Madeleine – the house on the hilltop

Mark Harrison, National Search Adviser, produced a search proposal for Guillhermino Encamação, the Algarve Regional Director of the Portuguese Judicial Police. This proposal was dated 23 July 2007.

The emphasis in the search had changed, to one where concealment or disposal of a corpse was the consideration.

That search proposal contains an odd statement. “An inhibiting factor is that since the disappearance of the child [Madeleine] an old empty house adjacent to the Trig Point on the Rocha Negra has been demolished and all rubble removed. If she was concealed within this property the search would be unlikely to detect her now.”

I was under the impression that this would be a scenario where Martin Grime’s dogs, Eddie and Keela, would be deployed, but I am not the National Search Adviser, and Mark Harrison was.

I have visited the trig point and not seen anything that might equate to a demolished house, so where was this house on the hilltop? It turns out that there are two locations to consider.

Google Earth gives clear views of the area on 22 June 2007 and 5 Oct 2013. The 22 June 2007 date is important, because it is a month before Mark Harrison’s report. The 2013 date simply helps to make sense of the 2007 images.

Here is one house on the hilltop in 2013.

This is on the Boavista complex, but judging by its gate it is not open to members of the golf club. It is a private, high-end luxury villa, possibly belonging to one of the owners of Boavista.

Here is the same property in 2007, one month before Mark Harrison’s report.

This has extensive foundations laid, plus structures that may be for underfloor heating. Madeleine McCann disappeared on 3 May 2007. The photo was taken 6 weeks after she vanished. An earlier photo does make it look as if there was an older property on-site. However, 6 weeks is simply not enough time to demolish the old structure, dispose of the rubble, dig new foundations and build to the level seen in the June 2007 photo. This is not Mark Harrison’s house on the hilltop, so it is time to look at the other contender.

This is a clubhouse that was built in 2007, here shown as it looked in 2013. It appears to be at the final hole of the golf course. It is on a prime location that overlooks the valley down to Luz. And here it is in relation to the private villa, also in 2013.

The key photo is from 22 June 2007, shortly before Mark Harrison’s report.

At that point in time, the foundations of a previous building were being removed. The photo suggests that there was a basement area, which would have formed a good hiding place for a body, at least until the construction work started.

The photo also suggests that the previous structure was quite large. I don’t have any information about this previous property, so I need to do a bit of digging. The building seems to have been extensive, and it was located on a prime spot overlooking the valley. I am intrigued as to its story, and why it fell into such disrepair.

The following screen shot is a little earlier, from October 2006. Despite being extremely fuzzy, it reinforces the idea that the previous structure was indeed large and substantial.

Where is the Time Team when you need it most?


Madeleine – CMTV O Enigma

CMTV’s 10 year special, O Enigma, aired on 1 May 2017, and to be honest, I did not gain much from it at all.

The format was basically a day in Luz speaking to Gonçalo Amaral with two presenters. While it covered a great deal of ground, it had little depth. And it trotted out a lot of unsubstantiated claims.

It did have a drone camera with some nice aerial pics, but I would say that BBC’s Panorama won the battle of the drones.

The programme took a fairly loaded Portuguese view, but that is roughly what I would have expected, given that the target audience was Portuguese.

Gonçalo Amaral pointed out a number of inconsistencies and changes in early statements by the Tapas 9.

The Tannerman and Smithman sightings were touched on, but again with little detail.

The programme moved on to Calpol. It was incorrectly described.

Then O Enigma moved to events of the night before swiftly moving to Eddie and Keela, and dog alerts. Two pieces of Kate’s clothing, two pieces of Madeleine’s clothing, Cuddle Cat, the key fob, the boot.

Then, was there a frozen body? Was there a chilled body? Whoever believes this bumph does not understand the basics of decomposition. Animal and fish products are gutted to remove the bacteria that would rot the carcass.

The programme then rambled, over a mysterious apartment near the cemetery, a supposed rogatory that does not appear in the PJ Files, and back to Calpol.

O Enigma moved onto the McCanns suing Amaral, and Amaral winning.

There was quite a long section about the coffin in the church with an English lady about to be cremated. There are details in this that I had not heard before, but none of them stack up.

Perhaps the oddest thing was close to the end. Gonçalo Amaral said he should have remained in the PJ while writing his book. Personally, I think he would have got shredded by the Portuguese judges if he had done that.

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 v The Telegraph Ep. 2

The Telegraph story has evolved. It now asks if ‘the police’ are closer to knowing the truth when once it simply asked if ‘we’ are closer to knowing the truth.

