So what exactly is the 'likely outcome,' and why the need for a 'Government' decision?

The following is reported verbatim at

Child Abduction & Murder Facts & Statistics

1. Yearly around 750,000 children are reported missing in the United States, around 2,000 every day.

2. Most of these are runaways or kids taken by a family member.

3. Around 100 children are abducted and murdered in the U.S. each year. Around 60% of all child-murder abductions are at the hands of someone the child knows, not a stranger.

4. In around 75% of all murder-abductions, the child is believed to be dead within 3-6 hours of the abduction.

5. Nearly all murdered children are killed by a family member, most often a parent.

6. Most murdered children are not killed by pedophiles (sic) or sex-offenders, but by physical abusers, drug addicts, drug dealers, alcoholics, sadists (those who kill for thrill), and lain old otherwise ordinary people.

7. For every successful stranger abduction, there are many more failed attempts. It's hard to know the exact number, as many cases are disregarded by parents and never reported, and record keeping is spotty at best. But based on our own monitoring of news reports, we would estimate around 20 failed attempts for every successful abduction. So while only around 100 children are kidnapped and murdered each year (most by friends and family), countless others are tested! Make sure your child is prepared.

8. Women are the culprits in 68% of all child abduction cases worldwide.

9. Seven in ten children will walk away with a stranger despite being warned, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. This is because merely telling kids "don't talk to strangers" isn't enough. They need more substantial training in stranger danger.


1. U.S. Department of Justice Statistics, 2007
2. Ibid
3. Ibid
4. National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
5. Collins, K.A., Nichols, C.A. (1999) "A decade of pediatric homicide: a retrospective study at the Medical University of South Carolina." American Journal of Forensic Medical Pathology, 20, 169-172
6. Global Children’s Fund (2009) Child Risk, Castle Rock, Co: GCF Publishing
7. GCF
8. The Economist, "Money in Misery," 2-7-09, p. 21

Doctoring the Results, 27 August 2012
Doctoring the Results

Gerry McCann at work


By Dr Martin Roberts
27 August 2012


Talk about a good deed coming back to bite you. Our David's got a dilemma on his hands and no mistake. The family friendly PM who scored on everyone's card with his instant decision to support the Metropolitan Police review of the McCann case is faced, almost eighteen months later, with the need for another politically significant decision regarding this very same process, now that Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe has given the game away.

So what's it to be: Appear a skinflint by terminating the review, or ignite protest in these times of recession by giving the Met. the 'green light' to go over-budget, leave no stone unturned, and identify enough 'investigative opportunities' to keep Portugal's police in work for the foreseeable future?

Well it's not quite as simple as that, is it? It never is.

Immersed in the Commissioner's recent comment is the clue that the Met. already know where the train is going, and that the branch lines are closed. If his political masters would rather the police did not announce any such conclusion at this point in time, then they will have to fund the drudgery at Scotland Yard into an as yet unspecifiable future. 'Just paint the sides of the ship a different colour until we work out whether we should actually float it,' sort of thing. The stark alternative is simply to 'tell it like it is.' But that carries a major down side. What's worse, the slope of this escarpment could actually get steeper with time, so the cost of doing nothing would become incremental.

That's enough euphemism. The issue now bouncing around like a ping-pong ball in a squash court is the NHS.

UK limited is in dire financial straits. We may have spawned the Industrial Revolution, but we're no longer a manufacturing hub by any stretch of the imagination. Our financial services sector has propped up the balance-of-trade account for decades. Like selling off the family silver, we have survived by exporting 'unseens,' and must continue to do so if we are to survive at all. Even at a parochial level, that of the street-corner shop, say, no business transaction is an overnight affair. Major proposals therefore will take a long time to prepare, a long time to consider, and a long time to enact. So the idea of internationalising the NHS brand is not something that popped into a Civil Servant's head in a dream one night last week. It took four years to prepare for the London Olympics and there, centre stage, before the athletes had even entered the arena, we saw the message written in CAPITAL LETTERS: A proud industrial heritage, the solid foundation of reliability and progress; qualities manifest in post-war Britain and, in particular, the NHS.

For the McCanns to be exposed now would be like letting an amateur artist loose on a renaissance fresco. The problem is that she's prepared to camp out with brushes in hand until the barriers are removed.

How is the government's own PR machine, while extolling the virtues of an internationally recognisable UK brand, to camouflage the likely involvement of NHS doctors in the disappearance of a young child overseas? If that's the degree of trust on offer, then future clients, who are likely to see things a lot clearer than the average mis-spelling resident of these shores, might think the NHS capable of issuing hospital care bills for a patient who died on the operating table months beforehand, like Monty Python's parrot.

And let us not overlook significant others present at the negotiating table; a certain entrepreneur whose investment interest in healthcare will not have been affected by the recent derailment of his train, but who would, one suspects, rather not see the McCanns in the news for reasons other than promotional ones.

So, David. What's it to be? Do we launch the brand on a choppy sea now, or push the boat out into calmer water, whilst ignoring the storm force warning of conditions ahead?

Why the tumult?, 11 September 2012
Why the tumult?

