Madeleine – The Magnificent Six – #1 deleted

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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 v Montana sauvignon blanc

Those of you who read this blog regularly will know that I enjoy cooking. One of my standards when I am abandoned on my own for a fortnight is to do a ’round the world tour’. Each night I ‘travel’ a little further around the world, cooking one of the signature dishes of the country in which I have ‘landed’. If this sounds hare-brained, trust me, I get some really delicious meals out of it.

Strangely enough, the core idea came from a Weight Watchers book, Around the World in 65 Recipes. Great food does not need to be fattening!

When we move to our new home in Portelas (water and electricity now in, builders ripping things out and installing new things), I want to start up a Diner’s Club in the village. Once a month I want to cook good food in a good ambience with good company, and ‘Around the World’ may fit the good food requirement perfectly.

I do not want to compete with anyone running a café/bar in or around Portelas. That rules out a vast raft of Portuguese goodies, both in food and drink. I have been looking for a source that would satisfy the alternative drink requirement. Today I visited a cash and carry called Recheio in Lagos (Google Recheio cash and carry – it’s online). It has dozens or hundreds of wines, but all of them are Portuguese.

At the moment, I am stumped, but then I am also ingenious. In Kate’s book ‘madeleine’, she mentions having a glass of wine before going out to dine on 3 May 2007. Please don’t head down the ‘too much to drink angle’. I am simply trying to work out where I can get wines from outside Portugal so I can do world tours.

As far as I can establish, the wine shared by Kate and Gerry was a Montana sauvignon blanc, from New Zealand. It reminded them of a fond time there when both their careers and their romance was blossoming, along with Kate’s running capability.

Here’s a 2006 Montana sauvignon blanc.

In lots of ways, this sliver of gold does not fit in. I am not a fan of sauvignon blanc. The nearest I have been to New Zealand in real life is Los Angeles. While I have signature dishes for many countries around the world, New Zealand is not yet on my radar.

However, my failure at Recheio cash and carry means I need to go back to the origin of that Montana sauvignon blanc, which was Supermercado Baptista. I need a map of the wine countries Baptista covers as my starting position.

Time is pressing. In between now and 10 June 2017 we have to get everyone moved into the new house. I am hoping to have our first family Portugal v England friendly before the week is out. For the clash of the Auld Enemies at Hampden in June, I am confident I can produce an ‘authentic’ Killie pie and surely England deserves a (Vardy) ploughman special? But can I get a typically Scottish or English beer in Portugal?

So much to do in life. So little time.

Madeleine v the double buggy

In the Crimewatch of Oct 2013, the reconstruction shows the McCanns, all played by actors and actresses, in an early trip around the Ocean Club soon after arriving in Luz. ‘Gerry’ is pushing a double buggy containing the ‘twins’, ‘Kate’ is walking in front with an inflated pool ring (which appears to be adult sized) and ‘Madeleine’ is romping out ahead.

I cannot get a clear photo of the Crimewatch double buggy as ‘Kate’ is always obscuring it. This is the best I can do.

20131013-crimewatch-double-buggy

The double buggy is one of the numerous errors in Crimewatch. The McCanns did not take any kind of a buggy with them.

From Kate’s book ‘madeleine’, about their first afternoon/evening in Luz

Afterwards we strolled over to the Millennium restaurant for dinner. … The restaurant turned out to be nearly half a mile away from our base – a bit too far, really, certainly for a gaggle of weary toddlers. As we were only going to be away for a week, we’d decided not to bring Sean and Amelie’s double buggy with us, preferring to travel light. … So there were many stops and negotiations about whose turn it was to be carried by whom.”

Their family beach trip was on Tuesday, 1 May 2007.

In the afternoon Gerry and I decided to take the children down to the beach. … We borrowed a double buggy from Mark Warner to make the walk easier for Sean and Amelie.”

Since Crimewatch didn’t think the double buggy was important, I have no reason to think that they would have checked on the make or model of the double buggy used by the McCanns in the UK.

