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 – Smithman challenge 2

The second part of Luz I want to show you is not on StreetView, but it is one that you know well from the Operation Grange Luz dig of June 2014. I think of it as the mound. I have read it called the snail. And I have heard it described simply as ‘the little hill’.

I happen to think the only reason connecting the mound to Smithman is proximity, but I have heard of an alternative explanation. Which view is correct is not important in the following tale.

The dig on the mound was the start of my real interest in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. I had read both Kate’s book ‘Madeleine’, and Gonçalo’s book ‘A Verdade da Mentira’. But I had read both as a pastime, without any real interest in the case.

Then OG started to dig up one of the least believable locations in Luz, and I started reading up in earnest.

First, let me take you on the photos that StreetView does not cover. Here is the mound, on foot. All photos were taken on 23 May 2016.

Photo 1 is taken from the north, within the large area of Luz dug up by OG in June 2014. From here the mound appears to be tiny, but later photos will clarify its height. I deliberately left all the undergrowth in the photo so you get a good idea of the challenge faced by OG. They had to decide on an area of interest first, then strim off all the vegetation in that area before they could begin the search proper.

01 23 May 16

You can see the equivalent of this on Google StreetView. I am now in the road that runs from Rua 25 de Abril in the north to Rua do Calhete in the south. That is the tarmac running across the bottom of the photo. The rough road running up the centre of the photo will lead to the top of the mound. And the mound still looks like it is not worthy of the term ‘hill’.

02 23 May 16

This is just a few metres further south on the rough road. Note the kerb-stones leading from the bottom left hand corner. Although this road looks like a small track, it is actually a 2 lane street that is overgrown with 10 years of vegetation. Note the two trees almost touching, because next stop is the other side of those.

03 23 May 16

This looks like more of the same, but at the top end of the road it starts to bend right, to curve up to the top of the mound.

04 23 May 16

As the road curves to the right, you get an idea of where we are by the view to black rock.

05 23 May 16

This is half way up the mound, located to the south of the hill, and facing west to the Urbanisação Paraíso.

06 23 May 16

On the road below, there is a motor home (parked close to a big pile of rubbish). I will return to this motor home shortly.

07 23 May 16

Facing west, this is the alternative route to get on and off the mound. The way to the top is on the right.

08 23 May 16

As you can see, the road to the top is now a fairly steep incline.

09 23 May 16

From close to the top, this is the view to the NE. On the horizon on the left, the V-shaped bob with a spike on top is the water tower. That is the location of the 3 masts of the Optimus tower. In apartment 5A, Kate was on antenna Luz 2 of the Optimus network. Gerry was on Vodafone, and its mast is quite a bit to the east of the mound. There is a very minor reference in the files to St James, the pink and white buildings stretching from the centre to the right hand side of the photo. Gerry was seen driving past it on Rua do Cemitério. This was considered insignificant by the PJ. It happens to be the logical route from Baptista supermarket to 27 Rua das Flores.

10 23 May 16

This is nearly at the top. The road is still climbing quite a bit and turning to reach a flat, large area.

11 23 May 16

This is basically the top of the mound and looking south, where it opens out into a large turning zone. The size is hard to grasp from the photo, but a car would be able to turn round without needing a 3-point turn. If you remember the photos of the Operation Grange dig of this whole area in June 2014, it was normal to see a very large van parked on the top. I presume that was a mobile control centre for the exercise.

12 23 May 16

OK, I’ve gone to one corner of the car park/turning area, looking towards Luz and the cliffs to the east. While I’m trying to show you that which Google does not, most people go to the opposite end of the tarmac, and take vista photos from there. The building with the stepped top is LuzTur, on Rua Primeiro de Maio.

13 23 May 16

Look carefully at the next photo and almost dead centre you can see a small black car travelling down Rua 25 de Abril. In the June 2014 dig, that is where most of the photographers got there pictures of the activities near the top of the mound. Now you have an idea of what the police saw from the top of the mound when they looked down at the media bods.

14 23 May 16

This is the road that runs along the south of the mound, the lowest level. I wanted to have a look at the motor home that appears earlier. This is from the entrance to the road, and the motor home is tucked away from any traffic. This road is also two lanes wide, again looking much narrower because of the overgrowing vegetation.

15 23 May 16

This shows again how far the motor home is from the end of the road. I should have paid more attention to where the vehicle was registered, but by this time I was getting dehydrated in the sun.

