Madeleine – Panorama special 3 May 2017

Reporter Richard Bilton, who has covered the Madeleine McCann case for 10 years, presented a BBC Panorama special on 3 May 2017 entitled ‘Madeleine McCann 10 Years On’.

Mr Bilton obtained an interview with Pedro do Carmo, Deputy Director, Polícia Judiciária. He said it is still a missing child case. Plus the PJ wanted to learn what to do if it is repeated.

The Lisbon court case of the McCanns v Gonçalo Amaral was covered briefly.

The programme added various scenes of Luz that are impossible to get from the ground. If you check the credits at the end, you will see the drone camera operator was Andy Webb.

The documentary covered the basics of the case – 9 adults eating at the Tapas restaurant, 8 children in block 5, Kate alerting around 10pm that Madeleine was missing.

There was a previously unseen interview with Gonçalo Amaral from 2012, in which it was claimed there was nothing to support an abduction.

The programme said the Portuguese police found inconsistencies in the time-line, and thought the McCanns had acted oddly by bringing in the media.

The dog deployments were next, presumably to move on to an interview of Kate and Gerry McCann by Sandra Felgueiras. This was the one where Gerry said cadaver dogs are unreliable.

Had the Portuguese settled on their theory before final DNA results were available? Panorama did not pick up the order of things from Kate’s book ‘madeleine’. The McCanns let it be known they were soon leaving Portugal. The PJ chose to interview them before their announced leaving date. The incomplete results still required that the McCanns were made arguidos.

The Smith family gave statements that they saw a man carrying a child several hundred metres from the Ocean Club at around 10pm on 3 May. Gerry would be implicated in the sighting, but he had an alibi of being at the Tapas Restaurant at that time.

In 2008 the case was archived, and the McCanns were no longer arguidos.

Robert Murat gave his opinion on events of that time. Was his mother being followed by private investigators? Was Mr Bilton asked to spy on his colleagues with respect to Mr Murat?

The BBC documentary moved to the report by Jim Gamble, then head of CEOP. It recommended a review. The report appeared to languish until May 2011, when The Sun serialised Kate McCann’s book ‘madeleine’.

Operation Grange was started. The documentary moved to ‘the British story’.

There were burglaries in Luz, that allegedly the local operators kept quiet to protect trade. Heriberto Janosch González told of 3 recent burglaries in block 4 and block 5. In a video, he demonstrated how to raise the shutter an open the window from outside.

3 men were potentially involved in a burglary that night. José Carlos da Silva, a driver at the Ocean Cub. Ricardo Rodrigues, aged 16 in 2017. And Paulo Ribeiro. These were allegedly connected by phone messages and texts. These were 3 Portuguese people on a phone to each other in Luz, and the phone traffic was normal. José Carlos da Silva declined to be interviewed. Ricardo Rodrigues could not be contacted. Paulo Ribeiro was interviewed and he denied involvement in a burglary. He said he had been identified from a drawing or e-fit.

Presumably that was from Crimewatch Oct 2013. If so it is puzzling as to how Sr Ribeiro was identified, as that Crimewatch programme did not air on any Portuguese channel, though those e-fits were shown in Portuguese media.

Judging by the Panorama interview, Sr Ribeiro does not appear to be the kind of person who could keep a major secret for 10 years.

I think I may have had a very brief encounter with Sr Ribeiro about a year ago, though I had no idea at the time that it was him.

Scotland Yard announced these 3 men were no longer persons of interest in April 2017.

Panorama moved on to another man, Vitor dos Santos. He had given a fairly long statement in 2007. He confirmed he had been interviewed by British police, and that must have been in Dec 2014. He said the questions were much the same as in 2007 e.g. about the logistics of the holiday complex. Sr dos Santos had been laid off by the Ocean Club and now made a living taking tourists on boat trips near Lagos.

It seems Operation Grange has a further lead to pursue but Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley would not be drawn on what it was. That left the recent press speculation that it might be about a woman seen near apartment 5A acting suspiciously on 3 May 2007.

