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    

Channel 4 Dispatches: 'Searching for Madeleine' *

The view of the McCanns' apartment from Casa Liliana
The view of the McCanns' apartment from Casa Liliana

'Searching for Madeleine' - Dispatches Channel 4 documentary broadcast on 18 October 2007 at 09:00pm

'Clueless', 09 May 2007
'Clueless' Daily Mirror (paper edition)

Daily Mirror, front page, 09 May 2007

Matt Tapp (Police Media Advisor): If you look at the Washington Sniper case - on day 10 of that inquiry, the Washington Post's headline was 'Clueless'. If you look at the Soham investigation, on day 10, the headline in at least three tabloid newspapers in the UK was 'Not One Clue'. On day 6 of this inquiry, there is at least one headline in a UK paper that said 'Clueless'. That builds tremendous pressure and in the midst of all of that is a little girl who's gone missing. And the little girl who's gone missing is almost a forgotten story. The big story is the incompetence of the investigation.

Photograph of the McCanns' apartment, taken from their position at the Tapas restaurant, 04 May 2007

Photograph of the McCanns' apartment, taken from their position at the Tapas restaurant
Photograph of the McCanns' apartment, taken from their position at the Tapas restaurant

Photograph of the McCanns' apartment, taken from their position at the Tapas restaurant
Photograph of the McCanns' apartment, taken from their position at the Tapas restaurant (detail)

The photograph above was taken by local journalist Len Port the day after Madeleine had been reported missing. It should be noted that, at the time, it was dark and the McCanns and their holiday companions were seated behind a protective weather sheet that would also have significantly reduced visibility.

'Searching for Madeleine' Dispatches documentary

Searching for Madeleine: A Dispatches Special, 18 October 2007
Searching for Madeleine: A Dispatches Special filmsofrecord
TX: 18th October 2007, 9pm on Channel 4
On May 3 this year, Madeleine McCann went missing. That is one of the very few facts in what has become the news story of 2007. Her parents Kate and Gerry have gone from victims of a terrible tragedy to suspects in the disappearance of their own child.
What has really happened in the 168 days since Madeleine was last seen?
Dispatches sent a team of five of the UK's best-qualified investigators to Praia da Luz. Led by retired Detective Chief Superintendent Chris Stevenson, who headed the Soham investigation into the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in 2002, their goal is to review the Portuguese police investigation.
The investigators analyse the key moments in the near six-month investigation. With expertise in forensics, searching, profiling and media management, learned in dozens of UK cases, the team detail how they would have responded to Madeleine's disappearance and gone about finding her. With testimony from observers who witnessed events in the crucial early days, they differentiate between the fact and the wildly speculative media fiction.
Producer Director: Jane Eames
Assistant Producer: Alison Ramsay
Photography: David Niblock
Sound: Doug Dreger
Edited by Michael Dixon, Brian Hovmand
Production Manager: Gilly Sykes
Producer: Tom Tanner
Executive Producer: Roger Graef
Executive Producer for Channel 4: Ed Braman


Channel 4: Dispatches 'Searching For Madeleine' Transcript
Channel 4: Dispatches 'Searching For Madeleine' Transcript: 
Thanks to 'kizzy' for transcription
JS = Juliet Stevenson (Narrator)

CS = Chris Stevenson (former Detective Chief Superintendent, Cambridgeshire Police)
DB = David Barclay (Former Head of Physical Evidence UK National Crime and Operations Faculty)
DC = David Canter (Director, Centre for Investigative Psychology, University of Liverpool)
GL = Gary Ligg (Former Senior Search Adviser, West Yorkshire Police)
MT = Matt Tapp (Police Media Adviser)

CP = Charlotte Pennington (Mark Warner Nanny)
DH = David Hughes
GE = Guilhermino da Encarnação (Chief investigating officer)
GM = Gerry McCann (father of Madeleine)
KG = Voice of Kate Garraway (presenter - GMTV)
KM = Kate McCann (mother of Madeleine)
LP = Len Port (local journalist)
JR = Voice of Jill Renwick (family friend)
JN = Journalist (unknown)
JW = June Wright (Luz resident)
MK = Matt King (Luz Resident)
OS = Olegário de Sousa (Spokesperson for the PJ)
TV = voice-over on television

Red writing indicates text that appeared on screen.

