Body disposal – the wheelie bins prosecution case

How a human body may be disposed of in the Algarve relates neatly to who the suspects are.

For some reason, possibly the publication of the Jane Tanner sighting on 25 May 2007, the focus seems to be on individuals walking through Luz carrying a girl who could be Madeleine. I don’t know when the Smith sighting went public, but that one may also come into it.

The fact that an abductor could have used a car or van seems to be ignored. A perpetrator on foot seems to have gripped the collective imagination.

Therefore, disposal of a body in the wheelie bins must be examined. Gonçalo Amaral raises this possibility in his book. Kate mentions it in her book, in a quite different manner. The Dispatches programme of 2007 concluded body disposal in this manner was possible. The citizens of Luz who are anti-McCann cite this as one easy and obvious disposal method, and normally refuse to discuss the matter further.

What is the truth about the wheelie bins? This apparently simple question led to a very long post, so I have split it into two. This article covers the case for the prosecution. The case for the defence will come later.

The Dispatches programme on 18 Oct 2007 was filmed before the PJ files were released and before Amaral’s book came out, so it should have been based on reports in the media..

Dispatches sent a team of 5 expert investigators to Luz and allowed them to ferret around, looking at all the possible scenarios. Therefore, the wheelie bins were discussed.

Team member Professor Barclay states that in UK cases bodies have been put in bins, or even taken to rubbish sites, in the hope of concealing them in landfill.

Then Dispatches goes off the rails a bit. The bins are described as industrial bins, which they are not.

The Algarve, like all of the Mediterranean countries I have visited, does not do house to house collection with individual-sized bins for a single house. The bins are communal bins, placed at convenient locations, and individuals take their domestic rubbish to such a designated point. This requires bins that are several times the size of a UK wheelie bin.

I am only aware of one “small” wheelie bin in Luz. By pure coincidence, it is located at the entrance/exit of the estate used by the McCanns after they moved out of the Ocean Club, so I’d guess the McCanns are familiar with it. Even that “small” wheelie bin is several times the size of a UK wheelie bin, and is in use as there is not enough space for a standard sized unit.

Dispatches then says that the bins are emptied every night, between midnight and 4 AM, and that they were emptied at this time on 4th May i.e. about two hours after Madeleine went missing. They state that the collections should have been stopped. When they asked the Portuguese police if the bins were searched or the landfill site was checked, the police declined to comment.

This implied emptying of all bins overnight between midnight and 4 AM may have been happening in May 2007, but it is certainly is not like what happens in Luz today. Bins appear to be emptied in the period of midnight to around 4 PM.

Only a sub-set of bins are emptied on a given day, as there is no need to empty them more frequently. Most wheelie bin points have multiple bins on them and simply do not fill up in a day or two, so emptying them faster is a waste of cash. In fact, the only bin I can think that might get emptied daily is that small one near McCann base camp #2, as that should fill up rapidly.

Back to Dispatches, where they showed Charlotte Pennington. Charlotte is the child-care worker whose statement included the fact that she had read Madeleine a story on 3rd May. In Dispatches, she says that she took part in the search that night (presumably the structured search organised by the Ocean Club) and they were instructed to look in the bins. However, she does not think all the bins were checked that night.

I know for a fact that not all the bins were checked that night, as the searchers did not have the tools required to search all the bins.

The searchers might, or might not, have checked all the wheelie bins. I doubt that a proper check was conducted. The bins are normally quite smelly since there is days-old domestic waste in them. Plus a proper check would require daylight, so you can see what you are doing.

Luz had (and has) 3 different systems for handling domestic waste. All of these are loaded mechanically into the rear of lorries, so the operators have very little chance of spotting a body going in.

First were the giant green wheelie bins into which all types of waste went, without being sorted.

Then there was/is a system that looks like giant brown bells. These come in sets of three, two for recycling an one for non-recyclable waste. These require a lorry with a crane to get into them, so these were not searched. However, the entrance hole in the general waste one is too small to fit something of Madeleine’s size into, so not searching these was not a problem.

