Madeleine v CMoMM #1

I found out a short time ago that I have been banned from CMoMM (the Complete Mystery of Madeleine McCann) aka the Jill Havern forum.

Around the start of October 2016, I received an email from the site administrator saying my account had been deactivated. It gave no reason why. At the time, I attributed it to the fact that I had not signed in to CMoMM for something like two months.

However, this was posted today (26 Oct 2016), at 7.50am by Mr Tony Bennett “The organiser of the ‘sick ghoul tours’ was former member here ‘Elsa Craig’ whom I identified long ago as a pro-McCann. He was banned from the forum …”

So now I learned it was not account deactivation, but an actual ban. I know Mr Bennett reads this blog because of the number of quotes or entire articles he picks up from here and posts at CMoMM.

Therefore I can inform Mr Bennett, that, thinking my account as Elça Craig had timed out due to inactivity, I did indeed rejoin recently as ShiningInLuz. You might as well deactivate that one as well, as it is clear I am not permitted to make a positive contribution to CMoMM, and in that situation, read-only will do me just fine.

It would appear any input I make to CMoMM will need to be by reserving the right to reply on my blog, just as I am doing now.

Mr Bennett’s post links to another discussion of me and the Luz tours, and as per normal it contains some errors and speculation, so here is my first attempt to deploy this method.

As far as I can tell, the original Mirror story ‘broke’ on CMoMM on 2nd Oct 2016 at 12:45pm, by Verdi, who correctly identified that I was a member of CMoMM.

Mr Bennett then replied “More than once I have publicly stated on CMoMM that he is an open McCann-supporter who makes absolutely no bones about his pro-McCann stance and was chosen by the UK Justice Forum owner John Lamberton as one of his Moderators precisely because he is a McCann-supporter (as he himself also is).”

There are two errors in this. I am not a McCann-supporter (let alone an open McCann-supporter who makes no bones about it). And I was not chosen by John Lamberton, let alone chosen precisely because of my alleged views on the McCann case. The members of the UK Justice Forum were allowed a free vote to elect a new moderator, preferably pro-McCann to rebalance the moderating team. Another moderator was elected at the same time, one who is clearly pro-McCann. A major objection to my own election was that certain forum members perceive me as being anti-McCann. I am not aware of any UK Justice Forum member who perceives me as being pro-McCann, other than Mr Bennett.

Mr Bennett continued “His connections to the circle of people around Robert Murat and the McCanns may be a lot stronger than people realise.” I have no connections whatsoever to the McCanns. In fact, I have failed in multiple attempts to communicate with them. I have never met Mr Murat, and if I have ever met one of his circle, I am completely unaware of it.

Mr Bennett also stated “He has until now adopted a female persona.” The truth is I have scrupulously avoided adopting either a male gender or a female gender. All of my posts here, and on the UK Justice Forum, and on CMoMM, have been constructed to be gender-free. The Mirror correctly pointed out that I prefer to remain anonymous, as my focus is on progressing the investigation of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. I am not the story, The story is Madeleine.

Verdi then attributed a quote to Gerry McCann. “”One good thing to come out of all this is that there is so much in the press, nobody knows what is true and what isn’t.” I have my doubts that this quote is accurate, but I don’t have the time to look up the truth of this right now.

Mr Bennett then demonstrates that he is a scrupulous reader of both the UK Justice Forum and my blog. First he posts an offer John Lamberton made to me, the right to reply on his forum to the Mirror article. I declined at that particular time, to get first bite of that cherry on my blog. The entire Luz tours story was later split off into a thread devoted to the topic, and it contains quite a bit of information not available elsewhere. If you visit the UK Justice Forum, the thread is as plain as your nose.

From my blog, Mr Bennett selected an obscure reference to Sergei Malinka. I have never met or communicated with Mr Malinka. A while back, upon learning that Mr Malinka was still in the area and was now working in property, I managed to find on the Internet some material about his estate agency. That is the closest I personally have got to Mr Malinka. Once posted on my blog, Mr Bennett promptly lifted it and re-posted it on CMoMM. So Mr Bennett is as close to Mr Malinka as I am.

