THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MADELEINE McCANN: A CRIME SCENE RECONSTRUCTION (Part One)
by Zizi & Paula
This unique crime scene reconstruction, was first broadcast by the independent CMTV channel on the 16th of November, 2013 – sensibly a month after the much publicized and criticized British Broadcasting Corp variations on the same theme.
We refer here to the Crimewatch episode that featured the missing child’s parents, and the London Metropolitan Police sherlock appointed by the Conservative British prime-minister “to review” (sic) the investigation of the Polícia Judiciária (PJ) – the Portuguese nationwide, crime specialist force.
It may be relevant to note in this context that Clarence Mitchell – the McCanns’ spokesperson – is also a Conservative candidate in the forthcoming (2015) general elections .
Much to the programme credibility, CMTV enlists the participation of Dr. Gonçalo Amaral – the former PJ senior detective who coördinated the initial phase of the investigation back in 2007 – and the university professor and criminologist Francisco Moita Flores.
In the opinion of the experts, this unique crime scene reconstruction offers the best in-depth analysis of Madeleine McCann’s disappearance so far, and its findings deserve the attention of the Portuguese Public Prosecutor.
Please read on and judge for yourself (…)
Zizi Duarte and Paula Levy-Smith
Presenter (Andrea Vale): Good evening and welcome to this “Maddie Special”!
For the first time in Portugal, a reconstruction (of the main events leading to) the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, has been attempted – (we refer of course to) the little girl who disappeared in Praia da Luz, in the Algarve, on the 3rd of May 2007. A disappearance shrouded in mystery, and beset by various contradictions.
(Images of the crime scene, inside and outside apartment 5A, appear on the screen; also of Madeleine McCann and her twin brother and sister, followed by the caption “Where is Maddie?” – then the programme starts.)
(Voice Over): On that Thursday (the 3rd of May, 2007), the McCanns’ decide not go to the beach with the other three couples – their friends. Instead, Gerry and Kate spend their day at the Ocean Club.
That day, the couple never leaves the holiday compound but, even so, they do not keep their children with them. Maddie aged three, and the twins Amelie and Sean, aged two, spend their day at the Ocean Club’s crèche (the children’s day care centre).
At 9:10 AM, Gerry delivers the children to the crèche.
The crèche staff take the children to the beach. Between 10:30 and 11 hours, Madeleine plays on the beach with other children . Kate collects the children from the crèche at 12:25 and returns them (to the crèche) at 14:50 hours.
A few hours later (around 16:00) Kate is jogging on the beach. At 17:30, she returns to the crèche to pick up her three children and to take them back home to apartment 5A.
At the same time Kate McCann is collecting her children from the crèche, their friends (that is the other three couples) drink on the esplanade (terrace) of the restaurant Paraíso, in Praia da Luz (17:35 hours on the video caption).
The CCTV cameras of the restaurant capture the presence of the British group in a buoyant mood. Their children are with them. (It looks like) a tranquil (and enjoyable) end to their afternoon.
(Short break in the voice-over with more images shown)
At exactly 18:13 hours, the men from the group – David Payne, Russell O’Brien and Matthew Oldfield abandon the restaurant and head in the direction of the Ocean Club.
The women, Fiona Payne, Jane Tanner and Rachel Oldfield remain sitting on the (restaurant’s) esplanade. They get up from their chairs at 18:30 hours – about 15 minutes after their husbands who, by then, have already arrived back at the Ocean Club.
At 18:30, David Payne goes to meet Gerry who is (already) playing tennis (on the courts). He asks him where Kate is. Gerry tells him, Kate is in the apartment with the children. David heads towards the apartment.
No one knows for sure how long David stays in the apartment with Kate – his visit is shrouded in mystery.
One thing seems certain; the (McCanns’) first floor neighbour, Pamela Fenn, saw David Payne, around 19:00 hours, on the McCanns’ balcony.Translators’ note: we could not find the source of the last two statements in the translated, on-line versions of the PJ files. It is therefore possible CMTV had access to inside information on these two counts but – from whom? We do not know. Journalistic sources are often unnamed and invariably protected (…)
David Payne will later tell the Judiciary Police (PJ) that he had gone to the apartment “to find out whether Kate needed help with the children” and that he had seen Maddie and the twins there – a moment he had come to remember as “the vision of three immaculate angels.”
Dinner time approaches.
The four couples dine together at the Tapas Restaurant in the Ocean Club – a routine they had followed since their arrival together, on the 28th of April. They do not bring their children with them – a few months old baby and seven young children (toddlers) are left asleep, unattended in their apartments, while their parents, free from care, dine until around midnight; their children well out of their sights.Translators’ note: the building is “only 100 meters away” from the restaurant, but the view to its rear is greatly concealed – click here to form a better idea. Also important to note, Madeleine’s room is on the other side of the building – at the front, not at the rear. To compound the risk, the McCanns, for convenience, leave the sliding doors of their apartment’s lounge, unlocked. These doors open to a patio with easy access from a public road! An “open invitation” to thieves and wannabe be kidnappers (if any)!