The third system was being rolled out in more modern places in Luz, like St James and Estrela Da Luz, where the Smiths’ apartment was located. These come in sets of 4, 3 for recyclable waste, and one for general waste. They are underground and cavernous. Above ground, you walk over the top of the bin and drop rubbish in through large steel tubes with a lid on top. Most visitors think the entire bin is the steel tube above ground. The effort to get into one of these bins is massive. You have to raise not just the steel tube, but also the part of the bin you walk across to get to the tube. This is normally done by a crane mounted on a lorry. I doubt anything was done with these. Even peering in through the top lid would require a torch, and you still can’t see what is at the edge of the bin or underneath the top layer.

This leaves the green wheelie bins and the 3rd generation underground bin for general waste as problem areas.

Gonçalo Amaral in his book, “A Verdade Da Mentira” alludes to the fact that this disposal method was available to the McCanns. His pointer is that a short way into the investigation he got a call from his wife to say their pet Shitzu had been horribly killed, and she wanted him to dispose of the body. A Shitzu is a small dog, much smaller than Madeleine. Amaral knew that digging a grave in the Algarve was tough, something that Scotland Yard found out for themselves in the dig in Luz in mid-2014. Even though the dog was small, Amaral knew that digging a grave would take a long time, time he did not have. So he took the Shitzu to a waste collection point and disposed of the pet that way.

This last point is important. When I get on to the defence case about was Madeleine disposed of in this manner, whether by the McCanns or other perpetrators, it will be important to show why dog corpse disposal works but human corpse disposal does not.

Also in his book, Gonçalo Amaral covers the meticulous examination of all 188 bins in Luz He states that the bins, sewers and boxes were searched before the first interviews of the Tapas 9 were started.

This is not accurate. All members of the Tapas 9 had first interviews on 4 May 2007. The PJ files clearly show that the bins were search on 7 May 2007, so obviously there is a lot of scope for bin-emptying in the interim.

The methods used to conduct the PJ bin search is not made clear. The report states that all 188 bins were checked on a single day by a team of two police officers and three people from the waste disposal company. A little arithmetic suggests to me that five people, even if they were all mucking in (rather than the two officers watching as the workers got stuck in) cannot search 188 bins of Luz-size wheelies, large brown bells, or cavernous underground bins.

The wheelies can only be searched properly by tipping the contents out and going through the result meticulously. The brown bells have to be lifted by crane, the contents dropped out, and then thoroughly searched. The underground bins are killers, because the amount they hold is vast. Open the lid, pick up the bin with a crane, tip the contents out and there you may have a weeks worth of rubbish to sift through.

188 such searches in a single day by a team of 5 people does not fill me confidence that a thorough check was made.

Gonçalo Amaral did not make the bins his only possibility. After all, he wanted the evidence from the dogs, and the evidence from the dogs implies Madeline was first concealed, then retrieved, then disposed of. The Luz waste system does not fit concealment and retrieval.

In Kate’s Book “Madeleine”, a wheelie bin opens chapter four, when she searches in the early morning hours of 4th May, sees a bin and opens it, praying that Madeleine was not inside. She does not tell us what was inside, whether the bin was full or empty. If it had rubbish in it, she does not tell us if and how she searched the rubbish.

Nor does she state the location of the bin. There was one just 90 seconds from the McCann apartment in the direction taken by Jane Tanner’s man. It would have made sense to search that bin, and all the others very close to 5A, but that opportunity has been missed.

What Kate’s book does tell us is that on the morning of 4th May, she considered that disposal of Madeleine via the wheelie bins was an option.

The prosecution rests.


31 thoughts on “Body disposal – the wheelie bins prosecution case

  1. Ok prosecution. Decent case. Good point about the bins not going every night. Also, about your doubts of proper checks: if they weren’t performed on every bin, and thoroughly, then a body concealed would just get more rubbish placed on top, and get brought to the land-fill eventually, whenever it was collected. Properly searching those bins would not have been pleasant, and I’d agree, it’s not something that was carried out, but it was ticked off the agenda. Protocol was not hugely respected at any point in the investigation.

    So, before ‘Smithman’ you have ‘Tannerman’, and these were the two suspects on foot. Now ‘Smithman’ remains. You rightly suggest the focus has been on an abductor carrying the child through the streets.

    So you’re back to ‘Smithman’, and whether he remains the most likely suspect. He must be ruled in or out for some real progress to be made. Neither looks likely.