JS: On May 3rd, 2007, 3 year old Madeleine McCann went missing.
GM: Please, if you have Madeleine, let her come home...
JS: 168 days later, that is the only undisputable fact about this extraordinary case.
OS: I have no facts to sustain whether the child is alive or dead...
JS: Tonight, Dispatches sends 5 leading criminal investigators to Portugal.
CS: If we got two thumb marks then that would have to be an investigative priority...
JS: Their brief to bring 134 years of experience to the search for Madeleine. The Portuguese village of Praia da Luz is a quiet holiday resort, but for the last 6 months it has been at the centre of an intense police investigation and a frenzy of media speculation. Dispatches team of criminal experts arrives in Luz intending to shed fresh light on what might have happened to 3 years old Madeleine McCann in a case that has dominated the headlines.
[Chris Stevenson (former Detective Chief Superintendent, Cambridgeshire Police)
Professor David Canter (Director, Centre for Investigative Psychology, University of Liverpool)
Gary Ligg (Former Senior Search Adviser, West Yorkshire Police)
Matt Tapp (Police Media Adviser)
David Barclay (Former Head of Physical Evidence UK National Crime and Operations Faculty)]
CS: What we're looking to do is what we would have done had this been reported in the UK.
DC: I would really want to know an awful lot about the typical patterns of activity of the families involved.
DB: What you're talking about is: Did she leave on her own? Was she taken by somebody else? Or was it none of the above?
JS: Portuguese secrecy laws prevent the police from revealing any details about the investigation. Using information in the public domain and from their own expert observations, our team will analyse what could have happened to Madeleine.
[DAY 1 LAST PHOTO May 3rd 2.29pm]
The last photograph of Madeleine McCann was taken by her mother, Kate, at the pool of the Mark Warner Ocean Club where they were staying with friends.
[Charlotte Pennington Mark Warner Nanny]
CP: They were a very social group and they seemed all to be really respectful, nice, loving parents. Madeleine, I found out to be quite bright... errm, quite shy... errm, very sweet, very beautiful girl. On May the third, it was just Madeleine I was reading a story to. I later saw them around lunchtime. That's the last time I saw them together as a family.
[DAY 1 CHILDREN PUT TO BED May 3rd 7.00pm]
JS: The McCann's say that they put their children to bed at 7pm. It has been reported that Madeleine shared her room with her younger sister and brother.
[McCANNS GO TO DINNER May 3rd 8.30pm]
At 8.30, Kate McCann and her husband, Gerry, joined friends for dinner at the Ocean Club Tapas Bar. Between 9.05 and 9.30 Gerry McCann and two friends checked the children 150 metres walk away. At 10'clock, it was Kate McCann's turn to check on the children.
CP: I was working that night at something called 'Drop-in Creche'. We had one child left and... errm, the mother came in, picked up the child and just mentioned 'Hang on a minute, I've just seen a guy who's run past me, who seemed really distressed and I recognised him as being a guest at Mark Warner, but he was shouting out something like 'Maddie' or 'Abbey' or 'Gabby'.
[DAY 1 LOST CHILD PROCEDURE May 3rd 10.10pm]
JS: Mark Warner staff were briefed and fanned out across the resort.
CP: I went straight to the apartment. I sort of walked in, did a quick scan around and been told 'No, no. She's not here, she's not here'. Kate McCann was outside and she was very distressed. She was saying things like 'They've taken her' and 'She's gone' and, you know, 'Where is she? Where is she?' She was crying and there were tears down her face and it was absolutely heartbreaking to see.
[DAY 1 POLICE CALLED May 3rd 10,30pm]
JW: I arrived at the Ocean Club reception at around about ten to eleven. And at the time that we arrived a police car arrived and, as the police officer got out, a man approached him, who I now know is Gerry McCann,
[June Wright Luz resident]
and said that his daughter had been abducted; that there was no way that she could have opened the shutters herself; she'd definitely been taken.
CS: We started with three hypotheses: that Maddy had wandered off; that she had been taken by...
JS: Based on the few details that have emerged from witnesses, and on their own years of investigative experience, Dispatches' team of experts apply British police procedure to develop a strategy for their review.
CS: It really reinforces to me to get the full background...
JS: The team is led by Chris Stevenson, a former Detective Chief Superintendent. Among his thirty murder cases he ran the investigation in to the Soham murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.
CS: ...and make sure that we've got that all totally and clearly documented.
CS: (to camera) It's very much a case of gathering as much information as quickly as you can so that you can develop which of the hypotheses is the most likely.
DC: ...and I think that when you can get that framework, you can begin to see the various possibilities...
JS: Forensic psychologist, Professor David Canter has compiled offender profiles in 150 serious criminal investigations including abductions and murders.
DC: (to camera) There seems to me to be a range of possibilities from, on the one hand, the child just wandered off. In other words, the child is the cause of the disappearance, right the way through to the other extreme where it's some organised network of criminals who've come in from somewhere else looking for an opportunity and have taken the child away.
JS: Based on DC's model, they resolve that there are three clear possibilities:
- that Madeleine wandered off on her own and got lost
- that she was abducted
- or that something happened to her which may have involved her family.
They start by looking at the first hypothesis: that Madeleine woke up and walked off by herself.
DC: ...for instance we need to know what the pattern of behaviour is, of Madeleine. Did she wander at all? Was she likely to wake up at night? If she did wake up, did she know her way to the pool? Could she find it on her own? Would she have gone looking for her parents?
JS: The team visit the McCann's apartment in conditions similar to the night that Madeleine disappeared. First they explore how she could have got out of the apartment. Madeleine's bedroom window faced the car park at the back of the apartment next to the main door. Reports indicate that, according to the McCanns, the shutters were closed and the door locked. The more likely exit route is through the patio doors on the side of the apartment facing the resort pool. It has been widely reported that these doors were closed but had been left unlocked. The team explore the route she could have taken had she left this way. The apartment is situated at a corner of two roads. From the patio door, steps lead directly out onto the street. Former police search adviser, Gary Ligg, believes it's most likely she would have headed downhill towards the Ocean Club reception to the pool area and Tapas Bar.
DB: There's quite a slope on this road.
GL: Yes. And it takes you past the reception area if she's walking. We've a tendency to walk downhill. If she's looking for her mum and dad, she may have an inkling or some knowledge that they're in here because this is where they went.
CS: If she's coming down here, this is the first area of welcoming light.
GL: It is.
CS: So a disorientated child would probably tend to home in on that.
JS: Gary Ligg has devised search plans for over 100 serious criminal investigations. In this case he would immediately advise a wider search of the area.
GL: (to camera) if she is lost and she's a lot warmer than the ambient temperature around, we're gonna use a helicopter with a forward-looking infra-red.
DC: But why would a child wander off? A child would go to find her parents. That's what she'd do, and she must know where the pool is.
GL: Are you going to dismiss the possibility that she's wandered off at this early stage?
CS: We can't do that David. We've got to look at that as a possibility and that has to be a priority, however unlikely a scenario that is.
[DAY 1 SEARCH WIDENS May 3rd Midnight]
JS: 2 hours after Madeleine was reported missing, the volunteers started to look further afield for any sign of her.
JW: Everybody that was in the village was out and they did a complete sweep of the beach and all up the rocks and all up the backs of the houses.
[Matt King Luz resident]
MK: You could hear from one end of Luz to the other end of Luz people should out Madeleine's name.
CP: Everyone was sort of on automatic rather than talking to each other.
MK: If it was quiet at one end you could hear the others shouting at the other end of Luz, or in every little alley way going around Luz.
JW: I kept thinking deep inside that she's gonna be found.
JS: Volunteers and Mark Warner staff continued searching into the early hours of the morning.
CP: It was sort of like weird not finding her. This has never happened. We've always found the child.
MK: As the night went on, it got colder and later and later. Everybody started realising that this isn't going to be as good an outcome as what we were hoping.
CP: It got really more, more and more 'Where is she?' and you'd walk past people and they had tears streaming down their face.
JW: The police arrived with police dogs and it was very late then so I don't think there was anything else that night that we could really do.
MK: Something was seriously wrong.
JS: At 4.30 am, the volunteers reluctantly abandoned their search for the night.
CS: If Madeleine had wandered off, I would definitely have expected her to have been found by a member of the public. There are a lot of other apartments over-looking the street and the exit from the apartment down the stairs, and you would have expected someone to see a small child and I would have thought, intervened.
JS: Dispatches' team of experts have tested one theory: That Madeleine wandered off on her own. Next, they look at the possibility that she might have been abducted and uncover some worrying leads.
JS: In the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz, five criminal experts, commissioned by Dispatches, are reviewing the mysterious disappearance 168 days ago of Madeleine McCann.
GL: But this time we are not talking about her wandering around, we're talking about the open ground.
JS: Within ten hours, Madeleine's story was already causing ripples around the world.
[DAY 2 THE NEWS BREAKS May 4th 7.45am]
KG: We've got some more breaking news for you this morning. A very serious story is developing and is coming through...
JS: News of Madeleine's disappearance reached the British media by 7.45 the following morning
KG: ...and it is thought that she MAY have been abducted.
[Jill Renwick family friend]
JR: ...the shutters had been broken open and they've gone into the room and taken her.
JS: From the moment that Madeleine was reported missing, Kate and Gerry McCann have been adamant that she was taken.
DC: The thing about a car is you are moving more towards this end (points to ORGANISED GROUP on the following diagram)
< -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- >

