JEREMY VINE: Hello, I'm Jeremy
Vine and this is Panorama. Madeleine McCann. The unseen footage of her parents
as the tied of public opinion was about to turn.
KATE: It's not like there's a
.... about it, is there, like what to do when your daughter gets abducted.
GERRY: It's still hard to
think it's us, it's actually happened to us.
VINE: And the friend who tried
to warn them.
JON CORNER: I said to them
that I think there's a possibility that Madeleine may not be the story
eventually, that you may be the story.
VINE: But where will that
story end? The police now say they don't expect the long-awaited DNA results to
be decisive, but they're not ready to clear the McCaans and want to speak to
witnesses again. Tonight one of them describes to us the moment she believes
Madeleine was taken.
JANE TANNER: I just saw
somebody walking across the top of the road so I was a reasonable distance away
from them, and that person was carrying a child.
VINE: It's the story that's
transfixed most of us but which has largely been told through leaks, spin and
innuendo, partly because of the Portuguese justice system. But tonight Panorama
talks to people with first hand accounts of what happened that night including a
first interview with the woman who says she saw Madeleine being abducted. It
comes at a key moment in the investigation with the police now under pressure to
justify the cloud of suspicion over the McCaans. Richard Bilton reports.
RICHARD BILTON: From anguish:
KATE: Please continue to pray
for Madeleine, she's lovely.
BILTON: To a form of
GERRY: There was the one that
we did in conjunction with J.K. Norman for the distribution.
BILTON: Then doubt and finally
It has just been today
declared that we've?...
BILTON: Their story has been
the same from day one - their daughter was abducted. But they were forced to
without her and had to protest their innocence. GERRY: Despite their being so
much we wish to say, but we are unable to do so, except to say this: we have
played no part in the disappearance of our lovely daughter Madeleine.
Speaking in August
It's funny, we were having such a good time today see. We were with our friends
and their kids and I think because there was a group of us you're into each
other, do you know what I mean, you're kind of.. your interacting with each
other, whereas maybe if it had just been me and Gerry and the kids, you know,
you'd probably spend a bit more time looking round, you know.
BILTON: This is the McCaans at
home being filmed by a friend in August. So far this footage has remained
private. This is the first time it's been seen.
KATE: I mean we're home. We're
knew to this, it's awful, and it's horrible for anyone to have to go through,
and we're just doing what we think is best and we don't know. We don't know if
what we're doing is right, you know.
During the making of this film somebody said to me that the McCaans are either
monsters or martyrs. As it stands, I can't tell you what happened to Madeleine
McCann on that night. No one seems to be able to do that. But what I can do,
with new information, new interviews, with new pictures that have never been
seen before, and were filmed by the McCaans friends, is to give you the fullest
and clearest account yet of the mystery of Madeleine McCann and why her parents
seem unable to shake off the suspicion that they were somehow involved.
Association of Police Investigators
We have uncooperative witnesses who don't collaborate. The McCaans and the
friends, the people who were there who clearly aren't collaborating with the
BILTON: April of this year the
McCaans, along with a group of friends who all have pre-school children, decide
to go for an early break in the sun. They come here, to the Ocean Club in Praia
da Luz, Portuguese Algarve. Kate McCann calls home. The holiday is going well.
Kate McCann's mother
It was good. She said it was cold. She said the weather was cold and they were
quite surprised because they hadn't taken a lot of warm clothing. And so she was
surprised about that. But I think the day I was speaking to her it had improved
a bit, and I think she said that they were going down to the beach.
BILTON: The week long holiday
is coming to a close. Day 6: it's Thursday, May 3rd. We've produced this model
of the Ocean Club to clearly show the key areas and where people were. The
tennis courts and pool area, the Tapas Bar and here apartment 5A where by 5.30 in the evening
the McCaans say the children have been picked up from, their kids' clubs and
they were all back together. At 6 Gerry McCann has his third tennis lesson of
the day so he leaves the flat. He says as a family they talked about bringing
the children back out to play in the area by the courts. At 6.30 Gerry McCann
asks a friend, David Payne, to pop in on Kate to see if the children are coming
down. He goes to the flat, he says all is well, but the children are too tired
and are already in their pyjamas. At 7, lesson over, Gerry McCann goes back to
the apartment. He says he reads the children a story and all three are asleep by
7.30. The couple say they have a glass of wine before at half past eight they
leave for the tapas restaurant, it's on the complex about 70 metres away. They'd
eaten here every night of their holiday with their friends. They can't see the
front or the side of the apartment but they can see part of the back, though
even that view is partially obscured by bushes.
GERRY: We ate in the open air
bit of the tapas and when we went in there was I think one or two other couples.
KATE: And then it was just us,
you know, and it wasn't late, you know, it was half eight we were there.
GERRY: One couple we played
tennis with and we chatted to them, and then some of the friends started
arriving and they left shortly after that. And I think at that point we might
have been the only table.
BILTON: Now what follows is
the crucial part of the story. The police have told Panorama that the timeline,
the chronology of the events of the night of May 3rd, are still at the heart of
this investigation. They say that there are many inconsistencies in what the
group who were having dinner with the McCaans the so-called 'tapas night' have
said in their witness statements. This is what the McCaans say happened that
There's a party of nine. It's
coming towards the end of their holiday and most people are drinking. All the
couples have children in the apartments. They say they took turns to check up on
KATE: We all knew what we had
to do, what we would do and.. you know, it worked as a system we had going and
it just seemed totally right somehow.
