Exclusive Interview with Gonçalo Amaral: Cadaver was frozen or was kept in the cold
Gonçalo Amaral regrets that a 'fact-finding inquiry (sindicância) to the investigation was done". In the first interview where he talks about the process, he defends that Maddie died at the Ocean Club. The book is launched today in Lisbon and promises to re-launch controversy.
Interview with Gonçalo Amaral in Correio da Manhã today
“The investigation was syndicated”
Gonçalo Amaral laments that “the investigation was syndicated”. In the first interview during which he speaks about the process, he defends that Maddie died at the Ocean Club. The book is launched in Lisbon today and promises to launch the controversy again
Correio da Manhã – As the case investigator, what is your thesis?
Gonçalo Amaral – The little girl died in the apartment. Everything is in the book, which is faithful to the investigation until September: it reflects the understanding of the Portuguese and the English police and of the Public Ministry. For all of us, until then, the concealment of the cadaver, the simulation of abduction and the exposure or abandonment were proved.
What led you to indict the McCanns over all of those crimes?
It all starts with an abduction theory that is forced by the parents. And the abduction is based on two facts: one is Jane Tanner’s testimony that says she saw a man passing in front of the apartment, carrying a child; the other is the bedroom window, which, according to Kate, was open when it should have been closed. It was proved that none of that happened.
How was it proved?
Jane Tanner is not credible: she identifies and recognizes different people. She starts with Murat, later on someone else is mentioned, according to the drawing done by a witness, and she already says that is the person, completely different from Robert Murat.
Jane Tanner’s testimony drove the abduction theory.
In order to advance into that direction, it would be necessary to give her credit: there was no other indicium of the abduction. And the issue of the bedroom window, where Maddie and her siblings slept, is vital. It leads to simulation. This means, whether or not it was open when Jane says that she saw the man carrying the child. The little girl’s mother, Kate, is the only person that mentions the open window.
Does that undo the abduction theory?
There lies the solution. To be closed or not, is a strong indicium for simulation. And why does one simulate abduction, rather than simply saying that the child has disappeared? She could have opened the door and left…
Do Kate’s fingerprints reinforce the simulation theory?
They are the only fingerprints on the window. And in a position of opening the window.
Did Kate have suspicious attitudes?
She goes out for dinner and supposedly leaves three children asleep. She returns, one is missing, she goes out, leaving the window wide open with the twins asleep. And the night, according to what she says, was very cold…
What about Maddie’s bed?
It carries no signs that anyone was in it. Nor does the chair or the bed under the window. And there are no imprints from strangers.
The reconstitution is missing.
It was not carried out 10 or 15 days after the facts, because the resort was full of tourists. We trusted that it could be carried out at a later date. It couldn’t.
Did you request data about the group?
At 8 a.m. on the 4th, the request was made to the English liaison officer, but [the data] never arrived.
What did you want to know?
Who the people are, their antecedents. And the child, whether or not there are complaints against the parents or others. How she behaved in school, to find out if she was the target of abuse.
How important is the Irish witness within the case?
He explained where he and his family had seen, at 10 p.m. on the 3rd of May, a man carrying a little girl. And it wasn’t Murat. They did not see the face, but they described the athletic and clumsy manner in which he carried the child.
That was back in May.
When the McCanns returned to England, the witness, watching Gerry get off the plane and walking across the asphalt carrying his child, had a realization. By the manner in which he walked and the clumsy way that he carries the child, he is 70 to 80 percent certain that it was the person he saw that evening. Says he and say the other members of the family.
What did you do?
On the days before I left Portimão we were taking care of that trip to Portugal. Then, the hearing of that witness was requested through a liaison officer from the Irish police in Madrid, which took months. During that time, the witness was approached by persons that are connected to the McCanns’ staff, I don’t know with what intention. They felt pressured. Later on, the hearing arrived and he maintains the probability of 70 to 80 percent that it was Gerry who carried the little girl towards the beach.
Couldn’t that have been included in the rogatory letter?
It could and it should. The ideal would have been for him to come to Portugal, as a key witness. Just like the couple of doctors that describe the situation in Mallorca.
Once the abduction theory was set apart, how was the death theory built?
With the elements that exist, we could only reach an accident, natural death, any cause without the intervention of another person. We were cementing evidence and advancing to understand what happened to the little girl’s body. Also based on information from the British lab, about residues that were found inside the car that was rented by the McCanns.
Where and how could they have hidden the body for over twenty days?
That was what we were trying to find out. Searching within their friends, because the couple had a lot of acquaintances. We tried to understand where the little girl could have been during those twenty something days.