It's surprising how many offenders, in all sorts of...
JS: Having considered it unlikely that Madeleine wandered off by herself, the team of experts now look at whether abduction could indeed be a possibility.
CS: You can't rule out the possibility that this was a chance abduction and somebody happened to stumble across her. You can't rule out the possibility that somebody had targeted her having watched what happened on previous nights and setting in place a plan to remove that child for whatever reason.
CS: So the Tapas bar is over that sort of orangey-yellow roofed building, just round there.
JS: The team want to see just how possible it would have been to abduct Madeleine. How could someone get into her bedroom unnoticed? How could they avoid being caught while people were checking on the children? And how could they get away unseen if her parents were watching the apartment from the restaurant?
GL: To be sure of the line of sight is to either stand at the Tapas Bar or at the doors, because of the elevation of the doors? So where's the reception?
CS: Here, this is it.
JS: They head for the Tapas bar to find out just what the McCann's could see of their apartment from their dinner table. To reach it, you must go through the Ocean Club reception.
CS: Hello there, I'm an ex-detective from England... (comes out again) ...We're not guests. They won't allow us to.
JS: Our team were not allowed into the Ocean Club, but local journalist, Len Port, did get in the day after Madeleine disappeared. His photographs show what the McCanns and their group could see of the apartment from their table.
LP: This picture here shows the scene from the Tapas bar. It is more or less from the table they were sitting at.
CS: You can't see below half way down the door that they left insecure. And you can't see the steps up there at all.
DB: No, not at all.
CS: So, somebody being wary could quite easily enter and leave.
DB: And depending on where you were with these umbrellas, you see even less 'cause they stick up over the top of the fence.
JS: Professor Dave Barclay is a leading international forensic scientist. He developed best practice in the UK. As well as the Omagh bombing, he's advised in 225 cold case murders in the last 6 years. From the photos he concludes the McCanns would not have been able to see an intruder from their restaurant table. But would an intruder have avoided being spotted by one of Madeleine's parents or their friends on their regular visits to Madeleine's bedroom?
DB: It would be easy for someone to get in and out of there without arousing any attention.
CS: And with the insecurity, we know that the time required to go in there, remove a child... you could be in and out in less than a minute.
DB: Yes
CS: Providing you'd done the necessary amount of pre-planning.
Shall we just walk around and have a look and see what we can see from the road here.
JS: The team re-visit the apartment to see how much planning an abductor would have needed in order to get in unseen. They start in the car park at the back of the apartment. It has been widely reported that, according to the McCanns, the back door was locked and the shutters of the children's bedroom were closed. If they had to force entry, could an offender get in that way unseen?
DB: If you were a burglar you could just pass over that wall and you're actually quite capable of getting in by the window.
GL: That's right. Anyone could fix that.
(Mumbles amongst the team, camera pans to other apartments)
GL: It's all overlooked.
?: It IS all over-looked.
?: You wouldn't target that.
?: No.
GL: That window and that shutter, when they left the property, was secured. The front sliding windows were open and next to the front sliding windows is a gate to the street.
JS: Search expert Gary Ligg thinks the much more likely entry point is on the side of the apartment facing the resort. Here there are sliding patio doors which were closed but left unlocked according to all the reports. The patio steps lead directly to the road.
DB: If anyone can get in there through the sliding windows, why bother to go through the shutters in the first place?
GL: Have a look here. It defies any logic that somebody would use the rear entrance or exit when this is so secluded and already insecure.
DB: That little gate, which doesn't seem to have any lock on it, goes straight onto the road.
CS: Yes.
JS: Given the ease of entry and the seclusion of the pool side of the apartment, the team begin to see abduction as a real possibility.
DC: ...if they were going to look/check on another child, where exactly was it...
JS: The media quickly accepted the abduction theory as the most likely explanation of what had happened to Madeleine.
GM: Please, if you have Madeleine, let her come home to her mummy, daddy, brother and sister.
JS: Having looked closely at the location and possible ways an abductor could get in, the team returned to the apartment at night to look at how a person might use the dark to escape unnoticed.
DB: Is that where the alley comes in?
JS: While the bedroom side of the apartment is well lit, the steps leading to the patio doors are in darkness.
DB: There's lots of light round that side and, erm, if you look in there, there's shadows all the way up and it's easy to sneak out of this gate as well.
JS: The team focus on the alley way along the pool side of the apartment block. Team leader, Chris Stevenson, thinks it's an obvious escape route.
CS: With this alley way here, because it is out of synch of that street light, it is quite dark isn't it?
DB: Yes. Once you are in here, or you've jumped over that wall, I don't think anyone would see you. They certainly couldn't see you from the Tapas Bar.
JS: Half way down this alley way they discover there's another one which runs between the two apartment blocks and onto the car park.
CS: The only way, if you go down that alley way, of leaving is through the car park because to go straight on is a dead end. There's no other exit route. If you've got a car for instance parked in the back car park, you're actually better off going out this way, through between the two blocks of flats and onto the car. Whereas to go that way (points left out of the gate) you're very much more subject to be seen aren't you?
DB: You are.
JS: The team pose another question. If spotted, would an intruder raise suspicions?
GL: There was a report of somebody walking away from this area with a child wrapped in a blanket.
DB: You then become a tourist then don't you... holding a child that's sleepy.
DC: (Pointing to a map of Praia da Luz) It has some very distinctive localities in it and it wouldn't be...
JS: As the experts begin to think that an abduction is practical for someone with local knowledge of the area, forensic psychologist David Canter outlines what kind of person might target Madeleine.
DC: We haven't really talked about the victimology about a 4 year old girl being abducted. It's not a young baby that would be more typically taken by a woman who's looking for some sort of substitute or replacement child. It's not a teenager or a pubescent young girl that really can be abducted in relation to very obvious sexual activities. It is a much more ambiguous area, possibly more towards the end of somebody who's a bit disturbed, a bit confused who would take a child that they saw the opportunity to take.
DC: (to camera) There are people, very few and very rare, but there are individuals who have some sort of sexual obsession and can even get an obsession with a particular child or a child that has a particular look about her and that seems to me to be a possibility within that framework of somebody who's around that area who saw her and really became obsessed with the need to take her.
DC: (to team meeting) Those people who abduct children around that sort of age, very typically will release them after a while but my concern is that, that individual would be totally shocked and over-awed by hundreds of journalists being all over the place.
JS: If this was the case it would change the nature of the search.
GE: (at an impromptu press conference - translated through voice-over) At this moment, I can confirm to you that this was an abduction but we believe the girl is still alive and well.
JS: In the following days, police and volunteers widened their search to the outlying areas of PDL.
MK: We were literally searching everywhere and were having to look in drainage holes. You'd have to be looking in the wells and in the ruins. You knew you could have been looking for something not very nice.
JS: With the volunteers operating on their own and without a brief of what to look for, their effectiveness was limited. Although the volunteers searched the beach on the night, Gary Ligg is concerned that it wasn't followed by a more thorough police search.
GL: If you look down into this area, it's pitch black out there. There's nooks and crannies and hidey holes. You can't rely that that area's clear. It's got to be re-searched.
JS: Gary Ligg and Chris Stevenson soon find other places which should automatically have been searched.
GL: (looking into drainage tunnel) There's about eight to ten of these things. Now if they're all like this... that's clear visually for as far as we can see which is what? Thirty yards? But then this is the out-run. Are the drains this big underneath the entire village under those manholes?
CS: You would always have to be looking at the possibility that this child may have been the victim of a crime, may be dead and therefore, the possibility of what we call a body deposition site is something that you'd have to bear in mind with the searches that are conducted.
JS: Just outside the resort of Praia da Luz, the landscape takes on a completely different look and in day-light, Gary Ligg finds yet more potential hiding places.
GL: (looking at dilapidated buildings) Course, we are talking about something that's been hidden. We are going to get down to the shell of the building and get everything else out.
JS: In the dry countryside around Luz, there are hundreds of wells - a perfect place to hide evidence, and another challenge for skilled searchers.
GL: (looking down a well) And having looked in it there, I can see the reflection on the surface of the water. I can see there's nothing there in that well above the surface of the water. I can't see under the lid of course, But we've got water. We've no idea how deep it is. By coincidence you've got water and a confined space and I've got people that are dual trained in both.
JS: Back in town, our team discover another intriguing hiding place. They spot large industrial bins all over the resort.
DB: (to camera) There have been cases in the UK where bodies have been disposed of in wheelie bins and then taken directly to refuse tips and dumped there in the hope that they would be covered up.
CP: We were told to search everywhere, including the bins and in Praia da Luz they're quite big and scary-looking. Although I saw police searching, I personally didn't see police looking in the bins like we did. But I don't think we looked in every bin.
