Textusa, Martin Grime and the dogs #2

Most of Textusa’s post “Cadaver compound” (5 Jun 2015) is about why splitting hairs over what Eddie smells is cadaverine, cadaverine plus putrescine, or some cocktail containing these and more, is a futile exercise. We don’t know exactly what it is, and it has not been successfully replicated artificially, so why get tied down in a debate about this. So far, so good.

We do know, via Textusa, that Martin Grime says Eddie cannot distinguish between the smell of dead pig and dead human. We know that Eddie alerts to dead blood, also according to Martin Grime. We don’t know how far away from dead pig and dead human we have to go until Eddie stops alerting. Focussing purely on dead things, does Eddie alert to other human substances that were once alive, such as semen? Does Eddie alert to faeces, given that these are produced with live human bacteria in them. Does Eddie alert to ANY other dead flesh e.g. chicken?

I have no answer to these questions, and if any reader can point me to an update of Eddie’s capabilities in these areas I would be grateful. NB I know Martin Grime says Eddie does not alert to roadkill and foodstuffs. I have problems with the foodstuffs claim, given that raw flesh is already in a stage of decomposition. I would have thought Eddie would alert to raw pork for this reason.

It is clear that the areas in apartment 5A marked by Eddie are hardly likely to be due to dead pig. However, the rear of the Renault Scenic cannot simply have the possibility of raw pork, or similar, arbitrarily ruled out.

Textusa asserts that Eddie was proved highly accurate in apartment 5A, therefore Eddie was highly accurate with the Renault Scenic and the objects/clothes removed from 27 Rua das Flores. This a major assumption, based on what Martin Grime asserts. This is despite a lack of proof of Martin Grime’s assertions.

It runs contrary to Martin Grimes statement that the dog alerts are not evidence, but provide areas where forensics may give results. It runs contrary to the FSS results, which did not prove any death had occurred, and failed to find supporting evidence in the case of the flowerbed alert outside 5A. Since the wardrobe alert location and the objects/clothes from 27 Rua das Flores were not subjected to forensics, there is no support for Eddie in these instances. As regards the Renault Scenic, the boot alert, by Keela only, was inconclusive, according to the FSS, while the key alert by both dogs was attributed to Gerry McCann, not a corpse.

Textusa is picking and choosing which of Martin Grime’s statements about the dogs to move onto the assertion that the dogs are highly accurate, and choosing to ignore Martin Grime’s statement that the dogs are not evidence.

The latter part of Textusa’s post is devoted to the carpet squares experiment. Take a recently deceased human body. Wrap it in cotton. Put the body in non-direct contact with carpet squares (body in contact with cotton, cotton in contact with carpet, but carpet not directly touching body). Put the carpet squares in a sealed container. Days later test the dogs to see if they alert.

The key phrase is put the carpet squares in a sealed container. There is no sealed container in the Madeleine McCann case so this experiment tells us little.

The nearest to carpet is possibly the boot of the Renault Scenic. In 5A, the alert locations were a tiled area behind the sofa, a vague indication beside a wardrobe, and a vague indication near a flowerbed. The fabric of the objects/clothes from 27 Rua das Flores may give a similar effect to carpet. The key fob of the Renault Scenic probably does not, though I cannot be certain.

The experiment showed that the dogs could smell carpet squares exposed to a cadaver, with a high degree of accuracy, up to 65 days after the squares were exposed. Because of the sealed container part, this tells us that the smell of death can remain in a sealed environment for 65 days. It does not tell us how long the smell remains in a non-sealed environment, or in one where the contamination source (carpet square or body) has been removed.

Madeleine McCann disappeared on 3 May 2007. The dogs inspected 5A in very late August or very early September, around 4 months later, say 120 days or so. Our 65 days in a sealed container tells us nothing about 120 days in a non-sealed environment. This is especially the case in the flowerbed, as the flowerbed was exposed to weather, plant growth and potential gardening.  Please note it has been pointed out to me that 5A was inspected by the dogs in late July 2007, and I accept that I was in error on this point, and that the dogs searched 5A considerably earlier.  Mea culpa.  I am grateful for this correction.

It tells us nothing about the alerts to the Renault Scenic. Partly this is because we don’t know when contamination occurred. Partly it is because car usage was extensive, so doors and the boot were opened frequently, therefore cutting down any sealed container effect. As far as the items from 27 Rua das Flores are concerned, once again we don’t know when they were contaminated.

The useful things the carpet squares experiment tells us in the Madeleine McCann case are very limited. First, the bodies used were less than 3 hours dead, therefore the smell of death develops quite quickly. Second, indirect contact through porous material such as cotton fabric is enough to allow cross-contamination to occur. Beyond this meagre haul, I can think of nothing. The length of exposure in the experiment is irrelevant due to the difference between materials such as carpet floor and tiles.

The most fundamental mistake in the Textusa post is to equate ‘cadaver odour’ to the existence of a cadaver. This enforces the need for a further body move after the date of the hire of the Renault Scenic, and the scenario to do this and get contamination of Kate’s clothes, Sean’s clothes and Cuddle Cat (whilst Gerry is clean) is tortuous.

