Madeleine – Nighthawk 1 Jun 2017

After the issues with my camera-work on the 10th anniversary, I wanted to go out and test a setting where my little camera should not fire the flash every time, in order to get closer to what the human eye sees. This is low-light mode, no flash. See what you think.

All photos are 1 June 2017, from around 10.10pm on.

This is roughly what Peter Smith saw as he passed Smithman on 3 May 2007. The most important thing is that all the lighting was coming from behind Smithman.

And this one is roughly what Smithman saw as he headed down Primary School Street that night. Please note again the lighting. There are 2 key sources. The street lamps are behind me. And another street lamp lighting up the junction with 25th April Street. The darkness is due to the building on the left blocking this light, then quite a lot of light at the bottom.

Now cast your beady eyes on that figure on the Lane of Little Steps. Right in the middle, that fuzzy figure is a gentleman heading downwards. The point is Smithman could see the Smith troupe coming from a long way off. He had every chance to avoid the Smith 9. He chose not to.

The next photo is from 25th of April Street down the Lane of Little Steps. You can still see the couple who were heading for their night out. The blue blob at the bottom is the Dolphin restaurant, where the Smiths had a South African meal before heading to Kelly’s for a nightcap.

Moving quickly on, because I was running late, this is the spot on 25th April Street where Sergey Malinka’s Audi was torched, with the word fala (speak) spray-painted in red on the pavement.

And here is my shot of St Vincent’s. This is what I wanted to check out. The truth is it is no better than the photos I got on 3 May 2017, but that tells me something.

Across the road the Ice Cream Factory was shutting up shop. Who wants ice cream at 10.20pm?

At the other end of the promenade, here is the refurbished Paraíso. It wasn’t the restaurant that caught my attention. It was the kids squealing with pleasure on the boardwalk on the beach.

This is what the good folks of Luz get up to on a night out. The sign says A Fábrica was opened in 2010, so don’t factor it into the Madeleine McCann story.

This place may well be quite important in the story of Madeleine’s disappearance, and I’ve got to say I am quite chuffed about this photo. The location is the junction of the beach road and the high street, Rua Direita. This is Clube Reacritivo Cultural e Desportivo Luzense. The recreational, cultural and sporting club of the people of Luz. It is one of just two particularly Portuguese places in Luz where Senhor Euclides Monteiro might have spent the evening of 3 May 2007.

It’s now 22.30pm. This is the Ocean Club 24hr reception. Except it is closed.

Above is Madeleine’s play-group area and the night crèche. Except it is closed.

The Ocean Club is dead.

Madeleine – Luz Tour #6

Luz Tour #6 took place on 1st May and 2nd May 2017, just before the 10th anniversary. It was with a UK press member, Michael Havis. I was somewhat apprehensive, given that I had already been flame-grilled by a UK tabloid that had never spoken to me in any way, shape, or form. Things went better this time round, and I consider I received a much more balanced evaluation.

We met up at a hotel in the west of Luz, had a chat for a few minutes, then headed into Luz on foot.

Our first stop was at Rua das Flores. I wanted to show why it made sense for the McCanns to haul rubbish out of their rental villa by car, hence the stinky boot story. The bins are at the entrance/exit to the urbanisation, not easy to get to on foot, but chuck a plastic bag full of rubbish in the boot and everything makes perfect sense. Including a stinky boot.

Off we headed down Rua 25 de Abril to look at the place where Operation Grange dug up the mound. Visitors seem surprised by the size of it. The key details pass them by. It is an integral part of the Luz one-way system. There were two nearby restaurants which opened in 2007, though whether they managed it by May 2007, I don’t know.

Critical point #1 is the statement of Kirsty Louise Maryan. She was up a hill in Luz with two other nannies in the early hours of 4 May 2007 when they encountered Barrington Godfrey Norton, who was sleeping rough in a Ford Escort van. The only place I know of in Luz up a hill where people park camper vans overnight is this mound. I don’t have confirmation from any of the 4 people involved in this encounter that it happened on the mound. It is simply the only place that fits.

We walked through much of central Luz and arrived at the Ocean Club. I was becoming very tired. I took Mr Havis part of the way along the short route between the Tapas reception area and the Ocean Club night crèche. Along the way we saw that the adults-only swimming pool had no water in it. The next day we would find that the indoor pool was also empty of water. Basically, the Ocean Club is dead.