    Now, if he was the abductor, as I’ve said, various things become more likely- one of those is the absence of a vehicle. The local paedophile becomes more likely. The idea that he was operating alone rather than in a group becomes more likely. And disposal of a corpse becomes very, very local too. So wherever he was taking MBM, if that was her, then he would have disposed of the poor child’s corpse there. He didn’t have a car on the night, so he’s unlikely to have organised one for the purpose of body removal.

    If he’s nothing to do with the case, then surely a planned abduction would involve a vehicle. It just makes sense. A car waiting outside the front door. Or in the car park the sniffer dogs eventually made their way to. Then you have the other side of things- organised abduction, group working together, watching and plotting, again the motive would likely be the most heinous, but others remain possibilities (more so than with ‘Smithman’, e.g. childless couple etc.)… but crucially MBM could have been taken anywhere in that case. You have abductor(s) with the child in a car, open borders, no road blocks or checks for an age. Without a serious lead, that’s not likely ever to be solved.

    • Loose checks on the bins in Luz doesn’t mean the waste was checked loosely. Wait for the defence case.

      Smithman is interesting because until/unless he gets ruled out he is one potentially huge red herring. I don’t have the power to take the steps to rule him in or out. I believe Andy Redwood does. That would constitute real progress.

      Cars in the area that night is an excellent thought. What actually was happening in the locality of 5A that evening? Everyone got asked if they saw something strange or suspicious and what we know is that no-one claims to have seen suspicious or strange behaviour around 5A. (OK, nearly no-one, Rasta man puts in an appearance.)

      Turn the coin and look at the other side. Forget abnormal. Think different. What was seen around 5A on 3rd May between, let’s say, around 8 PM to say 10:30 PM.

      If Tannerman has been identified and was around 5A at about 9:15 PM, what did he see? What did Kate see? What did Gerry see? What did Matthew Oldfield see?

      This line of enquiry may well lead nowhere. However, the line of enquiry about what was seen that was strange around the time Madeleine vanished has so far proved fruitless.

      • Exactly. I’d be grilling all of them. The found ‘Tannerman’, so they must have put him through the ringer, right? He’s wandering about in odd directions that make no sense carrying a child in a helpfully odd fashion, and managed to throw everyone off the scent for 7-odd years. The least he could do would be provide a bit of useful information. Grill the T9 too… they claim they were up and down like whippets… there was more footfall according to their statements around the side and front of 5A than up and down Oxford Street. So what else did they see/hear.

        Again, my first step there would have been to say ‘look, if you’re working off an invented timeline because you thought it would help the situation, it is not. Forget that, and give us the truth’. Really push them on that, because it could throw the case open if, as I do suspect, they admit they added a few checks on the night. I’d want to know their exact routine on all nights as far as possible.

        Now, I’ve no idea why you suspect Redwood knows one way or the other on ‘Smithman’ (and I’d like to know about the rumoured other sightings of him that night heading into a place of business with the child, for example)… but rule him out a moment, and we’re straight after vehicles. IIRC the T9 were asked if the heard any car noises etc. etc., and got negatives. But if this was a planned abduction, and Smithy is another helpful eejit strolling about with a child in pyjamas in the cold night air circa 2200 , then there almost certainly was a car parked in one of the car parks or out round the side at some point.

      • Wow, I must write a post about what could still be achieved with a reconstruction, even after all this time-

        Up and down like whippets, love this idea, I just wish I had thought of the whippets angle first.

        Please note. I don’t think Redwood KNOWS about Smithman. I think he has the power to set up the processes that would solve Smithman. And IF that happened, it would be a big step forward.

        Personally, I would love to know what Kate saw. Up the road, down the road, out of the window. Did she see cars, or people or no sign of life whatsoever?

        A near neighbour gets into the car and is driven home along that road, that quiet and empty road at the time Kate finds that Madeleine is missing.

        Surely the people who saw nothing must have seen something or heard something that night? Even if it was only the sound of shutters being jemmied opened, which it quite clearly wasn’t – seen or heard something – is it too much to ask?

      • One other significant point about ‘Smithman’… Smiths call the time 2155… now, if the subject had been spying all the actions of the T9 around 5A, and he’s planning an abduction, he’s most likely to strike just after a check.

