When was Madeleine last seen?

Whatever happened to Madeleine McCann, it happened between the time that she was last seen by an independent witness and when the alarm was raised,

There are conspiracy theories that are based on Madeleine being dead the night before 3rd May, or even earlier.

What happened to Madeleine very definitely depends on the ‘window of opportunity’, the period in which she went from being present to being missing.

I got prodded into this one by Loops. I was thinking about another post on body disposal on the Algarve, but he’s right. How long you have to dispose of a body, assuming that is what happened, is key to whether you can dispose of a body or not. Not the other way around.

So who is the last independent person who can verify when Madeleine was definitely alive?

Since Madeleine was at high tea on 3rd May in the Tapas area there should be a bucket-load of people stepping forward to place her there.

This should include the parents of other children who attended that high tea. I cannot find a statement where another parent places Madeleine at high tea that day, despite the fact that the records show several kids were signed out of childcare at the same time as Madeleine.

It should include the child-carers, the ones responsible for looking after Madeleine and people like the twins. I cannot find a statement from a child carer that definitely and clearly puts Madeleine, or the twins, at high tea at that time.

The Tapas group, other than the McCanns, were on CCTV at the beach restaurant, the Paraíso, until around half an hour after high tea finished, so they didn’t see high tea.

Kate says Madeleine was worn out after a busy day, so instead of heading to the play area, it was back to 5A and a bedtime routine.

So far, things are not looking good.

Now let’s go into bat as to when Madeleine was last seen that day.

Charlotte Pennington, childcare worker, gives a statement that she read a story to Madeleine on 3rd May.

Cat Baker, Madeleine’s minder, is on file with a mangled story. Both in Portuguese and in the English translation, it says 15:25 to 18:00 at high tea. Ouch! But Gerry is playing tennis and Kate was in her running clothes, so it is nearer 18:00 than 15:25. At least Cat places Madeleine in the child group on the morning of 3rd May, back in the child group in the afternoon of 3rd May, out for a sailing trip, doing a dive and swim, and getting picked up by Kate.

Where were the other child minders? Surely there must have been more than one there?

Let me turn to the people serving high tea in the Tapas area. Who were the people on duty and what did they see? The answer is that quite a few people were on duty and what they saw is approximately zero.

Jeronimo Salcedas, 4th May, informal statement. He saw Madeleine at 16:45 near the Tapas bar. By 6th May, his formal statement had turned into “cannot be sure if he had seen Madeleine or the twins.”

Maria Manuela Antonio Jose. Cook in the Tapas bar. According to her, she saw Madeleine having a meal in the Tapas area as she did every day, with other children, at around 16:30 on 3rd May 2007.

The waiters in the Tapas area are a strange bunch. Out of those on duty at the time of high tea, none remembers serving the kids.

The carers who co-existed in the same club area as that occupied by Madeleine are equally notable by their absence.

The club records show that Kate signed the twins out at 17:25 and Madeleine at 17:30. Other children were signed out at or close to those times. I have seen a conspiracy theory that this information is forged, but the statements from the people involved in child-caring and those in the Tapas area were rounded up very early on, so if anyone was nobbled it was done with lightning speed. This would involve a huge number of people organised within hours. Perhaps Cat, Jeronimo and Maria slipped through the net. Perhaps the parents of the other children are keeping quiet on this as they too are part of the conspiracy.

On Wednesday 2nd May it rained in the morning, sufficiently heavily to postpone the planned tennis lessons. From the club activity records it was also enough to postpone a mini-sail for Madeleine’s group, and instead the mini-sail happened on Thursday 3rd in the morning.

Cat remembers meeting David and Jane that morning when the mini-sail was taking place. David makes no mention of this. There is no particular reason why he should, as his children were not taking part. From his statement, he and Fiona took a dinghy out on the sea that morning. Fiona confirms this, and while she does not mention Madeleine being on a sailing trip, she does say that after this trip, she went with Kate to reception, where Fiona picked up her daughter, and Kate picked up Madeleine.

