Madeleine – Steve Gibson on YouTube

A Mr. Steve Gibson has uploaded a YouTube video that seemingly follows on from one of the men identified in the Panorama 10 year special.

It is at https://youtu.be/XBmxYzo6vyo and was uploaded on 9 July 2017. Before you spend over 51mins of your life on this, let me explain the provenance.

Mr Gibson uploaded a shorter video to YouTube on the Madeleine McCann case, about one year earlier than his current opus. That video was rambling, full of swearing, and Mr Gibson made clear he was new to the case at that time. It is self evident from that video that Mr Gibson was fairly ignorant of the case basics.

Reading up for a year is unlikely to have transformed Mr Gibson’s expertise, but at least in his July 2017 effort he desists from swearing.

His basic train of thought is as follows.

  • Kate and Gerry McCann can be ruled out, largely on the response of the dogs.
  • The Tapas 7 can be ruled out, largely on the basis that they had no need to get involved in a cover-up.
  • Random individuals mentioned in the PJ Files, e.g. bogus charity collectors or alleged surveillance people, can be ruled out, largely on the basis that there was insufficient evidence of monitoring of apartment 5A.
  • This leaves an inside job, conducted by a staff member at the Ocean Club, with access to keys.
  • Cleaners can be ruled out, largely because Mr Gibson thinks they can.
  • Maintenance workers can be ruled out, largely because Mr Gibson thinks they can.
  • Staff such as restaurant workers, gardeners and drivers are ruled out, because Mr Gibson thinks it was done with a key to 5A.
  • That leaves those in administration (Ocean Club 24 hour reception). Of which Mr Gibson thinks they number around a dozen.
  • And for some reason, Mr Gibson then homes in on one of the Panorama people, Vitor dos Santos.

Perhaps it was the Panorama programme, perhaps not, but Mr Gibson has lifted both video and stills from that special to support his analysis. He has alleged that in the Panorama interview conducted by Richard Bilton, Sr dos Santos’ behaviour was strange, in that he mentioned several times that he had lost his job over the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, and that he expressed no emotional tie to Madeleine, or support for her parents.

He went further by overlaying on the Panorama footage the darker-skinned Smithman e-fit, thereby implying a likeness.

Mr Gibson went to considerable length to state he could not prove this theory, which is probably a wise decision.

I am not a fan of behavioural analysis. In Sr dos Santos’ position it strikes me as impossible to predict what ‘correct’ behaviour would be. And as for the Smithman e-fits, I am of the opinion these are junk quality, and tell us very little indeed.

There are things about Sr dos Santos as a suspect that are a poor fit. His statement shows that he was casado i.e. married, so exactly what he was going to do with a 3-year old girl is difficult to imagine. His economic situation seems to have deteriorated with his change of occupation. And 10 years on from Madeleine’s disappearance, he appears to be living and working close to Luz, in plain and common view.

Madeleine – Sergey Malinka’s Audi A4

An Audi A4 for someone of Sergey Malinka’s age in March 2008 seems quite an expensive and impressive car, so I did a bit of digging.

Mr Malinka’s car got fire-bombed in March 2008, whilst parked on Rua 25 de Abril, quite near to the apartment occupied by his parents and himself. The word Fala – Talk – was spray-painted on the pavement beside the wreck. As far as I know, no one has ever been brought to justice for this act.

I am looking at cars appearing in the history of Luz. The McCanns’ Renault Scenic was first-up, then I turned my attention to Sergey’s Audi A4. Cars in Portugal are extremely expensive, due to a scandalously high import tax. So I wondered how Mr Malinka could afford an A4, which got me thinking about how old Mr Malinka’s car was (they run forever in Portugal).

Fortunately, Mr Malinka’s A4 is in the PJ Files, and even better it appears in the dog-search videos. Here is (was) 10 91 FP. Portuguese licence plates now have a strip down the right hand side with the year and month of registration. The Audi does not have this, so it must pre-date this requirement. That means I have to work via the logo on the boot and the tail-light clusters.

From Sergey’s Audi A4 in the dog search.

There is a fairly distinctive boot shape. The tail light clusters have white reversing lights at the bottom centre. Thanks to all the petrol-heads in the world, I can date this shape from 1992 through to 1997.

After that, the rear end got a makeover. Here is a 1998 model.

This means Mr Malinka’s car was between 11 to 16 years old when it got torched. This may seem venerable, but as I have explained import taxes in Portugal are prohibitive, and because of this cars retain a much higher proportion of their purchase price than they do in the UK.

So the intriguing question remains as to how Sergey Malinka was able to afford an Audi A4 at his age.

Madeleine – XRX #1

A great deal of the photos I have found on historical Luz emanate from a source called XRX. http://www.xrx.pt.

This source is a bit of a mixed bag. I have no idea what XRX is meant to stand for. It seems to match up with the stock market code for Xerox, but I don’t think that is why it was picked here.