Mr Bennett continues “Unsurprisingly, ‘Elca’s blog defends both Robert Murat and Sergei Malinka at every opportunity.” Mr Bennett, how the CMoMM is run is a matter for the forum owner. The laws in Portugal re right to a good name are considerably tougher that those of the UK. So my preferred approach is to be a stickler for accuracy. I cannot malign people with no evidence to back up my assertions. I have no evidence whatsoever against either Robert Murat or Sergei Malinka.

MayMuse chipped in with the following “What a rather odd exchange, almost as odd as the article.

Elca Craig should be ashamed of his/herself as this does not help Madeleine’s cause, it is making a mockery IMO. “ When the Mirror publishes utter tripe I reserve the right to set the story straight. A number of tabloids copying this article made fundamental, and I do mean fundamental, errors in their ‘journalism’. I happen to think the truth helps Madeleine’s cause.

Verdi’s next comment was “Elca/Olga ‘shining in Luz’ Craig is a journalist of sorts is s/he not? The Sunday Mirror – ‘the intelligent tabloid’ tracking a blog such as that? Pull the other one – there are fairies at the bottom of my garden..”

I am not Olga Craig and I have never met him or her, nor communicated with him or her. Elça Craig simply happens to be a double joke that I explain to visitors, but I do not wish to explain on-line. It is a fake, just as if someone gets hold of the email I use to register for forums etc. that too is a fake. And I have never worked in journalism. Never.

Is the Mirror tracking my blog? I am 100% certain of it. The Mirror correctly stated that I do not charge for tours, a rather important fact, and one that appears only on my blog. There are other pieces of information that appear only on my blog. Every “quote” attributed to me is a copy and paste job from my blog. I have never been in communication with anyone from the Mirror. My blog has undoubtedly been used as a source.

I am surprised that this surprises Verdi. I know for a fact that Mr Bennett reads my blog. See the earlier quotes. There are several members of the UK Justice Forum who read my blog. Textusa definitely reads my blog. Why shouldn’t the tabloid press use my blog as a cheap source of story fodder, given that they so clearly have?

Tony Bennett copied and pasted my response (sorry, my long rant) to the Mirror article. “I stated earlier (as I have done before here) that Elca Craig is basically a pro-McCann who believes that Madeleine was abducted. He is also convinced that the Smith sighting is crucial and states that ‘it happened,’ despite all the evidence to the contrary on CMOMM. He adds a dig at Goncalo Amaral. I’ve highlighted these relevant parts of ‘Elca’s article in red:”

As I stated earlier, I am not pro-McCann irrespective of Mr Bennett’s views on the matter. Equally, we will have to disagree as to whether the Smith sighting took place or not. I would suppose the ‘dig at Amaral’ is a reference to the body-in-cremated-coffin. That was actually a dig at Selby and Cardy for mixing it in with the article to make it look like I took people inside the church to see the gruesomeness of the coffin scene. I have never been inside the church.

Verdi linked to an April 2008 Telegraph article about bus-loads of visitors coming in to gawp. The people I have interacted with are extremely knowledgeable about the case, and there is no gawping involved. The tours are one visitor and me i.e. two people. And I repeat, I have nothing at all to do with Olga Craig.

Aquila pondered “Oh Lordy, Lordy, do you think Elca Craig (the male/female) has met up with TaninaR, who dropped onto this forum to show a few photographs of herself and sibling as children semi-naked on the beach of PdL in the 70’s, was invited for coffee and a ghoul tour and went off to sell ponies to the elite? Or do you think this is absolute balderdash?”

I have never met TaninaR. My offer to meet up with this person had nothing to do with the Madeleine McCann case. I was interested in the development of Luz over the last 50 years or so.

Verdi’s next input was “What a windbag – why not sue the Mirror and have done with.” followed by “even if I couldn’t afford to sue (where is Carter Ruck when needed most) I would at least demand an apology from the Mirror.” May I ask Verdi over what you think the Mirror can be sued? Incorrect factual content? Or perhaps salacious reporting? And do you really think I stand a snowball’s chance in Hades of getting an apology?

