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Looking For Madeleine A chapter by chapter review. By Richard Philips



Original Source: My McCann Thoughts
By Richard Philips  Monday, September 15, 2014
Chapter 01
Monday, September 15, 2014

Looking For Madeleine A chapter by chapter review.


Those of you who have read my blog posts about the DNA evidence will know that I am neither for or against Kate & Gerry McCann. I have no vested interest except that my training as a scientist requires that I examine all evidence critically and that I seek the truth based only on a thorough examination of all the evidence. Science also teaches us that evidence & predictions drawn from it can often be tested by experimentation which in turn can generate new evidence that leads to a greater understanding of the truth. Instinct & gut feeling have no place in science other than, perhaps, in helping to form an initial hypothesis. Nor do personal attacks so if you do reply to this blog (please do by the way) please stick to facts.
My motivation for doing this review is that the authors have claimed to be able to demonstrate that speculation that the McCann's played a role in Madeleine's disappearance are unfounded. I sincerely hope they have been able to do so because that would be a significant step forwards in solving this case. However if this is a false claim, and if it becomes widely accepted that would have the opposite effect. Thus I embark on this project with hopeful skepticism.

For the record I am reading the kindle version of the book. If there are differences between this and the hardback version I will not be aware of them.

Looking For Madeleine Chapter 1.

The opening phrase of the book is concerning as it appears to set the tone for the rest of the book. I know I have not finished the book yet, but I have read the authors opening note,extracts in press and several summaries so I have an idea of the books conclusions.
Back to the opening phrase " 'There she was, perfect,'" is attributed to Kate McCann. Anyone who has studies the case will be well aware of Gerry McCann's "She was almost perfect" comment in an interview. A comment that has led to a great deal of criticism. Thus the opening phrase seems to be an attempt to do several things. 1. Right Gerry's wrong. 2. Give a slightly false impression to the reader. & 3. Provoke those who are convinced that the McCann's faked Madeleine's abduction.
In fairness to the authors Kate does say something very similar in her book, but this was written after Gerry made his "almost perfect" comment so can also be seen as trying to right a previous wrong. I would have hoped that what the authors claim to be the first independent, objective account of the case would not have such a provocative opening phrase.

Unfortunately within just a few paragraphs we come to an inaccuracy. The authors refer to Madeleine's eye "defect" (it is no more of a defect than having blue or green or brown eyes) as a coloboma. A coloboma is a hole in , or an imperfectly formed iris. As far as we can tell from studying photographs, and the McCann's stressed this in a TV interview, Madeleine's right eye contained a fleck of brown colour in a perfectly formed iris. It was almost certainly not a coloboma so to say it definitely was a coloboma is not accurate.

Next we come to a description of the young Madeleine. The authors are honest in describing her as a difficult child, but try to give the impression that her sleeping & behavior problems had been largely solved. "The stars mounted up" suggesting that the stars Madeleine was awarded for sleeping a whole night in her own bed were issued almost every night. The evidence that this was the case is not good. A photograph of the reward chart has only 7 stars on it ( & Kate states in her book that a star was put up every time Madeleine stayed in her own bed all night. Furthermore we know that Madeleine spent woke up & spent one night in her parents bed while on holiday in Praia Da Luz. These two verifiable facts suggest to me that Madeleine was not good at sleeping all night in her own bed.

There are a number of questionable things in the next few paragraphs, but the authors are setting the scene for the start of the holiday so I'll let most of these pass. However the authors make a significant omission when relating the story of the camera-phone footage taken in the bus at Faro airport. They say that David Payne exclaims "Cheer up, Gerry! We're on holiday!" , but they omit Gerry's reply. There are a number of versions of this reply on the internet, but it is fairly certain that Gerry said "I not here to enjoy myself". He may also have used an expletive. Of course it is possible that Gerry was making a sort of joke, but there seems to be no humor in his reply & no one appears to laugh. In the light of what was to happen later this could be significant, but it is omitted.

In relating what happened on the holiday the authors do depart from the McCann party line when discussing the name by which Madeleine was called. They accept that at the creche she seemed happy to be called Maddy. Credit to the authors for this.

The description of the holiday continues with reasonable accuracy, although with a rather one sided slant. The description of the reasoning behind the decision to leave the children alone and make checks every 15mins or so seems somewhat biased. There is no questioning of how or why such a decision was taken. No discussion of whether any, not even one, of the group questioned the safety of such a scheme. This is one of the main reasons people criticise the McCann's yet the authors simply accept the version given. Perhaps they will tackle this issue later.

There is a comment about Gerry's addiction to tennis and running. This is something that has been questioned. How much tennis did Gerry play before the holiday. What does the tennis coach from the OC say about Gerry's proficiency and attitude to tennis. Was Gerry a member of a tennis club? Does he still play tennis? I say this because there are people who claim that Gerry prefers golf & some who say that he hardly played tennis at all before or since this holiday. The authors should have been in a position to check these facts.

The description of evenings in the tapas bar concentrates on the Wednesday night. There is an admission that the group drank quite heavily that night and stayed up well past midnight. There is a description of Gerry leaving shortly before Kate & of Kate finding Gerry asleep and snoring. Such a brief account of what could be a critical event seems strange. Did the authors ask the tapas 7 or Kate and Gerry to elaborate. How long did Kate remain in the bar after Gerry left? Did she try to stop him leaving? Was there any reason for him to leave abruptly? This event could suggest that there was something amiss. Some source of tension between them. I hope that the authors explore this later in the book.

It is worth pointing out here that if they stayed till after midnight on 2nd May & if there story about checking on the children is true the McCann's would have made a total of at least 12 return trips to the apartment that night in spite of having a fair amount to drink. I mention this simply to draw attention to the nature of the regime they claim to have adopted.

Now we come to another of the important incidents of the week. The account that has been given by the McCann's of Madeleine's comment early on Thursday morning that she and Sean had been crying the night before and that no one had come to her or Sean. The authors accept Kate's version that when she asked Madeleine what she had meant Madeleine had already become interested in something else.
This story may or may not be true. If it is true it raises a number of questions. If it is not true it raises even more questions. Some people find Kate's account of this difficult to believe. It is impossible to say for sure whether it is true or not, but some critical analysis of the subject is warranted in an objective account of the case. Perhaps the authors cover this later. We shall see.

The account of Thursday 3rd May continues. In just a couple of pages the authors describe in very simple terms the events of the day and the fateful evening that Madeleine went missing. Amazingly description of the largely uneventful day is more detailed that the description of the events of the fateful evening. The checks are not analysed in detail. The only detail given is of Kate telling Jane & Fiona that Madeleine had said she & Sean woke up the previous night. Only the bare bones of the checks are there. There is no mention of Gerry being gone longer than expected, of his meeting with Jez Wilkins or of Jane Tanner seeing a man carrying a child. Perhaps these will be covered later, but it does seem odd to hurry through the events of that evening. The chapter ends with Kate returning to the tapas bar and shouting "Madeliene's gone".
This is followed by a quote from the tapas waiters statement, the book says :-

"Long minutes later, still in the restaurant, waiter Jeronimo Salcedas heard what he would come to assume had been Kate screaming 'Never in my life'....'had I heard a cry like that....' ".

These is an accurate quote in it's meaning, but not 100% word for word as quotes should be. Nor is it given it's full context by the authors. The quotes in the book come from his second statement made in April 2008 almost a year after the event. His statement made on 6th May 2007 when events should have been fresh in his memory he makes a similar, but slightly different comment. Here is a 100% accurate quote from his second statement:

"I ran out of the Tapas and noticed that some of the childcare works of the Mark Warner had begun to arrive. At the point I left the Tapas I heard a scream from a woman I did not know. I do not know who screamed, but I had never heard a similar cry. I cannot even describe it but thought it had come from the child's mother."

In this first statement he also appears to be unaware of Kate entering the tapas bar to raise the alarm. He does not mention it at all. He says he only noticed something when he saw Diane Webster was sitting alone. He says seconds later that Gerry appeared & was looking for Madeleine & headed for the pool area. Here is a more complete quote from his first statement:-

"At that time, at about 22.20 - 22.30 he noticed that there was only one person sitting at the group's table, the oldest of them and he asked her jokingly whether they had left her alone.

The person in question said that the others had gone to the apartment to look for a girl who had disappeared. Seconds later Madeleine's father appeared, greatly agitated, looking for his daughter everywhere, obviously and immediately heading towards the pool and surrounding areas.

Shortly afterwards Luz Ocean Club was in a state of absolute commotion. Everyone was trying to help in the search for Madeleine which was multiplied in numerous search actions over a large perimeter. The witness immediately perceived the seriousness of the situation. Madeleine's mother was shouting desperately for her daughter. The witness told another chef at the Millenium restaurant so that he would also help in the searches."