Gerry McCann and Michael Wright on the beach, 07 May 2007


By Dr Martin Roberts
11 September 2012


There is a Spanish proverb which says, "If you're in a hurry, dress slowly." The gist of the advice is similar to that of film director Michael Winner's advertising catchphrase of "Calm down dear, it’s only a commercial." There are many benefits to keeping a cool head in a crisis, not the least of which being that careful, considered thought is more likely to yield an appropriate solution than reactionary behaviour - under almost any circumstances. Wyatt Earp did not survive the brutal experience of the O.K. corral by being 'the fastest gun in the West.' He was deliberate instead - and deadly. The inquiry into the Challenger shuttle disaster was given its critical direction, not by NASA and other corporate apologists passing the buck between them, but by the cool thinking, literally, of Physics professor Richard Feynman, who convincingly demonstrated the now infamous 'O-ring problem' using the beaker of iced water on the desk in front of him!

And in the context of missing children?

When I was about 10 or 11 and unusually absent from home one day, my mother voiced her concerns to a local neighbourhood 'bobby' (of the sort that existed in those days). A middle-aged family man, he understood people, children especially. Rather than scurry back to the station just a short walk away, to raise a hue and cry, he simply asked my mother whether I had been anywhere particularly interesting in the last week or so, in adult company or otherwise. When she told him that I had, and where, he calmly replied, 'Then don't worry. That's where he'll have gone.' And he was right.

The McCanns' behaviour in the immediate aftermath of their daughter Madeleine's disappearance was, one might suppose, just as predictable and naïvely spontaneous. Or was it?

It is entirely reasonable to assume that any parent faced with the inexplicable disappearance of their child would instinctively hope for the best, yet fear the worst. Once Gerry had told Kate he'd 'already started remembering cases of other missing children...acknowledging the horrific possibility that Madeleine might not be found' (Madeleine, p.80), 'the fear of Madeleine being dumped somewhere and dying of hypothermia started to hijack (her) thoughts.' (p.81).

Naive and spontaneous, it would appear; especially as the McCanns themselves have, after due consideration, come to an altogether different conclusion about abductees (Kate McCann: "And I think we do know of so many cases now of children who have been abducted and have, you know, been away for years and sometimes decades."). In fairness they cannot be blamed for not realising at the time that innocent pre-school infants are not typically snatched for the sexual gratification of paedophiles. And we have been reminded on any number of occasions that Madeleine was 'innocent' have we not?

So the McCanns' reactions were genuinely instinctive, like Gerry's burying his head in his hands, while those at the table with him formulated a written justification or two of their own recent actions (What on earth did they have to worry about?), or Kate's desperation for the intercession of God (as she tells us on p.78) or home (p.77). A child was missing, 'out there' somewhere, so Kate duly insisted that Gerry should go looking for her, while Gerry, for his part, delegated Matthew Oldfield as a 'runner,' charged first with asking Ocean Club staff to 'phone the police, then later, to check on progress. One minute they're in pieces, the next they're exercising their 'crisis management' skills. Instinctive or what?

Who wore the trousers?

If we accept the story of Madeleine's abduction to be true, then by the time her mother raised the alarm the child would have been missing for three-quarters of an hour, or more. Within half an hour, "All the screaming and shouting...alerted other guests and staff that something was amiss." (p.73). This will no doubt have included Kate McCann's own screaming at resort manager John Hill to "do something!" Meanwhile her personal contribution was to hit out at things and bang her fists on the metal railings of the veranda (p.74). And yet...

"Despite the horror of the situation, some sense of the necessity to approach the crisis calmly and methodically appeared to kick in among our friends as they tried to exert a modicum of control over the chaos." (p.74).

There you are, you see. Even Kate McCann recognises the importance of keeping calm under fire. So why didn't she? Why didn't they? 'Well how would you behave if it was your child that was missing?' Like Kate, 'at about 11.00 p.m.' I should probably have told the inquisitive Mrs Fenn that 'my little girl had been stolen from her bed.' (p.75) if I told her anything at all. I'm not sure however that I would have reacted quite as Gerry did, half an hour earlier.

(From the statement to Police of Mrs Pamela Fenn): "...almost 22H30 when, being alone again, she heard the hysterical shouts from a female person, calling out "we have let her down" which she repeated several times, quite upset. She then saw that it was the mother of little Madeleine who was shouting furiously. Upon leaning over the terrace, after having seen the mother, she asked the father, GERRY, what was happening to which he replied that a small girl had been abducted. When asked, she replied that she did not leave her apartment, just spoke to GERRY from her balcony, which had a view over the terrace of the floor below. She found it strange that when GERRY said that a girl had been abducted, he did not mention that it was his daughter and that he did not mention any other scenarios. At that moment she offered GERRY help, saying that he could use her phone to contact the authorities, to which he replied that this had already been done. It was just after 22H30.

"She said that after the mothers shouts, she had seen many people in the streets looking for the girl.”

The mother was not among them you'll notice. Half an hour after discovering that her daughter had disappeared and the mother had not moved, 'urged' by husband Gerry to remain in their apartment, while he was 'running from pillar to post.' Eventually Kate and Diane Webster 'just sat staring at each other.' And with a non-relative given responsibility for the all-important communication with local police authorities, Gerry makes a number of 'phone calls home to the UK, including, at 11.52 p.m. precisely, one to Kate's 'Uncle Brian and Auntie Janet.' Following which the call Kate had been putting off (p.77) 'now had to be made' - to her parents.