It also defies the FSS evidence that the material on the Renault Scenic key fob belongs to Gerry McCann, and Gerry is not dead.

It further contradicts Martin Grimes statement that Eddie alerts to dead blood.

I thought the use of the word cadaver in the term ‘cadaver compound’ was a poor choice due to its connotative association with a dead body. It looks like it is indeed a poor choice.

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Textusa, Martin Grime, and the dogs

Slowly grinding my way through the PJ files on telephone records is more than a tad boring. I thought a change was as good as a rest, so I decided that looking at what Textusa has been offering recently would be a little light entertainment.

I don’t need to explain Textusa’s central theorem re Madeleine McCann, therefore I wont. I will simply focus on Textusa with respect to Martin Grime and the dogs.

First let me summarise my own viewpoint, which will give you an idea of my approach to this topic.

I have never been impressed by the dogs as evidence. If the dog-handler, Martin Grime, states that only the forensics count, then I go by the forensics. If the forensics are non-supportive, then I am not going to find guilt merely by interpreting what the dogs were doing.

On this basis, I have never spent much time digging into the track record of dogs in general, of Eddie and Keela in particular, and of Martin Grime in particular. As Textusa builds on two of these, I am straying out of my zone of expertise. I am playing away from home, in a battleground of someone else’s choosing.

This is generally not a smart thing to do, but as I explained at the start, I am bored with the trail I am currently pursuing, and this is simply a fun diversion.

The relevant entries on Textusa’s blog are “Cadaverine” (29 May 2015) and “Cadaver compound” (5 Jun 2015).

There are probably older entries relating to the dogs and Martin Grime, but I have no intention of trying to index Textusa’s blog, so I will stick with those two posts.

The second explains that Textusa used the term ‘cadaverine’ in the first post merely as a simplification in a post containing a lot of information. The second also explains that the term ‘cadaver compound’ may be a more accurate description, as we are not certain what chemical cocktail Eddie or Keela reacts to.

I understand why Textusa took this step. If we don’t know the chemical formula or formulas of the mix that sets Eddie off, there is going to be fertile ground for those who choose to haggle over what it should be called.

I do not have a term for this cocktail that is accurate but devoid of connotation, therefore I am not in a position to criticise. However, cadaver compound clearly has a connotation that a cadaver, a dead body, is the original source. Martin Grime is specific that dead blood will make Eddie alert, without there being a cadaver. This explains checks in the PJ files on previous occupants of apartment 5A to see if they had bled there. Textusa attempts to persuade us that Eddie does not alert to blood, only to cadaverine (or rather, cadaver compound odour), but the simple fact is that his handler, Martin Grime, is clear that Eddie reacts to blood that is dead.

This explains the overarching need for forensics. This explains why Eddie alerted to the Renault Scenic key, and the FSS found the material belonged to Gerry McCann, a live person.

As soon as one realises that Eddie alerts to dead blood, whether the person who shed it is alive or not, you hit lots of problems with the dogs’ evidence. It would appear no-one bled in any of the 10 vehicles screened by Eddie in the car park, other than in the McCanns vehicle. It would appear no-one bled in any of the apartments occupied by the Tapas 9, with the exception of 5A. No-one bled in 4G, occupied by the McCanns for 2 months from 4 May 2007 to 2 or 3 July 2007. No one bled in Casa Liliana. Despite Eddie alerting to articles from 27 Rua das Flores, which again could be explained by blood from a live person in 27 Rua das Flores, Eddie did not alert to a specific location that could be the source for the scent, only to the articles removed.

When I say no one bled, I am not restricting this to the Tapas 9, Robert Murat and his circle. No one bled covers all of the previous occupants of all of the locations searched, whether that occupancy was before Madeleine McCann disappeared, or after 3rd May May up to the date that Eddie searched.

In the two posts I have noted, Textusa limits discussion to apartment 5A, Casa Liliana and a potential third location. That possible third location was not searched by Eddie. I have little knowledge of what Textusa says about later alerts, so it is time for me to get back ‘on topic’, and focus on apartment 5A and Casa Liliana.

Textusa goes for 3 alerts by Eddie – behind the couch in the lounge, beside the wardrobe in the parent’s bedroom, and in the garden close to the passageway (running behind block 5) and adjacent to the garden of 5B.

I make it 4 alerts. I agree on the location of the first two. However, I have seen Eddie alert on the veranda outside the patio doors of the parents’ bedroom. And I would position the final alert in the garden basically directly below the veranda alert i.e. as close to 5A as one can get in the garden. I disagree with Textusa that vertical means to the south. I interpret vertical as in horizontal and vertical. Such is life.

The alert on the veranda and the alert in the garden appear to relate to the same source, which would condense the 4 down into 3. And the location in the garden is not core to Textusa’s theorem, so I see no point in haggling.

In “Cadaverine”, Textusa explains the post is to demonstrate that Madeleine’s body could have been on Murat’s property even though Eddie did not alert there.

Textusa solves this conundrum by placing a vehicle not belonging to the Murats on the Murat property, with said vehicle probably sourced by the Ocean Club. The latter would explain why Murat’s vehicles could be searched and nothing found.

