Crimewatch 2013 in simple English

The following is a transcript of Crimewatch of October 2013, in simple English.  Some small changes were made to the transcript to ensure this version can be auto-translated to other languages, with a good degree of accuracy.  It has been verified by auto-translating it to Portuguese, checking the result, then auto-translating the Portuguese back to English for a second check.

The aim of this transcript is to make the Crimewatch programme understandable around the world.  Please feel free to copy the transcript, or to auto-translate it to the language of your choice.


Crimewatch is a programme on the BBC, in which the police appeal for help from the public.

This is the transcript of the October 2013 edition of Crimewatch, a special about Madeleine McCann. The video is at

00:00 Introduction

Live on TV for the next hour tonight, the case that has fascinated the world. What really happened to Madeleine McCann? With exclusive access to Scotland Yard’s investigation, we can now reveal the most detailed understanding of what took place that night in Portugal.

00:20 DCI Andy Redwood

Things that have not been quite as significant, or did not receive quite the same degree of attention, are now the centre of our focus. The e-fits are clear and I’d ask the public to look very carefully at them.

We’ll explain why the images are so critical and correct the existing theories.

00:38 Tanner sighting, then the McCanns

We are almost certain now that this sighting is not the abductor.

And Madeleine’s parents tell us how they have coped in the media glare, without their beloved daughter.

I knew straight away that Madeleine had been taken. It is not us who have committed this crime. It is a person who has gone into that apartment, and taken a little girl away from her family.

01:03 Titles of the programme

This is Crimewatch.

01:26 Introduction to tonight’s programme

Hello, and welcome to Crimewatch. We are live for the next hour with the latest crime news and appeals for this month. We will be revealing the latest findings about Madeleine McCann in just a moment. And after tonight’s major reconstruction, I will be speaking live to Madeleine’s parents, Gerry and Kate, for their latest reaction to all these new developments.

01:47 Appeals not related to Madeleine McCann

03:12 Returns to the Madeleine McCann appeal

There must be very few people who do not know about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. She was just three-years-old when she went missing while she was on holiday with her family in Portugal. That was way back in May 2007. She has not been seen since. And whoever took her have yet to be brought to justice.

There was widespread criticism of the initial Portuguese investigation and even, at one point, accusations that her own parents were to blame.

Along with Kate and Gerry McCann, in the studio tonight are the Scotland Yard detectives who are leading this new investigation. We have been working closely with them for several months to reconstruct their latest findings. And tonight we can reveal the major revelations that they have uncovered, and the true significance of those crucial e-fits you may have seen today if you have been watching the news.

Now we ask you to cast your preconceptions aside, to examine this new information, and to do what you can to help find Madeleine McCann.

04:12 Around apartment 5A

The initial inquiry of the Portuguese police lasted a year. Private investigators have followed up sightings around the world. And the media storm surrounding the story came up with numerous theories.

(Snippets of old news stories.)

But what actually happened to Madeleine McCann remains a mystery.

04:45 More previous information

In June this year, after reviewing the evidence, officers from the Metropolitan Police began a fresh investigation. Now, for the first time, the lead detective is ready to reveal what they have uncovered.

I would say it was a revelation moment.

And we speak to Kate and Gerry McCann about how they have coped over the past six years.

05:09 Interview with Gerry and Kate

When it is a special occasion, when you should be at your happiest and Madeleine is not there, that is when it is very bad.

05:19 More introduction

Speculation will be cast aside and new leads revealed, as we ask you to help police finally uncover the truth about what happened to Madeleine McCann.

05:37 Interview with Gerry and Kate

Gerry, what are your first memories of Madeleine as a baby?

Well, she came out screaming. She was a McCann. There is no doubt about that. She was very loud, but she came out almost perfectly formed. She was instantly beautiful.

Because you had been through IVF to conceive her, it must have had an extra poignancy when she was born. Can you tell me …

Very overwhelming, and it is that immediate love. And she did feel special. It did feel like after all we’ve been through FANTASTIC!

