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 – Kate’s short route

I was informed by a poster on Miscarriage of Justice that Kate’s short way between the Mini Club and the crèche involved going through the building to the immediate north of the Ocean Club 24hr reception, and involved stairs.

Please note, I have not confirmed that Kate actually said this. I cannot remember it in her statements or in her book, so I am not sure where the source of this information comes from.

However, on 3 May 2016, the 9th anniversary, I was out and about in the vicinity of 5A and I wanted to check on two things, one being Kate’s short route involving stairs. So here it is.

The starting point, the Mini Club, is obviously exactly the same as it was before. But this time, heading north, there is no going down into the car park. Instead, the route simply goes north past Date Palm to the steps.

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And here’s what it looks like at the bottom of the stairs. Please make up your own mind about the following. If I was holding the hand of a single 4-year-old child, I would not have an issue using these stairs. If I was a nanny with a clutch of children to get to High Tea, whether I had Sammy Snake or not, I would not touch these stairs with a barge pole. It could be the nannies used the flatter route, but obviously, I do not know for sure.

As a side note, the bougainvillea is in bloom. After the worst weather in 5 years.

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From the top of the stairs to the Mini Club, you can see it is a bit of an obstacle, but I have no reason to believe the nannies ever used this route. However if the McCanns were using this route, then you are now looking at what Madeleine saw on her way to the Mini Club twice a day.

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Next is the passageway ‘through’ the buildings to get to the west side. As you can see, it is actually 2 buildings joined by a covered walkway.

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Then there is a short path, complete with a light.

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And that goes down another small set of steps, with another light.

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That in turn takes us to the south of the large grassy area that is south of Block 1. The tree with dark green leaves I will get back to in future as there is a small story attached to it.

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This path runs between the grassy area and the adults-only swimming pool.

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So to the south is the adults-only swimming pool.

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And to the north, the grassy area, Block 1 and Stephen Carpenter’s semi circular route home from the Tapas restaurant to Fiji Palm.

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At the west end, the path allows you to turn north, and there is another light.

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And this route joins up to the couple of steps between Block 1 on the right and Block 6 on the left. The turning left behind Block 6 takes you to apartment 5A as previously described.

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All in all, I would rate this route as OK for a parent with a single child to look after. At the stage it becomes more than one child per adult, I would rate it as very unlikely. Quite possibly, we have 2 short routes, one via the stairs, and a somewhat longer one via the wheelchair access path.

Madeleine – short route from the crèche pt2

It has been pointed out to me that Kate McCann may have been using an alternative to this route, one that cuts through the Palm buildings to the north of the Ocean Club 24hr reception. I will need to do a bit of work on checking out the source, and then assessing whether it is a better route for nannies taking several children to High Tea.

Until then, let me continue with this route, which applies to Steve and Carolyn Carpenter on the evening of 3 May 2007.

Photo 14. The building on the left is Fuji Palms. The building to the right is Block 1. Straight ahead is the large grassy area with a palm tree in the middle. Now if I turn right, you can see that we are at …

Short route 14

Photo 15. … the south end of the road that runs between Block 1 (to the left) and Casa Liliana (to the right). The worst thing about this photo is it makes the road look like as wide as a highway, when it is not.

Short route 15

Photo 16. Continuing on, this is the large grassy area south of Block 1 where the kids probably played Olympic sports. It is also the route described by Stephen Carpenter as the one the family used to get home on 3 May 2007 (only going the opposite way).

Short route 16

 

Photo 17. This is a particularly poor photo of the rear of Block 1, but I don’t have anything better. Stephen Carpenter describes the semi-circular route on the way back to his apartment, and this is it.

Short route 17

Photo 18. Again pretty poor. Just moving on round south of Block 1.

Short route 18

Photo 19. This is nearly at the west end of Block 1 and it is time to jink between buildings.

Short route 19

Photo 20. Looking north at the gap between Block 1 on the right and Block 6 on the left. You can use this to get to the front of Block1 and Block 6 and out onto Rua Dr Agostinho da Silva, but I want the path to the south of Block 6, which you can just see on the left. These steps are the only steps on this route, and there is a light on the right.

Short route 20

Photo 21. Looking west along the path running along the south end of Block 6 to the street light in the car park. Apartment 606, where the Berry and Balu parties ate dinner together on the balcony on 3 May 2007, is the one sticking out at the top right.