It will be interesting to see if Mr Bennett copies and pastes this reply into the relevant thread on CMoMM. To be fair to CMoMM, the timing appears to be that the Mirror article appeared roughly 24hrs before I got banned. Therefore I assume CMoMM chose not to be associated with someone organising the Luz Tours, rather than a simple (mistaken) perception that I am pro-McCann. Perhaps Mr Bennett will have the decency to clarify this.

This leaves just one important point, which is my stance on the case. I am not a McCann supporter. I am not a McCann critic. I simply would like to see justice for Madeleine. I am pro-Madeleine.

Madeleine – Smithman e-fit technology

I thought I had written on the problems with the Smithman e-fits before, but I cannot find the relevant post. My apologies if this duplicates something earlier.

I wanted to see if the software used to construct the two Smithman e-fits could be identified, given that the quality of the two photos is quite dissimilar. I was hoping from that to get a bit more insight in the methods used by the private investigators to build these. As it turns out, I needn’t have bothered, as the real story lies elsewhere.

Here are the two Smithman e-fits.

Smithman e-fits

Note one is high quality while the other is rough. It is unlikely that both were constructed by the same operator using the same software, though not impossible, as one potential step is enhancing the e-fit using some sort of graphics package.

The e-fits were produced sometime during the employment of Oakley International, according to Henri Exton, who worked on the case at that time. This employment started in March 2008 and ended in September 2008, with the final report, including the e-fits being handed over in November 2008.

So what software was available at the time? In the UK, the packages used by the police were E-FIT and PRO-fit. In the US, they were FACES, Identikit 2000, ComPhotofit, CRIMES, Compusketch, CD-FIT, E-FIT, and Facekit. That is quite a lot of choice, The source that identified these mentioned that it had an example of the results of each of these, but unfortunately it did not. And on my travels I found the names of other packages in use at the time.

The academics were keen to know how effective these tools were and the best methods of deploying them, and it turns out it is far from easy. The following was all known in 2007.

First the operator has to be conversant with the software itself and alternatives it provides.

Second, the operator should know that trying to get a verbal description of facial features is a poor way to go about it. Apparently we process faces as a whole, not as individual parts. So a better method is to start off with a general face, then gradually evolve it until it looks sufficiently accurate.

Third, the operator should know that we tend to recognise faces more from the top half than the bottom half. Oddly, it seems hair style is the most important feature.

Fourth, the operator should know we process faces differently if they are familiar or unfamiliar. This could well be an issue after the blanket media coverage of Gerry McCann’s image.

Fifth, the operator should understand the interaction techniques known as Cognitive Interviews, Context Reinstatement and Conversational Management. Let’s skip these.

I am assuming that as the people in Oakley International were UK-based, one of the two systems used by UK police was deployed. The higher quality e-fit looks like the output from E-FIT, while the lower quality one looks like it came from an earlier version of the same software. Of course, Oakley International could have sub-contracted this work to someone who was familiar with one of the other packages.

Whether Oakley International or a sub-contractor had the relevant capability to produce the e-fits claimed by Henri Exton is a matter of conjecture, but it turns out not to matter.

In December 2007, an article appeared in the journal Ergonomics. The authors said the efficacy of e-fits had been widely studied in the UK, and they ran a study to compare package E-FIT (used in both the UK and the US) against other packages used in the US. The relevant finding is the concluding sentence of their abstract. “The results support previous findings that modern systems do not produce identifiable composites.”

This, in my opinion, is a fairly damning indictment of 2007 capability. Please note, UK universities have continually developed much better software since then, but that is of limited relevance to the Madeleine McCann case.

The other thing that came across re 2007/2008 studies was the methods used. To give but one example, a study was done as follows. Volunteers were given a photo of someone they had not seen before, an unfamiliar face. The photo was high quality and well lit. They were allowed to study it for one minute (60 seconds). Four hours later, they participated in attempting to construct an e-fit of the face in the photo. Typical success rates were 15 to 20%.

