Madeleine – 3 May 2007 – 7.30 pm

By 7.30 pm on 3 May 2007, in apartment 5A in the Ocean Club, the trio of Madeleine, Amelie and Sean McCann had been put to bed. There was an hour before the restaurant booking at the Tapas Restaurant. Kate and Gerry McCann seemingly used this time to indulge in small talk over a glass of wine. They had a Sauvignon blanc that came from New Zealand (via Baptista supermarket). It seems to have reminded them of the time when they were both in New Zealand, becoming romantically engaged.

There is nothing odd in this. We put our kids to bed. We keep the volume down for a while. We indulge in quiet pastimes, like backgammon or Scrabble, Masterchef or Endeavour. Then we check that the kids are solidly asleep. This is pretty standard.

The Smith family from Ireland should have arrived at the Dolphin by this time, as 7.30 pm was their booking slot. I cannot remember any evidence to say whether they arrived on time, early or late. This point is important. It affects when they left, and when the they left is very important indeed. Perhaps all 9 Smiths walked down from Estrela da Luz to the Dolphin in one group. Perhaps they got there in dribs and drabs, like the the Tapas 9 arriving at the Tapas Restaurant.

In Germany, Werder Bremen were preparing to host Espanyol, to determine who would go to the final of the UEFA Cup, scheduled to be held in Glasgow on 16 May 2007. Werder Bremen were facing an uphill task as they were 3-0 down from the first leg.

In Seville, the UEFA Cup holders Sevilla were about to try to retain their trophy. They were playing another Spanish team, Osasuna, and yes there is also a football story behind this.

Two teams would go out of the UEFA Cup this night. Two teams would go to the cup final at Hampden Park in Glasgow on 16 May 2007. That is when an early showing of the video of Madeleine – Don’t You Forget About Me, was shown at half time.


Madeleine – 3 May 2007 – 7.15 pm

This timeline of 3 May 2007 is starting at 7.15pm. Many events before that could have been significant. Madeleine leaving High Tea in the Tapas area around 5.30pm. Phone calls in/around Luz at that time. David Payne’s visit to apartment 5A that evening. Possibly 5A was under observation, possibly not. I cannot clarify these things, so this timeline starts at 7.15 pm.

Around 7.15pm, in apartment 5A, it seems the McCanns were starting to settle Madeleine, Amelie and Sean down for the night.

Across Luz, the Smiths, an Irish party consisting of 4 adults and 5 children, were getting ready for a meal out at The Dolphin (O Golfinho). The booking was for 7.30 pm. The Smiths had an apartment in Estrela da Luz. Their walk to the restaurant would take them down Rua da Escola Primária. For part of the group, it was their last night on holiday and they were due to fly back to Ireland early the next morning. One of the party flying home was pregnant and would later be declared to be feeling unwell. However, there was to be a meal at The Dolphin, a restaurant with a South African menu.

Luz in 2007 had multiple sports bars, places showing sporting events on large screen TVs. In the time from when the McCanns arrived on 28 April to 7.15 pm on 3 May 2007, there were only 2 major sporting events. On Tuesday 1 May, Liverpool beat Chelsea on penalties to go through to the final of the Champions League. On Wednesday 2 May, AC Milan beat Manchester United, to go through to face Liverpool in the final. It would be a replay of the 2005 final.

These big games may explain why on Thursday 3 May, the sports bars in Luz were not stuffed with ex-pats. The football on 3 May was the ‘junior’ version, the Europa Cup, and featured 3 Spanish teams and one German team. That ingredient mix may or may not be important.

Madeleine – Netflix #1 update

Bar Carib is a bar/restaurant located in the west of Luz. It is the only facility in a very large area of Luz. It has the advantage of ample car parking, which is useful as the area is hilly and many of the ex-pats are no longer spring chickens.

Bar Carib is the dot in green. It is fairly close to the circle in pink, which is 27 Rua das Flores, the villa used by Kate and Gerry McCann when they left the Ocean Club. The map layout is a little confusing at this scale, because it looks like there are several car exits from 27 Rua das Flores, but many of these are pedestrian-only. The reality is cars go via Rua dos Hibiscos.

