By John Hirst
Approximately 10 O’ Clock on the evening of 3rd of May 2007, the calm in Praia da Luz was about to be disturbed by Kate McCann announcing that daughter Madeleine was missing. Kate McCann and husband Gerry McCann were quick to assert that an abductor must be responsible for the disappearance of Madeleine. It is illegal for a private investigation to be conducted whilst there is an ongoing police investigation. The police were not convinced that the abduction theory put forward by the McCanns was credible. It was thought that the answer to 3 year old Madeleine’s disappearance lay in Apartment 5A. Madeleine was last seen alive by someone other than the McCanns or someone in their group at 5.30pm when Kate McCann took her out of the Mark Warner crèche. From then until about 10, only the McCanns themselves and David Payne claim to have seen Madeleine alive. The police view is that Madeleine died in the apartment. And that the McCanns version of events is cover up and alibi seeking. Some of the McCanns friends on holiday with them appear to be part of the cover up. If the abduction theory is removed from the equation, then the McCanns have some explaining to do. David Payne also needs to clarify some points. Based upon the presumption that Madeleine is dead, what time did it occur and how?
Approximately half an hour earlier, 9.30pm, Matthew Oldfied left the Tapas Bar to go to Apartment 5A to check on Madeleine and the 2 year old twins Sean and Amelie. Only the twins were present, Madeleine had already disappeared by this time. It is not being very responsible if an adult is entrusted with the task of checking to see if 3 young children are safe, and upon discovering one is missing and not attempting to ascertain Madeleine's whereabouts. This calls into question why Kate McCann 30 minutes later made an announcement informing the group that Madeleine had disappeared?
Matthew Oldfield may well have been prepared to go along with a cover up to a point, but drew a line at committing himself to perjury and perverting the course of justice by lying that Madeleine was present when he checked Apartment 5A.
Approximately half an hour earlier, 9pm, Gerry McCann left the Tapas Bar to go to check on the 3 children. He claims that all 3 were present and asleep in their beds.
If Gerry McCann's statement is truthful, then Madeleine disappeared between 9 and 9.30pm. This provides a half hour window of opportunity for an abductor to enter Apartment 5A and snatch Madeleine. The same length of time between Matthew Oldfield checking at 9.30 and Kate McCann checking at 10pm, when there was no sign of Madeleine and yet no big song and dance or hue and cry into her disappearance.
At approximately 8.30pm Gerry and Kate McCann leave Apartment 5A and arrive at the Tapas Bar. They claim that all the children were asleep in their beds. An hour later we know that Madeleine is not asleep in her bed, according to Matthew Oldfield's account. There is only Gerry McCann's word that everything was ok at 9pm. It would have strengthened the McCanns version of events had Matthew Oldfield corroborated their account. Instead, his evidence exposes Kate McCann's 10pm alarm to be a falsehood.
There is a glaring inconsistency. At approximately 9.15pm Jane Tanner claims that she saw someone walking away with a child who she believed could have been Madeleine. This might appear to fill the gap between 9pm and Gerry McCann stating that all was well, and 9.30pm when Matthew Oldfield states he did not see Madeleine. However, it does not explain the inaction of the group between 9.30 and 10pm.
As already stated, it is illegal in Portugal for a private investigation to be conducted into a case whilst there is an ongoing police investigation. The McCanns from the outset claimed that an abductor was responsible for Madeleine's disappearance. The obvious problem with the McCanns private investigation is that it leaves themselves out of the equation of being responsible for the disappearance of 3 year old Madeleine. Ultimately, responsibility for the safety of the children rests with the McCanns. The McCanns claim that they believed it was safe to leave 3 children unsupervised is not a belief that stands up to scrutiny. It was not a safe thing to do. Accidents can and do happen.
If Madeleine suffered a fatal accident between the hours of 5.30 and 9.30pm, it follows that her body would have been discovered, and one supposes that the emergency services are called. If there was a fatal accident and the emergency services were not called, it raises the question why not? Cause of death would have to be determined by an autopsy. Surely, a simple accident would not lead to the McCanns being responsible? Therefore, the McCanns did not want an autopsy being conducted. At the very least it raises the question of contributory negligence in the death of Madeleine.
The most likely explanation is that Madeleine died sometime between 5.30 and 8.30pm. The only other person other than the McCanns themselves during that time to visit Apartment 5A was David Payne. Interestingly, the statements of the Tapas Bar group are confusing in relation to what time David Payne visited Apartment 5A. According to Gerry McCann it was approximately 6.30pm, and the purpose of David Payne's visit was to assist Kate McCann in getting the children ready to go to the play area near the Tapas Bar. Kate McCann is then supposed to have informed David Payne about the change of plan, and the reason she gave was that the children were too tired. David Payne claims that he saw all 3 children playing in their pyjamas. It was the last time he claims to have seen Madeleine alive. If his statement is to be believed, then Madeleine died sometime between 6.35 and 7pm when Kate McCann was alone in Apartment 5A with the children or between 7 and 8.30pm when both Gerry and Kate McCann were in Apartment 5A.