I was in contact with the Panorama team to explain some information. However, that was shortly before the programme aired, when the documentary must have been nearly fully completed. So I have no reason to believe anything was altered as a result of our exchange.


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 – Ricardo Rodrigues

Ricardo Rodrigues is the third of 4 people made arguidos in July 2014, so what do we know about him?

Before we start on this topic, searching for Ricardo Rodrigues in Portugal is about as productive as searching for John Smith in England. Therefore, we are heavily reliant on media reports, which is not a good start.

Ricardo Rodrigues was not interviewed as part of the original PJ investigation. He was 16 at the time of the Madeleine incident and did not work for the Ocean Club.

Ricardo Rodrigues allegedly received 3 phone calls and 1 text from another arguido, José da Silva, on the evening of 3rd May 2007. There was also, allegedly a call be between Ricardo and a fourth arguido, on 2 May 2007.

One of these can be proved. Heriberto Janosch dug into the PJ Files and established that a call was made from José da Silva to Ricardo Rodrigues. This happened at 21:51 on 3 May, and lasted a little under a minute.

The other 3 contacts were earlier in the evening, and at the moment the evidence for these is merely the media. Given that the media speculation was frenzied, sometimes alleging large numbers of contacts before Madeleine disappeared and sometimes alleging numerous contacts after Madeleine disappeared, we are now into dangerous waters. A further 2 calls and 1 text in the evening of 3 May do not fit my understanding of ‘numerous’.

If this was a burglary developing, then the direction of communication, from José to Ricardo fits one possible scenario well. José was a look-out and Ricardo was the burglar.

This fits with the age profiles, with José around 30 at the time and Ricardo 16.

It does not fit with Ricardo being some sort of controller or look-out, while José tried to carry out the burglary.

The actual call pattern is a weak match for Tapas 9 movements, and don’t fit with a burglary. Does a look-out phone or text a burglar whilst the burglar is actively attempting to enter a property and steal?

Apart from a potential burglary connection, the media linked Ricardo Rodrigues to a potential charity collector sighting. The implication is that this was a scam, but as far as a burglary is concerned it matters not a jot.

The question that arises is – would a person planning a burglary turn up a day or two earlier on the doorstep, with the intention of sizing up the scene? This is both a good way to get noticed and a poor way to assess the security of the target.

There was a charity collector reported at the rear of 5A. However, he was working alone, he does not fit Ricardo, and if apartment 5A was burgled, it is more likely that the children’s bedroom window was used.

This leaves me with a third arguido where I am struggling to find what was sufficient to make him an arguido.

Perhaps he had a criminal record. It is possible, but I have no evidence to support that allegation.

The media described him as either a beggar or a charity collector when he was 16, but at age 23 seems to prefer the term unemployed.

That is not a lot to go on, and trying to find Ricardo Rodrigues is difficult, so is there anything to add to this?

One small insight may be relevant. Ricardo apparently was the owner of a particular make, model and colour of car. One Ricardo Rodrigues turns up in an adventure on 8 Sep 2010 at the Autódromo International do Algarve, a racing circuit to the north east of Luz.

Autódromo Algarve

A group of friends from the area had taken their cars to the track. It appears that you could race your own street cars on the circuit, for a charge of €5 per car for two laps. The group had some fun then decided to halt, all but two cars. The drivers, one of them Ricardo Rodrigues, decided to race a further two laps.

They were racing round one of the turns when Ricardo lost control, hitting the other car, so halting the race. The damage was around €600 per car.

Ricardo was supposedly 16 at the time of Madeleine incident. That would make him around 19 at the time of the Autódromo crash. In Portugal, you need to be 19 to sit your driving test, so Ricardo does not seem to have been an experienced driver.

More importantly, in he was described by the media as being either a beggar or a charity collector in 2007. He was described by the media as being unemployed in 2014.

He appears to have had the means to purchase a fairly sporty hatchback that was not old by Portuguese standards. As to whether that source of income was by his own methods or whether it was provided by someone else, I don’t know.