Short route 21

Photo 22. This is a clearer view of the balcony of apartment 606. If you look at the other end of Block 6, it juts out to obscure most or all of the events occurring until searching started on 3 May 2007.

Short route 22

Photo 23. The view across the Tapas area to the car park.

Short route 23

Photo 24. From the path in the car park across to what the local reception looks like today.

Short route 24

At some point I need to go into Luz again and check whether you can see the balcony of apartment 606 from the entrance to the Tapas area, which will give me an idea of the potential field of vision of Neil Berry and Rajinder Balu.

I’m off on an adventure with a visitor this evening to see if we can bag a journalist or two, then it is probably going to be a look at the Smith sighting. But I hope to be around block 5 tomorrow to see what the media are up to on the 9th anniversary, so I should be able to check what can be seen from the balcony of apartment 606 at that time. The only issue I can foresee is that the forecast is very hot and sunny, which is not my idea of being good for trekking around Luz.

Madeleine – short route from the crèche pt1

This is what I believe to be the short route from the Mini Club/crèche to the Tapas area and apartment 5A. This goes up the east side of the Ocean Club. It is relatively flat (no stairs). It is ideally suited to using Sammy Snake from the crèche area to High Tea.

There is an alternative short route on the west side of the Ocean Club 24hr reception. That however is quite narrow and it would be very difficult to use Sammy Snake. There are also two short but quite steep parts that would be an obstacle for small children.

The short route taken by the McCanns could be either of these alternatives. Taking one child along either route is no big deal. That is much easier than a gaggle of children hanging on to Sammy Snake.

As far as I can tell, there is nothing in the PJ Files to nail whether the children were walked to High Tea using Sammy Snake or not. Perhaps nannies simply ushered the children without this device.

This particular route features in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann at several different places in the PJ Files and Kate’s book “Madeleine”. For example, it may well have been the route taken by Gerry McCann on the night of 3 May to see if Madeleine had made it to the Mini Club location. So keep an eagle eye out for lights on this route, to get some idea of what it looks like when darkness has fallen.

This short route needs a lot of photos to give you a decent idea of what it looks like. The time and effort in snapping the originals, editing them, and posting them is considerable. And for readers, it is a slow way of picking up information. And basically, those are the reasons why I want to swap to video.

My particular interest in this route is with reference to a pre-planned abduction. For this idea to fly, there has to be a trigger, an incident that sets the planning in motion.

Madeleine was walked through Luz, almost certainly on Sammy Snake with several other children of similar age, on something like 3 occasions. One of those could be the trigger, but that seems unlikely.

One obstacle is that on each of these trips, Madeleine went back to the Mini Club. That means a perpetrator had to follow her first back to the Mini Club, then hang around to see where she went from there, either to apartment 5A at lunchtime, or to High Tea + playtime then apartment 5A. This is a bit of a chain of requirements.

Another obstacle is the time the Luz excursions then leaves the perpetrator to plan an abduction. It is not a lot.

An alternative is that someone on or overlooking the short route saw Madeleine being escorted to High Tea with other children. This is a shorter chain, and opens the possibility of planning starting after the very first High Tea of Sunday, 29th April 2007.

All photos below were taken on 30 April 2016.

Here is the start of the short route, I think. The photo is beside what was the crèche/Mini Club. It appears now to be used as office space, most of it actually unused. The puzzle is where the entrance is. The only potential door is the one in the first photo, and that looks suspiciously like a store room. However, I cannot see that a crèche on the first floor would not have a door on the first floor, for safety reasons. This photo matches where the PJ Files show the trip to the beach began, so that door must be the one.

Short route 01

Photo 2. Swivelling right to face north, you can see the basic layout of the block. There is an apartment at the bottom, and a circular staircase to get to the level above. This whole area is split into different types of Palms e.g. Africa Palms, Coconut Palms etc.

Short route 02

Photo 3. This is all flat, so easy for the kids. There is a level below this terrace. We are not on the ground floor. So far, I have yet to spot a light, so I assume light at night time must have been what came through the crèche windows.

Short route 03

Photo 4. At the end of the terrace, it changes to cobbles, and we are now on the ground floor without actually going down anything. The glass structure ahead is the indoor swimming pool. On the right, there are 3 alternative paths leading to the car park, so although it is a car park, there should be safe options for the kids.

