Madeleine v Paços de Ferreira

Paços de Ferreira’s opening match in the Primeira Liga this year is away to Marítimo of Madeira.

http://www.dn.pt/desporto/interior/pacos-de-ferreira-vai-de-barco-para-a-madeira-8689787.html

My interest in this is simple. The news report says the team is making the trip by boat from Porto Santo, and the sea trip will last 2.5 hours. This is when things did not look right, surely no one could have taken Madeleine to Madeira by sea in so short a time.

The reason that the football team is using a ferry to get to Madeira is that Madeira’s airport, Cristiano Ronaldo, has been closed for some time, due to exceptionally strong winds over the island. As it happens, Cristiano Ronaldo has already re-opened, and some 8 aircraft have landed and 5 departed.

Back to Paços de Ferreira and Porto Santo. It turns out that Paços de Ferreira are located to the north-east of Porto, so the team is going to be doing a lot of travelling this season.

Here is a map of south-west Iberia, and out into the Atlantic.

Madeira is the island marked with Funchal. Porto Santo is the much smaller island above and to the right. The gap between that looks tiny is what is going to take 2.5 hours by boat. So it’s plain that a journey by sea from mainland Portugal to Madeira would take days.

Madeira happens to have two relevancies to the Madeleine McCann story, which is why this news item popped out at me. In an intelligence report around the year 2000, Madeira was noted as one of 4 paedophile hotspots in Portugal though, from memory, it was more to do with in-family activity and sex tourism. While the person other than Vitor dos Santos who handled bookings at the Ocean Club, Luis Duarte, was having a short break in Madeira when Madeleine disappeared.

Returning to Paços de Ferreira, their match v Marítimo kicks off at 4pm tomorrow, and they expect to depart Madeira at 8pm for the marathon trip home. Weather conditions will determine whether they fly direct to Porto from Cristiano Ronaldo or whether they transfer back to Porto Santo by boat.

ETA Marítimo 1  Paços de Ferreira 0.

Madeleine – Steve Gibson on YouTube

A Mr. Steve Gibson has uploaded a YouTube video that seemingly follows on from one of the men identified in the Panorama 10 year special.

It is at https://youtu.be/XBmxYzo6vyo and was uploaded on 9 July 2017. Before you spend over 51mins of your life on this, let me explain the provenance.

Mr Gibson uploaded a shorter video to YouTube on the Madeleine McCann case, about one year earlier than his current opus. That video was rambling, full of swearing, and Mr Gibson made clear he was new to the case at that time. It is self evident from that video that Mr Gibson was fairly ignorant of the case basics.

Reading up for a year is unlikely to have transformed Mr Gibson’s expertise, but at least in his July 2017 effort he desists from swearing.

His basic train of thought is as follows.

  • Kate and Gerry McCann can be ruled out, largely on the response of the dogs.
  • The Tapas 7 can be ruled out, largely on the basis that they had no need to get involved in a cover-up.
  • Random individuals mentioned in the PJ Files, e.g. bogus charity collectors or alleged surveillance people, can be ruled out, largely on the basis that there was insufficient evidence of monitoring of apartment 5A.
  • This leaves an inside job, conducted by a staff member at the Ocean Club, with access to keys.
  • Cleaners can be ruled out, largely because Mr Gibson thinks they can.
  • Maintenance workers can be ruled out, largely because Mr Gibson thinks they can.
  • Staff such as restaurant workers, gardeners and drivers are ruled out, because Mr Gibson thinks it was done with a key to 5A.
  • That leaves those in administration (Ocean Club 24 hour reception). Of which Mr Gibson thinks they number around a dozen.
  • And for some reason, Mr Gibson then homes in on one of the Panorama people, Vitor dos Santos.

Perhaps it was the Panorama programme, perhaps not, but Mr Gibson has lifted both video and stills from that special to support his analysis. He has alleged that in the Panorama interview conducted by Richard Bilton, Sr dos Santos’ behaviour was strange, in that he mentioned several times that he had lost his job over the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, and that he expressed no emotional tie to Madeleine, or support for her parents.