In the evening of the 3td of May, Gerry and Kate are the first to arrive at the restaurant. The time is 20:35 hours.
The oval table, near the swimming pool, is reserved for the British group. By 20:45 they are all sitting at the table; Gerry and Kate, David and Fiona Payne, Russell O’Brien and Jane Tanner, Matthew and Rachel Oldfield and Dianne Webster – Fiona’s mother.
Kate for example, cannot do without her usual “daiquiri” as an apéritif (a rum cocktail). The group is in the habit of drinking eight bottles of wine – four red and four white (…)
That evening, they ordered grilled fish and meat on the spit. As they sit and dine at the oval table, most have their backs turned against their apartments; (but) even if they were facing the apartments, the wall and the edges (which were in the way) would not allow them to see (the back of) the ground floor apartments where the children are sleeping alone. An opaque, plastic wind-breaker placed between their table and the apartments, further obstructs their vision. Furthermore, the (ground-floor) window of the bedroom where Maddie sleeps, is located on the other side (front) of the apartment block which (obviously) cannot be seen from the restaurant.Translators’ note: click here to form a better idea. Same link as above.
The McCanns and their friends, assured the police, they had a scheme of vigilance (an arrangement for checking on the children). Each one of them, in turn, would get up from the table to see if everything was all right (to check on the children).
According to the members of the group, the (checking) rounds took place every half an hour and sometimes, every fifteen minutes.
But the truth is; (exactly) what the group actually did during that dinner – the evening Maddie disappeared – has never been (fully) clarified.
After the authorities were alerted to Maddie’s disappearance, Russell O’Brien provides the police with a schedule of the (checking) rounds done (on the children) that evening. He drafted it himself on the back of a cover he tore off from a children’s book (activities & stickers).
Days later, the police find among Kate’s papers a manuscript (draft) with the hours of the rounds (checking) written on it – except, this differed from the one her friend Russell gave to the PJ.
There are lapses in the memory of the McCanns’ friends (account of events) and (worst) contradictory versions of the same (alleged events). The police never knew with rigour, (with any degree of certainty) the steps (movements) of each of them during that dinner. There are only four moments that coincide; (and these are) the only ones corroborated by witnesses.
At 21:00 hours, two men get up from the table – one is Russell O’Brien; the other Gerry McCann.
They set off to the apartments (ostensibly) to check on their children. In order to reach the apartment, Gerry has to leave the Ocean Club and walk 20 meters of a dimly lit street to reach the small access gate to his apartment.Translators’ note: Referring here to the street’s access gate to the back patio’s sliding windows which, for convenience, the McCanns’ were in the habit of leaving unlocked (…)
(After checking on the children and ) on the way back to his dinner, Gerry encounters Jeremy Wilkins, a BBC producer whom he had met during this holiday.
It is now 21:05 hours. Jeremy is strolling, pushing a pram, trying to lull his baby son into sleep. The two men greet each other and chat for a while. The street is deserted.
(Meanwhile) Jane Tanner, the partner of Russell O’Brien, worries about his absence from the (dinner) table and gets up (to look for him).
Later, she assures the police that between 21 and 21:05 hours, she saw a stranger carrying a child in his arms at the (top of) the same narrow street (on which she was walking) and on which, at that very same time, Gerry stood chatting with Jeremy; (but) nor Gerry or Jeremy saw anyone passing by, nor even for that matter, noticed Jane Tanner’s presence (walking past them.)
Around 21:30 hours, Gerry returns to the restaurant’s table. Russell had not yet arrived back (from his check). He finally returns close to 22 hours – nearly half an hour after Gerry. Russell explains his older daughter had vomited, that he gave her a bath, changed her clothes and put her back to sleep.Translators’ note: In this context, Dr. Gonçalo Amaral says, at least two staff members of the restaurant state, Gerry McCann only returns to the restaurant moments before Kate McCann gives the alert – that is between 22:00-22:30 and not 21:30 hours (…) These statements are in the witness records . Sounds like a spanner in the works of Andy Redwood and his SY’s crack team but please read on.
At 21:55 PM, as soon as Russell O’Brien arrives at the restaurant’s table, Kate McCann gets up to check on her children.
Five minutes later, around 22 hours, she shouts from the apartment’s balcony (at the back) facing the restaurant: “They have taken her! They have taken her!” . No one from the group is able to see her. They can only hear her. Then, they all rush towards the (McCanns’) apartment (…)Translator’s note: perhaps the most reliable account of events both of the time (22:30 and not 22:00 hours) and of what Kate McCann actually shouted “We let her down!” is that of the late Mrs. Pamela Fenn – the McCanns’ upstairs neighbour.The expression “They have taken her!” seems to have been introduced by nanny Charlotte Penning or, to be precise, from an interview she gave to the British tabloid “Daily Mail” – a notoriously biased and unreliable journalistic source.
(More images in and around the village of Luz (Light), followed by the caption – “Where is Maddie?” and back to the studio)
Presenter: (introducing the guests):
Our guests for this special (programme) are, on my right – Gonçalo Amaral, ex-coordinator of the Judiciary Police (PJ) and on my left, our other guest for tonight – Francisco Moita Flores, who is also a criminologist.
