Madeleine v the GNR on 3 May 2007

There was an awful lot happening on 3 May 2007 in Portugal that appears to have little relevance to Madeleine’s disappearance, though the reality is otherwise. This post examines a single one of them – the ability of the GNR to put boots on ground in Luz that evening. More accurately, how many patrol cars could the GNR deploy from Lagos at the time Madeleine went missing?

The PJ Files show that at the time the Ocean Club called the GNR in Lagos, 10.41pm, a GNR response unit was in Odiáxere, covering a reported theft, presumably a break-in. This seemingly delayed the patrol unit from hot-footing it to Luz while they handled the Odiáxere incident. I have no information to offer on the wording of the call from the Ocean Club to the GNR station in Lagos, nor the wording of the radio call from the GNR station in Lagos to the patrol car in Odiáxere. So I cannot evaluate the seriousness or even precise timing of that radio call. I certainly don’t know whether the message was ‘missing child’ or ‘abducted child’.

One of the key things that happened in Portugal on 3 May 2007, and I believe it to be pure coincidence, was that it was the 96th anniversary of the founding of the GNR. In Portugal, the PSP are the first responders to an incident in a town (such as Lagos) or a city. The more rural areas, such as Luz, are covered by the GNR, even though the local GNR station was in the town of Lagos.

Odiáxere is considered rural, so the incident there was responded to by the GNR of Lagos. Luz is considered rural, so Madeleine’s disappearance was first responded to by a unit of the GNR from Lagos.

However on this day of 3 May 2007 the GNR had been out in force to commemorate the 96th anniversary of their founding. Here is a photo from the procession in Lisbon. The GNR do not police Lisbon, and you can see from the dress uniform this was not a normal day at work.

gnr-95th-anniv-lisbon-3rd-may-2007

While the march-past is impressive, I much prefer this second photo, because there is a relevant tale behind it. The dog honoured that day was Margarida. She was about 10 years old and on 3 May 2007 she was awarded a special medal for its efforts in the police dog unit of Queluz. Margarida was a Labrador, the breed used by the GNR to search for drugs and missing people, while Alsations were normally used as patrol dogs. She was too old to work and had developed cataracts in her eyes.

gnr-anniversary-lisbon

Dogs from the Queluz unit would be deployed on the Madeleine case on 4 May 2007.

I have no reason whatsoever to presume the Lisbon celebration involved GNR officers from the Algarve. It almost certainly involved the GNR dog unit from Queluz in Lisbon.

This Dec 2007 report (in Portuguese) covers the use of dogs in particular, and the set-up of the GNR’s Escola Prática, where GNR training is carried out.

http://www.tvi24.iol.pt/sociedade/video/gnr-aposta-em-caes-de-identificacao

gnr-queluz-2010

Three handlers and 4 dogs from Queluz arrived in Luz around 8am on 4 May and immediately began searching for Madeleine. These search and rescue dogs were considered to be more appropriate for the task than dogs already deployed from Portimão, which were considered to be patrol dogs.

As 3 May 2007 was the 9th anniversary of the GNR, it was also celebrated on the Algarve. Eloise Walton of the Portugal Resident reported on the GNR event in Albufeira at http://portugalresident.com/gnr-celebrates-96th-anniversary The event lasted from 9.30am to 6pm. This appears to have been the first time the anniversary was celebrated on the Algarve, and it seemed to feature mainly GNR officers stationed in Albufeira. I have no information that officers from the GNR in Lagos participated. However, the Portugal Resident report says two dog teams, one from Albufeira and one from Portimão, delighted the crowds.

The only photo I can find of the Albufeira GNR event is the extremely poor quality one in the Portugal Resident link.

It seems that a single GNR car was responding on the evening of 3 May 2007. I cannot tell if this was normal practice. I cannot tell if the message transmitted to the GNR at Lagos was sufficiently urgent about Madeleine’s disappearance. And I cannot tell if the 96th anniversary of the GNR affected the subsequent response.