Short route 04

Photo 5. I am going to take the first path. It has no steps, so it is easy for small children. I haven’t noticed any lights yet. My route is going to be up across the car park to those 2 grey strips in the top left.

Short route 05

Photo 6. The view across the car park to the 2 grey strips shows the incline quite clearly. That initial climb is the toughest thing the children would face on the journey, but it is a decent surface.

Short route 06

Photo 7. The two grey strips are separated by a small, grass centre strip. I believe this is actually a wheelchair route permitting access north and south. However, it is ideal for Sammy Snake. A nanny leads the way pulling Sammy by a handle on the snake’s head. Down each side of the snake are more rings, and the kids hold on to those. That places each side neatly onto the grey strips.

Short route 07

Photo 8. The path continues north to a neatly trimmed bush. That funny platform on the right appears to be a resting place for wheelchair users. It seems to have a bulkhead light above, the first light I have noticed so far.

Short route 08

Photo 9. The path swings left to head west. There is another small light on the top of the wall.

Short route 09

Photo 10. The light on the right is the same one as in the last photo. The surface has changed to cobbles, but at least it is flat. The building on the left is Fiji Palms. To the right is the plot for Casa Liliana.

Short route 10

Photo 11. We are now at the west end of this path. In front is a little square. It is the southern end of the road running down the west side of Casa Liliana. This is where the laundry van in the PJ files would have been parked, because it is the closest vehicular access to Fiji Palms. There is another light here. Somewhere around here would be where Stephen Carpenter talked to Robert Murat over the fence at Casa Liliana. The block you can see near the centre is the east end of block 1.

Short route 11

Photo 12. Swivelling left at the same location, you can see how Fiji Palms is laid out, with a ground floor entrance to one apartment, and stairs up to the one above.

Short route 12

Photo 13. The tiles on the wall show we are at Fiji Palms apartments 1-12. Stephen and Carolyn Carpenter were in FP02. I did not check details of the numbering on the block, so I don’t know which end FP02 is at nor whether it is ground floor or upstairs. However, in addition to being on the likely short route, we are now on the route used by the Carpenters on 3 May, to get from the Tapas restaurant to their apartment.

Short route 13

If you have stuck with it through this lot, you will see just how laborious it is. A journey taking less than 3 minutes has taken ages to describe, and ages to read.

We are now half way between the crèche and the Tapas area. I will post the rest tomorrow before the fun and games kick off here in advance of the 9th anniversary.

Neil Berry – the good, the bad and the ugly

On the stats page on my blog I get what I would call ‘washed’ information. That is, I get some details of where readers come from and some vague details of why they have arrived at my blog.

Neil Berry has been on top of the pile for the reasons for visitors for about 2 to 3 weeks. I don’t get enough information to be sure why this is the case.

For the last few days the uppermost reason for people finding my blog has been ‘neil berry sex offender liverpool’. Since I don’t think I have ever mentioned Liverpool, and since I don’t recall talking about paedophiles other than as one line to be investigated in the Madeleine McCann case, and since I have never portrayed Neil Berry as implicated in the Madeleine McCann case, I think we are talking about the ugly.

If you look at Neil Berry in the PJ files, from a point of view about finding out about the man, you get very little information. Married, 2 kids, visited Luz in April/May 2007, got in the company of Rajinder Balu, was in England when interviewed by Leicestershire Police on 23 Apr 2008. Oh, and he drinks and he watches football. His home address was in Sutton in Greater London, therefore not connected to Liverpool.

There is a Dr Neil Berry in the Chemistry department of the University of Liverpool. He looks vaguely like the Neil Berry of Madeleine fame, except for a significant amount of hair recession, a larger nose and a much larger chin.

So, cut to the chase. Neil Berry as interviewed in Luz re Madeleine McCann. Neil Berry, University of Liverpool. Neil Berry, sex offender in Michigan, USA. Three photos, three quite different Neil Berry’s.

Neil Berry in Luz

Neil Berry 2007

Neil Berry, chemistry department, University of Liverpool

Neil Berry U o L

Neil Berry, United States.