Before we start our conversation, I would like to inform viewers that CMTV invited the lawyer that represents the McCanns’ in Portugal (to appear on the programme and answer questions) but Rogério Alves declined the invitation.
He affirmed that any (previous) public interventions of his have always been in the ambit of the search for Madeleine and, therefore his contributions to this debate would add nothing to those already made by the Portuguese and English authorities.
And so, I will start our conversation here in the studio, with Gonçalo Amaral.
Gonçalo Amaral, we have just watched about eight minutes of video footage – a reconstruction of part of the day (3td May), and most of the evening when this little girl disappeared. How come the Portuguese police (PJ) never made a reconstruction (of these events)?
(Gonçalo Amaral): Good evening! The reconstruction was never made, because we kept waiting for a better opportunity (to carry it out).
Everything was happening then. We did think about a reconstruction; it is the normal thing to do under the circumstances but (because) there were (at the time) so many journalists in Praia da Luz, we decided it was not convenient. All that (media) circus; all that spectacle! It was not practical! As someone then remarked – to go ahead with a reconstruction it would have been necessary to close the air space!Translators’ note: some citizen journalists have argued that the media frenzy was unleashed by the father (Gerald McCann) in the aftermath of his daughter alleged disappearance, namely by contacting Sky News and/or Alistair Clark, before he even contacted the Portuguese authorities! Click here for some of the alleged evidence and here for an in depth view of the mis-en-scène. That said, at least one Ph.D. analyst has argued this may not have been the case – that “whoever phoned the FCO and/or Gordon Brown from within the UK, was in possession of it prior to 10.00 p.m. on 3 May, the night of the crime’ (quote). Draw your own inferences. See Dr. Martin Roberts’ essay “Santa’s Little Helpers“ for more details.
So, for this reason we left the reconstruction for a later date but, by then, the couple had left Portugal and did not wish to come back. I mean, their friends – who were not defendants, but mere witnesses – did not wish to come back. They refused – and the couple (perhaps) for convenience, went along with them.
Also, the Public Ministry (Prosecutor) decided the reconstruction was not worth doing; but the fact is, it could still have gone ahead just with the couple since they were still defendants (suspects) at the time.
(P): Interrupts briefly to say something (unclear)
(GA): Yes, it could have gone ahead! Because if you pay attention (to the video), all we have seen so far, are just moments in time. A reconstruction is built upon of a series of moments. Each person (involved) has to explain what he or she had done or was doing at the time. Simple.
I would not need to have all of them together, simultaneously, even (assuming) that would have been convenient. If I had only the couple, I could have done that bit extra . I could have advanced a bit further with the investigation. Also, there was a witness, Jeremy (Wilkins) – a BBC TV producer – who was willing to come to Portugal.
As it happened, on that (fateful) evening (of 3td of May) Mr. Wilkins was walking about, pushing a pram with his baby son; trying to lull him into sleep, when he encountered Gerry McCann, leaving his apartment, around 21:30 hours.
Therefore, at least these three persons could have come (McCanns’ and Jeremy Wilkins) not to mention an Irish family (Martin Smith’s) and possibly others.
(P): Later, we will shortly…
(GA): (Unfortunately) there seems to have been a decision against this – and if I may pick up on the words Dr. Rogério Alves said earlier (see above) – we must not forget the investigation process was conveniently archived (as a political expedient).
The mother of the child went so far as to write in a book that she was very satisfied (pleased) with the decision to archive the investigation. For her, then, the archiving of the investigation was the right decision (the correct course of action).
So, the reaction of her lawyer (Rogério Alves) we heard about earlier on, was very much the same. It was as if their lawyer was suggesting: “Do not touch the process, (leave it alone) because that was that and that was the end of it !”.
The investigation was closed (with the archival but it) is still there! It is still there, and makes it clear a reconstruction was essential to better establish the facts! The Public Ministry made it clear that they (the McCanns’) were the ones who lost (for not attending the reconstruction).
In its archiving dispatch the Public Prosecutor asserted , that those who avoided the reconstruction lost the opportunity to prove their innocence (or words to that effect). This is all recorded there, in the process files, and in this respect, correctly so.Translator’s note: The actual statement in the archiving dispatch reads:“We believe the main damage was caused to the McCanns’ defendants, who then lost the possibility to prove what they have protested since they were constituted defendants, namely their innocence towards the fateful event; the investigation was also affected, because said facts were not clarified.”
(P): Let me now ask you, Francisco Moita Flores – what would have been the importance of doing a reconstruction in the days immediately after the event – and not some time later, as it was then attempted?
(Francisco Moita Flores): (If we examine the question) from a purely technical standpoint, a reconstruction in this case, would have been decisive but, I do not know how the police could have gone about it, bearing in mind the difficulties (restrictions) imposed by the on-going media circus pitched on Praia da Luz.
A reconstruction was necessary and would have been decisive because, as we can see from (tonight’s) reconstruction – and it is clear that it carefully follows the witness statements of all those involved – it soon becomes evident the case is full of contradictions. Or, rather, that there are several versions of the truth (chuckles), or may be there is no truth at all in the middle of all this! (chuckles).