BILTON: Gerry McCann says he
went at just after 9 to check on his children. He says that their bedroom door
was more open than usual so he goes in. Gerry McCann has told Panorama he
remembers looking down at Madeleine. He spent a moment thinking how beautiful
she looked and how lucky he was. He says this was the last time he saw his
daughter. He closes the bedroom door and leaves through these unlocked patio
doors. A stair gate since removed is shut, this gate is on the latch not locked.
Returning to the tapas bar he meets Jeremy Wilkins who he'd played tennis with
that afternoon. He crosses the road to talk to him.
Speaking in August
I bumped into one guy I played tennis with in the street when I'd gone in to
check, and that was the first time I think of any of the nights that I'd been
going up and down that I saw anyone else really - five, six nights, and it was
BILTON: They spoke for a few
minutes. At this time around 9.15 Jane Tanner thinks about checking on her
Friend of the McCann's
I think the starters were about to arrive so I thought oh, I'll go and do a
check in sort of 20 minutes or so before last check. So I thought I'll go and do
a check before the food arrives. So I just walked out of the restaurant, up the
hill, I passed Gerry who was talking to one of his tennis friends at the time.
And then after I'd past Gerry, at the top of the road I just saw somebody
walking across the top of the road I just saw somebody walking across the top of
the road so I was a reasonable distance away from them, and that person was
carrying a child.
BILTON: You say "a person."
Male or female?
JANE: Oh a male, a male.
BILTON: And just describe that
individual to us.
JANE: He was about probably
5'8 tall, he was taller than me but not 6' and so between those two. He was
wearing quite a lot of clothes and that's one thing in hindsight again I think
was quite odd because tourists when they're abroad, Brits abroad would always
have cropped trousers or shorts or something, and he had a sort of a big heavy
jacket and trousers on, and hair.. the one thing that I remember a lot is the
hair. He did seem to have quite a lot of dark, reasonably-long-to-the-neck hair.
BILTON: Describe exactly what
he's carrying, what you can see.
JANE: Well I could see.. I
could tell it was a child, and I could see the feet and... feet and the bottom
of the pyjamas, and I just thought that child's not got any shoes on because you
could see the feet, and it was quite a cold night in Portugal in May it's not
actually that warm, and I'd got a big jumper on, and I can remember thinking oh
that parent is not a particularly good parent, they've not wrapped them up.
BILTON: And could you tell if
it was a boy or a girl?
JANE: Only because the pyjamas
had a pinky aspect to them so you presume a girl. It was actually quite cold.
BILTON: From your sketch he
appears to be carrying the child in a sort of unusual way.
JANE: Yeah, he was carrying
sort of across the body like that. I suppose in hindsight you'd probably think
somebody would carry them more against the shoulder.
BILTON: And I have to ask you
this. Are you absolutely sure of what you saw? It was a long time ago and it was
only for a brief period?
JANE: Brief period but at the
time I knew what I'd seen. I gave that information to the police and because of
the pyjamas I'm absolutely convinced that is what I saw.
BILTON: According to the
McCann timeline, at about 9.30 Matt Oldfield is the next to check on the
children. Remember Gerry McCann says he had closed the bedroom door, but Matt
Oldfield says he finds it open. He doesn't go in the room, he sees the twins but
can't see Madeleine's bed. Because there's no noise he assumes everything is
okay. At about 10 it's Kate McCann's turn to check on the children. The bedroom
door is still open. As she closes it she feels a draft and knows something is
wrong. A shutter on the side of the apartment they couldn't see from the tapas
bar is open. Madeleine is missing. Kate McCann says she searches the flat three
times before raising the alarm. Jane Tanner says that by this time she is
already back in her apartment.
JANE: I went out to the front
door of our apartment and then I saw Rachael came and said: "Oh Madeleine's
gone!" So that was the first that I heard about it. And then I saw Kate and
Fiona running around shouting 'Madeleine' and Kate said to me: "Jane,
Madeleine's gone! Madeleine's gone!" and that was the first that I heard.
BILTON: What time was it
JANE: I'm not sure, it'd be
ten'ish, around ten'ish.
BILTON: And now all of a
sudden what you've seen...
JANE: Yeah, as soon as Rachael
said to me: "Madeleine's gone" this person sort of came into my head. I hadn't
given it a second thought up to that point but then this person sort of... I
suddenly thought oh, well that person was a bit odd. Suddenly Madeleine is not
there and I've seen somebody that made me think oh, that maybe was a bit odd. It
just seems too much of a coincidence.
BILTON: The McCann's say they
asked Matt Oldfield to call the police at 10.15 from the Ocean Club front desk.
When the police don't appear, they say someone from the group goes back to the
front desk to see what's happening. The police say the first call they received
was about 10.40. In the chaos it's clear there is some confusion about the
exactly times. Remember Portugal
are on the same time.