GL: There's a world of difference to looking in a refuse bin and tipping it on its side, emptying it all out, looking in every bag and re-filling it. When you've done that then you can say there's no pyjamas, there's no body in there.
JS: Dispatches has learnt that the bins are emptied nightly between midnight and 4am. And even though a major search for a missing child was going on, they were still emptied on the night Madeleine disappeared. Since the collections were not stopped, there's another area Gary Ligg knows needs prompt attention but it's thirty kilometres away.
GL: We need to find out where the land-fill site is; talk to the authorities, find out where it went and try to identify which area of the land fill these particular bins were emptied.
CS: (to camera) Ideally you would secure all of the bins in the immediate area and make sure that the local authority don't dispose of any of the contents until the search team have had the opportunity to check them all.
JS: We asked the Portuguese police whether the bins and local landfill had been searched. They chose not to comment.
OS: I have no facts to sustain whether the child is alive or not. We are searching for the child and until the moment she appears we can say nothing more.
KM: Please, please do not hurt her. Please don't scare her. Please tell us where to find her.
OS: The Guarda Nacional Republicana inform that the searches are coming to an end.
DB: We just don't know what has happened because we haven't got the hard physical evidence. I think we can realise that the two ends of the spectrum are now vanishingly small. That she wandered off by herself and is alive and well somewhere, or that some organised gang took her. It's a strange place for them to take a child from. But we don't know whether she met some harm within the immediate family circle either accidentally or deliberate or whether somebody in the area did break in through either the child's bedroom window or the sliding doors and took her. It would be a really bizarre and strange crime if that took place but bizarre and strange crimes do happen.
DC: We know from very many studies that, if the family's not involved in the disappearance of a child, then it's very likely indeed that it's somebody relatively local. Somebody who's seen the child before, who knows the local situation, who knows the possibilities for getting in and getting out; away with a child. So, to my mind, that's the most likely possibility.
JS: The team have considered whether Madeleine wandered off and they take seriously the possibility of abduction.
CS: (at the alley way) ...because to go straight on is a dead end. There's no other exit.
JS: Next, they explore the theory an abductor could have been close to home.
JS: Five experts commissioned by Dispatches are in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz applying their 134 years of criminal experience to the case of Madeleine McCann.
DC: At that time of night the shops would be open wouldn't they? You'd have more than one sighting...
JS: Having dismissed the theory that Madeleine could have wandered off and looked at the possibility that she had been abducted by an outsider, they would now consider whether someone closer to home was involved in her disappearance. Forensic psychologist, David Canter, argues that, statistically, this is the most likely theory.
DC: It's surprising how many offenders, in all sorts of serious offences, are very local.
(to camera) The most important aspect of a local individual abducting Madeleine would be that they would be familiar with the locality and that they were aware that she was there; and that they saw the opportunity created by the fact that the parents weren't with Madeleine all of the time. There could be an almost impulsive possibility about it. What you find with some of these offenders is thatthey have a whole notion of all the circumstances coming together to allow them to abduct the child. And they would be alert to all the possibilities and suddenly decide 'Now's the time to go for it'. And then they would make their move.
(to team meeting) It seems to me the local offender is a real possibility just because of the locality.
DB: I'd want to know if he's effectively stalked the house; knowing that Madeleine's in there.
DC: It could be somebody who'd been wandering around looking out...
DB: Looking for an opportunity...
DC: Yes, exactly. Looking for opportunities; who became aware of the opportunity. But the really interesting thing there is how did he become aware of the opportunity?
DB: How would you know there was a small child in there who was your target? It must be that you've done some sort of pre-planning.
DC: Which makes you local in some ways. It makes you around the place at least 24 hours, possibly for a much longer period, around and known in the area.
CS: (to camera) You've got to add to this equation the fact that the family were on holiday and had only been in the area for a few days. If an offender was targeting Madeleine as a victim, then they only had a few days to prepare. It could well be though that because those apartments are regularly occupied by families that the offender would know that somewhere in there was a child in the age range and of the type that he was looking for.
JS: Nearly 2 weeks in the inquiry, Portuguese police also started focussing on a local suspect.
ITV: In these ITV News pictures Robert Murat can be seen chatting to police officers.
JS Eleven days after Madeleine's disappearance, police called in local resident Rober Murat. They searched his house.
The next day, he is formally declared an arguido - an official suspect.
OS: ...a 33 year old male, living in the area of the events, was named as a formal suspect.
JS: Robert Murat lives near the McCann's apartment. Our experts went to his house to consider the reasons the police may have targeted him as a suspect. Could he fit their local offender theory? Did he have the opportunity or access? Had he been seen behaving suspiciously?
CS: This guy is an English-speaking, bi-lingual individual who, to all intents and purposes, offered assistance when he found out that there was a missing girl. So was there something that we're not aware of that led the police to declare him a suspect?
JS: On the night Madeleine disappeared, Robert Murat said he was at home with his mother, but there were challenges to his alibi.
CS: There are two potential sightings where members of the party say they saw Murat at the club.
JS: Living so nearby, he was often seen near the apartment and there was speculation that he could have been stalking the family. But David Canter has another explanation.
DC: For him, the nearest coffee bar for him takes him past the apartment. If he's going to go to the supermarket which is the only major shopping nearby, he's got to go past that apartment. So he's gonna be in this area.
JS: CS wonders if Murat could have tracked the family's movements from his house.
CS: Some of the media have made and issue about the line of sight from Robert Murat's house to the apartment.
JS: Search expert, Gary Ligg, isn't convinced.
GL: Chris. From here you can see the apartment and a couple of windows but that's all.
CS: But you can only just see part of the...
GL: Part of the window.
CS: From... the lounge window and part of the kitchen window on the left-hand side.
GL: And the entrance patio. You can't see the back door.
CS: No
JS: The team conclude the evidence against Robert Murat is thin. He became a victim of the media pressure. Chris Stevenson notes similarities with the Soham case where Ian Huntley also hung around the investigation.
CS: (to camera) It may well be that ten to twelve days into the investigation there was an element of desperation. And this individual was being identified as someone that lived in the area; had come forward to help and close, tenuous links to Huntley's behaviour led to him being identified and the police feeling obliged, almost, to actually treat him as a suspect and investigate accordingly.
MT: The tabloid media's perspective of what was happening here was very much that that man is getting an inside-track on the investigation because he's offered himself as an interpreter. And therefore...
JS: Matt Tapp is a Police Media Advisor. He handled the press for the Soham case. In the absence of a structured strategy, he knows the media will fill the vacuum with unhelpful speculation that can seriously distract the police.
MT: If you look at the Washington Sniper case - on day 10 of that inquiry, the Washington Post's headline was 'Clueless'. If you look at the Soham investigation, on day 10, the headline in at least three tabloid newspapers in the UK was 'Not One Clue'. On day 6 of this inquiry, there is at least one headline in a UK paper that said 'Clueless'. That builds tremendous pressure and in the midst of all of that is a little girl who's gone missing. And the little girl who's gone missing is almost a forgotten story. The big story is the incompetence of the investigation.
JS: The police found no trace of Madeleine at Robert Murat's house. He remains an official suspect but he has always protested his innocence. Under Portuguese law he will be a suspect for 8 months unless charges are brought or the situation is formally dropped.
DC: In terms of the family, we need to know what their pattern...
JS: With Robert Murat no longer significant to them, the Dispatches' experts arrive at what in Britain would have been a first line of enquiry in the case of a missing child - the family.
CS: (to camera) one of the reasons why any investigation into a missing child must initially focus around the immediate family members is because we know, from research, that..errr..something like 70% of child victims of homicide are in fact victims of family members. And, therefore, it is a crucial area of any investigation which has to be addressed very early on before the inquiry can actually progress and spread further.
JS: The priority for forensic scientist Dave Barclay would be to test the physical evidence to prove the accounts given by the family.
DB: Going back to your point about the forensics, when we look at the stuff to do with the family, because they've all got legitimate answers, there we'd be looking for things that don't fit - anomalies between what they're saying happened and what we have found out from our observations. And they could range from just difficulties because you're overcome by emotion, to what we call 'staging'. The classic is a domestic murder, husband and wife, and then the husband tries to make it look like a burglary. Where he tries to clear up blood in the kitchen and doesn't do it successfully enough: that's staging.
TV: ...the couple were placed in the front row of St Peter's Square.
JS: We're a month on. The McCanns were travelling around Europe to raise awareness of Madeleine. But suspicion about them was mounting.