The double buggy in Crimewatch appears to me to be a relatively lightweight one, though it is hard to tell. By comparison, the McCanns’ UK double buggy looks to be a substantial beast. Here it is in Oct 2007.

20071017-katemccann-double-buggy

Without any sort of buggy capacity, the walk from apartment 5A to and from the Millennium would indeed be a mighty effort. Simply carrying the twins is not the complete answer, due to traffic flow. While Baptista was open (8.30am to 8pm), Rua Dr Agostinho da Silva beside 5A is an important entry to and exit from the supermarket. Jenny Murat describes a near miss as she was returning from buying some bread close to the shop’s closing time.

The fact that Rua Direita is one way (west to east) also affects traffic flow on the major part of the route between apartment 5A and the Millennium. Traffic coming from Lagos on the M537 is forced to turn north at the entry junction to Luz, in order to avoid Rua Direita. Then a 90° curve at the Mirage puts this stream of traffic smack-dab on the McCann route along Rua do Ramalhete.  Here is the McCann journey.

5a-to-millennium

Nearly all of the traffic coming from Lagos gets shunted onto this road. That includes the Lagos to Burgau bus route. (The Burgau to Lagos route is able to travel along Rua Direita.)

From the time that the buses start or Baptista opens to the time that both shut down the route requires control over young children. Assuming Gerry carried one of the twins and Kate carried one of the others, it still required a hand free to make sure Madeleine stayed on the pavement.

According to Vitor dos Santos, the Head of Accommodation at the Ocean Club, who booked-in the Tapas 9 –

For dinner the guests could choose between two options, the Tapas and the Millennium and although the meals are identical, the clients choose the restaurant according to its proximity to their accommodation.

In this case in concrete, the rational choice for dinner would be the Tapas restaurant as it is 100 metres distance from the apartment, whilst the Millennium is situated 600 metres away.”

The diagram above measures the distance from 5A to the Millennium. Senhor dos Santos makes it 600 metres. I make it 650m, which is just above what Senhor dos Santos thinks and a little below what Kate says.

I don’t think a small difference is significant. With or without a buggy, apartment 5A to the Millennium is not a pleasant route nor is it an easy trek. I have been informed by a reliable source that the other 3 families in the T9 group brought buggies. I don’t know what they all did for breakfast. But in the evening they preferred the Tapas restaurant over the Millennium.

And so Madeleine, and all the other children of the T9, would be spending their evenings in block 5 whilst the parents dined nearby.

Madeleine – Freud – Why the McCanns?

What is is that Sir Clement Freud saw in the Madeleine McCann case that made him invite the McCanns to his holiday rental villa not once, but twice, in 2007?

The starting off point is where these visits were reported. As far as I know these visits were never reported other than in Kate’s book “Madeleine”. There was nothing reported in the media at the time. It would appear that Freud did not blab about these visits. There is ‘nothing’ in the PJ Files. And Gerry McCann’s blog of the time is reputed to be absent of any mention of meeting Freud in Casa da Colina.

So the first question that has to be asked is simple. Other than Kate McCann’s book, is there any evidence of these visits?

Without even digging into the case, the answer has to go heavily in favour of a yes. To write the relevant parts of her book, Kate had to know that Sir Clement was a visitor to Luz, and that he was in Luz on the dates she mentioned. Plus she would have needed to know about the people owning the villa from 2002, Philip and Andrew Wright. Otherwise her statements would have been shredded by now, which they haven’t.

The next port of call has to be the PJ Files. There is no reason for me to think that the notes supposedly written by Sir Clement Freud would have found their way into the files, but phone communications to and from the Tapas 9 were being monitored and analysed, so it is reasonable to make a first assumption that something should surface here.

The bit you need is the Luz phone records, and the particular set is the Vodafone records, which are detailed at http://www.mccannpjfiles.co.uk/PJ/PHONE_LISTINGS.htm These are the records for the 3 Vodafone numbers known about by the PJ, and Gerry McCann was on Vodafone.

