Please see “Madeleine – the planned abductor files”. I have no reason to believe that Barrington Godfrey Norton (BGN) abducted Madeleine. I am simply using his involvement to test a planned abduction scenario.
BGN was familiar with Luz (5 years) and the area around 5A. I don’t think either is essential as reconnoitring the site is not an extended process, but this level of local knowledge would improve the chance of success considerably.
Apartment 5A is quite a busy spot during the day. Due to the traffic system, lots of cars pass by it to get to Baptista, the supermarket. When the supermarket closes, 5A becomes quiet. Whether this knowledge was built in to Madeleine’s disappearance is speculation.
BGN was in/around the areas where Madeleine was. BGN used Baptista and said he had parked near to 5A on the basis that 5A was near to Baptista. BGN used Café Jasmim for lunch. That is close to Madeleine’s Mini Club above the Ocean Club 24 hour reception.
Gonçalo Amaral, in A Verdade Da Mentira, puts the McCanns, including Madeleine, co-located on the seaside front, with busker BGN. That is the ice-cream outing, which happened on the afternoon of 1 May 2007.
“In the afternoon, from 1.30, her parents take her to the beach with her brother and sister, but they only stay there for twenty minutes, because the sky clouds over and the temperature falls. She eats an ice cream on a terrace. Close by, a guitarist, who looks like a tramp, is playing Latino music and collecting money. From there, Madeleine and the twins are taken directly to the day centre.”
And on 8 May. “The white van seen near the Ocean Club, driven by an individual who looked like a tramp, ends up being identified. It belongs to a British music teacher, aged 56, who is spending his holiday playing the guitar and collecting money on the beach or in the streets of Vila da Luz. It’s certainly him that Gerald McCann passed on the promenade on the day he bought an ice cream for Madeleine. It’s also he who was seen near apartment 5A in the vehicle that serves him as living space. The follow-up investigation totally rules him out.”
In Kate’s book “Madeleine” the ice cream outing occupies about a page of chapter 4, but there is no mention of BGN. Instead, Gerry buys 5 ice-creams, requests help to carry them, and Kate worries that she is leaving her 3 children some 25 feet away to help him. There is no mention of BGN or a busker in her book. Kate confirms that Madeleine went back to the Mini Club after this trip to the front.
Assuming that BGN was the perpetrator AND that this meeting happened then BGN had around 2.5 days to plan and execute an abduction.
Why do I question whether this encounter happened? Re-read “spending his holiday playing the guitar”. The reality is he had lived in/around Luz for 5 years, and while he made money busking on the promenade, his major source of income was that he would teach music, typically for an hour or two each evening.
How was BGN scooped into the net? Derek Flack had reported seeing a white van and 2 men observing 5A. Then on 8 May BGN was seen in a white van, observing 5A. Ten minutes later, he was picked up in the nearby development of Cama Da Vaca.
BGN did not mention an ice-cream encounter. Kate and Gerry did not mention an encounter with a busker. So this incident exists only within Gonçalo Amaral’s “A Verdade Da Mentira”.
However, BGN did state that it was his normal practice to go to the front after lunch, and to play music there, so let me now assume that the ice-cream meeting actually did occur.
If so, BGN has 2.5 days to plan and execute an abduction.
However, both Gonçalo Amaral and Kate McCann say Madeleine went back to the Mini Club after the outing to the beach,
So, first of all, BGN had to track them back to the Mini Club, above the Ocean Club 24 hour reception. Then he had to wait for a number of hours, until Madeleine was taken from there to high tea at the Tapas area. Then he had to wait until Madeleine had high tea and a play in the Tapas playground before finally she was taken to 5A. Then he had to wait until around 8:30, when he would have discovered that the McCanns were leaving the kids behind while they went out to eat, and that 5A was vulnerable because the patio doors were unlocked.
If you can get over this high hurdle, things become easy. Observe the parent’s routine on Tuesday night, observe it again on Wednesday night, and strike on Thursday night. Mind you, returning on 8th May for another peek is a bit dumb.
What did BGN say about this? As mentioned earlier, he does not recount seeing the McCanns or Madeleine before the disappearance. He gave a couple of lesson on 3rd May in the evening, had something to eat, and parked his van where he normally did, then went to sleep. He was woken up in the early hours of 4 May by a flashing blue light, which he assumed was the police. Around an hour later, people in the search knocked on his van and asked if he had seen a four year old girl, to which he replied that he had not. Around 7:30 AM on 4 May, the GNR turned up, and searched his van with a dog.
Kirsty Maryan, one of the childcare workers, had this to say “on the night Maddie disappeared and while she was involved with a group searching, mentioned prior, they encountered a vehicle, whose make and model she does not know, of while colour, commercial, parked on top of a hill, where, she cannot identify. At this point, some of the group elements banged on the window of the vehicle and the back doors and saw the person who habitually played the guitar on the beach. He was covered with blankets, reading a book and drinking a beer, with the help of a flashlight. Questioned, they were not able to observe in detail the interior of the vehicle. She adds that the individual was asked whether he had seen a minor of about four years of age and the same responded, jocularly, that on that night, no one knocked on the doors of his vehicle.”
From memory, I believe there is a GNR officer who said that he searched the van with his dog, but frankly, that does not matter due to the time elapsed between Madeleine’s disappearance and a GNR search.
BGN is looking like an unlikely suspect. He would look more interesting if he crossed paths with Madeleine a bit earlier. Possibly he did, on a trip to Baptista or when he came out of Cafè Jasmim near to the Ocean Club reception after lunch, but frankly that is pure speculation. While unless he has a very odd criminal profile, BGN has gone from not fitting the DNA, not fitting the MO, to a major crime.
I believe that I have identified the hill as the mound. This is important, as Scotland Yard searched the mound in mid 2014. What Scotland Yard found was nothing, but was the mound an area of interest because of BGN?
Clearly, if SY knew that BGN was parked on the mound that night, then examining the mound for any excavations made on 3rd/4th of May puts one person in the suspect frame, that being BGN. But did SY know?
Kirsty Maryan could not identify the hill. Luz is built on steeply sloping terrain. Hill could mean anything, except BGN was in one of two spots used by mobile homes for free. The first is to the west, on the sea front, and is totally flat. The second is the mound, a hill in the centre of Luz.
So, did SY know that BGN was parked on the mound that night, making body disposal impossible, with the exception of BGN? The short answer is no. Understanding what went on that night requires a fairly detailed knowledge of how Luz functioned and how it is laid out, and SY does not have that. BGN was not rounded up for questions in Dec 2014. I have to conclude that a large amount of money was spent on the June 2014 dig that simply equates to waste.
What does BGN teach me about the planned abduction theory?
The detailed knowledge of Luz is good, but it is far from essential.
It helps if the abductor has more than a couple of nights to observe the McCann routine in the evening.
The abductor has to know there are children in 5A, left alone in the evening.
The abductor has to have an entry method to 5A.
BGN does raise some oddities. In his statement, he says that he was awoken around half an hour after midnight by flashing blue lights. If you check out the mound, you should conclude that the only flashing blue lights that would wake you up are those of a police unit parked right next to you. Perhaps sirens woke him up but all he remembered was lights. After that, it was beer and a read by torchlight.
http://portugalresident.com/algarve-resident-hounded-by-madeleine-mccann-case This is the last I have of BGN. Roughly speaking, a paper in 2009 was making BGN one of 5 key suspects, but it came to nothing.
Repeat – I have no reason to believe that Barrington Godfrey Norton was involved with the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. I an simply stress-testing a hypothetical theory of a planned abduction.