Jane remembers much the same. She was watching a kids tennis lesson in the morning. Later the same morning she went down to the beach with her family, and on the way met David and Fiona coming back from their sailing trip. David and Fiona mentioned to her that Madeleine and Jane’s elder daughter were out sailing. When Jane reached the beach she saw Madeleine and her daughter returning from their mini-sail.

While the conspiracy theorists are willing to disregard everything in the evidence files as being forgeries, lies and more, I am not, so this is the point at which I part company with anyone suggesting a grand conspiracy involving all of the Tapas 9, all of the child carers (except a couple), all of the Tapas staff (with one exception), and all of the people in the resort who saw Madeleine on 3rd May.

Despite what people may think of the Portuguese police, they took initial statements from all those central to the plot in very fast time indeed. By that I mean those people outside of the Tapas 9. Therefore any faked story and agreement to conspire was concocted in a time-scale that is ludicrously small.

According to all the evidence, Madeleine was alive when Kate signed her out of the Tapas area at 5:30 PM on 3rd May 2007.

This simplifies the plot considerably, as Madeleine must have gone missing some time between 5:30 PM that day, and around 10 PM that day.

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6 thoughts on “When was Madeleine last seen?

  1. Nice piece, Elça. Makes sense.

    Nanny CB’s statement is a bit of a mess- I assumed the 1525 was a typo, but wasn’t sure if she were trying to say the time of that shift, or when it ended. In any case, she confirmed MBM present at high tea, and the forms show her signed out at 1730…

    Nanny CP was not asked when she last saw MBM, rather oddly… not sure what the interviewer was playing at (CB was only asked that by the English police too). She gave two accounts in two separate interviews, one saying she saw MBM and parents at lunch, the other at high tea, which ran to 1800.

    Side note- the translator for both rather unsatisfactory original interviews was one RM, whom CP is certain was at the scene after the disappearance, despite his protestations. Hmm.

    DP, if you’re including the T7 as independents for this, states his visit was at 1830, no? That would make him the last recorded non-familial witness to see MBM alive on 3/5/’07.

    Of course, as you say, the conspiracy theorists rule all of the above complicit, and all documents forged.

    • David Payne’s statements are weird to say the least, which is why I stopped at this point with the T9’s members in agreement with independents that Madeleine had not disappeared before high tea on 3rd May 2007. This cuts the window of opportunity for concealment/disposal to 4.5 hours for the McCanns. Though many a person alleges that is what they did, I will be writing other articles to show this would require incredible ingenuity or a fantastic amount of luck.

      • *who for my whom above. Whoops. Was going to say ‘whom CP accused of being at the scene’, changed mid sentence.

        The conspiracy fans claim CP took a brown envelope to fill in the missing 6 hours you’re tackling, and I suppose also to accuse RM. I’m not buying that for a second, though. You have her, who had had him as translator for her original statement on the 7th, placing RM at the scene, plus two lasses, sisters, I think, who did the same, plus 4 of the T7. Were they all mistaken? RM had an original alibi from his girlfriend, then his main one from his mum drinking tea and chatting (bless), and a good friend who somehow saw him crawling out of a café drunk. That’s three conflicting alibis, and half a dozen independent witnesses placing at the scene. How do you account for all of that? Was he present that night or not?

        BTW, do you recall, on a different tack, if the lady that said she’d been hassled by a phony charity collector who stared at her daughter, and then discovered him in the room, as she came down the stairs, and left?… did she have a name? I think it was the 1600 3/5/’07 sighting, but I might be getting confused. There are so many ‘creepyman’/’charitymen’ reports, and then the gutter press tend to add a good dash of fiction too. Bah. I must get back to work.

        All the best.

      • Sorry, I’m having a few issues trying to follow this one.

        CP? Do you mean Cat Baker, CB?

        Robert Murat is someone who I need to leave to another time as he is miles down the line from where I am now.

