Madeleine – what is in the phone records?

It is my belief that the phone records hold the key to cracking the Madeleine McCann case.

Please note my use of the word ‘belief’. Since I do not have access to the full set of phone records, I am in no position to state with certainty that this is the case.

On the 20th Dec 2007, the Daily Mail had a report on the telephone records. Caveat emptor.

Madeleine police trace EVERY phone call made on day she vanished, by Vanessa Allen. (Note – Vanessa quickly changes to phone calls made within a half-hour time period that day.)

Paulo Rebelo, then head of the enquiry had seized thousands of records relating to telephone calls made in the area of Burgau to Luz to Lagos on 3rd May 2007.

Officials had begun checking on up to 1,000 locals on 3rd May, with particular emphasis on calls made between 9.30pm and 10pm.

Detectives can use the “triangulation method” to pinpoint users who were in Praia da Luz on May 3. Mobiles give out signals every time they make or receive a call or text message, and when they are switched on and off.

Those signals are logged by phone masts and by measuring the strength of the signal to local masts, experts can identify precisely where a phone was used.

OK, end of article, time for some thoughts.

Other newspapers were running similar stories, though that does not make any of them true.

In 2014, people were supposedly made arguidos on the basis of phone calls to each other around the time Madeleine disappeared, again according to the media.

I have rechecked the October 2013 Crimewatch. There is no mention of mobile phone traffic. The attribution to Andy Redwood that the entire mobile phone data was being targeted rather than trawled must come from another source.

So, you have your paws on the phone data, legally via a court order, not ‘seized’, and you look at it and WHAT?

Who knows whether there were 1,000 locals at the time? Or the full list of visitors in Luz, whether at the Ocean Club or at numerous other establishments in Luz? Or just dropped into town for a beer and a chat with mates? Each of these had a valid reason to use a mobile phone, a reason that had nothing to do with Madeleine McCann.

Triangulation? If the telephone data had triangulation information this case would not be running now. It would have concluded years ago.

All of the telephone data I have seen is much cruder. It tells you which cell the phone was in, as indicated by which mast it was talking to. As long as a phone and a mast were actually talking to each other.

Luz happens to be nearly 100% covered by a single mast. From that you get to know, roughly because there can be errors, whether the mobile phone was in Luz when it talked to the mast.

This means the phone data is a bit of a nightmare to interpret, and it will get much worse before it gets better. However…

It is my belief that the phone records hold the key to cracking the Madeleine McCann case.


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