Again, the reason for making Ricardo an arguido is unknown. If he had a criminal record then it might be understandable. If he was identified via Crimewatch, then again it might be reasonable. However, the Crimewatch route again suffers from the fact it was not shown in Portugal. It suffers from another major problem. Although the files have a couple of statements that might be, at a stretch, Ricardo out doing charity collections with another older collector, it appears that no e-fit of the younger collector was produced.

This leaves a more tenuous connection to an older collector i.e. that the older collector was named via Crimewatch, and Ricardo Rodrigues was linked by the final ‘dodgy’ phone communication, namely a call between them on 2nd May 2007.

This is very unappetising fodder indeed.

Madeleine – José da Silva off work?

There are minor pieces of information known about José da Silva that have little bearing on the case. It appears he moved from Luztur to a nearby run-down apartment, he is reputed to be suffering health problems, and he is reputed to be carrying out a menial job.

The last significant piece of the puzzle emerged relatively recently. The other Ocean Club driver was Bernardino da Silva (probably not related). The media has picked up that Bernardino says José da Silva was not at work on 3 May 2007, when he should have been.

Bernardino’s first statement to the PJ does not mention this. Perhaps he thought it was not significant at the time in May 2007. However, he had reported a man he saw around 20:15 to 20:30 in Luz on 3 May 2007, on the basis that he had not seen the man in Luz before.

Given that Luz is a holiday resort with many people turning up for their first and only week in Luz, a person Bernardino had not seen before should have been a common occurrence, yet Bernardino raised this small point with the police. As it happens, the man was tracked to an address near the Post Office, and it turned out he had a five year rental contract for the property. He was of no further interest to the police.

Bernardino gave a second statement to the police, on 6 Feb 2008 (about 9 months after the incident). He was asked why he had made a call at 21:00 on 3 May 2007 in Luz, when his normal working hours stopped at 20:30.

He gave two reasons for working late. The first was that guests needed to be transported late. The second was that some tourists did not have the key to their apartment.

Bernardino did not mention José da Silva failed to turn for work that day. It was an obvious thing to say to explain why he was running late, as Thursday was one of the arrival/departure dates. Missing a driver on that day should have been noticeable.

The sole witness statement of José da Silva was made on 8 May 2007. It is very bland. Perhaps this is due to the large number of witnesses making statements in the early days of the investigation.

He gives his normal working hours as 11:00 to 16:00, except for Thursdays and Saturdays. On those days he started earlier and finished later, as these days were the main arrival and departure days. He does not cover, specifically, whether he was supposed to work on 3 May 2007, and if he failed to turn up, why this was.

So when did Bernardino’s account, that José failed to turn up for work that day, originate, and when did it first surface?

Trying to piece together who said what when in the media spaghetti is a task fraught with risk, but here is my attempt at this.

Heriberto Janosch at EspacioExterior ( was developing a theory of who within the PJ Files might be people who, at the minimum, could supply further information to progress the case. He has been in contact with Scotland Yard more than once, to provide what he had pieced together.

In late October 2013, Heriberto was blogging that José da Silva (then not identified by name) was not at work between 9pm and 11pm on 3 May 2007. This gave José the opportunity to be involved. I do not know where Heri got this information.

A little after that, Heriberto’s blog evolved to this person being absent for the whole of Thursday 3 May, when he should have been working. Again, I do not know where Heri got this information.

In Crimewatch of Oct 2013, there was a mention of an increase in burglaries in the vicinity, in the months preceding Madeleine’s disappearance.

Towards the end of 2013, the media was stating that Scotland Yard was interested in a trio of burglars.

Heriberto’s scenario does not involve a trio of burglars. It involves a single person attempting to enter apartment 5A via the window in the children’s bedroom, with the possibility of a second person being involved later.

The two other arguidos of 2014 inked directly or indirectly to José da Silva were not Ocean Club employees at that time. This means their criminal record, if any, is not in the PJ Files. If someone has knowledge that they were burglars, this information had to come from another source.