Madeleine – Luz Tour v Dearly Departed Tours

In early October 2016, the Mirror handed me out some stick by writing the Luz Tour up as the Ghouls’ Tour. Something called Dearly Departed Tours (of Los Angeles) popped up on TV last night, so I was interested in doing a comparison of our approaches.

The Dearly Departed Tours website is at http://dearlydepartedtours.com/

neon-ddt

The blurb from the website goes –

Dearly Departed Tours’ founder Scott Michaels is the authority on the Dark Side of Hollywood. Our standard Dearly Departed Tour is a multimedia Hollywood bus tour like no other. Explore cases like Manson, Janis, Whitney and Michael, and lesser-known celebrities with even more spectacular exits. You’ll also see the final resting places of Marilyn, Natalie, Farrah and more. Peppered with crime scene photographs and audio clips (including 911 calls), the tour has earned its consistent 5-star ratings. We’ve been featured on the E! Show Hollywood Death Trip, Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover, Ghost Adventures and dozens more, and the FX’s American Horror Story even paid tribute to the tour. Scott Michaels’ one-of-a-kind collection of celebrity death memorabilia on display in the Gallery includes the pink suitcase Jayne Mansfield packed the night she died and Rock Hudson’s deathbed. Soon we’ll be displaying the Jayne Mansfield Death Car!”

scary-places-by-bus

How does Dearly Departed Tours compare with the Luz Tour?

Luz has one famous missing child. Dearly Departed covers many a famous dead film star.

Luz Tours are on foot, and the going can be tough. Dearly Departed is by bus, rather essential in Los Angeles given the size of the city.

Luz Tours are for people with considerable expertise in the Madeleine McCann case. Dearly Departed is aimed at gawkers.

Dearly Departed is into memorabilia from those stars who have passed away. The nearest I have to memorabilia is a battered copy of Kate’s book ‘madeleine’.

Dearly Departed is a pay-for commercial service. Luz Tours are entirely free

Dearly Departed has a fairly posh web site, complete with natty graphics. I have this blog, adorned with a few original photos but mainly using material from the Internet.

I don’t think there is a way to commercialise Luz Tours and I wouldn’t want to even if it was possible. However, I find it ironic that I get keelhauled for trying to progress the Madeleine McCann case, for free, and Scott Michaels gets lauded for running a business based on dead celebrities.

Madeleine’s troika

The term troika has been widely used in Greece and Cyprus, Ireland, Portugal and Spain to refer to the presence of the European Commission, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund in these countries since 2010 and the financial measures that these institutions have taken. Basically, Portugal went with a begging bowl in hand to get out of the financial crisis, and now this threesome dictate the austerity programme that went along with the bailout.

The economic crisis struck Portugal around the same time that Madeleine McCann vanished and it has had a much bigger impact on the economy of both Portugal and the Algarve than the child’s disappearance.

The impact on Luz in general and the Ocean Club in particular is, I believe, quite different. There is no doubt whatsoever that the global downturn would have dented the tourist trade within Luz significantly. But the lay-offs in the Ocean Club have a significant component due to the Madeleine incident. That has had a ripple effect within Luz, as less money is spent locally, and several businesses have had to close. There has simply been more gloom in Luz because of the Madeleine effect.

And that is but one reason why many locals would like to leave 2007 behind and get on with a more pleasant life.

While the financial troika is also widely disliked in Portugal because of the restrictions it has imposed.

With the 10th anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance roughly 3 months away, it is time to form another troika.

Component 1 is native Portuguese media. Madeleine vanished in Portugal, and the McCann story has had an extremely stormy ride here over the past 10 years. I suspect this will be the toughest component to engage, due to the prevailing sentiment.

Component 2 is native UK media. There is a great deal that the UK media can do to advance the case. Whether they choose to exercise a bit of investigative journalism or prefer simply do a cheap and cheerful lash-up remains to be seen.