The chances are, then, that some of them are not telling the truth. A reconstruction would have had that kind of technical effect – namely to redeploy the truth (to establish the actual facts).
(P): (A reconstruction) is to revive everyone’s memory by returning those concerned to the very heart of events, is it not?
(FMF): The technical aim of a reconstruction is to establish the facts. So to give you an example: “So tell me, you said you got up at that time? Did you go out with your wife?” (Or, alternatively) take that story of Payne staying 30 minutes or 30 seconds (in Kates’s apartment) – that is a most important point! Here you have a contradiction. A reconstruction is (about addressing) such (kind of detail).
(P): In order to facilitate proceedings, we have extracted material that is pertinent to what we are discussing. I will rephrase it again:
“At 18:30 in the evening, David Payne went to see Gerry and asked for Kate. Next his friend (Payne) went to meet Kate at her apartment, but contradictions (doubts) remain about the duration of his visit…”
(programme shifts to reconstruction mode)
(VO): So how long did David Payne stay in Kate’s apartment? Gerry, Kate’s husband, says his friend was there for half an hour but Kate says he (David) did not hang around for more than thirty seconds. Payne seems a rather enigmatic character. He seems to have been in the habit of bathing the daughters (children) of friends he spent holidays with.
(and back to the studio)
(P): We also have this individual’s profile ready to go through in a moment but first (here addressing FMF) what we have here is a great discrepancy, is it not? (From) thirty seconds to thirty minutes, the difference is brutal!
(FMF): It is indeed – and it is very odd too. It is rather strange (bizarre) that in the nucleus of a group of friends, one of them bathes the children of the others – and all that seems entirely natural to them! Worst of all, none of the detectives (past and present) interpellates this state of affairs from an investigative standpoint.
Bathing our children is something that lies in a region we might describe as very personal, of a deep affective bond (…)
(GA): Interrupts. “I think there is a denunciation (report) about …” (unclear).
(P): We will get there. We have that prepared…
(FMP): This (kind of scenario) is important to us as parents – and by the way, we are all parents here so – surely it would seem bizarre to any of us, to have someone from outside our families come to bath our children for us !
(P): Of course! We will address that in a moment.
(FMF): (wrapping up) And therefore, (in this case) a reconstruction was necessary to clarify what such a state of affairs was all about.
(P): Gonçalo Amaral, concerning this serious doubt – that is, the time this person (Payne) stayed in the McCann’s apartment – surely, at the time of your investigation, doubts must have been raised about how long this person stayed in the apartment, no?
(GA): Those doubts are (referred to) in an interim report elaborated by Chief Inspector Tavares de Almeida in September 2007 – and are clearly outlined (in that report) along with some conclusions drawn from them.
(Incidentally, this is) the very same report the parents of this child, and their lawyers, deeply dislike. They argue it is just old stuff, old history”, but history can be relevant (to understand events).Translators’ note: “history” and “story” are homophones in Portuguese.
It was after all this doctor (Dr. David Payne) who, on behalf of his friends, had organized this trip to the Ocean Club (adding) as he had organized others for them before.
(And it is interesting to note in this context that) that ten days after the event in May (Madeleine McCann’s disappearance), we have two other doctors – the Gaspars – denouncing him to the police in England. These doctors were friends who, in the past , had spent (at least) a holiday together with him (David Payne and the McCanns’) and yet did not hesitate to report him to the police.
(P): We also have that topic prepared …
(GA): Here we seem to have a state of affairs that, on occasion, has driven me to speculate about the whys and wherefores of what exactly lies behind all this…
(We know) there are many children which have gone missing in England – but in no other instance has the British Government preoccupied itself with them – certainly nothing like to the extent that they have done with this child!
Of course, one may assume this was because the parents were doctors (and it may have been perceived as if the British medical establishment was on trial) but I would still ask – why all this governmental interference ?
I do question myself and, I must stress, the reason may not have anything to do with it (the disappearance) as such. I often question myself about what exactly went on and what is still going on (..).
I will put it to you very directly – and yet after careful consideration. They (the English and Portuguese Police) are now looking for a paedophile outside of that group (the McCanns’ and their friends) – but what if there was a paedophile within that group? Now, someone might wish to argue I am calling him a paedophile, but I am not. Not at all.
The fact remains, there was a very serious denunciation (two witness statements) to the police (English), which contained very serious accusations against someone (Payne); (a report) and that eventually reached Portugal “through half-open doors and crossways” (suggesting the English purposefully delayed them). I could explain it to you in all detail but …
(P): We also have that story prepared …
(GA): I ask my self what is going on in here. I find it all rather enigmatic, particularly since those people (Drs. Katherina and Arul Gaspar) were not interviewed despite being listed in the “rogatory letter”.