16 23 May 16

I scampered around the motor home for a few minutes, and I never heard a single sound from within. Either the people inside were quiet as church mice, or they were very trusting, leaving a window wide open like that. Had they not heard about the ‘spate of burglaries’ in Luz associated with the Madeleine McCann case?

17 23 May 16

The next photo is simply to give you some idea of how big the mound looks from the south. This was taken very close to the motor home. It is a flight of steps that leads from the bottom level of the mound to the middle level. It goes up perhaps one half of the hill. I don’t know why it has been built here. Basically, it goes nowhere, saves no time, and frankly it looks like a truly horrendous climb.

18 23 May 16

Earlier on, I showed you the police view from the top of the mound to the journalists on Rua 25 de Abril. This is the opposite view, from the photographers favoured position to the mound. If you are wondering why it only looks vaguely familiar, please remember that the photographers came armed with enormous zoom lenses. My camera is fitted with an 8x optical zoom which gets nowhere near what those guys were capable of. But what I was doing was trying to reproduce what the human eye can see, not what can be done with a zoom lens.

19 23 May 16

It has been a particularly long post, so I will leave the analysis to another day. Just remember the motor home on the flat earth road beside the sea and the motor home on the mound.

Madeleine – 3 phone operators

The 3 phone operators in Luz in May 2007 were Optimus, TMN and Vodafone.

The Tapas 9 phone operators were as follows

David Payne 7748 Vodafone UK

Dianne Webster 7790 Orange

Fiona Payne no mobile 2-4 May

Jane Tanner 7808 Telefonica UK

Gerry McCann 7786 Vodafone UK

Kate McCann 7903 EE ltd (TM)

Matthew Oldfield 7771 Vodafone UK

Rachael Oldfield 7771 Vodafone UK

Russell O’Brien 7713 Telefonica UK

So far so good, but this is where the going gets tough. Trying to match up Optimus and TMN with Orange, Telefonica UK, and EE ltd is proving puzzling.

Telefonica is Spanish, and does not in 2015 trade in Portugal, so there must have been a deal in place to run through one of the 3 operators in Portugal, but which one or ones?

At this point in time, we can reasonably assume that a Vodapfone UK mobile would go through the Vodafone, so at least we start with 4 of the 8 people.

We also know that when the caller and the person called are both within Luz and the call goes through two operators, we see double reporting of a single call, once each by the two operators.

Gerry makes 2 calls to Kate on 3 May 2007, and both of these turn up twice in the records. So Kate is not on the same operator as Gerry i.e. she is not going through Vodafone. This is confirmed on 4 May 2007 when David Payne, on Vodafone, is in contact with Kate, not on Vodafone, and the call gets double reported.

Inspector Paulo Dias says that Optimus contacts are marked in orange (the colour) while TMN contacts are in blue. I cannot find anything that states what colour is used for Vodafone.

I also have the problem that I don’t see how one can tell which network a 3rd party is using. I can tell that Gerry is on Vodafone, but when he connects to 2 English numbers he has in common with Kate, which colour is appropriate? Should it be the Vodafone colour that he is on? Should it be Kate’s orange or blue (even assuming I can work out which she is on?)

For the moment, here is a slightly updated graphic of the shared 3rd parties. To match the apparent heaviness of the lines, I have used orange, a lightish blue, and a dark green for Vodafone.

Shared numbers 2

Madeleine – 74,000 calls/texts – Kate part 1

Page 21

Kate Healy has in common with Gerald McCann, her husband, the numbers 4479xxxx7010 and 4477xxxx5629.

With the first of these numbers she exchanges messages before the events (receives by 08:50:31 hours, of day 2 and about 3 minutes she responds – 08:53:15 hours). She comes only to receive a new SMS from this number on the 4th, by 04:22:54 hours, answering by 04:55:54 hours that same day. Gerald just receives one call from this number, at 07:32:20, of day 4, keeping in conversation 5 minutes and 16 seconds. The number in question does not trigger any antenna in the area of Praia da Luz, nor relates to some other person who will.

The same goes for the number 4477xxxx5629, this is when it contacts with either Kate or with Gerald it is outside the zone of influence of the antennas that serve Praia da Luz, and so remains during the days studied.

This number makes a single call to Kate, on day 4 at 04:36:30 hours with a period of 1727 seconds (28 minutes and 47 seconds), and sends two messages to Gerald, at 22:01:55 hours and 22:02:00 hours.