Near the adults-only pool, the short route goes up half a dozen steps, then it goes down a large number on the other side, and I didn’t want to do that, so we parted and Mr Havis continued exploring on his own. It seems he ended up on the sea front for a meal.

He liked the café enough that we met up there at lunchtime the next day, and it was packed. The visitors included large Portuguese groups, presumably down from Lisbon, extending the Labour Day holiday.

On the sea-front promenade on the way to the café, I had been accosted by a charity collector. This brings my encounters with charity collectors in Luz to 6. 4 of these have been calls to my residence, and each of these I would consider suspect. The other 2 have been in busy public areas of Luz, and both of these I consider genuine. Mr Havis was relieved to hear I considered the promenade charity collector to be genuine, as he had made a donation on his journey to the café.

I explained the story about the alleged tunnels and O Pouço to Mr Havis, so he asked if we could have a look, and we did. Then it was back to the front for the renovated Paraíso, where the Tapas 7 went on 3 May 2007, the market stalls where Gerry bought sunglasses on the McCanns trip to the beach, and up Rua Praia da Luz.

This street has at least two components in the Madeleine story.

John Ballinger apparently lives on this street. I knew that previously, but what I didn’t know before was that he appeared on the Sky 10th anniversary special. He explained to roadworks that were open on the night of 3 May, and from his photos, he appears to be the source for a picture in the press. Mr Ballinger said he had reported the roadworks to the police, which implies at that time he was of the opinion it was a missing child who woke and wandered, rather than an abduction.

The other feature on Rua Praia da Luz is the Duke of Holland restaurant/bar. It was taken over and has since closed down, but in 2007 it was run by June and Paul Wright. When the news was made public on 3 May, one of the pair immediately joined the search for Madeleine, while the other closed the Duke later, then got involved in the search. After this they were checked re whether Robert Murat was around apartment 5A that evening, as they knew Mr Murat and could recognise him. Despite returning to the vicinity of 5A several times during searches, Mr Murat had not been seen.

At the top of the beach road we turned left on Rua Direita and headed SW. This also has a number of items of interest on it.

First, the roadworks in the files were being done on this street.

Then there is the Luz Sporting Club. This is one of two places in Luz I suspect Sr Euclides Monteiro may well have been on that evening. His widow has said he was at home in Portelas (about 15 minutes drive from Luz) on 3 May 2007, composing a poem on his computer. I suspect he was in Luz, with friends, watching the big game. There were lots of places in Luz to watch the football that night, but only two where the predominant language was likely to be Portuguese and where the predominant culture was likely to be Portuguese. So Mr Havers took a photo of the club for his stock.

The we went to the Ocean Club reception. Things have changed somewhat with Madeleine’s kids club no longer there, and the indoor swimming pool in disuse.

I didn’t fancy the large flight of steps on the short route used by the McCanns, so we opted for a slightly longer route that is set up for wheelchair users, hence there are no stairs. This is probably the way the nannies moved the children from the kids club to the Tapas zone because it avoids a steep flight of stairs and it is ideally suited to Sammy Snake, the preferred way of getting the kids to walk together.

As it so happens, this goes between Fiji Palms block and Casa Liliana. Fiji Palms was the location of the Carpenter family. Casa Liliana was the home of Robert Murat and his mother Jenny. This is the approximate point at which Stephen Carpenter and Robert Murat met on the morning of 4 May, when Mr Murat learned what was going on, and he went to block 5 to offer his services as an interpreter.

We then headed to the Tapas reception, using the same semi-circular route taken by the Carpenters when they left the Tapas zone on 3 May.

Mr Havis was being pressed by his editor to file at least one story by his editor while he was still in Luz, so he wanted a photo to go with it. This is the one he picked.

After 2 days of Luz Tour #6, I was very tired physically. Mr Havis was going to head back to his hotel, apparently to converse with a colleague. I had just enough gas in the tank to walk home. We did not discuss what either of us would be doing on the 10th anniversary.

I have no idea how Mr Havis spent most of his day on 3 May 2017. I decided that I only had the capacity left for a stab at one trip into Luz, so I picked the 10th anniversary ceremony at St Vincent.

There I bumped into a contact from AFP from Luz Tour #5. He was back down after another 3 hour trip from Lisbon, so he has more stamina than I have.

As it happens, I took the extremely grainy photo of Mr Havis with Reverend Haynes Hubbard that appeared in the UK press.