But that person (Dr. Katherina Gaspar) was not questioned because she was not present at the police headquarters when the questioning took place. Rather conveniently, she only arrived (or was made to arrive) after the Portuguese police had already left the premises (…)
(P): Gonçalo Amaral, we do have that (investigative) nuance in a clip that will be shown later but, right now, we have here material that is (just as) important in (terms of the) reconstruction we are attempting this evening – a reconstruction of events (from the witness statements) that has never been tried before and, as you have pointed out, the Portuguese police never did.
So, (for now) let us give more attention (focus) on another moment of the reconstruction. A moment, which exposes the contradictory versions Gerry McCann gives the police about the manner in which he entered his apartment around 9 PM, to check on his children..
(Program reverts to reconstruction mode)
(VO): Gerry (McCann) interrupts his dinner and heads to his apartment (video image indicates 21:00 hours). In the first account he gives to the PJ (Polícia Judiciária) he states he entered the apartment through the front door using his key.
Afterwards, he changes his testimony and admits he had entered through one of the rear (balcony/patio) windows (easily accessed from a public road). One thing seems certain – he had no key. The key had been left inside the apartment.
(Back in the studio)
(P): Gonçalo Amaral, (I assume) this detail, must have been important during the investigation – this contradictory version (of events) ?
(GA): What is important, erm… (pauses to gather his thoughts); if we pay attention to these reconstructions and the statements of those who were suspects plus those of the witnesses, one observes two important things:
The first is; there seems to have been a preoccupation to suggest (to the police and the media) the children were safe; that no harm could befall them – for although they were left alone, they were secure since they had been locked inside (the apartment)!
And so, we have the father saying he entered through the front door (opening it with the key) but in fact the key was left inside – and (by the way) this information comes from a detective agency employed by the couple (…)
Then, there is another aspect to it – if you pay attention, at the end of this reconstruction, you are bound to notice one thing – and you would conclude that this (so-called) “scheme” of vigilance (or checking protocol) seems to have been designed to benefit only the McCanns’ children! The McCanns’ never bothered to check on their friends’ children!
The story we heard originally, that they got up in turns (from the table), went and checked on all the children, does not ring true, for it is apparent they did not.
The couple itself – the mother of the missing child to be precise – seems to have been at the table for nearly two hours, without checking on her daughter. When she finally goes to check on her (children) again it is apparent she does not seem to have gone there with that sole preoccupation in mind.
If you pay attention to her witness statement, what she says is; that she went to the apartment, that she was there (doing something) and suddenly felt a wind, a cool draft – and only then does she goes to inspect (the children’s bedroom) to see what was going on.
The father, on the other hand, says he had gone there, (to the apartment) first of all to empty his bladder, and afterwards, happened to see (the children’s bedroom) door at a certain angle, and so on.
It is this the kind of (circumstantial) detail that leads us to question the veracity (truth) of their accounts. Why did they say there was a scheme of vigilance (for checking on the children) when it seems evident from their testimonies (witness statements), there was none – seemingly?
And by the way, all this is written there in that report. They – their lawyer Rogério Alves and others – may insist it is “all history” but it is history as recorded in a process of a proper judicial investigation – a process that has been re-opened as we speak and which (in all fairness) should be properly examined.
There is no way to eradicate these statements; no way to destroy these documents. From what it is (stated) there (it seems clear) the father and the mother first preoccupation (as they arrived at the apartment) does not seem to have been to check on their children.
(As I just said) one (the father) appears to have gone there to empty his bladder; the other (the mother), said she went there to check on the children, but then it seems she was there doing something else when, suddenly – she says – she felt a gust of wind (a draft). Only then does she goes to the (children) bedroom, notices some light seeping through from outside (…) and her daughter missing (…)
This is (all) there (in the files) and (furthermore) in the statements she (Kate McCann) has produced along the years – some of which changed and keep changing (he nods as if to emphasize this point)
(P): (addressing Francisco Moita Flores) We still have two other (specific) moments of the reconstruction to go through but – we already have here so many contradictions! Surely, these could have been addressed properly if a reconstruction had been done to sharpen (relieve) those memories.
This was precisely the conversation we were having before I interrupted you. (Surely) this (reconstruction) ought to have been made straight-away! I mean, in the days immediately following the child’s disappearance (…)
(FMF): From the standpoint of forensic procedures, that would certainly have been decisive. In fact, if I may remark, the reconstruction CMTV has just made – and I did see the one made by the “Crimewatch” (on BBC1) – it is easy to perceive the difference between them in terms of rigour – like night and day!
(GA): Yep! One has more red wine and the other more empty glasses of …water? (unclear)
(FMP): This one (CMTV) has the wine, the group and its mood, and the location in relation to…
(P): The surrounding environment …
(FMP): The surrounding space is important – all this is important. Given some effort, I can try to understand these people, allowing for the fact we are dealing here with individuals from a cultural background different from ours – and (on this basis) I can try to understand these parents leaving their children asleep, out of their sight (relatively) far from where they were enjoying themselves until midnight – I mean, from 20:30- 21:00 until midnight.
But still, it is still very difficult for me to accept such (attitude towards children). (Particularly) if we contrast their attitude with that (prevalent) in our Latin culture, where the parents have a much more direct (day-to-day) involvement with the children – it is all very hard for me to comprehend.