Neil Berry sex offender

Moving on to the bad, I have already written about whether laundryman Mario Marreiros saw anything significant or not. On 8th May 2007 he gave a statement that he had not. Sometime after that it appears the media has him saying there was a suspicious person lurking in the stairwell of block 5 on 2nd May 2007 around 8pm, despite the fact that Mario worked until 6pm. The PJ rogatory questions to Neil Berry concern a laundryman inside the stairwell of block 5 at 6pm on 3rd May. Quite how Mario came to ID Neil Berry as the person he claims to have seen is a mystery. However, Neil stated that he had not been in the stairwell of block 5, had not been in a stairwell with a lift and had not bumped into a laundryman. Neil was in block 6 and block 6 does not have lifts.

Here is the good in the good, the bad and the ugly. If you cross-reference Neil Berry’s PJ statement against other statements and other entries in the PJ files, the match works out pretty well.

If you have checked out earlier posts on planned abductions, you will be able to work out why Neil Berry and Rajinder Balu were bit players on whatever happened on 3rd May 2007. They were close by, just not involved. Their sole ‘crime’ was being in Luz when Madeleine disappeared.

Here is a comparison between the Neil Berry statement , dated 23 Apr 2008, and other relevant statements. Warning! It is very dry, and a simple summary is along the lines that I have written above. These are statements that have a reasonably good fit, with Neil Berry and Rajinder Balu simply being on holiday in Luz.

Neil made two previous statements, the first on 7 May 2007, the second on 8 Jan 2008. The PJ files have one statement only, and Neil was allowed to read a single statement on 23 Apr 2008. Therefore the 7 May 2007 one is possibly an informal statement given while he was in Portugal, though he was supposed to have returned to the UK before then. Why the 8th Jan 2008 statement does not appear in the files is unclear.

3rd May 2007

Neil was with wife and two children at the Tapas Bar around 4pm, when they had drinks with Raj Balu, Jayne Jensen and Anne Wiltshire. {Jayne Jensen and Annie Wiltshire are sisters, were in their mid-50s, were in Luz for a fortnight’s holiday and rose to prominence around Dec 2007 when newspapers said they claimed they had seen Robert Murat near 5A on the night Madeleine went missing. Neither seem to have given statements, though media reports said they had an exhaustive interview with British police. They are also the source of the report that two men were seen around 5C.}

Neil’s wife and children went back to their apartment around 5pm. {Balu – Neil, Neil’s wife and Raj’s wife were having a drink around 5:30, complete with children. Then the wives/children went back.} The four others stayed on. {Balu – Jayne, Anne, Neil and Raj stayed on.}

Neil left around 5:30. Jayne and Anne remained at the bar. Neil cannot remember if Raj remained at the bar. {Balu puts Berry and himself at the bar until after 6pm. He cannot remember if they went back together or separately.}

Neil tried to book dinner at the Tapas restaurant, could not, so he and Raj obtained a meal from the restaurant and dined together. {Balu – decided to get a takeaway and eat with Neil’s family.}

Neil is not sure where he was at 6pm. {Balu thinks it was after 6 when they left the bar.}

To get back to his apartment, Neil crossed the stairs of block 4. {He was actually in 606 and block 6 has 2 stairwells. He had to pass the first stairs to get to the second, the one that led to 606.}

Neil does not remember a lift in any block. {Block 4 and block 5 both both have lifts in a single, central stairwell. Block 6 has two stairwells, neither of which has a lift.}

He was not in block 5, but had to pass it to get back. {He had to use the hill that runs from block 5 to the Tapas reception to get to block 6.}

He thinks he might have been on the opposite side of the road from block 5. {Block 6 is on the opposite side of the road from block 5.}

He does not remember seeing anyone collecting laundry around this time. {He was asked if he was in the stairwell of block 5 when the laundry worker was picking up laundry.}

His children were in bed when Raj and his family arrived around 7pm. {Balu – he and his family arrived around 7pm.}

Raj had a travel cot for his child, which they could not put up. {Balu – A travel cot had been arranged, and Neil was having trouble putting it up.}

Neil went to get an Ocean Club employee, whose name he cannot remember, but she went with them and the cot was assembled. {Balu – Neil and Raj went to get someone from Mark Warner.}

About 8pm, he and Raj went to the Tapas restaurant to place an order, and waited around half an hour for it. {Balu. Between 7:45 and 8pm, he and Neil went for a takeaway, at the Tapas restaurant. It took about half an hour to get served and return.} {Carpenter – a man, or men, were on the esplanade waiting for a takeaway. Stephen Carpenter would meet Neil and Raj on 4th May. His statement says he did not know their names at that point. It stops short of naming them as Neil and Raj.}

