According to his son Matthew, Sir Clement Freud was in the UK when Madeleine went missing. Unless the family avoided the news, it is reasonable to assume that they matched up the disappearance of Madeleine McCann with Luz, the place in which they had owned the villa Casa da Colina, and which they now rented for holidays.
Kate’s book “Madeleine” has the following. “ At the beginning of July we received the following letter. Dear McCanns. I have a house in P da L, been ashamed of the intrusion to your lives by our media … and if you would care to come to lunch/dinner at any time before Wednesday next, do ring and let me know. I cook decent meals. Sincerely, Clement Freud.”
‘Do ring’ requires a phone number and there is none in this extract, so presumably there was a bit more that Kate McCann chose not to publish.
This letter clarifies that Sir Clement was following the media. However, it is a bit vague of the date the letter was delivered.
Up until 2nd July, the McCanns were in apartment 4G. Then they moved to 27 Rua das Flores.
Casa da Colina was owned in 2007 by Philip Wright. His phone number was 262 *** 879. Gerry McCanns phone records show 4 calls to the villa land-line, two when the first visit occurred in early July, and two around the time they visited when they had been made arguidos.
The first call was on 3 July 2007 at 21:19 and lasted 3 minutes and 31 seconds. Presumably this was when Gerry established the letter was not a hoax, and arranged a date and time for the visit. The second call was on 4 July 2007 at 10:01am and lasted 1 minute and 1 second. That could have been confirmation, or possibly asking if it was OK to bring 3 adult friends and the twins.
The date of the first call suggests the letter was delivered by hand to apartment 4G, or the Ocean Club reception. Since Kate’s book raised the possibility of a hoax, clearly the McCanns did not meet Freud when the letter arrived.
Turning to the jogging aspect, in the Sun story linking Freud to the McCanns a neighbour said the couple were in the vicinity several times, implying more was going on than just the two visits in Kate’s book. This ignores the fact that the logical route for a jog from apartment 4G to the top of the cliffs runs beside Casa da Colina, the villa used by Freud as a holiday home.
So when the McCanns used this route, each time they would pass the neighbour once on the way up, and once on they way back down.
When the McCanns moved to 27 Rua das Flores, this route makes little or no sense. To get to the very bottom of the road leading up to the cliffs, the option is jog or take a car. The jog from 27 Rua das Flores to the start of ascent point involves some of the busiest roads in Luz, thus unpleasant and dangerous. Driving in a car seems highly unlikely, as the McCanns then had a new hill route on their doorstep, up Rua dos Hibiscos, past the water tower at the top, and out towards Espiche, if they wished. This route is fairly quiet and quite pleasant. We lived close to the water tower for a couple of months, and Rua dos Hibiscos was my preferred dog-walking route.
In summary, from apartment 4G the jog past Casa da Colina is logical, while from 27 Rua das Flores it is not.
Then there are the jogging photos. These are from Pamalam at http://www.mccannfiles.com/id9.html
“Saturday, 19 May 2007. Kate and Gerry go jogging at 7.00am in the morning, to the monument at the top of the steep cliff that overlooks Praia da Luz. They reach it in 19 minutes.”
I had only seen one jogging photo, and I was laboriously trying to pinpoint the precise location by lining up the church with the buildings behind. When I clapped eyes on the second, everything became much easier. They are at the position in the street where the surface changes from cobbles (calcadas) to packed earth.
That happens to be very near the top of the road, where it comes to an end at a large plateau underneath the cliffs. The plateau is a favoured haunt for dog walkers, who drive up and park at the top end of the road, and then let their dogs off the leash.
If you look at the map again, the entrance gate to Casa da Colina is where there is a little offshoot to the top & left and then the street runs up alongside the villa, while the jogging photos were taken nearly at the point where the road bends to a halt. Due to a bend in the road, I can’t see anything of Casa da Colina in the photos. There is a villa that is further up the hill, and ones in the background that are not on this route.
These are not the first jogging photos at Pamalam. Those appear on Wednesday, 16 May 2007. The jogging outfits are very similar, but not identical. There is no information as to the route taken by the pair on that occasion.
From memory, Kate’s book ‘Madeleine’ describes her first jog as being solo, which would date it to prior to 16 May 2007. And she describes the route as being to the top of the cliffs, which would mean she had taken this route before.
Quite possibly, the two pictures from Saturday, 19th May, are from a pre-arranged photo shoot, presumably for feeding the media snippets to keep them on-side. It seems an odd time to do it, given that the news focus at this time was Robert Murat as an arguido, but who know what ‘deal’ was struck with the media. It could be along the lines of ‘we’ve done our bit so give us a bit of private time.’
Certainly, there wasn’t a photographer at the top of the road by chance at 7am simply hoping. The spot and the framing have been carefully chosen to capture Kate and Gerry, to get enough background to scream Luz, and to carefully frame the photographs to drop distracting surroundings. And whoever took the photographs was not jogging up the hill ahead of Gerry and Kate. These two photos were taken by someone standing in the same spot and using a decent zoom lens.
If it was not an agreed and authorised photo shoot, the alternative is that the photographer knew that Kate and Gerry had an early morning jog routinely going to the top of the cliffs, watched Kate and Gerry set off at 7am, then drove to the plateau and simply waited in the right spot to capture the images.
There isn’t enough information in the photo from 16th May to locate where and when Kate and Gerry were jogging. The fact that Gerry has his t-shirt off suggests it was not early morning, but if they were coming back from the cliff top, it is possible that the hard ascent up from the plateau to the top was enough for him to want to cool down and remove his shirt.
This wander through the jogging photos has reminded me of some interesting points related to the plateau, but as this post is already long I will return to those to another time.
But to finish off, consider the time the run took. 19 minutes from apartment 4G, past Casa da Colina, across the plateau and up to the cliff tops sounds about right for a couple of experienced joggers. Anyone suggesting the McCanns used this for body disposal or body concealment has to factor in the time required to carry a fairly heavy weight to either the plateau or to the cliff top. It is totally inconsistent with the timings of 3 May 2007, so some interim storage point has to be built in.