The Barragem da Bravura note

According to the Mirror, an unnamed local handyman is reporting that on the first anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance, he found a rain-soaked note outside 5A.

It was headed up “Madeleine Beth McCann”, while the rest of the note was in Portuguese. The gist of the content was that Madeleine’s body had been dumped in the Barragem da Bravura, a reservoir around 8 miles north of Luz. The report says this would be the perfect hiding place.

The man says he asked what he should do with the note and he was advised to take it to the police, which he did. He says he does not know what happened thereafter. Some other ‘expert’ says the reservoir was not properly searched and a diving team is required.

The Mirror declined to name the original source and blanked his face out on the video clip they reported. Given, however, that the man was a gardener, was speaking English with an English accent, that he was wearing the same clothes as the British gardener recently made an arguido (allegedly) and that he was being interviewed in the same location as was the British gardener, then my money is on him being the Luz gardener I covered a few days back.

If the note story is true, it is exactly the type of information the gardener should have passed to Scotland Yard in his interview. Of course, under Portuguese law, if he did pass this information to Scotland Yard, and he is now discussing details of an active investigation, he would be committing a crime. Do not expect anyone to be searching Barragem da Bravura on this tip-off.

The reservoir was checked during the original search, a few days after Madeleine went missing. On the basis that she might be dead, a surface search of the lake was carried out as one part of a very extensive ground search around Luz. The line of thought was that a decomposing body should after that time have floated to the surface. Needless to say, nothing was found.

Let’s return to the gardener’s tale. The rain-soaked note was found outside 5A on the first anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance, according to the Mirror.

That would date it to 3rd May 2008. Here we hit a problem. The gardener’s statement in the PJ files says he worked in the Ocean Club outside block 4 for a couple of hours each Wednesday afternoon. The only other time he would visit was the 1st of each month, going to 24 hour reception to pick up his money. 3rd May 2008 was a Saturday. The gardener should not have been near block 4, or block 5.

And the rain-soaked note? It takes around 5 minutes to check what the weather was like in the days around 3rd May 2008. From Tuesday, 29th April 2008, to Sunday 4th May the total rainfall was 0.0mm. Not a single drop. Further, the door of 5A is recessed intentionally to give a space that is out of any rain.

There is no such note in the file and no record of the police receiving such information.

If the barragem story sounds vaguely familiar, the original version was around February 2008, and it was the Barragem do Arade, about 30 miles from Luz. A lawyer said he had been told by a criminal that Madeleine had been raped, murdered, and dumped in a place with murky waters, within days of her disappearance. The lawyer thought Barragem do Arade was a match. The police showed no interest in this lead, so the lawyer had a small part of that reservoir fingertip-searched by frogmen. Obviously, Madeleine was not found.

As to why a gardener who has, allegedly, been made an arguido, summoned to Faro, interrogated by Scotland Yard, and possibly landed a large bill for a lawyer, might fabricate such a tale, I’ll let you think of an answer.

The question that intrigues me is why he was of such interest the first time round.


2 thoughts on “The Barragem da Bravura note

  1. Sorry… been busy enough. This is a weird one. Good sleuthing on the gardener being one and the same… not really a ‘Hounds of the Baskervilles’ situation if it was as you put it… but what is he at?

    The weather, his movements etc. all off. But also, there is no way a murderous paedophile monster felt a wee bit guilty a year on, and decided to write a note and go back on the anniversary and pin it to the door of the flat with, presumably, staff, public, press (lots) and maybe police or investigators around. Why would they risk it? I’d suggest anyone capable of what was supposedly written in the note does not have a massive conscience.

    Not having it. The only believable bit of that story is the Portuguese police making said note disappear. If such a note, written in Portuguese, had arisen, they’ve got a presumably Portuguese national local in the tourist heartland whom they’ve failed to catch who is a child rapist and killer on the loose, and they’ve been busy trying to stich up the parents. No, that would not do at all. Best go with ‘it was a foreign national who is also no longer in Portugal’ as a conclusion… hands well and truly washed. No culpability. No more to do.

    That goes for this note (which doesn’t exist), but more importantly, for any other bit of evidence they might have happened upon which led away from the above conclusion. Speculation… but entirely reasonable, and in line with other similar cases.

    So what’s his angle? Just another creep making a few quid from a family tragedy? And why is he now in for a grilling?

    • It seems he is a well-liked chap in the locality, who enjoys an evening playing darts with a few friends.

      The gossip is that someone saw him and/or his van (which is quite distinctive) in the area of 5A at the time. Since he and his van should have been near 5A the afternoon before, I’d venture that someone probably got their sighting date mixed up.

      As Silvia Batista, the OC member who helped with translation on the night of the 3rd, has been named as another person to be questioned a week from now, it looks like SY are simply at the start of another round of structured interviews, with no real breakthrough imminent. Ditto John Hill, the OC Manager, who has also been named.

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