JN: How do you deal with the fact that more and more people seem to be pointing the finger at you?
GM: There is absolutely no way that Kate and I are involved in this abduction.
JS: With the arrival of British experts in Portugal, further DNA tests were carried out as part of a review of the case.
It's reported that they discovered traces of blood in the Ocean Club apartment, and traces of Madeliene's hair in a car that the McCann's hired 25 days after Madeleine disappeared.
[DAY 127 KATE McCANN QUESTIONED September 6th]
Kate McCann Is called in for questioning.
TV: Kate is insisting she welcomes every opportunity to advance this beleaguered investigation.
JS: The following day her husband Gerry is questioned.
DH: Kate and Gerry have both been declared arguidos with no bail conditions and no charges have been brought against them. The investigation continues.
JN: David, are they insisting on their innocence?
DH: They certainly are. No further comment.
JS: From early May, the abduction theory was immediately accepted because the McCann's reportedly said the shutters on Madeleine's bedroom window had been forced open.
JR: (speaking to GMTV) The shutters had been broken open and they've gone into the room and taken Madeleine.
JW: (referring to Gerry's words to the police) ...that there was no way she could have opened the shutters herself. She'd definitely been taken.
JS: But with questions being asked about how an abductor could get into the apartment, our experts take a closer look at the shutters.
DB: The shutters go into the window frame. And there's... I'll just stop that there. That's the bottom of the shutter. Those two finger marks off to the right do look as if they're from the inside, and pad marks - finger marks.
CS: And they're some distance apart.
DB: Yes
CS: Okay. They're not two thumbs are they?
DB: They look 'thumby'. If I'm inside, I'm doing this. I'm gonna be like that aren't I? So is that from the outside?
CS: Doing it that way...
DB: ...and trying to push it up?
CS: Yes
DB: You might try and help the shutter down mightn't you? If the window's open and you are reaching it from inside you'd get that.
JS: Because they weren't allowed in the apartment where the McCanns had been staying, Chris Stevenson and Dave Barclay test their theories at another apartment block. These shutters, unlike the ones in the McCann's apartment, are operated electrically. But Dave Barclay believes they could provide vital evidence in working out how the McCann's shutters could have been handled.
DB: We've some great stuff here because this is aluminium - light-weight aluminium with a fine coating of a synthetic polyurethane paint or something like that. It would mark really easily, and it does.
CS: Perhaps we need to just look at the change of angle of the thumbs because now they're in a V-shape.
DB: And they're pretty well - you've pretty well got the whole of the thumb against it. If you go back the other way, and do the same thing again, right, now you've only got the outside of your thumb on it. I believe it's from the inside.
(to camera) We must be very careful that we're not saying this is actually staging, but it is difficult to see how anybody could have interfered with those shutters from the outside without leaving some trace. In fact, having looked at them, I think it's almost impossible.
CS: If they was somebody's that was actually within the family living in the apartment then it would be difficult to draw any inference other than the fact that the person whose marks they are had at some time raised or lowered the shutters which, living in the apartment is probably, or could be, a daily occurrence.
JS: The Portuguese police chose to interview Kate and Gerry McCann on the basis of physical evidence. Specks of blood in the apartment and hair in the hire car. But even if the blood was Madeleine's, our experts believe it's far from clear how it was shed.
CS: You wouldn't necessarily, automatically expect to find blood if there'd been something happened inside though. Just because we don't find blood doesn't mean to say that there hasn't been some sort of violence.
DB: No. And indeed, if we did find blood. It's not unusual for children to trip and get a bloody nose and so on. If you found, in particular I think in this case, or any case like this, blood on the floor where efforts had been made to clean it up and the parents did not say they'd done that (as long as it was a child's blood) then that would be very significant indeed.
CS: Yes.
JS: Dave Barclay maintains that while the DNA results will tell you who the blood belongs to, without context they can't explain how it got there.
DB: Remember, forensic science is not just A single test result, it's setting it in context. So if you get a result that seems to indicate one thing, you'd want to confirm it by other tests from other areas.
JS: Rumours about the forensic evidence go unchallenged. This week there was a report that body fluids were allegedly found in the McCann's hire car.
DB: I still find it very difficult to conceive how those results got in the boot of the hire car if they're as reported - and I'd like to keep my options open. You still have to work out where the body has been and how it got transported in that hire car that wasn't hired for 25 days. Just almost incomprehensible. So we should just wait and see what the results show. It's not completely beyond the bounds of possibility that they will completely exonerate the McCanns.
[DAY 130 THE McCANNS RETURN HOME September 9th]
JS: No official suspects in their daughter's disappearance, the McCann's return home to Leicestershire; determined to challenge the forensic results and clear their names.
The next day, the Portuguese police passed their case files to the public prosecutor.
[DAY 132 September 11th]
Press speculation continues unabated and new theories emerge almost daily.
[DAY 133 September 12th]
Some newspapers suggest that the Portuguese police are about to charge the McCanns.
[DAY 141 September 20th]
But less than two weeks after being made suspects, the public prosecutor announces the McCann's will NOT be re-questioned. With the confusion surrounding the evidence against the McCanns, what do our team make of the Portuguese investigation as a whole? Having considered all three possible theories for Madeleine's disappearance, which one do they think is most plausible?
JS: Dispatches sent a team pf expert criminal investigators to Praia da Luz to shed light on the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Having reviewed the Portuguese police investigation, the team meet to discuss their findings. Police media consultant Matt Tapp thinks the Portuguese police's lack of communication with the media hampered the investigation.
MT: Going back to basics, a crime has happened, you need as much information and intelligence that's accurate as possible. And we're used to, in the UK, to securing that information and intelligence - partly through media appeals. None of that actually happened because, the police say, because of their laws of secrecy, and they were bound to say nothing.
CS: (to camera) It is crucial to do, not just on-the-record briefings, but to be able to provide some background information to ensure that their approach is focussed and in-line with the investigation approach. Because, if that isn't the case, the media can be extremely disruptive.
MT: One day in August, here are two English newspapers: 'The Sun'; 'The Daily Express'. What's the Sun's front page? 'SHE MAY BE DEAD'. The same day: 'MADELEINE SHE IS ALIVE'. Here is a, I think, the demonstration of what you can anticipate when the police choose, or are not allowed to fill the void, and others fill it in their place.
JS: The large sewers and industrial bins are still Gary Ligg' main worry.
GL: It's not clear if the bins were searched to a degree where you could be confident that she wasn't in one. And if they were removed, there's been no suggestion of a follow-up to find out where they are and to search the landfill there.
JS: Forensic scientist Dave Barclay considers what might have happened to Madeleine.
DB: Having seen the circumstances and the lay-out of the apartment, it looks to me more likely, the priorities are higher, that some harm happened to her within the apartment. No more than that.
CS: Right
JS: He argues that the Portuguese police's forensic work may have compromised the investigation.
DB: It's clear that the forensics examination on the first day wasn't what we would have expected. There were opportunities missed, and one of those opportunities did a great dis-service to the McCanns. Had they been more aggressive in protecting the apartment and gaining a full forensic examination of that apartment, it may have been that the McCanns were put completely out of it on day one.
(to camera) We really need to wait until we get the actual results. I have seen comments that the Forensic Science Service has said 'this or that' and I worked for them for twenty-odd years. I never knew any forensic scientist to give details of case results in a live case. So I think, I hate to say this, but possibly quite a lot of it has been made up by the media.
JS: Team leader Chris Stevenson thinks that the Portuguese police may not have been prepared for a case of this magnitude.
CS: They only have a very small number of cases of child abduction and child murder and, therefore, it's inevitable that they won't have the same expertise and experience as we have in the UK. There did seem to be a lack of grip almost in the first few hours and we know from our experience here, that is a crucial part of any investigation.
DC: It is not a young baby that would be more typically taken by a woman who's looking for some sort of substitute or replacement child.
JS: Forensic psychologist Dave Canter thinks that the unprecedented media attention put pressure, not only on the investigation, but on the potential abductor.
DC: (to camera) In the past when young children have been abducted by a stranger, by somebody who is obsessed and wants to abuse the child, they tend to have kept the child and often, in fact, to have allowed the child to go free after some time. But I would have thought that such a person would've been totally over-awed and horrified by the media storm that so quickly descended on that locality and I think such an individual would have got very frightened indeed about the consequences of their actions and may well have done something they never intended to do.
[Kate McCann, Gerry McCann and Robert Murat remain suspects under Portuguese law. All three maintain their innocence.]
[DNA results are due from the British Forensic Science Service this week. The Portuguese police investigation continues.]
[It is now 168 days almost to the minute since Kate McCann reported her daughter Madeleine was missing.]
JS: It is now 168 days almost to the minute since Kate McCann reported her daughter Madeleine was missing.