If the McCanns went jogging from 27 Rua das Flores there is a good chance they ran up Rua dos Hibiscus, and if so, they would have passed the sign for the Bar Carib. For all I know, the McCanns may have used it as their local.

Other than this sheer speculation, I have not heard of any connection between the Bar Carib and the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. At least until now.

The yellow dot on the map is apartment 5A, close to Baptista supermarket (and the Tapas Restaurant). The blue dot is the Millennium, around a 650m walk from apartment 5A.

The orange dot beside the Millennium is the Mirage. It gets a couple of little mentions in the PJ Files, with possibly two more flying under the radar.

The owner of the Mirage is David Jones, co-creator of Fireman Sam. The Mirage has been closed since 2014, because it was losing money. Mr Jones was in the Carib recently, and the locals do enjoy a good gossip when they socialise.

Mr Jones said that he had indeed been in touch with Netflix. He told them that he had no significant knowledge regarding Madeleine’s disappearance. In my opinion, he is in error on that point, but I assume he does not know the slivers of gold he is sitting on, like many a person in this incident.

His interview with Netflix was restricted to whether Madeleine’s disappearance had an impact on his business. Since I was not at Bar Carib to hear his story first-hand, I will simply say he does indeed think there was a Madeleine effect, a very detrimental one.

If you look at the map again, the Mirage is not best placed for general business. There is car parking, though not a huge amount. The Mirage is adjacent to the Ocean Club, and it is an obvious connection that as the Ocean Club went into terminal decline, the Mirage would struggle badly. Picanhas Brazilian grill opened just a mile or so east of Luz, and that appears to have killed off the Mirage.

Since Mr David Jones is prominent in the Netflix gossip and will probably pop up again, here is a photo of him (on the right).

For more bio, go to

Madeleine – Steve Gibson on YouTube

A Mr. Steve Gibson has uploaded a YouTube video that seemingly follows on from one of the men identified in the Panorama 10 year special.

It is at and was uploaded on 9 July 2017. Before you spend over 51mins of your life on this, let me explain the provenance.

Mr Gibson uploaded a shorter video to YouTube on the Madeleine McCann case, about one year earlier than his current opus. That video was rambling, full of swearing, and Mr Gibson made clear he was new to the case at that time. It is self evident from that video that Mr Gibson was fairly ignorant of the case basics.

Reading up for a year is unlikely to have transformed Mr Gibson’s expertise, but at least in his July 2017 effort he desists from swearing.

His basic train of thought is as follows.

  • Kate and Gerry McCann can be ruled out, largely on the response of the dogs.
  • The Tapas 7 can be ruled out, largely on the basis that they had no need to get involved in a cover-up.
  • Random individuals mentioned in the PJ Files, e.g. bogus charity collectors or alleged surveillance people, can be ruled out, largely on the basis that there was insufficient evidence of monitoring of apartment 5A.
  • This leaves an inside job, conducted by a staff member at the Ocean Club, with access to keys.
  • Cleaners can be ruled out, largely because Mr Gibson thinks they can.
  • Maintenance workers can be ruled out, largely because Mr Gibson thinks they can.
  • Staff such as restaurant workers, gardeners and drivers are ruled out, because Mr Gibson thinks it was done with a key to 5A.
  • That leaves those in administration (Ocean Club 24 hour reception). Of which Mr Gibson thinks they number around a dozen.
  • And for some reason, Mr Gibson then homes in on one of the Panorama people, Vitor dos Santos.

Perhaps it was the Panorama programme, perhaps not, but Mr Gibson has lifted both video and stills from that special to support his analysis. He has alleged that in the Panorama interview conducted by Richard Bilton, Sr dos Santos’ behaviour was strange, in that he mentioned several times that he had lost his job over the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, and that he expressed no emotional tie to Madeleine, or support for her parents.

He went further by overlaying on the Panorama footage the darker-skinned Smithman e-fit, thereby implying a likeness.

Mr Gibson went to considerable length to state he could not prove this theory, which is probably a wise decision.

