The Crime Scene by Gonçalo Amaral

In A Verdade Da Mentira, (The Truth Of The Lie), Gonçalo Amaral describes the crime scene photographs in chapter 11. ( Amaral has much greater experience of crime scenes than me, and he picks some information out of the photos that eluded me, so you may wish to read his account.

Please note, Gonçalo Amaral is trying to lead you to a single conclusion, that the McCanns staged a crime scene. This may or may not be true, therefore be wary of Amaral’s interpretation.

There are some bits and pieces that need to be clarified. In the children’s bedroom, the wicker chair is not immediately at the foot of the bed. There is a gap between the bed and the chair that is large enough to stand in. This eases access to the window, and so may be relevant.

Amaral says there is a black-out curtain on the window in the children’s bedroom. I cannot see this in the photographs. As the shutter can be altered to permit light in or shut out light from partially to totally, I cannot understand why a black out curtain would be required, and I’ve never seen that type of set-up.

The position of the strap to operate the shutter is not described anywhere. It is normally on the right hand side of a window, and that would make sense in the children’s bedroom, given the way the furniture is arranged. However, no one actually defines its location.

The front door is a potential entry and exit point, but the door and its lock are poorly described. In her first statement, Kate makes no mention of the front door, which implies that the door was closed at the time she discovered Madeleine was missing i.e. it was closed and normal, not open and unusual.

The capability of the front door lock, as a barrier to entry or exit, is also uncertain. Somewhere or other I have read that the key was on a table in the apartment. One statement on file (Carlo Francisco D’Ambrosio) says that even when the door was locked and a key was in the lock on the inside, a cleaner could still unlock and open the door from the outside. That seems very odd indeed, unlike any lock I have encountered.

As a method of exit, it would be interesting to know if the front door opens from the inside, without a key, when it is locked. The front door on my current residence does not, but some do.

I am not aware of any evidence that the front door was locked or was not locked. This is an unknown.

After Gonçalo Amaral’s book came out, Portuguese TV ran a special that essentially was a video of the book, and the video is on YouTube. (Google YouTube Gonçalo Amaral and it comes up first, with English sub-titles.)

In it, Amaral revisited 5A with an ‘expert’ who attempted to enter the apartment using a credit card to spring the lock on the front door, and who failed to do so. The conclusion was that as the door had not been forced, a person would need a key to enter from the outside.


2 thoughts on “The Crime Scene by Gonçalo Amaral

  1. Hi again. ‘Black-out curtain’ I think is a mistranslation, and what he means is the standard blind you find anywhere around southern Europe. That was my first impression when I read that some time ago, and it stuck out, as you say.

    I can confirm from reading the statements that the front door could be double-locked, which would then require the key to exit from the interior, or just shut and left on the latch, as it was on the night, so one could go out it with no key, but not enter without one.

    However, it has also been established through quizzing the staff that a bunch of master keys went missing, shall we say. There were suspicions amongst the staff as to who had taken these, and who was to be left carrying the can. A young lad was suspected, in any case- and the net result was after that point there had been a large number or burglaries in the complex with no sign of forced entry at all, and generally phones, jewellery and cash was disappearing. You even have a couple of statements involving people discovering a thief inside, not knowing how he got in, and him scarpering through a window (in the Fenn case, upstairs). I’d suggest again the window was an emergency exit route, a look out, and not a point of entry in those cases.

    The Portuguese police knew about all of this, and they didn’t deign to mention it. All kinds of crime happening in a family resort is not something they wanted a media light shone on, considering tourism is their major industry, and tourists from the British Isles make up the vast majority of visitors. Amaral, who was working towards his conclusion rather than investigating anything, knew about it when he was demonstrating how you can’t do the credit-card trick on the lock – the lock didn’t need to be picked or tampered with for someone to go in with a key.

    However, the result for the investigation is that you cannot consider the front door to be secure and a point of exit or entry in any circumstance.

    (Side note: Gerry’s confusion over which door he and Kate used in his original statements again suggests perhaps massive stress and an honest mistake, or perhaps a muddying of the waters to exculpate them from accusations of negligence… hard to say which, but it would fit with that theory…)

    • Can we agree to disagree?

      I can’t find an internal blind anywhere, unless it is a mosquito net, and at the moment since they are chomping on my ass, I would buy one.

      If you have a link to a copy of Gonçaralo Amaral’s book that is not translated into English – kindly post – I can do the rest.

      So now can we agree to agree?

      The case of the curious keys is very interesting. Flats ‘broken’ into but with no breaking before the entering.

      Who controlled the keys and how those keys were controlled -absolutely critical.

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