I have looked at photographs of your family from around that time. I think it was not long after the twins had been born. The thing that constantly strikes me is this. You have a sort of giant smile in every photograph, which is like here we are. This is it. This is all that matters. Is that how you felt?

Yes. It was all I dreamed of really. I can remember one morning. My mum and dad were there. And we had all piled into their bedroom and the three kids were climbing on top of me. And I just thought we were so lucky, with 3 kids. And it was just great. It was perfect.

06:58 General information

The resort of Praia da Luz in Portugal is popular with families from across the UK and the rest of Europe.

But six years ago it became known for a very different reason. It was the place where three-year-old Madeleine McCann was abducted from her apartment. Since then, the mystery of what happened to her has continued to make headlines, but amid the speculation, what are the facts?

07:32 The reconstruction begins

Kate and Gerry McCann arrived at the Ocean Club complex with a group of friends. They brought their three children, two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie, and three-year-old Madeleine.

What did Madeleine make of the swimming pool? Was she right in there?

Yes, she was. She was desperate to get in there. Yes I mean, it was then end of April when we went out, and it was not that warm. She was straight in, swimming and yes …

Madeleine loved it. She really wanted to get in the water.

The McCanns got involved with activities provided by the complex. There were kids clubs for the children. Kate and Gerry signed up for tennis lessons. There was also time for them to be together, as a family.

And generally it was probably about 6:30, when we would all go back to our respective apartments. And then it would be the bedtime routine.

08:29 The Tapas restaurant

In the evenings the adults would dine in the resort’s Tapas restaurant, which was fifty metres from the McCanns apartment. Five days into the holiday, the group was settled into this routine.

08:50 Thursday, 3rd May, 2007

I think we all woke up around 7:30 and went through to have breakfast. At that point, Madeleine said “Where were you when Sean and I cried last night?” It is one of those questions that makes you think.

We just made a mental note of it. When we go out tonight we need to make sure we are really checking. We would not like to think they might wake up, be crying and looking for us.

09:28 The last photograph

The time we had by the pool and the play area that day, all five of us, was a really fun time. It was particularly fun.

She was sitting in her little dress and hat, and I was paddling my feet.

And it was sunny and that is why we have got the photograph. The last photograph we have.

09:59 The last afternoon

We had a lesson booked, the two of us, a tennis lesson. And then I stayed on and Kate went for a run.

So at 5 o’clock I went over to meet the kids, and Kate came back from her running.

Madeleine looked really tired. She was really pale and quite washed out.

We decided to take them straight back to the apartment. And just before six, I headed off back to play tennis and left Kate to get them ready.

10:29 Bedtime for the children

Gerald swallowed bravely as he walked toward the floor,

but the lions saw him coming and they soon began to roar.

Again, it is quite a nice memory. Madeleine was sitting on my knee. Sean and Amelie were alongside. We had had a story, and Madeleine asked if she could put my engagement ring on, which she did quite a bit. So she had that on. It was just a really nice moment. Then Gerry got back very promptly at seven.

They were all sitting on the couch together. They all had their pyjamas on. They had their milk.

We sat on Madeleine’s bed and we had a story. Then Gerry came through and we put the twins into their travel cots they were sleeping in and said goodnight.

We had a ground floor apartment.  The window of the bedroom had a shutter on it outside that was completely down. And the window was closed and we had curtains completely across. So it was nice and dark in the room.

As always, we closed the door, not completely closed, but just so it was open a little bit, so that the light from the living room would get through. I have to say it was quiet within seconds. I think they were all just so tired, and they fell asleep.

11:54 The Tapas meal

The McCanns left their apartment at 8:30 . They were joined at the Tapas restaurant by their friends Matt and Rachael Oldfield, and Jane Tanner and her partner Russell O’Brien. At about 9 o’clock, Matt went to make sure his children were alright. Shortly after he had gone, the remaining 3 people arrived.