Susan Healy: "I think it would be about half eleven - and I'm guessing now, I might be wrong - there was a phone call and it was Gerry on the phone."

Yes, Susan, you were wrong.

And all the while chaos reigns

(From Jez Wilkins' statement to Leicestershire police, 7 May, 2007) "The doorbell woke us up at about 1 am. It was the resort manager who I knew to be John and one of Jerry's friends. I think his name was Matt. He is white, slim, tall with greying hair. From previous conversations I knew him to be a diabetic specialist. We met him on the plane on the way to the destination. Matt said words to the effect that Jerry's daughter had been abducted, and that Jerry said he had seen me and wanted to know if I had seen anything. I said 'You're joking'. I offered help but they said there was nothing that could be done at that stage. We remained in the apartment but could see people around the pool and at the front with torches."

Since 'nothing could be done' Jez Wilkins was well advised to go back to bed. What a pity no-one thought to explain the situation more fully to the torchlight search party. While even later on the morning of May 4, "Gerry and Dave went out again to look for some sign of Madeleine. They went up and down the beach in the dark, running, shouting, desperate to find something; please God, to find Madeleine herself." And all on Kate's insistence. (p.80). We know Gerry was desperate to find something alright. There is a later photograph of him looking for it at the seashore in daylight. And, as the former co-ordinator himself has remarked, he probably wasn't looking for crabs.

We have a certain media craftsman to thank for drawing together the indices of Kate McCann's true nature that have been distributed over time, and for revealing how so much of what the pair have said and done over a five year interval has been anything but spontaneous. 'Calculated' would in fact be the appropriate descriptor. Furthermore, the sequence of cynical conduct towards the Portuguese extends, like a long-chain DNA molecule, back to the very first day, which implies that if there was a stratagem it was not an evolved one. It did not metamorphose into a winged insect overnight, but arrived into the world on May 3, 2007 like a foetus, fully formed.

During a telephone call to her 'best mate' Michelle (at about 3.00 a.m. on May 4) , answered by her partner Jon Corner, Kate quotes herself (p.79) as having said, "No one's listening! Nothing's happening!"

"The next thing I knew the PJ officers were heading for the front door."

Public denigration had begun with the first salvo of the couple's 'phone calls to the UK therefore.

And all that earlier hullabaloo? Well, why were POW escapees so keen to arrange community singing and other noisy pursuits? To mask the sound of digging. The cacophony surrounding apartment 5A on the night of May 3, 2007 simply made it all the more difficult for anyone to detect where the real melody was coming from.

Defensive Wounds, 12 September 2012
Defensive Wounds

Eddie indicates cadaver odour behind the sofa in Apartment 5A


By Dr Martin Roberts
12 September 2012


On p.74 of her book, 'Madeleine,' Kate McCann describes how she was...'hitting out at things, banging (her) fists on the metal railing of the veranda, trying to expel the intolerable pain inside.' This is no doubt the same railing atop the same veranda at which Kate was afterwards pictured coyly holding Madeleine's 'cuddle-cat' where the media photographers stationed below could see it. It's about two inches wide and appears more wooden than metallic, but that's beside the point, which is that Kate unswervingly describes herself as hitting the limited target area with her fists. Twenty pages (less than 24 hours) later and, for the first time, Kate 'noticed the ugly purple, blue and black bruises on the sides of (her) hands, wrists and forearms...Gerry reminded her of how she'd been 'banging her clenched fists on the veranda railing and the apartment walls the night before.' She could 'only vaguely remember it.' Well you wouldn't, would you? After all, twenty pages is history.

'Madeleine' by Kate McCann is nothing if not a littany of explanations, many of which deal with seemingly trivial details - seemingly. When it comes to describing her other 'bruising' encounter, with the PJ on September 7, she has this to say, among other things, regarding the video of Martin Grime and his dogs at work (p.249): 'The dogs ultimately alerted. I felt myself starting to relax a little.'

You did what?!

It makes absolutely no difference whether the child in question is three or thirty-three. If a mother whose child is missing, and who 'believes they were alive' when they left home (or were taken), is suddenly and unexpectedly told by someone in a position to know that indications are the child is dead, what is she most likely to do? Faint is what. Like the innumerable mothers of young servicemen lost during the two world wars, when they received their 'special telegrams.' Only on recovering their composure would they want or even be able to deal with, a more detailed explanation, like 'You're telling me my daughter possibly died in the apartment before they took her away?'

It would take more than an aspirin to help a compassionate mother cope with that.

And how did the other half of this scientifically sophisticated partnership react when he heard the news?

'When researching the validity of sniffer-dog evidence later that month, Gerry would discover that false alerts can be attributable to the conscious or unconscious signals of the handler.' (p.250).

This statement is replete with significance. As is the one that follows it:

'From what I saw of the dogs' responses this certainly seemed to me to be what was happening here. We would later learn that in his written report, PC Grime had emphasized that such alerts cannot be relied upon without corroborating evidence.'

So, 'When researching the validity of sniffer-dog evidence later that month...'