        Now, again, you’d have to grill the T9, ‘did ALL these checks actually happen in reality?’, because if you get an answer to that definitively, then you make huge ground. If they maintain they did, you grill them again on what they saw/heard or did not see/hear. If they admit being a tad inventive, your timeline is blown to bits.

        It’s all supposition at this stage, so we’ll have to say they told the truth for now. But, as I’ve said previously to you, the fact that MO swiftly changed from the last person to see MBM alive and well, to not really having seen, well, ANYTHING, would lead me to believe that check might be fictitious.

        GM met JW on his way back, and all that tallies. So he did make the check, I’d say. Sees MBM sleeping. So logically she is either kidnapped at 2115 after GM’s check or at 2135 after MO’s very useful check (door? dunno… window… emm… MBM… maybe she was there… thanks, MO, thanks so very much. I wouldn’t have him check my stew pot).

        ‘Smithman’ is 2 minutes away on foot at 2155-2200. So, again, if he’s the culprit, that doesn’t fit in neatly with careful observance of a routine and striking with least chance of getting caught- it’s far more along the lines of a pervert who is acting on impulse rather than reason.

        Now, he could have taken the child and been busy abusing or murdering her on that patch of scrubland meanwhile from 2115-2200. Possible, I suppose. But unlikely, as he seemed to know where he was off to at 2200. He’d likely have headed straight there.

        And finally, GM’s inkling and the moving door suggest the culprit had either been in and gone, or more likely, was in the flat when GM checked. That might have fit ‘Tannerman’ better, as if he had been the kidnapper, then logically he was in there with GM. But that is not to say now that’s not true. He’s unlikely to have made multiple trips, but likely to have been hidden in there when GM made his check and went to the loo.

        His intentions at that stage are pretty much one of two. Forget burglary: thieves don’t steal toddlers and nothing was even rifled through. That said, the burglary spate had seen people entering through front doors with the keys and using windows as emergency escape routes. Was it the same MO here, different motive? Well, no key needed, anyway. But escape route? Maybe.

        Back to his intentions. They were either kidnap or what I suggested to you in my first post, abuse and no kidnap. Like the other cases around the time and area… but it turned into a murder. From one horrible crime to another. Possible. In both those cases, escape route is necessary. He’d be hiding in the room… the front door is on the latch, but a checker could come from either side.

        If he was planning the kidnapping, and wasn’t in and out in 1 minute, as would have been possible, but instead was there for some time, as the window suggests, what was he up to? Was he chloroforming all three kids, for example? Seems meticulous, but possible. Nothing roused the twins that night. So he hid in the room when GM made the check, opened the shutters maybe even when GM was in the loo, for example. Then hears him leave, finishes drugging the children, and leaves by the front door.

        The meticulous kidnapping, though, with chloroform, etc., that’s most likely to have happened at 2115 or 2130, though. So, again, not a great fit for ‘Smithman’. He only really fits the case of a non-rational lone predatory pervert, rather than a calculating kidnapper.

      • If the papers today are to be believed, Scotland Yard is working on a burglary-gone-wrong hypothesis. Quite how that could involve 7 more suspects, 4 witnesses etc. is beyond me, but if they cast a wide-enough net, surely they will catch something?

        The front door is somewhat of a problem. From memory (ouch) it was locked. The key needed to open it was on a table, but I doubt that someone exiting via the front door would unlock the door, replace the key, then ??? somehow lock the door again? Note to self – please check on the state of the front door!

        Here’s a thought for you. The flat has two types of unmatched DNA. There’s the 98 human hairs that did not provide DNA in round 1. That’s current news. What the newspapers are not telling the public is that most of the hairs found, and successfully DNA-profiled, have not been matched to anyone.

        So some/many hairs from 5A do not match anyone on a DNA database.

        Given that anyone convicted of paedophilia should be on a database, whether in Portugal or Britain, is this mismatch significant?

        What do these hairs tell us? It would seem that people who have not committed a crime, and therefore are not on a DNA database, have been through 5A.

        Your challenge, Loops, is to explain how a paedo could get in/out of 5A, snatch a child, and not leave any matched DNA trace. That will be my challenge too, when the time comes. Oh, on top of that there is the dog evidence. Just how tricky can it get?