I have spoken to someone who
was staying very close to flat 5A on the night of May 3rd. She says the first
that she was aware of a missing child was 10.30 and she's sure of that because
she says the BBC 10 o'clock news had just finished. She says that she heard Kate
McCann sobbing, repeating over and over again: "We've let her down." She also
says that she heard the first Portuguese policeman arrive and he said: "She must
have walked out because there's no sign of a break in."
Initially the flat isn't
treated as a crime scene and police would later be criticised for not sealing it
Speaking in August
There had been quite a few people in the apartment but not into the bedroom,
that was limited to myself, Kate, I think two of our friends, the two GNR
officers and I think a translator. I was certainly saying to people: "Stay out
of the room." There was no sealing off of the room and should we?
Children's bedroom, Apartment 5A
The twins were still sleeping
in their cots. So... you'd be trying to leave it as undisturbed as possible, and
they slept very soundly until we moved them out of the cots into their own
apartment which does make me wonder about whether there was any substances used
to keep them asleep.
BILTON: The police didn't
follow this up with tests. Meanwhile late on May 3rd the McCann's begin calling
Kate McCann's mother
I think it would be about half eleven - and I'm guessing now, I might be wrong -
there was a phone call and it was Gerry on the phone, and he said it's a
disaster. It's a disaster. And he was quite hysterical.
Gerry McCann's sister
He's absolutely uncontrollable. He's howling and screaming down the phone:
"They've taken her, she's gone."
Gerry McCann's brother
He was walking the streets of Praia da Luz at half past three. I think most of
the search party had disbanded by then and he was still crying his eyes out.
BILTON: What was Kate like,
what sort of state was she in?
SUSAN: She was distressed,
obviously. She just asked me if I had the telephone number of Father Paul
Seddon. Paul Seddon is a friend of theirs who is a Catholic priest who actually
married Gerry and Kate and baptised Madeleine, and for some reason at that stage
Kate needed to make contact with Paul. She needed I suppose the strength that
comes from having faith.
JOHN: They texted a couple of
times just.. you know.. pray for us. Pray for Madeleine.
BILTON: By dawn a major search
of the whole resort is underway. These officers are from the GNR, the uniformed
Portuguese police but it's the investigation branch, the Pol?ia Judici?ia, or
PJ's, who are now in charge of the hunt for Madeleine McCann.
We would again like to appeal for any information, however small, that may lead
to the safe return of Madeleine.
BILTON: First appeals are
made, but what we didn't know at the time was that some Portuguese detectives
are already telling Portuguese journalists that they don't believe the McCann
JOSE MANUEL OLIVEIRA
Crime reporter, 'Diario de Noticias'
Information started circulating from sources connected to the Portuguese police
that the story was full of holes from the side of the McCanns and their friends.
Indeed within two days of Madeleine disappearing, this crime correspondent was
filing this piece in the Portuguese Daily: Diario of the Noticias: "Headline: a
badly told story." We started to receive information according to which the
police suspected the theory they had apprehensions, didn't believe the theory
that she had been kidnapped. To conclude, the police started to suspect the
parents from the word go.
BILTON: But that breakdown in
trust worked both ways. The McCaans quickly grew impatient at the police
KATE: It seemed bloody slow at
the time, you know, and I don't know, I mean again you've got to put it into
perspective, you know, it's a quiet, sleepy place, certainly at that time of
year, there's no local police, you know, so they had to come from the nearest
town. The local police came out. You've got to remember we had the language
barrier as well.
BILTON: Against the police
advice the wider McCann family turned to the media. But within days Kate and
Gerry McCann found themselves being judged by the media.
KATE: Madeleine is a beautiful, bright, funny and caring little girl. She is so
special. Please, please do not hurt her. Please don't scare her. Please tell us
where to find her.
BILTON: It was reported that
police suspicions were fuelled by the couple's behaviour, that in these early
appearances Kate McCann seemed too cold, too controlled.
KATE: We need our Madeleine,
Sean and Emily need Madeleine and Madeleine needs us.
Editor, 24 Horas'
They are criticised for having displayed a cold and calculating attitude
throughout this process. You can see already after the kidnapping Kate McCann
appeared on a veranda in front of the journalists crying purposefully.
And we interpreted this as a
performance for the media, and this made us feel some sort of discomfort.
KATE: Please give our little
girl back. "Por favor, devolva a nossa menina."
JOHN McCANN: They were getting
advice. If you're too tearful you're gonna have the emotional impact but you're
not going to get the message over. And yes what comes out of their mouths sounds
measured, controlled, and.. you know, a nice tempo. They don't speak like that
normally. That is a false situation, okay, and they had to work damned hard to
get to that place. Because the number of tears before that were shed before they
went out there, because I saw that. I was backstage there.
BILTON: But it's in this
atmosphere that a former PJ detective goes on Portuguese television and without
any corroboration accuses the McCaans of being swingers.
JOSE BARRA da COSTA
Former Policia Judiciaria
There are people who guarantee that this is a couple who practice 'swinging' -
i.e. sexual relationships between couples and then changing partners, and that
this practice would allow in this type of...
BILTON: When you say: "there
are people who say..." I'm assuming you are quoting....
DA COSTA: People who know
obviously. I cannot reveal the source here because I would lose it.