Contrast this process with the reality of the Smith sighting. The Smiths did not get 60 seconds to study anyone’s face. The lighting was not of a quality to enable e-fit construction. They did not compile the e-fit 4 hours later but some 11 to 17 months later.

The Smiths are not to blame for taking part in an e-fit construction. They were hardly to know that all the science said it was a total waste of time, and the results would be useful only if lady luck shone on the process.

Henri Exton and Oakley International should have known a bit more about a tool they were using. Perhaps they were relying on the expertise of those who produced the software, the training, and the knowledge that e-fits were in common use in the UK and US.

The situation with Operation Grange and DCI Andy Redwood is a little more puzzling. Surely by October 2013 they would have known about some of the issues surrounding those two e-fits? One assumes they had the full Oakley International file, can date the construction of the e-fits, know what software was used to produce them and have some idea of the process used.

I believe DCI Andy Redwood visited Martin Smith a couple of time before Crimewatch 2013, and I wonder if e-fit construction was part of the agenda.

I have just chunked my way through a 26 page thread on the UK Justice Forum, where a key question was when did Operation Grange get the e-fits, and why did Operation Grange wait 2 years until October 2013 before releasing them for Crimewatch? Part of the answer may be they were hoping something more promising would turn up, but by Crimewatch even a very low-grade source was considered to be worth a roll of the dice.

Madeleine v The Sun 17 Oct 2016

I believe that as the 10th anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance approaches, we are going to get a slew of articles about her. In fact, I think this process is already up and running.

I want to have a look at a ‘news’ article by Antonella Lazzeri that appeared in The Sun on 17 Oct 2016. It reports that there are now 8,685 potential sightings of Madeleine worldwide, puts 101 of these across 101 countries into a set of graphics, and it lambastes the Portuguese investigation.

Many of the sightings were collated by Portuguese cops and stamped “NFA” – No Further Action – as they believed the youngster was dead, compounding the despair of parents Kate and Gerry. Since May 2011 the Met police has collated reported sightings under Operation Grange.”

The Sun report is at I can recommend this link for the photos in the story, because there is a large number of high quality images re the case.

It has been calculated elsewhere that when this ‘news’ article appeared, Madeleine had been missing for 3,454 days, thus making the sightings at a rate of 2.5 per day for every day that Madeleine has been gone. Except the ‘news’ is not news. It repeats one statistic out of a response,from memory, to a FOI request, where that answer was made public many months before now. The FOI requested information on the workings of Operation Grange, and the response was a set of statistics. The number of lines of enquiry, the numbers of sex offenders investigated, the number of statements taken, and yes, the number of potential sightings, which was reported as 8,685.

The statistics were published by Scotland Yard on 28 Oct 2015 at when Operation Grange was being down-sized, but my memory tells me these stats were in the public domain before that. I don’t really care. The Sun’s ‘news’ is at least a year old.

What you get in the Lazzeri piece is 101 sightings across 101 countries, complete with details of each. Except about a third are countries where there are no details whatsoever of any alleged sighting.

But you still get very pretty graphics of places around the world where sightings have been alleged, or do you?

According to the Sun location 4 is “4. AUSTRALIA. July 26, 2015: A suitcase containing the skeletal remains of a fair-haired young girl was discovered next to a motorway in Wynarka, near Adelaide. Pathologists said she would have died in 2007. There was speculation that the body was Madeleine’s after a cop said it did not match descriptions of any missing children in that country. But the victim’s DNA did not match Madeleine’s.”

That was a fairly grim tale in its own right without linking it to Madeleine, but where is Adelaide in Australia? Here is where The Sun located it.


So we now know that Adelaide is smack dab in the centre of Australia. Or is it? I thought to myself, isn’t Ayers Rock smack dab in the centre of Australia, and isn’t that close to Alice Springs, so how does Adelaide fit in? (Note it seems to be politically incorrect to call it Ayers Rock. It is now called Uluru.)

I have both relatives and friends living in Australia, but I am fairly ignorant of the geography, so I confess I had to look up Adelaide on the internet. It is the 5th largest city in Australia and it is on the south coast.


