Madeleine v Paços de Ferreira

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ETA Marítimo 1  Paços de Ferreira 0.

Madeleine – Steve Gibson on YouTube

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

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

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

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

His basic train of thought is as follows.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Luz – Panorama 3 May 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Madeleine – Panorama special 3 May 2017

Reporter Richard Bilton, who has covered the Madeleine McCann case for 10 years, presented a BBC Panorama special on 3 May 2017 entitled ‘Madeleine McCann 10 Years On’.

Mr Bilton obtained an interview with Pedro do Carmo, Deputy Director, Polícia Judiciária. He said it is still a missing child case. Plus the PJ wanted to learn what to do if it is repeated.

The Lisbon court case of the McCanns v Gonçalo Amaral was covered briefly.

The programme added various scenes of Luz that are impossible to get from the ground. If you check the credits at the end, you will see the drone camera operator was Andy Webb.

The documentary covered the basics of the case – 9 adults eating at the Tapas restaurant, 8 children in block 5, Kate alerting around 10pm that Madeleine was missing.

There was a previously unseen interview with Gonçalo Amaral from 2012, in which it was claimed there was nothing to support an abduction.

The programme said the Portuguese police found inconsistencies in the time-line, and thought the McCanns had acted oddly by bringing in the media.

The dog deployments were next, presumably to move on to an interview of Kate and Gerry McCann by Sandra Felgueiras. This was the one where Gerry said cadaver dogs are unreliable.

Had the Portuguese settled on their theory before final DNA results were available? Panorama did not pick up the order of things from Kate’s book ‘madeleine’. The McCanns let it be known they were soon leaving Portugal. The PJ chose to interview them before their announced leaving date. The incomplete results still required that the McCanns were made arguidos.

The Smith family gave statements that they saw a man carrying a child several hundred metres from the Ocean Club at around 10pm on 3 May. Gerry would be implicated in the sighting, but he had an alibi of being at the Tapas Restaurant at that time.

In 2008 the case was archived, and the McCanns were no longer arguidos.

Robert Murat gave his opinion on events of that time. Was his mother being followed by private investigators? Was Mr Bilton asked to spy on his colleagues with respect to Mr Murat?

The BBC documentary moved to the report by Jim Gamble, then head of CEOP. It recommended a review. The report appeared to languish until May 2011, when The Sun serialised Kate McCann’s book ‘madeleine’.

Operation Grange was started. The documentary moved to ‘the British story’.

There were burglaries in Luz, that allegedly the local operators kept quiet to protect trade. Heriberto Janosch González told of 3 recent burglaries in block 4 and block 5. In a video, he demonstrated how to raise the shutter an open the window from outside.

3 men were potentially involved in a burglary that night. José Carlos da Silva, a driver at the Ocean Cub. Ricardo Rodrigues, aged 16 in 2017. And Paulo Ribeiro. These were allegedly connected by phone messages and texts. These were 3 Portuguese people on a phone to each other in Luz, and the phone traffic was normal. José Carlos da Silva declined to be interviewed. Ricardo Rodrigues could not be contacted. Paulo Ribeiro was interviewed and he denied involvement in a burglary. He said he had been identified from a drawing or e-fit.

Presumably that was from Crimewatch Oct 2013. If so it is puzzling as to how Sr Ribeiro was identified, as that Crimewatch programme did not air on any Portuguese channel, though those e-fits were shown in Portuguese media.

Judging by the Panorama interview, Sr Ribeiro does not appear to be the kind of person who could keep a major secret for 10 years.

I think I may have had a very brief encounter with Sr Ribeiro about a year ago, though I had no idea at the time that it was him.

Scotland Yard announced these 3 men were no longer persons of interest in April 2017.

Panorama moved on to another man, Vitor dos Santos. He had given a fairly long statement in 2007. He confirmed he had been interviewed by British police, and that must have been in Dec 2014. He said the questions were much the same as in 2007 e.g. about the logistics of the holiday complex. Sr dos Santos had been laid off by the Ocean Club and now made a living taking tourists on boat trips near Lagos.

It seems Operation Grange has a further lead to pursue but Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley would not be drawn on what it was. That left the recent press speculation that it might be about a woman seen near apartment 5A acting suspiciously on 3 May 2007.

I was in contact with the Panorama team to explain some information. However, that was shortly before the programme aired, when the documentary must have been nearly fully completed. So I have no reason to believe anything was altered as a result of our exchange.

Madeleine v the double buggy

In the Crimewatch of Oct 2013, the reconstruction shows the McCanns, all played by actors and actresses, in an early trip around the Ocean Club soon after arriving in Luz. ‘Gerry’ is pushing a double buggy containing the ‘twins’, ‘Kate’ is walking in front with an inflated pool ring (which appears to be adult sized) and ‘Madeleine’ is romping out ahead.

I cannot get a clear photo of the Crimewatch double buggy as ‘Kate’ is always obscuring it. This is the best I can do.

20131013-crimewatch-double-buggy

The double buggy is one of the numerous errors in Crimewatch. The McCanns did not take any kind of a buggy with them.