Valid under what circumstances, might one ask? A court of law perhaps? And why on earth should anyone desperate to find their missing child be pre-occupied with the legal weight of evidence, indicators, suggestions or arguments? The status of Madeleine McCann was, and is, wholly unaffected by such considerations. The only people genuinely concerned with 'validity' in this context were the parents, because the dogs did not confine their intelligence to one place and corpses are not noted for moving around unassisted.

Gerry went on to answer reporter Sandra Felguieras with: "I can tell you that we've obviously looked at evidence about cadaver dogs, and they're incredibly unreliable."

SF: "Unreliable?"

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

As Kate was saying, Gerry's pre-occupation 'later that month' was with sniffer-dog evidence. Obviously. Well I for one fail to see the obvious necessity for questioning such things outside of one specific context, and that is not the endeavour to locate a missing Madeleine McCann.

Nevertheless, 'Gerry would discover that false alerts can be attributable to the conscious or unconscious signals of the handler.'

Hardly reassuring background knowledge, given that it had already been explained to Kate that the dog(s) involved in elucidating the circumstances of her daughter Madeleine's disappearance had yet to make a false alert. Unless of course medical practitioners are accustomed to dismissal on account of their colleagues' mis-diagnoses.

We must replay this little excerpt from Kate's book in its entirety now, in order to highlight her cunning juxtaposition of tense.

The author, don't forget, is in the throes of recounting her experience of being interviewed under caution and faced with video footage of a sniffer-dog at work. She proceeds with 'When researching...later that month, Gerry would discover that false alerts can be attributable to the conscious or unconscious signals of the handler.'

So, at the time of Kate's interview as 'arguida,' Gerry hadn't discovered anything. And yet, 'from what I saw of the dogs' responses this certainly seemed to me to be what was happening here.'

Most certainly.

Not for the first time are we treated to an example of Kate McCann's clairvoyance. She obviously felt able to 'relax a little,' not solely on account of what she perceived to be an inexact science, but because she was able to discern a class of behaviour in Martin Grime's animals that Gerry, in his future research, hadn't identified yet.

Other mothers in such circumstances would be climbing the walls in desperation. Not Kate. Her account of the truth portrays her as having been cool, calm, collected and pre-cogniscent. Or maybe she was in a state of panic. Perhaps she'd looked into the future and seen both herself and her husband going to the dogs; before they'd considered the matter scientifically of course.

Seventeen Come Sunday, 01 October 2012
Seventeen Come Sunday

Praia da Luz beach


By Dr Martin Roberts
01 October 2012


"There could be two key bits of information that individually don't seem key but put together could give you some valuable information that could take you one step closer to finding Madeleine." (Kate McCann, 2010).

Seventeen Come Sunday is the title of an old English folk song and regular 'Proms' favourite. It's a simple statement. Looking forward toward a birthday event, it is as good an example as any of thinking ahead. Birthday celebrations are customarily planned in advance and, certainly when children are young, usually recorded for posterity. Madeleine McCann's disappearance was not such a happy eventuality, but Kate McCann has nevertheless seen to it that a record of the immediately preceding period exists. Hence we may read in her book ('Madeleine,' p.57):

"In the afternoon Gerry and I decided to take the children down to the beach. To be honest, I think they'd have been just as happy to go back to their clubs, but we wanted to do something slightly different with them, just the five of us."

And, two pages later:

"We dropped the kids off at their clubs for the last hour and a half, meeting up with them as usual for tea," (p.59).

The 'afternoon' in question was that of Tuesday, May 1st 2007.

So much for what was done, and why possibly no one else saw Madeleine early that afternoon, because she was in her parents' company outside the Ocean Club perimeter at the time.

Coincidentally, on the same page in her book, Kate McCann reinforces the importance of record keeping. As she tells us:

"Gerry and I would soon be painstakingly trying to extract from our brains every tiny incident, no matter how small, that might have been significant. Armed with notebook, pen and dated photographs, I would be challenging myself to piece together as comprehensive an outline of the sequence of events as I could."

During that fateful first week in May, the McCanns were on holiday. They had not signed up for a conference or sponsored training, hence their presence, and that of their children, at any venue, and at any particular time, was entirely optional. They were under no obligation to attend anywhere at all and could have spent the entire week in their apartment had they so wished. Kate's description of the spontaneous beach trip makes the situation perfectly clear. As for the Ocean Club 'nannies,' they could not have cared less if Madeleine McCann never appeared at the Kids' club at any stage. Their responsibility was guardianship of those actually present, not preoccupation with absentees. And it is in this context that we should consider the function of 'registers.'

In any school or kindergarten the register serves a two-fold purpose. Like an accounting 'day book' and journal combined, it shows who is present on the day and, by implication, who might need to be contacted in the event of emergency. It also serves as a vehicle for future analysis, when the benefit of good record keeping becomes abundantly clear, albeit in retrospect. While the Ocean Club junior staff needed to observe the first function, they would have had no interest at all in the second - a casual register kept in respect of an optional facility therefore.

Besides telling readers of 'Madeleine' what the family did that Tuesday afternoon, Kate's explanation of the beach trip tells of something that was not done. Madeleine did not join her young 'lobster' group friends at the Kids' club immediately after lunch. Whatever her innate charms or talents, she was physically incapable of being in two places at the same time. The same anecdote, embellished as it is with angst over the ice creams, tells us, inadvertently perhaps, of something else the McCanns did that afternoon - They deliberately falsified, personally or vicariously, entries in the Kids' club registers for the second period of the day.