It is a local group of ‘lads’, interested in the things young males are interested in – girls in bikinis, fast cars, good times , and hoping that the idosa (elderly) will kindly get out of the way so the young can get on with it. Plus some jokes and ‘artistic’ material.

And then, strangely, they are interested in the photographic history of Luz, Lagos, Espiche, Burgau and Sagres. Oh, and there is some Madeleine McCann related material, typically hostile to the parents.

My main interest in XRX is the historical angle. A great number of photographs of the development of the area have been unearthed, and many of them I can relate to personally, knowing what has gone, what has remained, and what has been added.

A very simple but odd example of this is junctions on the N125, the ‘old’ road that runs along the Algarve, built prior to the A22 motorway. For years, junctions on the N125 have been being converted from traffic lights to roundabouts. A single junction often takes several years to convert. Examples include the junction of the M537 and N125, which was traffic lights in the McCann day, but is now a roundabout. And the junction on the N125 between Luz and Espiche, again traffic lights in the McCann era, but a roundabout nowadays.

This is the Operation Grange dig of the mound in central Luz in June 2014. This is a small slice of what I remember personally. Unfortunately, I was not interested in the Madeleine McCann case at the time, so I never bothered to take my camera when I went down to view the proceedings. Most of what I learned was gleaned from the news, though I never actually saw a single news broadcaster in action.

This one is interesting because it is dated to 1981. It shows the land east of the church is undeveloped, which means the Ocean Club was not yet in situ, though clearly new buildings were going up in Luz.

This is another photo that is dated, this time to 1996. The Ocean Club appears to be in place, complete with the Tapas tennis courts.

Supermercado Baptista as I know it has not been started. At this time it was working out of Luz Tur.

The fishing fleet seems to be gone. The tourists are out in great numbers. It still seems to be the Paraíso restaurant in its first incarnation.

Rua da Escola Primária had now been developed, complete with Pedras Brancas, which would house many of the Ocean Club staff. I cannot see Estrela da Luz, so not all the ingredients for the Smith sighting are in place.

Just behind is the Mound, looking much in 1996 as it does 20 years later.

And I have just noticed that the urbanisation we lived in for a year when we first arrived in Luz had not been started in 1996.

Portuguese Empire 1415 – 1999

Whilst rummaging around old photos of Luz, I stumbled across this very old map allegedly of the Portuguese Empire. The notes said a date for this had not been established. Before I go further the map is a FAKE, accompanied by a FAKE history to go with it.

The map intrigued me for many reasons. Portugal seemed to own a chunk of what is now Spain. It also owned a huge chunk of the US to the north of modern day Florida. And it owned a chunk of what is now Mexico. The problem is none of these things happened.

The source is alternativehistory.com, where a bunch of people amuse themselves by writing FAKE histories.

For example, the FAKE history associated with this FAKE map includes a FAKE Queen of Portugal, a FAKE adviser and a FAKE civil war. The FAKE map is required to support the notion that the FAKE Queen of Portugal was besieged in the allegedly ‘Portuguese’ city of Seville, amongst other corruptions.

I normally find history, particularly of the type taught to me at school, to be as dry as dust. I intend poking around a bit more, because as I checked out this fictional tale, I did come across some items in the rise and fall of the Portuguese Empire that seemed to be more interesting, but I need to do a bit of work on that.

Here is a map of the Portuguese Empire from 1415-1999. Bear in mind it is not a map made accurate for any given year. For example, Brazil had gained independence long before 1999, as did nearly all of the territories on this map.

The green lines are places where Portuguese sailors carried out explorations.

Luz – 70s and 80s

This is the final set of photos that I have. It shows Luz in the 70s and 80s. I will need to keep my eye open for some that cover the next 2 decades.

Here is the view over Luz beach from Avenida dos Pescadores.

The Avenida is still being treated as a two-way road for cars on what looks like a baked-earth surface. On the beach, the number of tourists has increased. There are still fishing vessels with sails, but they are now competing for space with the tourists.

The photo itself looks like it is over-saturated. The colours look more vivid than life. I remember this effect from colour film back in, say, the 1980s.

This undated photo is obviously some way into the development of Luz. The fishing fleet seem to have shrunk. The tourist trade seems to have grown.

On the right hand side, about half-way up, there is a new white complex. As far as I can tell, that is due south of Rua Direita.

The building in brown or grey just above that is very distinctive. The ground floor only fits one building in Luz, and that is the building in which the Ocean Club 24hr reception is located. The building must still have been under construction, as the facade is lacking cladding or whitewash.

That brown building is 2-storey. The Ocean Club building is 3-storey. That means there must have been a major redevelopment at some time. That is no significant issue. The next photo will show another large chunk of development on the ground, but still no sign of the Ocean Club complex. So this photo pre-dates what is thought of now as being the Ocean Club by some years.

This is the most up-to-date on the historical photos I have of Luz. This has lots of additional development, though still no real sign of the Ocean Club. The area to the east of the church remains undeveloped, as does the area to the north of Rua Direita, where the bulk of the Ocean Club would go.