I am not a fan of behavioural analysis. In Sr dos Santos’ position it strikes me as impossible to predict what ‘correct’ behaviour would be. And as for the Smithman e-fits, I am of the opinion these are junk quality, and tell us very little indeed.

There are things about Sr dos Santos as a suspect that are a poor fit. His statement shows that he was casado i.e. married, so exactly what he was going to do with a 3-year old girl is difficult to imagine. His economic situation seems to have deteriorated with his change of occupation. And 10 years on from Madeleine’s disappearance, he appears to be living and working close to Luz, in plain and common view.

Madeleine – the no news photos

I have been meaning to pack away a few photos before we relocate and as there seems to be no news on the Madeleine McCann front, this seems as good a time as any.

Both of the following photos were taken around 5.50pm, today, 15 Jun 2017. The temperature hit 37°C at lunchtime, which is far too hot for me. We currently live on a hilltop in the north of Luz and that means we get any breeze going, which is brilliant through Spring, Summer and Autumn. Our family juniors have already moved to our new house inland, and they tell us it is baking, with no wind, so I am contemplating how to make a lot of artificial wind when we need it there.

Here is the first of two photos.

I took this simply because that purple-flowering tree is stunning. I have no gardening skills, so I had to ask what type of tree it is. I am informed it is a jacaranda, and I want one when we move. We have around 300m of land that we are not permitted to build any structure on, so we might as well have a pretty garden.

The second photo is simply a view of Luz that you don’t get in any of the stock photos.

This is looking from Monte Lemos in the extreme north of Luz roughly due west. There are two positioning aides in it. In the background you can see the hill on which Boa Vista golf complex resides, stretching to Rocha Negra at the southern end. On the hill you can see the track possibly used by Kate and Gerry McCann when they went running to ascend the hill, but there is an easier route.

In the centre of the photo in the middle distance is a row of villas and sticking up near the left hand end is a thing that looks like a tree. In fact, it is artificial. It is a phone mast that was put in with the intention of providing the Internet throughout Luz, but the project failed. It locally called the pineapple roundabout even though the structure looks like a palm tree. It sits near the northern end of Rua Primeira de Maio, a few yards or metres up from the Hotel Belavista.

If you look nearer than this to the centre-right, you can see a very large villa done in white. That is one of two luxury villas that have recently been built on Monte Lemos in a speculative enterprise. Neither will get finished until someone buys them and specifies how they want the interior to look.

This means that although the Ocean Club is dead, there is still investment and building at the high end of the market. Whether BrExit impacts this remains to be seen.

The orange or sandy-coloured villa behind the white one is obscuring any view of apartment 5A, the Ocean Club, and most of central Luz, but apartment 5A is far enough away that it would not appear from this spot.

Madeleine – Sky special – 2 May 2017

On 2 May 2017, Sky showed ‘Searching for Madeleine’, a special to mark the10th anniversary of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. The presenter was Martin Brunt, who has followed the case for the 10 years since it began. The studio guest was Colin Sutton, an ex-DCI from Scotland Yard with experience of conducting major investigations.

The fist 10 minutes covered the basics. The holiday, the Tapas zone, the initial response to the incident by Portuguese police.

Sky News on 4 May 2007 ran with the story that a 3 year old British girl was missing on the Algarve. Pedro do Carmo, Deputy Director, Judicial Police, described the initial work as a rescue operation, looking for a child that was missing.

Here Sky hit its first wobbly. It says the apartment was let out twice before it was sealed off for a full forensic examination. The reality is different. The PJ from Portimão tried to collect forensic evidence in the very early hours of 4 May 2007. Irene Trovão, also a local forensic officer, was videoed checking the shutter of the children’s bedroom for fingerprints. And while Gerry and Kate McCann were giving their first witness statements, a forensics duo from Lisbon conducted the major forensic examination on the afternoon of 4 May 2007. The forensics had been done. There was no way to foresee the apartment should be sealed off until Eddie and Keela were deployed.

The centrepiece of the Sky programme was a Home Office report written by Jim Gamble, then head of CEOP, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.