There can be no doubt that is what happened, since Kate's 'account of the truth' explains with impeccable clarity how the whole family went to the beach that afternoon to do 'something slightly different;' in Madeleine's case different from – going to the beach, which is what 'lobster' group attendees at the Kids' club that afternoon were scheduled to do. Equally unmistakeable is the signature of one G McCann in the Kids' club register, alongside the name Madeleine, for 2.30 p.m. when, according to Kate she only made it for the last hour and a half (i.e., from 4.00 p.m.). The parents, by the way, are recorded as being at Tennis or the Pool. Meanwhile Kate was busy elsewhere signing in the twins at exactly the same time.

And yet the timing of Madeleine's afternoon arrival at, and later departure from, the kids' club that Tuesday afternoon (14.30 and 17.30 p.m. respectively) appears to receive confirmation from information archived in the case files and which derives in some measure from Ocean Club 'nanny' Catriona Baker's (aka 'Cat nanny') statement to Police (Catriona Baker, p.88 re: 01.05.07 in 12 Outros Apensos Vol. XII Annex 59), although itself not entirely consistent with the original crèche registers.

Such a small thing perhaps. Then again, so is nuclear fission.

No doubt the likes of that renowned 'source close to the McCanns' would bluster and 'pooh pooh' these observations. 'Nothing to them. The creche records are perfectly accurate. Kate merely got her days mixed up when re-telling the story. It's been several years don't forget.'

Perhaps it is the carefully constructed book which is in error and not the Ocean Club records after all. A serious problem for anyone engaged in maintaining a lie however is the obvious requirement to reproduce it faithfully. The deceiver has to be sure to tell the same lie - repeatedly. A sure-fire way of exposing oneself to an inevitable truth on the other hand is to tell a similar, additional lie, since this does not lessen the risk of detection but increases it. That is exactly what Kate McCann has done in 'Madeleine.'

Talking about May 3rd this time, she writes (p.66):

"Together we took Sean and Amelie back to the Toddler Club at around 2.40 p.m. and dropped Madeleine off with the Minis ten minutes later. Ella was already there...Having arranged for Gerry to meet the children, I opted to go for a run along the beach...I wondered whether Madeleine had been OK about staying behind at Mini Club when Russ or Jane had collected Ella.

"I had finished my run by five-thirty at the Tapas area, where I found Madeleine and the twins already having their tea with Gerry."

There is no ambiguity here. For Kate to meet up with the rest of her family at 5.30 p.m. at the Tapas Bar, husband Gerry (or someone else at the very least) must have collected all the children previously, Kate 'having arranged for Gerry to meet the children.' The minis register for May 3rd does indeed record Madeleine's arrival at 2.50 p.m., ten minutes after the twins were deposited and with Ella already there. But who signed Madeleine out again afterwards? Why, none other than Kate McCann - at 5.30 p.m. Exactly the moment when she tells readers of her chronicle that she encountered Madeleine elsewhere, already in the company of Gerry and the twins. And if anyone 'close to the McCanns' wishes to insist that Kate merely failed to clarify her own collection of Madeleine from the kids' club nearby, then perhaps they can also explain how she managed to pick the twins up five minutes before that, as her signature on the 'jellyfish' crèche register for May 3rd indicates.

The significance of these duplicitous accounts resides, as ever, in the question 'why?'

Attendance at venues/events was voluntary don't forget. So if a child would not be present at one or other crèche facility, for whatever reason, then no one would care over much (one less to worry about really). After all, any child could succumb to a mild illness and be back in a day or two. It certainly would not have been necessary to 'sign in' just so as to secure immediate leave of absence. In a nutshell, there would have been absolutely no point whatsoever, at the time, in recording the presence of a child who was in fact absent. As an entry in the 'day book' it was meaningless. In the journal however...

Since it is Kate McCann herself who appears intent on calling both parents' registration activities into question, one is obliged to face up to the contradictions and consider exactly what set of circumstances might have led either or both of them to lay a deliberately false trail. Given that spurious register entries will have served no present purpose, they could only make sense if they served a future one (see also: The Cerberus Problem, McCannfiles, 13 August 2011).

Kate has, on more than one occasion, coined the neologism 'findable' in respect of her missing daughter. Deliberate falsification of the Ocean club's crèche registers, not by any abductor but by the McCanns themselves, would suggest that prior to the evening of Thursday May 3rd 2007, the parents already knew Madeleine would not be seventeen come Sunday, but 'findable' by Friday.

It Never Rains..., 19 October 2012
It Never Rains...

Madeleine's 'Mini Club', immediately above the principal Ocean Club reception


By Dr Martin Roberts
19 October 2012


...But it pours. And if the heavens should open and God decides to 'pay a visit,' it's helpful to have an umbrella...ella...ella.

When it comes to 'treasure maps,' the challenge of puzzle solving, for the characters in the adventure story and the reader alike, is often to be found in the attribution of significance to otherwise inconspicuous details – the index finger of the long-dead mariner's beached skeleton pointing in a given direction, the abandoned noose left swaying gently on the makeshift gibbet of an overhanging shore-line palm, the unusual granite rock with embedded iron ring that behaves like an impromptu sun-dial – you know the sort of thing.