I make no judgement about the significance of the statements. The waiter clearly heard someone (probably Kate) screaming some time after the alarm had been raised and searches were ongoing. However the way this is presented in the book is subtly misleading & not what I would hope to see in a definitive, unbiased account.

So all in all not a great start, but hopefully some concerns expressed above will be addressed in later chapters.

Next installment tomorrow.
Chapter 02

Chapter 2 

I have just finished reading chapter 2 of the Summers & Swan book. I hope to get this review posted before the end of today, but I fear this may take some time to write.


First some thoughts about the chapter overall.  

It seeks to describe the events of the night of 3/4 Mat 2007 from the time Kate raised the alarm till the time of the first news broadcast on SkyNews at about 07.30. Unfortunately many important things are omitted from the narrative while others are given as fact without any references, corroboration or validation. At times it reads more like a dramatization of events than a piece of investigative reporting. 

Having had a sneeky peek at the start of chapter 3 I can see that one of the omissions is covered there. This strikes me as odd. Events should be presented in chronological order. To present things selectively and out of order can only serve to confuse the reader. I do hope that is not the intention.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Chapter 2 detail

Detailed review of Chapter 2.

The chapter starts with the group of friends rushing back to the apartment and an explanation of why Kate said the words "they've taken her", by paragraph three we are back to Kate in the apartment alone doing her check, paragraph 4 has David Payne's impression of Kate as she entered the tapas bar. To say that the start of chapter 2 is disjointed and confused is an understatement! It does settle down into a description of the early searches by the tapas group.

There is a strange and seemingly unnecessary criticism of Portuguese officials before a section explaining how the police were called. This section fails to address one of the important unexplained facts of the case: namely :-who decided to call the police, when & why. The authors accurately describe the OC receptionist hearing from staff in the tapas restaurant that a little girl was missing. They say the receptionist called the police at once. These events are recalled in the OC staff statements to the police. The authors describe Oldfield (one of the tapas 7) going to the OC reception and having a surreal conversation trying to persuade them to call the police. The authors do not mention that the OC receptionist does not mention this conversation in their statement, nor does anyone mention directly telling the tapas staff that Madeleine was missing or that it was necessary for the police to be called.
A few paragraphs later after a section about searches and nanny's the authors mention that the McCann's were frantic about why the police hadn't arrived and Oldfield went back to the reception this time with Gerry McCann. The OC receptionist statement shows that he remembers Gerry coming to the reception after the initial call was made and that he then made a second call timed just 11 minutes after the first call.

If you are a bit confused by this it isn't surprising. The authors seem to have deliberately tried to confuse the question of the calls to the police while at the same time having a completely out of context swipe at some Portuguese officials. The involvement of Matthew Oldfield in attempts to call the police is, at the very least, doubtful.

Careful reading of statements and phone record logs in the official published PJ files reveals the following.

1. Tapas bar staff realised because of the commotion and searching that a child was missing on the resort.

2. Of their own initiative they phoned the OC reception to relate this news.

3. The OC reception immediately phoned the police. This call was logged in phone records as being made at 22.41. (The statement of the receptionist says it was between 21.30 and 22.00. Given that it seems likely the alarm was not raised till 22.00 and the call to the GNR was logged at 22.41 it seems likely the time in the statement is out by 1hr)

4. A few minutes later Gerry McCann and another man, possibly Matthew Oldfield, but the receptionist states it was John Hill, arrived at reception. (It is unlikely that the receptionist would mistake Matthew Oldfield for John Hill because Mr Hill was the OC manager. John Hill states that he did go to reception around this time but it appears that he went alone or at least was not with Gerry McCann)

5. The receptionist made a second phone call to the GNR. This call was logged in phone records as being made at 22.52.


At this point I would like to ask the authors why they have written a record of the calls made to the GNR that does not agree with at least some of the statements in the official police files. Particularly with statements made by the person who actually made the calls. I would have expected them to at least highlight the doubt that exists over this matter rather than state as fact something that is at best doubtful.

The chapter continues to describe what happened after the GNR (police) arrived at the apartment. The authors are again selective in their choice of quotes from statements selecting things that support the suggestion that Madeleine had been abducted while ignoring quotes that might give the opposite impression. This strikes me as dishonest.

For example they quote GNR officer Roque. Here is the passage from the book: 'Roque noted that the bedclothes on Madeleine's bed seemed "too tidy". It appeared, he thought "that she had been picked up from or had left the bed with great care. There was a mark on the sheet that appeared to be made by a child's body"'. To me this reads as if the officer felt that the scene was that of a child abduction.

However the full quote from officer Roque's statement is:-

"During the search he did not find anything strange apart from the bedclothes on Madeleine's bed, which were too tidy, it appeared that she had been picked up from or had left the bed with great care. There was a mark on the sheet that appeared to be made by a child's body."

To me this has a slightly different tone. He found the bedclothes "strange", "it appeared she had been picked up or left the bed with great care", the "mark" "appeared to be made by a child's body". Perhaps I am wrong, but he says a little later in the same statement:

"He found the parents to be nervous and anxious, he did not see any tears from either of them although they produced noises identical to crying. He did not feel that this was an abduction, although this was the line indicated by the father."

Of course officer Roque could have been quite wrong in his opinion, but that is not the point. Summers and Swan have been dishonestly selective in the quotes they have used. They appear to be trying to create a specific impression for the reader rather than present accurate facts.

The rest of the chapter proceeds in similar vein. The impression given is of distraught parents, frantic searching, and incompetent police. As someone who has studied the case I know that some of the criticism of the police is justified & I have no doubt the scene was chaotic and confused. However earlier dishonesty by the authors and the one sided tone of the narrative lead me to doubt whether this really is an impartial account, but things do improve a bit towards the end of the chapter.

There is an interesting section about the various attempts to contact the press. One of the first two PJ officers to arrive told them "No media!" but was told Sky News had already been contacted (perhaps unsuccessfully). The authors relate that attempts by the group to contact the press began quite early, probably before 03.00, and continued in spite of the PJ's request for "No media!".

There is also a section about attempts to locate a priest and the fact that finding a priest seemed very important particularly to Kate. It is related that even when a priest in Liverpool was called and spoken to on the telephone Kate still wanted a local priest to be found.

A few paragraphs on and we are told that beds were made up in the Payne's apartment for them to lay down and rest if not actually sleep. We are also told that at this time, about 04.30, Gerry knew about Jane Tanners sighting but had not yet told Kate.

These sections do not portray the McCann's in a good light. Several attempts to contact the press against police instructions, attempts to find a priest and anger that one could not be found, and attempts to sleep or rest while others searched for their daughter. Finally the fact that a friend and also her husband withheld information from Kate about a possible sighting of an abductor.

The chapter ends with the word paedophile. Used in the context of Gerry talking to his sister Patricia about what might have happened. I found this a little unnecessary. This is meant to be an unbiased truthful account, not a pulp fiction page turner.

However I finished the chapter with my hope of an impartial account somewhat revived. Many things are omitted from this account of the hours 22.00 - 07.30 , but I live in hope that the authors will tackle them in later chapters.
Chapter 03

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Chapter 3

I'm starting to feel like Dr Who, jumping back and forward in time. This chapter starts with by taking us back in time from 07.30 to near dawn although the authors fail to tell us exactly what time that was. I checked a couple of websites which both said dawn was at 06.34 in nearby Faro that morning.
According to Kate's book they went out "as soon as it was light, to resume our search." Anyone who has seen the dawn will know that "as soon as it was light" is very imprecise.

Anyway regardless of the exact time S&S tell us Kate & Gerry went out,"wrapped up warm", so can we expect them to tell us what they did & where they went? Unfortunately the answer is no, so another of the big questions from that night remains unanswered. We still have no idea what Kate & Gerry McCann did that morning in spite of 7 years of interviews & books including this latest "definitive" account. In her own book Kate says:

"As soon as it was light Gerry and I resumed our search. We went up and down roads we had never seen before, having barely left the complex all week. We jumped over walls and raked through undergrowth. We looked in ditches and holes. All was quiet apart from the sound of barking dogs,which added to the eeriness of the atmosphere. I remember opening a big dumpster-type bin and saying to myself, please God, don't let her be in here. The most striking and horrific thing about all this was that we were completely alone. Nobody else, it seemed, was out looking for Madeleine. Just us her parents.
We must have been out for at least an hour before returning to David & Fiona's apartment"

If you read that carefully you will see that Kate reveals nothing about where they went. Not a mention of the direction they took even to start with. No comment about whether they tried to be systematic, returning to the last place either of them had looked the night before and moving out from there. Nothing. No detail at all except the very generic "undergrowth" "holes" "ditches"and "dumpster-type bin".

I had hoped that S&S would be able to fill-in this gap. That they would have been able to provide evidence that Kate & Gerry really did search for Madeleine at least for that hour around dawn, but sadly they do not. Nor do they make any challenge to the question of what Kate & Gerry might have done at that time. They accept that they went out searching even though there is only their word for it.