(P): I understand this sad state of affairs would have been regarded under Portuguese Law (seems to be quoting) as a “predisposition to the abandonment of children”… (not clear)
(FMP): Have no doubts (about that)! If this (case) had involved a Portuguese child, our Public Ministry would have immediately set off (certain) protective (legal) measures which are in place to protect (Portuguese) children! Have no doubt, whatsoever, about that!
In our culture, this kind of behaviour would have not been tolerated as reasonable – or indeed susceptible of rationalizations! I am not even sure (this kind of behaviour) is tolerated under the light of Anglo-Saxon cultural values!
(P): But for this group this was all perfectly normal …
(FMP): (recapping) Now from a purely technical standpoint, from a (genuine) investigative perspective, a reconstruction of these events is the only way for detectives to do justice (serve) the Public Ministry, the judges and the investigation itself.
The questions that needed to be asked – not just to those directly involved in the case but, also certain people not directly involved – I am referring here (for example) to that gentlemen who was pushing a pram, lulling his son to sleep.
(GA): (interrupts to say): Ah! But that challenges (contradicts) your ideas about Anglo-Saxon cultural values (of being irresponsible towards children) …
(GA): He (Jeremy Wilkins) took his son with him to lull him into sleep (…)
(FMF): To lull him to sleep, yes.
(GA): During at least half-an hour (…)Translator note: possibly referring here to the witness statement of the McCanns’ upstairs neighbour who, late at night, overheard a child (possibly Madeleine) crying her lungs out during her parents absence.
(FMF): (continuing) Also, the staff of the restaurant-bar should have been included (in any reconstruction) – to find out (for example) whether those glasses contained wine or water – as the BBC “Crimewatch” tried to suggest; to determine the sequence of them getting up from and returning to the table, to confirm the distances they covered, to…
(GA): (cuts in) and to confirm who sat down (at the table) moments before the mother of the child gives…
(P): (cuts in) Gives the alert!
(GA): Gives the alert! Because there are two employees – a man and a woman – who maintain that the person who sat at the table, just before the mother of the child gets up, was Mr. Gerald McCann – the father! There are witnesses for this!Translators’ note: We cannot help but looking at this byte from Dr. Amaral as another spanner in the works of Mr. Redwood’s diplomatic brief but, we pass no judgement.
There are a number of things that need to be clarified and in my view the (new) investigation should proceed as follows:
(Dr. Goncalo Amaral seems to go into “didactic mode” for the benefit of those participating in the new, so-called “review”.)
When a process (an investigation) is re-opened and one starts to read it almost from the end (instead of at the beginning); and then one makes the a priori assumption that the case is about a kidnapping; and then goes on to assume (the crime) was committed by a an individual who is dead; who died under a tractor… (beggars belief).
The first diligence (thing) that should have been made at the start of this re-investigation, was precisely a reconstruction. The new investigation, should have started at the point: where the reconstruction was missing!
This point (that is the attempt to do a reconstruction) was the last act (of the initial investigation) before the investigation process was (forcefully) archived. Therefore, it is from there it should have started. (addressing FMF) You know very well this is how it should be done! (smiles knowingly).
(FMP): But Amaral, allow me to say this – do you know (what is) the drama inherent in this reconstruction? The real drama of this investigation is that it provides no answers; it raises questions instead – and a criminal investigation ought to seek answers, not pose more questions!
(GA): Ah! But it is still possible to come up with answers… (unclear)
(P): (The investigation) has revealed several contradictions. We are going to…
There is a quick exchange between GA and FMF. GA seems to try to make the point the contradictions themselves are pointing to a possible answer. Unclear.
(P):We are going to show another of these contradictions. Matthew Oldfield – one of the group visited the McCanns’ apartment but was not sure if Maddie was there (…)
(The program goes back to reconstruction mode.)
(VO): Matthew Oldfield feels uneasy about the delay of Jane Tanner and Russell O’Brien. He gets up from the restaurant’s table and goes looking for his friends. He says he entered the McCanns’s apartment and looked inside the bedroom where Maddie slept with her brothers. He is not sure whether the little girl was in the bed but (oddly enough) alerts no one.
(P): (Now) we are going to see another of these moments. The mystery this time, involves the father of Maddie. It is not known (for sure) where Gerry McCann was at the moment his daughter was found missing.
(Back to the reconstruction)
(VO): Where was Gerry McCann at 22:00 hours when his wife Kate cries out that her daughter (Madeleine) is missing? Two employees of the restaurant guarantee (stated) that around that time he was not at the dinner table. Could he have been the man, Martin Smith, an Irish tourist, saw carrying a blonde girl in his arms?
(Back to the studio)
(P): Gonçalo, this is the last contradiction, as it were, and… (unclear).
(GA): This is a contradiction that goes beyond contradiction! (the denotation and connotation of the word).
At first, according to a certain family testimony, there was an 80% probability the man they saw was him (Gerry) – and this is a already a figure which has a “British variable” on top – meaning perhaps “a figure that has been doctored”).