From Kate’s book ‘madeleine’, about their first afternoon/evening in Luz

Afterwards we strolled over to the Millennium restaurant for dinner. … The restaurant turned out to be nearly half a mile away from our base – a bit too far, really, certainly for a gaggle of weary toddlers. As we were only going to be away for a week, we’d decided not to bring Sean and Amelie’s double buggy with us, preferring to travel light. … So there were many stops and negotiations about whose turn it was to be carried by whom.”

Their family beach trip was on Tuesday, 1 May 2007.

In the afternoon Gerry and I decided to take the children down to the beach. … We borrowed a double buggy from Mark Warner to make the walk easier for Sean and Amelie.”

Since Crimewatch didn’t think the double buggy was important, I have no reason to think that they would have checked on the make or model of the double buggy used by the McCanns in the UK.

The double buggy in Crimewatch appears to me to be a relatively lightweight one, though it is hard to tell. By comparison, the McCanns’ UK double buggy looks to be a substantial beast. Here it is in Oct 2007.

20071017-katemccann-double-buggy

Without any sort of buggy capacity, the walk from apartment 5A to and from the Millennium would indeed be a mighty effort. Simply carrying the twins is not the complete answer, due to traffic flow. While Baptista was open (8.30am to 8pm), Rua Dr Agostinho da Silva beside 5A is an important entry to and exit from the supermarket. Jenny Murat describes a near miss as she was returning from buying some bread close to the shop’s closing time.

The fact that Rua Direita is one way (west to east) also affects traffic flow on the major part of the route between apartment 5A and the Millennium. Traffic coming from Lagos on the M537 is forced to turn north at the entry junction to Luz, in order to avoid Rua Direita. Then a 90° curve at the Mirage puts this stream of traffic smack-dab on the McCann route along Rua do Ramalhete.  Here is the McCann journey.

5a-to-millennium

Nearly all of the traffic coming from Lagos gets shunted onto this road. That includes the Lagos to Burgau bus route. (The Burgau to Lagos route is able to travel along Rua Direita.)

From the time that the buses start or Baptista opens to the time that both shut down the route requires control over young children. Assuming Gerry carried one of the twins and Kate carried one of the others, it still required a hand free to make sure Madeleine stayed on the pavement.

According to Vitor dos Santos, the Head of Accommodation at the Ocean Club, who booked-in the Tapas 9 –

For dinner the guests could choose between two options, the Tapas and the Millennium and although the meals are identical, the clients choose the restaurant according to its proximity to their accommodation.

In this case in concrete, the rational choice for dinner would be the Tapas restaurant as it is 100 metres distance from the apartment, whilst the Millennium is situated 600 metres away.”

The diagram above measures the distance from 5A to the Millennium. Senhor dos Santos makes it 600 metres. I make it 650m, which is just above what Senhor dos Santos thinks and a little below what Kate says.

I don’t think a small difference is significant. With or without a buggy, apartment 5A to the Millennium is not a pleasant route nor is it an easy trek. I have been informed by a reliable source that the other 3 families in the T9 group brought buggies. I don’t know what they all did for breakfast. But in the evening they preferred the Tapas restaurant over the Millennium.

And so Madeleine, and all the other children of the T9, would be spending their evenings in block 5 whilst the parents dined nearby.

Madeleine – date of booking

I have been checking the files to narrow down when the Tapas 9 booking ‘arrived’ at the Ocean Club. That is the earliest date at which a person working in Luz could possibly have known that Madeleine was to arrive.

Kate’s book “Madeleine” does not cover this in detail. In chapter 3 it covers when the idea of a holiday in Portugal was first raised with the McCanns, and whether Kate had misgivings about the visit. The only reference I can see is that David Payne raised the possibility of the booking on 1st Jan 2007, whilst visiting the McCanns. Then the book moves to chapter 4, and the trip to Luz on 28th of April. There is no information about the booking date or making payment, merely that the concept was raised on 1 Jan 2007.

However, that little section of chapter 3 flagged up an important fact that I had not recognised before. Of the 8 children going to Portugal with the Tapas 9, only Sean was male. The other 7 were female.

The breakdown of the children is on the Mark Warner arrivals listing. The Ocean Club records that I have seen do not carry this breakdown. In any case, the source of the booking is Mark Warner to Ocean Club, not direct from the Tapas 9 to the Ocean Club. Therefore the Mark Warner listing is critical.

The Mark Warner arrivals list is at http://www.mccannpjfiles.co.uk/PJ/ARRIVALS.htm It shows one male child (Sean), three infants of non-identified gender, and four female children in the age range 2-3 years. And there is that request to locate the Tapas 9 in close proximity to each other.

David Payne made the booking with Mark Warner. So I turned to his two statements to see if any information could be gleaned. His statement made while in Portugal does not mention a booking date.

David’s rogatory statement is fairly vague on this topic. He says the idea of a Mark Warner holiday in Portugal surfaced around Christmas 2006.