      • The papers aren’t to be believed, though, as you well know. This case is a great illustration of that from the start. I think the fluffed burglary is just disinformation. It’s also a conclusion drawn by the hacks, and not necessarily based on police info. Also, if I were being sceptical, I’d suggest that the leaking of 7 new suspects (reportedly to add to the previous 4 ‘arguidos’ of OG, not 3, BTW… whether that’s right or not, who knows?) might possibly coincide with the bill surpassing the 10 million sterling mark? That’s harsh… but they must be under pressure.

        That said, with the size of the population taken into account, the list of suspects in Luz now is longer than the list of non-suspects. British couple(?)… two women now involved… it’s all pretty tantalising information. Wonder if anyone we know is on that list. Apparently the UK man and woman were originally interviewed by the PJ… so prize for you if you can dig that out before they announce it.

        The door, which we discussed before, I think, was on a latch, and not ‘double-locked’. As in, no key needed to get out, but one needed to get in. Of course, as I said, with the master keys in the hands of criminals, it was never secure.

        On the DNA evidence, you’re making a false assumption that anyone who has committed a previous crime will have been caught at some stage. As far as paedophiles go, there was a jamboree of UK paedos marching around the Algarve, and the Saxon government a) didn’t know and/or b) didn’t tell the Portuguese. And the Portuguese keeping tabs? They failed in the most basic elements of this investigation… I’d have little faith in them on more intricate operations. And you’ve also at least one paedo that we know about abusing little girls in their beds over a 6-year period who was never caught. There was only a rumour that perhaps they had DNA, but who knows? All those cases seem to have been barely investigated. And if that rumour is false, andI would wager it is, said full-time professional paedo, as one example, could have left a lock of his hair and a swab of cheek cells in a sterile jar in 5A and they’d still be none the wiser… and his previous alone would fill up a couple of books of pervert rap sheets.

        So it’s not really inexplicable at all if MBM were snatched by a paedophile, and his DNA weren’t on file. It doesn’t mean he didn’t leave any, or none they discovered, both possibilities in themselves regardless… it just means he has not been prosecuted to date (as I assume they’ve updated the records and checked the 2007 evidence again… although, you never know in this case… no basic incompetence would surprise).

        Dogs? Nah. That line really proved useless. It led to zero actual evidence being uncovered, and only incriminated the McCanns. If you’re back heading down that street again, that’s ok… All avenues must be explored in any investigation. Personally, I’d consider it a fruitless endeavour. I can logically disprove their involvement in MBM’s disappearance with one very simple statement of the blindingly obvious that seems to have escaped the rabid forum-dwelling interweb trolls!

        All the best.

      • I’m trying to think at what level of crime someone would be obliged to have their DNA taken. I can’t imagine those who go through magistrates’ court have DNA taken, but I cannot conceive of magistrates’ courts dealing with paedophile cases.

        And therein lies the problem. Joana Morais is translating Jornal de Noticias, and according to JdN, those involved with criminal records are “petty criminals”. So if the current line is to reveal anything, one has to make the leap from “petty criminals” to kidnappers or worse. As in, tractorman steals €5 which makes him a prime suspect in numerous paedo events, despite the fact there is no DNA to put him at any.

        Re the dogs. I like the dogs. I just like to think differently about the dogs. Have a think. Where did the dogs NOT alert? Where did the dogs alert, but no-one cares? Where did the blood found in 5A come from? When these are answered, layers of obscurity can be peeled away to reveal what did or did not happen.

      • I wonder if the couple/not couple could be Murat and his mad Jehovah’s witness Kraut-national missus with the Eastern European name. True, not both UK, 50% correct, but they did say one woman who was Eastern or Central European… both still living there… he had three alibis, one of which still stands thanks to Mumsy, and she had one, which was blown away as pure fiction. Hmmmm. If Malinka is ‘arguido’ #11, that would be massive news.

        Just speculation on my part… purely hypothetical.

      • Let’s wait and see. The story coming out of Portuguese sources is that these people have not been interviewed so far, and Murat definitely has been, so I’m looking forward to fresh, new names who committed the crime of being in Luz that night and using their mobiles.

      • Major pinch of salt needed, as right there you’ve two contradicting pieces of information: either they have been or they have not been previously interviewed regarding this case. Both are reported. Best to wait, as you say.

