PRESENTER Thanks Sara. A very big story in the UK at the
moment where the saga of Madeleine McCann remains an
interest, a matter of great, great public interest. And
they are reporting that a South African property
developer, Stephen Birch, claims he has found the
remains of Madeleine McCann. Stephen is on the line to
us now from Cape Town. Good Afternoon.
BIRCH Hi, John. Thanks for having me on your show.
PRESENTER So what, what exactly are you claiming, Stephen?
BIRCH Well erm, weíve er, Iíve, Iíve undertaken a fifteen
month, you know, investigation into the Madeleine McCann
case. And er, we finished off the investigation on the
13th of June this year, err, when I flew to London to er,
make arrangements, with my attorney, erm, to represent
me in London and also to hire a ground-penetrating radar
machine. Er, I then flew from, ermm, London to Lisbon
and met my team that were, that left from Cape Town. I
erm, I employed a team about a month and a half before I
left. And IT team and erm, a erm, a team of people to
help me with regard to the camera work and surveillance.
And er, I then met with them in Lisbon and we drove down
to Praia da Luz where I pre-booked accommodation in the
Ocean Club. Basically we rented an apartment known as
Fuji (???) Farms 10 which overlooks the property which
Iím sure some of your listeners might remember belonged
to erm, a gentleman by the name of Robert Murat. Or
actually it belongs to his mother, Jenny Murat.
PRESENTER Stephen, theres a little more detail than we need
in what you are telling me at the moment. OK?
PRESENTER So just, I mean could we cut to the chase?
BIRCH Yes we can. What we, what I did was. I entered the
property four times illegally in the early hours of the
morning between five and six oíclock in the morning. And
using the ground-penetrating radar machine, ermmm,
found, erm, potentially, er, a cavity beneath a driveway
where I suspected that Madeleine could be buried. And,
er, the scans clearly show that the ground below the
driveway contains an object. At this present moment we
are not sureÖ. Er, it needs to be confirmed and we are
waiting for the Portuguese Police to react to our
findings. But it shows a cavity and an object in the
cavity and ermm, and it shows disturbance of, of the
ground conditions beneath the driveway, approximately
between 400 and 650 mm below the ground.
PRESENTER Driveways are things that are constructed. I mean
cavities under driveways, is that unusual? What, what
makes you believe that this cavity and the object which
your ground-penetrating radar seems to have picked up is
the remains of Madeleine McCann?
BIRCH Well, you know, its a fifteen month investigation. Its
not only the cavity. Thereís numerous factors which we,
which if we are correct in our findings weíll release
that. Ermm, first of all the location of where we
suspect the cavity to be is, err, in line our previous
investigation. Secondly, ermm, the findings were sent to
Scotland Yard. Weíre still waiting for a result from
them but were sent to South African experts who analysed
the scans and came back and stated that thereís no doubt
in their minds that thereís definitely something there
and given the nature of the investigation that driveway
needs to be lifted.
PRESENTER Stephen, a South African property developer doing
a fifteen month investigation into the disappearance of
a young British girl. Why? And where does a property
developer get the kinds of skills and experience and
expertise to successfully prosecute an investigation
like this when seasoned criminal investigators havenít
managed to do it?
BIRCH Its an easy question to ask. Not an easy question to
answer. I mean there, I have various reasons as to why I
undertook the investigation and those reasons changed as
I progressed through the investigation. You need to
understand that it became an emotional process. One gets
intertwined in the investigation. Its a twelve thousand
page investigation that I undertook, ermm. I am a
property developer. I have significant, erm, experience
in soil conditions and ermm, I think my attention to
detail and the way that I approached it on a very
pragmatic basis and analysed every single detail and was
able to obtain information that possibly the Portuguese
Police had overlooked.
PRESENTER Yeah and I mean the British police looked as well
and Madeleine McCannís parents hired private
investigators who also looked and youíll understand why
I and a lot of other people are going to be deeply
sceptical that a South African property developer has
succeeded where Portuguese and British professionals
BIRCH No doubt. I am sure that there is a tremendous amount
of scepticism out there. Unfortunately I need to remain
focused at what Iím doing and I canít be sidetracked.
Iíll continue doing what I do, stay focused which I have
been for the last thirteen months and get the Portuguese
Police to lift that driveway and confirm my, my
investigation that she is buried there.
PRESENTER Have you had any kind of response from either
Scotland Yard or the Portuguese Police?
BIRCH Well the, ermm, Scotland Yard has written back to me
on Monday stating that erm, my findings have been the
erm, the centre of their discussions for the whole of
Monday all the meetings. The Portuguese Police at the
moment are remaining mum. You do know that the case has
been closed for fifteen months after Madeleine went
missing. So there seems to be a bit of a judicial issue
there in being able to get them to react when the case
has been closed. And its problematic the Portuguese
police are putting, Portuguese press and the Spanish
press are putting their, the Portuguese police under
tremendous pressure to react and Iím sure that by the
weekend the British tabloids and majorÖ.
PRESENTER Our reporter in the UK says this is going to be
very, very big news in the UK over the weekend. The
McCanns, have you had formal contact with them?
BIRCH No, you know Iíve made it very clear that I want no
contact with the McCanns or anybody thats associated
with Madeleine. I want it to be a completely independent
investigation and it must be understood that by doing
that erm, my focus has been on to find the infantís
remains and once we find the infantís remains the
investigation will be narrowed completely down and it
should have been narrowed in the first place. It should
have remained in Praia da Luz but unfortunately it went
PRESENTER Yes I mean ifÖ. I donít know who decided to go
public with this but it is now public and so the McCanns
will know about it and theyíll have reporters besieging
them trying to get comment on this and if that driveway
is dug up and there is a, I donít know, a dead dog in
there or the driveways dug up and thereís nothing then
you have to answer to some fairly serious mental
distress that you might have caused the McCanns.
BIRCH (Loud clearing of throat) Erm, Iím sure youíre right
but at the end of the day my feeling on the whole thing
is that we need to get closure on that particular
property. Erm, I have certain evidence in my possession
that says the property was not properly searched and
errm, you know, and erm, in my opinion if I am wrong Iíd
like to eliminate that property completely out of the
equation. But, I mean having spent, err, two weeks in
Praia da Luz and having looked at all the various other
properties, thereís only one place that Madeleine McCann
can be buried and that is in that property.
PRESENTER Thatís South African, Cape Town property
developer, Stephen Birch who believes that he has found
the final resting place of Madeleine McCann.