Madeleine McCann v the Luz gardener

The papers are reporting each other along much the same lines.

A man was interviewed in Faro last week.  He was a gardener who worked near 5A.  Some go a bit farther and imply he was working near 5A on 3rd May 2007.  Then they put him in a bar that is sometimes in Luz and sometimes in the Ocean Club.  They have him drinking there until 7 PM, then a mysterious missing 2 and a half hours.  Then he returned to the bar at 9:30 PM.  Finally, he gave a DNA swab in 2007.

The gardener’s statement is on file, along with other evidence relating to him.

He was interviewed on 12 May 2007, and as yet, I cannot find exactly why the PJ was so interested.

He worked in the Ocean Club precisely one afternoon per week, always a Wednesday afternoon.  He looked after the garden in front of block 4 (not the pool side).  He would work for 2 hours or less.  The last time he was in the Ocean Club was Wednesday 2nd May 2007.

On 3rd May 2007, he worked in 2 other gardens in Luz, not connected the Ocean Club.

Then he left Luz and went to his village of residence, Espiche, and entered a local bar, one where he is well known, called the Arco Iris.  The pub looks to be quite small.

At 7 PM, he left the pub and went to his residence in Espiche, the address of which is on file.  There he had a wash, then he cooked a meal and ate it.  Then he returned to the Arco Iris at 9:30, and chatted to someone he knew who was from the Espiche campsite.

Gerry’s final check was around 9:05 PM, which doesn’t leave a great deal of time, if the gardener really was back in the pub 25 minutes later.  However, Espiche is only a 15 minute walk from Luz, therefore it can be done, and the gardener had a Citroen C15, so unlike Tannerman and Smithman he didn’t have to walk around Luz with a kidnapped child in his arms.

He gave his consent for a DNA test on 12 May 2007, and you can make your own mind up as to whether that was checked or not.  He gave his consent for a search of his accommodation, and that was carried out.  He gave his consent for a search of his Citroen, and that was carried out.

So what actually links him to the case?

He would park his Citroen in front of block 5 when he was working on block 4, out of habit.  I doubt if Scotland Yard recalled him for that, though you never know.

The only thing I can scrape up so far is that Espiche is served by two cellphone towers.  These are almost equidistant from Espiche.  Perhaps in the Arco Iris you connect to the one near the N125.  Perhaps in his home the signal goes through the cellphone tower in the north of Luz, therefore appearing to make him back in Luz.  Perhaps it is something quite different, whether in the phone records or otherwise.

The gardener has had 7 years to quietly slip out of the Algarve and locate himself elsewhere, and he did not take the opportunity.  He got official notice that Scotland Yard wanted him to be re-interviewed, and he did not flee.  His DNA is already on file, and his home and car have been searched.

So far, I am failing to be impressed by this line of enquiry.  It appears to be on a par with the quality of reporting on the story.  Hopefully I will be proved to be wrong.

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8 thoughts on “Madeleine McCann v the Luz gardener

  1. :-/

    Haven’t a clue on this. Still seems a wide net. Very wide. And he seems pretty happy to cooperate, as you say… the guilty don’t tend to be so forthcoming… maybe it’s an ingenious double-bluff!

    Do we know if he’s in the suspect bracket, or the witness one?

    And cell-phone towers… 2007… I now realise how vague the information they have is. Hardly GPS coordinates minute by minute… it’s having a cell phone and being somewhere in a very large area. Not encouraging.

    What do you know about CCTV? Apparently, there was one camera that would have been very handy, but according to the English it wasn’t checked and then erased… and the Portuguese say it was on the fritz. Either way, not going to help. Do you know where it was/is? Was it the only one? Was any CCTV ever recovered?

    • I do not know if he is a suspect or a witness. Frankly, I find it astounding that he authorised a DNA swab, a car search and a house search when he was not an arguido the first time round. Whatever, getting hauled off to Faro, identified in the press, and with more mis-reporting I would assume he is quite cheesed off.

      If you check the Xmas TV ads, at least Google and one other phone operator are flogging mobiles that you talk to, it does a GPS check, and it provides you a answer to your query based on that. Believe it or not, that capability was around in 2007, but the mobile manufacturers could not agree on a common standard, hence it was not in play.

      It still isn’t in play, I believe. The masts still do not know your GPS. Your mobile does by getting GPS direct from satellite. Then your mobi sends it to Google, with the mast none the wiser. Great move by Google, where the central server can now work out your route, time etc etc, but other operators are way behind. That’s because the masts still don’t get the GPS.

      The good thing about the cells is they are actually quite small. The bad thing in this case is that Luz can be covered by 1, or at most 2 cells. So all you get is an in-Luz or not-in Luz vote. Or to be accurate, you get near-Luz, or not near-Luz. Plus, it depends on having your phone switched on. If your phone is switched off, the masts get nothing.

