On 19 June 2007, the lab in Lisbon sent the first DNA results back to the investigating team.
The report covered two areas of interest – what was found by the Lisbon team that did a detailed search of 5A on 4th May 2007 – and what was found in Robert Murat’s house and car.
The forensics very quickly get very confusing indeed, therefore I will split things out to make the pieces simpler.
Since 5A was the first place to be searched, and it was a crime scene, my focus turns first to the results at this date from 5A only.
The Lisbon men had collected 6 packets of hairs, and a sample of cloth returning a weak positive for semen.
Let’s start with the semen. The INML repeated the semen test, and once again got a weak positive. At this point in time the stain was still being referred to as semen. Further down the line, the INML tested the stain for saliva and that test returned a strong positive. The stain would thereafter be referred to as saliva.
That stain becomes a bit problematic because it has the same DNA profile as a number of hairs found in 5A.
It has been suggested that these came from an earlier occupant of 5A, a child. I have difficulty with this one. I have no issue with a bed-cover with a non-visible (to the naked eye) saliva stain. Sheets and pillows would be changed between visitors, but I doubt the bed-cover was changed as frequently.
It’s those matching hairs that perplex me. Apartment 5A was deep cleaned on the Saturday ready for the McCanns to arrive. It was routinely cleaned on the Monday, according to Kate’s book. Both Kate and the cleaner agree 5A was cleaned again on Wednesday 2nd May. So those hairs survived at least 3 cleans, even if the child was in 5A immediately prior to the McCanns.
Then there is the small issue of how they got the child’s DNA and where it was tested. There is nothing on file about this. It might or might not have been done, but the evidence file shows nothing regarding this.
It’s time to move on to the hairs found in 5A on 4th May 2007. In addition to the ‘semen’ stain, the INML extracted DNA from 130 human hairs at this time. The report does not list how many human hairs were found in total. It does not say at this time how many dog hairs were found. It does not say how many human hairs could not be used for DNA analysis. Basically, it says the INML now has 130 hairs with a DNA profile, and the lab is going to continue to try to get more out of the samples.
The report is at http://www.mccannpjfiles.co.uk/P7/07_VOLUME_VI1a_Page_1827.jpg
That is in Portuguese and it is highly repetitive. Please bear in mind that I have stripped out the results from Robert Murat’s home and car.
The two guys from Lisbon did a reasonable graphic, showing the 7 areas where they picked up hairs and ‘semen’. Here is what was found, using those 7 areas. The format is Portuguese reference, number of hairs, where from, and who it matched to.
B, 3, entrada 7, unknown.
B1, 1, entrada 7, unknown.
C, 13, sala 6, Kate.
C, 15, entrada 7, Kate.
C, 13, bedroom yellow strip 1, Kate.
C, 4, floor beside window bed 4, Kate.
C, 1, Madeleine’s bed 3, Kate.
C, 7, floor beside Madeleine’s bed 2, Kate.
D1, 1, sala 6, unknown.
D2, 1, bedroom yellow strip 1, unknown.
D3, 1, floor beside window bed 4, unknown.
F, 1, sala 6, unknown.
F, 2, entrada 7, unknown
G, 1, sala 6, Matthew Oldfield
I, 1, entrada 7, David Payne.
J, 1, floor beside window bed 4, unknown.
J, 1, entrada 7, unknown
J, 1, floor beside Madeleine’s bed 2, unknown.
(K Not relevant – not 5A.)
L, 1, bed-cover ‘semen’ stain 5, unknown.
L, 1, bedroom yellow strip 1, unknown.
L, 2, entrada 7, unknown.
L, 4, floor beside window bed 4, unknown.
(M Not relevant – not 5A.)
N, 2, sala 6, Gerry.
N, 11, entrada 7, Gerry.
N, 6, bedroom yellow strip 1, Gerry.
N, 3, floor beside window bed 4, Gerry.
N, 3, floor beside Madeleine’s bed 2, Gerry.
O, 1, sala 6, Russell O’Brien.
O, 1, entrada 7, Russell O’Brien.
Q, 1, entrada 7, unknown.
Q, 1, sala 6, unknown.
There were 19 other profiles that had been extracted from 5A that do not match the profiles above.
Please don’t ask me why there is no A, E, H etc. in the files, and why there is a B and B1, a D1 and a D2 and a D3. I could only guess, and that won’t help.
Now comes the interesting bit, which is interpreting these findings.
I believe the INML had sample DNA swabs from the Tapas 9 and Robert Murat at this time, but not samples from police officers who responded, people who waltzed through 5A on 3rd May, people who had rented 5A before, the owner of 5A, and people who had been in 5A during the McCann stay, namely the cleaners and the repair men.
So we are missing much more than we have got, but what have we got?
The biggest find must be that Robert Murat’s DNA, which had been sampled, was not found in 5A. At least, not by this stage.
Kate’s pattern is a little bit odd. Hairs everywhere you would expect to find them, apart from in the bed beside the window. That’s the bed she slept in on the night of 2nd May, so how do I explain the lack of Kate’s hair? She’s shedding everywhere else that sounds reasonable, so is the lack of hairs on that bed significant or just another red herring?
There is a conspiracy theory that the McCanns were part of one huge group of swingers that involved most of the Ocean Club and most of Luz. If that turns out to be the case, apartment 5A is remarkably devoid of evidence supporting this.
The ‘contamination’ of 5A from the Tapas 7 is minor.
Later on the police respondents would be tested, and translator Silvia Batista would be added. However, child-carer Amy Tierney stated that she went through all of 5A that night, and it appears she was re-located to Greece without DNA tests. I wonder how many people went through 5A and did not have DNA tests at all.
The final puzzle is Madeleine and the twins. Kate had 53 hairs spread over the sample sites. Gerry had 25, also well spread. I would have expected large numbers of hairs from the children, spread throughout. And if Madeleine slept twice on that bed since the flat was last cleaned then surely she should have left hairs on it. Perhaps some of the hairs attributed to the parents will later get re-attributed to the children.
According to Kate’s book “Madeleine”, she sat with the twins on Madeleine’s bed for a final story before the twins were moved to their cots for the night. At this point in time, only a single hair had been identified from that bed, and it belonged to Kate.
Perhaps subsequent analyses will resolve some of these issues, but unfortunately, the lab tends to lump all samples together, including 5A, Murat’s house, every car that was searched and a flat that was searched in Burgau. Splitting them out again is not straight-forward.
Current newspaper reports of 432 human hairs relate to all of the sites and cars searched, not just 5A. The focus of media reports is 98 hairs that could not be analysed at the time, rather than the fairly large number of hairs for which DNA was extracted, but were not matched to anyone.