BILTON: The Portuguese police
publicly disowned the allegation, also denied by the McCann's. But such stories
are damaging. Then within weeks at a press conference in Germany, this question to the
How do you deal with the fact that more and more people seem to be pointing the
figure at you saying the way you behave is not the way people would normally
behave if their child was abducted and they seem to imply that you might have
something to do with it.
KATE: To be honest I don't
actually think that. It's a case.. I think that's a very small minority of
people that are criticising us. You know, we are very responsible parents and we
love our children so much, and I think it's only a very few people that are
actually criticising us.
BILTON: That question seemed
extreme at the time, but there was more and more focus on Kate and Gerry McCann.
But one film crew was welcome. The resulting footage wasn't offered to Panorama
but the McCanns agreed to release it to us when word of its existence leaked
How do you know the McCann's?
JON CORNER Independent Film
Producer I know them through my wife, Michelle, who was Kate's longest friend. I
mean they met each other back in primary school and stayed lifelong mates.
BILTON: John Corner is a film
producer, he's also godfather to the McCann twins. The McCann's say, because
he's a friend, he's invited to make a film for the launch of the YouTube channel
for missing children and on August 1st he arrives on the Algarve.
CORNER: It was very low key,
very relaxed and very quickly got used to us hanging around and...
BILTON: He filmed the McCann's
for a week. The family have just moved to their new base, a villa on the
outskirts of Luc.
CORNER: You can see the twins
just playing and you can see it's a normal house, you've got toys and stuff on
the floor. What's quite poignant about it is you see a father sitting on his
own, in his bedroom, in a foreign country desperately looking for his daughter
and seeing that quite upset me.
Speaking in August
Looking at these, both in isolation I don't think too bad, but when you see
videos or the pictures that I haven't seen for a while, the calling ones I think
I've become a bit desensitised to but the ones that haven't been used as much
are much more difficult to look at, and particularly video.
BILTON: When Jon Corner
arrives at the villa Kate tells him about Gerry taking his sister and
brother-in-law to the airport.
Speaking in August
Gerry took them, yeah, he was a bit crumbly I think. I think he was alright he
got up and said: "I'm gonna go now" and then he lost it. And I got a text from
Trish and it said: "Nearly choked on my full English because of that Tiny Tears
husband of yours" you know, (laugh) but yeah.
BILTON: Is he big brother or
KATE: Little brother. Yeah,
Gerry's the youngest, yeah.
BILTON: He's the youngest
isn't he? Because the media see Gerry as this kind of emotionless warrior and
he's not really, is he?
KATE: No he's not. I mean it's
really harsh to say that because I mean... Gerry, he's always been a very
focused person, he's enthusiastic, he's focused and he's incredibly positive
which is great for me to be honest, and he's obviously he's speaking in public,
not dealing with media but speaking in public, so he's able to go on and do
that, and throw himself into it, and I think that's what people see and you
know, people say oh how can he do that? Or how can you stand there and do that
when your daughter has been taken and everything. And I mean I've been like that
before, you know, when there's been other cases of kids that have been taken or
killed or whatever and you think to yourself how does anyone cope with that? How
could you get through another day? And then you throw it back to yourself and
think how did I get up this morning? How did I get a shower? How did I get my
breakfast? And something obviously gets you through it - apart from the first
few days which you have total physical shutdown but something gets you through
it, do you know what I mean, and I think I'm fully in that situation, you just
can't say. You know, he has his lows as well, you know, for sure, and in fact
probably Gerry's lowest points were often on a Saturday because we had like a
family day, we'd just say right we'll try and put the work on hold as much as
you can, and we'll do something with it, with the twins and then he often found
that the hardest because we were on family time without Madeleine, you know, it
just didn't seem right.
BILTON: Because you're their
friend, people might treat these pictures with some scepticism, what difference
do you think it made that you were their friend? Were you for example guiding
them off camera?
JON CORNER: Not at all, no I
was never guiding them off camera. And then it's not that kind of relationship
with Kate and Gerry. I just let the cameras run and we burnt a lot of tape, just
left the cameras run.
BILTON: There'll be plenty of
people who won't buy that. This was their friend filming what they wanted seen,
but their supporters would say they weren't then suspects, and if they were
hiding an extraordinary secret, is it likely the couple would invite a camera
team, however friendly, into their lives?
CORNER: I said to them that I
think there's a possibility that Madeleine may not be the story eventually, that
you may be the story.
BILTON: What did they say?
CORNER: They were quite
distressed by that.
BILTON: It had not occurred to
CORNER: Well it's difficult
for me as a friend to be negative and to impart a sense of negativity.
BILTON: He was right to sense
a change. On the day filming was due to start the police arrive at the McCann
villa. As they pictures show, they would return.
CORNER: They took most of
their clothing, they were taking even the wet clothes out of the washing
machine. I was aware that the cuddlecat was boxed up and we were asked to leave
BILTON: The crew?
BILTON: So they searched the
BILTON: So what, as all this
is going on, what do Kate and Gerry make of this?
CORNER: Well this is the
bizarre thing Richard because the police said to Kate and Gerry: "Yeah, we're
going to be coming along, we want to do some forensics." And Kate and Gerry were
massively optimistic about this. You've got to remember if your daughter is
missing and the police phone you and say: "We want to do some forensics, that's
a straw that you hang onto. That's a moment for optimism.