And so to accounts of the truth; one in particular, that reads less like a biography and more like a stenographer's record of a witness under cross-examination, with its insistent inclusion of the seemingly pointless (p.66).
"Together we took Sean and Amelie back to the Toddler Club at around 2.40 p.m. and dropped Madeleine off with the Minis ten minutes later. Ella was already there. Gerry and I had booked an hour-long couples' tennis lesson with the professional coach at three-thirty, and as the courts were unoccupied, we decided to have a knock-up for half an hour first. Near the end of our lesson, as I strove desperately to improve my substandard backhand, another guest appeared, and he and Gerry decided to have a game together.

"Having arranged for Gerry to meet the children, I opted to go for a run along the beach, where I spotted the rest of our holiday group. They saw me and shouted some words of encouragement. At least, I think that's what they were shouting! I remember feeling fleetingly disappointed that we hadn't known they were all heading for the beach, as it might have been nice to have joined them, especially for the kids. I wondered whether Madeleine had been OK about staying behind at Mini Club when Russ or Jane had collected Ella. I wasn't to know at that stage that in fact they had only just arrived when I ran by. It's hard work being a mum sometimes, fretting about the possible effects of the smallest of incidents on your children. I'm sure a lot of these worries are unfounded but it doesn't stop us having them, and we'll probably go on having them for the rest of our lives."
'Together we took Sean and Amelie back to the Toddler Club at around 2.40 p.m. and dropped Madeleine off with the Minis ten minutes later. Ella was already there.'

Who cares whether Ella was there or not? Ella, who is not mentioned in the previous paragraph but at the close of three beforehand, when she is spotted on the beach without Madeleine, was 'already there.' So what? And shortly thereafter the author 'wondered whether Madeleine had been OK about staying behind at Mini Club when Russ or Jane had collected Ella.' Why the accent on Ella? Could it be perhaps to reinforce the notion that Ella and Madeleine entered and left the Kids club at different times that day, i.e. that they did not do so together, and that there is nothing but friendship to link them?

Well, let's borrow another of this author's observations:

'One coincidence, two coincidences – maybe they're still coincidences. Any more than that and it stops being coincidence.'

And in that context, does it not seem just a touch odd that during the three days of 1 – 3 May, on two-thirds of those occasions (4 from 6) when the two children are both recorded as being at the Kids club for the same session, one or other parent (O'Brien or McCann) apparently fails to sign their child out again? Appearances can of course be deceptive, but the signature of 'Cat nanny' does not qualify as that of a parent (what else is a girl supposed to do if she wants to close the shop for lunch and she's run out of bodies to eject?). And Kate Healy, that 'different person' who, on the Wednesday afternoon, collected Madeleine on behalf of Kate McCann?

The oddities do not end there. On the morning of May 1 Russell O'Brien resides in room '5B' and thinks his daughter's name is Emma (visibly corrected to Ella in the register). 24 hours later and he is somewhat uncertainly resident in 'G5D' (a.m.) or is it '5D'? (p.m.). By May 3 he is sure it's the former. Perplexing isn't it?

Commentators elsewhere have opined on the difficulty of 'adjusting' registers after the event. The visible amendments, crossings out, selective 'rubbings' etc. would be fairly noticeable. Also, furtive attempts at 'shadowing' and absent person infiltration in the company of others is an endeavour likely to raise an eyebrow or two at the very least. Dispensing therefore with the unlikely, let's consider the entirely feasible.

Imagine four mutual friends (John, Paul, George and Ringo, say). John goes to the local nightclub one Saturday night and George, for whatever reason, wishes Ringo to believe that Paul is there too. So he approaches the bouncer toward the end of the evening and asks, 'Can I come in and speak to my mate Paul?' (registering the supposition that Paul is inside). Upon being given a response along the lines of 'Go forth and multiply!' George waits around until John finally emerges at the door. 'Hi John,' says George. 'Did you see Paul inside?' (not 'Was Paul inside?'). 'Nah!' grunts John. 'Oh well. I can't hang around for him all night. I'm off home.' So, as far as the bouncer and the eavesdropping Ringo are concerned, Paul was supposedly inside the club.

Now let's move to the carefree atmosphere of an easy-going day care centre at a holiday resort. Two parents accompanying the same child can only register the one without causing some obvious bewilderment. But any parent who arrives with a child in tow is likely to think nothing of another parent signing the register ahead of them, or after them come to that, on the supposition that their child is already inside. They are all on holiday after all, not busy playing I-spy. The register itself, given its format and style of completion, is more akin to a visitor's book than a register per se. Front-of-house staff at a Hotel or Conference reception have, already at their disposal, a list of paid for delegates/bookings. Their role at 'registration' is to put a face to the name, so to speak. Unless one were deliberately playing the role of impostor, there should be no one in attendance who, according to the register, ought not to be. A visitor's book on the other hand is a rather different matter; less rigorous and taken on trust.

And what might the perspective view be of those working on the inside? Obviously on the alert for any unauthorised removals, would they be just as aware of phantoms attempting to get in? Would they even notice at the end of day one if someone were signed in as Smith and out as Jones? Or day two? And if by some chance they spotted that something wasn't quite right on day three, would they link the anomaly to the sudden and unexpected outbreak of fire in hut 17 and the inexplicable disappearance of one of their former charges, with the accommodation's being burnt to the ground, yet no sign of any charred remains? It is a simple fact of life that our spontaneous view of things is very largely governed by their immediate, rather than broader, context (like the goldfish blissfully unaware that he is the one in a bowl of water).