      CCTV was taken from a wide variety of locations in Luz and in surrounding areas.

      In the main, the question is what CCTV shows. Over here, it is not (usually) a safety service. Most times, it is installed to make certain staff are not fiddling the owner’s till. I may be doing the Paraíso a dis-service, but I believe the one that the T7 turned up at on 3rd May is not for peeking at customers, but to check on the till. Therefore, most CCTV available is pretty much useless, which is a real shame.

      The PJ missed a single CCTV camera. That is located on Estrela Da Luz (of Smith fame). It IS a security camera, and it seems it could have swept the area that Smithman might, or might not, have trundled through a few minutes before the Smith encounter. Lots of ifs and buts and maybes. The only concrete info is that one got missed as they rounded up the CCTV, so by the time they realised it had been missed, the system had overwritten 3rd May.

      Just to round off, Amaral’s book is clear that this CCTV was missed, so the Portuguese are on the ‘missed’ team.

      • How did Amaral justify such gross incompetence, do you mind me asking? Was it missed and taped over before he took charge, so he’s blameless? The only times he admits something went wrong with the investigation, he’s pretty meticulous in seeing that the blame cannot land at his door, as far as I have observed.

        You’re very good on that technical stuff… phones, GPS, etc. Nice one.

      • The number of CCTV’s in Luz was large. Amaral does not justify it. How do you miss a CCTV on a ground check in Luz? Easy. The PJ’s picked up more CCTVs than I can identify. AFAIK, Amarals book has the missing CCTV, Kate’s book does not, the PJ files do not. AFAIK.

        In my opinion, Amaral did a PR job in his book.

        Also in my personal opinion, Kate did a PR job in her book.

        I enjoyed both books. I trust in neither.

        It is not about the books, though I have to admit I enjoyed both.

    • That’s interesting. I wonder if he gave DNA this time around?

      Unfortunate that the Mirror yet again implies the gardener was working near 5A on 3rd May, when he wasn’t.

      Also interesting is his claim that his statement was checked at the time, which seems obvious, but I haven’t yet seen it on file.

      You’ve got to love the final graphic as chief reporter whoever retraces the steps the prime suspect took that night. The route between 2 and 3 was impossible that night, they have cocked up the Smith sighting no end, and the beach is in the opposite direction. Why do they trot out garbage that fails a cursory check?

      • Such a bad story, though.

        ‘While he was doing some gardening in the concrete car-park of G5A, in the rain, for some reason, the gardener-come-sleuth says he saw a note attached to the McCann apartment with Madeleine’s name across the top.

        “‘Twere rain-soaked, ’twere. Clearly a vital piece of evidence, though. So, with a mind for forensics, I put on my gardening gloves, and got out my shears to snip it down. Careful-like, mind. I thought to myself, if anyone is going to solve this crime, it’s likely to be me. The gardener. Arrr.”‘

        If he’s just making up fanciful bullshit to make a few quid, then he should be prosecuted.

      • I don’t actually know whether he got paid or not, but I doubt that he did.

        The current round of enquiries illustrates the issue.

        There is a PJ station Portimão where the original investigation was handled. That is 15 minutes from Luz. Faro, if you take the motorway with its toll charges, is around an hour and 15 minutes away. Do they wise up and haul 11 people to Portimão? No SY flies in to Faro, gets a hotel in Faro, gets a taxi in Faro, all nice and easy for them. And then they haul the witnesses/suspects from the other end of the Algarve.

        It a bit like all the witnesses are in Birmingham, but SY does not see them in Birmingham. Instead it hauls them all to London, as that is convenient for SY.

        I may be wrong on this point, but if you are an arguido, it is mandatory that you have a lawyer. Therefore you get lumped with a days legal charges, irrespective of whether you do little bits of gardening to scrape by, or you have access to the Find Madeleine fund.

        The McCanns did not like being made arguidos. Why should the gardener? He was very thoroughly investigated the first time round, and 7 years on with no apparent new evidence SY thinks round 2 with him might be fun?

        What he did was mean-spirited. But there are only so many times you get crapped on that you decide to respond in like manner.

        His story shows he did not put much effort into it. The Mirror report on him shows that it put no effort in. All of the ‘news’ sources that quoted the Mirror equally put no effort in. That’s a lot of people getting money out of the Madeleine story while putting near-zero effort in.

        And the McCanns, having stated that they were not going to comment on Operation Grange, then commented that they welcomed all the mid-year digging in Luz. And their PR adviser commented that he welcomed the fact that the tale of the Barragem da Bravura had been made public, but declined to comment further, as the policy is ‘no comment’. So when the McCanns wish to comment, they do, and when they don’t, they insist this is because of their ‘no comment’ policy.

        There is a lot of crap flying about. A small amount is coming from Luz.

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