Madeleine by weight

Madeleine’s height and weight are relevant to working out what happened to her.

Her weight affects how far she could be carried by someone on foot. It also affects how easily it would be to pass her through the children’s bedroom window, or to carry her through. And it affects the Jane Tanner sighting as the man in question is carrying a child in front of him, with his arms in an L-shape.

I am not aware of anything in the witness statements that estimates Madeleine’s weight.

Fortunately, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) publishes charts for UK girls aged 2-18, covering both height and weight. (Google it.)

On a UK girl’s 4th birthday (and Madeleine was just days short of this when she disappeared) she should have weighed 12kg if she was very, very tiny, and 16kg if she was average. Madeleine appears to be small, so I don’t think I need to consider what she could weigh is she was heavier than average.

Way back in 1795, one litre of water was defined as weighing one kilogram, and that will do nicely if you want to carry out some practical checks for yourself. Buy three 5-litre bottles of water. Immediately you have a weight somewhat under Madeleine’s weight i.e. 10kg for two bottles, and a weight pretty close to Madeleine’s at 15kg for three bottles.

Start with the Jane Tanner sighting. No-one carries a 12kg to 16kg weight very far at all with arms in an L shape. It’s tough on the arms and really tough on the lower back. If the L-shape position is correct, the child should be much younger and lighter.

Back at the RCPCH chart, even a two-year old UK girl should weight 9kg if very, very small, and 11.5kg if average. And that is still tough going.

The Tanner sighting is now supposedly a man taking his 2-year old out of the Ocean Club crèche. If so, he is going the wrong way, and he is carrying his daughter in a truly awkward manner.

Move on to the Smith sighting, where the man is holding the child in a much more comfortable position. Using the very shortest route (which is far from being the safest) the distance to the start of the Smith sighting is about 375m. Unladen, a brisk walking pace is 100m per minute. This means carrying the child for around 4 minutes before the end of the Smith sighting, with a destination still to be reached.

This is do-able, particularly if the man’s incentive was to cover up a crime. However, it lowers the probability that the man came from the McCann apartment, and raises the probability that he came from, and was going to, somewhere much closer by.

Now it is time to think about carrying or passing Madeleine through the window. According to the crime scene photographs, the height from the floor to the window sill was 91cm. An average height UK male, allowing for shoes, has a distance of around 88 to 90cm from crotch to ground level. Therefore, that window sill is a formidable obstacle.

Gonçalo Amaral is clear that no footprint was found on the bed by the window, nor on the wicker chair nearby. Given the total load of an abductor is the man plus Madeleine, it seems highly unlikely that anyone carried Madeleine out.

This leaves passing Madeleine being passed through the window to an accomplice waiting outside. That space between the foot of the bed and the wicker chair then becomes valuable. This appears much more reasonable, albeit doing it without waking Madeleine seems a very tricky act.

Perhaps there was an attempt to carry Madeleine out, which failed because the window sill was too high, and then Madeleine was removed by an easier route.

For me, Madeleine’s height and weight rule out the possibility that she was carried through the bedroom window.

Madeleine was just too big and too heavy.


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