BILTON: That's because the
McCanns say this was a time when they were pushing for more urgency in the
investigation. The Portuguese had rejected their request for the FBI to come in,
but they did bring in a British forensic team with sniffer dogs. Kate McCann
talks to Jon Corner as all this is going on.
KATE: We're just doing
absolutely everything we can do, you know, to help find Madeleine, and the last
thing we're wanting to look back and think we could have done more.
BILTON: But they've taken
clothing away, they've taken a diary away, they've taken cuddlecat away. Were
they not thinking things have changed here?
CORNER: No, I was. I was
thinking this seems really all a bit late in the day to me.
BILTON: Let me take you back
to what it was like then. I was here in Praia da Luz for BBC News. Like the rest
of the media I was reporting on the 100 days since Madeleine McCann had
disappeared, but things were changing. Forensic teams had found what were
thought to be specs of blood in the McCann apartment. Both sniffer dogs had
reportedly reacted to the scent of death in the McCann hired car and on Kate
McCann's clothing. People were starting to think what had previously seemed
unthinkable. And faced with all of this the McCanns agreed to talk to me.
BILTON: Part of this inquiry
is now shifting from a possible abduction to an investigation that might involve
a death or murder. Were you aware of those sorts of issues?
GERRY: We're not na?e but on
numerous occasions the Portuguese police have assured us that they were looking
for Madeleine alive and not Madeleine being murdered, and I don't know of any
information that's changed that. Kate and I strongly believe that Madeleine was
alive when she was taken from the apartment. Obviously what we don't know is
what happened to her afterwards, who has taken her and what the motive is, and
we're best not to think that out.
KATE: And as Gerry's just
said, even last week when we met with the police they said: "We are looking for
a living child" and they've said that a lot so...
BILTON: What I know now but
didn't know then that that was precisely the time when the McCanns first
experienced a more aggressive attitude from the Portuguese police. At an
informal briefing two detectives turned on Kate McCann. She was on her own.
Gerry McCann wasn't with her, but her version of events was openly questioned.
Former McCann spokesperson
I do know afterwards she was incredibly upset and that was the start of a very
difficult period and.. you know, I really felt for them actually because they
went through a very tough time.
BILTON: And by now the
forensic work is shaping the case. The police doubts are more serious. On
Thursday 6th September Kate McCann is dropped off in Portim?, she's been called
in for questioning, her sister-in-law Trish goes to support her. Justine
McGuinness, the McCann publicity manager at the time is also there.
JUSTINE McGUINNESS: I have to
say I was incredibly impressed because she just held her head high and walked
into the police station and just kept on going, and a lot of people wouldn't
have been able to have coped going through a media mob.
BILTON: As Kate McCann sits
down in the interview room she recognises one of the detectives.
Kate McCann's mother
They'd had a meal with this guy, with his family, and the children have played
together, and she talked to me about this particular police officer as being as
if he was a friend, and she felt quite comforted by having this guy who spoke
English as well, and he was in the interview and he didn't make eye contact with
Kate at all.
BILTON: Kate McCann is at the
station for 13 hours, but from inside she and Trish text out updates. Even at
this point the message is being controlled.
McGUINNESS: We were a bit
naughty because we did have messages coming out of the police station which we
weren't supposed to...
BILTON: How did that work..
what, the text messages?
BILTON: And were the texts
saying? Talk us through.
McGUINNESS: Sort of updates
from things that were happening.
[Video: public statement to
I'd like to read a statement on Kate's arrival at the police station....
Knowing everybody had copy to
write, had the 10 o'clock news like you did, or whatever, various different
deadlines that they had. I felt that it was important just to manage people's
BILTON: She finally gets out
at 1 o'clock in the morning. A lawyer tells family and friends what has been put
to her by the police.
[Video: lawyer's public
Kate has been listened to as a witness. The investigation will continue. Like
everybody knows, because of the system of justice we can't say anymore.
McGUINNESS: I mean there was
an allegation put to Kate that she'd been involved in harming her daughter, I
mean a dreadful allegation to be put to any mother.
BILTON: At 3 in the morning
after Kate McCann has returned to her villa, her lawyer arrives with what seems
to be a deal. Plead guilty to manslaughter and escape with only 2 years in gaol.
As he explains the offer, Philomena McCann is on the phone to her sister Trish.
Gerry McCann's sister
Trisha hangs out with a mobile and there I am listening to Kate screaming at the
lawyer: "No! No!" and just the emotion and the disgust, her tone, everything
that was being conveyed, I mean what she was saying and the anger, you could
BILTON: This was a turning
point, a dramatic 48 hours. First they're named as official suspects.
[Video: Official statement to
press and public]
Kate and Gerry McCann have both been today declared arguidos with no bail
BILTON: Then they decide the
time has come to leave Praia da Luz to go home without Madeleine. Few are
putting up yellow ribbons now. It's a case that divides people. Those who think
that somehow the McCanns are involved and those who don't, including a small
number of wealthy supporters who appoint a legal coordinator.
McCann legal co-ordinator
It was quite clear when Kate and Gerry came back to the UK that they were subject to an open
season of abuse from the media. They'd obviously gone through the tragedy of
having their daughter taken in very unfortunate circumstances, and to make
matters infinitely worse, were now subject to a trial by media.
