A Civil Protection vehicle
exiting Murat’s property during police
searches of the house in May 2007. Photo:
MARK RAWCLIFFE -ALGARVE RESIDENT
Robert Murat suing South African researcher, who claims Madeleine’s
body is buried in his backyard, for trespassing
In an exclusive interview with the Algarve Resident on
July 5, Robert Murat said he was “very angry” that news
was circulating that a South-African researcher claims
Madeleine McCann’s body is buried in the backyard of the
house where his mother lives in Praia da Luz.
According to a report in Correio da Manha (CM) daily newspaper on
the same day of our interview, Stephen Birch, who says
he is “passionate” about the mystery surrounding
Madeleine’s disappearance, entered the property four
times during the night, around three weeks ago, to
search its backyard using georadar equipment.
The man claims the machine detected movement and alteration in the
subsoil and collected images that he says he has passed
on to the UK’s Scotland Yard and the Portuguese Polícia
Judiciária. Birch told the CM that images collected
detected that “an object” had been buried in the
backyard “60 centimetres underground”. The data was
allegedly analysed by a specialist who confirmed the
probable presence of something buried in that location.
However, experts commenting on the report say it is impossible to
know what it is.
The South-African researcher told the Portuguese press last week
that he believed it was Madeleine that was buried there
Robert Murat says his lawyer
is dealing with the matter. Photo: MARK
RAWCLIFFE -ALGARVE RESIDENT
However, Robert Murat said: “Every single part of the house, inside
and out, was checked in 2007 by more than 20 police
officers, who found absolutely nothing. They used Ground
Penetrating Radar (GPR) equipment, which was brought by
a Civil Protection team, to search the grounds of the
property and the area surrounding Casa Liliana.”
Former PJ inspector Gonçalo Amaral, who was involved in the
Madeleine investigation in the beginning, told CM that
the PJ’s searches of the house had been “thorough”.
Murat, who hasn’t lived at the house “for years”, said his mother
Jenny, who is 76 years old, is feeling very
uncomfortable in her own home. “Her privacy is being
invaded again,” he said. “She is distraught and I am
very angry. My lawyers are dealing with this.”
Referring to the photographs published by Correio da Manha, which
show Birch in Jenny Murat’s garden, Robert said he
didn’t think there was any way the man could have
entered the property as his mother has two large Serra
da Estrela dogs that are kept outside as guard dogs.
Murat’s lawyer, Francisco Pagarete, told the Algarve Resident on
Wednesday: “We are suing Mr Stephen Birch for the
unlawful entry into private property.”
Robert Murat concluded: “I don’t expect anybody to be on my side, I
just want the truth.”
Birch told CM that while in Praia da Luz, he monitored the property
“24 hours a day”, with the help of two “collaborators”,
and when the house was vacated he would enter and search
the backyard with the georadar equipment.
The man says he does not want to “make accusations” as his sole
objective is to find the location where the body was
buried as it will be “easier to solve the case”.
Despite his alleged findings at the property, Birch is quoted in CM
as saying that he doesn’t believe Murat or his relatives
are involved in the disappearance of Madeleine. “Anyone
could have had access to the property,” he told the
A video showing Stephen Birch using a georadar machine, allegedly
in the garden of Casa Liliana, is now circulating the
web, including on YouTube.
In the CM report, Gerry and Kate McCann’s lawyer in Portugal,
Rogério Alves, is said to be following the latest
developments closely and admitted he may request the
reopening of the case.
Madeleine’s parents, who claim never to have met Stephen Birch,
said they would like to see the Portuguese authorities
act on Birch’s findings.
The Portuguese and British authorities have allegedly received the
data collected by Stephen Birch however, the former
haven’t yet acted on the information.
Madeleine McCann disappeared from her family’s holiday apartment in
Praia da Luz on May 3 2007, a few days before turning
Robert Murat became the first arguido, or official suspect, in the
investigation of the Madeleine McCann case after a
British journalist reported to the police that his
behaviour during the initial stages of the search was
suspicious. Murat, fluent in English and Portuguese, had
offered his help as translator to the Portuguese
In 2008, Murat saw his status of arguido dropped by the Portuguese
authorities (read Algarve Resident edition of November
Murat has always claimed to have had no involvement whatsoever in
the British toddler’s disappearance and that his life
has been turned upside down by the case.
Once again, the Algarve resident sees his name splashed across the
national and international press and all of his hopes of
some form of normalcy in his life have now been dashed
Madeleine ‘is alive’
In the UK, the press has been reporting on the claims of a former
Met detective who says there is a “good chance” that
Madeleine McCann may be alive.
Ian Horrocks, who has visited Praia da Luz and the resort where
Madeleine vanished, said he examined the police files on
the case and believes it is “unlikely a paedophile ring
murdered or kidnapped Madeleine” and rules out the
involvement of Madeleine’s parents.
The former Scotland Yard detective told The Sun newspaper: “I do
believe that when all the available information is
examined logically and objectively, that Madeleine was
taken by someone who wanted her as part of his or their