So how far apart are Adelaide and Alice Springs? According to the internet 950 miles, or 1,500 km, and if you have stamina and get your right foot down, you can drive it in 16 hours and 15 minutes.

Let me return to Antonella Lazzeri, because I think we will be hearing much from her about Madeleine McCann in the coming months.

I doubt that she either created the pretty graphics, or that she pored over them to make sure they were accurate. I presume someone in The Sun thought a pin point was needed for location 4 in Australia, and simply bunged it in the centre, blissfully unaware that Adelaide is on the south coast.

And therein lies the problem. Coming up to the 10th anniversary we are going to be subjected to a torrent of cheap articles wrapped in shiny attractive paper.

Think about The Sun article. 101 sightings across 101 countries, with the Portuguese police given some stick. Except it is not 101 sightings because around a third have no details whatsoever. I have not counted them, but it is more like 60 to 65 sightings. So why not call it 60 sightings in 60 countries?

Well, that does not have the sensationalist impact of 101 sightings across 101 countries, does it? Journalistic licence could have stopped at 99 sightings across 99 countries, like Nena’s red balloons, but it would appear that the Dalmatians won and there had to be 101.

If I am correct, you are going to be subjected to an overdose of journalistic licence around the 10th anniversary. I suspect the 101 sightings in 101 countries graphic is going to pop up time after time. Time after time. (Cindi Lauper.)

Madeleine – Textusa and the black pawn

The curious case of the black pawn?

Let me set out the background to this post on Textusa and the Mirror story. When I started taking an interest in the Madeleine case, I looked for those who had studied it more deeply than I had. It was a little bit like being being the office junior.

That’s how it went with Textusa. I am not a fan of massive conspiracy theories, but Textusa was drawing my attention to people and facts which would turn out to be crucial. So I responded by offering a set of minor corrections, which were gratefully received until ….

Textusa had written a Friday post as per usual. I read it and it contained a minor inaccuracy. It stated that the McCanns, when they took their 3 children to the beach for ice cream, had claimed they went via Rua da Boa Pesca. Textusa asserted that this road is a cul-de-sac therefore it could not have been a viable route. I pointed out that although the road is indeed a cul-de-sac for cars, there is a pedestrian exit that takes one to the beach.

This correction was minor indeed, for it matters not a jot to Textusa’s massive conspiracy theorem. But from that point on, I found my comments were no longer welcome. I had become a persona non grata on Textusa’s blog. So we sort of went our separate ways.

At least until Textusa picked up a large slab from my blog, but credited it only to a blogger, without naming the blogger as ShiningInLuz. The disagreement this time was that Textusa was claiming that the records provided by the Ocean Club to the PJ had been doctored, whereas I, and others, simply thought that there were simple scanning errors in what was released to the public in the PJ Files. Now I was persona non grata, and non-nameable, though my blog was obviously being read.

As I picked up more personal expertise on the case, I lost interest in Textusa. Apart from not being a fan of massive conspiracy theories, I found the blog writing style was too convoluted for me. I could read through an entire post, in detail, reach the end, and think “what was that all about?”

On Friday, Textusa’s post was about the press reaction to the story of Luz tours. The post is at I won’t try too summarise it. As I said, the blog is overly convoluted in my opinion, so you can read the original and make up your own mind.

However, I would like to correct some errors.

The idea the piece in the Mirror was a stunt is accurate. As was the stunt by the Sun a few months before in characterising Luz and surrounds as a haven for paedophiles. Lurid, cheap, nasty and oh so easy. But the idea these stunts are part of some power play is nonsense. It is simply a way of generating income, nothing more, and nothing less. Madeleine is a cash cow for the media.

This article was replicated by the Sun and Daily Mail.” Note, I have quoted Textusa, without ever communicating personally with Textusa. Thank you Textusa for imparting information that I was unaware of.