This documented the many organisations that were involved close to the beginning, and the difficulties this caused. Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary at the time, questioned if Leicestershire Police had the wherewithal to handle this type of investigation. Mr Gamble was asked to consider if it was worth getting Scotland Yard involved. Mr Gamble suggested a scoping review to identify if opportunities had been missed, but officials appeared to be set against this.

Mr Gamble was shocked to find the parents had not been investigated first by the Portuguese police, in order to clear the ground for further enquiries. He went on to say the Portuguese response was inadequate, but he used a comparison in the UK that does not approximate to the situation in Luz in 2007. I will return to that in a future post.

Colin Sutton made the point that a snapshot of the incident area was not constructed, and more could have been done by UK police re interviewing British holidaymakers who had returned to the UK, and British workers in the ‘complex’.

My main criticism of the early effort is that apparently little was done to get door-to-door information in the immediate vicinity of apartment 5A.

Sky went on to cover leaks to the Portuguese press, concerning dog alerts and supposed DNA results. Mr Sutton pointed out that dog alerts are not evidence.

The events around the McCanns being made arguidos, flying home to the UK, and removal of arguido status upon archiving of the case was covered.

There appeared to be a 3-way split between the McCanns, the Portuguese police and the UK police. The CEOP report then makes an odd assertion. It alleges the McCanns had a significant amount of information from their private investigators, and this information had not been fully shared with either the Portuguese police or the UK police. I cannot see how Mr Gamble could reach such a conclusion. Perhaps it is explained in the CEOP report, but I haven’t read that document.

Mark Rowley, Assistant Commissioner, Metropolitan Police, explained there had been a discussion of the case in 2011 between the Prime Ministers of Portugal and the UK, and it was agreed that Scotland Yard would get involved.

The documentary then covered the remit. Colin Sutton explained that a fresh investigation should start right at the beginning. This echoes what was said by Jim Gamble. However, Operation Grange was to be restricted to abduction. AC Mark Rowley says parental involvement had been covered by the original Portuguese investigation. The recent Supreme Court decision made it clear this is not the case.

The Sky documentary moved on to the Jane Tanner sighting. Martin Brunt pointed out the obvious – namely if the man was coming from the Ocean Club night crèche, then he was going the wrong way. Jane Tanner’s rogatory statement pointed out this problem. If the night crèche closed at 11.30pm, It is actually more likely that at 9.15pm, the time of the Tanner sighting, he was heading towards the night crèche.

Scotland Yard presented two e-fits of a man carrying a child ‘towards the beach’. This of course was the Smith sighting at 10pm. Crimewatch 2013 did indeed state this man was heading towards the beach.

This suggests that Martin Brunt does not fully understand the Smith sighting. 12-year-old Aoife Smith’s statement does not fit with ‘towards the beach’. Should Mr Brunt ever return to Luz, I will be happy to show him why Aoife Smith’s statement strongly suggests ‘towards the beach’ is wrong. And why that man is likely to be Portuguese and innocent. Plus why that man is unlikely to come forward. And what needs to be done to get him to identify himself.

The documentary covered Operation Grange’s look at charity collectors. There is an easy test for this. The bogus ones do door-to-door, and disappear rapidly if they make some cash. The genuine ones go to the main thoroughfares and work there for hours on end.

Then Sky covered a burglary gone wrong. Whilst Operation Grange evaluated this as viable, Portuguese police did not think it likely.

The documentary moved to mobile phone data. The CEOP report says there was lots of it, but it was badly handled by Portuguese investigators. It had not been fully analysed, and the Portuguese should accept UK help. This sounds to me to be very over-simplistic, but I cannot be certain as I have not read the CEOP report.

Then the documentary moved to its weakest point, what can be extracted from that phone data. Nothing Colin Sutton said on this has much relevance to Luz on 3 May 2007.

As is normal, there were 3 cellphone operators in Luz – Optimus, TMN and Vodafone. Roughly speaking, each operator cuts Luz into a western half and an eastern half, and that is as much as you get. Was the cellphone active in Luz that night, and if so, was it in the west of Luz or the east.