        However, I’ll tell you one thing for free… if the 11 ‘arguidos’ include any/all of Walczuck/Malinka/Murat, then that would indicate that OG think they have solved it. Because if they call them in and the enquiry is inconclusive, that 10 million figure of tax-payers’ dosh will go through the roof in compo, and with zero to show for it. That’s not a risk I can see OG taking lightly.

        Wait and see… wait and see 😦

        Can’t understand why there’s no rush… interview them at the end of the month… leak a titbit to the press… either they’re paid by the hour, or they’re giving these suspects a fortnight to get their stories straight, or they’re doing the’ ol’ smoke ’em out’, as they’ve the lot of them bugged and tailed as per every terrible detective film ever.

        You know there’s a car parked nearby. ‘Now we’ll see if they spook easily. Jenkins, pass me a sardine and open that rosé. I can’t believe the Portuguese don’t make doughnuts and huge coffees…’

      • Can I ask you a question?

        Suppose you and I were in Rio’s having a game of darts. (It was the Cave Bar in Madeleine days, but please stick with me.)

        Suppose you have friends, or acquaintances, in Luz. Just people you have been sociable with.

        Suppose you have your mobile on you. You know, the thing you use to call or text your friends, or acquaintances.

        Would you call/text your friends, or acquaintances, along the following lines? Hello, there’s a friendly darts game going on in Rio’s – why don’t you come to the party?

        Just wondering.

      • But of course… not sure what you’re driving at there. If it’s ‘massive crime of texting/calling someone in Luz on 3/5/07’, sure, I get the point. But that’s fine if I’m a bloke trying to get a few rounds of 501 going… if I’m busy thieving from the OC club with Ali Baba and the gang on that night, then I’d expect a questioning. Personally, not because I think the burglary->murder theory is right… more because I might have had a clue what went on.

        But if you’re talking about Malinka-Murat… they denied being friends, even. And the web page had been designed a year before, so the 30-second business call at midnight seems off and all. If they were admittedly mates, that phone call for a round of gin rummy would not arouse suspicion at all. As it stands, they’re dodgy suspects with dodgy alibis denying contact with one another. Fine-tooth comb for those two on that alone.

        I think they got the telephone data and worked from there as step one. It doesn’t mean everyone who registered on the masts was a suspect… but with the time and resources, they could certainly have checked them all out. I believe that’s what they did. And, I think we agree, OG had not a clue last October… and if they have one now, they’re yet to let on. Could be rolling now. Hope they do.

      • I’ve got the reason as to why people in Luz would have been calling people in Luz that evening, before, during and after the disappearance, and it has nothing to do with Madeleine. I think Kate’s book touches on it twice. The various sources saying ‘had no reason to be in Luz’ or ‘made a phone call around the time Madeleine disappeared’ seem to think that access to Luz was restricted to a select few and that everyone is so backward here that a phone call is suspicious.

        I don’t know what the content of the Murat-Malinka call was. It could have been one calling the other to indicate a meeting was required, which can be left on voice-mail at any time. Life works like that around here. We bought a PC as a Xmas present yesterday. Despite telling the thing we want English on it, it insists on doing the installation in Portuguese. Further, it refuses to install unless we can supply email addresses and a valid Microsoft account. After half an hour of hacking about with this heap of shite, we decided it would be easier to call Piano Pete, who is going to replace the Portuguese Windows 8.1 with an English one, and do the installation for us. That call was made outside normal working hours, albeit Piano Pete doesn’t work normal hours.

      • Latest news is that there are 4 Britons in the list of 11, 2 men in the ‘arguidos’ section, and a couple in the ‘witnesses’ section. A couple… ex-pat… still resident in Portugal… I wonder if it’s these two:


        Again, I think the dates are messed up, as Mrs. Fenn heard crying on the Tuesday. So when did mystery couple enter 5A to comfort a child/children? And if they were interviewed by the English police, those statements aren’t readily available, are they?

        The couple were/are resident in Luz… some apartments are privately owned. So they live/lived in one of the non-renters in block 5. Any idea who they are?

