Moving scales 1 – by Loops

‘Moving scales’ – thoughts on a timeline

ShininginLuz recently posted a comprehensive timeline for the night of 3/5/07 which incorporated the final revised statements on the matter from the Tapas 9. Inconsistencies and contradictions from original statements can be allowed for, to a certain extent. As posted, that is the general consensus presented by the group for what happened on the tragic night. If you asked them to put their names to a timeline now, that would be pretty close to what they wish to declare.

(Scale 1)
As far as the accuracy goes, we have three possibilities, we’ll say, using an imaginary line from left to right, on the one left-hand extreme, the timeline as reported is 100% factually correct, in the middle you have it being partially correct to varying degrees, and partially incorrect, and on the extreme right-hand side, you have the timeline being 100% fabrication.

I’ll let you judge for yourselves where you wish to place the marker. Personally, I’d lean towards excluding each extreme- the most simplistic case for doing so is the discrepancies in the statements meaning there is likely inaccuracy present, whether deliberate or not, and at the other end, it would be incredibly difficult for 9 people to come up with a timeline that matched at all but was 100% fiction, given the little time they had before their first statements and the chaos of the situation. So, I’d be moving that marker to somewhere between the two extremes.

One major problem, of many, with how the various interviews took place, was that, though the later, more detailed statements do go through the holiday day by day, there is simply not enough emphasis placed on the checking routine. Focus of course falls on 3/5/07, but what about the other nights? Ideally, tough as it might have been, a grilling regarding the frequency of the checks on all other nights would have been illuminating.

So what kind of ‘system’ were they running, and what kind of ‘system’ do the T9 imply? They state that as Mark Warner didn’t have a ‘listening service’, they decided to do their own. That would imply entry to the apartments would not be necessary to constitute a check, nor would a parent necessarily be checking just their own apartment. But, what contradicts that, is the suggestion across the board that they were indeed performing constant checks on their own children which involved entering the apartment.

What you have, in effect. is 9 adults; 4 couples each with a child/children, and a grandmother. One of those couples (the Paynes) claimed to have a functioning baby monitor, so they never checked their kids during their meal/drinks, or at least did so less frequently, so let’s put them and their family aside for a moment. You’re left with 3 couples with apartments to check.

(Scale 2)
How often did they claim to do so as part of their fixed routine? Well, each claimed to have independent ‘systems’, and the frequency of those checks ranges in the statements from 15 minutes, to 20 minutes, to every 30 minutes. Again, that leaves you with a scale from left to right of the purported frequency of checks. If they were all checking their kids every 15 minutes, that’s 4 checks an hour times 3 apartments, 12 people walking by apartment G5A each hour, or once every 5 minutes, on average. The 20-minute frequency similarly gives us 3 checks an hour by three apartments, so 9 people passing G5A per hour, thus once every 6 and a half minutes, or so. Maybe the couples varied between 15 and 20 minute checks, but not the McCanns. They rigorously insist on half-hourly checks. So, let’s say the right-hand extreme allows for the other couples to be exaggerating their checks a bit, and say they checked less frequently as the McCanns suggest they did themselves. That leaves twice hourly checks on three apartments, so 6 checks per hour.

So the extreme right of the least frequent checks, allowing for some exaggeration of the two other couples by moving everyone out to the most lengthy gap claimed by the McCanns of 30 minutes between checks, and excluding the Paynes checking at all at any point, has someone walking right around or into that apartment once every 10 minutes.

These are a group of good friends holidaying together. This is night number six of their holiday. These are intelligent people. Does it really take someone getting up to do a rather circuitous march back to their apartment from the table at the bear minimum of once every ten minutes before they realise their system could be more efficient if one adult were to check on numerous apartments? Yet it takes until night six of the holiday before any check was claimed to have been made on an apartment by someone from the group who was not a parent of the child inside (i.e. Matthew Oldfield’s check at 2130 on the night of the disappearance, being the sole exception according to the statements)?

This seems odd, but what does it matter, you might ask? The child is gone nonetheless. Ergo, if this is a case of abduction, she was snatched between checks. If there were checks happening between every 5 and every 10 minutes, what does it matter, when somebody knowing a targeted child were in G5A could be get in, snatch the child and be gone in under a minute?

Well, what it does is it leads to various conclusions about potential suspects and how they might have gone about the crime. Last couple of imaginary scales, I promise. Let’s look at kidnappers (and this will get horrible, so apologies). There are two motives that are apparent.

(Scale 3)
Firstly, the one that gives hope: the motive of raising the child. An individual who is perhaps not in their right mind- a mother who has lost a child, or is infertile, or a male wishing to act for such a woman. Let’s place deranged individual on the left, in the middle a couple acting together, and on the right an organised gang who are snatching a beautiful child to order for a wealthy childless couple. That’s the nice motive, and while possible, I’d see it as a long shot at this stage. But it remains a possibility, so it’s in.

(Scale 4)
Now, the gruesome motive of paedophilia can be looked at in the same way, and similar conclusions about the modus operandi deduced. On the left, let’s place the lone paedophile acting without assistance. He’s not rational, and needs no major planning or surveillance, as he doesn’t calculate risk. You move from that to the right, and let’s place a calculating predatory paedophile, who has assessed the risks, but is acting alone. To the right again, and you have a gang of paedophiles acting together, calculating the risks and working in contact with one another. These first three are local. Finally to the right, you have the organised criminal gang acting for a paedophile ring for monetary gain. These are not necessarily local, but would be the most professional in the execution of the crime.

