What is is that Sir Clement Freud saw in the Madeleine McCann case that made him invite the McCanns to his holiday rental villa not once, but twice, in 2007?
The starting off point is where these visits were reported. As far as I know these visits were never reported other than in Kate’s book “Madeleine”. There was nothing reported in the media at the time. It would appear that Freud did not blab about these visits. There is ‘nothing’ in the PJ Files. And Gerry McCann’s blog of the time is reputed to be absent of any mention of meeting Freud in Casa da Colina.
So the first question that has to be asked is simple. Other than Kate McCann’s book, is there any evidence of these visits?
Without even digging into the case, the answer has to go heavily in favour of a yes. To write the relevant parts of her book, Kate had to know that Sir Clement was a visitor to Luz, and that he was in Luz on the dates she mentioned. Plus she would have needed to know about the people owning the villa from 2002, Philip and Andrew Wright. Otherwise her statements would have been shredded by now, which they haven’t.
The next port of call has to be the PJ Files. There is no reason for me to think that the notes supposedly written by Sir Clement Freud would have found their way into the files, but phone communications to and from the Tapas 9 were being monitored and analysed, so it is reasonable to make a first assumption that something should surface here.
The bit you need is the Luz phone records, and the particular set is the Vodafone records, which are detailed at http://www.mccannpjfiles.co.uk/PJ/PHONE_LISTINGS.htm These are the records for the 3 Vodafone numbers known about by the PJ, and Gerry McCann was on Vodafone.
I have not hacked through all of these records, but there were 5 calls from Gerry’s mobile to the number of Casa da Colina land-line. Gerry’s mobile was 7786986188. The land-line for Casa da Colina was 282789879, under the name of Philip Wright.
The first 3 calls are 3 July 2007 at 21:19, lasting 3:31; 4 July 2007 at 10:01 lasting 1:07; 4 July 2007 at 12:46 lasting 1min 55secs. These appear to fit well with an invitation by Freud to visit him for a meal at Casa da Colina for a meal, when 5 adults and the twins are stated as having participated.
The last two are 2 Sep 2007 at 15:42, lasting 1:45; 3 Sep 2007 at 16:51, lasting just 59 seconds. These are a relatively poor match for a visit that is supposed to have occurred on the day both Kate and Gerry were made arguidos – 7 Sep 2007.
According to Vodafone, these telephone records were sent to the PJ on 14 Dec 2007. This was months after Kate and Gerry McCann had been made arguidos, and they had long since departed Portugal for the UK.
There was also no reason to suspect at the time that Casa da Colina or Sir Clement Freud were involved in anything. The first connection to Sir Clement appeared in Kate’s book Madeleine around the 4th anniversary in 2011, roughly 2 years after Freud died, and that does not appear to have been recognised as potentially significant until Vicky Haynes read the book some 2 years later, or about 4 years after Sir Clement Freud passed away.
So it has all been very late in the day, though it appears Vicky Haynes raised her concerns with Operation Grange, and the UK police have checked out what was going on at the relevant dates with the current owners of Casa da Colina. There is nothing on the horizon that seems suspect, at least as far as the media are concerned at this moment.
So what was Freud up to in inviting the McCanns twice to his holiday home?
Option 1. He was simply being benign. It was nothing more than simply extending a hand to a couple in trouble. This may be correct, but Freud was getting more reclusive with age, and 5 strangers plus the twins seems a bit of a leap.
Option 2. He was trying to find out what was going on in the case. He did seem to be interested in this aspect, but was that in any way unusual in Luz in 2007?
Option 3. It was simply a frisson of excitement. Even at his age, he was still plugged into the celebrities, whether that was horse-racing, popular game shows like Just A Minute, or one of the biggest circuses in history, the McCanns in Luz.
Option 3 sounds the most likely to me, but there is a major problem. Why didn’t this come out in Freud’s lifetime? Why didn’t Freud or the McCanns relate this while Freud was alive? I have not scrutinised what has been kept of Gerry McCann’s blog, but surely these two visits were worthy of a comment or two? It is claimed that Gerry’s blog had nothing.
Option 4. Paedophiles. Since Sir Clement Freud had sold Casa da Colina in 2002, anyone trying the paedophile idea has to stretch it to the ridiculous. This would require that Casa da Colina, under present ownership, was implicated in paedophile activities in 2007 at a time that Sir Clement Freud was in the UK. For me, that one goes straight into the rubbish bin.
The alternative version of option 4 is that Sir Clement Freud was plugged into some paedophile ring in Luz, either in 2007 or much earlier. To date, I have seen zero to support this.
Therefore, my choice is option 3, that Freud got a bit of an insider view, and a vicarious thrill. He seemed to be a person who thought that normal social conventions did not apply to him. But of course I cannot prove this, and you are free to make up your own mind.