A few minutes after 9, I said to Kate – that is half an hour, I am going up . As I walked in, I noticed that the bedroom door of the children was open slightly wider than I had left it. So naturally, I went into the room. I could see the twins clearly in their cot, and Madeleine was lying there, sound asleep.

12:53 The sighting by Tanner

On his way back, Gerry stopped to have a chat with a fellow guest.

At about the same time, Jane Tanner went to check on her children. Her route took her past the McCanns apartment.

13:17 The Tapas meal

By the time the starters arrived everyone appeared settled for dinner.

And then at 9:30, which is the time I thought – I need to check. I stood up and at the same time Matt stood up. Matt and Rachael stayed in the apartment next to us in 5B. Matt said, I can check.

So I said OK, I will go next time.

As Matt left the table, Russell, Jane’s partner, also went to check his children.

Matt checked and when he came back, he said are they alright, and he said it is all quiet.

Russell stayed behind as his daughter had become unwell. Jane went to relieve him when she had finished her meal.

14:10 Kate checks

At ten o’clock, I got up to do the next check. I had finished eating then, so I headed back to the apartment by the usual route.

I just stopped and listened in the living area for a bit. It was all quiet but it caught my eye that the children’s door was quite wide open. At that point, I thought it must have been when Matt checked, and he had left it open. I was pulling it over, when it was caught by a wind and it slammed shut.

It was only at that point that I opened it a bit. I looked into the room. I was looking at Madeleine’s bed and I could not make her out. Then I realised she was not in that bed. I wondered if she had woken up and gone through to our bed. She was not in our bed. And that was the first time a panic kicked in.

And at that point the curtains, that I say were closed, just went whoosh. And then I could see that the window had been pushed completely open. The shutters were up. So I knew then that Madeleine had been taken.

15:40 The aftermath

Within hours of Madeleine going missing the world’s media had descended on the resort. Searches of the local area were carried out. While reporters camped outside the apartment.

A day after she disappeared, Gerry gave a statement to the press. “Words can not describe the anguish and despair that we are feeling.”

Later Kate made an emotional speech after visiting the local church. “Please continue to pray for Madeleine. She’s lovely.”

16:18 The sighting by Tanner

As the McCanns and their friends tried to understand that night, Jane Tanner remembered seeing something that was to become the main thread of the investigation.

When she walked past the McCanns apartment at about a quarter past nine, she had seen a man. He was carrying a child. Her description helped to create this artist’s impression.

Was he the man who took Madeleine?

16:44 Crimewatch 2007

A month after her disappearance, the McCanns made an appeal on Crimewatch.

For the Crimewatch viewers at home, I think this would be a good time to review all the information.”

These are virtually identical to the pyjamas that Madeleine was wearing when she was taken.”

17:08 The McCanns as arguidos

By now, Madeleine’s abduction was a major news story all over the world. But not all the publicity was welcome.

The day that you yourselves were named as being suspects. Tell me about that day.

I think Gerry was scared. He knew that we were in a system that we did not know. And I think I just lost it. I was upset. I was angry. And I thought, this is just crazy. It is unjust. We are never going to find Madeleine.

17:50 The case was closed in Portugal

In July 2008, more than a year after she disappeared, the Portuguese investigation was closed and all suspects, including Kate and Gerry, were formally exonerated.

The McCanns continued to campaign for police to reopen the case of their missing daughter.

Do you always feel conscious that there is a Madeleine-shaped hole there?

When it is a special occasion, when you should be at your happiest, and Madeleine is not there, that is when it is very bad. Obviously Madeleine’s birthday goes without saying. But it is when you are really getting …

Yes, when you have big family occasions. That is basically it, a family occasion and you have not got your complete family.