If you’re still with me, well done! 4 scales. Where we place the marker of truthfulness of the T9 timeline (scale 1) determines where we place the marker on the subsequent scale of the frequency of checks (scale 2). This in turn determines where you place the marker, based on likelihood and the necessary actions to complete the crime, on the abduction with the positive motive (scale 3) and the abduction with the horrific motive (scale 4).

So, over to you. Where are you placing those markers, why, and what are the implications?

{This post is by Loops.  As far as I can see, it breaks no laws and it is civil, therefore I am making it available, with Loops consent, on ShiningInLuz. Regards.}

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5 thoughts on “Moving scales 1 – by Loops

  1. Nice one!

    So, Shining, do you have any ideas where you’d be placing those markers yourself at present, if you had to have a guess?

    • I’ll get back on that in a while. The way I work is I take a small bit of the tale and go through it methodically, while trying not to let other bits divert me. Repeat this process as often as is required.

  2. You are taking quite the opposite approach to the one I normally use.

    You have covered MMO (3 scales) and accuracy of frequency of checks (4th) scale.

    I constructed a final statement timeline first, before I realised that if an external agent is involved, the timeline that is probably most relevant is the first one, as made independently on 4th May. The reason being that the T9 had little or no opportunity to get together and decide which bits to alter, if any.

    The actual accuracy, even in the absence of any fabrication, is likely to be quite a bit less than 100%. They were on holiday, wining, dining and drinking, and chatting with friends.

    This pattern was repeated from Sunday to Thursday with no significant incident until Kate raised the alarm.

    One exception to this is the crying claim. I will need to re-read the statements to see when it first surfaces in these. However, in her book, Kate claims the McCann checks were timed on Thursday night.

    Dianne Webster’s statement says that Kate and Gerry checked frequently that evening. In reality, Gerry checked once and Kate checked once. Despite the crying incident, around 9:30, Kate let Matthew do a check, which turned out to be a half-check.

    Since other members of the T9 recall this swap, either it happened or there is a lot of collusion going on.

    All of the T9 gave statements on 4th May, so any collusion had to be early in the event.

    So what you have is a lot of routine, unmemorable stuff. The timelines should actually vary from person to person, unless they were all clock watchers.

    I suspect the actual pattern of checking was not clock watching but meal-driven. You got there, you ordered, and first checks were done. You got back, ate your starter, and in the gap until main you probably did another check. You ate your main, finished your wine and went home. The last gap is probably longer than half an hour.

    In the crying incident, whether Madeleine cried for 45mins or 75mins, it is clear that neither the McCanns nor the Olfields did checks as frequently as they claim. Matthew Oldfield at a check on 5B should have heard Madeleine cry but he didn’t, so I can only assume he didn’t check for an extended time that evening.

    To summarise, I believe there is a degree of slop in the timing pattern prior to Thursday, with the aim of making it appear more rigorous than it was. The degree of slop that may appear in the first statements probably has purpose – to smooth it out a bit from a gappy checking schedule to something more structured and regular. Ditto on Thursday. However, I think we are talking about tweaking by 5 or 10 minutes by some individuals, rather than inventing non-existent checks.

    • Grand, but the popular American approach of MMO doesn’t really work for a case like this, does it?

      1) The opportunity was clearly there, and for anybody, no matter how frequent the checks.

      2) The means of snatching a 3-year-old girl, again, are there for anybody. She was a wee, unguarded and defenceless creature.

      3) The motive just doesn’t work at all. Motive in MMO is important in, for example, the murder of an adult. A child snatched in a foreign land can’t be for revenge, or wrath, etc. There can’t be many serious grievances harboured in 6 days of a package family holiday. The only realistic end motives are two, the sexual and the familial. If a third party is involved, you then get the financial as the motive of the middleman/men.

      It’s just not usefully applicable, IMO.

      The fabrication of checks on G5A isn’t that problematical either. The reasons for that are we’re only talking about the Thursday, as nobody was properly quizzed about the real routine for the other nights. Secondly, we’re only talking about one check- MO’s one: the others indubitably happened. But whether that was routine is a different question, anyway. Thirdly, the group had a whole sleepless night to decide on something as simple as adding in one check at half nine. They had hours waiting for the police, and then ample time to speak after. Don’t forget, they drew up their timelines without the police present.

      Now, I’m not saying that’s the case, but it is certainly a possibility.

      • Lots of good points in here. Perhaps we should write a book together where you take one side and I take the other.

        What I am getting from trying to maximise the chances of a lone wolf abductor is simple. I get to understand the bits that work and the bits that are crap.

        Does Matthew Oldfield’s check actually matter? If the McCanns were checking hourly, then an extra check does matter. If the checks were half-hourly, Oldfields check is around normal time. Given that he saw sod-all of significance, the only import I can see is that he might have added one check to the schedule, making the McCann check schedule appear less lax.

        Unless Oldfield is lying about checking 5B around 9:30 (ditto the others who remember this) then Oldfield was very close to the front of 5A around 9:30. Does it matter if he then circled the block, went into 5A, and saw nothing significant?

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