Instead S&S choose to focus on the fact that Kate & Gerry say the police were doing nothing at this time and highlighting ways in which the police effort was inadequate while conceding that individual officers did make great sacrifices to search for Madeleine.

The chapter continues to describe the searches on May 4th. It includes a lot that seems rather irrelevant for example describing residents thoughts about holes & roadworks. It's just filler which is odd considering the book is really quite short.

Next we come to what is for some another important episode in the case, the encounter that Yvonne Martin had with Kate, Gerry and David Payne. Curiously this is told from the viewpoint of a journalist Len Port who lived locally. I say curious because the encounter has been described by Yvonne Martin herself and by Kate and David Payne. The whole encounter is dealt with in four sentences and does not mention anything of note except saying that "David Payne, who like Kate apparently thought her(Yvonne Martin) intrusive, asked her to leave." There is no mention of Gerry being present. This is part (I'm sorry it's quite a large part, but is important) of what Yvonne Martin had to say in the statement she made to the police in May 2007:

"At the scene, she found a group of three people, two males and one female.
She went over to the group and identified herself.
Two members of that group, a male and a female, identified themselves as the parents of the missing child - the McCann couple.
The couple was visibly upset, and the mother was crying intensely.
The third person never identified himself, upon the witness's insistence the couple replied that he was a close friend of the family.
She adds that this third person appeared familiar to her.
Taking advantage of the information that she had heard on the news, she began questioning the couple about how often they had checked on the children, obtaining the reply that people would go to see them every hour.
As is normal and routine in her service, she asked whether Gerry was the biological father of the missing child, to which he replied yes.
She clarifies that she asked this question because during the course of her 25 years of service working with children at risk, it is very normal that when a couple has child and where the father or the mother is not a biological parent, the biological parent may have a tendency to come and "get" his child.

After having obtained the verbal response from Gerry, the mother, Kate, questioned what she was doing asking these questions which should be asked by the police, who were already on the scene in large numbers searching for her daughter, who had been taken by a couple.
At this moment, the witness notices that the couple began to have doubts about her capacity and she immediately showed them her official documents and credentials issued by the British government to calm them down.
Gerry took her documents and showed them to the third person and told him that they were authentic and were certified by the police.
At this moment, the witness wishes to clarify that, in England, anyone who works with children, whether a doctor, police officer or social worker, has to have a proper credential certified by the police and that this was one of the documents she showed to the McCanns.
Because she found it strange that Kate told her that her daughter had been taken by a couple, she tried to separate her from the other two individuals so that she could speak to her with more privacy, suggesting to Kate that they (Y and K) should enter the apartment, Kate aggressively rejected this idea and told her that they could speak on the street.
The witness then asked whether anyone from the Medical Centre had been with Kate as she was very agitated and needed some support, she was told they hadn't.

At this point, Kate told her that her daughter had disappeared 13 hours ago. It was about 10 in the morning.
Meanwhile a fourth individual came towards the group and identified himself as a journalist. The witness alerted the couple to the type of statements they should give and that it would be better for them to keep silent.
At this moment, the third person, who was always near to the couple and the witness, moved the couple away from her and the three of them talked in whispers for some time.
After this, and leaving the couple behind him, he approached the witness and told her that the couple did not want to speak any more with her, nor with anyone else.
The witness replied to him that if the McCann couple felt the need to talk to her later, she would be at their total disposal."

I do not draw any sinister conclusion from this account, but I am amazed by how different the account is to that given by the authors. Again I cannot help but think that the authors are being dishonest in the way they are describing some episodes in the story. It is too early to accuse them of bias, but I am already starting to have serious doubts about the accuracy of their reporting. I am imagining someone with little knowledge of the case or the police files reading this book and getting a completely false impression about the case.

The authors go on describe Kate's continued desire to see a priest which appears somewhat out of context, before a very brief section dealing with Kate & Gerry's first formal statements to the police. Here they again stress the tension between the McCann's and the police, something that is becoming a recurring theme in spite of the fact that the police have been on the scene for about 12 hours at this point. There is little comment about what is said in those first statements except to say that both Kate & Gerry mentioned the sighting by Jane Tanner.

Next there is a section about the press presence in Praia Da Luz when the McCann's returned from the police station in Portimao and how this was received by the police. The decision by Gerry McCann to make a statement to the press is mentioned, but there is no discussion about how this decision was reached or how it was decided what should be said to the press. Only part of Gerry's statement to the press is reproduced. A few paragraphs later the full 'Report of Disappearance' form logged by GNR officer Roque is reproduced even though it adds nothing to the readers knowledge of the case. More filler? I can think of many things more interesting and informative that could have been included in the three chapters I have read to date.

Now S&S focus on the fact that Goncalo Amaral, the senior PJ officer assigned to the case, had doubts about whether this was an abduction or not. We are told that one of his officers disagreed with him and that the McCann's later sued Amaral for libel and that the proceedings are continuing. We are not told that they lost the libel case on appeal, but are still seeking damages through the Portuguese courts.

The book continues with the theme of conflict between the McCann group and the police for a few more paragraphs, but at no point do the authors give any details about why the police were suspicious of the McCann's and their story. The whole thing appears to be very one sided. The chapter ends with the following comment attributed to Kate in a phone call to her friend Nicky Gill : 'judging from the actions of the local police, one would think that she had merely "lost a dog"'.


This chapter seems to be intent on establishing a conflict from day 1 between the McCann's and the Portuguese police. Once again the authors have been very selective in their presentation of facts surrounding important episodes in the case. The number of important episodes and facts that have been omitted from the story is very worrying. I still hope that the authors will return to deal with at least some of these, but I have decided that I will need to keep a list because the number of omissions is starting to grow at quite a rate.

Perhaps most disappointing of all is the complete absence of any new information or any attempt to interpret known facts in a novel, but fair & balanced way.

Chapter 04

Thursday, September 18, 2014  

Chapter 4  

Good news Chapter 4 opens with some praise for the police investigation and continues with a description of some of the actions taken by the police. This is necessarily incomplete, it would simply take to long to list everything that the PJ & GNR did, but the authors present a picture of police forces working hard with limited resources.


The first hint of criticism of the Portuguese police comes a few pages in when the authors refer to the finding that one of the fingerprints collected from the apartment (the one from the patio door) was identified as being that of a GNR officer. This is referred to as an embarrassment for the Portuguese police.


Then the tone becomes even more critical. 

"Claims that the Portuguese police had run an efficient operation would draw scepticism, even derision, from some of the foreigners who took part in the searches."


We might hope then that this claim would be backed up, that some of these foreigners might even be named & quoted.  There is only a feeble attempt to do this by quoting Peter Patterson.


' "I never saw any police involvement in the operations carried out by civilians" said Peter Patterson, a friend of the McCann's . "I felt dispirited because there appeared to be no coordination or leadership"'


Then the authors refer to Kate McCann herself doubting that the house to house searches were ever completed & being critical of the technician who took the fingerprints not wearing gloves.


Peter Patterson is a friend of the McCann's. He arrived in Portugal on the 8th of May. Several days after Madeleine had gone missing. Thus not only is this a biased point of view it comes from someone who did not start to get involved in searches until 4 days after Madeliene went missing by which time the town and immediate area had been thoroughly searched.

 The only other point of view given is Kate McCann's own view about house to house inquiries and  the forensic technician. Do the statements of these two people justify the comment "scepticism, even derision from some of the foreigners who took part in the searches"? I think not.


The criticism of the Portuguese police stops, perhaps surprisingly, when the authors relate that CCTV was difficult or impossible to obtain apparently through no fault of the police.


The authors then describe how UK agencies became involved in the case. I'm not in the best position to judge the accuracy of this as it is not something I have studied in great detail. I'm sure readers will point out any serious errors or omissions.


Oh dear, then another unnecessary dig at the Portuguese police. "Competent or not, the early Portuguese police search for any sign of Madeleine in or around Praia da Luz proved fruitless."  Why put the first three words on that sentence? The fact that these three words are there at all suggests the authors have an agenda to paint the PJ as incompetent.


The chapter quickly turns to sightings, ranging from a bag of what turned out to be rubbish to sightings of a live child accompanied by adults in various towns and cities. The authors list several examples and stress that as time went by the number of sightings grew, but they fast forward through a year claiming 1000's of sightings & creating the impression that all these sightings happened within a few days of Madeleine going missing. They fairly comment that only a small fraction "deserved to be-or could be- followed up."


The very next paragraph opens with two of the most incredible sentences I have ever read about this case. Here they are:


"There seemed to be virtually no leads to go on. No clues of any substance at the scene of the crime-if there had been a crime." 