The Maddie Files: Five experts explain how the police missed vital chances to find her - or her body, 18 October 2007
The Maddie Files: Five experts explain how the police missed vital chances to find her - or her body Daily Mail
Last updated at 12:21 18 October 2007
Kate McCann remains the key in the hunt to find her daughter, Portuguese police said as they began work on a minute-by-minute reconstruction of her movements.
Detectives want to double-check her every step on the night Madeleine disappeared in Praia da Luz, the Portuguese newspaper 24 Horas said.
Police are interested in an alleged 90-minute gap when they believe Mrs McCann was alone with her children in the holiday apartment.
Friends of the McCanns said they had not been contacted to give any further information about the night of May 3. The focus on Mrs McCann comes as an assessment by five British criminal investigation experts raised unsettling new questions about the case. Here, we present their findings:
It is 168 days since Madeleine McCann vanished, and the fog of conflicting conspiracy theories continues to grow.

Madeleine McCann

Will we ever find Maddy? Expert Dave Canter says she was most likely abducted
Only one fact remains undisputed: the alarm was raised by Kate McCann just after 10pm on May 3. Beyond that, it is impossible to tell fact from fiction.
Uncertainty reigns because we know so little: the Portuguese secrecy laws forbid the police and the official suspects - Kate and Gerry McCann and Robert Murat - from talking about the case.
Speculation based on unofficial leaks is all the media have to go on.
Unfounded and uncorroborated, too many of these rumours are as far-fetched as they are malicious.
So to help provide some firmer ground amid the conflicting reports, Channel 4's Dispatches sent five British experts in criminal investigation to Praia da Luz to assess the state of the inquiry. Between them, they have 134 years of experience in dealing with serious crimes, such as abduction, murder and paedophilia.
Their aim was to shed light on each area of the case that was controversial and confusing: the handling of forensic evidence, the search for a likely abductor and the possibility that the family might be involved in Madeleine's disappearance.
They visited the key locations, reviewed all the evidence in the public domain and drew on their previous cases as well as statistical probabilities to assess what might have taken place that night.

Dispatches documentary

The experts give their view: Search expert Gary Lig (left) asks whether the Portuguese police searched the sewers in Praia da Luz, while media handler Matt Tapp says Portuguese secrecy laws hampered the investigation

Dispatches documentary

Mistakes: Experts (from left to right) David Canter, David Barclay and Chris Stevenson explain where the Portuguese police have been going wrong
Their work threw up revelations that are as intriguing as they are disturbing.
The first stage of their investigation began with a review of the three basic theories about how Madeleine could have disappeared. First: could she have wandered off by herself? Second: was she abducted? And last: could something have happened to Madeleine in the apartment itself?
The first theory is perhaps the simplest to deal with, say our experts - and the easiest to dispel.
Professor David Canter, Director of Investigative Psychology at Liverpool University, is one of Britain's foremost behavioural profilers. After visiting the McCanns' holiday complex, he is insistent that if Madeleine had woken up and wandered outside, she would not have gone far.
The apartment patio has steps down to the road, but Madeleine would have been used to walking towards the pool, where her parents were dining.
To get there, she'd have been in an area lit by street lights, and would have been drawn to the welcoming reception area.
If that had been the case, she was bound to have been spotted and rescued by one of the adults out and about that night.

Madeleine McCann beside Ocean Club pool

Lost or abducted? Madeleine wouldn't have walked away alone without someone seeing her, our experts say
The second theory - that Madeleine was abducted - is more complex.
Her parents immediately reported that she had been snatched. Kate is quoted as saying 'They've taken her. She's gone' the moment she realised that Madeleine was missing.
Two other witnesses reported Gerry as saying on the night that an intruder had broken in through the shutters in the children's bedroom.
Our experts were more cautious, pointing out that no one has yet asked why Madeleine had been targeted.
They were troubled by what kind of person would have selected a four-year-old girl, asleep next to her infant twin siblings.
David Canter reviewed the range of possibilities - from a local oddball, to an organised gang of traffickers or paedophiles.
'If we think about an organised criminal network abducting children to traffic them in some way, then they would not have gone to an area such as Praia da Luz,' he concluded. 'There are so many adults around.'
Mark Warner, which operates the Ocean Club, had a creche and nannies, and there were too many adults working or staying at the complex.
'Unfortunately, there are all sorts of opportunities to abduct children from Eastern Europe,' said Canter.
'If a gang wanted a blonde child, like Madeleine, then the orphanages in Croatia are full of them.'
So who would have taken Madeleine, and ignored her brother and sister? A paedophile, perhaps?
Our team included Professor Dave Barclay, a leading forensic scientist who has worked on 215 'cold case' murders in the past six years. In his view, the layout of the complex made it 'a pervert's paradise'.

Praia da Luz beach

Praia da Luz: Prof Dave Barclay described the complex where the McCanns were staying as a 'pervert's paradise'
Some of the apartments overlook the pool and give an unobserved vantage point to anyone wanting to watch children by the pool.
Portugal has many more paedophiles than it cares to admit, and an odd attitude towards underage sex. Under Portuguese law, the age of consent (between couples of the same age) is 13.
Our experts also noted that when children are found to have been abused, the victim is taken into care, while the abuser is often left free.
Not before time, Portuguese police last week raided 80 people's homes and seized computers, hoping to find pictures of Madeleine on their hard disks. It's been another dead end.
So if it wasn't a paedophile or child-trafficker, who could have taken her?
Prof David Canter applied his experience to come up with more refined possibilities about likely abductors.
'A mother who is very disturbed and trying to abduct a child to replace her own dead baby wouldn't have gone for Madeleine. She would have gone for one of the twins who, being that much younger, could have been absorbed into her family.'
Moreover, he feels that four years old is an odd age for any child victim to be abducted - too young to be of interest to most paedophiles, too old to be trafficked or stolen as a baby-substitute.
But then if Madeleine did not wander off, and was not abducted, that leaves only the third possible scenario: that her parents were involved in her disappearance.
In September, that is what Portuguese police started to believe is a serious possibility.