Out of reach from the searches.
Yes. There was information that the couple had been seen walking towards a certain apartment block, we were trying to understand which apartment it was. Who had access to that apartment. But everything stopped.
How do you interpret that stopping of everything, when you left?
It almost looks as if the investigation was syndicated.
It was even said that the blood that was found was not human.
The dogs only smell human blood. The sample that is collected and taken to England, to be analysed with the Low Copy Number technique, is microscopic. The technique does not allow them to state whether it is blood or any other type of fluid – but it guarantees that it is human.
The family tried to justify itself.
Later on, a brother-in-law and a cousin of Kate said that they had carried steaks in the trunk that had thawed, even garbage, but no. The dogs follow neither garbage smell nor non-human blood. Then there is a witness, that was never heard, a jurist that lived next to the couple, in the second house [villa] outside of the apartment, saying that the car trunk was left open during the night, for airing. But maybe that was because of the garbage…
Within the theory of the parents’ involvement, can you reconstitute that night?
We had already concluded, long before the Irish witness, that if those persons were involved, there was only one possibility. It pointed towards the beach. Not only because of what [locations] they knew but also due to the terrain’s conditions. In that area, it is not easy to dig a hole. One either knows where holes already exist, or it is not possible, within a short time lapse, to decide where to place a corpse without knowing the area. If there was involvement, it would have been towards the beach area. Which is later corroborated by the Irish witness.
At the time when the Irish tourist reportedly saw Gerry, there are various witness statements that place the child’s father at the Ocean Club.
They are not credible. The employees are unable to tell at what time the persons were there, for how long each one of them stayed away when they say they went to the apartments. And the group is not credible. They say that on the previous nights, every 30 minutes, each one of them went to check only on his own children; but on that night, between 9.30 and 10 p.m., someone curiously goes to check that apartment, almost every five minutes, leaving the rest unchecked.
And what about Gerry?
He justifies some of the time with a trip to the toilet. That is not five minutes, then he meets another individual outside. Hence the need for the reconstitution. To find out how long it took them to get to the apartments, what route they walked, etc. A reconstitution that should be joint with the restaurant’s movement, because when it is said that they asked for the food from 9 p.m. onwards, there was one person who ordered a steak. And that steak was heated again because someone was not there. It is necessary to find out whose steak that was. He was away for a much longer time period…
An adult carrying a child, until the beach, how long [does it take]?
How was it possible for the apartment to be rented out after the crime?
The apartment was immediately fully contaminated by the parents’ action, before the police arrived. A complete fair was built there and at a certain point, dogs were demanded to come inside the house.
You admitted the possibility that the children had been given sedatives.
The twins, with the lights on, with the lights off, with a crowd of people going in and out, slept until 2 a.m., when they were carried into another apartment. Even then, they continued to sleep. That sleep is not normal.
But the Judiciária did nothing.
Once again, we were inhibited. We thought about asking the parents to test their hair, in order to understand whether there were sedatives, but as soon as it was found out, it would be said that we were suspecting the parents, and it was being avoided at all costs that it became public that those suspicions existed.
How is there room for speculation about the DNA tests? It was those results that allowed you to advance with the arguido status.
The speculation is done by the scientist who performs the test. He starts out by saying, in his preliminary report, that it was easy to say that it was Maddie. Then he raised other questions. Of course nobody can be accused, based on that data alone.
“The cadaver was frozen”
Correio da Manhã - What do you think happened to the body?
Gonçalo Amaral – Everything indicated that the body, after having been at a certain location, was moved into another location by car, twenty something days later. With the residues that were found inside the car, the little girl had to have been transported inside it.
How can you state that?
Due to the type of fluid, we policemen, experts, say that the cadaver was frozen or preserved in the cold and when placed into the car boot, with the heat at that time [of the year], part of the ice melted. On a curb, for example, something fell from the trunk’s right side, above the wheel. It may be said that this is speculation, but it’s the only way to explain what happened there.
If the body was hidden in the beach area first, was it always out of reach for the searches?
The beach was searched at a time when it is not known whether the body was still there. Using dogs, but sniffer dogs have limitations, like the salted water, for example. Later on, it may have been removed.
“We should have done phone tapping”
Correio da Manhã – Did you feel political pressure during the investigation?
G.A. – Inhibition. One of the mistakes was that we did not advance on this group with everything that legally was within our reach: Tapping, surveillance. It was necessary, for example, to recover the clothes that the little girl was wearing when she left the crèche to go home. There, we thought: if we go, it will immediately be said that we suspect the parents. That inhibition happened throughout time.