They may have had a drink while they waited. {Balu. They had a drink while they waited.} {Carpenter – the man/men had a drink while waiting.}

He cannot remember the meal other than it had red cabbage. {Braised red cabbage seems to be associated with roasts, but perhaps it was a salad.} {Balu is asked what he had, and can remember his food and drink. He is not asked what anyone else ate.}

When they left the Tapas area they took the same route back to his apartment, crossing the road. {To get to block 4 you do not cross any road. To get to block 6, you have to cross the road between block 5 and block 6.}

He thinks his apartment was 4G. {It was 606. Apartment 4G became famous as the McCanns resided there from 4 May 2007 to 2 or 3 Jul 2007.}

The McCanns were not yet in the Tapas restaurant when he and Raj left.

Once back at his apartment, they had dinner and remained there. From 10pm, everything that he did is in his 7 May 2007 statement, and he has nothing to add to that. {Balu. They were still on the balcony after 10. They heard a din below them. They asked what was going on and were told a child had gone missing.}

Stephen Carpenter’s wife Carolyn gave a statement in Britain. It is not in the PJ files. It appears to be very short, as the entry is noted as being two pages long.

In summary, Neil Berry got a takeaway that night and ate it on the balcony of 606 with Rajinder Balu and their families. His only significant connection to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann is that he helped in the searches. He is not the Neil Berry from the University of Liverpool. Neither of these is the Neil Berry on record as a sex offender in the US.

Madeleine – MMO – Opportunity

The standard approach on opportunity is to construct a timeline of checks for Thursday 3rd May 2007 and to go from there to whichever solution is preferred.

I want to tackle this in a somewhat different manner, looking instead at who knew about the timeline, the vulnerability of apartment 5A, and that there were children inside.

This part is highly problematic for a lone wolf abductor scenario where the abductor is not intimately connected with Luz and the area around block 5.

For example, despite the fact that I live in Luz, I have no method of determining whether there are tourists in the town, who have children, and who are leaving them in a vulnerable situation on a regular basis. I would expect that no-one is doing this nowadays, but how did someone twig that this was happening in May 2007?

Quite a number of people knew well in advance that there would be tourist children in Luz at that time. The T9 obviously did. The booking forms have the number of people and ages of children on them, so once the holiday was booked, this was another potential source.

The T9 stated that they carried out a listening check, with the exception of the Paynes, who decided that a baby monitor was a better solution, without recommending this to others.

Advance knowledge of, or prior agreement on, a listening check is problematic. The Tapas restaurant is the only venue close enough to block 5 for this to work.

The other restaurant the T9 were entitled to a ‘free’ evening meal and drink was the Millennium, which is about 460m away as the crow flies and around 600m on foot. That is out of baby monitor range and around 6 minutes away on foot at normal walking pace. So the baby monitor and listening checks explanation stacks up only when they block-booked the Tapas restaurant.

The nearest non-Ocean Club restaurant is 165m as the crow flies but over 250m on foot. There is no reason to suppose they knew of that in advance. There is no reason to suppose that as they were booked for half-board, they would forego their paid-for dining and drink, and pay again for an alternative.

The T9 had no way of knowing in advance where they would be located within the Ocean Club. Some parts of the Ocean Club are considerably farther away from the Tapas restaurant and the Millennium than block 5, so they had no reason to assume that a baby monitor would have sufficient range, or that a listening check was feasible.

These solutions work only after the group is allocated to block 5 and then only when a block booking of the Tapas restaurant is put in place.

Whoever allocated the T9 to apartments block 5 enters the frame at one of two times. The second is when the actual allocation took place. The first appears to be whenever a person responsible for allocating guests to apartments decided to put the T9 in block 5, with that person almost certainly having access to keys. However, with booking through Mark Warner, it appears that Ocean Club staff did not know that children were involved until they first turned up at 24-hour reception, so the first and second times appear to boil down to one time only – first arrival.

It appears that Mark Warner staff in Luz had a head-start on this. They got keys on Friday, to enable them to deliver cots before the guests arrived on Friday. So they knew who was turning up, which apartments had been allocated to whom, and had easy access to keys.

The next person who enters the frame is the driver on duty when the T9 turned up at 24-hour reception. After signing-in and getting keys, the T9 and luggage would be driven to block 5, and it is normal practice for the driver to help with the luggage. Whether this help happened or not, the driver would have known that three of the ground floor apartments had children in.