Take for example Kate McCann. Her phone was active that night on Optimus antenna Luz 2. That antenna covers the east of Luz, and apartment 5A is indeed in the east of Luz. But the whole of the Ocean Club is in the eastern half of Luz, as is the majority of the commercial establishments e.g. the Mirage. I cannot tell from phone data if Kate was in or around 5A when her phone was active. The phone data is very rough.

Further, DCI Andy Redwood has said that a major obstacle to phone data analysis was PAYG phones.

4 people were made arguidos in July 2014, but have now been informed they are no longer persons of interest.

The new Portuguese investigation focussed on a series of sex attacks in the Algarve. It would appear most were on older children, but one was on a child aged 3. Euclides Monteiro, an ex-waiter at the Ocean Club, was identified by the Portuguese investigation as a suspect for the sex attacks. DNA tests ruled out Mr Monteiro. He had been killed in a tractor accident in 2009.

The Sky documentary examined the woke and wandered theory. Local ex-pat Mr John Ballinger provided some photos of the road works in Luz around that time. There was no examination as to why Kate McCann’s description of apartment 5A that night is a poor fit with woke and wandered.

Mr Brunt pointed out that there is no evidence to prove Madeleine came to any harm, so she may still be alive.

Have lessons been learned from the disappearance of Madeleine McCann? Jim Gamble and Alan Johnson think not.

The documentary covered some of the Internet abuse directed at Kate and Gerry. Two police investigations found no evidence of their involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance. The Sky investigation also found no such evidence.

It concluded that the mystery of what happened to Madeleine McCann remains just that. A mystery.

AC Mark Rowley said there is a significant line of enquiry that remains to be pursued, but would not divulge what it was.

On the armchair experts forum that I prefer, the general view was that little was learned from this Sky special. However, that is not the correct view to take, in my opinion. This programme was not aimed at a handful of amateur detectives. It was targeting the greater British public. And for those, I suspect the key point that was delivered was that roughly £12 million down the line, the investigation is fatally flawed because, despite what DCI Andy Redwood said, it did not start by going back to the very beginning.

Madeleine – Luz Tour #6

Luz Tour #6 took place on 1st May and 2nd May 2017, just before the 10th anniversary. It was with a UK press member, Michael Havis. I was somewhat apprehensive, given that I had already been flame-grilled by a UK tabloid that had never spoken to me in any way, shape, or form. Things went better this time round, and I consider I received a much more balanced evaluation.

We met up at a hotel in the west of Luz, had a chat for a few minutes, then headed into Luz on foot.

Our first stop was at Rua das Flores. I wanted to show why it made sense for the McCanns to haul rubbish out of their rental villa by car, hence the stinky boot story. The bins are at the entrance/exit to the urbanisation, not easy to get to on foot, but chuck a plastic bag full of rubbish in the boot and everything makes perfect sense. Including a stinky boot.

Off we headed down Rua 25 de Abril to look at the place where Operation Grange dug up the mound. Visitors seem surprised by the size of it. The key details pass them by. It is an integral part of the Luz one-way system. There were two nearby restaurants which opened in 2007, though whether they managed it by May 2007, I don’t know.

Critical point #1 is the statement of Kirsty Louise Maryan. She was up a hill in Luz with two other nannies in the early hours of 4 May 2007 when they encountered Barrington Godfrey Norton, who was sleeping rough in a Ford Escort van. The only place I know of in Luz up a hill where people park camper vans overnight is this mound. I don’t have confirmation from any of the 4 people involved in this encounter that it happened on the mound. It is simply the only place that fits.

We walked through much of central Luz and arrived at the Ocean Club. I was becoming very tired. I took Mr Havis part of the way along the short route between the Tapas reception area and the Ocean Club night crèche. Along the way we saw that the adults-only swimming pool had no water in it. The next day we would find that the indoor pool was also empty of water. Basically, the Ocean Club is dead.

Near the adults-only pool, the short route goes up half a dozen steps, then it goes down a large number on the other side, and I didn’t want to do that, so we parted and Mr Havis continued exploring on his own. It seems he ended up on the sea front for a meal.

He liked the café enough that we met up there at lunchtime the next day, and it was packed. The visitors included large Portuguese groups, presumably down from Lisbon, extending the Labour Day holiday.

