Thursday, 13 August 2015



7th June 
Kate and Gerry fly back to PDL early evening, then drive to Lagos to attend concert in aid of Madeleine. 

8th Jun 07
Gerry's blog:  "Sean, in particular has acquired a taste for sea-bass"

9th June DATE:  9/6/2007 (from Pamalan)
Day 37 - 11/06/2007
Kate and I had a slightly busier day on the media front than expected. We did a short press interview for the Irish Sunday papers, mainly to thank the Irish for their fantastic level of support. [..]
After this we headed down to Sagres which is the very most southwestern tip of Portugal. There is a very nice beach and we had lunch with the family. [..]
After returning from the beach we did the Irish version of Crimewatch-‘Crimecall’. [..] we want the Irish public to come forward with photographs of people who they do not know who were in and around Praia da Luz in the 2 weeks leading up to the 3rd May.

The Sagres trip does seem rather strange and - considering that some of the family apparently flew in for this junket - rather short. Surely it would make more sense to make it a full day with the twins (there is no mention of them in the blog) and have a day out with all the family. I
t looks more like a few hours with the family although it is possible that if the twins came Sean could have been treated to fresh sea-bass, his liking for this food having already been announced to the world the previous day.

Why in particular are Irish people asked to send their photographs. I particularly love the phrase ‘photographs of people who they do not know’   and why is Gerry two days out? The 11th would make it day 39. 

This Sagres trip isn’t mentioned at all in the book for some reason. 

There is no previous mention of Sagres in the blog yet Gerry talks about  ‘heading down to Sagres’ as if he knows it. 
His blog religiously mentions the ‘family day’ which is always a Saturday  - the only day in the week the creche is closed and they have to entertain the twins. 

10th June (Sunday)
Mobile phone call is tracked between Gerry and O'Brien on this day. Tracking shows the two were possibly 28km apart at the time of the call.

The McCanns attend mass in the morning in PdL.

Late afternoon they drive to Lisbon airport to fly  to Rabat.
Clarence Mitchell travels with them on the flight.

From ‘madeleine’ - chapter 12: 
We were lucky we managed to get on a plane to Rabat at all. I use the word ‘lucky’ loosely. The jet had broken down and a pre-war propeller plane was drafted to help out. It was too small to carry all the passengers and had to make a return trip to get everyone to Morocco. Flying was hard enough for me now as it was, and this was scary. The plane, a bare metal tube, was basic. It had about twenty seats and no separate cockpit, no overhead lockers or storage racks, no in-flight service [..] .
Miss Biddy Brett-Rooks, the consul general for Casablanca, was there to meet us when we landed. She looked and sounded exactly as I’d imagined from her name: very sweet and very English. We went first to a hotel where we had arranged to meet
an ITN crew from the UK. They wanted to show us an interview they’d recorded with a Norwegian lady called Mari Olli. [..]  On 9 May, she’d seen a little girl who looked like Madeleine at a petrol station on the outskirts of Marrakesh. [..]
From what we could infer, this lead simply hadn’t been adequately followed up. Indeed, a month later, Mari still hadn’t been formally interviewed. It was intolerable. 

The  McCanns spent the night at the British Ambassador’s residence: 
‘It was pretty late by the time we arrived at the ambassador's residence, where we would be spending the night.’
This sighting  was on the 9th of May, reported  in Spain on the 10th. Meanwhile quite a few other sightings were being followed up - some by Leicester Police for some reason. 
The pre-war plane must have been quite a change from the private jet which had already whisked them to Rome, Madrid, Berlin and Amsterdam.  
Interesting information is that obviously  more than 18 and less than or exactly 38 people expected to travel with the McCanns as the plane had to return to pick up the rest of the group. 
Apparently the Consul-general has her H.Q. in Casablanca and not in Rabat. 
11th June:
The McCanns met several ‘important and powerful figures’  The Chief of Police and two government Ministers among them according to Chapter 12:

In the morning, at a meeting with the consular staff, we heard from a British Metropolitan Police attaché, a counter-terrorism liaison and cooperation officer, that Morocco was a police state with excellent networks and intelligence-gathering systems. If Madeleine was here, she was sure to be found. It was something we’d be told several times during our visit.

We talked to the president of the Ligue Marocaine pour la Protection de l’Enfance, the Moroccan equivalent of the NSPCC, and visited Touche Pas à Mon Enfant. [..] 
That day several senior and powerful figures spent time with us, including the minister of the interior, Mr Benmoussa, and the director general of the police, Charki Draiss. The police attaché had told us earlier that for these meetings to take place, permission must have been granted by the King himself. Both Mr Benmoussa and Mr Draiss reiterated the message of the day: ‘We will help you. If Madeleine’s here, we will find her.’