Luz Tur, the multi-storey, is in the process of being finished off.

The current Supermercado Baptista advert says it was established over 40 years ago (pre 1977) but I cannot make out a sign of it.

To the right of the fish processing factory is a building which itself is nearly completed, but the commercial units on the ground floor have yet to be finished. In modern times, these are the Lazuli, a small internal ice-cream shop, and the Habana. The latter is where you can see the web cam of Luz at http://www.algarveluzbay.com/

The building on the beach in front of the fish factory and the Habana must be the Paraíso. Their current advert says it has been a family-run business since 1965. Both of the incarnations of the Paraíso that I have seen had a strictly rectangular footprint, so this wobbly blob must have been replaced years ago.

There are two other buildings on the beach, beside the little group of 3 cars. One can be identified as the Rocha Negra restaurant. The other I don’t know about. Both of these are long gone.

A couple of things are missing from the photograph. The Roman villa/fish processing plant beside the Avenida dos Pescadores has not yet been discovered. I will need to check when that was excavated.

The other missing object that intrigues me is the Luz water tower. Luz had by now become quite a large village, and it must have had a water supply somehow. The Roman and later fish processing plants must have had a water supply. There was a well (pouço) located near to the centre of the photo (Rua do Pouço, Travessa do Pouço, Beco do Pouço). Perhaps the Fortaleza and the fish factories hauled water by hand from the well, perhaps not. But a Luz of this size was not relying on well water, so how was it getting in?

ETA. Baptista opened a supermarket in Rua Calheta on 16 April 1966 The supermarket moved to Luz Tur in 1974. That is why it is not in the photo. In Sep 2000, it moved to its own building in Rua Gentil Martins.

Luz – Paul McCartney 1968

Paul McCartney visited Luz in Dec 1968. A biography of the Beatles had been written by Hunter Davies, and at that time Davies was living in Luz near Rua Praia da Luz. I have already published a family photo of the group on the rocks by the Avenida dos Pescadores. These are a couple more with a little story attached.

Paul McCartney decided he would do a deal with the media. He would give them an interview in return for having family privacy respected for the rest of the holiday.

The story of Paul’s impending marriage to Linda Eastman was the main thrust of the report.

As you can see, Paul scribbled a little note for the Popular Diary which was included by the newspaper, and the story got published on 13 Dec 1968.

This photo is Paul sitting on the rocks reading the Diário Popular. As this is much better quality, presumably it was taken by Linda Eastman. And presumably Paul is viewing the story about himself and Linda.

There are two little things of interest. Paul used the rocks regularly, much as the genteel folk of yore did, though there is a photo of him in for paddle whilst playing with the kids. Whilst behind on the Avenida dos Pescadores is a large car, so it was not yet pedestrianised.

One assumes that if Faro airport had not opened in 1965, this little adventure would not have occurred.

Luz circa 1962

This is a photo of Luz beach that was taken around 1962.

This caused a furore when it was posted on CMoMM, so let me explain its provenance and my interest in it. It was posted by a person with a username of Tanina, who claimed to be one of the two little girls in the photo, and who dated it to 1962, so it was self-published. It drew a firestorm of comment that it was inappropriate, sufficient to drive Tanina away from the forum.

From my viewpoint this was highly unfortunate, because Tanina clearly had a wealth of knowledge about the development of Luz, and I had been chomping at the bit to find out more.

My interest in the photo is not in three small children getting changed on a beach. Perhaps it is just me, but I think of that as common practice. Perhaps on Luz beach nowadays they get taken to the public loos in the Paraíso, but I don’t intend patrolling the beach to find out.  Note the Paraíso did not exist at the time of this photograph.

I have deliberately left the photo exactly as it was posted. I have not edited it in any way, though I can say nothing about what went on before it was posted.

I would rate this as a high quality photo for 1962. It has a tiny bit of blur and the spectral range is just a little off, but when we come to look at photos taken just a few years later, it is easy to see this stands head and shoulders above. This suggests to me that the family could afford a high-quality camera.

Flights to the costas were seemingly started by British European Airways in 1957, when the destination was Valencia, for the Costa Blanca. Faro airport opened in July 1965. It is unlikely the people in this family were tourists. Hence I was irked at not getting a chance to discuss this further with Tanina.

The fact that the photograph is dated to a narrow range helps a lot. I can tell by the shadows this was summer and it was around 12.00. I needed the year from elsewhere.

Now have a look at what was going on in Luz in summer 1962.

It is clearly not a tourist haven, judging by the beach. There are still a couple of large fishing boats, and a flotilla of row-boats. On what is now the promenade, it was still clearly a road used by cars.

The photo is the east end of Luz. The fish factories are there, but the area is more developed around Rua Praia da Luz and Rua Direita. But there is nothing that looks ‘modern’ in 2017 terms.

The skeleton of Luz was being laid down. The bones and the flesh would come later.

Oh, and did you notice the pony and carriage?