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 – 4 May 2016

The 4th of May was the last day of Heriberto’s visit, so we met up again in the centre of Luz with a particular idea in mind. That involved criss-crossing much of Luz, and although we managed to cover the territory, our task did not achieve the result we had hoped.

We had a break from our endeavours at Baptista, and chatted for about 40 minutes.

It transpired that Heri had had a bit of an adventure on his way to the meeting point that morning, crossing paths with one of the 3 arguidos. He might wish to write of this on his blog, so I will say no more.

Behind every good man there is a good woman, so here is my message to that good woman. Heri related that his enthusiasm for the case was flagging a bit, but the good woman encouraged him to make the trip to Luz. So I must say thank you to this good woman. First, I enjoyed Heri’s very pleasant company, and it was wonderful to get the chance to discuss the case with someone who is actually up to speed with it. Heri uses a different approach to the case than I do, and so was able to relate a lot of information I was not aware of. Second, Heri was able to drop in some critical pieces that may well alter my view of the case. I simply need to confirm something via a test, and if it pans out as Heri said, then my view will indeed alter.

Should this information make its way to this good woman, I have something to add for her. The Baptista break was meant to be for coffee, and at the Baptista café, to get a coffee, you have to stand in front of chiller cabinets stuffed with many different types of delicious cake. Whilst Heri was sorely tempted by these, he resisted temptation and settled for a soft drink.

After our exploration, we parted company in Rua Direita at about 2.30pm. Heri had a plan for the evening, and again, in case he wishes to write about it on his blog, I shall not describe it further. I was not sure if I wished to participate or not, so we said goodbyes at that time, given this would not hurt if we were to meet up that evening.

This is probably a good thing. I happen to live at the top of one of the steepest hills around Luz, and walking from the centre to my home is very arduous. I had made that trip 5 times in 2.5 days, and when I got home, my calf muscles were whinging mightily. Today, they are very tight and stiff. And after 2 nights of being up till 4 in the morning writing up discussion points that interested me, I was dog-tired. I went to bed early and didn’t wake up until this afternoon.

Heri meanwhile was getting up early this morning, to get the bus to Lagos, to make sure he connected up for his epic journey via Lisbon to Madrid.

As to whether Heri managed to do what he intended to do, I don’t know. Yesterday afternoon it rained here. I think it was dry when Heri wanted to go out. And then we had a storm overnight strong enough to wake me up. It does that a lot here, rain or a rainstorm overnight, then ShiningInLuz during the day.

Madeleine – where are the journos?

I went out this evening to kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

I wanted to find out where the journos might be reporting from tomorrow, so I headed for where the journos normally frequent. And much to my disappointment, I could not see a single media reporter, not one.

The place was fairly lively, but apart from the restaurant, the main attraction was live football on TV. Chelsea 2 Tottenham 2. And now the fairytale story has come true and Leicester City are Premier League champions.

So that takes me on to my second reason for going, which was a visit to Luz by Heriberto Janosch. I would not normally name names, but I see Heri has already posted on Miscarriage of Justice, so I am free to report what happened.

We had a long, wide-ranging discussion over many aspects of the case. Like myself, Heri has little interest in the McCanns v Amaral trial, roughly on the basis that tells us very little about what happened to Madeleine McCann.

I learned multiple snippets of information that I was previously unaware of. Just to pick one example, Heri was able to point out that there was no equivalent of Crimewatch 2013 broadcast in Spain. Given that it is around 2hrs to the Spanish border, and that the PJ did not seem to arrive until 3hrs after Kate McCann raised the alarm, and that there is no check on those crossing the Portuguese/Spanish border, Spain is one potential destination or transfer station.

That means I need to update this blog with a Spanish version of the transcript of the 2013 Crimewatch. I’ll do that when the 9th anniversary has passed.

At the moment, I need to jot down some of these snippets, otherwise when I wake up in the morning, I will have forgotten a lot.

The plan for tomorrow is to be down around block 5 by about 10am to see if there is any activity. I have a couple of background tasks in the area if this does not materialise.

My regards to Heriberto. He started at 6am yesterday morning, went to Madrid airport, flew to Lisbon (and even that helps me on a point that has been puzzling me), got on a 4.5 hour bus journey to Faro, and arrived in Luz around 5.30pm. That is what I call stamina.

Judging by the big black rings around his eyes, the day took its toll, but we intend to meet up tomorrow for another session.

Whilst I did not get all I wanted, all in all it was an enjoyable experience, so I am looking forward to tomorrow.