18:39 The case was reviewed by Scotland Yard

In 2011, the McCanns made a direct appeal to Prime Minister David Cameron for help in the search for Madeleine. In an unprecedented move, a team from the Metropolitan Police was given approval to review the mass of evidence that had come from Praia da Luz.

Would the UK’s top detectives be able to crack a case that had baffled the world?

19:06 DCI Andy Redwood

Please come in.

DCI Andy Redwood is leading the investigation.

Primarily what we sought to do from the beginning is trying to draw everything to zero. To take everything back to the beginning, and then re-analyse and reassess everything, accepting nothing.

The work of detectives in re-examining thousands of documents was rewarded when they were finally given approval to launch a full inquiry.

19:42 Outside of apartment 5A

What follows is the result of this painstaking new investigation by Scotland Yard’s elite detectives. The truest account yet of what really happened that night.

20:01 Apartment 5A

Tell me now about the crime scene itself.

Yes, the family with their three children were in apartment G five A. This was on the edge of a contained area, which was known as the Ocean Club, within which there was a Tapas bar and swimming pools and tennis court. But the actual apartment where they were staying was outside that perimeter area, and it was, effectively, from front and back, accessible to the public. The front door was accessed by a car park. At the rear entrance was a set of steps that lead up and onto a rear balcony. This lead into and through patio doors.

Madeleine and her siblings, Sean and Amelie, were staying in the front bedroom, which looked out onto the front car park. Madeleine was in a bed, and the two children were in travel cots that were between Madeleine’s bed and the bed that was nearest to the window.

20:55 The time line

The careful and critical analysis of the time line has been absolutely key. Primarily, we are focussed on the time between 8:30 and 10. We know that at 8 thirty, Mr and Mrs McCann went down to the Tapas area for their dinner. And we know that around 10pm was when Mrs McCann found that Madeleine was missing.

21:18 The sighting by Tanner

One of the most pivotal events on the time line was the sighting by Jane Tanner of a man carrying a child. He was walking in a spot just metres from where Madeleine had been sleeping. This man was widely thought to be Madeleine’s abductor but the team was taking nothing for granted.

21:42 The Ocean Club night crèche

One of the things that we picked up very quickly was the fact that there was a night crèche. It was operating from the main Ocean Club reception. 8 families had left 11 children in there, and one particular family we spoke to gave us information that was really interesting and exciting.

In fact I would say it was a revelation moment. Having discussed with them what they were doing on the night, they believed that they could be the Tanner sighting.

22:12 Crèche dad 1

The British father had collected his two-year-old daughter from the crèche. He had been walking near the McCanns apartment: This is the actual photograph taken by Metropolitan Police officers of the man dressed in the kind of clothes he wore on holiday. This image was compared to the artist’s impression.

It is uncannily similar, and we know the pyjamas that their child was wearing. And that again is uncannily similar.

22:48 Crèche dad 2

So, what you are saying, is that the timing that everyone was working on for years in this case was wrong.

We are almost certain now that this sighting is not the abductor. But very importantly, what it says is that from 9:15, we were able to allow the clock to continue to move forward. And in doing so, things that have not been quite as significant, or received quite the same degree of attention, are now the centre of our focus.

This was an enormous discovery for the team, an innocent explanation for the suspect who had been at the centre of the case for six years.

23:27 The sighting by the Smiths

Their attention quickly turned to another sighting which could now be the key to the entire mystery.

It was here at 10pm that an Irish family witnessed another man carrying a child. They saw him come down the hill from the direction of the Ocean Club, heading that way towards the beach.

Could this have been Madeleine and her abductor?

He was a white man with brown hair. And the child that he had in his arms was described as being about three to four years, and with blonde hair, possibly wearing pyjamas, a description very close to that of Madeleine McCann.

24:08 The e-fits by the Smiths

Two of the witnesses helped create e-fits of the man they saw.

Today for the first time, we can reveal the true significance of these images.

This could be the man that took Madeleine, but very importantly there could be an innocent explanation.