I have not hacked through all of these records, but there were 5 calls from Gerry’s mobile to the number of Casa da Colina land-line. Gerry’s mobile was 7786986188. The land-line for Casa da Colina was 282789879, under the name of Philip Wright.

The first 3 calls are 3 July 2007 at 21:19, lasting 3:31; 4 July 2007 at 10:01 lasting 1:07; 4 July 2007 at 12:46 lasting 1min 55secs. These appear to fit well with an invitation by Freud to visit him for a meal at Casa da Colina for a meal, when 5 adults and the twins are stated as having participated.

The last two are 2 Sep 2007 at 15:42, lasting 1:45; 3 Sep 2007 at 16:51, lasting just 59 seconds. These are a relatively poor match for a visit that is supposed to have occurred on the day both Kate and Gerry were made arguidos – 7 Sep 2007.

According to Vodafone, these telephone records were sent to the PJ on 14 Dec 2007. This was months after Kate and Gerry McCann had been made arguidos, and they had long since departed Portugal for the UK.

There was also no reason to suspect at the time that Casa da Colina or Sir Clement Freud were involved in anything. The first connection to Sir Clement appeared in Kate’s book Madeleine around the 4th anniversary in 2011, roughly 2 years after Freud died, and that does not appear to have been recognised as potentially significant until Vicky Haynes read the book some 2 years later, or about 4 years after Sir Clement Freud passed away.

So it has all been very late in the day, though it appears Vicky Haynes raised her concerns with Operation Grange, and the UK police have checked out what was going on at the relevant dates with the current owners of Casa da Colina. There is nothing on the horizon that seems suspect, at least as far as the media are concerned at this moment.

So what was Freud up to in inviting the McCanns twice to his holiday home?

Option 1. He was simply being benign. It was nothing more than simply extending a hand to a couple in trouble. This may be correct, but Freud was getting more reclusive with age, and 5 strangers plus the twins seems a bit of a leap.

Option 2. He was trying to find out what was going on in the case. He did seem to be interested in this aspect, but was that in any way unusual in Luz in 2007?

Option 3. It was simply a frisson of excitement. Even at his age, he was still plugged into the celebrities, whether that was horse-racing, popular game shows like Just A Minute, or one of the biggest circuses in history, the McCanns in Luz.

Option 3 sounds the most likely to me, but there is a major problem. Why didn’t this come out in Freud’s lifetime? Why didn’t Freud or the McCanns relate this while Freud was alive? I have not scrutinised what has been kept of Gerry McCann’s blog, but surely these two visits were worthy of a comment or two? It is claimed that Gerry’s blog had nothing.

Option 4. Paedophiles. Since Sir Clement Freud had sold Casa da Colina in 2002, anyone trying the paedophile idea has to stretch it to the ridiculous. This would require that Casa da Colina, under present ownership, was implicated in paedophile activities in 2007 at a time that Sir Clement Freud was in the UK. For me, that one goes straight into the rubbish bin.

The alternative version of option 4 is that Sir Clement Freud was plugged into some paedophile ring in Luz, either in 2007 or much earlier. To date, I have seen zero to support this.

Therefore, my choice is option 3, that Freud got a bit of an insider view, and a vicarious thrill. He seemed to be a person who thought that normal social conventions did not apply to him. But of course I cannot prove this, and you are free to make up your own mind.

Madeleine – from Freud to the Pig’s Head

Robert Hurst, the landlord at the Pig’s Head in Burgau, joined the Justice Forum (Miscarriage of Justice), and gave sufficient information to allow me to work out the likely stages in the trail from Clement Freud to the outskirts of Burgau.

To start at the beginning, Exposure on ITV on 15 June 2016 alleged that two under age girls had been groomed by Freud, thus making him a paedophile. There was no mention in Exposure of Madeleine McCann nor of Luz.

At the same time, the media linked Sir Clement Freud to the McCanns. See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/14/sir-clement-freud-exposed-as-a-paedophile-as-police-urged-to-pro/ This is dated/timed before Exposure went on air, so people somewhere were doing a bit of research in advance.