Gerry and Kate McCann, 14 May 2007

Suspects: This picture was taken only 11 days into the investigation when Maddy's parents were still witnesses. It was not until months later that they became suspects. Soham detective Chris Stevenson says 'you have to look at the family first'
The statistics are compelling. Chris Stevenson was the Detective Chief Superintendent who caught Ian Huntley in the hunt for the murderer of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, and was our team leader.
'You have to look at the family first,' he says. 'Three out of four child deaths are at the hands of their family.'
In Britain, he says, the family would have been the very first to be interviewed, and the crime scene combed for evidence to corroborate their story.
Yet in Madeleine's investigation, the forensics have apparently become central to the case only belatedly.
Our experts believe that if this is the case, it raises serious questions about the Portuguese police's priorities.
Prof Dave Barclay, our forensics expert, feels strongly that the apartment should have been sealed off immediately when Madeleine was reported missing, and subjected to proper combing for evidence.
Moreover, he regards the speculation about the DNA results that have been found in the apartment and the McCanns' hire car as 'interesting', but potentially no more than that.
As Madeleine was known to have cut her knee during the holiday, it would not be unusual to find traces of her DNA in the apartment and on her clothing, which could have been transferred onto other items.
'Forensic science is not just about a single test result,' says Barclay. 'It's about setting it in context.'
He is particularly sceptical about the reported presence of bodily fluids found in the McCanns' hire car.
'You've got to work out where the body has been and how it got transported in the car that wasn't hired until 25 days after Madeleine disappeared,' he says.
'It's almost incomprehensible. So we should just wait and see what the results show before leaping to any conclusions. It's not beyond the bounds of possibility that they will exonerate the McCanns.'
Indeed, the whole way the investigation has been run by Portuguese police is of deep concern for our experts.
The time immediately following a child going missing is known as the 'Golden Hour'. It's when the victim is most likely to be found alive.
As the hours pass, that chance diminishes. Above all, search parties need to be carefully briefed and organised with military precision. In Madeleine's case, there are grave doubts among our panel of experts that this is what took place.
As soon as Kate McCann raised the alarm, at 10.10pm, Mark Warner staff fanned out across the resort, and local residents volunteered to explore the surrounding streets and houses, and then the nearby beach.
But how well managed was it? What skills would be needed to find her, if she was hidden?
Search expert Gary Lig, previously from West Yorkshire Police, has advised on search plans in more than 100 murders and disappearances. He argues: 'Even trained police officers may miss crucial signs. I know a case where they searched a house three or four times before finding a body.'
Visiting Praia da Luz for our review, he was particularly concerned to discover, from local maps, that a network of giant sewers runs under the town. Were they searched? If so, how thoroughly?
The Portuguese police declined to respond to our questions, but we were told the volunteers were guiding themselves much of the time that night - and for several days after.
Even more worryingly, this hit-or-miss approach appears to have applied to the giant rubbish bins scattered around Praia da Luz.
Charlotte Pennington, a Mark Warner nanny, says: 'We were told to search everywhere, including the bins. I saw the police searching, but didn't see them looking in the bins. I don't think we looked in every bin.'
Incredibly, even with an active hunt for a missing child going on, we discovered that the bins were emptied in their usual fashion. Moreover, no one seems to have checked the landfill site to which they were taken.
For Professor Barclay, this represents a major oversight of a potential hiding place - if not for Madeleine's body, then for vital evidence such as the pyjamas she was wearing.
'What are you going to do with the body of a four-year-old?' he asks.
'You can take it somewhere in a car, but you risk being stopped and caught with a body. Or you can dispose of it locally - in one of the bins, in which case it's taken away and never found.'
Detective Chief Superintendent Stevenson agrees that the bins could have yielded vital clues.
'Ideally you would secure all the bins in the area and make sure the local authority don't dispose of the contents until the search team has gone through them all.'
The search for Madeleine was further hampered by the fact that the Portuguese police were unprepared both for the need to act quickly and the media firestorm that followed.
They've had only two cases of child abduction in 15 years.
Meanwhile, the British police have had so many cases that they have learned painfully from their mistakes, and have updated their training manuals and protocols.
In Britain if such an alarm were raised, they would swing into action at once - with search teams, an incident room, media notification of key identifying details, border and airport controls and so on.
But in Portugal, the search for Madeleine took place amid an information vacuum that, said our experts, would have significantly decreased the chances of locating Madeleine within those first few days.
'When a crime has happened, you need as much accurate intelligence as possible. We're used to securing that information partly through media appeals,' explains our final expert, police media specialist Matt Tapp, who handled the media for the Soham murder inquiry.
'None of that happened with Madeleine because the police say their laws of secrecy meant they were legally bound to say nothing.'
He is impatient about the conflicting stories that are still published daily. 'It's what you can expect when police choose or are not allowed to fill the void. Others fill it in their place.'
In the meantime, the hunt for Madeleine goes on, with each day bringing fresh claims.
Was Madeleine abducted? Did her parents kill her? There is an even more haunting possibility: that the investigation has been so poorly handled that we may never know what took place that night.
'I still feel abduction is the most likely possibility,' concludes forensic psychologist David Canter.
But he's pessimistic about finding the truth amid all the confusion.
'The trails may have gone so cold over the passage of time that even finding a body would not explain what really happened. We may still be talking about this case in 20 or even 50 years' time.'
And still wondering: What happened to Madeleine?
- Roger Graef is executive producer of Searching For Madeleine: A Dispatches Special on Channel 4 Thursday night at 9pm.

'It is time to discard the myths and half-truths, Madeleine McCann was taken', 18 October 2007
'It is time to discard the myths and half-truths, Madeleine McCann was taken' Timesonline
David Canter
October 18, 2007
Five months after her disappearance, we are no further towards knowing exactly what happened to Madeleine McCann and we may never know the truth. However, after spending many days in Praia da Luz while making a Dispatches documentary about the case, I have come to the conclusion that the greatest likelihood is that she was abducted, and probably by a local person.
There are a number of indicators that have led me to this conclusion.
The days that I spent in Praia da Luz speaking to those who were there soon after that dreadful night in May, and with experienced police officers and a forensic scientist, have helped to clear away many of the myths and half-truths that have driven the accounts of Madeleine's disappearance.
If you stand outside the apparently unremarkable apartment from which Madeleine vanished, the reality of unexpected horror hits home. The tidy walls and hedges that divide the apartments from the swimming pool, on the far side of which the family were eating tapas on May 3, take on a much more sinister form when you realise that they hide any clear view of the room in which the McCann children were sleeping.
An abductor who knew the complex would have had to be quick to remove the child from her apartment without being seen, but he could have done it. After passing through the alleyway that ran beside the apartment, he would then have found it simple to dash across the deserted road behind the resort and through a small car park to a network of alleyways sheltered by high walls.
These alleyways, decorated with lush bougainvillea, provide an ideal rat-run that would be well known to local criminals. Late in the evening it would have been a simple thing to pass through these alleyways to a safe house or a car parked near by.
Possible escape routes aside, one of the most convincing arguments I have heard for an abduction by a local came from my colleague at Liverpool University, Professor Kevin Browne, who advises many international agencies including the WHO and Unicef on child protection. He made clear that this quiet village could harbour a number of child abusers who had been released into the community rather than convicted.
The situation in Portugal was, he pointed out, very different from that in Britain today, being more the way it used to be here a decade or more ago.
Compared with other countries in Western Europe, Portugal convicts a much smaller proportion of child abusers. Children are more likely to be removed from their families, ending up in institutions while their abusers walk free. As a consequence, there are not only potentially more abusers within society unmarked and unmonitored, but a of whole new generation of people with an increased likelihood of becoming abusers because of their own experiences.
There are limited possibilities for what happened to Madeleine. I think of these along a continuum from those, at one end, in which she played a significant role, to the other extreme at which would lie an organised network of traffickers who come to Praia de Luz specifically to find a victim.
The family or close associates distance us from the possibilites involving the girl herself. Those who know the family but are not really known to the family themselves, such as service staff, lead us a step closer to the possibilities of a distant criminal network.
However, there is a crucial prospect of a person who had no direct contact with the family, observing them from afar, although not part of any criminal organisation.
Each possible explanation for the disappearance is driven by different assumptions.
If she had woken up in distress would she have sat and cried or wandered off into the town? If she had wandered off it would have been to try to find her parents – along a probably familiar route to where they were eating. It would have been a terrible coincidence if she had been abducted on such an unlikely journey.
The prospect of family or friends' involvement beggars belief. For a start, if the child had been killed in some accident, possibly as a result of an overdose, then her medically trained parents would have had to be exceptionally incompetent, for which there is no evidence. Furthermore, the friends who were with them would all have had to be willing to risk their professional careers to keep such a appalling secret for such a long time.
Organised networks of people traffickers, sadly, have much more obvious opportunities for finding vulnerable children who would not be missed on the streets of many developing countries, or even in the orphanages, and sometimes the streets of Eastern Europe. Why risk being caught in a quite middle-class holiday resort?
Against this backdrop, it became clear to me that the police in the Algarve simply do not have the resources to deal with crimes of this magnitude. Their expertise lies in dealing with the drug smuggling that occurs frequently between North Africa and here. But resources that the English police can bring to bear quickly are unlikely to be available to the Portuguese police in any serious inquiry.
Detective Chief Superintendent Chris Stevenson, who headed the Soham investigation into the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in 2002, made clear in his contribution to the documentary that the British police would have followed the detailed procedure laid down in an inch-thick "murder manual" – a painstakingly systematic approach that can send the cost of the average murder inquiry to 1 million.
Without these resources, the Portuguese police have had to proceed very differently. They have to find ways of taking the short cuts that detectives in fact and fiction have always had to take in the past. This consists of forming a view of what the likely cause of the crime is and using that in the search for clues.
For me the most obvious possibility is the local offender quickly escaping down the rat-run of dark alleys. One witness is reported as seeing a man rushing away from the complex with a child wrapped in a blanket shortly after the last reported sighting of Madeleine.
The days spent discussing the disappearance of Madeleine in the actual location where the McCanns had been on holiday provided a rather different perspective from the one heralded in the British media. The little girl may just have been in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Searching for Madeleine: A Dispatches special on Channel 4 tonight at 9pm
David Canter is a criminal psychologist

Searching for Madeleine: A Dispatches Special, 18 October 2007
Searching for Madeleine: A Dispatches Special Daily Mirror
9pm, C4
ON May 3, Madeleine McCann went missing. And that is one of the very few unchallengeable facts in what has become the news story of 2007.
Her parents Kate and Gerry - who were not involved in the making of this programme - have gone from victims of a terrible tragedy to suspects in the disappearance of their own child.
To bring some clarity to this murky case, Dispatches sent five of the UK's top criminal investigators to Praia da Luz to review the Portuguese investigation.
Led by retired DCS Chris Stevenson (who headed the investigation into the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in 2002) and with 134 years of experience in forensics, searching, profiling and media management between them, the team detail how they would have gone about finding Madeleine.
Executive producer Roger Graef says the intent was not to judge the Portuguese police but to look at what needed to have been done and didn't happen.
Sadly what this film can't do, is to reveal who took Madeleine or where she is now.