I have 2 concerns. First, the forecast is 27C tomorrow, which is a bit beyond what I feel comfortable with. Second, having walked up some very steep inclines to get home, I can feel my calf muscles beginning to tighten. My capacity is clearly limited. Oh, the joys of getting old!

Madeleine – Paulo Ribeiro

The fourth arguido from July 2014 is Paulo Jorge Ribeiro.

Despite all the publicity in the Madeleine McCann case, desperately little is known about this man, and what there is seems to be speculation in the media.

Whilst José da Silva and Ricardo Rodrigues were photographed (allegedly) entering the PJ headquarters in Faro after being made arguidos, I cannot find an equivalent photo of Paulo Ribeiro.

This may be due to his name. Again Paulo Ribeiro or Paulo Jorge Ribeiro are common names, so searching for them is a needle in a haystack job. However, he did not enter the public awareness in this manner. He was named in Correio da Manhã and Jornal de Notícias, with Correio da Manhã claiming to have seen the International Letter of Request (ILOR).

The Correio da Manha report was replete with basic errors, so if the ILOR was seen, it does not appear to have been reported accurately.

Here is a summary of the alleged ‘facts’ about Paulo Jorge Ribeiro.

  • He was about 44 at the time Madeleine went missing.

  • He was in telephone contact with arguido Ricardo Rodrigues. This was on 2 May or 4 May, depending on the media source.

  • He is, or was, a heroin addict.

  • He is a schizophrenic.

  • His behaviour was strange around the time Madeleine disappeared.

  • He might be part of a charity collector pair reported by a British couple.

  • He might be a man seen around apartment 5A in the run-up to Madeleine’s disappearance.

Quite obviously one’s age, or living nearby, is insufficient to make someone an arguido. I will pass on how old he is or where he lived.

Moving on to the phone call, Correio da Manhã makes it 12:08 on 2 May 2007. There is no explanation as to why this call or this time is significant, and I cannot see anything to make it suspicious. The Express dated the call to 4 May 2007, and again gave no explanation as to why the call or call time was significant. Again, if a call took place at 12:08 on 4 May 2007 between Ricardo Rodrigues and Paulo Ribeiro, I cannot see anything to make it suspicious.

Next up is ‘heroin addict’. I have no idea about how truthful this is. The Madeleine case runs rife with tales of burglaries, paedophiles and drug addicts. It could be based on fact, or it could be pure media speculation. Since I have no evidence to offer on this point, I will move on.

The next item is ‘schizophrenic’. Is this relevant? Actually, it probably is. Look up schizophrenia for yourself, and two things should stand out. First, the condition is long lasting. If Paulo is schizophrenic now, then the probability is he was schizophrenic in 2007. Second, schizophrenia boiled down to basics is a difficulty in telling apart reality and imagination. Decide for yourself whether this is an asset for a burglar. Or whether if you were part of a team conducting burglaries, you’d want to work with a schizophrenic.

The following suggestion for his status as arguido is that his behaviour was strange around the time Madeleine disappeared. If I think about this point I have to ask myself what is ‘normal’ behaviour for a schizophrenic, if reality and imagination blurs into one? The searches by the locals, the massive police presence, the massive media presence – does that define ‘normal’? This is one of those queries hurled at the McCanns that I have no truck with – did they behave abnormally after Madeleine disappeared? If it is a fruitless question with respect to the McCanns then I cannot see it should be asked of Paulo Ribeiro.

Moving on again we come to charity collector pair reported by British couple. The only reference I can find in the PJ Files to a pair of charity collectors is by Rex and Iris Morgan. Both Rex and Iris give an age for the younger collector that is a decent fit for Ricardo Rodrigues. However, the elder collector is reported as around 30 (Paulo was 44). Rex was unable to make an e-fit. Iris made a single e-fit, reproduced below. To me it looks like it is meant to be the younger man, but Iris’ statement makes it look like it is the older charity collector.

Iris Morgan 15VOLUMEXVa_Page_4012

Please note Heriberto Janosch at EspacioExterior posted earlier today on this point, raising the question as to whether this charity collector duo was Ricardo Rodrigues and José da Silva. This is a much better age fit for the pair. However, Iris Morgan describes the older collector with curly hair, and her e-fit shows curly hair, whilst the best photo I have seen of José da Silva is with straight hair.

If you wish to earn a bonus point, please go back to the e-fit Iris Morgan made, and this time check out the date at which she made it.

So, for Ricardo Rodrigues we have no e-fit, and a poor quality photo when he entered Faro PJ station in July 2014. While for Paulo Ribeiro, we have a potential e-fit but no photo to match it against.