I find these sentences incredible for two reasons:


1. To say there were "no leads to go on" is simply untrue. There were lots of leads. Not least the numerous sightings including the Tanner sighting, but also leads suggesting that the McCann's and/or their friends might be involved in some way. The police had many leads to follow up.


2. "if there had been a crime." How on earth could there not have been a crime? A three year old girl was missing. She clearly had not just wandered off and had she done so & been injured or killed someone must have concealed this fact because she had not been found after extensive searches. The crime scene itself, apartment 5a, had many clues and the open window and shutters clearly indicate that Madeleine didn't just wander off. There is no doubt a crime had been committed.


The rest of the paragraph says that the problem, or the perceived problem would be "Virtually no leads from the public, seemingly nothing to follow up." This comes straight after the authors list some of the thousands of sightings from members of the public. Far from there being nothing to follow up as the authors suggest there was in fact too much to follow up thanks, at least in part, to the massive media interest.


Bizarrely after saying "if there had been a crime." The authors go on to discuss all the possible causes for Madeleine's disappearance i.e. crimes. There is some discussion of the possibility she wandered off, but this really isn't possible as discussed earlier.


The focus of the chapter then switches to paedophiles and in particular the police efforts to trace known local offenders and question them. A few examples are given of people who were quickly eliminated from the investigation. I have to question why these examples are included in the book. They contribute nothing except to show that the PJ were doing their job and, perhaps this is the reason they are included, their inclusion creates an impression that paedophiles and child abuse & abductions were commonplace in the Algarve. Yes, there are paedophiles in the Algarve, just as there are everywhere. Child abductions do occur rarely in the Algarve as the do everywhere. As far as I know there is no reason to think that the Algarve is any worse than anywhere else in the world.


Then more padding, relating stories of people who were investigated for one reason or another but turned out to have nothing to do with the case. Why bother recounting these parts of the investigation? They were shown to be nothing to do with the case.


The final paragraph hints at what is to come in chapter 5 (I had a sneeky peek ;-)) by referring to accounts by reputable witnesses involving bogus charity collectors.


Today, however, now that there has been time for analysis, some of the information that flowed in early on seems relevant and potentially valuable. Take the accounts by reputable witnesses of visits they received from a charity collector-or collectors- for a charity that apparently did not exist. "


All things considered this chapter is the best effort yet by the authors to give a balanced factual account. It portrays the Portuguese police in a more favorable light, although there are a couple of unnecessary digs, and does a better job of presenting facts accurately. Having said that I am saying that it only gets a C- while the previous Chapters got an E or even F. 

Chapter 05

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Chapter 5 (Sorry it's quite long)

Before I begin:-

The final paragraph of chapter 4 hinted at what is to come in chapter 5 namely the stories of bogus charity collectors and others operating in and around Praia da Luz in 2007.

I doubt that anyone will be shocked when I say that holiday resorts attract all sorts of petty criminals the world over. People are usually less careful with their money and possessions on holiday. People on holiday tip more often and more generously and are more likely to donate to causes and give cash to beggars. Petty criminals seek to exploit this relaxed behavior.

So I am really hoping that once I have read this chapter I will find that the authors have found something that actually links the reports of petty criminals etc to the McCann case.

Chapter 5

We start with tourist Gail Cooper. The authors describe information given to the police by Ms Cooper.

During this description they say:

She had found him 'pushy', somewhat 'intimidating', and he made her feel 'very uncomfortable'.

Here is what Ms Cooper actually said in her police statement:

"This person was very pushy and seemed intimidating but he was not threatening however he did make me feel very uncomfortable and did not appear to be Portuguese and his English was very good."

So the man was not threatening, but was pushy, seemed intimidating and did make her feel uncomfortable. Not very different from the S&S account, but why leave out the fact that she said he was not threatening?

The authors go on to say that Gail Cooper thought she remembered seeing him on two other occasions, both times on the beach on one of these occasions he was walking behind a group of children who might have been from the OC creche. This all sounds very interesting. A dodgy character was following children from the OC creche. However the truth turns out to be a bit different.

Gail Cooper's statement to the PJ on 21st May 2007 makes no mention of seeing the man near the beach. Nor of seeing him following children or of the possibility that the children were from the OC creche.

A quick study of the official PJ files, surely Summers & Swan looked at these, reveals that Gail Coopers daughter gave her mothers phone number to the Daily Mirror who then contacted Gail Cooper. She gave them the same version that was in her original statement to the PJ. Gail Coopers daughter on seeing the article in the Daily Mirror then reminded her mother that they thought they had seen the man on other occasions. Having been reminded by her daughter she then gave a statement to Leicestershire police in which she describes the other occasions she thinks she saw the man.

Here is an extract from that statement:

"As I watched the children I saw a male walking behind them. He was approximately 10 ? 15 yards away from where I was sitting. He didn?t really do anything, he was just walking behind them and I initially thought he was with the group, but as they got to the beach he turned right towards where I was along the promenade area. He did not stay with the children at all."

Here is another talking about the same incident:

"He was only in my view for a matter of seconds, but I had a clear unobstructed view of him and the weather was bright and sunny. I saw about three quarters of his face as he walked by, he did not face me full on, but I saw more of his face than just looking at his side profile.

I even commented to my daughter P**** that it was the same man who I had spoken to at the villa."

Here is a third talking about the second time she thinks she saw the man, this time on the beach:

"I can recall that on Friday 20th April about 1 or 2 o?clock I was sitting on the beach front again at P da L. This was just before the man came to the villa later on that day. I was sitting at the bar Paraiso. It faces out onto the sea and is near to the bar Habana I mentioned earlier. I was with my friends Trudy and L** Dawkins, my husband, Trudy?s daughter and son. It was raining on this particular day and I recall seeing a man walking alone on the beach. I thought it strange because of the weather. He was only in my sight for a few seconds, and was some distance away. I could not fully see his face but as I have sat and thought about the suspicious man, I feel sure that this is the same man I saw at the villa and again on the beach on Sunday."


So her actual statements to the police tell a rather different story to the one presented by S&S. Here is what I think is a fair summary of the facts she has communicated in her statements to the police.


1. A man who spoke good English and did not seem to be Portuguese came to her holiday villa and tried to persuade her to give money to an orphanage.


2. The man was pushy and seemed intimidating, but was not threatening. He made her feel uncomfortable.


3. A third party says the man did not stop at the next house.


4. She may have seen the man standing in the rain on the beach a few hours before he visited her holiday villa.


5. She may have seen the man a few days later walking behind a group of children for a few yards before taking a different route.


That is it. That is what Gail Cooper has told us. Could this man be connected with Madeleine's disappearance? Maybe, but nothing Gail Cooper has told us suggests that he was connected in any way. I have belaboured the point about Gail Coopers evidence because I want to illustrate just how easy it is to present a distorted impression by being selective when examining evidence as Summers and Swan have already done several times so far in this book.


Next the authors discuss the account of Paul Gordon another tourist, one who stayed in the same apartment as the McCann's in the week before the McCann's arrived.

Mr Gordon also recalls having a visitor who claimed to be collecting for an orphanage. The authors accurately state that this was almost certainly a different man to the one seen by Gail Cooper, the descriptions do not match and the man was polite and not persistent. Here the authors are very dishonest. They say :


"Unlike Mrs Cooper's visitor, he was polite, not aggressive or persistent."


This suggests Mrs Cooper's visitor was "aggressive", a word that she did not use to describe him in her statements to the police. What possible reason could S&S have for being so misleading?


The reference to Mr Gordon in the book is brief and appears to be used to provide a link between apartment 5a and the bogus charity collectors. Clearly there is a link, but it is hard to see what connection there might be to the McCann case. Perhaps that will become clear later in the chapter or book.


Now the authors describe other similar incidents all of which happened on 03.05.2007, the day Madeleine disappeared. They say:


"As many as four more such efforts to collect money are reported to have occurred- all of them late afternoon of the very day 3rd May, that Madeleine was to vanish."


and go on to describe:


1. Rex & Iris Morgan Reported in January 2008 that 2 men asked for money for a hostel or hospice at 16.00 in the afternoon of 03.05.2007.


2. Denise Ashton Reported in May 2007 2 men asked for money at about 17.00 on 03.05.2007


3. ????????


4. ????????


A question for Summers and Swan Where are the other two examples?


Once again it appears that the authors are being dishonest. They have presented 4 examples of bogus charity collectors, but only two were on the afternoon of 3rd May. The other two incidents covered in the book occurred a week or so earlier. All the incidents of bogus charity collections mentioned by S&S so far are recorded in the official PJ files.


Next Summers and Swan speculate that these bogus charity collectors were really burglars trying to find out whether properties were occupied or not. As far as I can tell there is no evidence to suggest that these men were in fact burglars. Summers and Swan certainly do not provide any such evidence in this chapter. They quote Goncalo Amaral's comments that burglaries are not rare in holiday season & then go on to say that there "was in fact a veritable epidemic of burglary in Praia da Luz in 2007". I read on eagerly, anticipating official crime statistics and perhaps a few examples to illustrate the nature of these crimes.


