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.

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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.

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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 http://www.forensicsciencesimplified.org/blood/principles.html 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.

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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.

Textusa, Martin Grime and the dogs #2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Textusa, Martin Grime, and the dogs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jane Tanner walked past Gerry and Jez and saw Smithman.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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