At first, the family was quite sure that the man who was carrying the child in his arms was this person but, once they were questioned over there – in a rather informal manner it seems then, they lost that certainty and gave the sighting an 80% probability that it was the father (Gerry McCann)- and a 60% (chance) it could have been Madeleine.
What I would like to add is; we have repeatedly spoken here about (the hour of the sighting of Martins Smith being at) 22:00, but we do not know (for sure) if it was at 22:00 hours. A reconstruction would have to deal with that. There are only three moments that we know with some certainty, happen at a precise time.
One is when the child leaves the crèche or, for that matter, a family member (mother) collects her at 17:30 hrs.
The other is the Irish family payment (of their bill) at the Dolphin restaurant. They made that payment with a debit card at 21:27 hours but – you have to bear in mind that after they left the restaurant they went to a bar (…)
And the third, was a phone call made to the GNR (National Republican Guard) at 22:47 hours. Everything else is just chitchat – exactly because the precise times are not known.
For example, in the case of Jeremy (Wilkins) it is not known how long his conversation (with Gerry McCann) lasted. It is not known how long that Irish family stayed in that bar after leaving the restaurant. They say they left around 22:00, but it is not known if it was at 22:05, 22:10, 22:15 or 22:20 PM.
A while ago we spoke of Pamela Fenn – an elderly lady who lived in the apartment above (the McCanns’) – and who has since passed away. Now, this lady only hears the commotion in the apartment below at 22:30 hours. (In other words), she places the all scene when the mother purportedly finds her child missing, not at 22 hours (as the mother does) but at 22:30 hours! This person (Pamela Fenn) is no longer with us but her testimony is .
(P): We are now going to show the exact part of the evening when the child disappeared. This excerpt (attempts to) shows the family Smith – an Irish family holidaying in the Algarve. On the evening Maddie disappeared, they crossed paths with a man carrying a blonde child in his arms. Four months later (one of them) Martin Smith was convinced the stranger was Gerry McCann
(The reconstruction returns to the screens)
(VO): At 21:50 hours (estimated time), the Smiths’, an Irish family comprising four adults and five children who were holidaying in Praia de Luz, leave the Kelly’s Bar and head to their accommodation in the Estrela da Luz urbanisation – not far from the Ocean Club.
A few minutes later, Kate McCann will alert others to her daughter’s disappearance.
Meanwhile, not far from Kelly’s Bar, in the Escola Primária Street, the Smith family crosses paths with a man who walks in the opposite direction towards the beach. The time is (around) 22 hours.
Martin Smith, the eldest of the group, describes the man to the police as white, 1,75 or 1,80 meters tall ( 5′ to 5′ 11″) and a normal physical complexion. His hair was brown and cut short. His skin seemed tanned by the sun. He wore plain trousers – colour beige. The man, Smith says, carried in his arms a blonde child. The child was wearing pink pyjamas, her feet were exposed; her arms were hanging down by her body with her head laying on the left shoulder of the man.
The child appeared to be around the age of four and about one meter in height (3′ 3″”). Martin Smith was unable to see the face of the suspect because the man turned his face as they cross paths with him..
Back in Ireland, four months later (on the 9th of September 2007) Martin Smith is watching on TV the news of the arrival of the McCanns’ back in England.
As Gerry (McCann) comes down the stairs of the plane with Sean (his son) in his lap, (Martin) Smith (immediately) remembers the shape, gait and countenance of the stranger he crossed paths with in a street of the village of Luz. He seems to have recognized his physique (and) his way of holding (the child).
Martin Smith is convinced the man he saw in Escola Primária Street could have been Gerry McCann and (subsequently) informs the Polícia Judiciária of his discovery. The PJ wants to hear him (in Portugal) and Smith expresses his readiness to travel.
The PJ National Directory authorizes the financing of his passage and accommodation expenses. Everything is arranged for Martin Smith to come to Portugal.
But, meanwhile, Gonçalo Amaral is removed from the investigation and substituted by a special team co-ordinated by Paulo Rebelo. The new head who is responsible for the investigation, considers Martin Smith’s planned trip to Algarve as “pointless” .
A report written later by the team of Paulo Rebelo states that at the time Martin Smith sees his suspect, Gerry McCann may have been sitting at the table of the “tapas’ restaurant”.
The report choice of words is an ambiguous one. It does not say yes; it does not say no. “May have been” does not necessarily imply Gerry McCann was or, for that matter, that he was not (sitting at the table). It merely states there is no absolute certainty of Gerry McCann’s whereabouts on that evening, around 22:00 hours.
(Program reverts to studio mode and the conversation resumes.)
(P): Gonçalo Amaral, what happened to this Irish family?
(GA): As far as I know, this Irish family continues (living) over there in Ireland. Immediately afterwards, they were the target of several contact attempts – by private detectives contracted by the couple, by some other people, you know, by journalists and the like. They have since remitted (sworn) themselves to silence. They have not spoken to anyone since.