The link is Sir Clement inviting the McCanns to his holiday villa in Luz in July 2007 for a meal. A far as I am aware, this was reported in Kate’s book ‘Madeleine’, but nowhere else. If this is correct, the media has amazing indexes on the McCann case. We now have a chain of Freud – paedophile – McCanns – Luz. What comes next?

The next step is digging into the PJ Files etc. for references to paedophilia. Up pops Robert Murat, on the basis that he had a clipping in his house that Casanova might have been a paedophile. And up pops the Plough and Harrow, on Rua Direita in Luz.

The tale with the Plough is that the son of the landlord is alleged to have been grooming a 12 year old girl, and then got hounded out of Luz. I shall return to that tale another time.

For the moment, we have a chain that looks like Exposure – Freud – paedophile – McCanns/Luz – Plough. The question now is how the link was then made to the Pig’s Head in Burgau.

Mr Robert Hurst stated that the visit of Antonella Lazzeri and colleague to the Pig’s Head was made on Friday June 17. This gave the Sun 3 days from the pre-release of the Exposure material to working out another McCann story was in the offing, and then establishing the potential involvement of the Pig’s Head.

Mr Hurst clarified that a link had been made between Freud and the Pig’s Head, and the origin of this was a barman who had previously worked in the Pig’s Head, and now worked elsewhere as a barman. The information had been gleaned by Antonella Lazzeri on a visit to a pub in Luz.

Mr Hurst declined to name the pub in Luz, saying to do so might be interpreted as sour grapes. The most obvious pub in Luz would be what was then the Plough, because of the alleged paedophile connection.

If correct, this makes the chain Exposure – Freud – paedophile – McCanns/Luz – Plough – barman – Pig’s Head, with Robert Murat tacked on for good measure. And this seems to be the mix appearing in the Sun and related articles.

Madeleine – jogging v Freud

According to his son Matthew, Sir Clement Freud was in the UK when Madeleine went missing. Unless the family avoided the news, it is reasonable to assume that they matched up the disappearance of Madeleine McCann with Luz, the place in which they had owned the villa Casa da Colina, and which they now rented for holidays.

Kate’s book “Madeleine” has the following. “ At the beginning of July we received the following letter. Dear McCanns. I have a house in P da L, been ashamed of the intrusion to your lives by our media … and if you would care to come to lunch/dinner at any time before Wednesday next, do ring and let me know. I cook decent meals. Sincerely, Clement Freud.”

‘Do ring’ requires a phone number and there is none in this extract, so presumably there was a bit more that Kate McCann chose not to publish.

This letter clarifies that Sir Clement was following the media. However, it is a bit vague of the date the letter was delivered.

Up until 2nd July, the McCanns were in apartment 4G. Then they moved to 27 Rua das Flores.

Casa da Colina was owned in 2007 by Philip Wright. His phone number was 262 *** 879. Gerry McCanns phone records show 4 calls to the villa land-line, two when the first visit occurred in early July, and two around the time they visited when they had been made arguidos.

The first call was on 3 July 2007 at 21:19 and lasted 3 minutes and 31 seconds. Presumably this was when Gerry established the letter was not a hoax, and arranged a date and time for the visit. The second call was on 4 July 2007 at 10:01am and lasted 1 minute and 1 second. That could have been confirmation, or possibly asking if it was OK to bring 3 adult friends and the twins.

The date of the first call suggests the letter was delivered by hand to apartment 4G, or the Ocean Club reception. Since Kate’s book raised the possibility of a hoax, clearly the McCanns did not meet Freud when the letter arrived.

Turning to the jogging aspect, in the Sun story linking Freud to the McCanns a neighbour said the couple were in the vicinity several times, implying more was going on than just the two visits in Kate’s book. This ignores the fact that the logical route for a jog from apartment 4G to the top of the cliffs runs beside Casa da Colina, the villa used by Freud as a holiday home.

So when the McCanns used this route, each time they would pass the neighbour once on the way up, and once on they way back down.