Kate also has in common with Russell two numbers, the 901 which as mentioned already it is a message centre, so it is natural for you to access several other numbers, and the number 4479xxxx6678. As for the latter, Kate exchanges SMSs before the disappearance of Madeleine, she does so on day 3 – she receives by 12:31:33 hours and responds by 13:34:53 hours. She only returns to exchange messages with the user of that number at 06:02:08 hours, 06:04:11 hours, 08:06:14 hours and 08:07:52 hours of day 4, ending by a dialogue with the user of the mobile phone, at 10:20:42 hours, keeping in conversation about 171 seconds (2 minutes and 51 seconds). At this point this number does not activate any of the antennas studied, but returns to do so when at 19:43:42 hours, it receives a contact from Russell (last constant link in the graphic referring to this individual). In addition to these contacts, this number contacts with the home phone number of the McCanns (4411xxxx4972) and with the number 4477xxxx4842 that activates also one of the antennas of Optimus, at 19:54:08 hours, of day 4, when it connects to the number 4477xxxx9235, maintaining a conversation of 14 seconds. The latter number does not trigger any antenna of Praia da Luz. From what was stated above, it would appear that the number 4479xxxx6678 belongs to someone close to Kate, maybe even a relative.

The register of contacts made by Kate, began with a message that she sends at 07:36:41 hours, of day 2, for the number 4479xxxx3299, then followed by another to the same number, by 07:36:45 hours4. Reply was received by 07:50:09 hours. Of this number it only returns to receive a message, at 23:19:32 hours, of day 4. After the three initial messages she exchanges messages with the number 4479xxxx7010, as was already described above. Then, at 11:21:49 hours, of that day 2, she receives a voice call with a duration of 15 seconds, from the number 4417xxxx0023. The number in question does not return to contact with Kate during the reporting period, it does not activate any antenna of Praia da Luz, however it relates with the number 4479xxxx1583, this does activate one of the antennas Optimus serving that location, see table 10.

{Table 10 is on The communications which do not have an entry in the ‘duração’ (duration) column are SMSs.}

4The proximity of the two messages may be due to the fact that this is only one, but due to its size, is split in two.

It is a number that is unknown to whom it belongs, but as can be seen it is in Praia da Luz in three days, and on the second the record shows a 52-second conversation with the caller of Kate mentioned above.

{I’m finding this tough going to understand what sense is being made in this analysis. Table 10 is a list of a phone active in Luz, seemingly on Optimus as it always goes via Optimus antenna 2 (14932). That antenna covers roughly the east of Luz, so it handles traffic from around block 5 (plus numerous other areas in the east of Luz).}

Madeleine – 74,000 calls/texts – Rachael Oldfield

Page 14

Rachael Manpilly has a contact in common with Jane Tanner, the phone 917453319, that which its first registration is 22:06:52 hours of the day 4. This national number also contacts with 441274585431. This does not trigger any antenna studied.

The only member of the group with whom she maintains contacts is with her husband.

The first record contained in the database is a message it receives from number 1100, at 09:57:19 hours, of day 2. Subsequently, it exchanges 7 messages (6 with the number 447812799092 and 1 with the number 447817049612; these figures do not activate any antenna of those studied, nor have other contacts to do so). One of these, the last before the alert being given, occurred at 16:06:51 hours, of day 3.

On day 2, at 09:57:32 hours, she makes a call to telephone 447973100123 of which lasts 101 seconds (00:01:40 hours). This number does not trigger any of the analysed antenna serving the studied area, however it relates to the following numbers broken down, which activate antennas of TMN and Optimus: 447711219039 (1st activation: 08:11:43 hours, day 2) , 447778646683 (1st activation: 09:49:13 hours, day 2) …

{There follows a long list of 1st activations, all on 2 May, except for the last on 3 May.

See }

In the graphic of this element of the group, there is also her momentary absence to which reference has already been made, when the graphic of Matthew was reported.

The other contacts are made with numbers which are not influenced by any of the antennas. There are also links to the message centres of the operators.

The first contact that she effects after the alert, after exchanging contact with her husband, is a call that she makes to the number 447768698713, at 01:42:55 hours, with a duration of 75 seconds. This number returns the contact, at 01:58:53 hours with a duration of 6 minutes and 8 seconds. As already mentioned this number does not activate any antenna in that zone of the country.

The call receiving or perform with greater time is recorded on day 4, at 2:33:38 pm, from 44549370165752 number, which lasts 692 seconds.