Here is the full text of the Telegraph article as published in April 2016 and retrieved today, 21 Jan 2017.

Madeleine McCann latest: are police any closer to knowing the truth?

By Gordon Rayner, Chief Reporter

29 April 2016 • 9:41am

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

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

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

Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry McCann quickly came under suspicion by Portuguese police, a development that the couple are certain meant vital clues were missed in the first hours and days after Madeleine’s disappearance.

Every possible theory has been explored since then: that Madeleine was abducted by a paedophile; that she was killed during a bungled burglary and her body dumped; that she was abducted by traffickers and sold to a childless couple; that she wandered out of the apartment and died in a tragic accident, and many more besides.

To date, however, not one shred of proof of what happened to Madeleine has been unearthed. The question of what happened to Madeleine would become not only a personal tragedy for the McCann family, but a national obsession in the UK and in Portugal.

Madeleine, of Rothley, Leicestershire, was on the penultimate day of her family holiday on the day she vanished. She had spent part of the day playing by the swimming pool in the Ocean Club resort, where the last known picture of her was taken at 2.29pm.

Reports of when she was last seen alive by independent witnesses vary, but she was still alive at around 6pm, when she and her parents went into their apartment at 5A Rua Dr Agostinho da Silva, where Madeleine and her two-year-old twin brother and sister were readied for bed.

The McCanns told police they put the children to bed at around 7pm, and that all three were asleep by 8.30pm, when they went for dinner at a tapas bar 50 yards across the pool from their apartment. There they met seven friends with whom they were on holiday.

The McCanns say checks were made on their children every half-hour, sometimes by other members of the party, comprising Dr Russell O’Brien and Jane Tanner, from Exeter, Dr Matthew and Rachael Oldfield, from London, and David and Fiona Payne, from Leicester, together with Mrs Payne’s mother Dianne Webster. Mrs Webster, however, reportedly told police that each couple was responsible for checking their own children.

Gerry McCann went to the apartment at 9.05pm, when all the children were sleeping soundly and Madeleine was still in her bed, he says.

The police in Portugal, however, have never accepted the McCanns’ evidence as undisputed. They initially regarded the McCanns as suspects, and believed the McCanns could have killed Madeleine any time after the last independent sighting of her at 6pm.

A timeline of that evening shows that Dr Matthew Oldfield went into apartment 5A at 9.30pm, and noticed that Madeleine’s room seemed lighter than the others, as if the shutters had been partially opened. He could not be certain whether Madeleine was there.

Kate McCann was next to check on the children, at 10pm. She ran back to the restaurant moments later, saying Madeleine was missing. The McCanns and their friends made a quick search of the resort, but after finding no sign of Madeleine the police were called at 10.14pm.

The McCanns told police they had put Madeleine to bed with her pink comfort blanket and favourite soft toy, Cuddle Cat, and was wearing short-sleeved Marks & Spencer Eeyore pyjamas.

Crucially, however, the apartment was not initially treated as a crime scene, meaning around 20 people went in and out before it was sealed off, contaminating potential evidence. Roadblocks were not put in place until 10am the next day, border guards were not informed for hours and Interpol did not put out a global missing persons alert for five days.

It meant that the most crucial time of any missing persons investigation – the first 24 hours – was largely squandered, and police have been trying to catch up ever since. Yet potentially key sightings and artists’ impressions of suspects were kept from the public for years.

Mary and Martin Smith, from Ireland, told police they saw a man carrying a child matching Madeleine’s description at around 10pm on Rua da Escola Primaria, 500 yards from the McCanns’ apartment. He was heading towards the beach, did not look like a tourist and did not seem comfortable carrying the child, they said.

Their evidence was compelling, but it was only in October 2013 that two e-fit images of the man, compiled by police from descriptions given by Mr and Mrs Smith, were released by Scotland Yard to coincide with a BBC Crimewatch reconstruction of Madeleine’s disappearance. He remains a suspect.

There were also blind alleys. Jane Tanner, one of the tapas diners, told police that when she left the restaurant at 9.15pm to check on her own daughter, she saw a man carrying a small child, wearing pink pyjamas, in his arms.

For years afterwards, the mystery man would be a key suspect, if not the prime suspect, but in October 2013 the Metropolitan Police announced that a British holidaymaker who had been taking his daughter back to his apartment after picking her up from an evening crèche, had been identified as the man Miss Tanner had seen and ruled out of the inquiry.

The first person to become an “arguido”, or official suspect, was Robert Murat, a local property consultant, whose home was searched 12 days after the disappearance. He was formally cleared of suspicion in 2008 and won £600,000 in libel damages from 11 British newspapers.

