Apartment 5A, the flat occupied by the McCann family, is usually depicted as being vulnerable to a break-in.
Kate’s version is in chapter 4 of her book “Madeleine”. “We were told by the British police that the ground floor location, access to roads front and side, secluded entrance and partial tree cover made our apartment a prime target for burglars and other criminals.”
In “A Verdade Da Mentira” (The Truth of the Lie), Gonçalo Amaral notes that apartment 5A does not have any major security features. The front door is a simple wood-panel door, with a basic lock. The patio doors at the rear have a simple shutter and basic security only.
In the graphic, block 5 is north of the swimming pool. Rua Dr Agostinha Da Silva is north of block 5. Rua Dr Francisco Gentil Martins runs down from Rua Dr Da Silva, passing first the side of apartment 5A, then the Tapas restaurant, before continuing on to Baptista supermarket (not shown on the diagram).
Outside the front (north) of block 5 there is a walkway. This is separated from the car park by a wall of about a metre high, with an entrance/exit around the middle of the block. To get to the front of apartment 5A, 5B and 5D, you have to use that entrance/exit. This is marked with a bright green dot. This is also where the stairwell is to access upper levels.
The car park is surrounded by a wall that from the inside is about one metre high. Cars enter and exit through an entrance that is roughly in front of 5B.
There is a second route for pedestrians. Running between block 4 and block 5, a passageway opens into the car parks at the front of the blocks. At the rear, the passageway runs roughly West-East, from the back of block 4, past block 5 and into Rua Dr Martins. This is marked by darker green dots.
Block 4 is essentially a clone of block 5.
On the graphic, which dates to June 2007, you can see that there are trees all the way around the inside of the block 5 car park. These are very much at their densest at the same level as the street lights, so they make the car park and the front of block 5 quite dark.
The orange dots are the streets lights. These are spaced out at roughly 20-25m intervals, and are fine for the pavements and streets. The issue here is that they are sodium, and colour everything an orange shade, but the light level is perfectly adequate.
There are no lights on the passageway between block 4 and block 5, and none on the passage that runs to the rear of these two blocks.
In brief, making it from the central point in block 5 to the car park access means a short journey in relative dark. Once out of the car park the light is good. However, going anticlockwise around the block means there is very little light until you come out on Rua Dr Martins, and that path is about 50m longer than the clockwise well-lit route.
The only person I am aware of using the long, dark route, from statements I have revisited so far, is Matthew Oldfield when he checked around 9:30. This detail doesn’t matter too much as he checked the front first.
I have marked the entrance/exit of the Tapas area with a red dot, and put another red dot at the car park entrance.
Anyone leaving block 5 is visually sweeping out the whole of the car park.
Assuming the person goes clockwise (bright green dots) , our hero then passes out of the car park entrance, turns right and can clearly see the east end of Rua Dr Da Silva. At the corner, another right turn takes our hero onto Rua Dr Martins, where you can see all the way down to Baptista. Head down the hill to the Tapas area and another patrol is over.
Going the other way, from the Tapas restaurant to block 5 (red dots) visually sweeps out more or less everything around block 5 not covered by the opposite route.
Turn left to head up Rua Dr Martins and the car park opposite the Tapas reception is in clear view, then the north end of Rua Dr Martins itself. Then a left turn at the top completes a check to the west end of Rua Dr Da Silva. This is followed by a left turn into the car park, which provides another check of this area.
The trees that obscured the street lights in the car park that night have foliage that is above head height. That is, anyone walking or driving along Rua Dr Da Silva can see ground floor windows and doors of block 5. Equally, anyone looking out of a ground-floor window of block 5 can see pedestrians and cars on Rua Dr Da Silva.
Add in Gerry’s check at the rear of 5A and Matthew Oldfield’s check at the rear and it is almost as if there were security guards on constant patrol around block 5.
Getting into 5A, kidnapping Madeleine and getting out again strikes me as akin to Mission Impossible if the Tapas 9 timeline is to be believed. The police report shelving the inquiry came to much the same conclusion.
Your mission, if you accept it, is to get past all these checks and more, gain entry to 5A, snatch Madeleine McCann, carry her away, then evade the subsequent searches. Are you up to this challenge?