        Quite intriguing… if it’s them, then OG are clearly aware half-hourly checks weren’t the norm all week… and maybe not on the Thursday either. If the couple are witnesses, but saw nothing on the Thursday, then they’re witnesses to the routine and the state of 5A while the T9 were in the restaurant/bar, and I suppose to the ease of access to 5A of an abductor? What do you think?

      • First up – WordPress wobblies.

        WordPress stuck your comment in a queue that had to be moderated before it appeared on-line. Please don’t ask me why. I can see nothing that needs to be moderated. Given that we have discussed the paedophile angle, and that never suffered the moderation check, God only knows why this went into the pending queue.

        Onward to your post. Are buildings privately owned in Luz? Definitely. 5A was/is owned by a lady by the surname of …. McCann. Pure coincidence, no relation at all. Bit of a bummer as she is still trying to sell the apartment. If I remember rightly there was also a child-care lady by the name of McCann, also no relation.

        You need to hold your horses a bit. The way Luz works is that things appear in the media, then they stew around for 2 or 3 days, and then the ‘truth’ emerges. That would be once the folks have had a few days thinking about how to properly incorporate such stories into the rich panoply that is the tapestry of Luz. Think Midsomer Murders with knobs on.

  2. Oh, and a side note. If Amaral considers the bins as a possible method of body disposal, it shows his reasoning is cloudy, to say the least. As you say, that can’t fit with his overall hypothesis of secretion, recovery and burial. He’s just slapping paint up with a broad brush and seeing what might stick.

    • Agreed, although I think this is central to the issue.

      Amaral, the residents of Luz, visitors to Luz, the media (whether ‘gutter’ or ‘quality’) see this as an open and shut case, easy pickings for another article.

      The PJ closed the original file without resolving the awkward bits of evidence. Amaral used the PJ conclusions and has been trying to explain all the contra-indications ever since.

      The residents of Luz appear to be less interested in finding out the truth of the matter than consigning the event to history.

      Visitors to Luz tend to see it as a bit of harmless fun to come with the obvious answers, without worrying about the facts.

      The media, oh the media, see Madeleine as an absolute gold mine. After all, you can churn out more copy in no time at all, and most don’t give a damn about the facts. After all, a great story should not be made subservient to reality, should it?

  3. Hey, I’ve a couple more links for you. You wanted to know what others observed: well here’s an excellent article written by Jeremy Wilkins’ wife, Bridget O’Donnell. I found it informative, and it shows the human side to the tragedy.

    And tell me, did you watch the documentary about Kevin Halligan? So very depressing. Creeps crawling out of the woodwork from all corners of the globe trying to cash in on a family’s misery.

    • I have seen Bridget’s tale. From memory, she fails to solve why Jes did not see Jane, why Gerry did not see Jane, why Jes did not see Tannerman and why Gerry did not see Tannerman. All of these things are extremely easy to solve. Mind you, not if you are writing for the Guardian.

      Kevin Halligan is someone whom I would stick into a different category. A little too bit rich for me.

  4. ShininginLuz, I’ve been told differently by the person responsible for the “resíduos sólidos” department in the câmara municipal of Lagos. Those bins (I don’t know about the recyclable stuff ones, anyhow too narrow for introducing a corpse) are emptied every night, except on Sunday. In the beginning of May, with few tourists, the truck manages to empty all before dawn.
    You’re right, the bins were checked only on the 7th, but the French ex-chief inspector Georges Moreas told me that the idea of searching bins wouldn’t have passed his mind in a missing child case. Perpetrators rarely loose time dumping their victim, though knowing now about DNA tests they might be more careful.

    • The actual bins (green wheelie or underground) are apparently exactly the same size. This made it easier to stick a crane on the back of an existing lorry, rather than making everyone buy new lorries. Oh, the joys of life.

  5. I went to PDL in 2010 and I saw a few underground recycling bins, much nicer that what we have in Lisbon in some places called “ecoponto” (not buried, enormous and ugly). I saw many green garbage bins like we have in Lisbon. They’re of two sizes and all have wheels, you’re supposed to put them in the street at night and to collect them in the morning.
    I saw also some old metallic (really big) bins, that would stay in the street.

  6. Luz has and had three main systems.

    First, the old-style, large green wheelie bins, into which absolutely everything gets dumped.