The Portuguese Police, however, were suspicious of the McCanns from the beginning, partly due to a clash of cultures. They could not believe that parents would leave their children unattended, and did not approve of the McCanns’ use of the media to raise the profile of the case, in a country where secrecy is the hallmark of all police investigations.

The arrival of two British sniffer dogs in Portugal in July 2007 only hardened that belief. One dog was trained to sniff out traces of human blood, the other was trained to sniff out the scent of dead bodies. Both dogs were taken to several locations connected to the investigation, and gave alerts only in apartment 5A. Later, the cadaver dog gave an alert inside a Renault car, hired by the McCanns 24 days after Madeleine went missing.

DNA tests on samples taken from the car proved inconclusive, but the Portuguese police wrongly told journalists they were a “100 per cent match” for Madeleine.

The Portuguese police came up with the theory that Madeleine had been killed by her parents by accident, possibly by being given an overdose of a sedative to make her sleep, that they had hidden the body, faked her abduction and then used the hire car weeks later to move her body to a burial location.

In early September 2007, according to Kate McCann, she was told by the Portuguese police that if she admitted that Madeleine had died in the apartment and she had hidden her body she might only serve a two-year sentence and Gerry McCann would not be charged at all. On September 7 the couple were both made arguidos.

Goncalo Amaral, the chief inspector who had been in charge of the case, resigned in 2008 to write a book alleging that Madeleine had died in an accident in the apartment and the McCanns had faked the abduction. The McCanns sued him for libel, and won: Amaral was ordered to pay them £394,000 in damages, but in April 2016 that decision was overturned by an appeal court.

In July 2008 the Portuguese attorney general announced that the McCanns were no longer suspects and the investigation was closed. The McCanns hired private investigators to carry on the search, but it was not until May 2011 that Theresa May, the Home Secretary, announced that Scotland Yard would review the evidence in the case, which had until then been the responsibility of Leicestershire Police, working with the Portuguese authorities.

In July 2013 Operation Grange, the review of the available evidence, became a full-blown criminal inquiry, and Scotland Yard said it was concentrating on a “criminal act by a stranger”.

The Yard announced it was looking into possible links between Madeleine’s disappearance and bogus charity collectors who were knocking on doors in Praia da Luz at the time. Between 3.30pm and 5.30pm on the day in question there were four separate sightings of men who said they were collecting money for an orphanage. British detectives believe men whose photofits they released in 2013 may have been engaged in reconnaissance for a pre-planned abduction or for burglaries, in keeping with the theory that Madeleine may have been killed by a burglar she disturbed.


E-fits of men seen acting suspiciously near the apartment on the night Madeleine went missing

Scotland Yard also said in 2013 it was eager to trace a blond-haired man who had been seen loitering in the area on April 30 and May 2, looking at apartment 1A. He was described as “ugly” with a spotty complexion and a large nose. Two blond-haired men were seen on the balcony of the empty apartment 5C, two doors from 5A, at 2.30pm on the day of the disappearance. Blond men were seen again near 5A at 4pm and 6pm that day, and at 11pm that night. Following the appeal on Crimewatch, the Portuguese police re-opened their own investigation.

Scotland Yard officers travelled to Portugal in 2014 to interview four suspects and carried out searches of the area around the apartment using ground-penetrating radar. One of the men who was interviewed has since been eliminated from the inquiry, but the other three men remain arguidos.

The British officers questioned them on suspicion of being part of a burglary gang that panicked after killing Madeleine during a bungled break-in. They all protested their innocence and were released without charge.

Another suspect was Euclides Monteiro, a convicted burglar with a drug habit, who had been sacked from the Ocean Club in 2006. Mobile phone tracking showed he had been in the area on the night of the disappearance, and police believe he may have been burgling apartments there to fund his drug addiction. He died in a tractor accident in 2009.

In March 2014 Scotland Yard announced that a lone intruder sexually assaulted five girls aged between seven and 10 in the Algarve between 2004 and 2006. The man, who has never been caught, was said to have a “very, very unhealthy interest” in young white girls.

The four incidents, one of which involved two girls, were among 12 in which men had entered holiday accommodation in the area, including two incidents in Praia da Luz. The force also said it was looking at 38 “people of interest” and were researching the backgrounds of 530 known sex offenders, including 59 regarded as high interest.

In December 2014 Det Chief Insp Andy Redwood, the man who had led Operation Grange, retired and was replaced on Dec 22 by DCI Nicola Wall, who travelled to Portugal the same month to conduct further inquiries.