One thing appears to be factual, and that is the Mirror reporters are not writing about what is being called ghoulish tours based on hearsay knowledge. They quote the guide in their article so it can be assumed they interviewed him and that makes the article to reflect, supposedly, first-hand knowledge.” This is a second quote from Textusa, without any interview having been conducted.

So whether you trust me on this or not, I have never been in direct touch with or interviewed by anyone from the Mirror, the media, or anywhere else. It was a copy and paste job, tacking quotes around it, just as I have done with Textusa.

It appears it was because of us, more specifically because of our visit to Luz, the reason why these tours were even conceived.” This might be true. I would need to check the chronology to be certain. I know that at the time Textusa’s flying visit was conducted, I was amazed how so much could have been missed. However, that illustrates how one knowledgeable about the case but lacking knowledge of Luz can get so much so wrong. Rather like the GNR, the PJ, the media, OG, and the Oporto team.

An early part of my blog makes it clear that within the family no-one had any interest in Madeleine McCann as none of us followed the story in 2007.” Believe this or not, as you wish. I had an odd family phone discussion with our son in America a few months back, and when the subject came up, his query was “who is Madeleine McCann?” Just another one who had never heard of her.

Textusa then hauls me up for correcting the Mirror article about using a photo of block 6 as the disappearance sight, but failing to point out that the photo above that, supposedly depicting the Tapas restaurant, in fact is not the Tapas restaurant. I did say in my response to the Mirror that I have never been within the Tapas area and never ever visited the Tapas restaurant as was, the pizza place it became, or whatever else might currently occupy the location. The ‘fake’ Tapas restaurant appears to be Hotel Luz Bay in SE Luz.

The interior of the Tapas restaurant might be of significance, but I have not poked around inside it, just as I have not poked around apartment 5A. Poking around is for others, not me.

According to Textusa, when the Sun regurgitated the Mirror article, it misrepresented the Tapas restaurant as the Habana, a popular beach café. The live webcam from the Habana is at

Textusa then goes into a tizzy about the trip to the beach. I never said it was alleged to be body disposal. I said it was about ice cream, and whether there is a pedestrian exit from Rua da Boa Pesca, which there is, but who cares.

The difficulty is my brain is not into red herring stories and my heart is not into this line of action.””

Lots of direct speech there. It’s evident that the blogger collaborated actively with the reporters, probably duped with his 15 minutes of glory for his loyal work, and there was a lot of it, in defending abduction as he supposed to be the want of the Lords of the Britains, who have been pulling the strings all along. We imagine he even jumped at the chance.”

Let me reiterate. I have not been interviewed by anyone for the Mirror piece. It is called copy and paste, just like I have done with Textusa. Have I had 15 minutes of glory – LOL! Have I been flame grilled – LOL!

Dear Textusa, it is cool to see that you read my blog with an eye for detail. Can I translate the PJ Files to a higher standard than exists at the moment? Yes I can. Because various people have flagged up problems with the current versions.

Dear Textusa, did you miss the bit where I said I know the person who lived to the immediate north of the area searched by Operation Grange in 2014, and he made clear that area was searched shortly after Madeleine disappeared?

Textusa was somewhat better than the Mirror in that at least I was depicted as being civil and not intruding on anyone. However, Textusa made several errors, one of which is depicting me as a hapless black pawn caught up in a titanic battle of powerful opposing forces. I think not. The Mirror wrote sensationalist rubbish wrapped around the name Madeleine McCann because the name Madeleine sells copies.

If you do read Textusa’s post on this story, keep a count of how many times ShiningInLuz is named. I think you’ll find I’m still persona non grata. Mind you, the graphics of my blog were a bit of a giveaway!

Madeleine – paedophilia in Portugal post-Madeleine

What has been the coverage of paedophilia in Portugal post-Madeleine?

The case generating the most media attention was the Casa Pia scandal, which I have covered earlier.

I have also covered the SIS year 2000 report, and whether that might have contributed to Portugal’s Operation Predator.

Casa Pia was a catalyst for people reporting paedophilia to the police, and for increased media coverage. If you look at you will find an index of paedophilia stories that have been published by Público. Each page of the index links to 10 stories, and there are about 100 stories per year. It seems other media organisations also use paedophilia (or rather pedofilia) to gather together stories on the topic.