In Table 7 are the records of the Rachael Manpilly communications.

{Table 7 is at

This is a big table and has some unusual looking numbers in it, so it is going to take a bit of working through.

The comment on Matthew´s records that Rachael was outside of Luz or had her phone switched off at 00:08:01 on 4 May is still puzzling. Rachael’s records seem to show that she was in Luz and her phone was switched on, so more checking is required here.}

Madeleine – 74,000 calls/texts – David Payne

Page 9

The first contact that is carried out, after Kate had given the alert (supposedly around 22:00 hours) was at 01:17:17 hours for number 4477xxxx7853, owned by Dianne Webster. In the representation graphic (chart) of the contacts, marked in orange Optimus network -, there are some links to blue – TMN network – between the phone and Russell O’Brien. This indicates that David was out of the area of influence of the antennas that serve the village of Praia da Luz, at the point of those contacts. By that given in the records, the match would be in the installations of this police to provide his testimony.

David maintains several contacts with elements outside the group. None of these contacts have enabled any antenna during the three days analysed, nor have contacts with third parties to do so.

In Table 3 are the records of communications David Payne.

Page 10

{The table with David Payne’s calls detailed is at The last two entries are near duplicates. Presumably, this is an instance of a single call going through two operators, with slightly different times recorded by each.}

In addition to the contacts he had with Jane Tanner and David Payne, Russell O’Brien has a contact in common with Kate, 4479xxxx6678, that further reference will be made at the time when the communications made and received by Kate are tackled, but it is pointed out already, the fact that this number sends a message and receives another from the mother of Madeleine before the child’s disappearance, at 12:31:33 and 13:34:53 hours, respectively, of the day 3. At the time, 4479xxxx6678 was outside of the influence of the antennas serving the village of Praia da Luz, but when it receives the contact made by Russell, on the 4th, at 19:43:42 hours it activates an Optimus antenna in Praia da Luz. This fact is seen in the chart in Analyst Notebook, of David, appearing with the representative colour of Optimus – orange. In the database that Optimus sent this police, this number activates the antenna for the first time that hour.

Madeleine – 74,000 calls/texts 4

Page 7


There are situations where the two parties find themselves in the area of Praia da Luz, and activate antennas of different operators. In the chart there appear two contacts that represent the same, but divided by the difference of seconds that each computer that makes the register would be working, it is to make that it appears two links. This distinction is made by different colours.

Page 8

With the exception of Rachael Manpilly, all group members only activate one operator. Rachael activates antennas of Vodafone and Optimus.

It is noted that there is the increased traffic produced by elements of the group, after having been given the warning of the disappearance of Madeleine.

Fiona Payne, did not make any contact during the three days analysed.

David Payne and Diane Webster have two contacts in common, the phones with the numbers 44 ….. 15 and 44 … … 13; the first is the residence of Diane, UK, as for the second it is not known to who owns, but this number does not activate any of the antenna studied.

Before the alert is given of the disappearance of Madeleine, only it makes a contact, GPRS3 type for number 93008000, at 19:59:26, on the day 3 May.

3What is GPRS?

GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) is a new data service that comes to provide a quantum leap in sending and receiving information through the GSM mobile phone network.

With this new technology the user can always be online, in other words, you can always be with your phone connected to Optimus and simultaneously receive and send information via the Net immediately.

The access becomes, in this way faster; the transmission of data is processed at a higher speed and the costs are reduced, because the billing is based on the volume of information transacted, not the actual time it takes.

How does GPRS work?

GPRS combines a new Net concept and a new network architecture specifically designed to facilitate the access of data services (packets) mostly oriented in IP protocol. Based on the GSM architecture, GPRS incorporates two new nodes: SGSN (Serving GPRS Support Node) and GGSN (Gateway GPRS Support Node). Simply put, we can say that the SGSN is in charge of all mobility management, ensuring the scope and coverage between the terminals and the network; GGSN is what provides access to other data networks, particularly those based on IP, as in the case of the Internet.

What are the main applications for personal use that can have access to GPRS?

The applications are varied and depend on the needs of each client. In the intent, the most generic the GPRS of Optimus will provide are: 1. Access to Internet 2. E-Mail 3. Audio streaming 4. Remote supervision 5. Messaging 6. Chat 7. Leisure: games and pastimes 8. Financial: Telemultibank, online banking and stock exchange 9. Directory: movies, restaurants, and Yellow Pages 10: News: sports, weather, economy and traffic.