On 5th Jan 2014, the Sunday Express ran a story penned by James Murray bringing multiple elements of this tale together. This includes the Scotland Yard analysis of mobile phone traffic and repeats the 3 burglars part. Then it illuminates the article with some information from Heriberto.

Heriberto’s main input is that he wonders if the (lone) man in his scenario is one of the 3 burglars that appear to be of interest to Scotland Yard. Then James Murray appears to write words that fit the overall story, but do not fit Heriberto’s scenario. Heriberto is quoted that multiple burglars entered apartment 5A, when his theorem is that a single person acted alone, and though he opened the shutter and window, he did not enter the flat.

In the printed newspaper, the article states Heriberto says José was not at work on 3rd May 2007.

From then on, of course, this particular element was available to all the media, whether it was deemed important or not.

This has evolved to the stage where Bernardino da Silva is attributed as the source of the information. I cannot confirm whether this is correct.

However, if José da Silva was supposed to be at work that day but wasn’t, it would be prudent of Scotland Yard to enquire why. This in itself does not appear enough to make him an arguido. Since an arguido can refuse to answer questions, while a witness is obliged to answer questions, it appears more sensible to clear up this element by making him a witness.

So, José da Silva was an Ocean Club driver. He lived nearby. He made 3 phone calls and 1 text to Ricardo Rodrigues (another person to be made arguido) in the evening of 3 May 2007. If you bash the time time-line hard enough, you can get a degree of match to Tapas 9 movements, though there are obvious problems with this. He had the word ‘furto’ (theft) hand-written next to his name on a list of employees.

At this point in time I am still thinking ‘witness’, not ‘arguido’, therefore I am wondering if there is more. One example of more might be that Ricardo Rodrigues had a record of burglary, but I hasten to add I have no evidence of this.

Another might be that someone calling Crimewatch re Smithman might have named José da Silva as a match. Again, I hasten to add I have no evidence of this. Further, the programme was broadcast in the UK, with equivalents in Germany and Holland, but not in Portugal. It is the case that ex-pats in Portugal had access to the programme, whilst local Portuguese viewers probably did not. This would mean identification by a non-Portuguese person, which seems to be of low probability.

Madeleine – José da Silva, furto

Another part of the reason that José da Silva was made an arguido may be that he appears in the PJ files on a printed list of employees of the Ocean Club, with the hand-written word ‘Furto’ beside his entry.

The word ‘furto’ is best translated as theft, linked to furtar, to steal. It is possible to translate it as burglary, but there are three words in Portuguese that mean burglary more directly.

The printed list of employees appears to have been used to check that statements were taken systematically from each one, so no-one was missed. The notes were jotted on top.

These hand-written notes that were added to the printed list cover several things, and appear in several different types of hand-writing.

Presumably, these notes were added by the PJ, but precisely who in the PJ added what, and when the notes were added, is not clear.

However, eight employees have notes added which implicates them in what looks like low-level criminal activity, of varying types. There is no previous record of a serious crime noted. There is nothing that approaches kidnapping. There is nothing of a sexual nature. And the nearest the notes get to burglary is furto, a word that fits better with theft, while three better words for burglary do not appear on the list.

The offences appear to cover driving without a licence, theft, drug trafficking, fraud, forgery, and trafficking (presumably in stolen or illegal goods). There is nothing to indicate precisely how serious these offences were. Take the drug trafficking for example. There is nothing to clarify whether this was significant or a very minor role in selling or moving drugs.

None of the 8 employees was questioned about these criminal records. Therefore, I must presume that the offences were considered minor, or alternatively that information about this was added after the witness interviews and no-one thought it worthwhile following up.

Of the 8, three have furto in their entry, and some curious coincidences exist. The only one of the 8 made an arguido was José da Silva, so why did Scotland Yard focus on him?