The e-fits are clear and I’d ask the public to look very carefully at them. If they know who this person is, please come forward.

Smithman e-fits

24:36 Other sightings of interest

As part of their exhaustive investigation, the detectives are particularly interested in a number of blond-haired men who were seen near the McCanns apartment.

Do they hold the answer to her disappearance?

24:55 Other sightings of interest

One witness saw a fair-haired man near the McCanns apartment twice. On the first occasion, she saw him standing on the path that runs behind the block. The second time, he was near the entrance to the Tapas restaurant looking towards apartment G 5 A.

On the day Madeleine disappeared, two men were seen on the balcony of a nearby empty apartment, believed to be 5C, two doors down from the McCanns.

A man was also seen in the same area two hours later.

At 6pm, a man was seen in the stairwell in the McCanns apartment block.

And an hour after Madeleine was reported missing, two men were seen speaking with raised voices. When they saw the witness, they walked away talking in hushed tones.

25:55 The importance of the sightings

How important are these sightings, do you think?

Madeleine McCann’s disappearance does, on one reading of the evidence, have the hallmarks of a pre-planned abduction. That would undoubtedly have involved reconnaissance, and so we are really keen to understand who these people were.

They may all be separate. So it is really important this evening to say to the public that if you recognize yourself then please have the courage to come forward, because it is really important for us to eliminate any sightings that are innocent and have nothing to do with Madeleine’s disappearance.

26:28 The burglaries

As well as that line of inquiry, and the sighting by the Irish family of a man carrying a child, the police are also looking at a third important strand of their investigation.

We have noticed that there was, between January and the time Madeleine went missing, a four-fold increase in the number of burglaries that were taking place in the vicinity.

In the three weeks prior to her disappearance, two incidents took place in the very block when Madeleine slept. In both, windows were used to gain access.

Possibly, there is a scenario where Madeleine could have disturbed somebody trying to commit a burglary.

To date, nobody has been caught for these crimes.

27:43 Interview with Kate and Gerry

You have said in the past that there can be nobody who knows your story, who can look back on that night as much as you yourself have looked back on it, and said “What could we have done? What should we have done?” How you deal with those feelings now?

Maybe I’ll say it first because I think I realised really early on that ‘we could’, guilt, ifs, buts, maybes, could eat away at you. It does not change what has happened. It has always been a mantra for me to look forward, and always to look forward to what can still be done.

I think it took me longer to get to that point. When I didn’t persecute myself further, our decision to eat at the Tapas restaurant for weeks, months, years, I’d say.

For years, did you?

Yes, why did we think that was OK? You know, obviously with hindsight. But then, as Gerry said, it does not help. It does not help us. It does not help Madeleine. And ultimately, it is not us who has committed this crime. It is a person who has gone into an apartment and taken a little girl away from her family.


That is what they have done. They have taken a little girl away from her family.

Let us speak now live to DCI Andy Redwood who, as you have seen, is leading this big investigation. He has taken the time to join us here tonight.

In front of you and your team has been a massive task. You genuinely feel that you are making significant advances here, do you?

Yes we do. We are making good progress. There is still much to do. but our revision of the time line and a re-emphasis on events beyond 9:15 means that we are bringing new information this evening to the public.

OK, tell me about that then. Let’s focus on 10pm Let’s focus on this sighting and you tell me what’s important, and what people watching need to concentrate on tonight.

Well at 10pm, we can see a man walking down towards the sea. A white man in his thirties with brown hair, and in his arms is a child three to four years of age, blonde hair, wearing pyjamas. This is a very close description to that of Madeleine McCann.

Two e-fits that have never been in the public domain of this one individual. It is really important for us to understand who he is.

Andy, another aspect that seems very important are all these different sightings of what might be the same fair-haired man, or might be different fair-haired men. Give us a bit more detail on those.