With the possible exception of the T9, so far none of the people alerted to children on the ground floor of block 5 would have known that these children would be left alone and vulnerable.

On 3rd May 2007, Stephen Carpenter and wife would take their two children with them to the Tapas restaurant. Rajinder Balu and Neil Berry left children in 606 being supervised by wives while they went to the Tapas restaurant to get a take-awy. People in Portugal found the concept of leaving young children alone on a regular basis unusual. There were 11 children from 8 families using the night crèche that evening. With the exception of the T9, there’s no evidence that people in the Ocean Club were used to children being left alone at dinner time.

Some of the Tapas restaurant booking forms are in the PJ files. The forms name the persons involved, whether they are Mark Warner guests, the apartments they are staying in, the total number of people in the group, and the table number.

Gonçalo Amaral says in ‘A Verdade Da Mentira’ “During the parents’ dinner, the children again sleep alone. A restaurant employee notes on the reception register that certain members of the group get up in turn to go and make sure they are OK.”

Kate McCann says in ‘Madeleine’ “It wasn’t until a year later, when I was combing through the Portuguese police files, that I discovered that the note requesting our block booking was written in a staff message book, which sat on a desk at the pool reception for most of the day. This book was by definition accessible to all staff and, albeit unintentionally, probably to guests and visitors, too. To my horror, I saw that, no doubt in all innocence and simply to explain why she was bending the rules a bit, the receptionist had added the reason for our request: we wanted to eat close to our apartments as we were leaving our young children alone there and checking on them intermittently.”

This note in not in the PJ files that are in the public domain. Either Kate has a different copy of the PJ files or it looks like her source is actually Amaral’s book.

This note, if it exists, is extremely important. It provides an early connection between the T9, their location in block 5, and unattended children.

Whether accessible by guests or not, it brings three further actors onto the scene. The first is the person who accepted the block booking, and understood the reason. Ditto anyone in Tapas reception who read the message book.

The second is the evening shift in the Tapas restaurant, whose hours were normally 16:00 to 24:00, according to the booking forms. This means they started before the children’s high tea occurred every day. At this point there is now a perfect recipe linking the children who attended high tea (the McCanns) with parents who left them unattended (the McCanns) with apartment 5A.

Apart from the note, the evening shift was treated to two sets of T9 parents testing out baby monitors on Sunday 29th April.

The third group the note brings to the scene is the day shift at the Tapas restaurant. In general, they worked 09:30 to 18:00, so they were also present when high tea was being served. Whilst they could have seen Madeleine each day, there is no particular reason to believe they were aware of unattended children nearby, unless the note existed and they had seen it. A single person from the day shift rotated to the evening shift twice a week, once on Tuesday 1st and again on Friday 4th.

A final possible group with opportunity is anyone who could monitor the rear of block 5 over a period of time long enough to work out that the McCann children were being left unattended, and presumably that the McCanns were using the patio door in the evening, meaning that 5A was particularly vulnerable.

There are several ways to track Madeleine back to apartment 5A. Anyone who worked in 24 hour reception fits the bill. Possibly the link was made by the records for the Mini Club, putting Madeleine in 5A. Possibly it was a stage harder, having to go to the Tapas area and wait for Madeleine to exit high tea before trailing her. In these scenarios, the elements to show a regular booking at the Tapas restaurant plus the McCanns using the patio door are missing. That is, someone trailing Madeleine would have to observe both elements in a pattern.

Madeleine could be trailed in other ways, but these are less likely. Follow her from the beach to the 24-hour reception, wait and trail her to high tea in the Tapas restaurant, trail her to apartment 5A, then watch long enough to note regular evening meals in the Tapas restaurant plus the McCanns using the patio doors.

A simpler, therefore more plausible, scenario, is that someone to the east of apartment 5A saw a person entering the flat in the evening via the patio doors, and recognised an opportunity for crime. The west end of block 6 appears to fit this bill, as does the housing to the south of block 6.

Assuming this analysis of opportunity is reasonably accurate, then a scenario of a planned abduction by a lone wolf who is not part of the groups identified above has just hit the buffers. At the minimum, such an external agent would need to have insider information to pull off the feat, with a very short time devise a plan.

Textusa – All the world’s a stage

This particular post (today) by Textusa seems to have strayed into territory that is clearly libellous, so it will be interesting to see how long it lasts.