The last point is that he might be a man seen around apartment 5A in the run-up to Madeleine’s disappearance. This is so vague it could mean anything. What it is not is enough to make someone an arguido.

There is no direct connection between José da Silva and Paulo Ribeiro. It pivots via Ricardo Rodrigues. Unless Ricardo Rodrigues was up to his neck in crime or drugs, and I have no evidence that this was the case, then I am still at a loss to work out why this trio were made arguidos.

This brings me to the end of the 4 people made arguidos in July 2014, and I am still struggling to work out what required this status in Portuguese law. Perhaps there is more in the phone traffic than has leaked. Perhaps more came out of the Oct 2013 Crimewatch than has leaked.

At the moment with what did leak, I am just not getting 2 plus 2 to add up to 4. Sergey Malinka seemed to be a duff call. Linking José da Silva to Ricardo Rodrigues to Paulo Ribeiro appears to be another fail.

I do not have a history of when the ILORs were issued or approved, and that lack may prove significant. However, in a short period of time, June and July of 2014, Scotland Yard appears to have been involved in one shambles in digging up central Luz, followed by a second shambles, in which 4 people were constituted arguidos, but with little or no progress.

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 (http://espacioexterior.blogspot.pt/) 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, Luztur

Who is José da Silva? So far, I have not covered much more information about him than he was made an arguido in July 2014, he was a driver handling tourist shuttles within the Ocean Club complex, and on 3rd May 2007, he had 3 phone conversations and exchanged one text with Ricardo Rodrigues.

The PJ Files that are in the public domain have been redacted. This is a pity as it makes getting basic information quite hard in some instances. However, in the case of José da Silva, despite the files being redacted, it is clear that at the time he was living in Edifício Luztur at the time of his statement.

The media describe his location as overlooking the Ocean Club. Is this true and does it give insight into the case?

Luztur is by far the tallest building in Luz. It is just south of the tennis courts, the Tapas area, and the high tea area where Madeleine was on 3rd May 2007.

Heriberto Janosch visited Luz in 2013 and located a José da Silva to the second floor of Luztur, on the north side of the building, around 30m from Rua Primeiro de Maio. That corresponds to ‘overlooking the Ocean Club’.

According to Google Earth, the distance between this location and the rear of apartment 5A is around 160m.

The location of the high tea area within the Tapas complex is not precisely defined. However, the distance from Luztur to the vicinity of the Tapas bar is around 100m to 110m. That is of the order of a football pitch, so I would put high tea well within the scope of someone in Luztur. Always assuming line of sight is possible, so is line of sight possible?

Heriberto located José da Silva to the second floor, but I can see no reason why José would be restricted to that. So I am working on the premise that he had access to all floors, and that some or all of the floors could overlook the high tea area. Fortunately, Heriberto’s photos from his 2013 visit are on Pamalam, so we can get an idea from one of those.

Luztur to Tapas 1

This photo is across the swimming pool to the Tapas bar, with Luztur in the background. To the right of the Tapas bar you can see the tennis courts. And now you get a good idea, in reverse direction, of the view from Luztur to the high tea vicinity.

The second floor of Luztur does not look like a good bet, but the photo shows areas farther up on the building that should have had a good enough view.

The phone call from José da Silva to Ricardo Rodrigues that occurred at 5:26pm on 3 May 2007 could relate to high tea starting to break up. And if so, that this event was seen by José from Luztur and signalled to Ricardo.

It looks like you need to be half way up Luztur before you get a decent view of the high tea area, possibly a little less to see the rear of apartment 5A.

However, hanging around half way up Luztur in a public area you don’t normally use is a decidedly odd choice of vantage point. And while it may, conceivably, work during daylight it is poorly placed for night viewing.

If you look at the Tapas restaurant in the following photograph (also from Heriberto), it is immediately clear that the top of the building forms an impenetrable barrier to viewing from Luztur. That makes Edifício Luztur a very poor lookout point for movements after 8:30pm when the McCanns went to the restaurant.

Luztur to Tapas 2

The call at 17:26 is a weak fit with the use of Luztur as an observation point. The text at 21:25 and the calls at 21:38 and 21:51 just don’t fit at all.

So although it is technically correct to say that José da Silva lived in an apartment ‘overlooking the Ocean Club’, the implication that this was used to monitor activity does not stand up to scrutiny.

José da Silva may have been involved. He may even have been a look-out. But I doubt he was doing it from Luztur.