Well, there are a number of other incidents on the day Madeleine went missing and in days leading up to her disappearance where one man or two were seen lurking around the apartments. Now there may be a completely innocent explanation for these, but we really need the public to help us to identify these men are.

OK, you said that there was this four-fold increase in burglaries around about the time that Madeleine was taken. And also there was a rash of charity collections. Who knows if that is what they were. You think both of these things also might be something that has an important aspect in terms of the investigation.

Yes. On the afternoon that Madeleine disappeared, between 3:30 and 5:30, there were four charity collector events, where two men went to residential apartments in streets very close to her apartment. And certainly on one of those events at 4pm – there’s an e-fit that the public can look at and a man with black hair …


That we really need to know more about and identify who this person is.

And was a about a week before there was another significant event again. Let us call it a charity collection sighting. Tell me about this.

Yes. This was actually the week before Madeleine disappeared in the apartment where she was staying.

A man, and the e-fit is in front to the public now, again with black hair, went up the rear steps and approached a gentleman on the balcony. And again there are certain elements of both that event and the event at 4pm on the day with the e-fit that we’ve shown prior to this that have resonance between each other. It is really important for us to identify who these individuals are.

That is for sure. DCI Andy Redwood, thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us.

31:47 Interview with Kate and Gerry

So let us join Madeleine’s parents. Let us talk to Kate and Gerry McCann. You saw there they were reliving that entire traumatic day and …

Nice to see you again, and I am sure that cannot have been easy. Gerry if I can come to you first. You said the first time you made a public statement that “words cannot describe the anguish and despair that we are feeling”. I wonder tonight, having come all the way that you have, having fought as hard as you have for this investigation, and hearing the new information, what are you feeling tonight?

I think we’re feeling hopeful and optimistic. All along we’ve said that a review needed to be done. I think the Metropolitan Police have done a great job in piecing things together, bringing all the information, and identifying new pieces of information that are taking us further forward.

Kate, I was aware as I was speaking to you and Gerry, when I was interviewing you, that I was asking you about the most traumatic and awful day of your life. Of course there is a reason for doing that. People watching tonight might say, you know what, Kate, it is six years on. What do you think is going to come out of this? You are putting yourself through all this heartache. What on earth can happen next? What would you say to them?

Well, it doesn’t matter how much heartache we put ourselves through, so long as we get the result that we need. As Gerry said, the Metropolitan Police have made huge progress, and that has given us great hope that we can find Madeleine, that we can find out what has happened to her.

As well as all that, there are other cases over the last few years of children who have been found after being taken for a long time. These cases can get solved. And I think that is what the public need to think about tonight, the new information, and really rack their brains and come forward.

When I spoke to you, you said something to me that you did not say during the interview, but that you said later when we were chatting off-camera. And you said, Kirsty, the younger that a child is abducted, the greater chance statistically there is that child will be found alive. Now, obviously you have become experts in this but I very much got that feeling that for both you there is hope there still.

I think that we do not know what has happened to Madeleine. We don’t know who’s taken her. Probably our best chance of finding her is identifying that person, and that is why the e-fits and the sketches and the new information tonight are so important to us. Because that is probably the best chance we have got of finding Madeleine.

Can I ask you Kate, for anybody watching tonight, who thinks, I know something. I don’t know if it is worth phoning in. What would you say to them tonight if they are watching?

Please, please have the courage and confidence to come forward now and share that information with us and you could unlock this whole case. The general public has been fantastic but please stay with us and come forward.

We wish you, and we wish the twins all the very best. Thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us.

Thank you.

Thank you.


Right, there you have it. Now it is your turn. If you recognise the man that we have shown you tonight in these e-fits, here he is again. Or if you have any single scrap of information. It could be about the sightings of the fair-haired men. It could be about burglaries in the area. I would urge you please to do the right thing and call our studio now. You know the number. It’s 0500 600 600. You can also call the incident room if you prefer. Let me give you the number for that. That is 0800 0961011.