Madeleine – Freud, Luz, Robert Murat

Having looked at Freud’s MO and Freud’s personality, it is time to turn to the issue of what these had to do, if anything with the Madeleine McCann case.

In no particular order, the following questions arise. What did Freud see in Luz that attracted him here in his years of decline? What connection did Freud have to Robert Murat? Was Freud a regular in any Luz pub, whether the Pig’s Head, the Plough and Harrow or any other? Most important of all, what was Freud’s interest in the McCanns?

Why was Freud attracted to Luz? The attraction in his years of decline, after he sold Casa da Colina to Philip and Andrew Wright in 2002, is possibly easier to explain. After having established a familiarity with the area, returning to a known haven has an element of sense about it.

An unknown is when Freud first bought Casa da Colina and how he came to alight on Luz.

His interests and pastimes seem to be a poor fit with the area. The picture painted of his earlier life is one of mixing with those aspiring to the upper class in society. Despite the plethora of luxury villas in the area, if Luz has an upper class set, it is well hidden. A more apt description is ‘sleepy’. This happens to apply to the local restaurants and bars. Despite the number of both, it is hard to think of any that could be described as up-market. Perhaps there are some further afield on the Algarve. I simply don’t think of Luz as some Portuguese equivalent of Cannes.

Then there are Freud’s interests, noted as boules and golf. These are both social games, but Freud is depicted as getting more distant with age. Golf is an odd one. His daughter, Emma Freud, wrote a year after Freud had died that he was considerably overweight and had health problems. The nearest golf course to Luz is Boa Vista, which only a few hundred metres above Casa da Colina. However, there is no short route between the two. The course was designed in 2001 and opened in January 2002. Freud may or may not have become a member after he sold his villa, but he certainly did not come here because of a non-existent golf course.

The neighbours are quoted as saying that Freud was a quiet person who kept himself to himself. It certainly does not seem that Freud was a lavish entertainer. But bear in mind that the two McCann visits were not picked up by the media at the time. They entered public knowledge when Kate’s book “Madeleine” was published. We pick up certain information about who is visiting which villa around us, but it is not like a Neighbourhood Watch, and I can’t see why Casa da Colina would be different. His colleagues said that Freud was getting more distant as he got older, tending to eat by himself rather than joining them for lunch.

Sir Clement Freud was a racing pundit up to the time of his death. He supposedly died whilst writing his weekly article for the Racing Post, and with £2,000 of winnings in his pocket. This Algarve Resident article shows the state of play with horse racing and betting in Portugal in August 2015, and the summary is that there isn’t any.

Freud was still clashing wits on Just A Minute until he died, suggesting that while his body was getting feeble, he still had his wits about him. In one of the episodes towards the end, Freud deploys what is reputed to be a standard tactic of his i.e. waiting until the minute was nearly up before interrupting, to enable him to be speaking as the whistle goes and so win the round.

Freud may not have mixed much with his neighbours on the Algarve, but he seems more integrated into London society. He had sent out invitations to an 85th birthday party and delayed heart surgery heart surgery that was urgent in order to make the party work, a decision that did not run his way as he died of a heart attack shortly before his birthday.

There is a snippet here that may be relevant. “Sir Clement was a familiar face in Luz when staying at his holiday villa: He frequently took walks on the beach, and was untroubled by people who recognised him.” How Natasha Donn managed to dig up this morsel for the Portugal Resident is beyond me, since no one is being quoted as a source.

However, it may be that it explains Freud’s interest in the area – just a sleepy backwater, lots of sun, and no one pestering him.

Moving on to Robert Murat, the issue arises as to whether he and Freud knew each other, and whether they drank together. Although the story in the Sun by Antonella Lazzeri has them on nodding terms at both the Plough and Harrow in Luz and the Pig’s Head in Burgau, the landlord of the Pig’s Head, Robert Hurst has come up with a quite different version of events. He has stated that Freud visited the Pig’s Head once some 20 years ago, that Murat visited it once around 8 years ago, and the people who were on nodding terms were Robert Hurst and Robert Murat.

Turning to the Plough and Harrow, as that closed years ago, it would take the previous owners, staff who worked there at the time, or patrons from that era, to make any connection to either Freud or Murat. You can make your own judgement as to whether someone like Freud was involved with DJ Shifty, the son of the then owners. Personally, I would need to see or hear something a bit more substantial than the Sun article.

That takes us to the McCanns. This post is already long enough, so I will reserve the McCanns for next time out.


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