Thus Casa Liliana, its grounds and the Murat vehicles could all be clean, despite the body being on the property. Textusa makes it clear that the post is not to prove that the body was on the property, merely that the evidence does not rule this out.

Mrs Jenny Murat’s statement makes it clear she was in the property that night, and that she saw and heard nothing unusual. Unless she is part of a conspiracy, there was no ‘strange’ vehicle on her property, coming and then going through her gates at odd times of the night.

Such a vehicle might have been parked near to but outside her property, and then there is no reason to believe Mrs Murat noticed anything and no reason to make her a conspiracy suspect.

Of course, if such a vehicle was on public property, it was exposed to the risk of being peered into during the Ocean Club structured search. Note I have limited myself to saying ‘at risk of’ and nothing more.

Let’s go back to apartment 5A and see what Textusa explains about the scene. The theory can be summarised as saying Gerry is the culprit of the scene, and that on his longish visit to 5A around 9.05, he took the body from behind the couch to an unknown location (location X) within 5A, cleaned the body to the extent it was not leaving material trace of cadaver compound, moved it to the cupboard and shortly thereafter moved it to the garden. This latter leg was because he heard someone coming towards 5A. He then exited the gate to talk to Jeremy Wilkins, to establish a parental checking routine on the children.

Jane Tanner walked past Gerry and Jez and saw Smithman.

After parting with Jez, Gerry headed towards the Tapas area long enough for Jeremy to walk out of sight. At that point Gerry doubled back, entered the garden, retrieved the body and headed off into the night with it.

It seems this was to the mystery OC vehicle on Murat’s property. That would give another set of gate opening/closing at Casa Liliana, again risking comment from Mrs Murat.

Anyway, Gerry managed to get back to the Tapas restaurant before Jane Tanner returned. Unless of course the Tapas 9 are all up to their neck in conspiracy.

One movement of the body is explained as the need to clean up the area behind the sofa in 5A. If Madeleine’s body was left there from before the McCanns went out to dinner, (which Textusa asserts on the basis the protagonists were still thinking about calling the authorities), to Gerry’s visit at 9.10 or so, then Gerry was very busy indeed. This adds cleaning the area behind the sofa onto Gerry’s list of tasks.

If as part of Gerry’s alleged clean of Madeleine, the body was wrapped in a suitable container, I can understand why a prompt deployment of Eddie might find the relevant odour in the parent’s wardrobe without locating a specific location of cadaver contamination.

What I am not getting is why location 2, the wardrobe, escapes such contamination, but location 3, the garden of 5A becomes contaminated.

The idea that the body was not in the wardrobe long enough to infuse it with cross-contamination is fine. The idea that Madeleine’s body went into the cupboard and did not touch a surface due to protective material that was then removed is not fine.

And why does Textusa worry about contamination on Gerry’s hand being transferred to the garden gate? Textusa does not worry about contamination on the patio doors or contamination on the baby gate. The patio doors are better protected from the elements, and contamination on them, inside or out, should last longer than on the exposed baby gate and garden gate.

While if Gerry cleaned Madeleine’s body, why did he not get contaminated at that time? This leads to an obvious answer of wearing household gloves at the time. With Madeleine parcelled up, there is no need to worry about contamination on Gerry’s hands. Or on the patio doors, or on the baby gate or on the garden gate. Just dump the household gloves in the rubbish long before Eddie turned up on the scene.

Eddie’s specific alert in the garden (where the FSS found nothing) is problematic, but I think there is a simple solution, whilst adhering to Textusa’s theorem.

Assume Madeleine’s body was never in the parents’ bedroom. This has the clear advantage that it explains why there was no cadaver compound source. If correct, it explains away the issue with the garden alert. Madeleine goes from clean up position X to the garden, without a detour. A side benefit of this is that Gerry requires less time to make this shorter trip.

There is a problem of course. Why did Eddie alert in the parents’ bedroom if Madeleine’s corpse was never in it. To complicate matters, the alert took place around 4 months after Madeleine disappeared, which is by no means ‘prompt‘.

How about Martin Grime’s explanation that the source can be elsewhere, but the scent can concentrate in a location that the source is not?

We know that there was a source behind the couch. Eddie alerted to it. Keela alerted to it. It is the sole spot in which the FSS was clear that Madeleine was involved, even if the amount found was so minute that the type of source found could not be identified in the lab. If Keela was correct, we are probably talking about blood.

We know that Eddie thought 5A was so reeking of the smell of death that he was off like a shot as soon as the front door opened. Thus we have a source, and an apartment in which the odour had reached the front door.

Why should the same scent not reach the parents’ bedroom? Why is it that the source is a minor contact some 4 months earlier, rather than simply emanating from the sofa location, where a current, physical source was found? Why go for complex when simple does the trick?

This post has become much, much longer than anticipated, and I have yet to cover Textusa’s second post on the topic, so I think it is time to have a break here.

PS to Textusa. Amend the 4AM trip from Casa Liliana to the water treatment plant. Why go the long way anti-clockwise past 5A, past the tail end of the structured Ocean Club search? Try the shorter, clockwise route that avoids both of these issues