    Then there is a recycling system consisting of 3 bins, above ground, looking like large brown bells. One is paper/cardboard, one is metal and plastic, the third is everything else.

    The newest style is 4 bins underground, with a steel cylinder on top. It is split like the brown bells system but the 4th is for glass, with a couple of holes for small batteries. I know of one place in Luz where there was not enough room to stick 4 underground bins in, so they stuck a single modern underground bin that takes everything.

    No matter what system is in use, at least one of the containers requires manual sorting at the depot.

    We do not have an ecoponto in Luz. There might be one in Lagos, but I am not aware of it. I believe this is where one is supposed to take hazardous material like old batteries, equipment with circuit boards, car oil and the such like. The reality in Luz is that people either leave this stuff by the side of the bin for the waste operators to deal with, or simply put it in whatever bin they feel like.

    That’s why the waste processing centre has to sift through this stuff. And that’s why the check at Porto de Lagos was so important.

    I am not aware of a system in Luz where you have a personal bin that you put out at night and take in in the morning. I thought they were all communal bins that stood in one position permanently, and you took your rubbish to them.

    Since I have never had the pleasure of visiting Lisbon, I cannot comment on life in the capital.

  7. ShininginLuz, if you ever have to come to Lisbon, you’re welcome in my flat over the Tagus river. Just tell me how I can send you my phone number and address.
    The content collected by the daily lorries isn’t sent to the landfill but to a intermediary place, not far from Lagos, where it is compacted (dried up). Another lorry takes the pad to the landfill of Chão frio.
    I’m just speaking of the real garbage bins, not of the recycling ones.
    The Algarve lives on tourism and the people who work in the tourist industry understood that their interest is to maintain this beautiful coast as genuine as possible.

  8. Firstly, Kate McCann lied about the Wheeli bin, she and Gerry have both owned up that they never looked for Maddie once. So there was no wheeli bin, so she didn’t open the wheeli bin she didn’t look in the wheeli bin and she didn’t see what was in the wheeli bin, because it was all made up. Apparently, this Lie was the very first entry in her diary.

    I too believe Maddy was placed in a wheeli bin, but not on the night in question. The McCanns borrowed a large double buggy from Warner Brothers for a so called Beach trip and I think it was this buggy to transport the body in and then taken to the Baptista Supermarket in Praia da luz, the bins round the back of the supermarket are huge.

    • Sorry, can’t remember exactly where the bin incident came in, so this is general.

      Apart from checks immediately after Madeleine went missing, Kate says she and Gerry went out in the early hours of the morning of 4 May. This would entail leaving the twins in the care of someone in 5H (Paynes). I have never rechecked this point, but I doubt very much that it is inaccurate as that would entail the Paynes being in a conspiracy, when there was no need of such.

      The bins, AFAIK, are standardised to hold the same amount of rubbish. This was designed in to prevent the need for a fleet of new lorries.

      And it is the checks that are done at the transfer station at Portelas and the rubbish dump at Porto de Lagos that make disposal-by-wheely-bin highly unlikely.

  9. Gary Ligg is a British search expert and this is what he had to say about the bins, but it didn’t happen.

    GL: There’s a world of difference to looking in a refuse bin and tipping it on its side, emptying it all out, looking in every bag and re-filling it. When you’ve done that then you can say there’s no pyjamas, there’s no body in there.

    Juliet Stevenson (Narrator) Dispatches has learnt that the bins are emptied nightly between midnight and 4am. And even though a major search for a missing child was going on, they were still emptied on the night Madeleine disappeared. Since the collections were not stopped, there’s another area Gary Ligg knows needs prompt attention but it’s thirty kilometres away.

    GL: We need to find out where the land-fill site is; talk to the authorities, find out where it went and try to identify which area of the land fill these particular bins were emptied.

    But it didn’t happen.

  10. From memory, the police were asked if they had searched the landfill site by that programme, but they gave no comment.

    Whilst the Dispatches programme was fairly good for its time, it made some major errors.

    One is how the rubbish got processed. In 2007, Porto de Lagos was working at high efficiency, including sifting through the rubbish to remove anything toxic. That check would have found a body the size and weight of Madeleine, even if it was in a black bag. A much younger child (8 months?) was found in a similar station in Lisbon around Dec 2015.

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