On the sea-front promenade on the way to the café, I had been accosted by a charity collector. This brings my encounters with charity collectors in Luz to 6. 4 of these have been calls to my residence, and each of these I would consider suspect. The other 2 have been in busy public areas of Luz, and both of these I consider genuine. Mr Havis was relieved to hear I considered the promenade charity collector to be genuine, as he had made a donation on his journey to the café.

I explained the story about the alleged tunnels and O Pouço to Mr Havis, so he asked if we could have a look, and we did. Then it was back to the front for the renovated Paraíso, where the Tapas 7 went on 3 May 2007, the market stalls where Gerry bought sunglasses on the McCanns trip to the beach, and up Rua Praia da Luz.

This street has at least two components in the Madeleine story.

John Ballinger apparently lives on this street. I knew that previously, but what I didn’t know before was that he appeared on the Sky 10th anniversary special. He explained to roadworks that were open on the night of 3 May, and from his photos, he appears to be the source for a picture in the press. Mr Ballinger said he had reported the roadworks to the police, which implies at that time he was of the opinion it was a missing child who woke and wandered, rather than an abduction.

The other feature on Rua Praia da Luz is the Duke of Holland restaurant/bar. It was taken over and has since closed down, but in 2007 it was run by June and Paul Wright. When the news was made public on 3 May, one of the pair immediately joined the search for Madeleine, while the other closed the Duke later, then got involved in the search. After this they were checked re whether Robert Murat was around apartment 5A that evening, as they knew Mr Murat and could recognise him. Despite returning to the vicinity of 5A several times during searches, Mr Murat had not been seen.

At the top of the beach road we turned left on Rua Direita and headed SW. This also has a number of items of interest on it.

First, the roadworks in the files were being done on this street.

Then there is the Luz Sporting Club. This is one of two places in Luz I suspect Sr Euclides Monteiro may well have been on that evening. His widow has said he was at home in Portelas (about 15 minutes drive from Luz) on 3 May 2007, composing a poem on his computer. I suspect he was in Luz, with friends, watching the big game. There were lots of places in Luz to watch the football that night, but only two where the predominant language was likely to be Portuguese and where the predominant culture was likely to be Portuguese. So Mr Havers took a photo of the club for his stock.

The we went to the Ocean Club reception. Things have changed somewhat with Madeleine’s kids club no longer there, and the indoor swimming pool in disuse.

I didn’t fancy the large flight of steps on the short route used by the McCanns, so we opted for a slightly longer route that is set up for wheelchair users, hence there are no stairs. This is probably the way the nannies moved the children from the kids club to the Tapas zone because it avoids a steep flight of stairs and it is ideally suited to Sammy Snake, the preferred way of getting the kids to walk together.

As it so happens, this goes between Fiji Palms block and Casa Liliana. Fiji Palms was the location of the Carpenter family. Casa Liliana was the home of Robert Murat and his mother Jenny. This is the approximate point at which Stephen Carpenter and Robert Murat met on the morning of 4 May, when Mr Murat learned what was going on, and he went to block 5 to offer his services as an interpreter.

We then headed to the Tapas reception, using the same semi-circular route taken by the Carpenters when they left the Tapas zone on 3 May.

Mr Havis was being pressed by his editor to file at least one story by his editor while he was still in Luz, so he wanted a photo to go with it. This is the one he picked.

After 2 days of Luz Tour #6, I was very tired physically. Mr Havis was going to head back to his hotel, apparently to converse with a colleague. I had just enough gas in the tank to walk home. We did not discuss what either of us would be doing on the 10th anniversary.

I have no idea how Mr Havis spent most of his day on 3 May 2017. I decided that I only had the capacity left for a stab at one trip into Luz, so I picked the 10th anniversary ceremony at St Vincent.

There I bumped into a contact from AFP from Luz Tour #5. He was back down after another 3 hour trip from Lisbon, so he has more stamina than I have.

As it happens, I took the extremely grainy photo of Mr Havis with Reverend Haynes Hubbard that appeared in the UK press.

And yes, I missed the chance to introduce myself to Mr Martin Brunt of Sky TV. He, and the Sky team, looked like they were working their socks off.