Lucky timing to launch a new computer system or just a button?
En route to our visit to the Observatoire Nationale des Droits de l’Enfant, a Palace-sponsored child-welfare watchdog, [...] From the Observatoire Nationale des Droits de l’Enfant, we learned that the heart of each Moroccan community is not the town hall or police station but the health centre. Accordingly, a new computer network system linking all the health centres in Morocco [..] ready to be launched from their headquarters. 
A special webpage about Madeleine had also been created to coincide with our visit to Rabat. Gerry and I were completely blown away to be invited to press the ‘go live’ button, activating not only Morocco’s new network but with it the ‘Madeleine page’, thereby alerting all the health centres across the country to her disappearance and our need to find her.
The western press published photographs of hundreds of children holding up Maddie posters (remember that box of posters Gerry schlepped through customs?). The book devotes a paragraph to the event.
Royalty has been mentioned twice, senior and important people have ‘spent time with them’. But it doesn’t look as if the great and good of Morocco were falling over themselves to host the McCanns. These sideways allusions to royalty and important people do not add up to the image which is projected in the press. In fact the meeting on the last morning seems to have been arranged by the translator and was facilitated by the fact that it was her father-in-law. 
Paolo Reis (Portuguese journalist)
At the press conference held in Rabat at the Hilton Hotel, the English couple was accompanied by a very ‘British’ gentleman who is presented to us as a British diplomat from the Foreign Office. John Kayne accompanies the English couple on his journey for two weeks. [..]
The British diplomat told us a few minutes before the press conference: ‘Maddie’s parents are ordinary people [..] they are not accustomed to the press’. [..]
The morning of June 11, the English couple had a meeting with the members ‘Matkich waldi’.  (do not touch my son). The parents had previously met with the Executive Director of the National Observatory for Children’s rights (ONDE), Said Raji. 
Presumably the press conference - not mentioned at all in the book - was later in the day. This time not only Clarence Mitchell, but a translator provided by the British Embassy shared the platform - respectively a question and  language filter possibly preventing unwanted questions.
June 12th
On our final morning, the lady who’d been interpreting for us arranged for us to meet the minister of Islamic affairs, who happened to be her father-in-law. I was keen to talk to an Islamic religious leader to seek the support and prayers of the Muslim community. 
The minister was an academic, senior cleric and an adviser to the King, and he seemed kind, genuine and receptive.[..] I asked if he would urge the Muslim people here to pray for her, too, and for all missing children. He promised us that he would, adding that he was certain we would be reunited with our daughter.
The  lady with the McCanns and Clarence Mitchell at the press conference  on the 11th was probably Myriam Alami Toufiq - she's on the British Embassy's list of lawyers and translators.
Therefore the  minister may have been Ahmed Toufiq, appointed as minister for Islamic affairs in November 2002).
12th June
The McCanns arrive back in Praia de Luz in the afternoon. At night they go to church for prayers. 

BBC News:  Madeleine parents 'to take stock' 
Last Updated: Sunday, 10 June 2007, 05:12 GMT 06:12 UK

The parents of missing Madeleine McCann say they will spend the coming week reviewing the campaign to find her and allowing themselves time to grieve.

The couple have travelled across Europe in an effort to find Madeleine, four, who went missing in Portugal on 3 May.

But on their return to the Algarve on Tuesday from Morocco, Gerry and Kate McCann of Rothley, Leicestershire, say they will have a period of reflection. [..] When they return to Portugal, Mrs McCann said it would be time to withdraw from the media attention.
11th June:
The McCanns also did a couple of interviews for ITV and Sky focussing on a change in the phase of the campaign. They confirmed that there would be a period of reflection before they decided on the best role for themselves.