And yes, I missed the chance to introduce myself to Mr Martin Brunt of Sky TV. He, and the Sky team, looked like they were working their socks off.

Madeleine – Xmas day 12 – Bring on the dogs

What would a Madeleine McCann discussion be without bringing in some dogs?

I was asked on the UK Justice Forum about whether dogs are permitted on Luz beach. There are lots of signs up saying this is not permitted, but we live in Portugal, so hey-ho.

The date of my photos was the 12th day of Christmas, 5 Jan 2017. The time was around 8.45am. The weather was glorious!

The first photo is the remains of the Roman villa on the seafront in Luz. Please don’t ask me for the history of this. The relevance to Madeleine McCann is that this villa had fresh water coming in through an aqueduct so that it could do many things with water, one of which happened to be processing fish into a sauce that was basically the Roman equivalent of ketchup.

The one key word here is aqueduct. If you want to enlarge this, think of the tunnel stories about Luz. There is a small amount of the Roman aqueduct in the road to the north of this site. The roads behind this location all indicate it was once where the people of Luz came to draw their water from the well.


As I was walking along, it looked like like Luz was deserted. I had already passed car drivers and dog walkers a-plenty, but the front looked empty. The photo is stuffed with lots of points relevant to Madeleine McCann assuming you know the details. Here we have rocks (significant) leading on to the beach (significant) with the revamped Paraíso in the centre (significant) plus the villas up the hill to Boa Vista (significant).


In the foreground, the man in a gold top had passed me with two Labradors. One was very old and that is the one that is slowly picking its way across the rocks. The younger one had squirted off into the distance to play with the black dog in the centre. This is how it works with the dogs in Luz. They do not scour the beach searching for missing children or dead bodies. They go out to play with each other.


One lady in a white top with black leggings, one black dog, one Labrador, and two early morning beach walkers. It may be that the two walkers have a small white dog on the beach.


This photo has unimportant things in it. The two Labradors are together again. The walker in the distance now appears to have two small dogs. The lady in the white top is with her black dog.


Can we proceed to the important things in this photo? If you are eagle-eyed, you will spot a tiny play-park for children outside the Paraíso, consisting of no more than two swings and one slide. I don’t know what it looked like in 2007. All I can say is that this kit has been on the beach outside of the Paraíso since Feb 2012.

The bit that interests me is the motor-homes in the background. In May, this bit of space is under parking control, so motor-homes go elsewhere in Luz. And yes, it is relevant. The place Operation Grange dug in June2014 was the one and only hill used by motor-caravans in 2007, and it features in the PJ-Files.

This is the next animal on the beach on the 12th day of Christmas. I have had a discussion with my grandson, and he wavered between a crocodile and a dragon until one of his elders steered him towards a dragon. So now a dragon it is. Officially.


The lady in the white top is walking her black dog off the beach. The two Men In Black are lurking on the seafront. Someone in the background has decided to have a stroll out onto the rocks. The time is 8.58am and people are already hard at work all around. Off goes one dog …


And onto the beach come another two. This photo was not black and white. I was simply pointing directly into the sun.


This is something I perchanced across as I headed home. It is still 5 Jan 2017 at 9.07am. While most of the graffiti has been tidied up, it seems they haven’t got everything sorted yet.


Madeleine – Xmas day 11 – Band on the Run

I am still progressing the Day 9 – Wasteland post, and while I was doing it, a thought entered my head. Why do I know so much about the nooks and crannies of Luz, the places that Google does not go?

The answer has two parts. The first is that I am a lifelong walker. When I visit somewhere, I like to make sense of it by exploring on foot. I prefer the parts that are away from car traffic and typically that means old historic centres or in the case of the Wasteland, the trails that few people have used.

I have walked from Luz to Burgau on many occasions, and the coastal pathway is much, much more pleasant and interesting than the M537 road between Burgau and Luz.

The second part of the reason is we have moved frequently in Luz. The shortest stay was one week, while the longest was nearly 2 years. We counted up our residences, and the total so far is 8 in 5 years. This excludes the properties rented by the kids’ family when we were living apart, though they are significant. They rented a house immediately east of the Wasteland, and that is how I know you can hop the wall to get onto the plot. I’ve been exploring on that land before, merely out of curiosity.

Bear in mind that I had very little interest in the Madeleine McCann case until the Operation Grange dig of June 2014, so most of my exploring had nothing whatsoever to do with Madeleine.