To summarise the points made by Textusa –

1 As the Smiths took a while to come forward with their sighting, it was necessary to distract the PJ from the McCanns and T9 until the Smiths eventually acted.  (Issue – unless the Smiths were involved in the plot there was no reason to believe they would ever come forward.)

2 The distractions include Stephen Carpenter, Neil Berry and Raj Balu.  (Issue – Carpenter’s statement was dated 17 May.  Berry and Balu gave formal statements around a year after the incident, though they must have appeared on PJ radar before that to feature in rogatory statements.)

3 Robert Murat was another distraction to keep the PJ busy until the Smiths turned up

“… he was part, at management level, of the swinging events’ organising structure.”

“… Maddie’s body stayed at his property on that first night up until around 4 am.”

This stuff, unless Texusa can prove it, is definitely libellous.  I would love to know what evidence there is that Madeleine’s body was on Casa Liliana with (presumably) Robert and Jenny Murat, for 6 or 7 hours.  I wonder what happened to the body afterwards?

Please note that Eddie the EVRD was deployed at Casa Liliana during Martin Grime’s searches of Luz.  Eddie did not alert in Casa Liliana.

4 Lori Campbell of the Sunday Mirror denounced Robert Murat.  Textusa says the dates are dodgy, with a letter sent from Leicestershire Police to the PJ on 6 May re this, but Lori saying Leicestershire Police were informed on Monday 7 May.  I have not checked therefore I don’t know if this is accurate or not.

The implication is that Lori brought Robert to the attention of the PJ to keep them off the true scent until the Smith sighting would turn up.  Unless Lori is part of the plot, she acted before the Smith sighting surfaced.  And if the true scent is that the body of Madeleine was stored at Casa Liliana for several hours as per Textusa, she was putting the PJ on the true scent.

5 According to Textusa, on Tuesday 8th May, the PJ received an anonymous phone call from a woman.  I don’t know where this tale originates, and I don’t care.

The relevant parts of this are that the woman knows of a person who abducted Madeleine, who lives in Luz, who is close to the police, who has an English mother, who speaks this language (presumably Portuguese?), who has been around the investigation, supposedly helping.

Joining up the dots on this one, it sounds like Lori Campbell informing the PJ about Robert Murat.  But is it?  The problem with the PJ is they tend to speak Portuguese, being Portuguese, and I can testify that Portuguese is a tough language to learn, so was Lori competent in Portuguese?

She said this man was called Robert and that he used to consult Internet chats of a pretty heavy sexual nature.”  I would now have to ask how this could possibly be known.  OK, in this particular role-play I am supposedly a woman.  Have I indulged with Robert in chats of a pretty heavy sexual nature?  Is that how I know?

He would also use Internet for contacts with different acquaintances he had in other countries, especially in the UK.  This one says little to nothing.  Most folks in Luz are ex-pats.  They communicate to ‘home’, whether that is the UK, Ireland, Germany, Holland or Russia (our cleaner is called Svetlana and claims to be Russian).  This sentence can be understood as – he chatted with friends in his home country over the Internet.

She said most of the mails he sent were encrypted due to the monitoring of the kind of content they possessed.”  This says a lot.  The female who made the anonymous phone call supposedly knew that Robert encrypted his emails.

I can think of only 2 females who MIGHT have known that Robert encrypted his emails (assuming he actually did encrypt his emails).

First, his mother Jenny might possibly, by a long shot, have become aware he encrypted his emails.  Snag, I cannot see Jenny Murat taking this route to hanging her son out to dry.

Second, Robert’s girlfriend then and wife now, Michaela Walczuch.  She would know, presumably, all of the relevant details.  Internet chats of a heavy sexual nature.  The girlfriend fits that bill  (but only if she is not of the romantic kind.)  Internet to contact the UK? Yup, just as she contacted home.  Encrypted emails?  Now I can stretch to encrypted emails, just about.  As in, I don’t want to use a plain English email service cos’ …. so please download software called xyz. to decrypt them.  ‘Kind of content they possessed’ is stretching it.

“Monitoring of the kind of content they possessed.”  To be correct on this, I need to know of the origin of the emails or to be a recipient.  The anonymous source knew how?

Summary. Robert Murat, seemingly up to his neck in it for storing a body on his mother’s property.

An anonymous female who sounds like Lori Campbell (whether it was or not), with details like Murat encrypts his emails (whether he did or not).