 (1) Re Sagres:  
 John McCann speaking on radio: ‘  - but some of the, some of the stuff that’s being speculated on just isn’t plausible. Like information appearing about samples in a car which Gerry and Kate only got 5 weeks after Madeleine disappeared.  Are you trying to tell me that Madeleine was hidden for 5 weeks and then was suddenly reappeared in this hire car.’ unquote
 Why did John mention “5 weeks” when he was talking in September 2007 – months after Madeleine had disappeared?
The facts are that the car had been hired on May 27 – 24 days after Madeleine was reported missing. 24 days is a significantly shorter time than 5 weeks.
So, what could be significant about something happening 5 weeks after Madeleine’s demise?
5 weeks after Madeleine disappeared was the weekend commencing Friday June 8, 2007. When we look closely at that weekend, there are several interesting things to note:
The McCann family flew in to the Algarve or were already there for that weekend. Susan and Brian Healy – Kate’s parents – were there. Trish and Sandy Cameron – Gerry’s sister and his brother in-law were there. Philomena flew in to Lisbon and Kate’s long time friend Anne-Marie Wright and her husband Michael had flown in to Faro.
Michael told the police that he and his wife flew in with the specific job of looking after Sean and Amelie while Kate and Gerry went to Morocco on Sunday June 10. Given the large number of close family relatives in town, Michael’s statement to the police is flawed.
On Saturday June 9, 2007, the entire family is supposed to have spent a day at the southwestern tip of Portugal – a town called Sagres.
On the Sunday afternoon, Kate, Gerry and Clarence Mitchell all went up to Lisbon to catch a small private plane laid on especially for them to go to Casablanca in Morocco. Their ultimate destination was Rabat, where a press conference with Sky’s Martin Brunt was held.
North Africa in June is a very hot place to be. Why then was Martin Brunt wearing a white suit, children were wearing t-shirts, but they chose to wear the worst attire possible – black suits more befitting a funeral?
It is even more remarkable that this BBC news item was apparently written before they left for Morocco. 
A number of questions arise from the above clips: 
Why have they given this information even before they left for Morocco? 
What ‘role’ are they looking for?  Gerry eventually returned to Glenfield Hospital but that’s hardly a ‘role’.
Most of all: the time to grieve - I feel this was a crucial period when a lot of things changed. End of European Tour which from the distance of 8 years looks like a damp squib. 

Plus this little item from ‘madeleine’:
Chapter 11:
At the beginning of June, Gerry had a call from the director of communications at the Foreign Office. [..] Whatever the case, it was suggested to Gerry that we should use Madeleine’s Fund to employ someone to replace Clarence once our campaign visits were complete. Reluctantly, Gerry agreed. We honestly hadn’t bargained for having to pay a salary for media liaison out of the fund, which we’d envisaged being used primarily to meet costs related directly to the search for Madeleine.


Sunday, 9 August 2015


This blog is honoured to post this report by Socrates - a most distinguished guest!

The Last Photo - revisited

Kate states that the Last Photo, of Gerry, Amelie, and Madeleine sitting by the children’s pool, was taken, by her, on Thursday 3rd May 2007

“We then sat round the toddler pool for a while, dipping our feet in, and I took what has turned out to be my last photograph to date of Madeleine.”

The time in the EXIF metadata is shown as 13:29, but the McCanns were at great pains to point out that this time was one hour wrong, and it was actually taken at 14:29

Date/Time Original 2007:05:03 13:29:51+01:00

The photo shows Gerry , wearing sunglasses, T shirt and shorts, with a slight sheen of perspiration across his forehead, the children in sun hats, which are casting shadows, there are clear shadows cast by the tree, and by the sun beds.

The edges of the shadows are sharp, indicating bright sun.

However, the weather records for Thursday 3rd May 2007 in Praia da Luz tell a totally different story.

At 1pm the temperature was 17º C,  (62ºF)  This is relatively cold.
At 2pm the temperature had risen to 18ºC (64ºF)    Again not hot enough for sweat to break out on the brow of a man wearing nothing more than a thin cotton T shirt and shorts.

Across the top of the figure is a grey bar which indicates the cloud cover.
At 1pm and 2pm it is shown as 50%

By 4:30pm it was 90% so we may deduce that at lunchtime there may have been cloud cover somewhat greater than 50% and increasing as the afternoon progressed.

It also shows TWO separate cloud layers, one at 540m which then rises to 740m,  and a higher one at 2700m

The record for the entire holiday week is even more instructive.

Here we see a clear pattern of the temperature falling and the cloud cover increasing between Sunday evening 29 April, and the following Friday morning 4 May

When we consider the Last Photo we must ask the following questions.
What do we SEE
What do we KNOW
and then 
What can we DEDUCE ?