When we arrived in the area, the plan was to move to a villa we were renting just outside Luz. We had to stay in an apart-hotel in Luz for a week whilst waiting for our furniture to be moved from the UK to the villa. That week was actually very hard physical work. We had been promised that the villa would be cleared before we moved in, and we had paid for it to be cleaned. Being Portugal, the villa was neither cleared nor cleaned, so we spent large chunks of time gutting it and then cleaning it. When we had finished ripping out aged tat, there was well over a lorryload of the stuff. Fortunately, the local council picks that sort of rubbish up and disposes of it for free.

I woke up early one morning in our week the apart-hotel, and since I didn’t want to disturb the family, I decided it was time to explore. It was late February and the weather was glorious. I hunted down the beach, passing other early morning walkers and exchanging amiable chat with them of no particular significance. Then I arrived at the beach area, and I though the vista was jaw dropping. I had an exploration along the front, including the Roman ruins and the Fortaleza, then I returned to tell the family, excitedly, about what I had found.

It was decided we would all head to the beach area for breakfast. We chose the Paraíso because it was actually on the beach and had the best view. The weather was warm enough in February that we wanted breakfast al fresco, so we sat on the outside. There were 4 adults, 2 teenagers, and one baby. Due to the size of the group, we happened to sit on or near where the Tapas 7 took their children for tea on the afternoon of 3 May 2007. We probably appeared on the exactly the same CCTV, just years later on.

Bear in mind that none of us had the slightest inkling that Luz was connected to the disappearance of Madeleine, nor of the movements of the Tapas 7. We had simply picked a pleasant spot on a beach to have breakfast in the sun. There would be many more such coincidences as we became ‘The Band On The Run’, even if I only became aware of those quirks of fate much later.

The villa we moved into is in Urbanisation Melody. We moved out again soon after because the villa was damp and essential features such as showers and the oven were decrepit, and we had too many people to hack that. The owner assured us the main oven was new, but shortly before we moved out the oven fan fell out because it was rusted through completely. We later learned that our ‘contract’ with the owner was not a legal contract in Portugal, because none of us had the correct documentation to enter into a legal contract. It appears money was being hidden both from the tax man and the owner’s family, who had a right to a share of our rent.

Once more, I did not hear about the scandalous rumour connecting Gerry to Urbanisation Melody until much later. The urbanisation was added to Google in Jan 2015, so you can now peek around for yourself if you want. We were in the villa that has a skinny black dog by the gates.

I did my usual walking, exploring and mapping. I walked to the camp site to the west, which happens to have a tiny role in the Madeleine McCann tale. There I discovered a Brazilian restaurant that did buffet lunches, so we decided to try it out one day. The range was good and the price was relatively inexpensive, but I am not a fan of buffets, so we never went back. That restaurant later relocated to Valverde, where the GNR car was on 3 May 2007 when it got the ‘hurry up’ call. The Brazilian has a good reputation in Luz, so perhaps I am picky about my food. Again by sheer coincidence, my family was in that restaurant for lunch one day when Operation Grange heaved up for their mid-day break from the Luz dig.

Going back to the topic of Urbanisation Melody, the scandalous rumour was that Gerry had buried Madeleine’s body in the garden of one of the plots, and the gardener failed to notice this. This is a scarcely disguised variant of the scandalous rumour that Gerry had buried Madeleine in the villa the McCanns rented at 27 Rua das Flores and the gardener failed to notice this.

I had criss-crossed Urbanisation Melody and the surrounding area in my time there, and trust me, there are dozens and dozens of places to conceal a body that are much better than digging up someone’s garden. This should not be interpreted as meaning Gerry found some better place in the area. Unless he was scouring the countryside like a madman, he would not have been able to find this urbanisation until Google put it on-line in Jan 2015, so it is a complete non-starter.

Of the 8 places we have lived, I can only think of a couple that are not coincidentally connected to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. That is simply due to the size of Luz and the amount of coverage of the disappearance of Madeleine in the media.

Our proposed move to Portelas has crawled forward at a snail’s pace. The house has now been valued by the bank and the valuation is sufficient to cover the mortgage we want. The council has conducted its inspection to check that the work it requires has been done to the standard it requires. We have good reason to believe it has. All we are waiting for now is the paperwork. Mind you, we have been trying to buy the villa for about a year now, and this is Portugal, so we are not holding our breath.