He went further by overlaying on the Panorama footage the darker-skinned Smithman e-fit, thereby implying a likeness.

Mr Gibson went to considerable length to state he could not prove this theory, which is probably a wise decision.

I am not a fan of behavioural analysis. In Sr dos Santos’ position it strikes me as impossible to predict what ‘correct’ behaviour would be. And as for the Smithman e-fits, I am of the opinion these are junk quality, and tell us very little indeed.

There are things about Sr dos Santos as a suspect that are a poor fit. His statement shows that he was casado i.e. married, so exactly what he was going to do with a 3-year old girl is difficult to imagine. His economic situation seems to have deteriorated with his change of occupation. And 10 years on from Madeleine’s disappearance, he appears to be living and working close to Luz, in plain and common view.

Luz – Panorama 3 May 2017

The BBC did a 10th anniversary special Panorama on 3 May 2017, regarding the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. In it, towards the end, they featured an interview with Senhor Vitor dos Santos. He had a senior job at the Ocean Club in 2007, had been working there for some 18 years, and the following year, he was made redundant, with a letter claiming this was due to the Madeleine fallout.

Senhor dos Santos then became a small-boat captain, taking tourists for a trip around a natural sea-wonder a few kilometres south of Lagos.

The stash of photos I found recently contains dozens and dozens of old Lagos. I find them interesting to flip though, because I can match many of them up to the modern day Lagos that I know. However, I don’t wish to get into documenting the history of Lagos.

So the following photo is only presented because it matches up with the Panorama interview of the intrepid boat-captain. This photo is simply dated as the 1940s.

Make up your own mind about what is going on here.

Personally, I am not seeing a tourist trip, with a boat captain making a living from this. I am seeing a family day out, a working group having a bit of fun time.

From the shadows, it looks like the sun is at its peak in midsummer.

The lens flare through the centre of the photo is entirely original. And I have no idea how this photo was posed.

Luz at the beginning of the 20th century #2

Here are more photos of Luz supposedly from the early 20th century. I cannot discern anything in them to confirm this date, but I have no reason to assume the date is inaccurate.

Although early 20th century appears to have little to do with Madeleine McCann, it does put into context how Luz evolved up to the time that the Ocean Club was built. That in turn impacts the fact that the Ocean Club is not a private complex. Rather, it is completely interwoven with public roads and areas. That in turn means that it is impossible for the Ocean Club to have CCTV, with the exception of a few internal areas.

If these photos are really from around the 1900s, there is an implication. Today, Luz regularly gets an influx of visitors from Lisbon and Oporto. I was having a sea-front discussion on 2 May 2017, and the café had a large contingent of Portuguese customers, in groupings which looked like tourists rather than locals. But Lisbon is 3 hours away in a modern car on a modern motorway. How long did it take in horse-drawn transport or early cars?

Have a look at this photo.

These are the rocks to the south of the Fortaleza, and the view is east towards Rocha Negra. The ladies appear to be dressed in their Sunday finest. The photo is as posed as posed can be. It looks as if someone may have hand-tinted the photo to add some red effects to the clouds, but that could have other explanations, such as originating with the scanning process.

I have no expertise whatsoever in Portuguese historical clothing, so I cannot use it as a clue.

However, the length of time today for the trip from Lisbon suggest this group is not from there, but much closer. I have already posted photos of early Luz, which show some large buildings on 25th April Street, so a possibility is wealthy citizens of Luz, perhaps after a Sunday visit to Nossa Senhora da Luz.

Gonçalo Amaral raises an alternative possibility in his book A Verdade da Mentira. He suggests that Luz had a certain popularity with the citizens of Lagos, and in the early 20th century, that journey would not have been hard either by horse and carriage or by early motor transport.

Here is another photograph, this time taken near the small beach, to the west of the main beach.

The clothes appear to me to be slightly less up-market, though I would still describe them as posh. This is less posed, but the thing that is interesting is that everyone is on the rocks. No-one is actually on the little beach.

The 1492 in the bottom has no real significance. The Fortaleza was built much later. I have yet to find out what Vivenda Mascarenhas means.

This last photo simply gives a pictorial idea of the scale of fishing in Luz a century or so ago.