But how is it possible to posit such a notion with regard to the still serious matter of events in Praia da Luz fully five years ago? The supervising nanny at the facility attended by Madeleine McCann was quite clear about the child's attendance that week. Indeed she was. But once we discover that, in common with the McCanns and their Tapas associates, she too appears to have been incapable, as early as 6 May (i.e., barely three days after Madeleine's 'disappearance') of giving a fully and verifiably accurate account of events. It would seem unwise to place too much faith in such statements therefore.

Whether or not an explanation as to why Cat Nanny was suddenly relocated and her destination kept secret at the request of the McCanns should ever be forthcoming, there is one thing at least that Cat Nanny Baker seems to have done for Madeleine. According to her rogatory statement of 18 April, 2008 she 'got to know Gerry and Kate McCann on 29 April 2007, in the minis club...' Previously she had 'written the children's bracelets which included their name, allergies and relevant information.'

So where was Madeleine's bracelet? Strangely, for someone who is said to have spent the majority of her daytimes under third-party supervision, she did not wear it on her right wrist for tennis on the Tuesday (or perhaps the Wednesday, depending on who genuinely took the photograph and when) nor her left when sitting around the pool after lunch (on the Thursday, for the sake of argument), both of which occasions were well after April 30, by which time the bracelets would have been issued. It's not the sort of thing one would remove just for a lunch-break, although she might have had it taken off for comfort overnight, in which case it will not have been 'abducted.' Perhaps those helpful child-minders routinely removed the bracelets at the end of the day. Even from those children who did not return for the afternoon session! As Cat Nanny again has pointed out, there were six other children present in the room with Madeleine at the Kids' club on the Thursday morning, but only four (including Madeleine) in the afternoon. Except the crèche register indicates that there were not six other children in the room besides Madeleine. Only five. Was someone unexpectedly missing perchance? Or were they simply hiding under an umbrella somewhere?

Catriona And The Waves, 21 October 2012
Catriona And The Waves

Catriona Baker


By Dr Martin Roberts
21 October 2012


The cooler waters of the Atlantic coastline with Iberia are beautifully clear in Summer, when, at low tide, shoals of small fish can be seen just beneath the surface. At the Portuguese corner of the peninsular however the ambience is murkier. Things are altogether less clear there. Clarity of understanding is fundamental to attainment of the 'helicopter view;' that ability, beloved of management scientists, to envision the 'broader picture,' and something which is not, for good or ill, in everyone's gift. It is an accomplishment requiring a cultivated imagination, as the eventual construct is, when all's said and done, the perceiver's entirely. So what is one to make of a children's nanny who, when questioned about her recent experience in the role, exhibits such remarkable recall and awareness as to suggest that she is (or at least was) grossly under-employed?

As an initial 'for instance' we may take the psychological phenomena of 'recency' in memory and failures in recall over time, both tested scientifically (Sandra) and manifest in common experience. When our subject nanny was asked about diurnal events three days previously she had very little to say about them. When asked for those same recollections a year later she was able to provide considerably more detail. Odd that.

It appears at first blush that this was no ordinary nanny. But like the magical chess-playing mannequin of yore there was, in all likelihood, a measure of, shall we say, informative intervention, for in-between her first and second attempts at recall she paid a visit to a soothsayer, who had rather more details of the fateful day at their disposal. 'Never mind that. Can she think 'outside the box?' What's her 'summative overview?''

Basically this:
'On Thursday the 3rd of May 2007, I remember Gerry having accompanied Madeleine to the club between 9h15 and 9h20 in the morning. I do not remember who came to pick her up for lunch but after she returned in the afternoon for a dive/swim. These activities were realized with the other children. On this day I remember that we sailed and I saw friends of the McCanns on the beach, David and Jane. Around 14h45 Madeleine returned to the Minis Club on top of the reception but I do not remember who accompanied her. This afternoon we went swimming. Kate went to get Madeleine from the Tapas Bar area and according to what I remember she was wearing sporting clothes and I assumed that she was practicing some form of athletics. It was around 15h25/18h00. I think that Gerry was playing tennis.'
We'll come to the 'helicopter' in a while. First let's check out the launch pad.

'On Thursday the 3rd of May 2007, I remember Gerry having accompanied Madeleine to the club between 9h15 and 9h20 in the morning.'

The tense is wrong. The statement is literally describing the recollection of an activity prior to 3 May, as though what she recalls now is what she recalled then, and on that date precisely.

'I do not remember who came to pick her up for lunch but after she returned in the afternoon for a dive/swim. These activities were realized with the other children. On this day I remember that we sailed and I saw friends of the McCanns on the beach, David and Jane.'

The order of events is inverted. Despite serial ordered recall being the more demanding task, most people have no difficulty in dissociating morning from afternoon, together with associated events. Although you might not think so to read this, the afternoon 'dive/swim' (which took place at the pool) was preceded by the sailing and greeting at the beach, which occurred in the morning.

'Around 14h45 Madeleine returned to the Minis Club on top of the reception but I do not remember who accompanied her. This afternoon we went swimming.'