Some of the minor details he comments on may well be in error. He states that only the Mark Warner site running in late April was Portugal. This is inaccurate. At least two Mark Warner sights in Egypt were up and running, with flights offered on 27 April 2007 and 29 Apr 2007. One of these was definitely open by 13th April latest, according to special summer offers from Mark Warner.

This information is of little relevance, other than to point out the possibility that if Egypt had been chosen, perhaps Madeleine would be safe and well. On a practical basis, a flight to Egypt for 8 very young children is a lot more arduous than a flight to Portugal. A possibility, therefore is that David saw Egypt was on offer, but thought that would be a real struggle for the Tapas 9 and their children at that time, and so decided Portugal was a better idea.

In an earlier post, I referred to the statement of Luis Duarte. He says he handled reservations, but that he did not handle the McCann reservation. He was in Madeira when Madeleine disappeared.

So who did handle the McCann reservation, and who had access to the Mark Warner booking information?

Vitor Dos Santos, Head of Accommodation, states that he handled the McCann reservation. He states that there was a request to locate the Tapas 9 together, which can be seen on the Mark Warner arrivals list.

He then states something odd. He says that there was a request to locate the Tapas 9 on the ground floor, as the families had young children.

That request is not noted on the Mark Warner arrivals list, even though many other parents requested this, and those requests do appear on the Mark Warner list.

Perhaps a request was made by phone from Mark Warner to the Ocean Club, or by email, but it is not recorded in the relevant parts of the PJ files.

And while 3 families were located on the ground floor, I cannot work out why the Paynes were one floor up. Even if 4C, the unoccupied flat on the ground floor was not suitable, wasn’t there a T2 on the ground floor of block 4 that was both available and near to the others? The occupancy rate was around 50%, so a little bit of juggling should have satisfied a ground floor request.

Vitor goes on to say something else that is accurate, but somewhat odd.

He says that the McCanns had a choice of the Tapas Restaurant and the Millennium for their evening meal (on half board with Mark Warner). He says that the McCann choice makes sense, given that the Tapas Restaurant was, in his statement, 100m away, while the Millennium was 600m away. I think he is a little out on both figures, but the gist is correct.

Plonk a large group, on half-board, with a lot of young kids in block 5, and the chances are they will be dining in the Tapas Restaurant. That part is actually fairly predictable.

After that, things become a bit more unpredictable, and I’d like to leave this to a later post, so for the moment, let me return to the subject of when the booking was made, and who within Luz had access to this information.

David Payne in his rogatory statement says that there was quite a bit of discussion, and time elapsed, after the concept of a Mark Warner holiday in Portugal was first floated. He does not say precisely when the booking was made. However, he does say in his rogatory statement that shortly after his extended discussions with Mark Warner took place, Mark Warner offered a 10% discount on the Ocean Club.

He also states that because the listening service was not offered in the Ocean Club in Luz, he tried a bit of cheek, to get a discount, and he states that he got some.

So when did Mark Warner offer a 10% discount in the run up to Luz of May 2007?

They offered a couple of early-booking deals, but both of those expired on Feb 28, 2007. David Payne is not talking about those. Neither the timing nor the conditions of the deal fit his statement.

On 22nd March 2007, the histirical records show Mark Warner altering the UK website from saying there were early-booking deals to those deals had closed. On 7th April 2007, the website for Mark Warner showed that a discount of approximately 10% was available for bookings, where the departure was for the Ocean Club on 28 Apr 2007 (for a period of 7 days).

This fits David Paynes statement perfectly. He did not book immediately after January 2007, or within the deals offered to 28 Feb 2007. He did not book until shortly before the ‘new deals’ were rolled out by Mark Warner.

We now have a time frame for the booking of roughly mid-March to week one of April. Week one of April does not fit the extended interchange between David Payne and Mark Warner. It does not fit a fly date for 9 adults and 8 children.

I am guessing that the booking took place in early March, after the February deals expired, but long enough to give the Tapas 9 time to organise the trip. All I know for certain is that it should have happened before the Mark Warner deal that appears on the website on 7th April 2007 or earlier.

Who in Luz had access to the actual booking information at this date? Who knew they were going into block 5?

This depends on when the allocation of the Tapas 9 to block 5 was made. Before that, anyone with access to the Mark Warner IT system knew names, gender, ages, and a proximity request, but not location.

Vitor Dos Santos says he handled the McCann booking. Luis Duarte says that he also handled bookings, therefore he had access to such information. I don’t know what John Hill (Ocean Club manager) had access to. I find it impossible to believe that he did not have access to the IT systems in place at that time, though his ability to update the records could prove critical. Then there was an IT bod who fits the same profile. He probably had access to the system, whether he could update it or not. There are almost certainly others in the Ocean Club 24hr reception with similar capabilities.

Here we have an unturned stone. Nailing the date when the booking was made would move the case forward. Nailing the date the allocation was made to block 5 would move the case forward. Nailing who had read access to the the OC/MW IT systems, and who was allowed to update the OC/MW IT systems would move the case forward.

So many unturned stones.