Sadly I am disappointed. No official crime statistics. Instead we are told that:


"In the first four months of 2007, according to a briefing issued during the later British probe into the Madeleine case, there was a fourfold increase in burglaries in the area."


Well that is something, but what is it? Who issued the briefing? When was it issued? What "later British probe"? Is the "British probe" operation grange? If so when did they issue this briefing & how did Summers & Swan see it or hear it? If not then who carried out this probe? Was it one of the McCann's hired PI's ? What is the "area" in which the fourfold increase occurred? The Algarve? Praia da Luz? Portugal? The Iberian peninsula? Southern Europe? Surely the figures issued in the "briefing" were based on some actual statistics so why didn't the authors chase down and check the source of these statistics? Without the source, or at least some more information, it is impossible to accept what the authors clearly state : "There was in fact a veritable epidemic of burglary in Praia da Luz in 2007".


Next we are treated to "Residents' concern was reflected by postings like this on the Expatforum website:"

"Mar, 23 Luz area........Sitting in the lounge watching Deal or No Deal (around 4.30 p.m.) while burglar got in kitchen, took handbag left on table and we did not hear a thing. Only one shutter was open, door was locked, window was closed...... No signs of break-in. Second villa to be burgled this week"


Very sad for the people involved, but really? Come on, this book is supposed to be definitive, well researched etc. "Mar 23" which year? "Luz area" how close? & most importantly this is a post from an internet forum not a police report or statement. Is that the best example S&S could find to illustrate their point?


Next we are told that a dozen OC workers mentioned that there had been break ins at the resort in their statements to the police. Please notice that this is a dozen people saying that there had been break ins at the resort. IT IS NOT a dozen break-ins being reported. If a few break-ins had occurred it is likely that ALL members of the OC staff would know about them & might mention this to police.


Next we are given a few examples of burglaries in Praia da Luz during early 2007.

1. Ian Robertson, not in PJ files as far as I can tell, allegedly reports a burglary in February and says two neighbours had also been burgled. What is the source for this?

2. Three weeks earlier than the Robertson burglary, so perhaps January, 500 & personal items were taken from an apartment in same block as 5a. No details e.g. apt number, name of victim, or source of the story.

3. April 16th another flat in the same block was burgled apparently after being "cased" earlier in the day. No details e.g. apt number, name of victim, source of story.

4. According to reports (newspaper?) quoting police sources there was yet another break-in at the OC that month (April?) in which a child was disturbed and the intruders fled when the parents came in. No details e.g. apt number, name of victim, source of story.

5. The week before Madeleine vanished Pamela Fenn's flat directly above the McCann's apartment was perhaps the subject of an attempted burglary "She was sitting watching TV," a friend said "when she heard a noise in her bedroom....The man must have heard her coming and was scrambling out of the window. She just saw the back of his head." How strange that neither Mrs Fenn nor her neice Carol Tranmer mention this incident in the statement by her that is in the files. It is worth noting that a statement made by Carol Tranmer in May 2007 is not included in the PJ files.

Why do S&S include this report, presumably from a newspaper, of an unnamed friend's account of an incident they did not witness, in their definitive book.

All high hopes I had for this book are vanishing fast.

Pressing on, we are told that apartment 5a itself may have been a target....oh dear.... wait for it.....because it is on the ground floor, has doors and windows on two sides & two weeks before the McCann's arrived the front door light was dangling out of order. Really?

No wait, there is more, there is an actual incident involving apartment 5a and a police statement! Maybe this is better than the rest.

In summer 2006 baby sitter Margaret Hall we are told heard a noise and went out of the apartments front door to investigate she saw a man in the shadows and shouted. He came towards her saying 'no,no'. Frightened she went back inside without finding out what he was doing or why he was there.

This is not 100% accurate, one detail is wrong and the time is not given. Here is part of Margaret Hall's statement.

Given that there were problems with rodents in the apartments she went out to have a look in the area at about 00.30. She left by the front door and in the darkness, by the movement sensitive lights, she saw something move and thought its was a rat. To her surprise, when she examined it closely, she saw that it was a brown shoe of a man who was watching the dark zone outside the apartments. She shouted and the man came out of the darkness, the lights were activated at which point he came towards her and said "No, no".

She said the man was aged between 25 - 35 years, with a Mediterranean aspect with tight black curly hair. She is certain that he had a Mediterranean accent, surely Portuguese. From the only two words he said. He wore light coloured trousers and a blue checked shirt.

After this she returned to the apartment in a state of shock, it was obvious that there was no good reason for him to be hiding in the darkness outside the apartment.

She does not mention hearing a noise. She says she went outside because there had been problems with rodents. The time of this incident in 00.30 so rather late at night.

I don't know about you, but I can think of a few reasons for this man being there. My favorite is that he might have stopped in the darkness of the "car park" in front of apt 5a to relieve himself while on the way home & was surprised by a young lady who came out of the apartment. There could of course be all manner of other reasons for him being there, 9months before the McCann's arrived & not committing any sort of crime at all!

What do the authors serve up next?

"Information given to Kate McCann the night after her daughter vanished- by the British consul in the Algarve, Bill Henderson- indicated there had recently been instances of an intruder getting into children's beds."

OK, that sounds interesting and relevant. I am surprised that the British consul was there within 24hrs of Madeleine's disappearance and that he chose to give this info to Kate McCann at that time or that Kate was in any state to receive it, but yes this is interesting & probably very important.
OH bother! "No details were forthcoming...................That line of inquiry, potentially highly significant, will be covered later." Just a literary trick to tease me then. I'll have to wait till I get to the right chapter to find out more about this.

What next?

Compelling testimony from British girl Tamsin Sillence. OK let's hope this is good. We are told that Tamsin (aged 12) used to live in apartment 5a. She twice saw a man near the apartment. First on April 30th 2007 at about 08.00 she saw him leaning on the wall looking up at the balcony of apartment 5a. Then on 2nd May at about 12.30 she saw him standing in front of the entrance to the tapas restaurant looking in the direction of the apartments.
Tamsin Sillence statement is in the official PJ files and agrees with the account given by the authors.

Then the authors present an account given by a tourist who doesn't want to be named who they say says she saw a man in more or less the same spot (as Tamsin?) on the same day (2nd May?) who appeared to be watching 5a. So this could be two witnesses reporting the same event. This unnamed woman also is reported to have seen the same man several days later "loitering nearby".
Is there more? Disappointingly not.

The authors go on to the account of Carol Tranmer, Mrs Fenn's niece. Once again the authors state that Mrs Fenn had confronted an intruder in her apartment a few days before Madeleine went missing. I repeat, this incident IS NOT mentioned in Mrs Fenn's statement nor in Carol Tranmer's statement in the PJ files. We are then told of an incident that Carol Tranmer does mention in her statement:

"I saw someone," she would remember, "come out of the ground floor apartment, closing the gate very carefully and quietly. It looked very strange to me. He looked to one side and the other, shut the gate and walked very quickly below[us]."

We are told that this happened at about 17.00 on 3rd May 2007 just a few hours before Madeleine disappeared and there this dreadful chapter reaches its conclusion.


So what have I learned about the case from reading this chapter? Allow me to summarise. 


1. There were a few reports of several men visiting a few properties in Praia da Luz posing as collectors for orphanages, hostels & hospices that did not exist.


2. There were some burglaries in Praia da Luz in the months before Madeleine went missing.


3. A man was seen outside the apartment late at night perhaps hiding in the dark.


4. There may be evidence of an intruder getting into children's beds, but no details were given, just a promise to return to this subject later.


5. Two or three people saw a man near apartment 5a. He was described as looking at the apartment or looking in the direction of the apartment or loitering somewhere near the apartment. On one occasion, one witness saw him leaving the apartment patio and closing the child gate very carefully.


It's not much is it?


1. Con men in a holiday resort. Hardly surprising.


2. Burglaries happen everywhere. The authors present only a few examples.


3. A man committing no crime was seen perhaps hiding in the dark.


4. This could be something important, but is just a teaser at the moment no information given.


5. A man seen near apartment at least twice not committing any crime.


Conclusions about this chapter.


When I first read this chapter I almost thought WOW all that evidence of people snooping around 5a, criminal activity, burglaries, paedophiles getting into childrens beds. It's obvious Madeleine was abducted by a paedophile. Only my training to examine evidence carefully made question what seemed obvious. Then I started to go through checking exactly what was being said and checking available statements and facts. It soon became clear that what was being presented here was either a deliberate distortion of the evidence, or very shoddy research work. I'll let you judge which , but either way I'm giving it an F-.