Component 3 is English speaking media based in the Algarve. The choice in this instance is limited, but Madeleine vanished in the Algarve, and beggars cannot be choosers, as Portugal has found with the financial troika.

There is a major element of this tale residing in the Republic of Ireland. I am of the opinion that with the correct approach to the Smiths, the possibility exists that Smithman can be identified. Being able to rule Smithman out of the equation would not mean we have a solution for Madeleine’s disappearance, but it would make the picture clearer. This of course assumes Smithman is innocent, but I cannot see why we should start with a presumption that Smithman is guilty. Perhaps the troika will have to evolve into a foursome along the way.

At the moment, I have lined up a candidate for each component of the Madeleine troika. Now I need to do a bit more preparation before issuing invitations to the task force.

Portelas – are we finally moving?

We were told by our solicitor that the last thing needed to enable us to buy a house in Portelas was a habitation licence. And we were told today by our solicitor that the Câmara issued a habitation licence 3 or 4 days ago.

Yippee – we’re on our way to Portelas!

Hang on. Why didn’t our solicitor tell us that a habitation licence had been issued, so we could proceed with the purchase?

Well it seems that gaining a habitation licence is not the final step. There is a final final step. Regulations require that we send the plans for our house to the bank granting our mortgage. This makes sense. If we were to do any dodgy extensions, the bank would be entitled to require us to undo them at our expense. So far so good.

However, our house is 19 years old and in those 19 years the bureaucratic regulations have changed. In 2017, we are required to detail all the building materials used in the construction of the property. I cannot explain this one. All I can say is it is a current requirement. And that when our house was built 19 years ago, it was not, so we do not have this detailed list of building materials.

It seems there are two ways forward. One is the rather senseless idea that we should get the building tested for its building materials. The alternative is that architectural plans are sent to our mortgage bank, and that as the property is 19 years old, the bank accepts the plans without a list of component building materials. It’s called an open plan.

I must say I have seen a snail make faster progress, despite us badgering everyone in the chain for progress. On the first anniversary of our attempt to purchase this house, I am not filled with confidence that we are on the final final leg of this Odyssey. A final-final-final leg would not surprise me. To be honest, it would not surprise me if we are still trying to move on the second anniversary of our offer to buy the house.

The other tale about Portelas is equally disappointing. We were told that by far the best butcher in the area is in Portelas. Today, we were informed there is no butcher in Portelas, and that the best butcher in the area is in Odiáxere. Now Portelas to Odiáxere is no biggy. It’s simply that someone must know where the best butcher is, and whether there is a half-decent baker. We have also been told that there is a lady who comes round Portelas selling fresh fish. I do hope that story is a true one.

This is going to be part of my entertainment zone. That is, if we ever get to move.

portelas-20170115-at-13-30

Madeleine – gold flakes and nuggets

In the story of Madeleine McCann, there are shiny gold flakes and dull nuggets. The flakes are the tiny, tiny slivers of gold that turn up fairly frequently. Miniscule pieces of information that move forward our knowledge of what happened to Madeleine McCann by millimetres at best.

The nuggets, the breakthrough information, are tougher to find, and much less frequent than the grains of gold. They do turn up occasionally, maybe once in every 6 to 12 months.

This little story is a grain of gold that glimmered in the sunlight. To be honest, the weather was very wet in Luz at the time, but even when it is grey and raining it can still be ShiningInLuz.

The occasion was a simple morning meeting for coffee, a date which had been put off for some 3 years now.

In amongst the chat, the topic of Madeleine McCann surfaced. The locals in Luz area are not averse to gossiping about the case. They just don’t wish to speak to the media about their chatter, and mainly prefer to remain anonymous regarding the topic, which I am going to respect. The dreaded ‘unnamed source’.

So here is the tiny tale of one person from Luz 3 May 2007, a person who does not wish to speak to the media. A miniscule grain of gold from an unnamed source.