DCI Wall and her team interviewed seven suspects and four witnesses, but have not released any information about what they discovered, insisting they will not provide a “running commentary” on the case.

In September 2015 the Met announced that it was scaling back the Operation Grange investigation team from 29 officers to four. With the cost of the inquiry topping £10 million, the force said it was following “a small number of focused lines of inquiry”.

It added that the “vast majority” of the work of Operation Grange had been completed. In total officers had reviewed more than 40,000 documents, took 1,338 statements and collected 1,027 exhibits.

The Met said 60 “persons of interest” had been investigated, 650 sex offenders considered and 8,685 potential sightings investigated.

Then, in April 2016, came an announcement by the Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe that his officers had boiled down the evidence to “one final lead”.

Having failed to substantiate other theories, police are reportedly left with one of the original theories – that Madeleine was killed during a botched burglary.

The Met wants to re-interview three suspects who were placed at the scene through analysis of their mobile phones: Jose Carlos da Silva, 30, who used to drive guests to their apartments at the Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz, Ricardo Rodrigues, 24, and Paulo Ribeiro, 53.

They have previously admitted petty theft from apartments at the complex but denied any involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance.

Kate and Gerry McCann remain convinced their daughter is alive and that they will one day be reunited. The hunt to find her continues.

Madeleine – blood spatter analysis 2

The spots in the crime scene are marked with CSI numbers as follows. Spots 1 to 3 are on the floor, where the tiles were removed. Spots 4 to 13 are on the walls behind where the sofa is. Spots 14 and 15 are on the rear of the sofa.


Each spot first was swabbed with a dry swab, giving an A sample, then with a swab wetted in distilled water, giving a B sample. For example, for spot 9 there are swabs 9a and 9b.

The FSS report also considered a spot collected on 4 May 2007 by an earlier forensic analysis team. That spot was on a bedcover of a bed in the room where the 3 children slept in apartment 5A. The bed was the one by the bedroom window i.e. not Madeleine’s. A reagent test had given a weak positive result for semen.

The FSS checked a sample database of 282 volunteers against 4 specific spots. The report does not say who these volunteers were, but judging by the results, they were people connected to apartment 5A in some manner, as a match was found for just one person, a previous occupant. Note a test re Madeleine’s DNA will be covered elsewhere.

The spots were 1, 4, 9 and 16. I have yet to identify where spot 16 was.

The match was against spot 9, and this also matched the stain on the bedcover. The person identified was Charlie Gordon, a boy aged 2 years and 3 months when he was in the apartment, together with father Paul Gordon and mother Saleigh Gordon. They had been in 5A for the week prior to the visit of the McCanns.

Saleigh Gordon stated that while there, Paul Gordon had cut himself shaving, and had bled for a considerable time, but that neither she nor her children had bled.

This raises an issue re Eddie and Keela, and handler Martin Grime. The options re Paul Gordon bleeding appear to be as follows. Mr Gordon was so careful in disposing of the remnants of blood that the apartment is 100% clean of this. Or perhaps the alert in the parents’ bedroom by Eddie was to this incident. Or perhaps the dogs are less capable than we are led to believe.

The fact that the ‘semen’ stain on the bedcover was found to belong to a very young male child caused the spot to be revised from semen to saliva.

The fact spot 9 was attributed to Charlie Gordon is also problematic, much as it would be for Madeleine, due to height issues. Using a height chart, the boy should have been about 90cm tall. Standing on the sofa should add around 45cm more, totalling 1m 35cm. However, the spot is at around 1m 80 to 1m 90, so the gap is still around 50cm.

The most plausible explanation I have seen to explain this is something was thrown against the wall that had the child’s saliva on it.

Accurate determination of the cause is not necessary, as the material belonged Charlie Gordon and not to Madeleine McCann.

And if Saleigh Gordon’s testimony is correct, spot 9 does not seem to be blood.

Madeleine – blood spatter analysis 1

I was asked a few days back where my blog entry on the ‘blood spatter’ found in apartment 5A was. I replied that I had not written about this topic.

My disinterest so far with regard to this is that the final forensic report is conclusive on very little, and there were bigger fish to fry. So here is my first take.

I like to start at the start without having worked out in advance my final conclusions. So mistakes along the way are a possibility.

This single topic is going to be big, so I am slicing it into more manageable parts.

The first thing is that I have no expertise in or experience of forensic examination, aside from crime novels and TV programmes. I am therefore reliant on others to provide a modicum of knowledge. The source I am using is This claims to be a simplified version of bloodstain analysis. I cannot verify how good this guide is, merely that to date it is better than me, and it is simple enough to be read by a layman.