Two of those labelled furto appear to be boyfriend and girlfriend. One did a menial job in the Tapas kitchen. The other did a menial job in the Millennium restaurant. These do not seem to be likely suspects, despite the furto tag.

From the 8, a different two people were working in the Millennium on 3rd May when a searcher broke the news that a girl had gone missing. Both remembered seeing the McCanns in the restaurant on Saturday, 28 April 2007, when the Tapas 9 all trudged to the Millennium, because the Tapas restaurant was closed.

This would give these two suspects a head start in seeing the Tapas 9 together. However, the only other time the McCanns ate in the Millennium was Sunday morning, when the two suspects were not working. So this coincidence can be chalked off as just a coincidence.

A fifth person from the 8 was in apartment 5A on Tuesday, 1st May, to help out with maintenance. He was with a colleague from maintenance, and his statement is that he was in the kitchen and the parents’ bedroom only. The three children were not present. If we are talking burglary here, this was an ideal opportunity to go into the children’s bedroom to unlock the window, knowing that the shutter could be opened from the outside. Kate McCann, in her book ‘Madeleine’, states that the men helped her with the washing machine first, then she went out leaving them to fix the jammed shutter.

There is a 6th person on the list, one whom I would rate as a person of interest above José da Silva. I would like to set this persona aside to another post. However, the person has not been made an arguido, and as far as I know, has not been questioned in the SY investigation.

Of the 8 people on the list, there is just one person, a gardener, who seems to be of near zero interest whatsoever. He says he went home at his usual time on the day Madeleine disappeared, and saw the news of her disappearance on the media. That is a minor blip that cannot be true, as the news broke the following day.

This leaves us with the final person of the 8, José da Silva, and returns us to the question of why he was made an arguido.

He was a driver within the Ocean Club. He lived nearby in Luztur. He made 3 calls and a text to Ricardo Rodrigues on the evening 3rd May. He has an entry of ‘furto’ beside his name in the PJ files.

I am still scratching about for a reasonable explanation, until you look at the other people made arguidos, and the those appearing as witnesses.

Before that I want to do one last post to look at José da Silva, as there is one final piece in his puzzle.

The Tapas 9 Timeline

Very near to the end of Jane Tanner’s (very long) rogatory statement, a version of the timeline as constructed by the Tapas 9 is detailed.

According to that statement by Jane, this was constructed 2 to 3 days after Madeleine disappeared.

The Madeleine McCann incident was late on the evening of 3rd May 2007. For the Tapas 9 most of 4th May was spent in interviews in Portimão. Overnight on 4th Jane Tanner was with an artist trying to construct a drawing of a man she calls Eggman. Jane could not remember any facial elements, so an egg shape with hair on was used for the drawing. This drawing would also be called Tannerman.

It is therefore probable that the Tapas 9 timeline was constructed 2-3 days after Madeleine’s disappearance. If so, a comparison between that time-line and the first statements, the ones made before this on 4th May, should prove interesting.

I am working on a fuller construction of a timeline, taking into account all the statements of all of the people who can nail down what was happening between 8:30pm and 10 pm on 3rd May 2007 in the vicinity of apartment 5A.

That fuller timeline includes other people in the Tapas restaurant and people outside, such as Jez Wilkins, who chatted to Gerry McCann after Gerry had checked on Madeleine McCann and the twins.

Unfortunately, that will not be available in the near future. The rogatory interviews were extremely long. My version of Jane Tanner’s rogatory statement ran to 75 A4 pages. And the rogatory interviews were stuffed with ‘erm you know like’ and more of the same.

A complete and detailed timeline is required to test ideas such as a burglary gone wrong, a pre-planned abduction, an act of paedophilia and others.

Without more ado, here is the Tapas 9 timeline, as it appears close to the end of Jane Tanner’s rogatory statement. For clarity, it is not Jane Tanner’s personal recollection, rather it is Leicestershire police checking what they considered was the timeline that the Tapas 9 produced subsequent to Madeleine’s disappearance.

8:25 The McCanns arrive at the Tapas restaurant.