Recently, news have surfaced about some kind of detectives, hired by the couple who, claim to have spoken with the Smiths’ and (even) made e-fit pictures of the man seen by the Smiths’ – but given the kind of shadowy detail provided by the Smiths, it would have been impossible to make an e-fit of anyone.Translator’s note: If like Dr. Gonçalo Amaral says, it would have been impossible to make an e-fit of anyone from the description given by the Smiths’, what are we to make of “Scotland Yard” much publicized Crimewatch “e-fits” ? No criticism implied (…)
(P): But why have they remitted themselves to silence (remain silent) whereas before they were willing to talk? (I mean) to the extent they were ready to travel and arrangements had been made (for them to travel to Portugal)?
(GA): They were available to talk to the police but, were journalists are concerned, in terms of communications with the media, in that respect, they have kept things to themselves. However, as far as I know, they are available to co-operate with the police.
(P): And why did they not come over then when everything was arranged?
(GA): They did not (come over) because of a coincidence, if you like. I left (my office in) Portimão (was removed from the investigation) on the 2nd of October 2007, which was around the time those arrangements were made. Then the arrangements were cancelled, as it were.
Then, there was a short hiatus (in the investigation) during which my colleague was appointed. When (my new colleague) arrives, he has his own vision, his own reading of events so, instead (of a reconstruction by the PJ) he simply asked for the co-operation of the Irish police and, afterwards reached the conclusion it was not necessary for Martin Smith to come to Portugal, but I beg to differ …
(P): I have always believed that this question was (…)
(GA): I have always believed it would have been important for him (Martin Smith) to come to Portugal. (You see) it was not just about him coming over to confirm when they (Smiths’) paid their bill (at Dolphin’s). It was necessary to (clarify the time-frames of other related events). Let me explain …
I have already told you that time is correct. That, is well-documented in the kind of record no one can argue with – that it was more or less a minute, say. These are…
(P): Informatic (computer generated) records !
(GA): Now this 21:27 record, refers to the exact time they paid their bill. It does not mean they left the restaurant at 21:27 sharp! It is only evidence that they paid their bill at 21:27 hours.
Then, sometime later, the family leaves the restaurant and heads to a nearby bar – the Bar Kelly, located about 20 meters from the restaurant. Here they had a few more drinks but (on this occasion) we do not have a record (of expenses); nor do we know how many drinks they had and how long they stayed there.
They say, they may have left around 22 hours, but again, this is not for sure. The eldest, Martin Smith himself, says his son had to travel the following day and, for that reason, it is unlikely they had hanged in there much longer than that …
So, it would have been important to have them (in a reconstruction) in order to try to understand how long they may have stayed in the bar.
In addition, it would have been important to have an idea of how long a person leaving the (Ocean Club) apartments would take to cross paths with the Smiths …
We would need to hear him (Smith) in more detail in order not to end up with a testimony of hearsay – the kind that is now in the process. What we now have on file, is a testimony of what Martin Smith told others (the Irish police) and not us – the Portuguese police!
(P): Very quickly, just before we go for a break. We also have here the question of the statements as to the times at which Gerry McCann was present at the restaurant’s table.
(GA): That is not a certainty! What is in the (investigation) process states, more or less, that the Smiths’ trip to Portugal was “useless” and that such a decision was justified vis a vis the Smiths’ testimony because the father of the child may have been (at the time) sitting in the restaurant – even if there is no certainty that he was!
So, if there was no certainty, then they (Paulo Rebelo’s team) felt free to assume that the information about the Smith’s sighting “lacked significance”. But of course, this assumption was based on second-hand information received from Ireland …
(It lacked significance) because Martin Smith was only “80% certain” (that it was Gerry that he saw). Furthermore Smith reached this conclusion from TV images, from his gait and countenance, from his manner of holding the child, and so on – all of which (in Paulo Rebelo’s team opinion) did not constitute any proof per se.
It may be true to say it did not constitute proof per se but, nonetheless, what we have here is an encounter that demands to be investigated. We cannot just go after sound evidence; we need to understand the the hows, the whys and the whereabouts of events as well.
If the (Smiths’) encounter took place and for all we know it did, then if the man was not Mr. Gerald McCann (whom the Smiths’ saw), then who was he?
(P): Gonçalo Amaral, Francisco Moita Flores, we are going now for a short pause in this “Maddie McCann Special” and will be back shortly.
End of part one-of-two parts.Translators’ notes Words in brackets are sometimes added to the text to facilitate its reading-comprehension. It is important to stress this is not a word-by-word legal translation. Literal translations do not work in colloquial reporting because due attention needs to be given to English usage and the alignment or exclusion of disruptive, conversational elements. That said, considerable care has been taken to impart the reader with the meaning (and feeling) of what was said and above all what was (or might have been) intended in the Portuguese original. i.e. attention to “the various paradigms which seem to underline the surface structure of a text and the possible intentions of the participants”. For the same reason, notes (and links) were added – mere “curiosities” which we happened to come across during our work and decided to include for the sake of perspective – no inferences taken, though.
Acknowledgements Special thanks to “Xklamation” (Joana Morais) for her quick thinking and initiative in uploading the original Portuguese version of this important video-document to YouTube at a time when the original CMTV video-document had mysteriously disappeared from the Internet. CMTV’s link (we were informed) could not, for a while, be accessed from the UKGB (…)