The legend says ‘fishermen washing the nets on the beach.’ Presumably, the catch has been taken into Luz to be processed, and the nets need to be cleaned of fish remains before storing them.

It looks like 8 sailing ships to me, each much larger than a row-boat, and each powered by sail. There are 13 fishermen involved in this washing of the nets. I don’t know whether this is the only net used, or whether each boat came near the beach in turn and the collective then helped to wash that particular net.

From the size of the mesh, it looks like they were fishing for very large fish, such as tuna.

The fishing industry in Luz would slowly decline, and cross over with the tourist industry when it began to take off.

Luz in the 1940s?

Let me say up front that I do not have a date for the photo you are about to see. I can only say it appears to be consistent with Luz in the 1940s.

Shall we start with the obvious bits first? All of the land to closer to the photo taker than the church and the Fortaleza turned into a chunk of the Ocean Club plus other developments decades later, so the photo is hardly recent.

The promenade now has palm trees. Those in the photo are deciduous trees.

That big hilly lump in the centre of the photo still exists, although it looks like it has been much reduced in size.

It is possible to line up the church, the Fortaleza, the promenade, and that hill to pinpoint where the photo was taken. I am confident I can identify the photographer’s spot. But what I cannot do is find either of the two buildings in the foreground. They are either gone or heavily modified.

There are 2 further points for your attention.

There is what I would call a station wagon, on the left hand side of the photo, about half-way down. This is a poor match for 1930s station wagons. It happens to be a good match for 1940s station wagons, which is why I think this is 1940s or later. Here’s a 1940 Plymouth De Luxe.

In the bottom right-hand corner of the photo is a person who appears to be staring up at the photo-taker at the moment the shutter was clicked. The watcher and the watched. From the shadows, it is possible to tell the sun was around the mid-day point, and it was spring or autumn (not summer or winter). But I cannot get a year from the shadows.

PS For a bonus, can you see what looks like 2 people having a stroll on the beach?

Madeleine – the no news photos

I have been meaning to pack away a few photos before we relocate and as there seems to be no news on the Madeleine McCann front, this seems as good a time as any.

Both of the following photos were taken around 5.50pm, today, 15 Jun 2017. The temperature hit 37°C at lunchtime, which is far too hot for me. We currently live on a hilltop in the north of Luz and that means we get any breeze going, which is brilliant through Spring, Summer and Autumn. Our family juniors have already moved to our new house inland, and they tell us it is baking, with no wind, so I am contemplating how to make a lot of artificial wind when we need it there.

Here is the first of two photos.

I took this simply because that purple-flowering tree is stunning. I have no gardening skills, so I had to ask what type of tree it is. I am informed it is a jacaranda, and I want one when we move. We have around 300m of land that we are not permitted to build any structure on, so we might as well have a pretty garden.

The second photo is simply a view of Luz that you don’t get in any of the stock photos.

This is looking from Monte Lemos in the extreme north of Luz roughly due west. There are two positioning aides in it. In the background you can see the hill on which Boa Vista golf complex resides, stretching to Rocha Negra at the southern end. On the hill you can see the track possibly used by Kate and Gerry McCann when they went running to ascend the hill, but there is an easier route.

In the centre of the photo in the middle distance is a row of villas and sticking up near the left hand end is a thing that looks like a tree. In fact, it is artificial. It is a phone mast that was put in with the intention of providing the Internet throughout Luz, but the project failed. It locally called the pineapple roundabout even though the structure looks like a palm tree. It sits near the northern end of Rua Primeira de Maio, a few yards or metres up from the Hotel Belavista.

If you look nearer than this to the centre-right, you can see a very large villa done in white. That is one of two luxury villas that have recently been built on Monte Lemos in a speculative enterprise. Neither will get finished until someone buys them and specifies how they want the interior to look.

This means that although the Ocean Club is dead, there is still investment and building at the high end of the market. Whether BrExit impacts this remains to be seen.

The orange or sandy-coloured villa behind the white one is obscuring any view of apartment 5A, the Ocean Club, and most of central Luz, but apartment 5A is far enough away that it would not appear from this spot.

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.