The Público link becomes a nuisance to use after the first 5 pages, but I gone back to the beginning of 2014 to get a flavour of things.

The first point to note is that not all of the stories relate to Portugal. For various reasons, a considerable number relate to the UK. Another topic of interest is the Catholic Church.

From the rest, reports of arrests in Portugal are in the minority. Other topics include documentaries and films, and a major driver is the development of a database or register of those convicted of paedophilia within Portugal.

On 29 Jan 2014, it was reported that the Minister of Justice, Paula Teixeira da Cruz, was making the establishment of a paedophile register a priority for 2014. Of course, nothing is quite as simple as that in Portugal.

Here is a brief insight into how things developed. In early March 2015, the Council of Ministers approved the draft legislation to establish the database and how the information was to be used. On 20 Mar 2015, the weekly Expresso became the source of a story that Paula Teixeira da Cruz had manipulated the re-offence rate up from 17.6% to 80% to get the legislation through. (I have no idea whether either of these figures is true in Portugal.) Whilst approved by the Council of Ministers, the legislation had yet to be approved by Parliament.

In Parliament, the legislation was generally accepted, but one particular part was deemed unconstitutional. The offending part gave the parents of minors aged under 18 the right to go to the police and ask if person X was on the register. On 3 July 2015, this was replaced by the right of such parents, if they had genuine concerns, to go to the police and ask if there were any known paedophiles in the vicinity of their house, the child’s school and places frequented by the child. If yes, the police would state there was/were paedophile(s), without revealing the name(s) and address(es) of those concerned. The amended legislation was approved by Parliament the same day.

The legislation was approved by the President of the Republic, Aníbal Cavaco Silva, on 12 Aug 2015, so Portugal now has this register.

The register is not a direct equivalent of the UK sex offenders register, though the people looking at the proposed bill did study the workings of the UK sex offenders register. For a start, the Portuguese database is not a register of all sex offenders. Rather it is restricted to those convicted of paedophilia. Secondly, Portugal has a concept of ‘the right to forget’. After a period of time depending on the crime, the slate gets wiped clean and the police records are supposed to be expunged. This applies to DNA in the Portuguese DNA database, and it applies to paedophilia in the case of the Portuguese paedophile register. The times being debated were 5 years to 20 years after conviction, but I don’t know what went into the legislation. A point about which I know nothing is whether paedophiles are required to report to the police whilst on the register. Nor do I know if there is restriction on movement.

Having covered the development of the Portuguese paedophile register, let me move on to a couple of other stories from Público. On 7 May 2014, it was reported that the Vatican had removed 848 paedophile priests over a period of a decade. To be clear, this was a world-wide total and the report does not indicate how many of these were in Portugal. This story had passed me by, so I don’t know how it was reported in the UK. On 16 Jul 2014, Público reported that UK police had arrested 660 (six hundred and sixty) people on paedophilia charges, in a massive sweep. Público further reported that 39 of these were known sex offenders. A check on the British media makes it clear I did indeed miss this one, because the story is everywhere.

There are three further interesting points to this event. The first is that UK police made it plain they did not wish to comment of the methods they used, so that they could use the same techniques again in future, The Telegraph speculated that Scotland Yard had managed to crack the Dark Web, but provided no evidence to support this.

The second interesting point is that the operation seems to have been limited to the UK only, There is nothing to suggest that intelligence for the operation originated outside the UK, nor that other countries ran parallel raids on the basis of this breakthrou

Madeleine – Autumn in Luz

The weather forecast for Luz today was a slight drop in temperature accompanied by a little, light rain. That is the first forecast of rain for months and the parched earth badly needed some water.

But the meteorologists don’t seem to understand Luz or the Algarve. We don’t get light rain here. We get downpours. And so it was last night. I was awoken by a deluge that came down with incredible ferocity. Oddly, there was no thunder or lightning, which normally accompanies torrential rain here.