        As to charity collector stories, I think there are at least two evidence statements on file (by that I mean two different people) and possibly three.

        As to Cat. or anyone else for that matter, faking the record that shows Madeleine in child-care on both the morning and the afternoon, here is the problem. It is not a case of simply faking Kate’s signature. Kate’s 2 entries were not at the bottom of the sheet. Other signatures came later in the morning and later in the afternoon.

        So either the faker forged a totally new sheet, with all the information and all the signatures, or, Cat said to people both morning and afternoon “please don’t write on that line, it’s reserved for later, please use the line below.” Then she filled in the two blank lines with Madeleine’s details. This wouldn’t stand up in a court of law for a second.

        Then there is the final ‘solution’. Madeleine had gone before the morning of the 3rd May, Cat was in on the plot, and Cat or Kate simply made dummy entries morning and afternoon, whilst letting other guests make genuine entries before and after. This ‘solution’ runs the risk that the sailing instructor would not cry foul. And that other child-care workers would not cry foul. And that the Tapas staff would not cry foul. And the T7 would not cry foul. And that the other parents at high tea that day would not cry foul. As brown envelopes go, that sounds like enough to buy half of Luz.

        I enjoy a good romp. I enjoyed “Death In Paradise” last night. But when it comes to reality, I prefer something more substantial, something more convincing.

      • CP would be the same CP as mentioned above, 2007 MW Nanny Charlotte P. She gave her statement on the 7th, translated by one Robert M. She told him she’d seen him at the Ocean Club in the chaotic scenes after MBM was found to have been missing. He said he was not there, and she pressed him on it, but he clammed up like a big ol’ clam. That makes 6 or 7 people seeing him there that night, off the top of my head…. maybe more.

        But of course, he couldn’t have been, because he was w̶i̶t̶h̶ ̶h̶i̶s̶ ̶G̶e̶r̶m̶a̶n̶ ̶g̶i̶r̶l̶f̶r̶i̶e̶n̶d̶, g̶e̶t̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶h̶a̶m̶m̶e̶r̶e̶d̶ ̶i̶n̶ ̶a̶ ̶b̶a̶r̶ ̶5̶k̶m̶ ̶a̶w̶a̶y, drinking tea and eating cakes with mumsie.

        And he c̶e̶r̶t̶a̶i̶n̶l̶y̶ ̶h̶a̶d̶ ̶n̶o̶ ̶c̶o̶n̶t̶a̶c̶t̶ ̶w̶i̶t̶h̶ ̶S̶e̶r̶g̶e̶y̶ ̶M̶a̶l̶i̶n̶k̶a̶ ̶a̶t̶ ̶a̶l̶l̶ ̶d̶u̶r̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶t̶h̶a̶t̶ ̶p̶e̶r̶i̶o̶d, oh wait, they’re not friends, but they met up repeatedly before and after the 3rd, but he c̶e̶r̶t̶a̶i̶n̶l̶y̶ ̶d̶i̶d̶ ̶n̶o̶t̶ ̶p̶h̶o̶n̶e̶ ̶h̶i̶m̶ ̶o̶n̶ ̶t̶h̶a̶t̶ ̶n̶i̶g̶h̶t̶, oh wait, well if he did, which he did, it was at 2340, and was to discuss business. For thirty seconds. At twenty to midnight. With someone who is but an acquaintance. Hmmmmmmm.

      • ‘Hi Sergey! It’s Robert. … No, Robert. … Robert Murat. You helped me with a web-page once, but you don’t really know me… yes, that’s right…. that Robert. Yes, I know I’m speaking very quickly, but I only have 30 seconds. Anyway, sorry to disturb you at such an hour, but I just wanted to let you know, Mumsie made some delicious scones, and we’re having them now with some Earl Grey… jam, clotted cream, the works… Whoops, must go… that’s almost thirty seconds… emm… how’s business?… Never mind! ok bye! -beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep-‘

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