Does Portelas have some sort of coincidental connection to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann? Of course it does. First, in the Luz rubbish disposal tale, it features as a transit station before the garbage is moved on to its final destination in Barlavento. Second, it was the residence of Euclides Monteiro, aka Tractorman, a person I think Operation Grange was checking out in 2014.

Today’s Day of Christmas tale is nearly done, except for a graphic of the 8 locations we have lived in while we were the Band On The Run. It looks a little bit like someone has taped the base graphic over a dartboard and then thrown a dart or eight, without much accuracy. Or is it a blunderbuss spray shot pattern?


Madeleine – the McCanns did it – Luz tour #2

If the McCanns did ‘it’, whatever ‘it’ was, all they had to do was get past Luz. I have heard visitors while I was eating breakfast on the decking of the Paraíso restaurant (which is currently undergoing a total overhaul) look around and remark that it is easy to see from the rough terrain that hiding a body here would be easy.

If you can visit Luz, please get in touch with me, because I would like you to show you the reality. I think of this as the ‘Luz Challenge’. Our version of Mission Impossible. Your task is simple. You have to come up with a way in which the McCanns, for whatever reason, disposed of Madeleine’s body, and the body was not found in the subsequent searches.

The McCanns had 5 days to solve this puzzle, assuming there was intent to do so when they arrived at Faro airport.

Or if they had no intent, they are left with a much tougher task. How does one dispose of a body the size and weight of Madeleine, in a foreign country, after whatever incident might have happened, between 5:30pm and 10pm on one single night, the 3rd of May 2007?

Gerry had played golf in Portugal before. Kate had never previously visited the country. The pair had been on holidays with a similar background. In my first post on this, I made it clear that the couple did not seem to ‘explore’ Luz, though there is evidence of jogging that was outside the Ocean Club (by Kate at least).

So let me remind you of the ‘Luz Challenge’. Within the first week of arrival in Luz, you have to come up with a body disposal method that is going to defeat the subsequent checks and searches. It can be done, but I am predicting that you will not succeed.

Bearing this in mind, I now need to turn to the places of interest in Luz assuming the McCanns did ‘it’.

This obviously starts off with block 5 for apartment 5A, and quickly spreads to the Tapas Restaurant, and from there it goes crazy.

Jane Tanner’s sighting has to be factored in. That’s not too much effort as it is very, very close to block 5.

Then there is the Smith sighting. Now the area has to be expanded to the Dolphin and Kelly’s. For me, this is beginning to look like a rather general tour of Luz. Can I find any evidence that the McCanns were in this part of Luz? Nope.

What else? A visit to Baptista supermarket. As dull as that sounds, it can actually be a bit of fun. Trust me, I’m your friend.

There has to be a look at the rubbish system in Luz. This bit is boring, but it has to be done. You need to see how the system works, because that explains why the McCanns didn’t use it.

The route, or routes, to the Ocean Club 24 hour reception from apartment 5A require a quick view. If Madeleine spent morning and afternoon in the Mini Club there, surely this is important. By the way, you also need to get your head around the general subject of child entertainment in Luz, and the difficulty of making sure that young children have something interesting to do throughout the day in a 7-day holiday in Luz.

Then there is the trip to the beach. I am far from convinced that the route is important, as per a Textusa theorem. However, if you think it is, recreating this route is simple, so you can judge for yourself.

What is possibly more important about the trip to the beach is the ‘encounter’ with a street singer on the sea front and the market stalls where sunglasses are sold. You can do both. Not the original street singer, but Luz still has a busker.

Staying at the beach, we have Kate’s jog along the beach, whilst CCTV shows the Tapas 9 (minus Kate and Gerry) enjoying the Paraíso restaurant on the beach itself. Things have changed in the Paraíso. The owner from that time has died, so it has been passed on to new hands. It has recently been demolished. It is currently being reconstructed in an enlarged format, much to the chagrin of some locals, so you can no longer see the original layout, with the exception of that CCTV clip.

As of today, the Paraíso is still at the bare bones stage. The foundation is in and the ribs have been stuck up, but that is it. My visitor #1 is due in early March, and I cannot see the whole of the Paraíso going back up in that time. That is a bit of a shame, because it had or has some outstanding qualities. Never mind, this simply means it is a nut that needs to be cracked in a different way. I am used to cracking nuts when a different way is required.