To be clear, Madeleine returned to the Minis Club from the beach and, if she were among the 'we,' went swimming in the pool in the afternoon.

Boarding the helicopter

'Kate went to get Madeleine from the Tapas Bar area and according to what I remember she was wearing sporting clothes and I assumed that she was practicing some form of athletics. It was around 15h25/18h00. I think that Gerry was playing tennis.'

In isolation this statement appears perfectly straightforward, apart perhaps from the extraordinarily imprecise interval of time. But there is another perspective viewpoint, on these details specifically, which obliges us to examine the statement more closely. That perspective is Kate McCann's ('Madeleine,' p.66):

"Together we took Sean and Amelie back to the Toddler Club at around 2.40 p.m. and dropped Madeleine off with the Minis ten minutes later. Ella was already there. Gerry and I had booked an hour-long couples' tennis lesson with the professional coach at three-thirty, and as the courts were unoccupied, we decided to have a knock-up for half an hour first. Near the end of our lesson, as I strove to improve my substandard backhand, another guest appeared, and he and Gerry decided to have a game together.

"Having arranged for Gerry to meet the children, I opted to go for a run along the beach, where I spotted the rest of our holiday group...I wondered whether Madeleine had been OK about staying behind at Mini Club when Russ or Jane had collected Ella.

"I had finished my run by five-thirty at the Tapas area, where I found Madeleine and the twins already having their tea with Gerry."

Now then, at some time between 3.30 and 6.00 p.m., according to super-nanny, 'Kate went to get Madeleine from the Tapas Bar area.' So where, exactly, was our observant witness positioned when she saw Kate, who was 'wearing sporting clothes,' make her way toward the Tapas Bar area? The question is not quite as simple as it appears, and the reason is this: 'Cat Nanny' signed Ella O'Brien out of the Kids' club at 4.30 p.m., the very time when the McCanns would conclude their tennis lesson. Kate left the court 'near the end' of the lesson, not to 'get Madeleine from the Tapas Bar area' but to 'go for a run along the beach.' It is highly unlikely therefore that 'Cat Nanny' Baker was in the vicinity of the tennis courts to witness Kate's departure therefrom. Had she been she would not have had to make any assumptions as to the purpose of Kate's 'athletic clothes' and would have been in no doubt as to whether or not Gerry was playing tennis.

Kate, wearing sporting clothes, must have been seen going to get Madeleine from the Tapas Bar area ('Kate went to get Madeleine') from somewhere other than the tennis courts therefore. Perhaps the reference is to what Kate did on leaving the beach at around 5.30. It is Kate's signature on the crèche register after all (although Kate claims in her book that all the McCann children were already with Gerry by the time she arrived at the Tapas Bar area).

OK, what was 'Cat Nanny' doing on the beach at 5.30? After lunch that afternoon she would have been with the children at the pool. At 4.30 p.m. she was present at the club to sign them out. And since Ella O'Brien's was an unusually early departure, she will have remained to supervise those three children who had yet to leave – Madeleine McCann among them. They must have been at the club by then, as Kate had 'wondered whether Madeleine had been OK about staying behind at Mini Club when Russ or Jane had collected Ella.' And 'Cat Nanny' must have been there to 'hand them over' at 5.30, in which case she will have been rather more aware of Kate McCann's coming than going.

If Cat Nanny was not at the tennis courts to observe Kate's movements, she was not at the beach an hour later to see Kate leave for the Tapas Bar area either. So how can she describe Kate as 'going' to get Madeleine? 'Getting Madeleine' must be regarded as an assumption in any case, unless Kate had announced her intentions to her personally. And yet 'Cat Nanny' is perfectly at ease giving a first-person account of what she herself apparently witnessed.

We have take off

The witnesses 'positivity,' despite not being present at either end of Kate McCann's trajectory in the late afternoon of May 3rd suggests that she has an overarching 'helicopter' view of the situation. However, without being an extraordinary visionary, the only way she can have acquired such a perspective is from someone else. And having been given that perspective it will not have been formed in her mind as a product of perception but of imagination. There is a world of difference between 'according to what I remember' and 'according to what I remember being told.' Does anyone even say, 'according to what I remember?' 'As I recall' is the stock phrase. Accordances are at one remove.

In sum therefore we have an important witness to events preceding the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, whose initial recollection of significant details appears defective. Madeleine's schedule of attendance at the crèche, as represented verbally by her to police, is not that described by corresponding entries in the register. Within three days of the child's disappearance she fails to advance any detail with respect to the Thursday itself, supporting the instinctive interpretation of possibly the most significant thing she did say about that day - that until Thursday May 3rd, the little girl came every day. Almost a year later and with a domestic visit to the McCanns in the interim, her memory of the relevant Thursday improves to the point where she can describe Kate McCann's actions, motivations and dress code without being in a position personally to observe or appreciate any of these things (unless she 'copped a peek' at Kate's running shorts when handing Madeleine over to Gerry, who left it up to Kate to sign the register without collecting anyone at all).

In the final analysis the only 'helicopter' Catriona Baker will have known anything about would have been one that air-lifted her out of Portugal and transported her across the waves to a secret destination known only to her employers – and the McCanns.

With thanks to Nigel at McCann Files


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