Other than that, my starting point is the photo in the PJ Files showing the wall of apartment 5A behind the sofa.


Floor tiles under the window have been taken up. This was done after Eddie and Keela alerted in similar locations, so we have the sequence – Eddie alerted – Keela alerted – the floor tiles were lifted – this photograph was taken.

The actual origin is likely to get rewound to the night of 3/4 May 2007, when the local PJ team went in, but for the moment, I will stick with this photo.

It is clear that the photographer is trying to convey the overall location of several numbered spots relative to each other. This photo is useless when trying to conduct a visual analysis of any individual spot, so I need to focus on the pattern.

Is there anything in my simple forensic guide I can rule out? I think I am safe in ruling out a gunshot. The pattern does not match a gunshot pattern, and nobody in the PJ Files mentions a gunshot.

I cannot see anything that looks like cast-off (blood from a blunt weapon use for repeated strikes) or shadow (an outline caused by an object preventing spatter from hitting the background). This leaves me with a single strike from in front, spattering blood to the rear. The pattern is a poor fit, and the level of apparent violence in apartment 5A does not match this.

On this basis, I am ruling out bludgeoned to death, whether by a single violent strike or by repeated blows.

What else can I deduce from this one single photograph, simply by looking at it?

In the PJ Files, the height from floor to the top of the window ledge of the children’s bedroom was catalogued as 92cm. I measured our floor to window ledge height today, and I got 93cm. So 92cm seems right, and it is difficult to imagine the living room window of apartment 5A was at some other level.

Look at the photo again. I make the highest ‘spatter’ at about twice the height of the ledge, perhaps around 1m 80 to 1m 90.

Madeleine was probably a little bit over a metre, so there is a fair bit to go, but we do need to consider the sofa. Another measurement, this time of our sofa, gave me a further 45cm, or a total of around 1m 37. I’m still around 30 to 40cm short, and for this to work, I need Madeleine to be standing on the sofa whilst making the mark on the wall. And somehow also making other marks much further down.

Then there is the problem with the dogs.

Plus the logistics behind how this photo was captured on film.

And how the results leaked into the media.

So despite ruling out a gunshot and bludgeoning as potential sources, there is still a lot of ground to cover.

Madeleine – Luís António Dec 2014

Luís Filipe Duarte António

His first statement is dated 14 May 2007, the day that Robert Murat was made an arguido.

He had 3 vehicles, a 1990 Nissan Patrol, a dark blue VW Passat, and a yellow Renault Kangoo.

He was married to Michaela Walczuch in 1995 and had an 8 year old daughter.

However, Michaela had moved out to have an affair in 2003, but then returned to look after their daughter. They lived separate lives in the same house and had started divorce proceedings.

Luís knew Michaela and Robert were working on a joint business venture and allowed Robert to come to the house to discuss it. Luís also knew that Robert was getting divorced.

He knew that Robert was helping the police as an interpreter in the Madeleine McCann case.

At this point he did not think Michaela was in a personal relationship with Robert.

This first statement is another testimony which is about as bland as it gets.

Luís António made a second statement on 24 May 2007.

This time he agreed to let the police take photos of him. Presumably this was for elimination purposes. A few people had come forward with e-fits. Neither a Smithman sketch nor a Tannerman sketch was in existence at the time.

Here is Luís’ passport photo. Personally, I cannot see any resemblance to any of the potential ‘suspects’ or e-fits, but please make your own mind up on this one.

He had worked at the Ocean Club cleaning pools for a while. When Michaela became pregnant, he missed work a few times and Silvia Batista let him go. He now cleaned 37 or 38 pools in the area, and St James (a complex in Luz near Estrela da Luz).

He had a fairly busy schedule on 2 May, all either to the east of Lagos or in Lagos itself.

Work on 3 May was in Lagos.

He had cleaned the Murat pool once.

He stated he was not in the Ocean Club complex on 2 or 3 May.

Asked about his phone calls, he said it was common for him to be in touch with clients, suppliers and family.

The PJ Files indicate that Luís António´s phones were intercepted from 18 May, so there must have been something significant to trigger that.

The question is what did anyone think was significant? Enough for a house search, vehicles search, two statements, phone interception and (I believe) a place in the Martin Grime and Eddie search.

Then after all that an excursion to Faro in Dec 2014 to get interviewed for a third occasion, this time by Scotland Yard.

This man had a tenuous connection to Robert Murat, who was made an arguido, then had said status dropped. This is not smoking gun territory.