Now, overnight rain, however heavy is not an issue. Rather it is a blessing. The lawn will spruce up, the reservoirs will get restocked for 2017, and after a prolonged drought, I have no doubt that the farmers are glad to able to replenish their water tanks.

Normally, it is heavy rain overnight and it clears by day. Today, for most of the day, it continued to chuck it down in abundance.

Let me turn to Autumn. It seems that the UK thinks Autumn starts on 22 September, and is characterised by leaves turning brown and falling from the trees. It doesn’t happen this way in the Algarve.

The UK concept of deciduous trees and leaves falling everywhere is a bit of a non-starter here. For a start, the dry season is so extended that deciduous trees would perish or simply add fuel to our bad-enough forest fires.

Autumn is when plants come into life again. There is still plenty of light and heat for flowers to bloom, and bushes put out vibrant, colourful displays. OK, our garden is artificial in the sense that it gets watered all year long, but the arrival of the rains means the countryside turns from the parched brown of Summer to a much more pleasant shade of green.

I can think of two relevancies to Madeleine, should the weather continue like today. The first is that if my guest on Luz Tour #4 wants to do a bit of exploring, then suitable exploits that get us out of the rain need to be considered. There are activities in Burgau, Luz and Lagos that are impervious to the weather, though such activities have little to do with the Madeleine McCann case.

The other is that the rain is now feeding the bougainvillea in the Tapas area again, and no doubt by the 10th anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance, on 3 May 2017, it will be in bloom to prove that the Tapas area photos of Madeleine are genuine.

Madeleine v The Portugal News

The Portugal News has picked up the online Mirror story about alleged ghouls tours of Luz, and re-hashed it at

The Portugal News claims to be the largest-circulation English language news site in Portugal. It is published by Anglopress Edicões e Publicidade Lda, based in Lagoa (which is a town quite distinct from Lagos). The contacts page notes the publisher as Paul Allen-Luckman and the editor as Brendan De Beer.

Without checkng up, I know that Mr Luckman has previous involvement with the Madeleine McCann case, as there is a video interview by Eamonn Holmes on YouTube. I don’t know if Mr De Beer has prior experience or not.

The article written by The Portugal New on 6 Oct 2016 currently appears on the front page of their web site, and also appears as the second most popular story amongst those viewed by their readers. This rather surprises me given that most personal contacts I have had have long since ceased to find ‘news’ about Madeleine McCann to be of interest.

The article appears to be based on 3 main sources – the Mirror story, my blog response to the Mirror story, and sundry bits from elsewhere.

I have not been contacted by The Portugal News, so everything attributed to me is a bit of a copy-and-paste job.

To put things into perspective, Lagoa, where the publishing company is registered, is around half an hour from Luz. I have been through it on many an occasion, It happens to be immediately north of Carvoeiro, a small beach village, where we once rented a villa. Further, Carvoeiro may have a distant but unpleasant connection to the Madeleine case, if I ever manage to get back to the rather grim topic I was exploring before the Mirror story blew up.

Although Lagoa is only 30 minutes away, the journalist who wrote the piece could be located anywhere. The article is not attributed to anyone, and it has the flavour of someone working from home.

Other than stating that the Mirror story has been demolished, there are two specific points I would like to make with respect to the article in The Portugal News.

The first is the Barragem da Bravura. I believe I have covered this under the category of a red herring story on my blog. The rain-sodden note alleged to have turned up on the doorstep of apartment 5A on the first anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance, with the problem being it had been bone dry for days beforehand.

I have never visited the Barragem da Bravura, and no-one has ever requested to see it.

As to David Thomas and his comments, here we have another talking head who should learn when to comment and when not to. There is no crime occurring here and nothing is making the community unsafe, so why the founder of Safe Communities Portugal should have any relevance is a mystery. And while Mr Thomas appears to like promoting his own image, it is clear he has not got a clue as to why I choose to keep the spotlight on Madeleine McCann whilst keeping out of the limelight myself.

My blog has a comments section like any other blog, so the Mirror, The Portugal News and any other reader can get in touch with me if they so choose. But it would seem the journalists choose not to do so.