Chapter 06

Friday, September 19, 2014

Chapter 6 (these are not getting any easier to do)

I start reading this chapter thinking that it cannot possibly be as bad as chapter 5. I do hope I am right. I hope to get a proper factual description of events and facts of the case. Maybe even some thoughtful analysis as well.

The opening line "Where's Madeleine, Mummy?" is a disappointment. Not only because it seems a little unlikely for a 27month old child to form such a sentence ("Where Madlin?" would be far more likely), but because it can only be seen as an attempt to engage the emotions of the reader rather than the intellect.

There follows a description of Kate's supposed suicidal thoughts in the early days after Madeleine disappeared. I say supposed suicidal thoughts because I could find no evidence except Kate McCann's own words that she had such thoughts.
In any case the thoughts Kate claims she was having were not of suicide. She has claimed that she thought about her whole family dying in an accident of some sort. It is familicide that Kate was contemplating and it is a very interesting subject usually with shame as it's motive. If I have time I may write another blog post about this at a later date.
Suffice to say that the opening paragraphs of this chapter seem to be a cynical attempt to engage the emotions of the reader by presenting hearsay as fact with no comment on the fact that Kate's instinct seemed to be to want the death of herself and the rest of her family rather than to find Madeleine.

The appeal to the readers emotions continues with descriptions of images that we are told Kate had scrolling through her mind. This section is in quotation marks:

" 'I was tormented with a macabre slideshow of images that no sane human being would want in their head. I would see her lying cold and mottled on a big grey stone slab, and awful pictures of her being torn apart scrolled through my mind. I was desperate to talk to someone about them, and when Gerry and I took a walk on the beach in Portugal, I confided in him. Of course, he'd had similar thoughts.' "

I'm not certain from where this supposed quote is supposed to come, I couldn't find it. It looks as if it is not a quote, but rather a paraphrase & fusion from two separate and controversial sections of Kate's book in which she says:

Kindle (location 1568)
"I also felt a compulsion to run up to the top of the Rocha Negra. Somehow, inflicting physical pain on myself seemed to be the only possible way of escaping my internal pain. The other truly awful manifestation of what I was feeling was a macabre slideshow of vivid pictures in my brain that taunted me relentlessly. I was crying out that I could see Madeleine lying, cold and mottled, on a big grey stone slab."

This passage is in a section that is about the events of 5th May 2007.

Kindle location 1942
"I remember this walk well. It had been a chaotic and confusing ten days, shot through with unremitting cold dread and dark thoughts that were hard to push away when we had nothing else with which to replace them. That is the anguish of the 'not knowing'.
I asked Gerry apprehensively if he'd had any really horrible thoughts or visions of Madeleine. He nodded. Haltingly, I told him about the awful pictures that scrolled through my head of her body, her perfect little genitals torn apart. Although I knew I had to share this burden, just raising the subject out loud to someone else, even Gerry, was excruciating. Admitting the existence of these images somehow confirmed them as a real possibility, and with that confirmation came renewed waves of fear."

Kate is specific that this walk happened on Sunday 13th May.

I have to ask S&S these questions.

Why paraphrase and fuse two sections of Kate's book separated by many pages and about 8 days in real time?
Why omit Kate's reference to Madeliene's genitals?

The chapter continues with description of the arrival of a catholic priest Father Pacheco and a counsellor Alan Pike and their first encounters with the McCann's.
We are told about the church, Gerry's "vision" moment when he became energised to become positive & active in the campaign/search.
Then the arrival of a media advisor, also hired by Mark Warner is mentioned as is the growing media presence.
The media come in for criticism here, perhaps justified, although the comment that "elements of the media-Portuguese and British alike-now seemingly sympathetic, would come to libel them." is not 100% accurate.
This part of the chapter is not too bad, although it is not perfect & many things are omitted that could be considered relevant e.g. Alan Pikes credentials as a counsellor and his speedy arrival in Praia da Luz.

The authors now return to the McCann's relationship with the Portuguese police. They describe the day , 10th May, when Kate, Gerry , Matthew Oldfield, Russel O'Brien and Jane Tanner were asked to return to the police station to be interviewed. Once again the authors are guilty of being dishonest in their description of events. They say:

"Having waited for eight hours to be seen, however, Kate was told she could go home. Four months were to pass before the police would call her in again."

Now here is what Kate McCann herself says in her book:

"I sat in the waiting area for eight hours before I was told it was now too late for me to be interviewed and I should go home and come back the next day. Gerry was there for thirteen hours. When he finally returned to the apartment he related how Matt had been almost hysterical during his interview, Gerry had heard him shouting and crying. Apparently, it had been put to Matt that he'd handed Madeleine out through the window to a third party. It was like something out of Life on Mars.
Alan Pike was concerned about my wellbeing and asked for my rescheduled interview to be postponed for a few days. The PJ couldn't have considered it all that important: it was 6 September before I was interviewed again."

So even in Kate's own words the PJ wanted her to return the next day, but she with the help of Alan Pike got that interview postponed. Kate says it cannot have been very important to the PJ. She is correct in a way because Robert Murat suddenly became a possible suspect the very next day and became an arguido on 14th May just 3 days after Kate had been due to return to give her statement.

Why are S&S so reluctant to present the whole truth about events? This sort of dishonesty should have no place in such a book.

Now we come to the McCann's and their friends working on a formal version of the timeline of the night of 3rd May. We are told that this was requested by the police:

"The police had said that those rough documents, written on the covers of a child's book, would not do. So it was four or five days later, that they worked on the chronology again."

This seems most peculiar. We were told earlier that a PJ officer was present when the first timelines on the book cover were written, although there is no evidence that was true. Now after the police have interviewed all of the tapas group and have asked them all for their version of events including times. Twice in the case of Gerry McCann, Jane Tanner and Russel O'Brien. They now require the most important witnesses to work together without a PJ officer present to produce a better version. That just didn't sound right to me so I decided to check.

Fortunately Kate McCann's own book provided a much more believable account of the reason the group drew up a new timeline document. Here is what Kate says:

"By Sunday evening," (presumably this is Sunday 13th May) we found ourselves giving our statements again, this time to a couple of detectives from Control Risks." (Kate had earlier explained that Control Risks was a company brought in by a shadowy character called Hugh {no surname, 'Just call me Hugh'}.) "We were concerned that parts of the statements we had made to the Portuguese police, especially on that first day, might have been lost in translation. We also felt that these accounts were not sufficiently thorough and wanted to have every detail we could remember registered properly."

So S&S have been dishonest once more. The PJ had not requested that the group provide a more detailed timeline at all. I'm starting to wonder whether all this dishonest reporting is deliberate or incompetent.

S&S now go on to reproduce the document that the group compiled with the help of a firm called Control Risks and a man called Hugh. They describe it as:

"the single most rounded summary, by those directly involved, of the critical events of the night"

What they don't say is what Kate McCann said in her book:

"we made the mistake of assuming that the transcripts would be correct and discovered only many months later that these, too, contained inaccuracies."

Yet more dishonest reporting by S&S. How many more examples will I find? This is only chapter 6.

Now the authors turn to Jane Tanner who they say was by now convinced that she had seen Madeleine being abducted. There follows some description of the pyjamas Madeleine and the child in the sighting might have been wearing.

Next the incident of Madeleine supposedly asking Kate why she hadn't come when she & Sean were crying. The suggestion by Kate that this might have been an attempt to abduct her the previous night is repeated.

The chapter moves on to consider the fact that the twins did not wake up in spite of the commotion on the night of May 3rd/4th and that the child Jane Tanner saw was motionless while being carried. There follows a discussion of ways that children might have been sedated by the abductor.

This discussion is accurate in what is said about the various anaesthetic agents, but it is written in a way that seems to give the impression that such sedation by an abductor would be possible. The alternative, that if they were drugged at all, it is far more likely to have been by someone they knew and trusted administering an oral sedative is not considered.

S&S also take this opportunity to say that Kate requested that the twins be tested for sedatives just two days after Madeleine went missing. I could not find any corroboration that such a request was made to the investigating police force.
The fact that the twins were tested many months later is mentioned & possible reasons for the negative results discussed.

The chapter concludes with a description of Saturday May 12th Madeleine's 4th birthday. Events in Rothley, Glasgow and Praia da Luz are described including the McCann's visit to the church. The authors do not mention the scene of them leaving the church, something that has rightly been considered an important event. Another omission which I shall add to the growing list.
Finally the name Robert Murat is mentioned. Presumably that tale will form the subject of chapter 7.

Summary & Conclusion

What can I say? More dishonest reporting. Not even staying true to Kate McCann's own account of events. Omissions of important facts and events. Obvious attempts to appeal to the readers' emotions by inaccurate, distorted and selective reporting, rather than their intellects. These early chapters purport to be accurately relating the story of events in Praia da Luz in early summer 2007. This chapter along with the first 5 completely fails to achieve a reasonable level of accuracy. Hence if I was marking it as I would a students assignment I could only award it a D- (if I was feeling particularly generous).