BILTON: So what exactly is the
case against the McCann's? Well some of it tenuous to put it mildly and hard to
disentangle from wild press speculation. It was widely reported, for example,
that the body was shifted in the back of this vehicle, the Renault Scenic the
McCann's hired 25 days after Madeleine disappeared. The story goes that they
drove the car to Huelva in Spain on the 3rd August where they
disposed of the body. According to the McCann's, these pictures show the only
trip they made to Huelva.
CORNER: It's bizarre, truly
bizarre. I mean we use it as a base for the crew.
BILTON: So that, effectively,
is evidence, isn't it, because that is the trip to Spain when, if reports are to be
believed, in the back of that vehicle is the body of Madeleine McCann.
Independent Film Producer
In the back of that vehicle there's a lot of posters of Madeleine and me and my
cameraman. It's quite sickening really, you know, the speculation around what
was a genuine trip out to
to try and raise public awareness about Madeleine. This is a couple who are
desperately looking for their missing daughter. The thought of them having
Madeleine in the car is just obscene.
BILTON: We are told the police
do remain interested in this car. One source says it's a mystery why the vehicle
does so many miles when Kate and Gerry McCann have left it behind on trips
across Europe. There is a new man in charge of
the case. They say everything is being reassessed. The speculation and police
leaks do seem much reduced. We've had access to a third briefing from a source
close to the top of the Pol?ia Judici?ia. He tells us that two very different
scenarios are now being tested, one that Madeleine was abducted as her parents
believe, or that she died in
5A as the result of an accident and that her death was covered
up, and that second theory asks serious questions of the McCann's and their
friends. So let's have a closer look at some of those police suspicions. Now a
senior detective has told us that the friends are everything, that there are
inconsistencies in their statements, that they might be hiding something.
Specifically, the police thought seems to be that with the statements as they
stand, that night seems so busy it's hard to see a predatory paedophile taking
the risk. Officially the PJ can't talk about this case, but close to the
investigation is a PJ detective who also heads the organisation representing
Association of Police Investigators
What happened that night in the dinner, at the end of the dinner
in the tapas bar and everything that happened that night, what
was said between those people, it leaves us somewhat perplexed
in the way, as I've been saying, since the beginning, that not
all their statements match up exactly with each other. There are
some things where between what one says and what the other says,
they don't match up with each other.
Friend of the McCann's
Well if you ask nine people about events of the night you're probably going to
get nine slightly different stories, and you're not clock watching, you're
not... you know, we were having a meal, you're not...
BILTON: Jane Tanner is the
only one of the group of friends who has agreed to speak to us. She denies
recent reports that both she and her partner want to change their witness
I heard that you've not yet
spoken to the media before and yet you've been much discussed. Why have you
chosen to speak now?
JANE: Well, I've not spoken
because the Portuguese police told us not to talk about the case at all, and..
you know, from day one we've done everything we can to help them with the
investigation. I think maybe I'm talking now because I'm being called a liar and
a fantasist and all this, and I know what I saw and I think it's important that
people know what I saw because I believe Madeleine was abducted.
BILTON: One reason why the
police may doubt the consistency and the honesty of some of the
witnesses relates to the first man to be declared arguido,
Robert Murat. In July here at Portim? PJ headquarters Robert
Murat came face to face with these three people: Russell
O'Brien, Rachael Oldfield and Fiona Payne, all part of the
McCann holiday group. Invited to read out their statements one
by one, they all said they'd seen Robert Murat in and around the
Ocean Club on the night Madeleine disappeared. He denied it then
and he denies it now.
Robert Murat's aunt
Robert is sticking to his guns, he was not there on that night, there was not a
shred of evidence against him being there on that night, so.. you know, that
question definitely needs to be answered, why are they putting a finger at
BILTON: He's been told not to
speak to the media but he wants his views to be heard. As I interviewed his
mother and aunt he sat in on the interview.
What do you think Jenny?
Robert Murat's mother
I just don't understand why they're lying. On May 3rd I'd been out taking the
dogs out which I do every single night of my life, and I got home about 8
o'clock and Robert was already there and he was in all the evening.
BILTON: How are you so sure?
JENNY: Because we were sitting
in the kitchen talking the whole evening.
BILTON: And you would have
known if Robert had gone out?
JENNY: Yes, I definitely would
have known if he'd gone out.
BILTON: Robert Murat was
questioned for three days and he remains an arguido. Our access to police
briefings points to another area of concern, Kate McCann's journal.
Kate McCann's mother
Kate was very distressed, obviously. Every evening people were
having to kind of hold it together, you know, because as bed
time came, it was another day gone and they didn't have
Madeleine back, and so she needed support at that time of the
night and I think it was during that time that Philomena
suggested: "Kate, why don't you start to keep a journal and then
when Madeleine comes back you can let Madeleine read it."
CARLOS ANJOS: Kate McCann's
diary will be as important to the investigation as is all the small evidence
that has been found throughout the whole course of investigation, not more, not
less. By combining all of the evidence we will be able to reconstruct what
happened that moment that evening.