The problem with the McCanns accounts that all 3 children were asleep in their beds when they left Apartment 5A to go to the Tapas Bar at 8.30, is the differences in describing the same scene. Witness accounts can differ according to different interpretations from different perspectives. However, the McCanns are describing a static scene which would be the same for both of them as they walked out of the door. Therefore, the variation in their versions is not accounted for. Perhaps, the most telling was the BBC interview with Kate McCann when she had difficulty answering the simple question about were the children asleep when they left to go to the Tapas Bar. It threw Kate McCann. Her story was supposed to have started from 10pm, the 90 minute earlier starting time by the interviewer left Kate McCann wrongfooted. She did recover her composure and finally answered the question, but it raises the question that perhaps only the twins were both asleep in their beds because something had already happened to Madeleine by 8.30pm.
It could be that Kate McCann's announcement about the change of plan was genuine and all 3 children were deemed to be too tired to go to the play area. There again, it could be a hastily made up excuse to cover up the fact that Madeleine was already dead and as such could not be paraded in public. It calls into question David Payne's claim to have seen all 3 children alive and in their pyjamas. In any event, David Payne returns to the tennis court and speaks to Gerry McCann who then changes his plan to play on and returns to Apartment 5A. A tennis instructor takes Gerry McCann's place on the tennis court. That's two changes of plans by two people in a very short space of time, half an hour. Something unexpected comes up usually for people to change their plans. Was this an unexpected death in the family?
Madeleine had to disappear not because her death could not be explained by an autoposy, but because the cause of death would be discovered. This is why accidental death does not appear to be the probable cause. If Madeleine had simply drowned in the bath, for example, her death could be easily explained away. If Madeleine met a violent end this would have shown up on an autopsy. The same if she had died by a drug overdose. The crime here is robbing the coroner of a body. The McCanns did not want the authorities becoming aware of how Madeleine died. That is why Madeleine had to disappear. The McCanns could not simply telephone the authorities and report Madeleine's disappearance when either Kate or Gerry or both were present at the time it occured. They needed to distance themselves from the scene of the crime. In their absence the Bogey Man becomes responsible. The cause of death no longer needs to be explained because there is no body to examine.
Instead of worried parents calling the police and asking them to help in finding their missing daughter and what may have happened to her, the police are confronted by parents telling them that they know an abductor is responsible for her disappearance. So sure are the parents that they phone family and friends in the UK and informed them that an abductor had broken into the apartment and taken Madeleine away. The police found no evidence to support the break-in claim. Much later, Clarence Mitchell, the McCanns press spokesman, admits that there was no break-in. The McCanns cover story is blown apart. If there was no break-in, in all probability there was no abductor. Would innocent parents invent a story of a fake break-in to explain the disappearance of their 3 year old daughter? No. They would have no need for invention. On the other hand, guilty parents seeking to push away responsibility most certainly needed a cover story.
Matthew Oldfield's not seeing Madeleine at 9.30pm, leaves Gerry McCann claiming to be the last person to see Madeleine alive at 9pm. Gerry McCann is setting the scene for a fake break-in story. He is outside by the shutters when he is disturbed by Jeremy Wilkins out walking with his child. Gerry McCann has to go and distract Jeremy Wilkins by making small talk. It was impossible for Jane Tanner to pass by both Gerry McCann and Jeremy Wilkins without either seeing her and for her to have seen Abduction Man walking off with a child who could have been Madeleine.
Weaknesses in the McCanns version of events;
1. Fake break-in;
2. Matthew Oldfield not seeing Madeleine;
3. Jane Tanner's fake sighting.
A fake break-in, a fake sighting, in all probability the abductor was also a fake. It all puts responsibility back on the McCanns to explain what happened to Madeleine. Why were the police family liasion officers replaced on the police inquiry when they asked the McCanns to explain what had happened to their 3 year old daughter? The question is legitimate. Can the same be said for the officers removal from the case? Was their removal political?
Why did the British Secret Service monitor the McCanns mobile phones?
Clarence Mitchell tipped off the McCanns that they were subject to electronic surveillance. This revelation led to Mitchell having to resign from the Media Monitoring Unit and his temporary appointment to the Foreign Office. The McCanns then offered Mitchell the job as their official spokesman.
The McCanns from the outset attempted to control the police investigation and the media coverage of the case.
Madeleine was not in Apartment 5A at 10pm, because she was not there when Matthew Oldfield checked at 9.30. Madeleine was not there at 9pm because Gerry McCann is setting the scene for the break-in story. Madeleine was not asleep in her bed at 8.30pm, because she was already dead. The McCanns went out to the Tapas Bar with the full knowledge of what had happened to Madeleine. It is an inescapable fact that Madeleine is dead.
Cause of death and the time is between 5.30 and 8.30pm. Most probably earlier than 8.30pm. Outside of Gerry and Kate McCann knowing the facts of what happened, there is the question how much does David Payne know?
To be continued (A work in progress)
Posted by jailhouselawyer