Chapter 07

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Chapter 7 (a short one for a change)

I don't want to waste a lot of time on this chapter. It is no surprise that it is about Robert Murat, Michaela Walczuch & Sergey Malinka. S&S relate reasonably well the story and conclude as the PJ did that there is no evidence linking Murat, Walczuch and Malinka to Madeleine's disappearance.

I will content myself with just a few short questions and answers.


1. How accurate are S&S in their description of the events surrounding Murat, Walczuch & Malinka?


As we might expect from previous chapters it's not 100% accurate, but it's not too bad. The role of Jane Tanner in Murat's identification is covered quite accurately & fairly as are other aspects of the episode.

2. Are there important omissions from the Murat tale told in this chapter?

A few, but I have chosen not to go into any detail about omissions (there are just too many) in this review.

3. Is there any discussion about the possible significance or effect of the Murat episode on the case?

No. This is disappointing. I am pleased that S&S did not choose to attack the PJ over this episode, but disappointed they make no attempt to consider its wider implications and consequences.

I will conclude by saying that in my opinion it is a mistake to gloss over the Murat episode in this case. There are aspects of its causes and timing that could yet prove highly significant in solving the case.

As I've started giving each chapter a grade I'll continue with a C+. Harsh? Perhaps, but there are omissions and a lack of discussion


Monday, September 29, 2014


I have been persuaded by men in suits that I should not publish another post about the McCann case. 

Posted by Richard Philips at 3:55 AM


1 comment:

Lillybet Miles September 29, 2014 at 9:36 AM 

That's such a shame. You probably had more readers on your site than the book had. Perhaps that's the problem? Bad publicity for S&S. 

But you are not alone with your analysis Richard, there are many others who have read the book and also feel that S&S failed miserably in many areas, especially as they are supposed to be investigative journalists. Least of which is their lack of references and links to the information they supposedly sourced (as outlined here):

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


To clarify. I have been advised & persuaded that a blog under my real name is not advisable.

Posted by Richard Philips at 4:38 AM 11 comments:


Blog mages

15/19 or 15/37 & 100% or NOT 100%
Friday, September 12, 2014

There are people in the world who are convinced that Madeleine McCann was not abducted. They believe that Kate & Gerry McCann hid Madeleine's body following her death. One central plank of evidence in this hypothesis is the DNA that was found in the boot of the car hired by the McCann's about three weeks after Madeleine was reported missing. They argue that the only way her DNA could have been in the car is if they moved her body at some time after they hired the car.

There has been considerable debate about whether the DNA profile obtained contained Madeleine's DNA or not. The report by the now disbanded FSS (Forensic Science Service) says clearly that it is impossible to say for certain. Unfortunately it does not go on to say anything else about this sample. There is no attempt to say how likely it is that the DNA came from Madeleine or not. So we are left not knowing whether the chance it is Madeliene's DNA is 1%, 50%, or 99%. All we know is that according to John Lowe of the now defunked FSS that it is not 100%.

Perhaps that would be the end of the matter, but people have taken sides on this issue. Some say it was her DNA some say it wasn't. Both points of view are wrong because no one can say for certain either way. However it is possible to gain some understanding how likely it is that this sample does contain DNA from Madeleine McCann. This blog will attempt to do that over the next few weeks.

First of all some background about DNA identification.

The FSS test involves looking at 10 different loci (locations) in human DNA. Each location (locus) has two copies sometimes called markers or alleles. The two markers at a locus are often different to each other but can be identical. So by looking at 10 loci the FSS identify a maximum of 20 markers.
In Madeleine's case there are actually only 19 markers because at one locus the two markers are identical.

Each individual person has a unique combination of markers and this is called their DNA profile or fingerprint. Some elements of a DNA profile will be shared but the total combination of 20 markers is unique to an individual except in the case of identical twins who will share identical profiles.

You may find it helpful to think of the following analogy. Imagine that each marker is a coloured disc. Now imagine that each locus is a number from 1 to 10 and that one of these numbers is written on each disc. The discs can be any one of many different colours and they can have any number from 1 to 10. Each person gets two discs with the number 1, two discs with the number 2 and so on till they have 20 discs. Can you see how unlikely it is that any two people will get exactly the same set of discs?

In reality everyone gets 10 markers or coloured+numbered discs from their father and 10 from their mother. This means that everyone shares exactly half their DNA profile with their mother and the other half with their father. See the diagram below
The selection of discs from mother and father is completely random. This means that although two children (even twins though not identical twins) have the same parents they have very different DNA profiles. See diagram below:
The one exception is identical twins because they form from a single embryo identical twins will have identical DNA profiles to each other. As far as we know Maddy did not have an identical twin sister so there is no need to worry about this possibility.
15/19 OR 15/37

Now we know the genetics behind DNA profiles we can push on to the next subject namely was it 15/19 or 15/37?

The answer is BOTH! Here is why.

Maddy has only 19 markers because at one locus she inherited exactly the same marker (numbered+coloured disc) from Kate as she did from Gerry. In the example above this happens at location 6 (child 1).

We have to assume that when the FSS tested the sample only 8 loci gave a positive response. That is to say they were not able to determine the colour of the discs at two loci. This can happen and I may deal with why in a later blog. For now all we need to know is that 8 loci gave a result (colours in our analogy) and 2 loci didn't. One of the eight that did give a result gave only one colour while the other seven gave two colours making a total of 15. This is exactly what you might expect if loci 1 to 8 gave a result and 9 & 10 didn't in the example above.

Great you say, that means 15 markers (out of a total of 19) all matching Maddy's DNA. So it's 15/19! Yes that is true. However the FSS say that they didn't just get one or two colours for each locus, they got more. This can happen if DNA from two or more people gets mixed in the sample. So if we take loci 1 to 8 from the sample above and count the number of markers we get from a mixture of Mum,Dad and Child 1 in the example above we get 31 markers. The exact number of markers obtained will depend on how many people's DNA is mixed and how many markers they share. In the McCann case FSS say they found a total of 37 markers at the 8 loci. It is not possible in a mixed DNA sample to say which marker came from which person unless you already know who the contributors were. So while we can say that 15/19 of Maddy's markers are present in the sample we must also say that 15/37 of the total number of markers in the sample match Maddy's DNA.

Once again the answer is BOTH! (Well sort of)

We know that only 8 loci gave a result and we know that all 15 of Maddy's markers for those 8 loci were present so it is a 15/15 i.e. 100% match. If only 14 of Maddy's markers for those 8 loci had been present the match would be 14/15 i.e. 93.333% and we would be able to say with a high degree of certainty that Maddy's DNA is NOT present in the sample.
However because it is a mixed sample it is not possible to say for sure (i.e. 100%) that all the markers that match Maddy's DNA came from the same person. So although the match IS 100% we cannot be certain that the DNA came from Maddy. This seems to be the bit that confuses many people. If you are confused perhaps thinking about the coloured+numbered counters can help. Here is another diagram to help.
This diagram clearly shows that it is theoretically possible for the same 37 marker profile to be produced from Maddie's DNA mixed with two strangers DNA or from Kate's DNA mixed with DNA from two strangers. (These are only representations of what Kate & Maddy's DNA profiles look like as numbered discs, but they provide an accurate illustration of principle).

In my next installment I will consider how likely it is that the 37 markers contain DNA from Maddy.
Was Maddy's DNA in the hire car?

Friday, September 12, 2014

So we come to the all important question:- Was Maddy's DNA in the hire car?
Perhaps we need to phrase this question a little better before we move on. I prefer:- Was DNA from Maddy present in the sample taken from the boot of the McCann's hire car?

This question has already been answered in the FSS report >John Lowe said the answer was "I don't know." (I've put that in "" for effect I'm not saying those were his precise words) It is an accurate answer as far as it goes, but as I will show here John Lowe could have said more, MUCH MORE.

Who's DNA could have been in the sample?
(To be clear, in this post "the sample" always refers to the sample collected from the boot of the hire car)
How many people? 3, 5 or more?

In my previous blog I explained that the sample contained DNA from several people. Lowe says at least three and possibly as many as five. He does not say how he arrives at this conclusion, but I can make a reasonable guess. The "at least three people" almost certainly comes from the observation that some loci contained five (or possibly six) different markers. The only way 5 markers can be found at one locus is if at least three peoples DNA is in the sample.This is because each individual person can contribute a maximum of two markers and minimum of one marker to each locus. Hence 5 markers requires at least three people (2 contributing 2 markers and 1 contributing 1 marker).
It appears that Lowe may have gone on to assume that because he never saw more than 5 markers at a single locus a maximum of 5 people's DNA was present (i.e. if each contributed 1 marker). This is possibly true, in a practical sense, as it is extremely unlikely that DNA from more than 5 people would produce a profile with a maximum of 5 markers at any locus, but in fact it is theoretically possible for the maximum number to be more than 5.