BILTON: There were newspaper
claims that Kate McCann had described Madeleine as hyperactive, but we can
almost certainly dismiss these, even the Portuguese attorney general says that
those claims are untrue. Nonetheless we have been told by detectives that the
journal remains of interest. Now, point 3 for the police - the DNA. As it
stands, the full DNA evidence that is being assessed in
is still not back in Portugal.
We understand evidence has been recovered from the underside of the carpet
lining in the boot of that Scenic. Fluid and hair from a corpse, not necessarily
human, and a separate DNA sample that's a partial match from Madeleine and comes
from a primary source. Our senior Portuguese contact has said the partial
results that have been sent are inconclusive and that he doesn't expect the full
set will ever be enough on its own to bring a case, a view shared by those
familiar with the investigation.
CARLOS: What did come to Portugal were
not conclusive results but rather served to be indicative. Also the results from
some of the tests were still missing and these are once again not conclusive
results but rather indicative. To be able to say with certainty that Maddy was
there, or that this DNA was Maddy's the test results would have to be 99%
positive. If they are not 99% certain, they can be viewed as indicative but not
conclusive, and if it is not conclusive the police or the courts should not make
any statements at the moment because they could be wrong.
BILTON: The McCann's' legal
team has told us the results of its own tests on the car conducted by experts
which reveal, they say, nothing incriminating. Our police sources say they have
other evidence which the media knows nothing about, but much of what the police
have said and have leaked only points to suspicion about the abduction theory.
So the police say they have no alternative but to continue to investigate the
chronology of the events of the night of May 3rd.
Well let's have a look at the
timeline again. The police say there are inconsistencies in the McCann party's
version of events. So does the alternative theory that some, or all, were
involved hold any more water?
Remember, the McCann's say
they picked up their children from the kids' clubs and returned with them to
their apartment. At 6 Gerry McCann left for a tennis lesson. Kate McCann stayed
indoors with the children, and it's claimed that David Payne looked in at 6.30
and confirmed they were okay. Gerry McCann finished tennis and joined them from
7 to 8.30. If they were solely responsible for something that happened in that
flat that would leave them little more than an hour to clear up and move
Madeleine's body. Now what if something happened when Gerry McCann came back to
the flat at just after 9pm to check on the children as he said he did? Well that
would leave him with even less time. Now what if there was a third person
involved? If that's true, and some detectives think it might be, then it gets
more complicated because this person would be able to move the body any time up
until 10 o'clock when we know the alarm was raised. Those are the theories but
the reality is we would have to accept that Kate and Gerry McCann, having just
been involved in the death of their daughter, then got ready for a night out,
were first at the table and then had a meal with friends as if nothing had
As late as last week a senior
officer was still saying that it's possible the McCann's could have masked their
feelings when they were at that meal.
SUSAN HEALY: If Madeleine had
an accident in Kate's presence, Kate is a doctor for goodness sake, they were on
holiday with doctors, the first thing she would have done would have been to
have sought help for Madeleine, you know, it's absolutely ridiculous to think
that Kate would do anything else.
BILTON: In the footage
provided to us by Jon Corner he revisits the apartment, for some of the time
accompanied off camera by Gerry McCann. He tests how easy it would have been for
an abductor to get in and out with Madeleine.
CORNER: Okay, we're sitting at
the table, we're sitting at the very table and we can still see the apartment
quite clearly. We've got a good line of sight.
Speaking in August
We were looking at the back of the apartment and maybe the weak spots were at
the front, and it's very... you know, a corner flat with trees overlooking it,
somebody could be hiding there or watching, out of view.
CORNER: So you can see Gerry
coming out the gate, and over here you can see them sitting in the tapas bar.
Speaking in August
They've been watching us over a matter of days, I'm sure, you know, they know..
you know, they must have known that Gerry had just been into the apartment and
then.... you're right, there was only a small window of opportunity but.. you
BILTON: Let's go back to that
moment. At about quarter past nine Gerry McCann says he'd just left the flat.
He's still in the street talking to a friend when Jane Tanner walks past him on
the other side of the road up the hill and sees what she now believes to be
Madeleine, so at most a window of five minutes for someone to get in. The
alternative view which Gerry McCann says was put to him by the police is that
the abductor was already in the flat hiding when Gerry McCann did his check.
Jon Corner and Camera Operator
Just even standing here now I
think it's quite creepy because you could just be standing here just chilling
out couldn't you, just...
And he could have been down
Do you reckon? So how long
would it take you to get across there? 20 seconds?
20 seconds, 10, 15. Open the
window, in out, you could be all done in under a minute.
GERRY: There was a window of
opportunity and that's the regret that we'll always have, the window of
opportunity to snatch a child, and I've no doubt that Madeleine was targeted and
that makes us sick to the core to think that somebody was watching us and our
daughter and had targeted her, and I think the true word is a predator.
CORNER: So this is the front
door of the apartment and of course you're straight onto the street, see you're
straight over the wall onto the street, or straight out there onto the street.
BILTON: Painfully for some,
the more the couple disclose about how insecure the flat was, the less wise
their decision appears to leave the children unattended.
SUSAN HEALY: Well I have to
say that I'm surprised that Kate and Gerry left their children at all and I've
thought about it a lot because they're such caring parents and I think - why?