The last area of interest is where Kate jogged. I don’t really mean the beach, although if you want a leisurely stroll along the beach combined with a look to see what can be found in some rock pools, then fair enough. Can I bring my grandchild along, because he loves this sort of stuff?

Kate’s main jog on record was to the east of Luz, out along the old road to Lagos. That has also changed. In Madeleine’s day, the junction with the N125 (the main road) was a traffic light system, but now that has been changed to a roundabout. More importantly, the restaurant near the camping site where the second radio call was put through to the GNR, the first response team, was Vale Verde. Again, the place has changed hands in the interim. Currently, it is run by people doing a Brazilian buffet for lunch. I am not a fan of a buffet, but this one has a good reputation, and it is on the route used by Kate for her jog. Two birds for one stone. Oh, and Operation Grange hauled up in it for lunch one day when they were digging up Luz in 2014. Three birds for one stone.

Now, your mission, if you decide to accept it, is very simple. The McCanns did not get a guided tour of the key locations in Luz, but you can get a complete head start if you wish. After that, you have 5 days to work out how to dispose of a body the size of Madeleine, minus transport, and minus a digging tool (usually called a spade). This is the Luz Challenge.

It can be done. However, my prediction is that you cannot come up with any reasonable theorem as to how the ‘McCanns done it’. Gonçalo Amaral struggled, and in my opinion failed, to come up with an explanation of how the ‘McCanns done it’. He had something like 25 years of experience policing Portugal and the Algarve, and he failed to come up with a solution to a one-word question. How?

How? How do you dispose of a child’s body when all you have is foot power, and no experience of Luz.

Would you like to see if you can overcome the Luz Challenge?

Madeleine – Joaquim José Marques

In the December 2014 round of Scotland Yard questions, Joaquim José Marques appeared as a witness, and his past was raked over once more by the media.

He and a friend were convicted in 1996 of the rape of two British girls. The crime occurred on the night of 18 July 1995, on the beach at Luz. Joaquim was sentenced to 5 years. The media reporters do not name the friend though he was also found guilty, and do not mention what sentence he got.

The two girls were aged 17 and 18. Whatever your moral stance on the crime is, a rape in a public place of a female in her upper teens does not match the kidnap of a girl approaching 4 years old.

The media also throws in alleged offences of gun trafficking and drug trafficking, without providing supporting evidence. Again, whatever your moral stance on such crimes, they do not fit child kidnap.

The route by which Joaquim entered this maelstrom seems clear. Two e-fits made by Gail Cooper of a charity collector who had visited her in Luz the week before Madeleine disappeared were made public in Jan 2008, and Joaquim featured prominently in the news that followed.

It appears, however, that this was well after the first time Joaquim had been checked by the PJ re Madeleine McCann. The reports state he was checked out 20 days after the disappearance, and discounted from the investigation.

There is no record of this first check within the PJ Files. There is no record of a second check that apparently took place shortly after Gail Cooper’s e-fit was released. In fact, I can find not a single entry relating to Joaquim José Marques in the PJ Files, despite his prominence in the news.

The first check took place around the 23 May 2007. Gail Cooper’s first statement is dated 21 May 2007, but it does not seem to be the trigger that caused the PJ to check on Joaquim. This would require that the PJ matched Gail Cooper’s verbal description to Marques, or that they were checking on people involved in charity collecting. Both of these seem highly unlikely. If the key interest in Marques was charity collecting, there was no reason to prune him from the PJ files.

The main reason the PJ files were pruned was to remove sex offenders who had been checked and found to have been uninvolved. The sex offender route is a much more convincing reason for the first check, and it fits why there is no material on Joaquim in the released files.

Gail Cooper says her charity collector visited her on 20 April 2007, and he was with her for about 10-15 minutes. Madeleine disappeared on 3 May 2007, just under a fortnight later. In this time period, there was no particular reason for Gail Cooper to ruminate over the collector’s description. The visit was of minor significance, and her trip to Portugal with family and friends was to celebrate her 50th birthday.

Gail made her statement on 21 May 2007, a month after the visit of the charity collector. That she was able to provide a very detailed description at this time is surprising. Only the collector’s shoes went unnoticed. Or did it?

The e-fits Gail made, plus accompanying ‘statements’ to the McCann investigators (to note that one e-fit she rated as ‘very good’ while the other she rated as ‘excellent’) are dated 13 Jan 2008. The person drawing up the e-fits confirmed this date.