The venue in question from 3 May 2007 was Boozey Suzey’s. This was a small bar in the commercial centre, perhaps 150 to 200m down the road from apartment 5A, past Baptista. The hostelry has long since disappeared. As yet, I haven’t identified its precise location.

Here is a photo of Boozey Suzey’s from around that time.

boozey-soozey

Based on information gleaned from opening hours and opening days, I was of the opinion that Boozey Suzey’s was probably open at the time Madeleine disappeared. Due to a coffee morning gossip in Burgau, I am now quite confident it was one of the venues that definitely was open at 10pm on 3 May 2007.

This is not earth shattering news. It simply tells us that in the near vicinity of apartment 5A, there was a small pub that was open on the night Madeleine disappeared.

The commercial centre was/is like a rabbit warren, and you could/can get into it by numerous ways, several of which do not take you past apartment 5A.

Further, I have no idea how busy Boozey Suzey’s was that night, so I cannot estimate either pedestrian or vehicular traffic.

What I have now learned is that the bar steward locked up the bar at 11.30pm that night. This should of course have been in the midst of the searching for Madeleine, and starting from a location very close to apartment 5A.

This little sliver may lead to a nugget. The nugget is a clear and correct understanding of general activity in Luz around the time when Madeleine disappeared.

Of course, there has to be a fly in the ointment. My source in question is of the opinion that Kate went running on the morning of 4 May 2007. This is a commonly held viewpoint, as far as I know, within the citizenry of Luz and it explains a lot of the hostility here to Kate and Gerry.

I hold the opinion that early on the morning of 4 May 2007, Kate, Gerry and others from the Tapas 9 were whisked to Portimão to conduct their first interviews. The running up the hill would come later.

Madeleine, CEOP, Wayback Machine

https://shininginluz.wordpress.com/2015/06/27/madeleine-v-ceop-on-the-wayback-machine/

In June 2015, a remarkable discovery emerged from the waves. CEOP, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, was alleged to have posted Madeleine’s disappearance on the Internet days before 3 May 2007.

This story re-emerges on a frequent basis, and for some reason it has surfaced once again. It is the top search about the Madeleine McCann case that is finding this ShiningInLuz blog. I have no idea why interest has bubbled up again at this time.

A one-line summary of the event is that a technical error on the Wayback Machine meant that historical records from months after Madeleine’s disappearance had been misfiled with a date from a few days before she went missing. It was possible to verify this using captures of CEOP from the Wayback Machine and another site that captures historical data.

Eventually, the Wayback Machine did the best it could, and wiped the misfiled data.

This sequence of events has been a part of the fuel that has fired the notion that Madeleine disappeared days before 3 May 2007. From the search history regarding my blog, it is one of those stories that will run forever, no matter what evidence is provided to the contrary.

I had enough foresight to capture all of the data that shows this incident is nothing more than a technical error on the Wayback Machine. Use the tags to see for yourself.

I have no reason whatsoever to doubt that Madeleine was alive when she was checked out after High Tea on 3 May 2007.

Madeleine v Portelas

As far as I am aware, the final obstacle to our purchase of a 7 bed villa on Portelas has now been removed, almost exactly one year after we started trying to buy the house. We will be moving soon!

The house is not posh, in fact I would class it as fairly rustic, which will be very much a new challenge for me.

I am fairly much a recluse, but the simple matter is, I will need to get out of my shell and communicate with the good villagers of Portelas if I am to thrive in our new location.

I had a simple test run tonight when I cooked beef bourguignon for my very first time. The meal was hearty and filling, and the cheap beef which went in one end was delicious when it came out of the other end. Good food but I am sure I can improve on my first attempt at the dish.

Things might go a bit quiet or a bit slow for several months on ShiningInLuz. We have priorities like buying a house and relocating, and in sorting out some major medical concerns. We have the issues of life to crack on through.

I learned a lot today about what happened to Madeleine and the aftermath in Luz. Unfortunately, if I were to reveal all, I would have to shoot myself.

I will try to get back to you as and when I get time to blog.