GERRY: Clearly at the time we
felt what we were doing was quite responsible. If we were going
to be down and further away or round the corner we would never
have left the kids, and with hindsight... everything with
hindsight is all taken in the context of your child being
abducted and if we could turn back the clock and that, it would
be.. you know, we would just rewind as fast as we could
KATE: I mean there isn't a day
that goes by that I'm not kind of thinking to myself why did I think that was
okay, you know, was I wrong in thinking that was okay? And I mean all I can say
to myself is I know how much I love my children, I know I'm a responsible parent
and I know that, and I've just got to keep saying that to myself really, you
BILTON: One possibility, and
it's no more than that, is that police suspect some of the group of friends may
have exaggerated the extent of their checks to make them and the McCann's appear
more responsible. If true, if could have inadvertently raised suspicions of
something much worse.
Association of Police Investigators
They said that every half an hour they would go and look in on the children and
all of them, we found in everybody's statement, some questions that suggest that
actually they didn't go and see the children.
KATE: It's not about us, you
know, we were bobbing back and forwards several times and I wanted to see the
kids so.. you know, it's not about us. You know, I think that the problem is
it's a predator basically who's been watching us, which gives you the shivers
anyway, and broken into the apartment and taken Madeleine out of her bed.
BILTON: So 200 days on, where
is the search for Madeleine McCann now? Well the two camps are preparing for the
next stage. Though we have been briefed by the Portuguese police they can't
speak on television about their view of this case. It's the same for the
McCann's, but they have a substantial team working with them, and in the last
week they have authorised co-operation with this programme. Briefings, that
interview with Jane Tanner, a chance to push their view that Kate and Gerry
McCann are innocent.
McCann legal co-ordinator
Part of the reason why we're here disclosing evidence to you today as opposed to
keeping our powder dry is a recognition that there were two strands to this
case, part of it is the criminal case, but part of it is the media speculation
and the media perception, and we see it as incumbent upon us to portray the
truth to the media and in particular to try and expunge any ill-founded theories
about Gerry and Kate's involvement so that the media attention can focus back
onto the abduction and therefore onto the fact that we have a missing little
girl out there.
BILTON: The police say they
are keeping an open mind about this, but will ask to re-interview the McCanns'
friends again. The delay, we're told, is down to bureaucracy.
ANJOS: Let's say it's
important for all the people who were at the Ocean Club in the group, the
friends of the McCanns, including the McCanns, to tell us exactly everything
that happened, everything they remember.
We've got nothing to hide, we
just said what happened and I don't understand how they can say that doesn't add
up because.. you know, we've just said what happened on the night.
BILTON: That has been widely
reported now but also throughout this idea that you want to go back and change
JANE: It's just complete lies.
I mean I don't know where these stories come from. We've never been in contact
with the police to say we want to change our stories.
BILTON: So you said you're
prepared to answer questions.
BILTON: In some ways would you
JANE: I'd love to, yeah, I
think.. you know, I actively want to be re-interviewed. If there is a feeling
that what we're saying is wrong, you know, be interviewed.. you know, and we can
clarify that it's not wrong, you know, we're not making things up, it's just
BILTON: Have you been asked to
return to be questioned?
BILTON: Would you be prepared
JANE: Yes. Yeah of course we
would. Yeah, and I mean if it helps to find Madeleine, be interviewed tomorrow,
you know, we're obviously key witnesses.
BILTON: The McCann camp say
they continue to co-operate with the police but they're doing more than that. If
there is to be a breakthrough it may well come through this office, the M3
Detective Agency in Barcelona,
it runs this phone number of sightings and information from the public. As part
of the McCanns co-operation with this film, they've revealed to us what they
believe is a new lead.
Director General, Metodo 3
Maddy was alive two days after the kidnapping. Madeleine was in a car and she
was given to another person inside Portugal. We have the description of
the woman and the man involved
BILTON: We have seen no proof
that this is a genuine development but they're confident of this
evidence and say it's been passed to the Portuguese police.
MARCO: I'm not saying well
maybe - no, no, no. We are very, very close to find the kidnapper.
BILTON: Do you beat yourself
up on this? Is it something you play with in your head or...?
JANE: I do and initially I did
more but I just have to think.. you know, there's no... it's the least thing
you'd ever think in a million years that.. you know, a child is going to be
abducted in a safe family resort. As I said before, Gerry was standing outside
the apartment so I thought Madeleine had just been checked so there was
absolutely no reason why I would think it was odd. You know, there was no reason
why I would think it was Madeleine being taken at that point.
BILTON: More than six months
on and there is still only one real fact and that is Madeleine McCann
disappeared on the night of May 3rd 2007 and has not been seen since. Now
potentially the month ahead is crucial. Barring any other developments the
forensic evidence may force the police here in
to decide once and for all if the McCanns are to face any charges. If they do,
then they will have the chance to clear their name. If they don't, then Kate and
Gerry McCann could face the rest of their life without their daughter but with
the suspicion that they were involved in her disappearance.
Coming soon on Panorama, the Battle for Basra Palace, the unheard story of Britain's deadly struggle for
Southern Iraq and the legacy we leave behind.
Panorama returns in two weeks
time at the usual time of 8.30 here on BBC 1.
from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/11/21 16:20:37 GMT
? BBC MMVIII