Sir Clement Freud jogging 1

When the McCanns moved to 27 Rua das Flores, this route makes little or no sense. To get to the very bottom of the road leading up to the cliffs, the option is jog or take a car. The jog from 27 Rua das Flores to the start of ascent point involves some of the busiest roads in Luz, thus unpleasant and dangerous. Driving in a car seems highly unlikely, as the McCanns then had a new hill route on their doorstep, up Rua dos Hibiscos, past the water tower at the top, and out towards Espiche, if they wished. This route is fairly quiet and quite pleasant. We lived close to the water tower for a couple of months, and Rua dos Hibiscos was my preferred dog-walking route.

In summary, from apartment 4G the jog past Casa da Colina is logical, while from 27 Rua das Flores it is not.

Then there are the jogging photos. These are from Pamalam at http://www.mccannfiles.com/id9.html

Jogging 1

Saturday, 19 May 2007. Kate and Gerry go jogging at 7.00am in the morning, to the monument at the top of the steep cliff that overlooks Praia da Luz. They reach it in 19 minutes.”

I had only seen one jogging photo, and I was laboriously trying to pinpoint the precise location by lining up the church with the buildings behind. When I clapped eyes on the second, everything became much easier. They are at the position in the street where the surface changes from cobbles (calcadas) to packed earth.

Jogging 2

That happens to be very near the top of the road, where it comes to an end at a large plateau underneath the cliffs. The plateau is a favoured haunt for dog walkers, who drive up and park at the top end of the road, and then let their dogs off the leash.

If you look at the map again, the entrance gate to Casa da Colina is where there is a little offshoot to the top & left and then the street runs up alongside the villa, while the jogging photos were taken nearly at the point where the road bends to a halt. Due to a bend in the road, I can’t see anything of Casa da Colina in the photos. There is a villa that is further up the hill, and ones in the background that are not on this route.

These are not the first jogging photos at Pamalam. Those appear on Wednesday, 16 May 2007. The jogging outfits are very similar, but not identical. There is no information as to the route taken by the pair on that occasion.

From memory, Kate’s book ‘Madeleine’ describes her first jog as being solo, which would date it to prior to 16 May 2007. And she describes the route as being to the top of the cliffs, which would mean she had taken this route before.

Quite possibly, the two pictures from Saturday, 19th May, are from a pre-arranged photo shoot, presumably for feeding the media snippets to keep them on-side. It seems an odd time to do it, given that the news focus at this time was Robert Murat as an arguido, but who know what ‘deal’ was struck with the media. It could be along the lines of ‘we’ve done our bit so give us a bit of private time.’

Certainly, there wasn’t a photographer at the top of the road by chance at 7am simply hoping. The spot and the framing have been carefully chosen to capture Kate and Gerry, to get enough background to scream Luz, and to carefully frame the photographs to drop distracting surroundings. And whoever took the photographs was not jogging up the hill ahead of Gerry and Kate. These two photos were taken by someone standing in the same spot and using a decent zoom lens.

If it was not an agreed and authorised photo shoot, the alternative is that the photographer knew that Kate and Gerry had an early morning jog routinely going to the top of the cliffs, watched Kate and Gerry set off at 7am, then drove to the plateau and simply waited in the right spot to capture the images.

There isn’t enough information in the photo from 16th May to locate where and when Kate and Gerry were jogging. The fact that Gerry has his t-shirt off suggests it was not early morning, but if they were coming back from the cliff top, it is possible that the hard ascent up from the plateau to the top was enough for him to want to cool down and remove his shirt.

This wander through the jogging photos has reminded me of some interesting points related to the plateau, but as this post is already long I will return to those to another time.

But to finish off, consider the time the run took. 19 minutes from apartment 4G, past Casa da Colina, across the plateau and up to the cliff tops sounds about right for a couple of experienced joggers. Anyone suggesting the McCanns used this for body disposal or body concealment has to factor in the time required to carry a fairly heavy weight to either the plateau or to the cliff top. It is totally inconsistent with the timings of 3 May 2007, so some interim storage point has to be built in.