And that led you towards the abduction.
We had to prove that there was no abduction, in order to focus on those persons afterwards…
How does the pressure appear?
Right on the morning of the 4th of May, with a consul calling the embassy and saying that the PJ wasn’t doing anything. Then an ambassador. Next, an advisor and the English prime minister.
“Payne is the last one to see her”
Correio da Manhã – When do testimonies concerning David Payne’s behaviour indicating sexual practices with minors arrive?
Gonçalo Amaral – In May. Something went wrong with that group during a holiday: David Payne made revealing gestures concerning behaviour towards children. Even towards Maddie. We asked for information but it arrived after the 26th of October. They sent the information without giving it any importance.
What exactly did arrive?
A couple of doctors spent holidays in Mallorca, in 2005, with David Payne, the McCanns and another couple. The lady says she saw Payne with his finger in his mouth, making a movement in and out, while rubbing his nipple with the other hand. And he was talking about Maddie, next to her father. Those statements should have been given a different treatment by the police. It was relevant to access the information, about doctors, who are just as credible as anyone else.
What else remains unclear concerning David Payne?
He will be the last one to see Maddie alive after 5.30 p.m., when she leaves the crèche. He meets Gerry playing tennis and asks him about Kate and the children. Gerry answers that they are in the apartment and he goes there. He returns 30 minutes later. Kate says it was 30 seconds. There is something not quite right here.
The evidence and the results of the case
“Arriving this far, it is important to make a deductive summary about this case. Which means, to reject what is false; to set aside what cannot be proved, because it is insufficient; to consider as valid and certain what has been proved.
What is proved
1. The abduction theory is defended by Maddie’s parents since the first moment;
2. Within the group, only her parents stated that they observed the open window in the missing girl’s bedroom; the majority cannot witness it faithfully because they arrived at the apartment after the alarm was raised;
3. The only statement outside of the group that mentions the open window and the raised shutters comes from Amy, one of the Ocean Club’s nannies, who points her observation towards 10.20/10.30 p.m., which is some time after the alarm was raised and does not prove that it was open like that at the time when the crime happened;
4. The set of depositions and witness statements exposes a high number of imprecision, incongruence and contradictions – which, in some cases, may be typified as false testimonies. In particular, the key statement for the abduction theory, from Jane Tanner, which loses all credibility due to the fact that it successively evolved throughout various moments in time, becoming ambiguous and disqualifying itself;
5. There is a cadaver that has not been located, a conclusion that is validated by the English EVRD and CSI dogs and corroborated by the preliminary lab test results.
Certainties until October
“For me, and for the investigators that worked with me on the case until October 2007, the results that we reached were the following:
1. The minor Madeleine McCann died in apartment 5A at the Ocean Club, in Vila da Luz, on the evening of the 3rd of May 2007;
2. An abduction was simulated;
3. Kate Healy and Gerald McCann are suspected of involvement in the concealment of their daughter’s cadaver;
4. Death may have resulted from a tragic accident;
5. There is indicia of neglect in the guard and safety of the children.”
“Decisive diligence was never carried out”
“The Smith family [Irish witnesses] is available to make a formal recognition. We had already contacted the Smith family, from Ireland, whose patriarch was prepared to travel to the Algarve, to give a new statement and for a formal recognition […] following the recognition that he had made on television of the man who on the 3rd of May, in Vila da Luz, walked towards the beach carrying a little girl, a little girl that they had recognized as being Madeleine McCann.
The man that the Smith were talking about was, with a high degree of certainty, Gerald McCann, who they had seen on the English television news, on the day that the McCann couple returned [on their definitive trip] to the United Kingdom. That man that came down the airplane stairs and walked on the asphalt, carrying a child, was apparently the same man who, on the evening of the 3rd of May, walked into the direction of the beach, carrying Madeleine, who seemed to be deeply asleep.
When the situation was presented to the National Director of the Polícia Judiciária [Alípio Ribeiro at that time], he agreed with what was being suggested to him, [namely] the coming to the Algarve, at our expenses, of the elements of the Smith family that were able to testify the facts.”
McCanns erased all the telephone calls
The calls on the couple’s mobile phones were erased, with the exception, in Kate’s case, of a call from her husband at 11.17 on that night of the 3rd of May, minutes after the disappearance was known. But this call is not registered on the mobile phone that belongs to Gerry, who erased all the phone calls of that day, presumably after he called Kate at that time. This fact, that was never clarified in terms of its motivation, intrigued the investigators.
Source: Correio da Manhã