We see
Shadows have sharp outlines
Shadows more or less vertical
Bright reflection from human skin
Bright reflection from objects
Sheen of perspiration on Gerry's forehead
Children in very light dress
Children in sun hats
Gerry wearing very dark sunglasses
Gerry wearing T shirt and shorts
Bright and sharp reflection in sunglasses
Father and children with feet in the water 

We know
The pool was very cold - all week 
Weather for the rest of the week was cold and cloudy 

What do we deduce ?
The photo was taken on a pleasantly warm or even a hot day.
It was taken when the sun was more or less overhead. Solar Zenith was at 13:29 for the days in question.  Therefore, in layman’s terms the sun was overhead between 12:30 and 2:30 pm 
There were no low clouds and there was no high overcast 

But surely wind speed and direction depend on other factors,  buildings, vegetation . . 

You make a very valid point.
Wind speed IS measured about 3m from the ground, and in  an open area, for the obvious reasons that you give. The ground has a frictional resistance, there are walls, buildings, street furniture, and then hedges and trees, all of which will act to slow the apparent speed at human level
The wind speed and direction at lunchtime is given as 7.2 m/s, of a stiff breeze, Force 4, and the direction approximately WSW, or bearing 250

On the map it is coming in along the red line 

In fact this is across a large patch of waste land, tennis courts and then the very low wall by the Tennis courts in the Ocean club, which are protected only by chain link fencing.  The vegetation, although there is some, is low.

As we can see there is not much of a barrier to reduce the force of the wind.

And I suppose that even reducing Force 4 would only bring it down to Force 3

well exactly and if we look again at Madeleine’s very fine hair falling across her face, and her floppy little sun hat, we are entitled to ask whether they were sitting in any wind at all.  

But if I may digress slightly, this raises another very interesting point,

Let is stick with the issue of wind force and direction .. .

Later that evening, around 10pm Kate tells us what happened when she entered the apartment.

Her first statement said the curtains were wide open,  
[Quote]and immediately noticed that the door to her children's bedroom was completely open, the window was also open, the shutters raised and the curtains open, while she was certain of having closed them all as she always did.”

 but later we have seen repeated interviews, and read in the autobiography, which say they were tight closed.  

but I just noticed that the door, the bedroom door where the three children were sleeping, was open much further than we’d left it. 
I went to close it to about here, and then as I got to here, it suddenly . . . slammed, . . . . and literally as I went back in, the curtains of the bedroom which were drawn, [demonstrates with both forearms together]  that were closed, “wheesh’  like a gust of wind kind of blew them open.

[extract from book] p. 71 “Then I noticed that the door to the children’s bedroom was open quite wide, not how we had left it. At first I assumed that Matt must have moved it.  I walked over and gently began to pull it to. Suddenly it slammed shut, as if caught by a draught.”

She says the door slammed even though she was holding it, and when she pushed it open again another gust “whooshed” the  curtains into the room.

By 10pm the wind had died down, and was 4 m/s, Force 2, bordering on the low end of Force 3. It has also veered to WNW, or bearing 290.

Assuming the window was open, it is only 1 m x 0.5 m, so half a square meter.  The door is 2 m x 0.75 m so one and a half square metres.  

so any wind pressure entering the room is effectively dissipated over three times the area,
Now let us look at photos of the area outside the bedroom window.

What we see is a small car park lined with thick and high trees, a substantial wall, and then another wall just outside the window of the apartment 

So the argument which says the effective speed and power of the wind is reduced by vegetation, walls, street furniture, cars and other obstacles applied here with even greater force.

This apartment window was by any standards very well sheltered

And from that we then have to imagine what wind power or force would be necessary to tear through all that barrier - and remember the wind is coming in at an angle across that road, across other areas with high buildings and thick vegetation, it is the purple line on this map

and the wind still has to have the force to get in through a small open window, and then slam a door being held by an adult, and on the second occasion to pull full length curtains from where they were jammed between the bed and the wall, or jammed behind the wicker chair, against the wall, so that they can “Whoosh” 

And that wind force,  would then one assumes also hit the Tapas bar around the same time, and we remember that the bar was encased in about 40 square metres of clear tarpaulin.   Yet not a single guest or member of staff reports what would have been a deafening sound as those two gusts hit.

The Weather reports from Faro Airport are similarly silent on the point.

So it has been an interesting excursion, driven by responding to reasoned arguments that the wind conditions might have permitted the Last Photo to have been taken on Thursday 3rd, but leading not only to a serious suspicion, on those grounds alone that it could not have been, but also to some serious doubts about the slamming door and whooshing curtain story.

There just does not seem to be enough evidence to substantiate either,

as with so much else in this continuing Mystery

What is even more interesting is to note that the McCanns’ entire story involving the Last Photo, and flapping curtains depends on flat calm and hot at lunchtime, and high wind at bedtime.
The facts are