Who is José da Silva? So far, I have not covered much more information about him than he was made an arguido in July 2014, he was a driver handling tourist shuttles within the Ocean Club complex, and on 3rd May 2007, he had 3 phone conversations and exchanged one text with Ricardo Rodrigues.
The PJ Files that are in the public domain have been redacted. This is a pity as it makes getting basic information quite hard in some instances. However, in the case of José da Silva, despite the files being redacted, it is clear that at the time he was living in Edifício Luztur at the time of his statement.
The media describe his location as overlooking the Ocean Club. Is this true and does it give insight into the case?
Luztur is by far the tallest building in Luz. It is just south of the tennis courts, the Tapas area, and the high tea area where Madeleine was on 3rd May 2007.
Heriberto Janosch visited Luz in 2013 and located a José da Silva to the second floor of Luztur, on the north side of the building, around 30m from Rua Primeiro de Maio. That corresponds to ‘overlooking the Ocean Club’.
According to Google Earth, the distance between this location and the rear of apartment 5A is around 160m.
The location of the high tea area within the Tapas complex is not precisely defined. However, the distance from Luztur to the vicinity of the Tapas bar is around 100m to 110m. That is of the order of a football pitch, so I would put high tea well within the scope of someone in Luztur. Always assuming line of sight is possible, so is line of sight possible?
Heriberto located José da Silva to the second floor, but I can see no reason why José would be restricted to that. So I am working on the premise that he had access to all floors, and that some or all of the floors could overlook the high tea area. Fortunately, Heriberto’s photos from his 2013 visit are on Pamalam, so we can get an idea from one of those.
This photo is across the swimming pool to the Tapas bar, with Luztur in the background. To the right of the Tapas bar you can see the tennis courts. And now you get a good idea, in reverse direction, of the view from Luztur to the high tea vicinity.
The second floor of Luztur does not look like a good bet, but the photo shows areas farther up on the building that should have had a good enough view.
The phone call from José da Silva to Ricardo Rodrigues that occurred at 5:26pm on 3 May 2007 could relate to high tea starting to break up. And if so, that this event was seen by José from Luztur and signalled to Ricardo.
It looks like you need to be half way up Luztur before you get a decent view of the high tea area, possibly a little less to see the rear of apartment 5A.
However, hanging around half way up Luztur in a public area you don’t normally use is a decidedly odd choice of vantage point. And while it may, conceivably, work during daylight it is poorly placed for night viewing.
If you look at the Tapas restaurant in the following photograph (also from Heriberto), it is immediately clear that the top of the building forms an impenetrable barrier to viewing from Luztur. That makes Edifício Luztur a very poor lookout point for movements after 8:30pm when the McCanns went to the restaurant.
The call at 17:26 is a weak fit with the use of Luztur as an observation point. The text at 21:25 and the calls at 21:38 and 21:51 just don’t fit at all.
So although it is technically correct to say that José da Silva lived in an apartment ‘overlooking the Ocean Club’, the implication that this was used to monitor activity does not stand up to scrutiny.
José da Silva may have been involved. He may even have been a look-out. But I doubt he was doing it from Luztur.