Madeleine v the call that wasn’t

Kate McCann raised the alarm that Madeleine was missing at around 10.05pm on 3 May 2007.

According to Gordon Rayner, Chief Reporter at the the Telegraph, on 29 Apr 2016,

In the nine years since Madeleine McCann went missing from a holiday apartment in Portugal, myriad theories about what happened to her have taken root, but only one fact remains uncontested: that she was reported missing at 10.14pm on the evening of Thursday, May 3, 2007.

It was at that point, when police were called, that the clock started ticking on the biggest missing persons investigation for decades, a search which remains very much active to this day.

Facts, the hard currency of any police investigation, have proved almost uniquely elusive; every sighting, every timing and every witness statement has been disputed in the years that have elapsed since.”

Gordon Rayner’s bio says he joined the Telegraph in 2007, and I can date an article to him to Sep 2007, in which he is described as a Chief Reporter, so presumably he joined in that capacity.

This particular article has been running in the Telegraph for years, updated with a new line or two, as and when, but basically the same article.

What do Mr Rayner’s opening paragraphs tell us. First, that the police were called at 10.14pm on 3 May 2007, and second, that there are no other uncontested facts.

However, the telephone company records for the calls made from the Ocean Club to the GNR in Lagos show the first call was at 10.41pm, or about 35 minutes after the alarm was raised.

So where does Mr Rayner’s idea of a 10.14 call originate? The provenance can be traced back to around 9 Sep 2007. The Telegraph, via Chief Reporter Gordon Rayner, on 11 Sep 2007, came up with 10.14pm. The Times on 9 Sep 2007 made it 10.14 to 10.15pm, attributed the story to the McCanns, and fleshed it out with the tale that this call was organised by a friend.

This provenance almost certainly goes further back than this. The McCanns were made arguidos on 7 Sep 2007, and I doubt this non-call was top of their agenda around 9 Sep 2007. However, there is a Times report by Penny Wark dated 4 Sep 2007 which covers a lot of ground in the case but makes no mention of this alleged call.

Who was the friend who made this non-call? That seems to be Matthew Oldfield, the same person who made the non-check on Madeleine at 9.30pm. In Matthew’s rogatory, he says he went to OC reception to request that the police were called, but did not insist on it. He left the Ocean Club reception thinking that Madeleine might have returned after having wandered off, so presumably he was not yet convinced by the abduction angle.

This non-call to the GNR appears to be pivotal. In a building in Lisbon, Securitas Portugal would be the next to call the GNR in Lagos, to report an incident in Odiáxere.

This is a list of the calls to the GNR in Lagos on 3 May 2007. It’s in an odd order, but there is no record of a call from the Ocean Club until 10.41pm, with a second at 10.53pm. This can be labelled as the ‘hurry-up’ call to the GNR patrol officers. Greentrust is the name of the Portuguese company used by Mark Warner to administer the Ocean Club.

If you look at the list of calls you will see that there were 3 from Securitas Direct Portugal, 214147000, to the GNR Lagos, 282762809. After Matthew Oldfield’s non-call around 10.14 or 10.15, the next real call to the GNR was from Securitas, at 10.30.

Here is a map of where Securitas was located re Lisbon. The GNR training school and dog unit was at Queluz, about 2 miles to the north.

The call to the GNR Matthew Oldfield did not enforce at around 10.14 meant the GNR Lagos responded to the Securitas call at 10.30, and headed instead to an incident in Odiáxere, a fair distance from Luz.

The second call from Securitas to Lagos GNR was at 10.44. The hurry-up call from the Ocean Club to the GNR was 9 minutes later. Securitas made a third call at 11.19pm.

The responding officers said they were at Valverde when they were told to hurry up. I don’t know what delay there was between the incoming phone call from the Ocean Club and passing that information to the patrol car. The call from the Ocean Club to the GNR in Lagos ended around 10.54pm, so presumably it was after this time.

There is another call of interest on this sheet. 964098114 called GNR Lagos at 11.09pm, lasting 41 seconds. This mobile number was noted as belonging to Silvia Batista. That call I will park for another post.


5 thoughts on “Madeleine v the call that wasn’t

  1. The call logs are part of the PJ Files and so are public.

    What is not resolved is when Kate and Gerry became aware that Matthew had not managed to get the police called.

    Mrs Fenn’s statement said she offered to call the police around 10.30, but Gerry declined this on the basis that the police had already been called, when in fact they hadn’t.

    • Not really.

      The officers responding simply say they were in Odiáxere when they were first radiod re Madeleine.

      Vitor dos Santos describes it as a theft. However, his information on this came receptionist Helder Luis, who called the GNR then his boss Vitor. Helder’s statement does not mention Odiáxere.

      • Hi elcacraig 1964
        Interesting details about the time line regarding the calls to the P J. A few months ago I read the P J files focusing on what the witnesses have said about at what the time they heard about a girl having gone missing and reached the conclusion that it’s just as likely that Kate alerted around 10.15-10.20 p m as 10.00-10.05. Important for two reasons. Firstly Gerry could still be the person that the Smiths saw around 09.55-10.00, even if he was at the table when Kate raised the alarm. Secondly, it is more likely that the McCanns delayed the call for police 20 minutes than almost 40 minutes.

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