McCanns evidence 'doesn't add up', 18 October 2007
McCanns evidence 'doesn't add up' Daily Mirror
EXCLUSIVE THE HUNT FOR MADELEINE Brit team questions Kate's reaction
Stewart Maclean In Praia Da Luz
A team of British crime specialists who have scrutinised the Madeleine McCann case claim there are inconsistencies in her parents' version of events.
The retired experts believe there is a question mark over Kate's response when she discovered the four-year-old was missing.
Forensic scientist Professor David Barclay, part of the four-man team who reviewed the case for Channel Four's Dispatches show, said: "We examined all of the available evidence and the conclusion we came to was that there appeared to be some significant inconsistencies.
"One thing we looked for was any sign of 'staging', the term we use for the actions of someone who has committed a crime and wants to 'stage it' to appear someone else has done it.
"The first words apparently spoken by Kate McCann when she discovered Madeleine had vanished were significant. She is supposed to have said 'They've taken her, they've taken her' - which seems a strange choice of phrase.
"I don't think that would have been my first reaction if my child had gone missing."
Prof Barclay also questioned the McCanns' claims that an abductor got into their Praia da Luz holiday flat through the back shutters.
He said: "We checked the scene of the crime and it struck us immediately how unlikely it would be for anyone to try and access the apartment through the back windows. The shutters there were firmly shut and couldn't be opened and the car park behind the flat was overlooked.
"We're not saying it was impossible to have gained entry that way, but with all of our collected years of experience to us it seemed highly unlikely and a very implausible scenario.
"It could be that claim is consistent with staging, but without full knowledge of all of the facts in the case it would be impossible to say for sure."
Prof Barclay visited the crime scene along with ex-Detective Chief Superintendent Chris Stevenson, the man who caught Soham killer Ian Huntley and psychological profiler David Canter.
The will seen on tonight's show visiting key sites and seeing footage of the police in action.
Prof Barclay, 62, added: "There has been a tendency to criticise the Portuguese police but on the whole they did a pretty good job.
"However, they made two big mistakes. Firstly, they did not seal off the crime scene anywhere nearly quick enough. Secondly, in my opinion they were not aggressive enough with the McCanns in the first stage of the investigation.
"It is actually for the parents' benefit in cases like this that the police tackle them robustly and demand a comprehensive account of their movements during the relevant timeframe."

Probe too big for Portugal cops, 18 October 2007
Probe too big for Portugal cops The Sun

Published: 18 Oct 2007

PORTUGUESE police in the Maddie McCann case are just not up to such a big job, the Soham murder probe chief said yesterday.

Retired Det Chief Supt Chris Stevenson accused cops in Praia da Luz of being far too slow off the mark when the tot vanished.

He said: "I don't think they immediately realised what they were dealing with."

The man who nailed monster Ian Huntley for the 2002 murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman revealed an astonishing catalogue of blunders – after heading a three-day review of the Madeleine probe for a Channel 4 documentary tonight.

He insisted: "The intention was never to do a hatchet job on the Portuguese police – but the inescapable conclusion was that they were totally ill-equipped for the job."

Mr Stevenson, 58, took some of Britain?s top crime experts to Portugal to analyse the handling of the inquiry into four-year-old Maddie's disappearance.

The team's scathing verdict is that the local police are: Woefully INEXPERIENCED in child abduction cases, TIED UP by secrecy laws and HAMPERED by the lack of a proper DNA data-base or sex offenders register.

The team also spotlighted FAILURES in the way forensic evidence is gathered and crime scenes preserved.

There are more PROBLEMS because uniformed and plain-clothes officers report to different bosses.

Former Cambridgeshire officer Mr Stevenson said: "If you don't immediately realise what you are dealing with, you can get caught and make major forensic errors.

"That's what appears to have happened in the Maddie case.

"This was a child missing from home but they didn't seem to have thought anything suspicious might have happened at first.

"In Britain we refer to this period immediately after a child vanishes as the 'golden hours'."

Mr Stevenson's team included forensics professor David Barclay, search expert Gary Lig, top criminal psychologist David Canter and media management expert Matt Tapp.

Their findings will be aired in Searching For Madeleine, a Dispatches documentary on Channel 4 at 9pm.

Forensic expert defends Portugese police involved in Madeleine case, 18 October 2007
Forensic expert defends Portugese police involved in Madeleine case STV
Story last updated: Thursday, 18 October, 2007, 18:58
A north east forensic expert who has been carrying out an independent study of the Madeleine McCann case says Portugese police are right to consider the missing girl's parents as suspects.

Professor David Barclay, of the Robert Gordon University, has been reviewing the case for a television documentary, and believes the four-year-old is probably dead.

She has been the centre of one of the world's biggest ever missing-persons cases.
Six months after she vanished, no trace of Madeline McCann has been found.

World-renowned forensic expert Professor Barclay was recently called in to re-examine the case.
Working for a television documentary, the RGU academic looked at how Portugese police handled the early days.

They have been much criticised, but Professor Barclay says it has been unfair and detectives are right to consider Maddy's parents, Kate and Gerry, as suspects.

The documentary makers say the aim of their programme is not to solve Madeline's disappearance, but to offer scientific analysis of the investigation itself.

Professor Barclay joined the team as one of Britain's best forensic scientists, with over 200 cases to his credit.

He says his experience suggests the little girl will not be found alive.

Madeleine may never be found - Soham detective, 19 October 2007
Madeleine may never be found - Soham detective Cambridge News (article no longer available online)
THE detective who led the Soham murder inquiry believes Madeleine McCann will never be found - after conducting an investigation into her disappearance.
Retired Det Chief Supt Chris Stevenson, who caught double murderer Ian Huntley after school friends Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman vanished in 2002, told the News his fears and blames Portuguese police blunders.
The detective travelled to Praia da Luz, where Madeleine went missing on May 3, with a team of crime experts.
He said: "We have to accept that the chances of finding the girl alive are extremely remote.
"A very large percentage of children are dead within six hours of being abducted."
Mr Stevenson carried out a three-day review of the Portuguese inquiry for a TV documentary, aired on Channel 4.
He said: "The key to all investigations is a fast and immediate response at the scene and getting early accounts of the events leading up to what happened.
"Last sightings need to be recorded quickly. You can't afford to wait to talk to the family and find out their movements."
Mr Stevenson, 58, was joined in Praia da Luz by Matt Tapp, a media expert who also worked on the Soham murder inquiry, David Barclay, a forensic analyst, Gary Lig, a search expert, and David Canter, a criminal profiler.
They concluded that the local force was sorely lacking in experience in child abduction cases, hampered by secrecy laws which prevented information being made public, and hindered by the lack of a proper DNA or sex offenders register in Portugal.
He said: "With Soham there were issues that there was a lack of grip in the first couple of days.
"A lot of lessons have been learned from Soham that we have put into place.
"The Portuguese police have only had two similar cases in 15 years.
They lack experience and sadly seemed reluctant to accept advice from the UK which is very disappointing."
The detective also discovered that Portuguese law does allow police to speak openly.
He said the Portuguese police did not realise what they had on their hand.
"But there is an exception in Portuguese law and I think they should have used that exception as it was a three-year-old child who was missing. They were ill-equipped for the job."
In the documentary, Searching for Madeleine: A Dispatches Special, he said: "The intention was never to do a hatchet job on the Portuguese police."
But he added mistakes in the vital first few hours included allowing bins, which could contain forensic evidence, be emptied as usual.

With thanks to Nigel at McCann Files


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