Gail Cooper 1

Gail Cooper 2

So the Gail Cooper e-fits were constructed nearly 8 months after the charity collector visit. The accuracy of these is therefore open to question. Although Gail’s first description is extensive, there is no mention of large or prominent teeth, as per the e-fit.

Events around the time of the construction and release of these e-fits seemed to be rather chaotic. Jane Tanner was shown the Cooper e-fit and was 80% sure that Cooperman was Tannerman.

The UK police were informed that the McCann team would be releasing this information to the public, with a briefing to the media. This prompted Stuart Prior of Leicestershire Police to contact Ricardo Paiva on 16 Jan 2008, to explain what was going to happen and what the PJ wanted to do in respect of this. Ricardo Paiva responded the same day, asking for a considerable list of actions to be carried out, including a further interview with Gail Cooper, and an interview with her husband, John Cooper.

The reason for this was that the single sighting of the collector by Gail had then evolved into a total of three sightings over two days. Now it was said that the man had been near the Bar Habana when they were there on 20 April 2007, and probably trailed them from the café to their villa, then waited until the menfolk went out before trying his luck.

A third sighting related to a visit to the Paraíso restaurant on the beach, when a man was seen nearby, apparently interested in children from a Mark Warner tour.

The full tale and the details of why the story went from 1 to 3 sightings are at

On 18 Jan 2008, Leicestershire Police informed Ricardo Paiva that Iris Morgan had been contacted. Iris had made a single e-fit relating to an incident when two charity collectors had approached her. Iris said she did not recognise the Cooperman e-fit. From this, it was suggested there could have been 3 males collecting for charity in Luz around the time Madeleine disappeared.

On 20 Jan 2018, just 7 days after Gail Cooper’s e-fits were drawn up, the information was released to the media and public, in a presentation described by The Scotsman as drawing heavily on official police appeals.

The contact number for this appeal was based in Spain, and the PJ Files show over 40 people came forward with sightings or information identifying the individual.

None of those in the file was Rebecca Barnes. She was a British woman working in a hairdressing salon in Luz. She was the girlfriend of Joaquim, and according to Diário de Notícias, she was the one who notified the PJ that he was a potential match.

She must have been quick about this, as the second PJ check is noted as being on 23 Jan 2008, just 3 days after the media briefing. Once again, Joaquim was ruled out as being involved in the disappearance of Madeleine. How this decision was reached is not clear, given that there is not a single statement by Joaquim in the files.

From this point on the media got stuck in, and Joaquim became the rapist pig farmer, alleged gun trafficker and alleged drug dealer.

Cooperman also evolved, with various developments to morph him into Creepyman, capable of making blood run cold. details this in a fairly long read that shows most of this evolution is in error. The key point is that Joaquim’s reputation, wherever it stood before he was ‘found’, was subjected to a severe beating.

On 26 Jan 2008 the Daily Mirror wrote that Gail Cooper had been shown a photo of Joaquim José Marques, and she said “That’s not the man I saw.” So Joaquim was cleared by the PJ in 3 days, and by Gail Cooper in 6 days.

Around that time the McCann team was also concluding that Joaquim was not a match to Cooperman.

By 27 Jan 2008, Gail Cooper had been shown a photo of Joaquim Agostinho, and she said he was the spitting image of the man she had seen 3 times in Luz. Agostinho lived a 90 minute drive away from Luz and was unconnected to the case. This did not prevent the media from featuring his photo prominently.

In Oct 2013 in Crimewatch, Tannerman was identified as Crècheman, and a mock-up was made to check the similarity. If this identification is correct, then any potential link via Jane Tanner between Cooperman and Tannerman bit the dust.

Tannerman and Crècheman

Crank forward to Dec 2014, and Joaquim José Marques was interviewed by Scotland Yard. As all the arguidos had been interviewed in July 2014, it appears his status was that of witness.

JJM Sun Dec 14

The question is, witness to what? The PJ ruled him out, the McCann team ruled him out, Gail Cooper ruled him out. What is it that he possibly witnessed?

Once again, Joaquim José Marques was subject to vilification by the media, despite the fact that there appears to be no valid connection between him and Madeleine McCann, and if Gail Cooper is to be believed, no connection to Cooperman.

Scotland Yard described this phase as precisely targeted. Just one witness of 11 in to the story, it is looking anything but. After being ruled out by the PJ, the McCann team and Gail Cooper, what intelligence was Scotland Yard working on?