One question we might hope to answer is whether the number of people contributing to the profile was 3, 4, 5 or more than 5. Assuming that the most markers seen at any single locus was 5 I calculate that it is most likely that only three people contributed to the sample, but cannot rule out the possibility that it was more than three. The maths is complicated by several factors. 1. Each marker occurs at a different frequency within the population. 2. We don't know whether the contributors were related or how closely they were related. 3. We don't know how many loci had 5 markers present in the sample. Hence it is not possible to say any more than it was probably three people, but could have been more than three.

Which people have DNA in that sample?
It would be easy to say that the DNA could have belonged to anyone. This is simply not true. The DNA can only have come from a limited number of people who had been in contact with the car or the sample after it was collected from the car. It would have helped greatly if several samples had been taken from different parts of the vehicle & all subjected to LCN analysis. The fact that this was not done is a great pity as it might have allowed a simple subtraction analysis to have been performed. Here is how it works:-

The group would include people at the car hire company, McCann's (including Maddy) + friends & family and forensic scientists + others who had hired the car.

Anyone whose profile has a marker from the 8 loci that is NOT present in the sample can be eliminated. This would probably take care of most people. All of the people remaining would be potential donors to the sample. A potential breakthrough for the case could be made at this point. If it turns out that Kate & Gerry McCann are both potential donors to the sample it becomes highly probable that Maddy's DNA is not present. Their combined DNA would account for all the 15 markers from Maddy's profile. It would not rule out completely that Maddy's DNA was also present, but the odds on this being the case would fall dramatically. Furthermore if it was shown that Kate and Gerry McCann could NOT be contributors to the sample it would greatly increase the chance that Maddy's is in the sample along with all that that implies.

The group of people who are potential contributors could then be further analysed in a group inclusion analysis. Here is how it works:-

All possible combinations of three people are generated. This might be quite a large number of groups, but still possible to do by hand and easier with a computer. All combinations that do not recreate the exact profile seen can be rejected. Most combinations should be rejected by this process that is just a statistical fact. The FSS report is somewhat disingenuous about this when it says that many people are potential contributors to the sample including the report writer Lowe himself. This may be true, but what he does not say is that only a very few combinations of three people who had access to that vehicle or the sample would generate the EXACT profile that was obtained.

Without access to the full profile obtained from the sample and the DNA profiles of people who are potential contributors to the sample (i.e. those who had access and who's DNA profile fits with the 37 observed markers) it is impossible to know how many groups of three people would be found. It is likely to be a very small number, possibly even zero and almost certainly no more than 5.

If there are no groups that can account for the sample profile it suggests that at least one individual is missing from the analysis or that the sample contained DNA from more than 3 people. The analysis can now be repeated looking at groups of 4 & 5 in fact this should be done regardless of the findings for groups of three.

If there are groups that can account for the sample profile their composition should be studied. There are three possibilities.

1. All the groups contain Maddy.
One key question is do all the groups that account for the sample profile contain Maddy? If the answer is yes then we have once again greatly increased the odds that Maddy's DNA IS present in that sample. Of course this is still some way short of proof, but it would be an indication that the parents should be considered suspects and the possibility that Maddy's body was moved using the hire car.

2. Some groups contain Maddy and some do not.
If there are groups of three people that can product the complete profile of 37 that do not contain Maddy as well as groups that do contain Maddy it would not rule out the possibility that Maddy's DNA was present in the sample, but it would provide a clear and obvious explanation for the presence of the 15 markers without Maddy's body ever having to be in the car thereby shifting suspicion away from the parents.

3. None of the groups contain Maddy.
The final possibility is that only groups not containing Maddy can account for the sample. This is highly unlikely, but if it were to happen it would strongly suggest that Maddy's DNA was not present in the sample.

As I said earlier the group inclusion analysis should be repeated for groups of 4 & 5 people in order to get a clear picture of which groups of people could have produced the observed profile. The composition and number of these groups should then be studied. For example if the only group that can account for the profile is Maddy + a Portuguese forensic scientist + an FSS forensic scientist this would almost constitute proof that Maddy's DNA was present in the hire car. Alternatively if a group comprising Sean + Amelie + John McCann could account for the sample profile this would provide a strong indication that the sample from the car boot did not contain Maddy's DNA.

Could Maddy's DNA have been in the car without her body being there?

The simple answer to this question is "yes". It is theoretically possible that her DNA might have been transferred from luggage or clothing that she had used or worn to the car boot. However this is rather unlikely. It is also important to note that the DNA sample was obtained from the spot in the car boot to which the CSI dog alerted. So while DNA transfer cannot be ruled out it can be considered unlikely.


1. Analysis of individual DNA profiles and the profile of 37 markers found in the sample can ELIMINATE a large proportion of possible donors and IDENTIFY a smaller group as genuinely potential donors to the sample.

2. If Kate & Gerry McCann are eliminated as potential donors to the sample it greatly increases the probability that Maddy's DNA is present in the sample.

3. If Kate & Gerry McCann are identified as genuinely potential donors to the sample it greatly reduces the probability that Maddy's DNA is in the sample.

4. It should be possible to identify at least one group of 3,4or5 people whose DNA could have been on the car boot sample whose combined DNA profiles match exactly the profile obtained from the sample. The composition of this group or groups might greatly increase or decrease the probability that Maddy's DNA is present in the sample.

5. Most important is the fact that this type of analysis and conclusions is still possible today. The full 37 marker DNA profile from the sample should be available (if it has been destroyed someones head should roll). DNA samples could be obtained from all people who used that car while in the McCann's possession and earlier. Forensic scientist/tech DNA profiles should be on file.


We are not quite finished with the car yet. My next post will consider what else could have been done in 2007 to confirm or not the presence of Maddy's DNA in the car.


Friday, September 12, 2014

This will be a shorter post and I hope quite easy to follow.

In the last post I showed how the existing DNA profile from the car sample could be used along with DNA profiles from McCann family & friends + a others to enhance our understanding of who might have contributed to the DNA profile and thus how likely it is that Maddy was one of those people.

Now I would like to consider what else should have been done in 2007 as soon as the DNA profile was known.

The whole of the carpet from the car boot should have been retained and sealed as evidence. It should have been cut into many (at least 100) small pieces in a grid like fashion ad each piece subjected to DNA extraction and LCN DNA analysis.

In addition random samples should have been taken from all interior areas of the car, seats, carpets, swabs from door handles, windows, floor (e.g.under car boot carpet) etc. Perhaps a further 100 samples. These should also have been subjected to LCN DNA analysis.

Had this been done several things might have been revealed including:-

1. Was it possible to get DNA profiles from any other parts of the vehicle?

2. Were the 15 (or more or less) Maddy markers present anywhere else in the vehicle?

3. Were there parts of the vehicle that gave single person DNA profiles? (I am aware of the Gerry McCann profile from the key fob I'm talking about the car itself.

4. Were the 15 Maddy markers present in other pieces of carpet from the boot?

5. Were the 22 other markers from the car boot present in any other samples?

6. Were there samples that included markers not found among the 37 in the car boot sample?

7. Was there an area of the car boot carpet that gave significantly poor or zero DNA results?

1. If yes then these profiles might be used to show how the 15 Maddy markers could have come together in the single sample from the boot.
2. If yes then the pattern of profiles seen would show whether the 15 Maddy markers were present in only one or a few areas of the car or were widespread. If they were present only in one area that would indicate her body could have been placed in the boot at some point. If widespread the chances are that these markers are coming from the DNA of others.

3. Any single person profiles would identify people who had definitely been in the vehicle (or their DNA transferred there. Clearly a single person profile that matched Maddy's would be significant, but others could also be used in a subtraction analysis on other samples.

4. If yes this would identify an area (or areas) that had Maddy's markers. The size and shape of any such areas would be very informative. e.g. a few drips spread out, a single small area consistent with a pool of liquid soaking into the carpet, a ring with a blank area in the center consistent with cleaning of a spill or leak etc

5. The presence of these other 22 markers in other samples, especially any single ID samples would permit subtraction analysis on the boot sample

6. This would show whether the car boot sample contained all the markers present in the car or not. Creating a complete picture of the amount of DNA contamination in the car.

7. This would indicate an area that had been specifically cleaned shortly before the car was seized as evidence.


I am at a complete loss to explain why these things or at least some of them were not done. The case was huge worldwide news at the time. The McCann's were being suspected of disposing of Maddy's body. The evidence from the single sample in the car boot suggested that could be the case but was inconclusive. Here was a great opportunity to either clear the McCann's or gather evidence that would help to prove they did dispose of Maddy's body. Why did no one.... NOT EVEN THE McCANN's themselves..... insist that this car was examined thoroughly and every scrap of evidence extracted?


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