8:40 Jane Tanner arrives.

?:?? Shortly after that the Oldfields arrive.

8:45 Russell O’Brien arrives.

8:57 Matthew Oldfield leaves the table and passes the Paynes and Dianne Webster on their way to the Tapas restaurant then carries out a check of the ground floor apartments (5A, 5B and 5D), returning to the Tapas restaurant at 9:00.

9:05 Gerry goes to do a check on 5A.

9:15 Jane Tanner leaves the restaurant to check, and passes Gerry and Jez Wilkins having a conversation, Then she sights Tannerman.

9:20 Jane Tanner completes her check and returns to the Tapas restaurant. Gerry had returned before her.

9:25 Russell O’Brien and Matthew Oldfield go back to the apartments to check, Russell stays in 5D (re sick child), Matthew checks 5A.

9:35 Matthew Oldfield returns to the Tapas restaurant.

9:40 Jane Tanner returns to 5D to take care of the sick child and let Russell have his dinner.

9:45 Russell O’Brien returns to the Tapas restaurant.

9:55 Rachael Oldfield – last time at Tapas restaurant. ??? (As far as I know, Matthew was doing the Oldfield checks, so what this means at this time is beyond me.)

10:00 Kate McCann goes to check. That’s when everything kicks off.

The challenges posed by this time-line are as follows.

1) The biggest gap around apartment 5A was right at the start, when there was a 15 minute period with no activity around the flat.

2) After that, someone had to have the luck of the Devil, or amazing military precision, to have pulled this off and got away with it, for 7+ years. This is Mission Impossible on testosterone. Take your pick of theories – the McCanns did it, burglary-gone-wrong, paedophile, planned abduction – these proposals are all getting their chestnuts roasted on this time-line.

3) The idea of a well-observed apartment 5A also hits another reef. Whatever the general routine of the group was beforehand, the sick child of Russell and Jane throws a spanner in the works. The 3rd May 2007 did not go as routine. It was different. At the critical time, the schedule was out.

Apart from these problems, other people not connected to the Tapas 9 layered their time-lines on top of this, so other timing checks need to be explained.

I love it when people insist Luz was quieter than a church mouse that night, then report people around apartment 5A roughly every 5 to 10 minutes.

A burglary gone wrong – initial thoughts

When I first considered the idea of a burglary gone wrong in apartment 5A I rejected it within seconds. That was on the basis that a burglar does not kill or kidnap a child.

Then some stories emerged in the news, whether true or false. These stories pose unusual cases of a burglary gone wrong.

Those are the exceptions, the ones that do not fit into normal, rational human thinking.

So what, precisely, is the evidence for a burglary gone wrong. Or otherwise?

Is there any scenario whatsoever in which a burglary gone wrong fits the known facts?

One key advantage of the burglary gone wrong theorem is that it does not need to have a man wandering around Luz carrying Madeleine McCann. There is no reason to force it to fit the Jane Tanner sighting or the Smith sighting. It is much easier for a local person to pop Madeleine into a car or van and drive off.

Another key advantage in a scenario in which Madeleine is dead is that someone with local knowledge and local resources would find it easy to dispose of the body. In contrast, the McCanns, lacking both local knowledge and local resources would find disposal of a body to be a major challenge.

I don’t intend to waste any time in trawling through the multiplicity of ways in which a local could dispose of a body. The Algarve has acres of concrete, more reservoirs than anyone could search and numerous other ways of getting rid of Madeleine McCann, and I can’t prove or disprove most of them.

So, can I come up with an explanation of a burglary gone wrong that makes any sense whatsoever?

At the moment; I have four contenders, three from the media and one of my own.

1) The burglar was age 16 at the time, therefore not a fully developed rational adult.

2) The burglar was a schizophrenic.

3) The burglar was someone known to Madeleine, as in an Ocean Club driver.

4) Madeleine had evidence that would convict a burglar, e.g. DNA, therefore she had to be physically removed from 5A.